Local News Articles

Time to Change Smoke Alarm Batteries

November 1, 2013
Dwayne Page

State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak reminds Tennesseans to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend when they set back their clocks Saturday night for central standard time.

“Alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they are providing the proper protection,” McPeak says. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”

Many fatal fires occur at night while the victims are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply narrowing the chances of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.

It is critical to install smoke alarms and replace batteries regularly. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There’s no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.

Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:

•Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including the basement. For best protection, smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside sleeping rooms. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.

•For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual-sensor alarms.

•Smoke alarms with nonreplaceable (long-life) batteries are available and are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps on these units, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

•Test alarms once a month using the test button. Replace the entire alarm if it's more than 10 years old or doesn't work properly when tested.

•Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and a common meeting place. Share and practice the plan with all who live in the home, including children.

•When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place to call 911.

For more information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist (http://tn.gov/fire/fsk/documents/checklist.pdf).

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for daily fire prevention tips!

Social Security Announces 1.5 Percent Benefit Increase for 2014

October 31, 2013
Dwayne Page

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 63 million Americans will increase 1.5 percent in 2014, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday.

The 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $117,000 from $113,700. Of the estimated 165 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2014, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum. Information about Medicare changes for 2014 is available at www.Medicare.gov.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

Hospital ER Receives Health Stream Award

October 30, 2013
Shan Burklow
Hospital ER Receives Health Stream Award

DeKalb Community Hospital’s ER Department was recently awarded Health Stream’s ‘Excellence Through Insight’ Award based on most improved patient satisfaction scores in an ER Department for 2012. (DeKalb Community Hospital reached a 99% overall satisfaction rating in 2012)

“We are honored to receive this award and are very proud of the hard work and persistence that our ER Department displayed to earn it,” said Sue Conley-CEO of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals, “Patient satisfaction is very important to our hospital and that translates to quality of patient care from our staff.”

The award was presented at Health Stream’s Annual Summit at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. Hospital’s from across the nation gathered in our state’s capital to acknowledge and honor recipients including Smithville’s own DeKalb Community Hospital.


Pictured: Chief Medical Officer Dr. Erik Swensson of Capella Healthcare, ER Director Daniel Goodson and CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital, Bobby Frist—President and CEO of Health Stream, and Sue Conley-CEO of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospital.

Bounds Granted Parole

October 29, 2013
Dwayne Page
Gerald Wayne Bounds Granted Parole

66 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds will soon be a free man.

Four members of the Tennessee Board of Parole have voted to release Bounds on parole. The decision was announced Monday afternoon.

Bounds has been in prison for 32 years and 8 months in the 1981 fatal shooting of 27 year old Sherman Wright of Smithville. He was tried and convicted of first degree murder later that year by a DeKalb County Circuit Court jury and sentenced to life in prison.

While parole has been granted, it may still be several weeks before Bounds is actually released from prison pending completion of a satisfactory release plan for parole supervision.

According to the Rules of the Tennessee Board of Parole "A grant of parole shall not be deemed to be effective until a certificate of parole has been delivered to the inmate, such inmate has voluntarily signed the certificate and the effective date has been reached.

"When an effective date of parole has been established by the Board, release on such date shall be conditioned upon the continued good conduct of the inmate and the completion of a satisfactory release plan for parole supervision."

Bounds came up for his fifth parole hearing almost two weeks ago on Wednesday, October 16. The hearing was held at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated.

Two members of the Tennessee Board of Parole present for the hearing took different views on whether Bounds should be paroled. Board member Tim Gobble voted to deny parole for another year due to the seriousness of the offense. Board member Patsy Bruce voted to grant parole.

After the hearing, Bounds' file was sent to the other members of the Tennessee Board of Parole. They reviewed the case and cast their votes. The voting continued until there were four concurring votes. In this case, four members concurred in granting Bounds parole.

Open Air Stage to be Completed Soon

October 29, 2013
Dwayne Page
Open Air Stage

A new open air stage under construction downtown will soon be completed and available to showcase a variety of community entertainment events.

"It's coming along beautifully," said Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. "We still need to get the cedar shakes on the roof. We've still got to get the electricity going and add safety railings and beautiful wide stone steps on the front but we're getting close. We hope to have a big celebration in the spring to let everybody see it and enjoy it. We're really looking forward to that," she said.

The open-air stage, located in Evins' Park begin the Smithville City Hall, is part of an effort by the Tennessee Downtowns Program Steering Committee to help revitalize downtown, Smithville.

In December, 2010, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced that Smithville was among 12 communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts. Smithville was among several Tennessee communities with central business districts at least 50 years old which were eligible to apply for a downtown revitalization package. Mini-grants were also made available to local downtown business owners who wanted to join in the effort.

A total of sixteen Smithville building owners were awarded $500 in mini-grants by the committee for investing a minimum of $1,000 in exterior improvements to their buildings.

"I applied for the Tennessee Downtowns Program and we got accepted into that," said Williams. "After we went through about a year of being trained and meeting all these different requirements, I was allowed to apply for a $15,000 grant which we got. We used $8,000 of it to do the mini-grants downtown. We had sixteen businesses or property owners that applied and if they made at least $1,000 improvements to the outside of their buildings we gave them $500 back. That went really good. With the $7,000 we had left, we invested in this open air stage which actually has become more beautiful than we imagined," said Williams.

While the project has benefitted from generous donations, Williams said more money will be needed to finish it. "Gaius Overton, who is married to Mary Evins (daughter of the late Congressman Joe L. Evins), is an architect so he made us two models and didn't charge us a thing for that. We picked the one we liked and we've been working on it ever since. The Smithville Rotary Club gave us an extra $1,000 and Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Project Hometown Help gave us another $1,500. I've still got to raise a little bit more money to finish it out," she said.

"It'll totally be available for public use. We look forward to having all kinds of art and music events and outdoor concerts once it's finished," said Williams.

Members of the Tennessee Downtowns Program Committee are Steve White, chair; Wade Smith, Alan Webb, and Mark Ashburn.

Adams Accused of Breaking into Outbuilding

October 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
 Richard Scott Adams
James Waylon Kyle
Timothy Eugene Panter

The Sheriff's Department arrested a man last week in the recent burglary of an outbuilding on East Broad Street.

43 year old Richard Scott Adams of Redman Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and introduction of contraband in a penal institution. His bond totals $15,000 and he will be in court October 31.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 10 Adams allegedly took two tillers, a leaf blower, a John Deere riding mower, and a trailer from an out building on East Broad Street. The items were valued at more than $1,000. After an investigation, Adams was arrested on Monday, October 21.

Upon being brought to the jail, correctional officers conducted a search of Adams and found in his sock a syringe and a white powdery substance (cocaine).

56 year old James Waylon Kyle of Temperance Hall Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for failure to maintain his lane of travel. Bond for Kyle is $2,500 and he will be in court November 7.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 26 Kyle was operating a motor vehicle on Sparta Highway. Kyle repeatedly left his lane of travel. A deputy stopped Kyle and detected a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Kyle was also unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Kyle submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Kyle further submitted to a blood alcohol test. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

43 year old Timothy Eugene Panter of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for violation of the implied consent law. Panter's bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on November 7.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, October 27 a deputy saw a Dodge pickup truck on Sparta Highway leaving its lane of travel several times. The truck crossed into the officer's lane of travel nearly hitting the patrol car. The deputy stopped the truck and spoke to the driver, Panter who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were bloodshot and he was very unsteady on his feet. Panter performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks but he refused to submit to a blood test. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Sheriff Offers Halloween Safety Tips

October 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has issued a few safety tips to parents for the upcoming Halloween night.
With Halloween falling this year on Thursday, Sheriff Patrick Ray wants to help parents ensure their children’s costumes and trick-or-treating activities are safe.

“We want everyone to have a good time and be safe” said Sheriff Ray.

Sheriff Ray encourages everyone to make sure all costumes are fireproof, have eye holes large enough to allow good peripheral vision, and won’t make the wearer of the costume trip. Costumes also should have bright colors or reflective tape so they can be seen at night.

Potentially dangerous props such as knives or pitchforks should have smooth, flexible tips so they can’t cause injuries.

All younger children should be accompanied by an adult. Older children should have a set route they are to take and a set time they should return home.

Children should trick or treat in well-lit areas. Trick-or-treaters should only stop at familiar houses in their own neighborhoods, and know they should never enter into a stranger’s home nor ever should enter into a stranger’s vehicle.

Because of a heavier volume of traffic, everyone should carry a flashlight or glow stick or have reflective tape on their costumes so they can be seen by motorists. They should also walk on the left side of the street, facing traffic. Always remember to walk and never run from house to house. Sheriff Ray also urges all motorists to be aware of children who may be more likely to dart out from between parked cars or be walking on roadways and curbs. Enter and exit from driveways and alleys carefully, and watch for children who may be wearing dark clothing and be more difficult to see.
"We also encourage adults to examine all treats that children bring in before they eat them.” Sheriff Ray advises.

If you are wanting to participate in Halloween and have visitors to come to your residence, you should leave a porch light or flood light on so your visitors can see. You also need to remove leaves and other items such as hosepipes, lawn furniture, and yard decorations from your sidewalk so no one will trip or fall.

Also remember to move your pets away from your visitor’s paths so when they are entering or leaving your home, your pet and the visitor will be safe.

Talk to your children the differences in “tricks” and “vandalism.” Sheriff Ray says “I will have extra Deputies on shift again this year to ensure the public’s safety. We will be on the lookout for anyone vandalizing property. This will include egging and reckless burning of items. Anyone that experiences any trouble is urged to call the Central Dispatch at 215-3000.

Infinity Athletics Teams Place at First Competition

October 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Infinity Athletics Tiny Level 1 team, the Storm
Infinity Athletics Youth Level 1 team, the Strikers

Infinity Athletics Tiny Level 1 team, the Storm, competed in their first competition Saturday at Nashville Municipal Auditorium and came in 3rd place. Pictured: Mila Hayes, Addison Murphy, Leah Trapp, Taylor White, and Bryleigh Teachout. Coached by Callie Gash

Infinity Athletics Youth Level 1 team, the Strikers, competed in their first competition at Nashville Municipal Auditorium and finished in 3rd place. Pictured are: Maggie Felton, Sadie West, Alley Sykes, Katherine Malone, Braelyn Teachout, Addison Miller, Peyton Norris, Carlee West, Hannah Trapp, Ellie Vaughn, Natalie Snipes, and Addison Roller. Coached by Callie Gash and Jennifer Sykes

New Area Code for New Phone Customers by 2015

October 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
Craig Gates

Starting in the spring of 2015, anyone applying for new phone service in DeKalb County or elsewhere in middle Tennessee can expect to get a new area code once the availability of (615) area code numbers is exhausted.

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority announced Thursday plans to implement the new (629) area code.

On Monday afternoon, the TRA voted to approve an overlay plan, which means anyone getting new phone service, cell, or landline will be given the new designated (629) area code after the existing numbers run out. Under the Overlay option, all current (615) numbers would remain but could require 10-digit dialing for local calls within the (615) as well as the new (629) area code. Phone calls that are currently treated as local calls will remain as local calls and calls that are treated as long distance calls will remain as long distance calls.

"The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) notified the TRA in October of 2010 that the 615 Area Code would be exhausted in the near future," said Craig Gates, Chief Executive Officer of DTC Communications. " In May of this year the TRA set up information on the TRA website to let people know what was happening and they also set up a survey for people to participate in. The survey was conducted and 83.2% of those surveyed wanted the overlay and that is how they (TRA) agreed to allow the overlay to take place versus doing an actual Area Code Split. An area code split last done on (615) was when the area code 931 was created, on September 15, 1997," he said.

"The TRA decision to go to an overlay instead of an area code split is the best thing that could have happened for DTC customers," said Gates in a phone statement to WJLE Friday. "We won't have to change our home or business phone numbers that we currently have. We will have to change our dialing pattern a little. Given this change, it will be a lot like dialing with the cell phone today, but better than losing the (615) area code. We will be doing a lot of customer education to explain any of the changes necessary over the next year to fifteen months. We have plenty of time to get ready for the new overlay of (629) in the (615) area code," said Gates.

According to media reports, phone companies have until July to make their networks overlay ready.

Customers will then have seven months to try it out, using ten digits to dial, before the full change goes into effect. During the same time period, phone companies will be given the same amount of time to work out any problems.

New Business Gets Conditional Approval for Beer Permit

October 25, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Beer Board Thursday night voted to grant conditional approval for an off premises permit to a Murfreesboro man who is opening a business on East Broad Street next to Los Lobos.

The store, to be called T&B Market, is not yet open. The owner will have to show proof that he meets the $25,000 inventory requirement before he is to be issued the beer permit.

"We have a beer permit application from Mr. Markos Malak at 102 East Broad Street, which is right next to Los Lobos where the computer store was. Mr. (Randy) Paris is the owner of that building. Actually what we're looking at is issuing a permit contingent on (Malak) issuing the city a valid notarized certified inventory of $25,000. He meets all other requirements but we will do a background check," said City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson, who presided over the beer board meeting.

The city beer ordinance states that "Before a beer permit is issued to any applicant, he or she must show proof of ownership of $25,000 in grocery stock, excluding all tobacco products, gasoline, petroleum products, antifreezes, and beer."

The Smithville Beer Board members are Annette Greek, Steve Hays, Farron Hendrix, Lloyd Black, and Alderman Danny Washer.


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