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Smithville Aldermen Adopt New Budget on First Reading

June 6, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Aldermen Looking Over New Budget

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted a new budget ordinance on first reading for the fiscal year 2011-12. Second and final reading passage will follow a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

The proposed budget, totaling $6-million 113-thousand 511, calls for no increases in water or sewer rates and the new certified property tax rate, established by the state after reappraisal, is expected to generate about the same local revenues as the current tax rate of .6194 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value. The city property tax rate generates approximately $790,000 a year.

Water customers will continue to pay $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates are $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage

The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to be $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter. In addition, all sewer customers will continue to pay the $3.62 cent per month flat rate usage fee

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $1.95 per thousand gallons but will increase to $2.00 beginning with January 1, 2012 sales.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits are $600 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fees are $600 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees are $800 for a three quarter inch line and $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

The proposed budget calls for city employees with up to four years of service to get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale and a cost of living increase of 3% . City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale would only get the cost of living increase.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $256,000.

Other Specific projects are as follows:
Financial Administration:
$25,000 unspecified

Parks and Recreation:
$5,000 to pave a basketball court
$15,000 for a 1.5 mile walking trail
$5,000 for a fence

Public Works/Buildings and Grounds:
$25,000 for Shed & equipment storage

City Hall Building:
$25,000 unspecified

Fire Protection:
$36,000 for turnout equipment
$10,000 for a used vehicle & unspecified

Street Department:
$10,000 for downtown beautification
$10,000 unspecified

Police Department:
$40,000 unspecified

Swimming Pool:
$15,000 unspecified

Golf Course:
$5,000 unspecified

Airport:
$25,000 unspecified

Animal Shelter:
$5,000 unspecified

Sanitation Fund:
$5,000

Drug Fund:
$10,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: Automatic meter readers project- $360,000; update of water plant and engineering fees- $150,000; used mini excavator- $15,000;

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

The proposed budget breaks down as follows:

REVENUES:
General Fund: $3,106,400
Special Revenue Fund-Sanitation: $277,700
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,350,000
Drug Fund: $5,100
Appropriation of Surplus- General Fund: $192,413
Appropriation of Surplus-Drug Fund: $25,400
Appropriation of Surplus-Water & Sewer Fund: $153,837
Appropriation of Surplus-Sanitation Fund: $2,661

Total Revenues: $6,113, 511

EXPENDITURES:
General Fund: $3,298,813
Special Revenue Funds Sanitation: $280,361
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,503,837
Drug Fund: $30,500

Total expenditures: $6,113,511

Young Charged with DUI and Leaving the Scene of an Accident

June 6, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joe Young
Matthew James Wilber
Berl William Doop
Morris Edward Knowles

A 44 year old Dowelltown man has been charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident with injury following a wreck on West Broad Street near Wal-mart on Sunday.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:15 p.m.

Sergeant Mark Dial of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that Joe Young was driving west on U.S. 70 in a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix when he came up on the traffic light near Walmart. As the vehicle in front of him was stopping due to the red light, Young steered to the right to avoid hitting that automobile but in doing so, Young struck the rear of a 1993 Harley Davidson Motorcycle, being operated by 22 year old Dustin Nichols of Alexandria. Young then left the scene.

Nichols was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated for road rash and then released.

Young was later arrested and charged in the case. He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on the charges July 14th. His bond totals $5,000.

Meanwhile in his weekly update on crime news, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 22 year old Matthew James Wilber of Cookeville is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale; for sale and delivery; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Wilber was also issued citations for possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond totals $17,500 and he will be in court on June 23.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, May 31 the sheriff's department conducted a sting operation, making a controlled drug buy from Wilber who allegedly sold the undercover informant three ounces of marijuana. Wilber's 17 year old girlfriend was also present and charges are pending against her. The incident occurred at the Puckett's Point Road boat ramp.

According to the arrest warrant, Wilber did deliver and sell three ounces of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, which is a schedule VI drug, to a confidential informant at the boat ramp near the end of Puckett's Point Road. Wilber gave a statement admitting that he did weigh out and deliver three ounces of marijuana and sold it.

After the purchase was made, Wilber was placed under arrest. The officer also found in Wilber's vehicle inside a blue duffle bag, two- one gallon zip lock baggies that contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. One of the bags had 13.2 ounces of marijuana while the other had 1.7 ounces. Wilber allegedly admitted that he had planned to sell the marijuana. Also found among Wilber's belongings was a black case containing a small plastic baggie with a green leafy substance along with a pipe, shredder, and rolling papers.

30 year old Berl William Doop of Clear Creek Road, Liberty was charged on Friday, June 3 with theft of property over $500. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on June 9.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, May 14 Doop allegedly took from a home that was being remodeled on College Street in Liberty, a Honda pressure washer and a Skil saw valued at approximately $600.

44 year old Richard Len Judkins of Cathcart Hollow Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation for driving on a revoked license and illegal parking. His court date is set for June 8.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, May 24 Judkins was stopped for being illegally parked in the roadway at Pine Creek Bridge on Big Rock Road. A computer check revealed his drivers license were revoked for failure to file security after an accident.

23 year old James Michael Tramel of Antioch Road, Smithville was issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. His court date is June 22.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy spotted Tramel's vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. After stopping the automobile and speaking with Tramel, the officer requested a computer check of his license and they were found to be suspended.

48 year old Timothy Lloyd Caldwell of Medlin Drive, Dowelltown is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. Caldwell was also issued a citation for failing to maintain a lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 16.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, May 31, a deputy, while on routine patrol, spotted a pickup truck on Highway 70 west at Dowelltown. The driver, several times, failed to stay in his lane of travel. After stopping the automobile and speaking with the driver, Caldwell, the officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. Caldwell performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood alcohol test. He was placed under arrest.

24 year old Lois Nicole Godsey of Kings Court Circle, Smithville was issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and no drivers license. Her court date is June 22.

According to Sheriff Ray on Wednesday, June 1 a deputy saw Godsey driving a motor vehicle. The officer had prior knowledge that she had no drivers license. He stopped the vehicle. Godsey also could not provide proof of financial responsibility (insurance).

41 year old Morris Edward Knowles of Allen Bend Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. He was also issued a citation for possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on June 16.

Sheriff Ray reports that on June 2, a deputy was dispatched to Craft Center Drive to check on a suspected intoxicated man. After arrival, the officer made contact with a security guard who led the deputy to the suspect. The officer found the man to be acting strangely. He was unable to remain still while the deputy was speaking with him. He was sweating perfusely and his speech was rapid. While conducting a frisk of his person, the officer found a powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine, a small plastic baggie containing residue, and a large plastic container. Inside was a needle and a powdery substance which later field tested positive for methamphetamine. A lighter and a spoon with meth residue were also found in Knowles' vehicle.

Chief Caplinger Introduces Smithville Police Department's K-9 Unit

June 5, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger, James Cornelius, and "LEO"

The Smithville Police Department has an active K-9 unit again.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that Officer James Cornelius and "Leo" are now certified in the search for illegal narcotics. "Our new K-9 handler is Officer James Cornelius. He started training with "Leo" our drug dog in April. He was trained by the Metro Police Department's trainer. The dog and handler are now certified. Since their certification, they are back on the road together and making some good cases," said Chief Caplinger

" I hope this will be another tool that we can use in the battle against drugs here in the city. They're doing a great job and we're looking for a lot of good cases to come forward out of this. Officer Cornelius does a continual training monthly with the dog and with the Metro Police Department. This dog is certified in finding all drugs and narcotics, marijuana, "added Chief Caplinger.

DeKalb Countians Join the Fight for a Cure

June 3, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

Sounds of music and celebration filled the air at Greenbrook Park Friday evening as caring neighbors from throughout our community gathered to rally support for cancer survivors and to raise money in the search for a cure and for patient services during the 14th annual Relay for Life.

As of midnight, a total of $54,836 dollars had been raised with more money still expected to come in.

This year's theme was "Together We Fight...Together We Win!

Cancer Survivors Walk from dwayne page on Vimeo.
An hour of music preceded the opening ceremony. During the program, members of Boy Scout Troop #347 presented the colors as Suzanne Slager performed the National Anthem. The invocation was delivered by Michael Farr, Minister of the Smithville Church of God.

Cancer survivors then took center stage during the opening ceremony to give a personal testimony as to just how long they've been a survivor and then they took the first lap around the track as the evening's activities got underway and Shelly Cross and Bonnie Rigsby performed a special song in honor of the cancer survivors followed by a prayer by B.J. Thomason, Minister of the Calvary Baptist Church.

Entertainment continued through midnight from various groups and soloists along with local church drama teams. Elvis even made an appearance.

Shelly Cross and Bonnie Rigsby Performing at Relay for Life from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The walking track around Greenbrook Park was lined with luminaria and a group of torches on the grounds were lit in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer, and those people were given special recognition later in the evening.

Cancer Survivors from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, the people who have faced cancer first hand are honored, and those who have been lost to this disease are remembered.

40th Annual Fiddler's Jamboree Set for July 1 & 2

June 3, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton Presents Top Fiddling Award to Bill Birchfield

The 40th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, July 1 & 2

Jack Barton, Fiddler's Jamboree Coordinator, said this year's festival promises to be a little extra special with the 40th anniversary, but don't expect much change in the program.

In addition to hundreds of crafts displayed along many of the downtown streets, the Fiddler's Jamboree will once again offer plenty of delicious foods for sale at local food booths, lots of shade tree picking, and great on-stage music and dancing competitions.

Visit the Fiddler's Jamboree website for more details at www.smithvillejamboree.com

Last years Grand Champion Fiddling Title went to Bill Birchfield of Roan Mountain, Tennessee.

(Click here to see video clip of 2010 Fiddling Champion Bill Birchfield of Roan Mountain, Tennessee)

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 1 starting at 9:00 a.m.

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Youth Square Dancing, Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

On Saturday, July 2 starting at 9:00 a.m., preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Bluegrass Band; Bluegrass Fiddle, Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing. The winner of the Bluegrass Fiddle will receive the Neil Dudney Award, named for the former longtime President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.

The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.

One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy.

WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE and on-line at www.wjle.com.

Recent DeKalb County Schools Art Exhibit Well Received

June 3, 2011
Louann Hendricks, DCHS, won “Best of Show” and 1st place in her category

On May 1st, over 225 parents and friends strolled through the 303 Building on the square to view local student artists’ work from DeKalb County. Approximately 175 pieces were exhibited done in oil, pen & ink, crayon, watercolors, chalk, ceramics, tempera, and a photographic mosaic. Artwork from Smithville Elementary, Northside Elementary, DeKalb West, DeKalb Middle, DeKalb High School, the Adult School, Christian schools and home schooled were represented. Justin Potter Library loaned a piece done by their library art program, also. Study Club President Dianne Hawkins hosted the event with the help of the membership. Piano music was played for the afternoon by Study Club member, Susan Hinton.

The idea for the show was started when a member of the Smithville Study Club noticed there was no end-of-year art show to honor the artistic talents of DeKalb County youth. The Club proposed to have an art exhibit in early May 2011 to showcase these students’ work. Schools and principals were contacted in October of 2010, and work began to culminate in this show on Sunday, May 1st. Special thanks go to the art teachers - Ms. Carol Tripp, Mr. Mike Littrell, and Ms. Walteen Parker - for their support and collection of artwork for the show.

From the interest and attendance shown by parents, grandparents, and community leaders, it is hoped that the show will be an annual affair for the Smithville Study Club to host each May. Every student will receive a certificate of participation and a ribbon. Louann Hendricks, DCHS, won “Best of Show” and 1st place in her category Grades 9 through Adult School with her painting of a dog.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 9.6% in April

June 2, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for April was at 9.6%, up slightly from the revised rate for March of 9.4% but still well below the rate of 10.3% in April, 2010

The local labor force for April was 10,090. A total of 9,120 were employed and 970 were unemployed.

Among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County tied for the third lowest jobless rate for the month of April. Here's how the counties rank from highest to lowest in the Upper Cumberland:

Pickett County- 14.7%
Van Buren- 12.1%
Clay- 11.7%
White-11.6%
Fentress- 11.5%
Warren-11.3%
Cumberland-10.9%
Overton-10.8%
Macon-10.7%
Jackson-10.6%
DeKalb- 9.6%
Smith-9.6%
Cannon- 9.1%
Putnam- 9.0%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show that the rate decreased in 46 counties, increased in 41 counties, and stayed the same in eight counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for April was 9.6 percent, up 0.1 from the March rate. The national unemployment rate for April 2011 was 9.0 percent, 0.2 percentage point higher than the March rate.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, up from the March rate of 6.1 percent, followed by Williamson County at 7.0 percent, up from 6.4 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 22.1 percent, up from 21.8 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 14.9 percent, down from the March rate of 15.0 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, up from 7.0 percent in March. Hamilton County was 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.8 percent, up from 8.3 percent in March, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, unchanged from their March unemployment rate.

Retired Hendersonville Fire Captain Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Crash

June 1, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hendersonville Man Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accident

A 64 year old retired Hendersonville fire captain was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash on Highway 96 near Center Hill Dam Tuesday.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Larry Deen was riding alone on a 1997 Harley Davidson motorcycle traveling north on Highway 96 when he lost control and went off the right side of the road. The bike wrecked and rolled over on top of Deen. The helmet Deen was wearing also reportedly came off his head as he was thrown from the motorcycle.

An Air Evac helicopter ambulance was summoned to the scene but Deen was instead transported by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital after his condition worsened. After being stabilized at the hospital, Deen was later flown by a helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville where he reportedly was being treated for fractures, a punctured lung, and other injuries.

Deen was among a group of mid-state area motorcyclists who were in the area on a visit to
Camp Phoenix at the Indian Creek Youth Camp, where several children are spending the week thanks in part to the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation, Inc.

The foundation operates and provides funding for a summer camp experience for children who are all burn survivors. Camp Phoenix is staffed mainly by professional and enthusiastic volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The camp program provides safe and fun outdoor programs for kids ages 6-17. The goal is to promote healing of the heart and mind, personal enrichment and new friendships.

Deen and other motorcyclists were reportedly preparing to take the children on a ride later this week at Edgar Evins State Park.

(Photo above provided as a courtesy of Trooper Dewaine Jennings)

Two Hundred Eighty Seven Cast Ballots So Far In Smithville Municipal Election

June 1, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two hundred eighty seven people have cast ballots so far during early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election.

Here's how the vote breaks down for each day

Wednesday, 7
Thursday, 32
Friday, 15
Saturday, 22 (20 in person, 2 absentees)
Monday, 15
Tuesday, 22
Wednesday, 17
Thursday, 31
Friday, 23
Saturday, 24 (20 in person, 4 absentees)
Monday, 10 (8 in person, 2 absentees)
Tuesday, 32 votes (31 in person, 1 absentee)
Wednesday, 37 votes (27 in person by machine, 1 absentee, 9 Nursing Home)

The early voting period will be through June 16 in the basement courtroom of the courthouse on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m..

The city election day is Tuesday, June 21st. Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term beginning July 1st.

Candidates are incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White and challengers Gayla Hendrix, Cordell Walker, and Danny Washer.

Voters may now apply for absentee ballots for the Smithville Municipal election through June 14th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray: Scammers on the Prowl Again

May 31, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

Scammers are on the prowl again in search of victims. Sheriff Patrick Ray is issuing a warning to beware.

"I have had several phone calls within the last month about scams throughout the county. Some of these scams consist of people calling and claiming to be credit card companies wanting to give the consumer a cheaper interest rate. What they do is try to get personal information from the person who they've called. Those (would be victims) who have called me have said they have not provided the callers any kind of information. In many cases the callers become hostile, if they don't get cooperation from the persons being called (would be victims). Sometimes they will given cuss them out and try to threaten them to provide the information. I just want to tell anybody who has received those phone calls that if this should happen again please don't provide any information. Tell the caller not to phone you again and to remove you from their call list. Then hang up. Don't give them any personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, check writing number, credit card number, or anything like that. This time of year is when we see a lot of scams from people who are trying to get money from innocent people, especially the elderly. Sometimes they (scammers) will call and say they are giving a senior discount if you will subscribe to their credit card or loan," said Sheriff Ray

"We also have some people who are receiving lottery information through the mail. The mailing claims the recipient (would be victim) has won so much money through a lottery. The recipient (would be victim) is instructed to cash a check (they have received) in their bank and then to wire back cash money. Those checks are no good. Those checks are mainly out of Canada and other countries. Don't try to cash those checks. If you get such a check, rip it up and dispose of it but don't cash it because it is a fake," said Sheriff Ray.

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