Local News Articles

"Hot Rod Power Tour" Includes Stop in Smithville

June 9, 2010
Dwayne Page
Hot Rod Power Tour" Includes Stop in Smithville

The "Hot Rod Power Tour" made it's way through Smithville today (Wednesday). Participants in the tour left this week in Newton, Iowa enroute to Mobile, Alabama. Many of the drivers stopped in at Bumper's Drive-In as part of the tour and made their way toward Chattanooga after they left.

The "Hot Rod Power Tour", sponsored by Hot Rod magazine, is an organized tour where hot rodders drive a pre-planned route throughout the United States. It began in 1995 when Hot Rod staff members decided to take some of their project cars on a cross-country drive from Los Angeles, California to Norwalk, Ohio.

Thousands of people participated along the way but only seven participants (other than staff members) made the entire journey and were inducted into the original "Long Hauler Gang". Since its inception, this event has continued to gain in popularity and is now one of the most anticipated automotive events each year. It is typically six to eight days in length and held in late May or early June. In recent years, the tour has evolved to become what is essentially a continuous trek around the United States in that it begins in or near the location that it ended in the previous year. Each stop is combined with events or activities that vary as much as the participants themselves.

Hot Rod is the oldest magazine devoted to hot rodding having been published since 1948.

Proposed New City Budget Includes Increases in Water and Sewer Rates

June 8, 2010
Dwayne Page

Water and sewer rates for Smithville customers will increase with the passage of the 2010-11 city budget if the spending plan is adopted in it's current form.

The proposed budget, totaling $5-million 642-thousand 574, has been prepared by Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson and the city's financial consultant, Janice Plemmons-Jackson. The document was presented by Mayor Taft Hendrixson to each of the five aldermen Monday.

Members of the council have not yet met to discuss the budget and could make revisions before any final action is taken. The new fiscal year begins July first and normally the budget is approved by that date. The aldermen could adopt a continuing budget resolution if they don't meet the deadline. The city's budget ordinance has to be adopted on two separate readings before it can take effect.

City officials say the water and sewer fund is currently running in the red and if that continues two years in a row, the state will adjust the rates if the city doesn't act. The state requires municipal water and sewer systems to be financially self supporting. City leaders say Smithville has not raised water rates since 1998.

According to the proposed new budget, the city's water and sewer fund is projected to finish the year on June 30th, 2010 in the red by $306,464. A major reason for that is apparently because the city is required to take into account depreciation which amounts to $100,000 for the water and $260,000 for the sewer operation. City officials say metered water sales are also projected to be down by $17,000 by the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. Under the proposed 2010-11 budget, the city is still projected to be in the red by $154,993 on June 30th, 2011, even with the proposed rate increases, unless cost savings are implemented during the year.

Under the proposed new budget, the rate for city water customers would increase from the current level of $3.50 to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus a $1.50 increase from the current rate of $3.50 to $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates would increase to $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, would increase from the current level of $3.62 for a flat usage rate to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus a $1.75 cent increase from the current rate of $3.25 to $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter.

For example, city water customers who use 4,000 gallons per month would pay $40.00 per month plus tax, including $20.00 for water and $20.00 for sewer. The simplest calculation is to add $5.00 per thousand gallons of usage per month for water and sewer:

(4,000 gallons per month @ $5.00 per thousand= $20.00 for water bill)

( 4,000 gallons per month @ $5.00 per thousand =$20.00 for sewer bill)

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $1.90 per thousand gallons but would increase to $1.95 beginning with January 1st, 2011 sales.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits would jump from $400 to $600 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee would go from $400 to $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 would increase from $525 to $800 for a three quarter inch line. Fees would go from $525 to $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

The new budget calls for the property tax rate to remain the same at almost 62 cents ($.6194 cents) per $100 of assessed value.

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 3.4% based on the consumer price index. 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 $330,000. Specific projects are as follows: Financial Administration- $20,000 unspecified; Parks and Recreation-$5,000 to pave a basketball court, $15,000 for a 1.5 mile walking trail, and $5,000 for a fence; Public Works/Buildings and Grounds- $15,000 for a trailer; City Hall Building - $25,000; Fire Protection- $15,000 unspecified; Street Department- $20,000 including $10,000 for downtown beautification and $10,000 unspecified; Police Department- $15,000 unspecified; Swimming Pool- $10,000 unspecified; Airport- $200,000 including $190,000 for grant projects completion and $10,000 unspecified; Animal Shelter- $5,000 unspecified; Sanitation Fund- $5,000 and Drug Fund- $5,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: Automatic meter readers project- $360,000; update of water plant and engineering fees- $2,700,000; sewer rehabilitation camera $125,000; Debt repayment-principal: bonds- $233,560.

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

The proposed budget breaks down as follows:

General Fund: $3,022,500
Special Revenue Fund-Sanitation: $277,350
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,141,808
Drug Fund: $5,250
Appropriation of Surplus-Drug Fund: $34,000
Appropriation of Surplus-Water & Sewer Fund: $154,993
Appropriation of Surplus- Sanitation Fund: $6,673

Total Revenues: $5,642,574

General Fund: $3,014,570
Special Revenue Funds Sanitation: $284,023
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,296,801
Drug Fund: $39,250
Surplus in General Fund: $7,930

Total expenditures: $5,642,574

Liberty Man Airlifted after Monday Crash

June 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Firefighters and EMS Personnel Assist Roy Myatt at Crash Site

A 60 year old Liberty man was injured around 3:00 p.m. Monday afternoon after he wrecked his truck on Highway 53 at Liberty.

Trooper Mike Phillips of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Roy Myatt was driving a 1996 Chevy pickup truck south on Highway 53 when he went off the right side of the road, up an embankment, and struck a rock.

Myatt was airlifted from the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Members of DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

(Photo by Callie Matthews)

Four Injured in Sunday Night Wreck

June 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

Four people were injured in a one car crash at around 10:45 p.m. Sunday night on South College Street.

Smithville Police Officer David Phillips says 39 year old Jenna Sue Murphy of Smithville was driving a Mercury Topaz north on South College Street when she went off the road and struck a utility pole.

Murphy and three other passengers of the car, 51 year old Ricky Reece, 51 year old Dorene Pedigo, and 51 year old Raymond Serrano all of Smithville, were injured.

All were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Reece was later airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to another hospital.

Drive Drunk, Get Nailed

June 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger
Drive Dunk, Get Nailed

The phrase, "I just got nailed by the cops," is taking on a whole new meaning thanks to the Governor's Highway Safety Office and the "Drive Drunk, Get Nailed" message.

GHSO has already spread the message to many in Middle Tennessee in a unique and surprising way. Vehicles with 10 foot nails driven through the hoods and trunks are appearing in high visibility locations across Middle Tennessee in an effort to spread the word.

One of those vehicles is now in Smithville, currently located at City Hall.

"There is never a good reason for getting behind the wheel after you've been drinking," said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "Unfortunately, many people are still not getting the message, so we hope this new campaign will help draw attention to the problem of drunk driving in Tennessee."

The nailed vehicles are part of a campaign to make drivers aware that Tennessee's law enforcement agencies will be stepping up enforcement on the roads this summer and watching for anyone speeding, riding without a safety belt, or driving while under the influence.

"Impaired driving will not be tolerated on the roadways of Smithville this summer, or at any other time throughout the year," said Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger. "If you are driving aggressively, impaired, or without a safety belt, you will get ‘nailed.'"

"Our goal is to generate buzz in Tennessee communities with this campaign, and continue to save lives on Tennessee's roadways at an unprecedented rate," said GHSO Director Kendell Poole. "Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for every age group in the United States, and it is particularly disturbing that most of these crashes are preventable."

Man Found with 62 Pills during Traffic Stop Arrested by Smithville Police

June 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently arrested a 27 year old DeKalb County man for possession of drugs after he was found with sixty two pills during a traffic stop, for which he had no prescription.

27 year old Nathan Joe Trapp of 379 Magness Road is charged with possession of a schedule III & IV controlled substance for resale and simple possession. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow pulled over Trapp during a traffic stop, after noticing his vehicle weaving in the roadway. Trapp said the reason he was weaving was because he was checking his text messages. Upon issuing Trapp a citation for failure to maintain proper lane of travel, Officer Tatrow deployed K-9 Leo and the dog indicated on the passenger side door of Trapp's vehicle. Officer Tatrow, during a search, recovered a black bag from the passenger floor board with 62 assorted pills. Trapp did not have a prescription for the pills.

43 year old Miguel Pascual Lopez of Monterey and 54 year old Carmello Cortez Garcia of Smith Road were arrested on Saturday, May 29th for driving under the influence and public intoxication. Officers were called to Kwik N Ezy to check out a possible intoxicated driver. They followed the vehicle a short distance and witnessed it swerving and almost wreck onto the sidewalk. Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer David Phillips initiated a traffic stop and found Lopez to be the driver. Lopez had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He was asked to exit the vehicle. Lopez submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. Officer Phillips arrested Lopez for DUI. Garcia, a passenger of the vehicle, had a very strong odor of alcohol on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Garcia was charged with public intoxication. Bond for Lopez is $1,500. Garcia's bond is $1,000. Their court date is June 24th.

51 year old Susan Pirtle Green of 700 Rolling Acres Road was arrested on Saturday, May 29th for driving on a revoked license. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow observed Green fail to maintain proper lane of travel. She was stopped by police and a computer check revealed her license to be suspended from Warren County. Green produced a restricted license authorizing her to drive Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Green's bond is $1,500 and her court date is June 24th.

42 year old David Howard Dixon of 624 Crestlawn Avenue was arrested on Monday, May 31st for domestic assault. Dixon allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by hitting her in the face and about the body with his fist causing her to require emergency treatment. Officer David Phillips made the arrest. Bond for Dixon is $5,000 and his court date is July 8th.

On Tuesday, June 1st, Officer Scott Davis arrested 34 year old Sharon Skinner of 308 Bell Street on warrants taken by Officer Jerry Hutchins April 29th for theft. On April 6th, Sergeant Randy King took a report for Mike Jennings stating that Skinner had taken his vehicle without his permission. The vehicle was later discovered by Officer Hutchins to have been sold by Ms. Skinner to Ivy Bluff Salvage yard. Bond for Skinner is $7,500 and her court date is June 10th.

22 year old Priscilla Leann Roberts of 2323 Students Home Road was cited for shoplifting on Tuesday, June 1st. Ms. Roberts allegedly attempted to leave the Dollar Tree with 14 items without paying for them. The citation was issued by Officer Jerry Hutchins. Her court date is June 10th.

24 year old Julian Hernandez Lopez of 620 South Mountain Street is charged with driving under the influence and Angel Figueroa Hernandez of Highway 70 West faces a public intoxication charge after being arrested by K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow and Sergeant Joey Jones on Thursday, June 3rd. Police received a call stating that a black car occupied by two males was running people off the road. Central dispatch reported that the vehicle went through the four way stop at Webb Street and was going toward the public square. Officer Tatrow saw the vehicle pull up onto the side walk in front of the DeKalb County Board of Education and almost hit the building. The vehicle was pulled over. According to K-9 Officer Tatrow, Lopez, the driver, had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he could not stand without assistance. Due to the language barrier and his intoxicated state, no field sobriety tasks were administered and he was arrested for DUI. Sergeant Jones noticed that Hernandez, a passenger of the vehicle, had blood shot eyes. He was unsteady on his feet and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Hernandez was arrested for public intoxication. Bond for each was set at $1,000 and their court date is June 24th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Friday, May 28th, William Snipes of 518 Miller Road reported that a 2008 Poulan Self Propelled 22" push mower was taken from his patio sometime between May 26th and May 28th.

On Tuesday, June 1st Sheila Hunter, an employee of the Discount Tobacco Store, reported that someone had cut the phone lines of the business either during the late night hours of May 31st or early morning hours of June 1st.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Early Voting Ends Thursday for Smithville Municipal Election

June 6, 2010
Dwayne Page

A total of 367 people have cast ballots in the Smithville Municipal Election with one day left of early voting.

Twenty eight people voted on Wednesday, June 9th.

Voting this week will be Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse. Election day is Tuesday, June 15th. Voting hours that day will be from eight a.m. until seven p.m., also at the courthouse.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term.

Here's how the vote breaks down each day during the early voting period:

May 26th 23

May 27th: 27

May 28th: 32

May 29th: 40

June 1st: 30

June 2nd: 36

June 3rd: 53

June 4th: 25

June 5th: 38

June 7th: 23

June 8th: 40

June 9th: 28

Community Rallies in Support of 13th Annual Relay for Life

June 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Cancer Survivors
Cancer Survivor Frances Hedge

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 help raise money in the search for a cure during the 13th annual Relay for Life

The theme of this year's Relay was "Imagine a world with more birthdays" and featured lots of food, entertainment, and fun things for kids.

Casey Midgett, 2010 Chair of Relay for Life in DeKalb County, says so far the event has brought in around $46,000. "As far as the atmosphere, the people who were there, and the weather we had, I don't think I have been part of a Relay that went better than this one. We're going to be down this year but anything that we raise is very much appreciated. Right now, it looks like we're going to have somewhere around $46,000 to this point (as of Saturday morning). We have some more money still to come in and we have a couple more events we're going to have this year to hopefully increase that total. One of those events is the Relay 5K and One Mile Fun Run which we will have Saturday, June 12th at Greenbrook Park. We'll also have a booth at the Fiddler's Jamboree again this year. I look for us to have somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000 before it's over but whether we reach it or not, I am so proud of what we've done. It's not all about money, it's about touching people's lives and I know we did that this year and I know we do that every year."

Cancer survivors 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.

The walking track was lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer, and those people were given special recognition later in the evening.

Click here to listen to the luminaria ceremony

Frances Hedge, who has been a cancer survivor since October 2009, shared her story with the audience. "I learned on October 13th, 2009 that the lump removed from my breast the week before was malignant. The next week I had a second surgery and this was followed by chemo treatments. And last month, I finished my six weeks of radiation. I've been out here to many Relays, but this is the first time I've been on this side. On the receiving side. Cancer is no respector of persons. It happens to infants and it happens to the elderly. And until there is a cure, these Relays are needed to raise money for research, for treatments, and for many other things. I got this beautiful wig (I'm wearing) at no cost to me. And when I went to Cookeville for my radiation treatments, I met with a dietitian who gave me a packet of information, very good information. And I met with a social service worker who gave me two, twenty five dollar cards for gas. Everyone I came in contact with was so kind and caring and I never felt like I was going through this alone. There's a test that can be done now in some situations to determine a recurring level and if this level is low enough, then chemo treatments aren't necessary. This test was made possible through research and was not available as little as three years ago. We're here tonight to celebrate and to honor cancer survivors and to remember our loved ones who have lost the battle. Thank you to Tim, our sponsor. To Casey, Ms Iva dell and to everyone who work tirelessly to make Relay possible. Thank you to everyone who has supported Relay with your donations. And I want to say a special thank you to my family. They have been my support and given me the strength that I have needed to get through this. Thank you to my church family and to everyone who has prayed for me. My prayer is that I can stand here next year and say, "My name is Frances Hedge and I've been a breast cancer survivor since October, 2009. Thank you."

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.

Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation Helps Send Kids to Camp

June 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Campers Visit DeKalb Fire Department Main Station
Campers Visit DeKalb Fire Department Main Station

Several children spent this past week at Camp Phoenix (Indian Creek Camp in Liberty) 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."

On Tuesday June 1st, approximately 50 campers spent the afternoon at the DeKalb County Fire Department's main station. They enjoyed a meal and got to see up close, an extrication unit, a deputy sheriff car, ambulance and the fire engines.

County firefighters, a deputy sheriff, paramedics, County Mayor Mike Foster and a UCHRA van driver assisted these campers in having a great afternoon.

For more information about the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation, Inc. visit (http://www.tnfbf.org/)

Truck Overturns Injuring Woman and Child

June 3, 2010
Dwayne Page

A Smithville woman and her two year old daughter were injured Thursday morning when their truck overturned on Highway 288 in the Keltonburg area. The accident occurred about three tenths of a mile east of Green Hill Road and about a mile from the Keltonburg store

Central dispatch received the call at 7:52 a.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 24 year old Jennifer Gayle Summers of 1254 Wright Bend Road, Smithville and her daughter, Adison Summers, were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were treated, but their injuries were not life threatening.

According to Trooper Jennings, Summers was driving a 2003 Dodge Ram west on Highway 288 when she left the roadway to the right, overcorrected, crossed the center line, then came back across going off the right side of the road again. The truck exited the road sideways and began to overturn. It rolled down an embankment, through a small creek, and rolled back up the other side of the embankment.

Summers was wearing her seatbelt and the two year old was properly restrained in a child safety seat, which may have prevented them from sustaining more serious injuries.

Summers was cited for failing to maintain the proper lane of travel.


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