Local News Articles

DeKalb Suicide Rate Declines in 2011 But Still Higher Than State and National Average

March 16, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

In 2011, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 26.5 per 100,000 people, translating into five reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from the previous year but still above the state and national average as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hancock County had the state's highest suicide rate among the state's ninety five counties at 74.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and Johnson County had the lowest rate at 5.5 per 100,000 with one death.

DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. The year 2012 numbers are not available.

Jackson County recorded the highest suicide rate among the fourteen Upper Cumberland Counties for 2011. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest.

Jackson 52.8 per 100,000 (6 deaths)
White 42.1 (11)
Clay 38.6 (3)
Van Buren 36.6 (2)
Fentress 33.3 (6)
Macon 26.7 (6)
DeKalb 26.5 (5)
Pickett 19.6 (1)
Cannon 14.6 (2)
Putnam 13.7 (10)
Cumberland 10.6 (6)
Smith 10.4 (2)
Warren 10 (4)
Overton 9 (2)

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) has published its Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report, detailing suicide trends and prevention efforts in Tennessee. The current report includes a summary of suicide trends within Tennessee, both overall and for various subgroups.

Tennessee's age-adjusted suicide rate for 2011 was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000 as reported for the year 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rates among teens and older adults, both groups traditionally at high suicide risk, remain stable. White males aged 35-64 account for the largest share of suicide deaths, and suicide rates are higher for white males across the lifespan.

Attention is also given to the nature of non-fatal versus fatal attempts and common suicide methods-almost two-thirds of all suicides in Tennessee involve a firearm.

"At least 150 Tennesseans who deeply care about the suicide prevention are meeting monthly to raise their own suicide awareness and to implement activities that educate their communities about suicide. They are also working together to apply the Tennessee Strategies for Suicide Prevention," observes TSPN Advisory Council Chair Jennifer Harris. "The maintenance and growth of the regional and county efforts should inspire all of us."

The document also includes a summary of common suicide risk factors and an account of TSPN's suicide prevention projects. The report concludes with a listing of suicide numbers and rates for all 95 Tennessee counties for the years 2006 through 2011.

All over the state, TSPN offers presentations and training sessions for schools, churches, and civic groups and partnerships with state departments and other non-profits. TSPN also networks with and faith-based groups to implement suicide prevention strategies; debriefs schools and other institutions affected by suicide death; and promotes awareness and educational events across the state of Tennessee.

"Of course, our work here is hardly finished," adds TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgway. "Our goal is not merely fewer suicides, it is zero suicides. Suicide remains a major and tragic threat to middle-aged adults in our state. The ebb of the Middle East conflicts means more soldiers will be trying to reconcile their wartime experiences with civilian life. We hope to ensure that those who have served their country will get the help they need.

"We hope that the Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report will inspire everyone to join us in the ongoing effort to make zero suicides not just an objective, but a reality for the people of our state."

Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 will be published online via the TSPN website (www.tspn.org

Bid Approval Delayed for DeKalb West Construction Project

March 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Bid approval for the DeKalb West School construction project has been delayed by a month

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David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet, updated the school board on the project Thursday night. Brown said bidding will be delayed a month but that won't affect the projected completion date. "We are hard at work wrapping up DeKalb West," said Brown. "We have a couple of loose ends we're tying up this week. One is your low voltage and technology package where the budget came in way, way not where we wanted it to be so we have been working with Systems Integration to repackage that and get it back down where it needs to be budget wise. We're also wrapping up the kitchen design. We've got a few improvements to make there. We're going to meet one last time on Monday and wrap that up. I am going to slide the schedule. Not your move in schedule. You're still going to have everything done and move in by August 2014 but I need to slide the date that you approve the bids. Instead of approving bids at your April school board meeting, I need you to approve bids at your May school board meeting. That affects when we get started a little bit but not when you move in. On bid day we'll have different packages for the contractors to submit pricing on. One is the storm shelter itself. The next is the traditional construction which would be any miscellaneous renovation, the kitchen and all the work that goes along with that. Number three is the roof which we can evaluate. Number four is what Johnson Controls is doing as apart of the new construction where they are guaranteeing the (energy) savings that you're going to see. We have been working with Johnson and their folks. Their engineers evaluate and recommend but its actually our engineers that do the drawings, stamp them and have them in the plans. We're having to work with them very closely to make sure we have everything just right. So basically we're in the home stretch and we'll have an update next month. By May we'll have numbers you folks can evaluate and act on hopefully and then get mobilized and be ready to go by the time school gets out. We're not going to get done in August. We'll get done over the summer to give us time to do a punch list and give you folks time to move in and then open for business in August 2014. But the construction will be done before then," said Brown

The proposed addition will be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area. A cafeteria and kitchen renovation is also included for the school.

Construction Begins on New Football Field House at DCHS

March 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Ground has been broken for the construction of a new field house for the DCHS Tiger Football program.

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Tiger Coach Steve Trapp updated the Board of Education on the plans Thursday night. "It's been about three and a half years but we did break ground last week. There have been a couple of changes but they have not been made without talking to the appropriate people, Mr. Mark Willoughby, Mr. Patrick Cripps, Maintenance Supervisor Earl Jared, the Fire Marshal, the Architect Gaius Overton. Originally we had an all block building. We've made a change. Its still the same building as far as layout, size, and function purposes of the building but we have decided to go with a steel building instead of an all block building," said Coach Trapp. "It was the recommendation of the architect and fire marshal to look in that avenue (to make these changes) so that the time frame and a little bit of the cost will be saved as well. We have broken ground. We have everything started. The steel building will arrive next Thursday and we'll have all of spring break to get after it and get that thing up. The perfect scenario is to have that thing put together and have everything cleaned up on the outside before graduation so it won't be a mess. All the plans have been resent to the fire marshal so he knows our plans. He has seen everything and he has signed off on it and everything is in good order," said Coach Trapp

The original plans were for the new field house to be a 50 x 70 foot block exterior structure with a metal roof located near the existing facility between the practice field and playing field. It would be for the Tiger football program complete with a dressing room area, locker room, training room, utility room, showers and bathrooms, an office for the coach, and two dry storage areas, one of which would be for the youth football league.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Professional Services Staff.

The resolution states that "Whereas, the DeKalb County School System is served by an admirable group of special teachers and staff members including related arts teachers, music teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, psychologists, and speech and hearing specialists; and

Whereas, this group of professionals consists of competent and dedicated individuals who play a large role in the success of the students in DeKalb County; and

Whereas, the special teachers and staff members in the DeKalb County School District are responsible for providing a variety of special services to many students on a daily basis; and

Whereas, these professionals join the efforts of our teaching and administrative staff to help us meet the unique needs of each student from teaching physical conditioning, library skills, bandaging a wound to offering encouragement and hope for students in despair; and

Whereas, the DeKalb County Board of Education wishes to honor the commitment and service the special teachers and staff provides

Now, Therefore, Be it resolved that, the Board of Education hereby establishes March 21, 2013 as Special Teachers and Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses appreciation and thanks to all who provide special services in our school system and encourages each school and community to recognize these individuals for their role in the success of our school system.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the board. Those employed since last month are Shelby Mulloy, Amie Buchanan, and Tammy Maynard as substitute cafeteria workers.

The DCHS Boys Soccer team was granted permission to attend an invitational soccer tournament at Franklin County High School in Winchester on Saturday April 6 through Sunday, April 7.

The FBLA Club of DCHS was given permission for an overnight trip to Chattanooga April 7-10. Approximately 25 students, one advisor, and one chaperone will attend the FBLA State Leadership Conference. This is an annual trip for the club.

The board also voted to grant permission for FFA students to attend the State FFA Convention in Gatlinburg March 24-28.

Orlando Denied Parole, Next Hearing Set for March, 2016

March 14, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Nicholas Orlando

40 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando has heard from the Tennessee Board of Parole and the news for him isn't good. He will have to spend at least three more years in prison.

Three members of the board have voted to deny parole for Orlando due to the seriousness of the offense and to reconsider the case in March, 2016.

Orlando is serving a 45 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy. Orlando is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee.

A parole hearing was held for Orlando on Monday, March 4.

Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004.

Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September, 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence, of which he must serve at least 30 percent. Turnbill remains incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville. His parole hearing is set for April, 2014.

While Orlando said he was sorry for the death of Murphy during the parole hearing, he denied being the triggerman in the shooting, blaming Turnbill for actually committing the murder.

The parole board members conducting the hearing, Chairman Charles Traughber and Richard Montgomery found Orlando less than forthcoming about his involvement in the crime.

Gary McKenzie, Deputy District Attorney, speaking on behalf of the victim's family, also insisted that Orlando was not being candid with the board.

Board Members consider factors such as seriousness of the offense, time served, victim input, any programs the offender may have completed or disciplinary actions against the offender while incarcerated, etc..

In making this decision, the Board cited seriousness of the offense as the primary reason for their decision. Voting ends when the required number of matching votes have been cast – either to parole or not to parole. In this case, that was three votes of the seven-member board.

Local Judges and Attorneys Pleased with Consensus Judicial Redistricting Plan

March 13, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge Bratten Cook, II

Local judges and attorneys are delighted with the news that DeKalb County will remain part of the 13th Judicial District and that the district itself will be left intact under a consensus plan unveiled Monday by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.

"It is certainly gratifying that our voices were heard by those in authority including the Lieutenant Governor and our representatives and state senator," said DeKalb County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II who is also president of the local bar.

Under the plan, the 13th Judicial District will remain with no changes. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

A previous plan given consideration would have included DeKalb County in a new eight county district with Coffee, Cannon, Warren, Smith, Jackson, Trousdale, and Macon.

"I certainly want to thank our State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver for their input and support of our position," said Judge Cook. We had a great meeting with them recently and they were very responsive to our concerns about moving DeKalb County to a different judicial district," said Judge Cook.

"I also want to thank all of the bar members here for working diligently to let the powers that be know that we are exactly where we need to be. That we did not need to be moved to another judicial district. That it would have wreaked havoc on our people having to travel perhaps all the way to Coffee county up to the Kentucky line. So as it stands we're going to stay exactly where we are and keep the judges that we have," he said.

"I certainly want to thank our judges for their support. It would have been a whole lot easier on them if they lost DeKalb County and picked up Van Buren County because there's hardly any litigation that occurs in Van Buren County and there is quite a bit here. It just shows that our judges really consider DeKalb County as much home as they do their respective homes, which is primarily Putnam County for them although Judge Amy Hollars is from Overton County. She, Judge John Maddux, Judge Ronald Thurman, Judge David Patterson, and Judge Leon Burns, Jr. all worked diligently to keep DeKalb County with the 13th Judicial District. I certainly want to thank them," said Judge Cook

"We, the lawyers are the winners, but the real winners are the people of DeKalb County because we have absolutely the best judges in the state and all you have to do is go to another judicial district and you'll find that out," said Judge Cook. " The people of DeKalb County are clearly the winners in this. I noticed there are a few districts on the proposed map that have been changed. Perhaps those places had problems. I don't know. All I know is we didn't have one," he said.

The legislation adopting the plan must be approved by both the State House and Senate and signed by the Governor.

DeKalb Jail and Annex Meet Standards for TCI Re-Certification

March 13, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Jail and Annex

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the Tennessee Corrections Institute recently performed an inspection of the DeKalb County Jail and the DeKalb County Jail Annex.

In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote that "The inspection revealed that this facility meets all applicable minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the Board of Control at its next meeting. After approval from the Board of Control, you will receive a Certificate of Certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.

Detention Facility Specialist Joe Ferguson, in the report wrote that "On February 28, 2013 I inspected the DeKalb County Jail and Annex. With no apparent deficiencies found, I recommend continued certification for 2013".

The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds.

Two Treated for Second Degree Burns, One for Smoke Inhalation in Early Morning Fire

March 12, 2013
Kitchen Stove (Photo by Donny Green)
Stove and Cabinet Area (Photo by Donny Green)

DeKalb County Firefighters quickly extinguished an early morning mobile home fire at 3283 Student's Home Road Tuesday at around 1:30 a.m. Chief Donny Green states that the fire started on the kitchen stove as a pan of grease was left unattended. The grease ignited and spread flames to the cabinet area above the stove.

One of the parents awoke to the smell of smoke and alerted the other occupants, including 9 children ranging from 5-17 years old. All occupants were able to evacuate the mobile home but two of them received 2nd degree burns and one suffered smoke inhalation. All were attended to at the scene by DeKalb Emergency Medical Services, but none were transported to the hospital.

Chief Green says that there were 4 smoke alarms in the mobile home, but none of the alarms had batteries installed and as a result, the family narrowly missed escaping the fire. The fire damage was confined to the immediate area around and above the stove. However, the remainder of the home received extensive smoke damage. Firefighters were also able to locate and rescue 5 puppies found under a bed.

The local Red Cross chapter responded to the scene to assist the family of 11 with their immediate needs. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was also on hand to assist. Firefighters from the Keltonburg, Blue Springs, Belk, Short Mountain stations, along with the department's tanker truck and equipment truck responded to the blaze.

Chief Green reminds anyone that cannot buy smoke alarm batteries that the DeKalb County Fire Department is happy to assist and can be contacted at 615-464-7176. You can also visit the DeKalb County Fire Department's Facebook Page for more information.

Smithville Police Department Building Relationships with Local Schools

March 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Officer Chip Avera Greeting a Student at Northside Elementary
Northside Elementary Student Happy to see Corporal Travis Bryant

As they arrive at school in the mornings and or during the school day, students at Smithville Elementary, Northside Elementary, DeKalb Middle, and DeKalb County High School are often greeted by members of the Smithville Police Department.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger started the practice this school year so that the officers could build on their relationships with students, teachers, and parents. "Its one of the things we decided we could do that didn't cost any money," said Chief Caplinger. "We go by on our down times. The kids are getting used to us. We enjoy talking to them and the officers are learning the layout of the schools," he said.

Having a law enforcement officer on site gives everyone a better sense of security, according to Beth Pafford, assistant principal at Northside Elementary School. "We love having them here. The students love them. As an administrator, as teachers one of the primary concerns is having a safe place for them to come and learn. If you don't feel safe its very difficult to learn. We just appreciate the community effort because educating the students is a community effort and we're grateful that the police department is making time to come out and build relationships with the students and teachers. Its been a very positive thing," said Pafford.

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Chip Avera, Patrol Officer said he and other members of the Smithville Police Department are visiting the schools as part of their daily patrols but are not serving as School Resource Officers. "We're on regular shift patrol and when possible when we're not too busy answering calls of service to the community we're trying to get out here and visit, more so in the mornings when everybody is coming and going. When classes get started we ease out and come back and forth throughout the day, walking the halls, checking out the schools and just hanging out. We're out here as much as we can be and when we're needed of course. We're trying to be pro-active with all of our officers being involved in getting to know the schools, students, parents, and teachers," said Officer Avera.

"We want everyone to know that we are going to be at every school (in Smithville)," said Corporal Travis Bryant. " They may see us at different times of the day. We'll stop in to talk with the students and the teachers to see how things are going. We try not to alarm anybody. If you see us at school it doesn't mean that anything bad has happened. We're just making sure everything is okay. Once people understand why we're there they feel more at ease," said Corporal Bryant.

Smithville Alderman and Police and Fire Commissioner Shawn Jacobs commended Chief Caplinger for this initiative during last week's city council meeting. "I would like to compliment you Chief for allowing your officers, when they have time to go by the schools where they're walking the halls and getting to know the kids. These aren't SRO's but its just a police presence in the schools more and in these nervous times in our schools I think that's great. I think its great for police officers to be seen there with those police cars out front. It lets the public know that when they see a police car out front its not necessarily a bad thing and that its probably a good thing. This is an initiative you started on your own and I think its very well founded," said Alderman Jacobs.

Tony Poss Asks City to Fund More Lifeguards at Swimming Pool

March 11, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Construction underway on more restrooms at city pool
City officials view covering to help keep debris out of pool

How many lifeguards are needed at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool?

City aldermen may revisit that issue again at the next meeting on Monday, March 18.

During the May 21, 2012 city council meeting, the aldermen voted 3 to 0 to set the pay of the lifeguards at minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for last season and to fund a maximum of three lifeguards per day at fifty eight hours per week for thirteen weeks.

But during a workshop at the club house this past Saturday morning, the tenants of the golf course and swimming pool, Tony and Jeania Poss asked the mayor and aldermen to fund at least one or two more lifeguards this season, renewing a request they made last year. " The board voted last year to only let us have three lifeguards. It was referred to us that the state required three and that's what they (city) were willing to pay for. We don't feel that this is enough for this pool. We've got slides and diving boards. It can be done but it would be a big liability on us, the city, and the lifeguards," said Tony Poss. We've saved four people in the last two years at least and that's because we had the lifeguards there. If we scale back on these guards, it (a tragedy) is going to happen. We get 150-200 people in here sometimes. We've got to have somebody at that slide and the deep end for sure," he said.

"The state says that we only have to have three (lifeguards) but as a parent, we want more than three," said Jeania Poss. "It would be nice if we could have four and possibly five at our discretion. If we have ten people in the pool we won't work all four or five lifeguards," she said.

"I thought what we had approved (last year) was to pay for three per day and anything above that you could have but you would pay for them out of pool receipts," said Alderman Gayla Hendrix.

"We were charging two dollars per person (swimmer) last year and we were paying for that extra lifeguard and sometimes two extra lifeguards (from those receipts)," said Jeania Poss.

"You allowed us to have private parties and we also paid the lifeguard wages for that," added Tony Poss. "We are in no way going to bill the city for private parties that we do. But it helped our pool business last year a whole lot. A lot of people came back and started doing that (private parties) versus going out of town," said Poss.

While the lease apparently gives him the authority to use as many lifeguards as he wants during the daily operation of the pool with the city to pay the wages, Poss still wants more specifics in writing from the city on this and on other issues before the pool season starts so there isn't any confusion. "We need a set of rules of what you expect us to do. What you want us to do and not change the rules every other month. The contract doesn't say anything about how many guards we can employ or how many we have to have here," said Poss. "There's nothing in the contract that says what we can or can't do (concerning lifeguards). But it does say in there that the city will pay all lifeguard wages during all hours of operation. The contract also says both parties have to agree on any kind of changes to that contract. We're not trying to be hard to deal with. What we're asking is to give us a little more help," said Poss.

A state health department environmentalist, after making a visit to the pool last year issued a report on the number of lifeguards needed there to satisfy state regulations. Mitzi Medley reported that only a maximum of three are required when the pool is open to the public. However, she suggested that it would be a good idea, though not required, to have an attendant assigned to help control patron traffic at the slides.

"The state lady came down, wrote a letter to the mayor and advised that it would be better if we had four (lifeguards)," said Poss. She wanted somebody on that slide. We have them stationed at the deep end, at the center, and at the other end of the pool," said Poss.

Jeania Poss said with only three lifeguards on duty at a time, swimmers would have to get out of the pool during times when a lifeguard has to take a break, which is an inconvenience to the swimmers and could increase liability to the tenants and the city. " When you have three lifeguards and one of them comes down for a 10-15 minute break where they rotate to go to the bathroom, you're leaving it wide open (to liability). We could shut down the pool for a break like McMinnville does but they still have guards, guarding the water," she said.

Since the aldermen voted last year on establishing the number of lifeguards at the pool, Alderman Hendrix asked city attorney Vester Parsley if that vote became an amendment to Poss's lease. "These things we voted on, did they become an amendment to this?," asked Alderman Hendrix.

"Technically, they needed to have been signed," answered Parsley.

"Do we redraw the lease to make it more specific?," asked Alderman Hendrix

"It needs to be amended, technically," said Parsley. They (Tony and Jeania) will have to come to the board meeting with these list of things, let the board vote on them and we'll amend the contract. It really wasn't amended (last year). It was only in the minutes," said Parsley.

"I want to get this all laid out and taken care of because there's no reason for him (Poss) to come to every city council meeting all summer long about sweeping the pool and paying lifeguards," she said.

Alderman Hendrix asked Poss if he would rather give up the lease and have the city hire him to manage the golf course and swimming pool. "Would the city be better off to recall the lease and pay a manager to manage the facility?. The city would take in all receipts but pay all expenses, be responsible for the equipment and pay a salary to manage it. Its seasonal. Though there's work to be done in the off season, its feasible you (Poss) could manage this and have a part time business as well. Does that sound like a more logical thing to do to make this place work than what we're doing now?".

"I'm not wanting to give it up," said Poss. "We've got too much time and I've got too much invested in this place," He said.

The pool is expected to open around Memorial Day weekend. Hours will be Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission will be $3.00 per person.

Poss is also asking the aldermen to consider allowing them (tenants) to open and close the pool at their own discretion and setting all hours of operation again this year. " The aldermen voted to approve that last year. We just wanted this to be put in writing to us," said Poss.

Currently, the lifeguards have to pay their own certification fees each year which comes to around $175, according to Poss. He is asking the city to consider giving the lifeguards a bonus at the end of the summer to help them recoup some of their out of pocket expense for getting certified. " A lot of these guys don't make $700-800 the whole summer and that (certification expense) comes out of mama and daddy's pocket. At least think about giving them some kind of bonus at the end of the summer to help recoup that money," said Poss.

"I think they (lifeguards) should be responsible for their certification fees," said Alderman Hendrix. "They could get certified and work for you a month and go to McMinnville next month," she said.

"We're saying if they come and quit, they don't get anything back," suggested Jeania Poss . " If they come and work all summer then give them a 20 or 30 dollar bonus," she added.

Meanwhile, the city is building more restrooms facilities for men and women at the pool and showers for swimmers to rinse off.

The city has also purchased a portable chair lift for the physically challenged to give them easier access to the pool in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The chair lift has arrived but has not yet been installed at the pool.

Alderman Tim Stribling asked that a letter be sent to the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville requesting that they come back and fix cracks and other structural defects that have developed in the pool since their repair work during the spring of 2011. The city has a three year warranty and the company is apparently liable for work called for under the contract which was warrantied but not done properly. "They ground the plaster down to concrete," said Tony Poss. "They were supposed to have shot the grade to make the pool level when they brought it back up but that never happened," he said.

Poss also suggested that the city spend some money to upgrade the club house. "The city needs to apply for grants. They need to get what money they can to upgrade this place (club house). There's not been much money spent on this place in years. The roof is falling apart. There's leaks. But we're dealing with it," he said.

Meanwhile senior citizens who use the pool have asked that the city purchase an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) there. "Senior citizens use the pool twice a week. They wanted us to see if the city would buy a defibrillator," said Poss.

The parking lot also needs to be striped according to Poss. "We have had three or four wrecks in the last two years in the parking lot," he said.

Poss further suggested that the city invest some money to promote the city and golf course with roadside signs on Interstate 40. "We have a need for advertising of the city, pool, and the whole general area," said Poss. There is no place on I-40 that emphasizes Center Hill Lake, Smithville, the pool, golf course, or tennis courts. I have checked and you can get four signs (not billboard signs) for $1295 the first year and $527 each year after that," he said.

Looking to the future, Alderman Hendrix said she would like to see the city renovate the club house and maybe add on a small restaurant. "Other club houses have nice restaurants. We have the space to add onto this place to make a little restaurant café, which could be leased to someone. I'd like to see a design and cost estimates to fix this place up and make it look nicer," said Alderman Hendrix.

Judicial Redistricting Consensus Plan Unveiled; 13th District to Remain Unchanged

March 11, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
13th Judicial District (in white)
Judicial Redistricting Consensus Plan (Changes in Color)

The current makeup of the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, would remain unchanged under a consensus plan to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts as unveiled by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today (Monday)

The districts were last drawn nearly thirty years ago in 1984.

Under the plan, the 13th Judicial District would remain intact with no changes. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO SEE NEW MAP WITH CHANGES SHOWN IN COLOR)

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/judredist/9-1-14-Plan.pdf

A previous plan under consideration would have included DeKalb County in a new eight county district with Coffee, Cannon, Warren, Smith, Jackson, Trousdale, and Macon.

Local judges and attorneys argued that the judicial system works well in the 13th district and that there was no need for redistricting here.

The new proposed map causes minimal disruption to the current system affecting only 22 counties in 8 districts. To maximize efficiency, the number of judicial districts has been reduced from 31 to 29. Factors such as regional integrity, geographic boundaries and ease of inter-county travel were also heavily considered.

The changes are as follows:
Cannon, Coffee, Warren, and Van Buren would form the 14th Judicial District

Rutherford County would be a district unto itself as the 16th Judicial District

Williamson County would be a district unto itself as the 21st Judicial District

Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, and Wayne counties would form the 22nd Judicial District

Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, and Stewart counties would form the 23rd Judicial District

Lake, Dyer, Obion, and Weakley would form the 27th Judicial District.

Joining Lt. Governor Ramsey in making the announcement Monday were judicial redistricting bill sponsors Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Representative Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) along with Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Tennessee Trial Judges Association President Chancellor Daryl Fansler, Tennessee Judicial Conference President Robert Holloway and Tennessee Bar Association President Jackie Dixon.

"When the issue of judicial redistricting was first presented to me it was clear action needed to be taken," said Lt. Governor Ramsey. "Tennessee is a vibrant and growing state. After thirty years, the changes experienced in our state needs to be reflected in the districts of Tennessee's judges, district attorneys and public defenders."

"While the 1984 map made great strides by consolidating public defenders, district attorneys and judges into unified districts, it clear that the particular politics of the time influenced the map resulting in untenable inefficiencies," Ramsey explained. "This map corrects those mistakes and brings our judicial districts into the 21st century."

"We came into this process with open minds and a desire to work with interested parties," Ramsey continued. "I am pleased that, in the end, all concerned could come together and agree on a consensus plan. I am extremely satisfied with the result."

"I would like to commend all involved for working hard to reach common ground," said Senator Norris. "Change is never easy but we have come together to create a map that ensures Tennesseans get the best possible service from their public defenders, district attorneys and judges."

"This is a common sense plan for judicial redistricting that corrects the mistakes of the past and updates districts to reflect population changes in the state," said Rep. Lundberg. "I'm proud to be a part of this process."

An open call for judicial redistricting proposals went out in February. Fourteen maps were submitted as well as informal input from members of the public and stakeholder groups. The current plan will be presented as Senate Bill 780/House Bill 636 and can be found online at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/judredist/judredist.html.

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