Local News Articles

TWRA Issues News Release About Fatal Boating Accident on Center Hill Lake

July 25, 2008

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is continuing the investigation of a boating accident that occurred on Center Hill Lake, Friday, July 18, which involved two boats and resulted in a fatality and injuries to 3 persons aboard one vessel, and one injury to a person in the second vessel. The incident took place on Center Hill Lake near Edgar Evins State Park Marina. Center Hill Lake is located approximately 60 miles east of Nashville.

The initial investigation indicates that one of the vessels, occupied by four persons including Tamera Coombs, age 44, who was killed in the accident, is registered to Thomas Coombs of Pleasant View, Tennessee. The second vessel, with 3 persons on board, is registered to Stephen Maggart of Brentwood, Tennessee.

TWRA officers were dispatched to the scene of the collision around 9:05 PM and were the first officials to arrive. Mrs. Coombs was apparently ejected from the vessel and was recovered from the water a short time later by TWRA officers. The TWRA impounded both vessels and will hold them until the investigation is completed.

Tony Cross, a TWRA officer who routinely patrols Center Hill Lake, was one of the first officers to arrive at the Coombs’ boat. “Our first priority was to assist the injured parties and to secure the scene so that we could preserve any evidence that would help in re-creating the moments immediately before the collision”, Cross said. “We impounded the boats and began taking statements from those involved and will continue to piece together all the information as the investigation goes forward”, he said.

TWRA Boating Investigator, Glenn Moates said that it will be several weeks before all the information is assimilated. “It takes time to complete all the interviews with victims and witnesses, and we will thoroughly examine both boats” Moates stated. “We have also submitted items to the TBI crime lab for analysis, and the results of those samples will be a significant help in completing our reconstruction of the accident and any factors which may have contributed to its occurrence”, he stated.

TWRA procedure, as well as state law, requires that officers collect blood samples from the operators of both boats to determine if alcohol use was a factor. Procedure also calls for TWRA officers to present all the evidence to the Assistant District Attorney before going forward with any possible criminal charges. “It is standard to examine the blood alcohol levels of the operators, assess whether or not navigation laws were violated, and to examine all physical evidence, including the damage to each vessel”, Moates said.

TWRA boating investigators have received extensive training from a variety of sources including Underwriter’s Laboratories, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the International Association of Marine Investigators, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked to please contact the TWRA. Glenn Moates, Boating Investigator will serve as the Agency contact until the investigation is completed. Investigator Moates can be reached at 615-781-5271 (office), 615-351-6069 (mobile), or by e-mail at glenn.moates@state.tn.us.

DeKalb County Fire Department Gets Equipment Grant

July 25, 2008

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, announced Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have awarded a $41,750 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the DeKalb County Fire Department. Chief Green says that the Federal share is 95 percent or $39,662 and the local share is 5 percent or $2,088.

The award will be used to purchase communications equipment and personal protective equipment for the department’s volunteer firefighters. The grant will help meet the needs of DeKalb County's growing, rural fire department. The Department has eleven stations that are responsible for protecting 305 square miles. The department’s 83 volunteer firefighters respond to an average of 325 fire-related calls per year. DeKalb County Fire Department is one of the few county-wide departments in Tennessee.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States.

Chief Green says that his department has been fortunate to receive Federal funding to help purchase the critical tools that allow his volunteers to safely and efficiently protect and serve the citizens of DeKalb County.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Jumps to 6.2% in June

July 25, 2008

DeKalb County's jobless rate for June was 6.2%, up from the rate for May of 5.6% and 4.5% in June, 2007

DeKalb County's Labor Force for June was 10,640. A total of 9,990 were employed and 660 were unemployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was released last week at 6.5 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May revised rate of 6.4 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of June was 5.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for June 2008 show that all 95 counties increased.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, up 0.6 from the May rate of 4.2 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 14.8 percent, up 1.7 from the May rate of 13.1 percent, followed by Lauderdale County at 11.4 percent, up from 10.8 percent in May.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 5.4 percent, up 0.8 from the May rate of 4.6 percent. Davidson County was 5.7 percent, up from 5.0 in May. Hamilton County was at 5.9 percent, up 0.9 from the May rate of 5.0 percent, and Shelby County was 7.4 percent, up from the May rate of 6.3.

Bredesen Announces Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Grants

July 25, 2008

Governor Phil Bredesen and the members of the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Board have announced that five projects protecting more than 4,600 acres have been approved for $2.2 million in grant funding.

One of the projects approved Thursday for grant awards from the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund include:

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Morris Edward Roller- Jeffory Carl Young Tracts at Short Mountain in Cannon County.

A $154,000 grant will help protect the Roller and Young tracts, which consist of 942 acres seized by the U.S. Marshal's Office during a federal drug investigation in 2006. The defendants were convicted and the tracts subsequently forfeited to the U.S. Department of Justice and available for bargain sale. About half the tracts are contiguous with protected lands at Short Mountain. Two other tracts adjoin TWRA lands at Pea Ridge Wildlife Management Area located on the DeKalb/Cannon County line. Unique habitats include limestone caves, ephemeral wetlands and several rare plants and animals. The tracts are subject to becoming sold to different owners at auction. Kept intact, however, they serve as important areas for wildlife-related recreation and hiking as well as wildlife conservation and water quality protection. Project partners include The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, Cannon County and Middle Tennessee State University.

"I continue to be very pleased with the work and focus of the Heritage Conservation Trust," said Bredesen. "The Trust Fund Board has leveraged funds carefully and worked with other public and private partners for the conservation and protection of priority land across Tennessee."

Funding for this round of grants comes from allocations and interest earned in the trust fund over the past three budget years. To date, the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund has approved just over $30 million dollars in grants to leverage for a total of $117,609,000 in conservation purchases to protect approximately 42,600 acres of priority land in Tennessee.

The projects approved for grant awards must meet certain criteria before the funds are provided, including property surveys and appraisals, environmental assessments and enactment of mechanisms like conservation easements to guarantee the permanent protection of the properties.

"Greater prioritization for funding is given to projects that involve partnerships, leverage state funds and enhance or connect existing public lands," said Trust Fund Chair Drew Goddard. "This round of grants will help protect more than 4,600 acres with an estimated value of more than $9 million. The participation of the Heritage Conservation Trust fund in these projects provides the maximum benefit to Tennesseans while leveraging available funds."

Eligible projects range from the preservation of tracts for the purposes of tourism and recreation to projects focused on protecting or restoring the state's physical, cultural, archaeological, historical and environmental resources.

The application deadline for the next grant funding cycle will be in early 2009, with grants to be announced in the spring of 2009. Projects demonstrating a level of urgency for threatened lands also may be considered by the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Board at any time. Pre-application instructions and forms and additional information about the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund are available at http://tn.gov/environment/trustfund/.

Baby Show Winners Announced at DeKalb County Fair

July 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Babies from one day to twelve months old were showcased during the annual Baby Show held Thursday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners are as follows:

Girls (1 day to 3 months)
Winner- Danica Hope Collier, daughter of Matthew Collier and Brittany George of Alexandria
Runner-up- Kyleigh Brooke Bain, daughter of Latroya Bain of Smithville.

Boys (1 day to 3 months)
Winner- Nathan Izayah Dowell, son of Nathan and Jayme Dowell of Smithville
Runner-up- Conner Bradley Talley, son of Brad and Carrie Talley of Alexandria

Girls (4-6 months)
Winner- Jolene Eve Stover, daughter of Jason and Erica Stover of Lancaster
Runner-up- Isabella Faith Rackley, daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville

Boys (4-6 months)
Winner- Brownie Johnson, son of Bradley and Kristan Johnson of Dowelltown
Runner-up- Camden Lee Mackie, son of Jeff and Tiffany Mackie of Smith County

Girls (7-9 months)
Winner- Cali Beth Agee, daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Agee of Smithville.
Runner-up- Taylor Grace Patterson, daughter of Timmy and Mary Patterson of Smithville

Boys (7-9 months)
Winner- Christopher Corbin Southard, son of Brian and Michelle Southard of Smithville
Runner-up- Preston Lee Miller, son of Billy and Dyanna Miller of Smithville

Girls (10-12 months)
Winner- Annyiah Kensley Hicks, daughter of Wayne and Amanda Hicks and Danielle Staggs of Smithville
Runner-up- Madison Rae Haley, daughter of Brittany Haley and Shelby Anderson of Alexandria

Boys (10-12 months)
Winner- Bobby Cripps III, son of Bobby Cripps, Jr. and Amanda Cripps of Hickman
Runner-up- Austin Reid Rollin, son of T.J. Rollin and Aquilla Rollin of Alexandria.

Twins (1 day to 12 months)- Austin and Lilliana Vickers, children of Brandi and Kevin Vickers of Liberty.

Franklin Gets Little Miss Princess Crown

July 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Nine year old Destiny Danielle Franklin of Smithville was crowned Little Miss Princess at the DeKalb County Fair Wednesday night.

Franklin is the daughter of Jennifer Franklin and Charlie Ware.

She succeeds the 2007 Little Miss Princess, 9 year old Mary Elizabeth Murray, daughter of Angel Brown and Dwight Murray of Smithville.

First runner-up in the pageant was Kyra Paige Agee, the 8 year old daughter of April Davis and Donny Agee of Smithville.

Eight year old Caitlin Leigh Tyree of Liberty was the second runner-up. She is the daughter of Josh and Carrie Tyree..

Third runner-up was Brooklynn Estes, the 7 year old daughter of Shanna and Chris Bogle of Dowelltown..

The title of Miss Congeniality went to Hailey Nicole Glass, the 9 year old daughter of Doyle Glass and Debbie Glass of Alexandria.

Seven year old Abigail Hope Taylor was named Miss Photogenic. She is the daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville

(Click on picture to see larger image)

Miss Sweetheart Title Goes to Cantrell

July 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 2008 DeKalb County Fair Miss Sweetheart is 11 year old Taneah Brook Cantrell of Smithville

Cantrell is the daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell.

She succeeds the retiring Miss Sweetheart, 13 year old Chelsea Lewis of Smithville, daughter of Jimmy and Gina Lewis.

The first runner-up in the pageant Wednesday night was Sarah Elizabeth Edwards, the 12 year old daughter of Clay and Tena Edwards of Liberty. Edwards also received the title of Miss Congeniality.

Zoe Elaine Whaley was the second runner-up. She is the 12 year old daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville. Whaley was also named Miss Photogenic.

12 year old Brittany Wilkerson, daughter of Michelle Cantrell and Sean Wilkerson of Smithville, was the third runner-up.

Trapp and Malone Crowned Little Mister and Miss of DeKalb County Fair

July 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Anthony Gage Trapp and Kacie Malone were crowned Little Mister and Miss at the DeKalb County Fair Tuesday night.

Trapp is the four year old son of Tony and Amanda Trapp of Smithville and Malone is the six year old daughter of Sammy and Nancy Malone of Brush Creek.

They succeed the retiring Little Mister and Miss, Levi Katon Driver and Sarah Anne Colwell. Driver is the five year old son of Brad and Kelly Driver of Dowelltown and Colwell is the seven year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

First runner-up in the Little Miss contest was 5 year old Monica Carlton, daughter of Amanda Carlton of Smithville

Second runner-up was 5 year old Makenzie Brooke Poss, daughter of Terri Poss of Smithville.

Four year old Graci Starnes was third runner-up. She is the daughter of Brandon and Joelle Starnes of Smithville.

Meanwhile, 5 year old Leah Brooke Davis was named Miss Congeniality. She is the daughter of Kerry and Glenda Davis of Smithville.

Four year old Haidyn Renee Hale of Smithville, daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale, received the title of Miss Photogenic.

First runner-up in the Little Mister contest was Ethan Evans, the 6 year old son of Sherry and Ricky Evans of Smithville

Four year old Jackson Dakota Hale, son of William and Becky Hale of Liberty was the second runner-up..

Third runner-up was Kasen Dwayne Johnson, the 4 year old son of Jason and Crystal Johnson of Smithville.

DTC Communications To Host Annual Meeting

July 22, 2008

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 13, 2008, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Milton (273), Norene (286), and Woodbury (563) exchanges.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 13. Thursday, Sept. 4, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2008 election.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

Individuals interested in becoming a candidate for a director’s position must meet the qualifications as defined in the bylaws and submit a petition by 5 p.m. on July 30, 2008.
For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory.

City in Search of New Tenant at Golf Course and Swimming Pool

July 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The city is in search of a new tenant at the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Pool.

The Smithville Aldermen voted Monday night 3 to 2 to accept bids on leasing the facility since the current tenant, Jimmy Lewis, has given his 30 day notice that he is giving up his lease and will be vacating the premises as of August 8th. However, the city will ask Lewis to stay on beyond August 8th rent free for the next month until the transition is made, possibly by the first of September.

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. voted to accept bids. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted no.

Alderman White said he preferred to hire someone to run the golf course and swimming pool temporarily for sixty days until the council had more time to do some thorough research on the city's options. White made a motion to that effect, but it died for the lack of a second. "I feel like we need to find somebody to operate the course just temporarily for possibly 60 days to give us time to research it a lot better and see what our options are. I'd like to consider both sides of it, either rebidding or running it ourselves. I think we need time to make that decision wisely and not just jump into it."

The plan is for the city to advertise for bids next week, open bids on August 18th, and make the transition by the first of September.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said he and Alderman White recently visited the Old Fort Golf Course in Murfreesboro and spoke with the manager there on how that facility is operated. "That is a big 18 hole course but they lease from the V.A. their 9 hole course, which is basically the size of ours. They do not use carts, it's all walk. I think, in their budget for next year, it's about $225,000 to $230,000 to operate that 9 hole course and they're projecting $160,000 in greens fees from that 9 hole course."

Alderman Sullivan suggested that the mayor and alderman White may have broken the spirit of the law regarding open government by making that visit concerning city business without the knowledge of the other aldermen. Sullivan also asked the mayor and alderman White if meetings had been held with the Poss's about taking over the golf course. "I'm not positive why there was a study done. There wasn't a special called meeting to ask that a committee be formed. You and Mr. White just took it upon yourselves to go on and check something else out and I understand there's been meetings with the Poss's as well. We have open government in place and this board ought to be apprised of what's going on. This is one board and we would like to have the same consideration as you (mayor) give to other board members and if there are going to be decisions made about this city's business, we want to be invited. We want it to be open."

Mayor Hendrixson said he and White were only collecting information during their visit to Murfreesboro and broke no laws. "I just made a trip over there. I called the man and asked him about it. Steve (White) was in here one day and he said if you're going, I'll go with you. Nothing was done. We just talked to the man. There was no decisions made and no deliberation on anything. I'll be glad to go with anyone of you and talk with the man again. We went to collect information only and that is not against the law. If I go back I'll invite every board member to go if they want to go."

Both Mayor Hendrixson and Alderman White also added that no such meeting ever took place with the Poss's.

Following the meeting, Alderman Sullivan sent WJLE an email to issue a brief statement about her comments referring to the Poss's. In the statement, Sullivan said " In regard to open government, I made a statement that the mayor had met with Mr. Poss about taking over the golf course. I would like to formally apologize for the misinformation. The Poss's stopped me after the meeting and reported that the meeting did not happen."

Jackie Rigsby, a former alderman and a chartered member of the golf course, addressed the mayor and aldermen with his concerns about the future of the facility. "I would sincerely hope that you people realize the importance that this golf course plays in this community and to think about who you might be going to put in there. Anybody is not going to be able to go in there and do the job that's been done. Since I've been at the golf course, I've never seen it in as good a shape as it is today. The greens are good. The fairways are in good shape as we've had a good season for it. I would hate to see somebody go in there and not know what they're doing and lose those greens. We lost the greens in the early 70's. It cost over $100,000 just at that time to straighten the greens out. You say there are only two options (for the city to rebid the lease or take over the operation) but it's my understanding that there is another option. You could lower the rent. It's my understanding that Jimmy Lewis is willing to stay if the rent is lowered to where he can make a little money. I know the city has been collecting a lot of money off of this (golf course) and that's good. But when a person is losing money they just can't keep staying. You don't make any money off the other parks. It's all spent. You're not making anything off of them. So if you're making anything off of this, you're still in better shape than you would be to let it go out and be ruined."

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