Local News Articles

SES Students Sing for Veterans

November 8, 2013
Dwayne Page
SES Honors Veterans

A Veterans Appreciation assembly program was held Friday morning at Smithville Elementary School in recognition of Veteran's Day.

Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing "God Bless the USA" and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.

Veterans attending the assembly program pictured above are:

Bottom Row (left to right): William Dyer of Crossville who served in the U.S. Marines as 1st Sergeant during the Vietnam War. He was founder of the National Vietnam Veterans Day; Garry Davis of Smithville who served as a Specialist 4 in the Army during the Vietnam War; Jimmy Sprague of Smithville who served in the Army as an E5 3rd & 75th Ranger in Operation Just Cause; and Dale Pedigo of Buffalo Valley who served in the National Guard as an E6 Staff Sergeant. He served 27 years in the military.

Middle Row: (left to right): J.R. Redmon of Smithville who served in the Navy and Air Force and was a 2nd Class Petty Officer; James Cantrell of Smithville who served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict as a 1st Lieutenant; Ricky Rafferty of Sebring, Florida who served as a Marine Corporal during the Vietnam War; Alan Stengel of Smithville who served in the Navy at the rank of A-5 during the Vietnam War; Joe Goodwin of Smithville who served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant. He was a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II; and Guy Mathis of Liberty who served in the Army as a PFC Machine Gunner during World War II. He received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, plus six other medals.

Top Row: Douglas Bonner of Smithville who served in the Army as a Specialist 3; George Steinbach of Smithville who served in the Army as an E-6 during the Vietnam War; Ray Vaughn of Smithville who served as an E-4 in the Army; Brent Arnold of Smithville who served in the Air Force as an Airman 1st Class; Chad Polk of Smithville who served in the Army as an E-6 Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan and Iraq; Jake Merriman of McMinnville who served in the Marine Corps as a Lance Corporal; Walter Johnson of Smithville who served in the Army as a Corporal during the Korean Conflict; James Dunn of Smithville who served in the Army as a Corporal during the Korean Conflict; Richard Widener who served in the Marine Corps as a Sergeant during the Vietnam War; John Hummer of Smithville who served in the Marine Corps as a Corporal during the Vietnam War; Ronnie Redmon of Dowelltown who served in the Air Force as an E-3 during the Vietnam War; and Paul Cantrell of Smithville who served in the Navy as a BM3 during the Korean Conflict.

Two Charged with Kidnapping Elderly Warren County Man

November 7, 2013
Dwayne Page
Amanda Maxwell
Charles Wayne Reagan

An elderly man was kidnapped at knifepoint Tuesday in Smithville and then forced to withdraw funds from his bank account at an ATM machine. The man's abductors later drove him to McMinnville where he made his escape and called police.

29 year old Amanda Maxwell of 717 Fisher Avenue is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, and aggravated assault. Her bond is $85,000.

31 year old Charles Wayne Reagan of Smithville is charged with aggravated kidnapping and theft over $1,000.

Both are to appear in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on November 21.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell of the Smithville Police Department.

According to Lieutenant Holmes, Maxwell telephoned the 81 year old victim, an acquaintance, and asked him to come to her Smithville home to talk with her. The victim, who lives in Warren County, drove to Maxwell's home on Fisher Avenue. As he arrived and entered the residence, Maxwell allegedly attacked the man from behind and forced him at knifepoint (boxcutter) back into his car, a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix. As the victim sat on the front passenger seat, Maxwell drove to ATM machines at two local banks where the man was forced to withdraw cash from his account. Maxwell allegedly got $300 as a result of the crime.

In an attempt to get more money from the victim at another bank ATM, police believe Maxwell picked up Reagan at her home and the two of them drove the elderly man at knifepoint to McMinnville, according to Detective Donnell. But as they got to McMinnville and stopped at a traffic light, the victim bailed out of the car and escaped. Maxwell, the driver, got out and ran after him but the victim managed to get to a phone and called 911. McMinnville Police were first alerted but they then contacted the Smithville Police Department. Reagan, who was in the back seat of the victim's car, got into the front seat and drove away. Police believe he abandoned the vehicle somewhere. At last report the car had not been located.

Maxwell and Reagan later made it back to Smithville and stayed the night at a local motel, apparently in an attempt to hide from police. They returned to Maxwell's home on Wednesday where police found the two and brought them in for questioning.

The victim, who was hurt as he jumped from the car in making his escape, was not believed to have suffered any life threatening injuries in the encounter with his abductors.

DeKalb GOP to Call Primary for 13th District Judicial Offices

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jennifer Winfree

The DeKalb County Republican Party plans to call for a primary to be held in May for all judicial positions up for election on the ballot in the 13th judicial district according to local party chairperson Jennifer Winfree.

Political parties in other counties of the 13th district apparently plan to do the same.

The DeKalb GOP primary would only be for the offices of Chancellor, Circuit Judge Part I, Circuit Judge Part II, Criminal Judge Part I, Criminal Judge Part II, District Public Defender, and District Attorney General.

According to Winfree, the DeKalb County Republican Party will continue to select nominees for county offices by caucus as it has in the past.

Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, said he has not yet received notification from either the local Republican or Democratic Party calling for a primary. November 22 is the deadline to call for any primary, local or judicial.

The 13th Judicial District is made up of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

Political parties in counties of the 13th district that do not call for a primary for judicial offices will apparently have no voice in selecting nominees to run for those positions in the August General Election, if judicial primaries are held in other counties of the district.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, announces that the 2013 FSA county committee elections are underway as ballots were mailed to eligible voters in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3 of DeKalb County and Local Administrative Areas # 4 and # 5 on November 4th. December 2, 2013 is the deadline for eligible voters to return ballots, either post marked in the mail or delivered in person, to their local FSA offices.

"The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs," said Green. "I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections."

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.

Eligible voters in DeKalb County LAA # 1 or Cannon County LAA’s # 4 or # 5 who do not receive a ballot can obtain a ballot at their local USDA Service Center. December 2, 2013 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than December 2, 2013. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office January 1st, 2014.

Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the new 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website atwww.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.

State Representative Mark Pody to Speak at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Pody

Everyone is invited to attend the Chamber Prayer Breakfast to be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 7 AM at the DeKalb County Complex Community Theatre, 718 South Congress Drive, Smithville. State Representative Mark Pody will be the keynote speaker.

Representative Pody and his wife of 38 years, Barbara, are blessed with two daughters and eight grandchildren all of whom still live in the area. He and his family are very active in their local church. When Mark and Barbara are not cheering on their grandchildren at basketball games, you’ll find them enjoying square dancing in the community. Mark, an owner of a small business which specializes in financial planning and insurance solutions, has multiple business locations throughout Tennessee.

Special music will be performed by Dessa Ray and by keyboardist Tomomi McDowell. State Representative Terrie Lynn Weaver will perform the National Anthem while local Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience.

A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2014 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office, from the Chamber Board of Directors, or by calling the Chamber office. We’ll be glad to hold your tickets at the door.

Chamber Executive Director, Suzanne Williams says, “I would like to invite everyone to join us at this special event in giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings He has given us in our county. The Prayer Breakfast is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season.” For tickets or additional information, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Mayor and Aldermen Schedule Workshop on New DUD Water Rate

November 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen

DeKalb Utility District's ten year water contract with the City of Smithville is set to expire within two months and no new agreement has yet been reached.

The parties have apparently not even been in any serious discussions on a new contract for several months.

Plans for a new DUD water treatment plant are still in the making but have apparently been put on hold because of a legal challenge in Davidson County Chancery Court by the City of Smithville and DUD ratepayers. But even if the legal hurdles are cleared and the DUD proceeds with its plan to build a water plant, it will apparently need a new water contract with the City of Smithville until the facility is completed.

The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.05 per thousand gallons. Under terms of the contract, the rate has increased by five cents per thousand in each of the last ten years beginning in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires December 31, 2013.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Alderman Tim Stribling called for a workshop to discuss new rates for the DUD. The workshop will be Monday, November 11 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall. DUD board members and officials are invited to attend. "Mr. Mayor, the DUD contract as we all know expires December 31. I would like for this board to maybe set up a workshop where we can discuss some things concerning the contract. We all know there is going to be a new rate so I would like to set up a board workshop," said Stribling.

"We'll just have some numbers together and look at some facts and figures. Of course we can't come to a conclusion or vote on it (because it's a workshop) but we can at least get the ball rolling," said City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson.

"Would you like me to send an invitation to DUD to be present," asked Hendrixson?. "Or course, it's an open meeting. If they want to be here they can be here," he added.

The aldermen agreed that since the workshop is open to all, DUD officials are welcome to attend and no formal invitation was necessary.

A recent study by Warren and Associates, paid for by the city, revealed that the actual cost for Smithville to produce water is $2.67 per thousand gallons. In April city officials discussed offering DUD a new ten year deal which would include selling them water at $2.20 per thousand gallons for the first five years of the contract and raising it to $2.40 per thousand gallons for the last five years. No official vote was taken but city officials sent the offer in writing to DUD officials a couple of days prior to the Tennessee Utility Management Review Board hearing which was held in Smithville to review DUD's water rates. DUD officials later responded agreeing to accept the offer but without the minimum volume purchase requirement the city wanted as part of the proposal.

City Attorney Updates Board on Appeal in DUD Case

November 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Vester Parsley, Jr. (older photo)
Darden Copeland (older photo)

The City of Smithville's legal fight to keep the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant remains pending in Davidson County Chancery Court.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. informed the mayor and aldermen Monday night that the transcript from April's Tennessee Utility Management Review Board (UMRB) hearing has been filed and that a brief for the city is forthcoming. "I talked to Jason Holleman today. His firm as you know is representing the city with the appeal. The transcript of the hearing that was held here in April has been filed with the Chancery Court in Nashville. It was filed on October 28. Jason and Bill Purcell have until November 27 to file our brief for the city. Thereafter, DUD will have up to 30 days to file their brief which will basically put it at December 27. Of course, they can file that brief early. If they do then Jason and Bill will have an additional fourteen days to reply to that. It looks like the earliest that we probably will have any real hearing before the Chancellor in Nashville will be somewhere in January. Probably toward the middle (January) but those dates are not certain because the time for filing briefs has just gotten started. That's where we're at right now," said Parsley.

In July, the aldermen voted 4-0 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file an appeal of the UMRB's dismissal of a petition brought by a group of DUD ratepayers and the city who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the water plant.

Following a hearing held April 4th in Smithville with an administrative law judge presiding, UMRB members voted to dismiss the petition saying they (petitioners) had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The UMRB entered its final order on June 5.

Calling the UMRB's ruling "arbitrary and capricious", attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville filed an appeal in August asking the Davidson County Chancery Court for a judicial review of the case.

The attorneys for the city and DUD ratepayers allege that "the UMRB acted in violation of statutory provisions and followed an unlawful procedure by failing to apply the appropriate scope of review in its deliberations and otherwise acted illegally, arbitrarily, and capriciously in the case. Further, the UMRB’s decision was unsupported by substantial and material evidence in light of the entire record."

The court is being asked to reverse the decision of the UMRB and decree that its action was illegal, arbitrary, and/or capricious and that any such further general relief be granted as the equities of this case may require and as the Court deems necessary and appropriate."

During Monday night's city council meeting, Darden Copeland of Calvert Street Group said it appears that because of the city's appeal, the DUD has not yet moved forward with it plans to build the water plant. He added that public opposition to the proposed facility remains strong. "We still continue to monitor whether or not the bonding authority has put the bonds out for bid. As of right now, everything is completely on hold pending the outcome of the (court) hearing. We continue to monitor DUD meetings. We are also in touch with some of our key members of the DUD committee that were anti the bonds. We still continue to collect petition signatures here and there that still trickle in both on line and through paper. We still have a great database of folks who are as still fired up today as they were a year ago despite the delays," said Copeland. Calvert Street Group is a Nashville public relations company, hired by the City of Smithville to lead opposition efforts to the proposed DUD water treatment plant.

Parsley said it's not yet known when there will be a ruling on the city's appeal. "There is no date set for the hearing. The Chancellor could give a ruling from the bench. Most likely the Chancellor will study it and give us a written opinion after the hearing. It most likely will not be, although it can be on the day they have a hearing. The Chancellor has that discretion in deciding whether she will rule from the bench or whether she will give a written opinion later. It's impossible to tell right now," said Parsley.

Dr. Peterson Named Doctor of the Week

November 5, 2013
Shan Burklow
Dr. Peterson and staff
Patient, Gracie Lynn Cowan

Dr. Jeffrey Peterson of DeKalb Community Hospital Specialty Clinic was named Doctor of the Week by DeKalb Community Hospital. Dr. Peterson specializes in orthopedic surgery and lights up when talking about his chosen field. "I love taking care of patients," Dr. Peterson beams, "They are like family to me. I have a great staff and I really love what I do." When asked why he chose orthopedics over other specialty fields, Dr. Peterson smiles, "I got into orthopedic surgery because I saw an opportunity to give patients back the life they had prior to their injury or health issues. That part of my job just makes my day."

Orthopedics is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Dr. Peterson uses both surgical and non-surgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative disease, infections, tumors and congenital disorders. Having been in practice for over eight years, Dr. Peterson has worked with many different age ranges and types of patients including one of his younger patients, Gracie Lynn Cowan. "Dr. Peterson is very nice and I really like him," Cowan grins, "I like coming here. The nurses are nice, too!"

Cowan's Grandma, Nancy Lance agrees, "We drove all the way from McMinnville to come here today. Dr. Peterson is great with kids and adults alike. I have brought two of my other grandkids to see Dr. P and they all just love him. He is excellent."

Dr. Peterson's staff was pleased with Dr. Peterson's recent recognition. "Everyone just loves Dr. Peterson. He is great to work with and his patients just adore him," said staff Michelle Cathcart, "DeKalb County is very lucky to have him here."

Dr. Peterson is located in the Specialty Clinic Building in front of DeKalb Community Hospital. For more information on Dr. Peterson or other specialty services, go to: www.dekalbcommunityhospital.com


Pictured: (from left to right) Dr. Peterson and staff: Whitney Holt, Kim Driver, Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, and Michelle Cathcart. Dr. Peterson was named 'Doctor of the Week' by DeKalb Community Hospital.

Pictured: Patient, Gracie Lynn Cowan, smiles for the camera while waiting to see Dr. Peterson.

THP Names New Nashville District Captain

November 4, 2013
Dwayne Page
Brian Lawson

Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today named Brian Lawson the new captain of the 12-county Nashville District. Lawson replaces James Hutcherson, who was recently appointed to major over the THP’s Field Operations West Bureau.

Lawson had previously served as troop lieutenant in Warren County and Putnam County prior to this appointment. During his tenure in the Cookeville District, he served as coordinator of the field training officer program and leader of strike team 6. Under Lawson’s leadership, Putnam County also saw a consistent reduction in fatal crashes.

“Brian has proven himself as an up-and-coming leader within the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He has delivered results on the road, and has held personnel accountable as a troop supervisor. I am confident in his abilities to continue producing high marks in the Nashville District and help make our roadways safer,” Trott said.

Lawson’s initial assignment was as a road trooper in White County in 1996. In 1999, he earned the highest number of felony and DUI arrests in the Cookeville District. Lawson was later promoted to sergeant in 2002, where he served in a pair of roles including training instructor and midnight supervisor. He earned the rank of lieutenant in 2006 – a position he held until his promotion to Captain.

Lawson, 40, also brings extensive specialized skills to his role as captain. He identifies talent within the agency as a recruitment and promotional board member, and he holds certifications in DUI, driving track, and defensive tactics instruction. He is also trained in executive dignitary protection and advanced technical accident investigation.

Lawson, originally from Sullivan County, graduated from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command as class president in 2003.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

Josh Issac Hoping to Win Special VIP Audition for NBC's "The Voice" (VOTE HERE)

November 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Josh Issac

The search is on for the next superstar for the hit NBC show "The Voice" and local singing sensation Josh Issac is in the running for a special VIP audition.

Issac is among a number of singers who recently recorded a performance of the National Anthem in an audition in Nashville at the Music City Center. Now through November 17, viewers can go on-line and vote for their favorite audition. One winner will have a VIP audition for a future season of "The Voice"

(Click the link below to register and cast your vote. Josh Issac is contestant #13)

Issac said if he wins VIP status, it will guarantee him an audition for the show. "Basically, it's just a chance to win a ticket to skip the initial rounds of having to wait in long lines. This gives you a chance to sit down and actually talk to a producer and tell them, not only your ability of singing but also your story of how you got there," said Issac in an interview Friday with WJLE.

"What a lot of people don't know, on the show it looks like you are just automatically there but you go through about four or five rounds before you get to the national show. This (VIP Status) would let me skip two rounds so I would be about three rounds away," said Issac.

This is by no means Issac's first try for stardom on the national stage. "Six years ago I did participate in American Idol. I made it pretty far. I was on two different episodes which showed me on there. I decided after that time in my life to hang that up. But in the last couple of months different people have contacted me and I am able now to do some things I wasn't able to do then," he said

In order to secure a VIP audition, Issac needs votes. "Everybody has been asking, can we only vote once? No. You can actually vote once a day. So you get on the link. You have to register to vote. You will then go to your email. Confirm it and then you can vote every day. It's not that hard. Once you get through the initial process you just get on there and vote. People need to know that when you vote, each vote counts. Right now I'm in second place," said Issac.

"One question everyone likes to ask is which coach I would pick if selected on the show. I always tell them that while everyone loves Blake (Shelton) because he's from around here (Tennessee), I probably wouldn't pick him just because he likes country (music) and I am more R&B. I would probably pick Adam Levine," he said.

"The Voice", NBC's blockbuster vocal competition show, features some of the strongest vocalists from across the country . Celebrity musician coaches include Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and Ceelo Green along with Carson Daly as host. The show’s innovative format features four stages of competition: the first begins with the blind audition, then the battle round, the brand new knockouts and finally, the live performance shows.

During the blind auditions, the decisions from the musician coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches hear the artists perform, but they don't get to see them -- thanks to rotating chairs. If a coach is impressed by the artist’s voice, he/she pushes a button to select the artist for his/her team. At this point, the coach’s chair will swivel so that he/she can face the artist he/she has selected. If more than one coach pushes their button, the power then shifts to the artist to choose which coach they want to work with. If no coach pushes their button, the artist is eliminated from the competition.

Once the teams are set, the battle is on. Coaches will dedicate themselves to developing their team of artists, giving them advice, and sharing the secrets of their success along with the help from their celebrity advisers. During the battle rounds the coaches will pit two of their own team members against each other to sing the same song together in front of a studio audience.

After the vocal battle, the coach must choose which of his/her singers will advance to the next round of competition, while the losing artist is available to be stolen by another coach. Each coach has two steals during the battle rounds.

At the end of the battles, only the strongest members of each coach's roster remain and proceed to the new knockout rounds. The artists will be paired again with a member of their team, but this time they find out only minutes before performing who they are being compared against. The artists each select their own song to perform individually, while their direct competitor watches and waits. They are vying for their coach’s confidence and decision to take them to the live shows. Their coach will choose the winner and the artist not selected will be sent home.

In the final live performance phase of the competition, the top artists from each team will compete each week against each other during a live broadcast. The television audience will vote to save their favorite artists and the two artists with the lowest number of votes will be sent home each week. In the end, one will be named "The Voice" and will receive the grand prize of a recording contract.


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