Local News Articles

UCDD Board Places Wendy Askins and Larry Webb on Administrative Leave (SEE VIDEO OF MEETING HERE)

February 24, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wendy Askins
Larry Webb (Photo provided to WJLE courtesy of Smithville Review)

In an emergency meeting held Friday morning in Cookeville, the board of directors of the Upper Cumberland Development District voted 16 to 5 to place Executive Director Wendy Askins on administrative leave for 30 days along with her deputy director, Larry Webb of DeKalb County, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

The action comes as the result of a NewsChannel 5 investigation over recent allegations regarding the Living the Dream project and alleged mismanagement of UCDD funds.

Neither Askins nor Webb were present at the meeting

The five members voting against administrative leave preferred an immediate dismissal of Askins.

Both Askins and Webb will be paid for two weeks of the 30-day leave. As part of the motion, the board also voted to take their credit and gas cards, along with keys and vehicles and they will not be able to sign any checks while the investigation is underway.

Earl Carwile was appointed as interim director and Ashley Pealer was named as interim deputy.

Meanwhile, the board voted to rescind a vote in a previous meeting adopting language from bogus minutes approving a transfer of $300,000 to Living the Dream and asked attorneys to get the $300,000 back by whatever legal means is necessary.

The board also voted to seek new auditors while requesting a state investigation of the man who has been their auditor for several years, Tom Jones. In light of the revelations by NewsChannel 5's investigation, board members question why Jones has never turned up any findings during his audits of agency finances.

County Commissioners Interview Applicants for School Board

February 24, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Commissioners Interview Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
County Commissioners Interview Boyd Trapp
Boyd Trapp

The two men seeking the vacant sixth district school board seat were interviewed by members of the county commission Thursday night.

The all-committees meeting was held at the UT Extension office in the new complex on South Congress Boulevard.

Last month, the county commission voted to accept applications through February 6 from anyone in the sixth district wishing to fill a vacancy on the school board created with the recent resignation Bruce Parsley.

Doug Stephens and Boyd Trapp applied for the position. One of them is expected to be appointed Monday night by the county commission to serve out Parsley's unexpired term through August 31.

Stephens said he believes the school board and county commission should work together and develop a five and ten year plan for the betterment of the school system. "We've got a lot of issues at hand. I think that I am a good negotiator. I think I can bring some values to the table. I think the school board members need to be able to get along and communicate their issues better with the county commissioners. Just from what I've read and have knowledge, there's a lot of issues there. I know how to look at finances. I deal with lots of money. I am extremely conservative in my view and values. I know some of the things that we need. We have a fifty year old school. We've got a forty year old school. They're both in need of a new school. I know that. But we've got to have a way to pay for it. We've got to figure it out. We've got to have a plan. We don't that I know of. We all agree that we need some new stuff. What are we going to do without a plan?. I want to have a five year plan and a ten year plan. In my work life, I have monthly goals and yearly goals. I have five year plans," said Stephens.

A resident of Bethel Road, Stephens said he has lived here for twenty years and is active in the community. "We moved here in the county in 1991. I sell construction equipment and have since 1984. I went to high school in Sparta and graduated there. I am a club scout master here in DeKalb County and have been for four years. I am heavily involved in that. I have two kids, Emily and Will. Emily is in the ninth grade and Will is in fifth grade. I have a vested interest in the school system here. I go to Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church and have for eleven or twelve years. I am involved there. My wife, Mary Beth is from Smith County. She is a pharmacist here in town. I have a vested interest in seeing that the school system becomes better," said Stephens.

Trapp, a lifelong resident of DeKalb County, said he would like the opportunity to serve. "The reason I am interested in it is that I would like to see DeKalb County have the best schools there are in the State of Tennessee. I think we've got some good schools already. We've got some good teachers but I just thought I'd give it a try (run for the school board) to try and help the school system as much as I can. I'd like to put a little input in it," said Trapp.

Trapp and his wife Linda are residents of L. Hendixson Road in the Blue Springs community. "I have lived there forty six years ever since me and Linda married. I went to Liberty High School for three years and came up here in 1964 and was a member of the first graduating class at the high school (DCHS). I've got two grand kids, Jayrah and Jamison. Jamison is in the second grade and Jayrah is in the seventh grade. My daughter-in-law, Janet is a teacher. I have two sons. One of them, Dwane, has passed away. The other, Darrel works at Star Manufacturing. I have been involved a lot with the kids in Little League baseball. I was president of the Quarterback Club," said Trapp.

Both Stephens and Trapp say they will run for a full four year term on the school board in the August 2 DeKalb County General Election.

Open-Air Stage Proposed for Evins Park in Downtown Smithville

February 23, 2012
Tennessee Downtowns Program Revitalization Efforts Begin

After months of planning and development, the Tennessee Downtowns Program Steering Committee members recently met with Mary Evins, Gaius Overton, and William Kooienga to view the perspective designs for the new open-air stage to be built in Evins Park in Downtown Smithville later this year. “The stage will be a welcome and beautiful addition to the county allowing for outdoor concerts, performances, and other community events for the public to enjoy and use,” says Tennessee Downtown Committee chair Steve White.

“This is just one facet of our many plans for the downtown revitalization efforts,” says Chamber Director & TN Downtowns Steering Committee Member Suzanne Williams. “We are excited to partner with the Evins Foundation on this initial project and believe this to be one of the many successes coming out of the committee’s hard work, vision, and planning.”

The 3-D Models, rendered by Architect Gaius Overton and Artist William Kooienga, are available for viewing at the Chamber’s new location in the Courthouse, Room 201. If you are interested in volunteering to help with this project, being on one of the new TN Downtown Program Committees, or making a donation to the downtown revitalization efforts, call the Chamber of Commerce office at 597-4163.

Pictured l-r:
Steve White, TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee chair; Alan Webb, TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee; William Kooienga, Sculptor/Beech Hollow Studios; Mary Evins, Evins Foundation; Gaius Overton, Architect; Jackie Smith, TN Downtowns Marketing Committee; Suzanne Williams, Chamber Director and TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee; and Wade Smith, TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee; (not pictured) Mark Ashburn, TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee

DeKalb County Looks for Success during Great American Cleanup

February 23, 2012

Spring time is near, signaling the return of the nation’s largest annual community improvement program, Keep America Beautiful’s (KAB) Great American Cleanup™ (GAC).

Last year, 143,053 Tennessee volunteers contributed 358,240 hours picking up 121,098,794 pounds of litter and debris from all 95 counties (visit www.ktnb.org/gac.html for more results).

Keep Tennessee Beautiful (KTnB) will once again look for improvement during this year’s GAC in Tennessee, which will take place March 1-May 31. KTnB also will look to extend its streak of achieving 100-percent participation from all 95 counties during GAC to six years in a row.

Last year in DeKalb County, a total of 136 volunteers gathered 10,340 pounds of litter during KAB’s annual spring event. DeKalb County seeks more volunteers this year to be even more successful.

Keep Tennessee Beautiful Executive Director Sutton Mora Hayes said, “The citizens of Tennessee have shown their dedication to keep our state clean, green, and beautiful over the past few years. I know that with the cooperation of our volunteer network across the state, we will accomplish even more this year.”

For more information on how you can get involved in a GAC event in DeKalb County, please call Chamber Director Suzanne Williams at 615.597.4163.
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Alderman Danny Washer Concerned with Talk of Pay Raises for Mayor and Council

February 22, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Danny Washer

Smithville Alderman Danny Washer has concerns about Mayor Taft Hendrixson's proposed changes in the city charter and that's why Monday night he suggested a workshop to discuss it further before any action is taken.

Washer has a particular concern about the proposal to increase aldermen pay from $25 per meeting to $150 per month and potentially doubling the mayor's pay from $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

Any change in the city charter requires support of at least two thirds of the aldermen (four out of five) and approval by the state legislature. And the pay raises would not take effect until the next terms of office, meaning that if the pay hikes were put in place this year, only the mayor and two aldermen elected this year would get the raises. The pay of the other three aldermen would not be increased until after the new terms begin following the city election next year.

Still, Alderman Washer, during Monday night's city council meeting, said he has a problem voting for pay raises because the public perception is that the aldermen are raising their own pay. "I don't want to do nothing," said Alderman Washer. "We're voting on a pay raise and a lot of changes and I don't want to do that. I personally do not like to vote on myself a raise," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson responded, "It wouldn't affect you. It will affect the next people in office. It don't affect anyone in office right now," said Mayor Hendrixson.

Alderman Washer answered, "I don't like that at all. The ones out in the city of Smithville, when they hear this, its looking like we're voting ourselves a raise. If I was sitting out there where they (public) are at that's the way I would look at it," said Washer.

Mayor Hendrixson said, "We are not voting ourselves a raise. You're talking about $150 a month (for the aldermen). That's not much money,' he said.

Mayor Hendrixson then asked, "When do you want to do a workshop?"

Alderman Washer answered, "As soon as we can would be fine." Washer said he felt the aldermen and citizens needed more time to become better informed on the proposals.

That workshop is set for Monday night, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

If the charter is changed as proposed, each of the aldermen would receive $150 per month in pay, effective with the next term of office. The aldermen currently receive $25 for each meeting, both regular and special. That comes to $50 per month since there are usually two regular meetings per month.

The mayor's pay, which currently is $1,000 per month, could be raised to as much as $2,000 per month, as set by the aldermen effective July 1st of each year.

Regular city council meetings would be reduced from twice to once per month and special meetings would be scheduled as needed.

The mayor and aldermen's terms of office would remain staggered but under this plan, their terms would go from two years to four years and city elections, now conducted every year on the third Tuesday in June, would eventually be held every two years on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general elections.

Under the proposed changes, the mayor and two aldermen elected this year, June 19 would serve for a period of two years and two months. Those positions (mayor and two aldermen) would be up for election again on the first Thursday in August 2014, in conjunction with the county general election. Whoever is elected in August, 2014 would serve for four years, from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2018.

The other three aldermen positions would be up for election in June 2013 and whoever is elected would serve for a period of three years and two months, until August 31, 2016. Those three aldermen positions would then by up for election again in August, 2020, to coincide with the county general elections.

Alderman Steve White told WJLE Wednesday night that he believes action on city charter revisions should be delayed until next year to give the city council more time to study the existing charter. He said there may be other changes aldermen want to make in the charter other than those being proposed right now.

2012 County 4-H Public Speaking Held

February 22, 2012
by: 
April Martin
County 4-H Public Speaking Participants

What is your greatest fear? Some would say snakes, others would say heights, and still others say flying in a plane. You will be surprised to hear that man’s greatest fear is public speaking. For DeKalb County 4-H members, however, public speaking is a life skill which they have honed into poise, charisma, confidence, and a desire to achieve.

The DeKalb County 4-H Public Speaking Contest was held recently. According to Extension Agent April Martin, “The public speaking contest is one of the 4-H Club’s most important activities. Speaking before an audience is something that we all have to do at some point in our lives. 4-H is one of the first places that young people learn this skill. Public Speaking teaches 4-Hers writing, organizational, and speaking skills as well as equips them with confidence and a sense of accomplishment.”

Participants in the 4th grade included: Mya Ruch (1st place), Clayton Kirby (2nd place), and Christian Trail (3rd place). Other participants included: Mary Maple, Kaylee Martin, Anna Chew, Darren Waggoner, and Isaac Cross.

Participants in the 5th grade included: Kaitlyn Bain (1st place).

Wyatt Martin was the 1st place winner in the 7th grade and Lydia Trail was the 1st place winner in the 9th grade.

Mya Ruch, Clayton Kirby, and Lydia Trail advanced to the regional contest recently and received participation awards.

The University of Tennessee Extension offers all its programs to all eligible persons. More information about Extension programs can be found at https://utextension.tennessee.edu/dekalb/Pages/default.aspx.

County 4-H Public Speaking Participants (front row, left to right): Anna Chew, Kaitlyn Bain, Kelsey Wade, Jadyn Young, Mary Maple, and Kaylee Martin. Second row: Mya Ruch, Clayton Kirby, Christian Trail, Isaac Cross, and Darren Waggoner. Third row: Wyatt Martin and Lydia Trail.

Aldermen To Consider Making Charter Changes

February 21, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen are considering making changes to the city charter.

Under a proposed resolution presented to the aldermen Monday night by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, the terms of office of the mayor and aldermen would go from two years to four years and they could receive more pay, starting with whoever is elected this year. Passage of the resolution requires at least a two thirds majority of the aldermen and approval by the state legislature before it could take effect

Action has been delayed on the resolution in order to give the aldermen and citizens a chance to become better informed on the proposals.

The mayor and aldermen have scheduled a workshop for Monday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall to discuss the proposed changes in more detail.

If the charter is changed as proposed, each of the aldermen would receive $150 per month in pay, effective with the next term of office. The aldermen currently receive $25 for each meeting, both regular and special. That comes to $50 per month since there are usually two regular meetings per month.

The mayor's pay, which currently is $1,000 per month, could be raised to as much as $2,000 per month, as set by the aldermen effective July 1st of each year.

Regular city council meetings would be reduced from twice to once per month and special meetings would be scheduled as needed.

The mayor and aldermen's terms of office would remain staggered but under this plan, their terms would go from two years to four years and city elections, now conducted every year on the third Tuesday in June, would eventually be held every two years on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general elections..

Under the proposed changes, the mayor and two aldermen elected this year, June 19 would serve for a period of two years and two months. Those positions (mayor and two aldermen) would be up for election again on the first Thursday in August 2014, in conjunction with the county general election. Whoever is elected in August, 2014 would serve for four years, from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2018.

The other three aldermen positions would be up for election in June 2013 and whoever is elected would serve for a period of three years and two months, until August 31, 2016. Those three aldermen positions would then by up for election again in August, 2020, to coincide with the county general elections.

The verbatim proposed resolution states as follows:

"Whereas, the City of Smithville, Tennessee, incorporated by Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of Tennessee for 1941, as amended, of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee; and

Whereas, the interest of the City of Smithville, Tennessee will be better served if the charter of the town is further amended; and now therefore;

Be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that:

The Honorable Senator Mae Beavers and Honorable Representative Terry Lynn Weaver are hereby requested to introduce the following act to the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:

An ACT to amend the charter of the City of Smithville, Tennessee, being Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of Tennessee for 1941, as amended:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:

Section 1. Section 5 of the Charter is amended by changing the following text: "That the governing body of the City of Smithville shall be known and designated as the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville, said governing body to consist of a Mayor and five Aldermen, each of whom shall be householders and freeholders not less than eighteen years of age and residing within the limits of the City of Smithville," SHALL BE CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT:

"THAT THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE SHALL BE KNOWN AND DESIGNATED AS THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE, SAID GOVERNING BODY TO CONSIST OF A MAYOR AND FIVE ALDERMEN EACH OF WHOM SHALL BE CITIZENS NOT LESS THAN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND RESIDING WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE"

Section 2. Section 5 of the Charter is again hereby amended by changing the following text: "The officials of said City shall receive the sum of twenty five dollars for each meeting, both regular and special, said sum representing the approximate out-of-pocket expenses incurred by said officials" SHALL BE CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT

"THE ALDERMEN OF SAID CITY SHALL RECEIVE $150 PER MONTH EFFECTIVE THE NEXT TERM OF OFFICE FROM DATE OF CHARTER AMENDMENT." AND SHALL MEET ONCE PER MONTH ON THE FIRST MONDAY AT 7:00 P.M. AT CITY HALL EXCEPT HOLIDAYS."

Section 3. Section 5 of the Charter is again hereby amended by changing the following text. "The compensation for the Mayor shall be set by the Board of Aldermen each year by ordinance to be effective July 1 of each year. Such compensation shall be in addition to any put-of-pocket expenses incurred by such official. SUCH COMPENSATION SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN $1,000 PER MONTH AND NOT MORE THAN $2,000 PER MONTH, PAYABLE MONTHLY, OUT OF THE CITY TREASURY". EFFECTIVE THE NEXT TERM OF OFFICE FROM DATE OF CHARTER AMENDMENT.

Section 4. Section 8 of the Charter is amended by changing the following text: "Said ordinances shall be submitted and passed on two separate readings at regular or specially called meetings of the Board, the second reading to be not less than one week and not more than two weeks from and after its first reading or introduction; CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT: "SAID ORDINANCES SHALL BE SUBMITTED AND PASSED ON TWO SEPARATE READINGS AT REGULAR OR SPECIALLY CALLED MEETINGS OF THE BOARD."

Section 5. Section 11(6) the following text: "Whenever the office of the city judge is not filled by the appointment of some other person, the city recorder shall be the city judge" IS HEREBY DELETED. (editors note: The city judge is appointed by the aldermen to a regular two year term and is paid $1,000 per month. Hilton Conger holds that position. The city recorder does not act as city judge)

Section 6. Section 20. The following text is added at the end of the section and supercedes language pertaining to prior election dates:

THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION SHALL HOLD AN ELECTION ON JUNE 19, 2012. TO BE ELECTED ARE ONE MAYOR AND TWO ALDERMEN AT WHICH THE MAYORAL CANDIDATE RECEIVING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED MAYOR AND THE TWO ALDERMEN CANDIDATES WHO RECEIVE THE FIRST AND SECOND HIGHEST VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED ALDERMAN FOR THE TERM JULY 1, 2012 THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2014. A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS AND TWO MONTHS. THE NEXT MAYORAL AND TWO ALDERMEN ELECTION WILL BE THE FIRST THURSDAY IN AUGUST 2014, SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES FROM THIS ELECTION WILL HOLD OFFICE FROM SEPTEMBER 1 THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2018, WHICH IS THE COUNTY GENERAL AND STATE ELECTION DATE."

"ON THE THIRD TUESDAY IN JUNE 2013, THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION WILL HOLD AN ELECTION TO ELECT THREE ALDERMEN. THE THREE ALDERMAN CANDIDATES RECEIVING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED ALDERMAN. THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES SHALL HOLD OFFICE FROM JULY 1,2013 TO AUGUST 31, 2016. A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS AND TWO MONTHS."

THEREAFTER EACH TWO YEARS ON THE DATE OF THE GENERAL STATE ELECTION HELD ON THE FIRST THURSDAY IN AUGUST, THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION SHALL HOLD AN ELECTION TO FILL VACANCIES IN THE OFFICES OF THE MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OCCURRING ON SEPTEMBER 1ST OF THE SAME YEAR AND THEIR SUCCESSORS SHALL BE ELECTED TO TERMS OF FOUR YEARS."

Section 6. This act shall become effective when it has been approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville by a vote of not less than two-thirds of the entire membership of the board after resolution is approved by the General Assembly.

In other business, the aldermen Monday night approved on second and final reading following a public hearing, an ordinance to update the city's cross connection regulations.

Simply put, cross connection occurs when contaminated water gains entrance to and pollutes a safe water supply. Through the careful monitoring of the City water supply system and the installation of backflow prevention assemblies, the risk of cross connection can dramatically be reduced.

A backflow prevention assembly prevents potentially dangerous substances or contaminated water from entering the public water supply. This assembly consists of a valve that allows water to enter a building but prevents the water from returning to the supply line. Cross connection contamination usually occurs if there is a loss of pressure in the water supply system. The loss of pressure can create a siphonage situation that will actually pull the water from a building back into the system.

The State Division of Water Quality requires that all public water systems maintain an active program to identify and control cross connections. This ordinance is the basis for the City's program. Everyone that installs or repairs these assemblies is required to be certified by the State of Tennessee.

Mayor Hendrixson said the city has someone certified to deal with cross connection and backflow prevention installation and repair.

During the public hearing, Waniford Cantrell said he thought the DeKalb Utility District should be asked to take similar action. The DUD is the City of Smithville's largest water customer.

Alderman Steve White asked that a letter be sent to the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville requesting that they come back and fix cracks that have developed in the pool since their repair work last spring. 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

The aldermen voted to promote Josh Hawkins to supervisor of the sewer rehab program, filling a vacancy in the position. He will be on sixty day probation before being hired on a permanent basis.

The aldermen voted to accept Aeronautics grants approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport including a $166,667 grant for apron expansion design. The city's local matching obligation is $16,667. Meanwhile, Wes Nokes, airport manager, reported to the aldermen Monday night that he has received a verbal commitment for a $1.5 million grant to re-pave the airport runway and to pave and expand the parking area. The local matching share is $150,000.

Mayor Hendrixson also mentioned that the city won the Tennessee Association of Utility District's Region Four "Best Tasting Water Contest" last week at the Cookeville Golf and Country Club. He and the aldermen congratulated Todd Bowman, Smithville Water Plant Superintendent, and members of the staff for their work in helping attain the honor.

Architect Unveils Plan For DeKalb West FEMA Safe Room Construction Project

February 21, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects
New addition shown on the left side of picture (at Front of DWS)

The design for a proposed 15,000 square foot addition to DeKalb West School was unveiled Saturday morning during a school board workshop meeting. A $1.8 million FEMA grant application will be filed on behalf of the school system, which if approved would fund most of the project with the rest, about $600,000 to be paid for locally.

The new construction is designed to be built in the front of the existing school.

David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet updated Director of Schools Mark Willloughby and members of the Board of Education on the project which includes eight "safe rooms"to relieve overcrowding and to shelter students, school staff, and the general public in times of severe weather. County Mayor Mike Foster and several members of the county commission also attended Saturday's workshop along with other school personnel.

Twenty three million dollars is available to eligible applicants under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant program. During a special called meeting in December, the Board of Education voted to pay KBJM Architects, Inc. a total of $7,500 to prepare a design for the project and to pay Lashlee-Rich, Inc. of Humbolt $7,500 to prepare cost estimates and for the grant writing.

Under this FEMA grant program, the school system could apply for up to three million dollars for this project with the federal government paying 75% of the cost, if approved. The state would pay 12.5% leaving the local share at 12.5%. Any further costs related to construction not covered by the FEMA grant, including furnishing classrooms, would be funded locally. "We are proposing the addition in the front of the school," said Brown. We have eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area all in that corridor. A janitors closet would be in the room where the generator will go. That is the addition we are proposing to meet these federal standards," said Brown.

According to Brown, the proposed new addition would not only provide more classroom space and better shelter in the event of storms, but it would make the school more secure. "Its going to be more secure," said Brown. "Once the addition is done, when I visit the school, I'll go into the vestibule. These doors are going to be locked. The only place I can go is into the main office and from there into the rest of the school. Whereas, right now I can walk in and go wherever I want to go," he said.

"We're designing this for (to withstand) a 250 mile per hour wind with debris and projectiles going that fast. So all of that construction is going to be beefed up to meet those standards. Obviously constructing a building that way is much more expensive than just your run of the mill construction. That's why the grant is there. There's no way anybody could afford to do this just on their own initiative. The grant is crucial to this," said Brown.

"The construction manager is taking a look at this design and putting together a line item materials and labor budget that will back up how much we're going to ask for (grant application). We can include all of those construction estimate items that the construction manager is coming up with. In addition we can include architect fees, the geo-technical report, and a lot of the soft costs can be rolled into this grant request as well. It is the most robust inclusive program you are ever going to come across. We're working on the grant application right now. It is due March 1," said Brown.

"Those (grant) applications go to the state hazard mitigation officer. (They) will spend about two weeks reviewing the applications prioritizing and ranking. If there is money there, then everything goes through. School projects are kind of a slam dunk. The reason they are is because they are protecting so many people per dollar that is spent. They require us to do a benefit cost analysis to go with this. So I can't go ask them for a million dollars and I'm only protecting twenty people. Here we're probably going to be asking for upwards of $1.8 million and protecting the entire school and all the staff," said Brown.

Once approved for the grant, Brown said the school system has up to three years to spend it.

Although a new larger DWS cafeteria and kitchen does not qualify under the FEMA grant as school officials had hoped, the architects have included in the design an expansion of the existing dining area. "I'm showing about a 30% increase in the cafeteria space. This will increase the core of this campus up to about 600 students," said Brown.

DeKalb West School, which opened in 1974, was built for 320 students. The current enrollment is 445 plus faculty and staff. To relieve overcrowding, a portable with two classrooms is currently located on the campus. In times of storms, officials say the general public would be welcome to take shelter with students and school staff in the safe rooms, which could accommodate up to one thousand individuals.

County Complex Nearing Completion

February 21, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Exercise Room in New County Complex
New Senior Citizens Center in County Complex
Stage in Auditorium of New Complex
Gym/ Volleyball Court in New Complex
Community Kitchen in Complex

The county's new office/recreational complex is almost finished.

County Mayor Mike Foster said the contractor may wind up work this week. "Within two weeks, we'll have everything open," said Foster.

As of Tuesday, February 21, a total of $3,075,000 has been spent on the complex.

"The floors are finished pretty well throughout the building," he said. "The stage (in the auditorium) is ready to sand. Its got hardwood put on it (floor). We have to do some work on the (handicapped) ramp. Basically everything is done except touch ups," said Foster.

"The senior citizens center will be ready to move on Wednesday. The equipment is now in the exercise room and the floor is done. The (community) kitchen is done except we don't have all the equipment in. We may not have all the tables and chairs and that kind of stuff in but there will be some activities. They're doing the cooking classes already in the kitchen," said Foster.

"The gymnasium is done except we don't have the basketball goals in. We (county commission) will talk about what we need to buy for the game room Thursday night (during an all committees meeting) at the UT Extension office in the complex. We've had some donations of games and things to go in there. Clubs, banks, and other organizations have donated money to do some stuff for the kids," he said.

"Its all looking pretty good and we're all within budget," said Foster.

UCHRA, which is renting offices from the county, opened in the complex last summer and the four county officials who relocated from the courthouse, moved in last August.

The complex features an auditorium with a seating capacity of about 300; a community kitchen and cafeteria, a game room for kids, an exercise room complete with used and refurbished equipment, a gymnasium for basketball and volleyball, a senior citizens center, and rooms for the Art Revolution, Motlow State Community College, the county extension office, and other meeting rooms.

City of Smithville Wins Regional TAUD "Best Tasting Water" Contest

February 19, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
City of Smithville Wins Regional TAUD "Best Tasting Water" Contest

The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) held the Region Four "Best
Tasting Water Contest" at the Cookeville Golf and Country Club on February 15th. With judges
performing two "taste-offs" to determine the winner Smithville Water and Sewer was awarded Best Tasting Water in Region 4.

TAUD Region Four consists of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton,
Pickett, Putnam, Roane, Smith, Trousdale, Warren and White counties.

The utilities from Region Four submitting samples of their drinking water for competition were:
Bondecroft Utility District, Byrdstown Water Department, the City of Celina, Crab Orchard Utility District, the City of Crossville, Jamestown Gas and Water, Livingston Utilities, McMinnville Utilities, Red Boiling Springs Water, Smithville Water and Sewer, Warren County Utility District, and West Warren-Viola Utility District.

Cookeville Communications Radio Host Lee Wray, Amanda Mainord with Upper Cumberland
Development Districts and Michael Detwiler with Congressman Diane Black participated as judges for the contest. The drinking water samples were judged on their clarity, bouquet, and taste.

TAUD will conduct the Best Tasting Water in Tennessee Contest in each of the Association's eleven regions in upcoming months. The winner of each region will participate in a statewide competition at TAUD's Business of Running A Utility Conference at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in Gatlinburg on August 9th. The statewide winner will then compete in Washington, D.C. for the Best Tasting Water in America.

The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts is the oldest rural water association in the nation and serves as the Tennessee chapter of the National Rural Water Association. TAUD serves as a source of training, technical assistance, and advocacy to over 400 water, wastewater, and natural gas utility members within the state. For more information please visit our website at www.taud.org or contact Beth Hardiman at 615-896-9022.

(Pictured above LEFT TO RIGHT STANDING: Kevin Robinson, Smithville Public Works Director and Todd Bowman, Smithville Water Plant Superintendent. FRONT ROW: Amanda Mainord, Upper Cumberland Development District; Michael Detwiler, Congressman Diane Black's Office and Lee Wray, Radio Host, Cookeville Communications)

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