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DeKalb Jobless Rate 11.2% in February

April 1, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for February was 11.2%, down slightly from 11.6% in January and down from 12% in February, 2009

The local labor force for February was 9,590. Employment was at 8,510 and a total of 1,080 were unemployed. Among the fourteen upper cumberland counties, Pickett County had the highest jobless rate at 18.8% followed by Van Buren County at 15%, Smith County, Clay, and White County at 14.2% each, Jackson 13.9%, Fentress 13.6%, Warren 13.4% Overton 13.2%, Cumberland 13%, Trousdale 12%, DeKalb 11.2%, Cannon 10.5%, and Putnam County 10.3%.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2010 was 10.7 percent, unchanged from the January rate of 10.7 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of February was 9.7 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February 2010 show that the rate decreased in 78 counties, increased in 10 counties and remained the same in seven counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 8.0 percent, down from 8.3 percent in January. Marshall County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.1 percent, down from 20.2 in January, followed by Henderson County at 19.0 percent, down from 19.8 percent in January.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.4 percent, down from 8.5 percent in January. Davidson County was 9.3 percent, down from 9.5 in January. Hamilton County was at 9.7 percent, down from 9.9 in January, and Shelby County was 10.8 percent, down from 11.3 in January.

August Election to Include Three Contested Races for School Board

April 1, 2010
Dwayne Page
John David Foutch
Charles Robinson
Jerry Wayne Johnson
Kenny Rhody
Johnathon Willoughby
Billy Miller
Larry Redmon
Johnny Lattimore

The DeKalb County General Election will feature three contested races for the Board of Education on August 5th in the second, third, and fourth districts.

Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline. School board members will be elected in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh districts.

In the second district, Charles Robinson will be seeking his third term. Robinson was first elected in 2002 and he was re-elected in 2006. He will be challenged by a former second district school board member Jerry Wayne Johnson, who served from 1992 to 1998.

In the third district, Kenny Rhody is running for his third term. Rhody was first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. Johnathon Willoughby, making his first attempt at public office, will be running against Rhody.

Two candidates are in the race to succeed Joan Draper in the fourth district, Billy Miller and Larry Redmon. Draper, who was elected for the first time in 2006, will not be seeking re-election. Both Miller and Redmon are seeking elected office for the first time.

Incumbent school board members John David Foutch in the first district and Johnny Lattimore in the seventh district will be unopposed. Foutch will be seeking his second elected term. Foutch was appointed by the county commission in January 2005 to fill the unexpired term of Darrell Gill who moved out of the first district. Foutch was elected to his first term in 2006.

Lattimore will be seeking his third term. He was first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

Candidates for the school board run neither as democrats or as republicans but as non-partisans. Terms are for four years. Incumbent members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the fifth district and Bruce Parsley in the sixth district are in mid-term. Their terms expire in 2012.

Others on the DeKalb County General Election ballot on August 5th will be the democratic and republican nominees for the offices of county mayor, county clerk, trustee, register of deeds, circuit court clerk, sheriff, road supervisor, and to fill unexpired terms for circuit court judge (part one) and district attorney general. All fourteen county commission seats will also be filled in the August election.

Early voting for the August 5th elections will be July 16th-31st

The Dowelltown Municipal election is set for August 5th to elect three aldermen.

Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline.

Incumbent aldermen Brad Driver, Keith Farler, and Ron Griffith have all qualified to seek re-election.

They will be running unopposed

Meanwhile, early voting dates and times are set for the May 4th DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

Early voting will be Wednesday, April 14th through Thursday, April 29th. Voting times will be from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

The primary will feature three contested races for county wide public offices, county clerk, county mayor, and register of deeds, and three contested races for the county commission in the third, fourth, and fifth districts. All other candidates will be unopposed. Winners will run in the August General Election.

Weaver and Beavers Seek-Re-election, Both to Face Challenges

April 1, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
James Hale
Jamie Winkler
State Senator Mae Beavers
Susan Lynn
Aubrey Givens
Sam Hatcher

State Representative Terry Lynn Weaver of Lancaster will be unopposed in the Tennessee Republican Primary for re-nomination on August 5th but she will have a Democratic and an Independent opponent in the November 2nd General Election.

Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline.

James Hale of DeKalb County and Jamie Winkler of Smith County will be seeking their party's nomination in the Tennessee Democratic Primary on August 5th for the right to challenge Representative Weaver this fall. Weaver is seeking her second term.

Independent candidate Pleas Ford of Macon County is also running for State Representative in November.

Three counties make up the 40th legislative district, including DeKalb, Macon, and Smith.

Meanwhile, State Senator Mae Beavers will have two opponents in the Tennessee Republican primary on August 5th.

Senator Beavers, who is seeking her third term in the state senate from the 17th district, will face a challenge from State Representative Susan Lynn of Mount Juliet and Gordon Borck of Smith County.

The winner will face a democratic challenge in November from either Lebanon attorney Aubrey Givens, Smith County farmer George McDonald, or Lebanon newspaper publisher Sam Hatcher. Givens, McDonald, and Hatcher are seeking their party's nomination for the State Senate in the Tennessee Democratic Primary on August 5th.

The State Senate in the 17th district includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, Wilson, and part of Sumner County.

Several candidates have lined up hoping to succeed Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 6th District. Last December, Congressman Gordon announced his plans to retire from Congress when his current term ends in 2010. Gordon was first elected in 1984 and is completing his 13th term.

Those seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in the August 5th Tennessee Republican Primary are as follows:

Bruce McLellan of Overton County
Gary Mann of Williamson County
James Tracy of Bedford County
Diane Black of Sumner County
Lou Ann Zelenik of Rutherford County
David Evans of Bedford County
Kerry Roberts of Robertson County

Those seeking the nomination for Congress in the August 5th Tennessee Democratic Primary are as follows:

Devora Butler of Rutherford County
George Erdel of Rutherford County
Brett Carter of Davidson County
Benjamin Leming of Rutherford County
Henry Barry of Wilson County

Independent candidates for Congress in the November 2nd Tennessee General Election include:

Jim Boyd of Sumner County
Tommy Hay of DeKalb County
Brandon Gore of Rutherford County
Stephen Sprague of Jackson County
David Purcell of Robertson County

Candidates for Governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary on August 5th include:

Zach Wamp of Hamilton County
William Haslam of Knox County
Joe Kirkpatrick of Wilson County
Ronald Ramsey of Sullivan County
Basil Marceaux, Sr. of Chattanooga

Candidate for Governor in the August 5th Tennessee Democratic Primary:

Mike McWherter of Madison County

Independent Candidates for Governor in the November 2nd Tennessee General Election

Brandon Dodds of Dyer County
Samuel Duck of Blount County
Carl Whitaker of Sevier County
Boyce McCall of Knox County
Toni Hall of Davidson County
June Griffin of Rhea County
Donald McFolin of Davidson County
James Reesor of Davidson County
Bayron Binkley of Williamson County
Floyd Knois of Marshall County
Thomas Smith, II of Hamilton County
David Gatchell of Williamson County
Howard Switzer of Perry County

Corps to Conduct Test of Emergency Evacuation Siren at Long Branch Campground

March 31, 2010

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces a periodic test of an emergency evacuation siren at Long Branch Campground, located directly below Center Hill Dam, on Monday, April 5th, at 2 p.m.

This siren serves the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas immediately below the dam. Additionally, neighboring private landowners downstream of the dam may possibly hear the siren. The test will last for approximately one minute.
This is only a test.

In the unlikely event of a breach of the dam, the siren will be activated and an evacuation plan put into effect to assist the visiting public in the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas. Anyone with questions should call the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

Tennessee Approves new Childhood Immunization Requirements

March 31, 2010

For the first time in a decade, Tennessee has adopted new childhood immunization requirements to better protect children from serious diseases, especially those that can spread easily in a school or pre-school setting. The new 2010 requirements apply to those who attend child care, pre-school and school, and changes coming in 2011 affect new Tennessee college students. The state has also introduced a new official Tennessee Certificate of Immunization required for children starting pre-school, Kindergarten and seventh grade this fall.

"Vaccinations have all but eliminated the threat of diseases like mumps and measles. Unfortunately, we still see Tennessee children suffer and die unnecessarily when they are not properly immunized," said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. "These new requirements assure that children have the best protection from serious illnesses that are easily passed from person to person in schools and child care centers."

Parents and guardians planning to pre-register their children for school this spring will need to submit the new Certificate of Immunization by the time class starts in the fall. Because all new Kindergarten students and seventh graders will need the new certificate, public schools are allowing a one-time grace period of October 1 to submit the form, according to the state Department of Education. Check with your school for more information.

"The required vaccines are already recommended for all children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, so most young children have already received them," said Kelly Moore, MD, medical director of the state immunization program. "Parents should talk with their child's health care provider to be sure they have had everything they need. Unlike toddlers, who have frequent health exams, many pre-teens and teens are overdue for their annual health check-up, and are missing some of these important vaccines."

A complete list of the new immunization requirements as well as information for parents and health care providers is available on the Tennessee Department of Health Web site at Examples of changes that will go into effect are as follows:

·Children enrolling in child care, pre-school or pre-Kindergarten must now show documentation of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Pneumococcal vaccine.

·All children entering the seventh grade this fall must submit proof of a booster dose of the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine; and confirm either chickenpox immunity through the disease or receipt of two doses of the varicella vaccine.

·In July 2011, new full-time enrollees to Tennessee colleges who were born after 1979 will need to provide proof of chickenpox immunity through either the disease or two doses of the varicella vaccine.

Children and teens younger than age 19 who have TennCare as well as those who do not have health insurance can receive free vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children Program in participating private medical offices and health departments. Ask your child's health care provider if they participate in VFC. If a child has insurance that does not pay for vaccines or if parents are unable to afford them, local health departments can provide the vaccine. Health departments and VFC providers give the vaccine for a small fee that can be adjusted based on your income.

Local health departments will be able to provide the new certificates beginning April 1; private providers will be able to obtain the new certificate beginning in April. Parents should talk to their child's health care provider about plans for issuing the new certificates. Health care providers can go to for more information.

For general information about vaccines, visit For questions about school policies or health examinations, contact your local school system. For more information on the new requirements, call your county health department or go to the Web at

Midnight Fire Destroys Home

March 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

A midnight fire destroyed the residence of Jerry Harper on Rosewood Lane off Blue Springs Road Monday night.

Central dispatch received the call at 11:51 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says no one was at home when the fire started. A neighbor spotted the blaze and reported it, but the flames were already coming through the roof by the time it was discovered. The home and all contents were lost in the fire..

No one was injured.

Members of the Keltonburg, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck and equipment truck, DeKalb EMS, and Sheriff's deputies.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

City of Smithville Accepting Applications for Chief of Police

March 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is accepting applications to fill the position of Police Chief.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson, in a public notice, states that applications may be picked up at city hall from 8:00 a.m. until noon. through April 16th All applicants must be certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (P.O.S.T.) with a minimum of six years experience as a certified, full-time officer with a minimum of three years experience in a supervisory position. The City of Smithville is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability.

The Police Chief position has been open since December when the Board of Aldermen, with four voting in the affirmative, upheld the city discipline board's decision in November to terminate former Police Chief Richard Jennings for dereliction of duties/negligence..

Lieutenant Steven Leffew has been serving as "Officer in Charge" of the department since November.

On December 10th. Jennings and his wife June filed a federal court lawsuit against the City of Smithville claiming he was wrongfully terminated and that his constitutional rights were violated
In the lawsuit, Jennings alleges that the city never established a cause for his termination, that the city violated his constitutional due process rights, and that he was the victim of age discrimination in the dismissal.

The former police chief is asking for a jury trial, that he be awarded back pay and damages for loss of earnings and benefits in an amount to be determined at trial, that front pay be awarded to compensate him for lost employment opportunities, that compensatory damages be awarded in an amount to be determined at trial, and that he be awarded attorney's fees, expenses of the litigation, prejudgement interests, punitive damages, and such other and further relief as may be deemed just and proper."

Jennings is being represented by Murfreesboro attorney Kerry Knox.

THP Investigates Four Vehicle Accident

March 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated a four vehicle accident Monday morning at the intersection of North Congress Boulevard and East Main Street in Smithville.

Trooper Mark Jones says 78 year old Billy Harris of Smithville was traveling west on East Main Street in a 2003 Chevy pickup truck, crossing Highway 56 as 68 year old Kenneth Tramel, driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup for the Tennessee Forestry Division was going north on Highway 56. After impact, Tramel's truck crossed into the southbound lane and struck a 1994 Oldsmobile, driven by 33 year old Alfaro Alejandro, who was setting in the outside southbound lane at the traffic light. After making contact with the Alejandro vehicle, Tramel's truck also hit a 1987 Chevy pickup behind Alejandro, driven by 50 year old James Johnson of McMinnville.

According to Trooper Jones, both Harris and Tramel claim they had a green light but Alejandro and Johnson say the light on Congress Boulevard was red.

Trooper Jones says Tramel went to the hospital by private vehicle to be checked out, but there were no other injuries.

Luna Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident

March 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

A 62 year old man was arrested Monday morning after leaving the scene of a traffic accident at the intersection of South Congress Boulevard and Vaughn Lane.

Corporal Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department says Raymundo Luna is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and he was cited for not having any insurance and for failure to yield while entering an intersection. His bond totals $3,500 and he will be in court on April 15th.

According to Corporal Bryant, Luna was traveling west on Vaughn Lane in a 1992 Buick Regency when he failed to stop at the intersection with Highway 56 south. Luna proceeded through the intersection and crossed into the path on a southbound Mercury SUV driven by 20 year old Ashlee Thomason of Smithville.

Corporal Bryant says Luna left the scene after the wreck, drove to College Street, turned right, and then cut across to Short Mountain Highway.

Thomason gave police a description and tag number of the vehicle and a "BOLO" or "Be on the Lookout" was issued by Central Dispatch. A witness spotted the car parked in a barn at the Pirtles Nursery location on Short Mountain Highway and notified authorities.

County deputies went to the nursery and verified that the car was the same one that was involved in the accident. Corporal Bryant came to the scene and talked with the owner of the vehicle, Luna, who worked at the nursery. Luna admitted to leaving the scene of the accident, saying he did so because he was trying to get to work and was scared.

Thomason, who received minors injuries in the accident, was taken to the hospital by private vehicle.

Hale Crowned Spring Blossom Junior Miss

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale
Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale and Runners-up
Miss Photogenic Makalee Beth Ruch and Miss Congeniality and Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale

Thirteen year old Haley Marie Hale of Smithville is the new Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant, which was held Saturday night at the high school and sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Hale, daughter of Melissa and Chad Hale, succeeds the 2009 Junior Miss, Darrian Lanay Turner of Smithville, the twelve year old daughter of Regina and Shane Turner.

Hale was also named Miss Congeniality.

First runner-up in the pageant was Taneah Brooke Cantrell of Smithville, the thirteen year old daughter of Tammy and Scott Cantrell.

Fourteen year old Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty was second runner-up. She is the daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards..

Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the twelve year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls, was named third runner-up.

Eleven year old Tyra Grace Graham of Smithville, daughter of Doris and Kyle Graham was the fourth runner-up.

Others making up the top ten in no particular order were fourteen year old Lindsay Michelle Wright of Smithville, daughter of Jennie Adkins and Bobby Wright; fourteen year old Kami Denise Bogle of Dowelltown, daughter of Amy Scott and Chris Bogle; twelve year old Makalee Beth Ruch, daughter of Melissa and Joe Ruch of Smithville; thirteen year old Ale Maciel, daughter of Idalia and Francisco Maciel; and thirteen year old Ashley Hershman of Smithville, daughter of Laura Cook.

Twelve year old Makalee Beth Ruch of Smithville was named Miss Photogenic. She is the daughter of Melissa and Joe Ruch.

A total of nineteen young ladies participated in the pageant.

(Top Photo: Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale)

(Second Photo from Top: Left to Right- Fourth runner-up Kyra Grace Graham; Second runner-up Sarah Elizabeth Edwards; Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale; First runner-up Taneah Brooke Cantrell; and Third runner-up Liz Abigail Qualls)

(Bottom Photo: Left to Right- Miss Photogenic Makalee Beth Ruch and Miss Congeniality and Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale)


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