Local News Articles

Sue Mathis Named Smithville Police Department Employee of the Month for April and May

June 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department Employee of the month for April and May was Records Custodian Sue Mathis.

Presented by Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano, Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, and Mayor Taft Hendrixson, the commendation states that \"On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Records Custodian and Front Office Supervisor. Your determination and efforts this month in handling, filing, and entering reports into the TIBERS system has substantially increased the performance of this department. The efficiency provided by your expertise and organizational skills has streamlined operations and presented an efficient presence to citizens in their quest for reporting information.\"

\"Due to your professionalism, TIBERS training, the many hours of dedicated service in inputting this critical information, you have been commended on numerous occasions by TBI for your efficiency. This has shown favorably on the Police Department. You have served with distinction and are a credit to your profession as a Smithville Police Officer.\"

\"Additionally, your work ethic and tenacity during the month of April and May has shown your true commitment to the citizens we serve and your fellow co-workers.\"

\"I appreciate your input and current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this Commendation becoming apart of your permanent personnel record for all to see.\"

\"Congratulations on a job well done!\"

Police Department and City Leaders Present Commendation To Chief Stufano

June 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department and city leaders have presented an Official Police Commendation to Chief Thomas J. Stufano.

The commendation was signed by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, Lieutenant Patrol Division Commander Steven Leffew, Lieutenant Special Services Commander Richard Jennings, and Lieutenant Detective/Internal Affairs Commander Steve Deffendoll.

It states that \"This commendation is presented to you on behalf of all of the Police Officers and Staff of the Smithville Police Department.\"

\"Due to your superior leadership and guidance, you have provided us with a professional agency that we are proud and honored to be apart of. It is said that a good leader leads by example'. The example you have displayed as our Chief through your professionalism and understanding has firmly established our confidence in you as a great leader of people and the officers of this agency.\"

\"It is with great pleasure that we show our sincerest gratitude to you for significantly elevating this agency's standards and also for being genuinely interested in our safety and professionalism.\"

\"We pledge to you that your tireless efforts to establish a professional workforce not go unheeded and we as a total department will continue to strive for excellence in our duties as Police Officers for the residents of this city.\"

\"On behalf of the entire City of Smithville Police Department, we would like to commend you for your actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as this agency's Chief of Police. We appreciate your input and current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this citation being submitted to the Mayor and Police Commissioner to become apart of your permanent personnel record for all to observe.\"

\"Congratulations on a job well done!\"

One Day of Early Voting Remains for Smithville Municipal Election

June 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 489 people have voted in the Smithville Municipal Election with one day of early voting remaining.

DeKalb County Election Commission officials report that 471 have voted by personal appearance and 18 have voted by mail.

Early voting will be held Thursday, June 14th from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Election Day is Tuesday, June 19th from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

All voting, both during early voting and on election day, will be in the basement courtroom of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1st.

Incumbents Aaron Meeks, W. J. \"Dub\" White, and Paul Young are being challenged by Jerry Hutchins' Sr., Shawn Jacobs, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Todd Van Dyne.

Warren County Woman Injured in Thursday Morning Wreck

June 14, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Warren County woman was injured in a one car accident Thursday morning on Highway 56 at the DeKalb-Warren County line.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 34 year old Kimberly Stembridge of Smartt, Tennessee was driving south in a 2005 Saturn Ion when she failed to maintain the lane of travel, entered a ditch on the west side of the road, struck a driveway culvert, and overturned. The car then slid on it's top several feet back into the highway.

Trooper England says Stembridge, who was wearing her seatbelt, was taken by DeKalb EMS to River Park Hospital in McMinnville to be treated for minor injuries.

He says both lanes of the highway were shut down for approximately 45 minutes during the investigation and cleanup.

Trooper England was assisted by Trooper Dewaine Jennings and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene were officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, DeKalb EMS, and members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Drought conditions will adversely affect the Cumberland River Basin

June 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, announced today that drought conditions in the Cumberland River Basin will lead to modified operations of Cumberland River Basin reservoirs in order to reduce, to the extent possible, the adverse impacts along the river.

Adverse impacts will affect project purposes all along the Cumberland River from Laurel River Lake to Lake Barkley. There will be adverse impacts to project purposes including: recreation, hydropower, navigation, water quality, and water supply as well as to fisheries along the Cumberland River and fossil fuel power plants along the Cumberland River.

The drought conditions being experienced in the Cumberland River Basin are due to lack of precipitation during early 2007. The impacts of the drought will be greater than normal due to operating restrictions at Lake Cumberland and Center Hill Lakes. Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams are being operated at lower levels after being classified as high risk dams. Both dams have major rehabilitation projects ongoing.

\"We are seeing conditions that we would not normally see until the end of August in a typically dry year,\" said Bob Sneed, Chief of the Water Management Section, Nashville District. \"I am also concerned about the low dissolved oxygen levels (DO) at some of our reservoirs. For instance, Old Hickory Lake is seeing the lowest DO levels since 1988.”

Fish kills are possible if water temperatures in the Cumberland River continue to rise and the dissolved oxygen levels continue to drop. Warmer water puts stress on fish over time and then the lower dissolved oxygen rates make the water uninhabitable for fish, according to Sneed.

The Nashville District is taking every action it can to provide water for water supply intakes, to protect the public safety of the recreational user, to maintain the navigation channel, to maintain the fisheries along the Cumberland River and to maintain operations of fossil fuel power plants along the Cumberland River. The operation of the Cumberland River Basin will be modified to the extent possible to mitigate for the drought conditions.

According to Bill Barron, chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, Nashville District, many actions that have already been taken include: asking Eastern Kentucky Power to run only minimum hydropower releases at Laurel River Lake; pulsing of hydropower generation at Wolf Creek Dam every 6 hours to keep water supply intakes covered at Burkesville, KY and Cumberland County, KY and to keep water temperature below the dam low. The Corps is also pulsing at Center Hill Dam every 12 hours for similar reasons; filling of Dale Hollow to higher than normal elevations to provide for extra storage; filling of Cordell Hull, Old Hickory, and Cheatham Lakes to slightly higher levels for emergency mitigations; spilling and partial hydropower generation at Old Hickory Dam to improve dissolved oxygen and to provide a “window of opportunity” for navigation.

In addition the Corps is spilling at Cheatham Dam to try to keep water temperatures low and to assist navigation; removing tail water restrictions at Lake Barkley and adjusting releases to minimum flow used only as flow is needed for navigation, and increased monitoring of the water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels along the Cumberland River. Future actions may include: discharging more water at tributary projects (Dale Hollow Lake, Center Hill Lake and J. Percy Priest Lake) thereby reducing their water levels below normal.

The good news is the cold water fisheries below Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams at present are doing well because of the amount of cold water being released now, but if water temperatures rise these fisheries may be in danger. \"I have been told the trout fishing is great below Wolf Creek Dam and in the Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam,\" said Sneed.

The operating objectives for the Cumberland River Basin in order of priority (highest to lowest) are: water supply, water quality, navigation, hydropower, and recreation. These objectives are also project purposes and ranked in this order with public safety as the number one priority.

The pool levels in tributary projects (Dale Hollow Lake, Center Hill Lake and J. Percy Priest Lake) will be lowered as required to maintain the operating objectives of the Cumberland River Basin. As the drought continues, recreational users will see gradually lower water levels.

As the lake levels are gradually lowered, rocks and other obstacles may be exposed and become hazards for boaters and other recreational users. Also, certain areas of lakes may not be accessible due to the low water.

Other concerns are maintaining navigation along the Cumberland River and the operation of fossil fuel power plants on the River. The Corps is working with the navigation industry to provide \"windows of opportunity\" where there will be enough flow for navigation. The Corps is also working with the Sherman Cooper Power Plant, the Gallatin Steam Plant and the Cumberland City Power Plant to lessen impacts to their operations.

\"We will be trying to balance the operating objectives to best utilize the water we have in the Cumberland River Basin,\" said Barron, \"but we know there will be adverse impacts to all of the objectives this year. In a normal year, we have enough water that we only have to juggle two or three objectives, say water quality, navigation and hydropower, but this year we are juggling all five.\"

Friday Radiothon Seeks Community Support, Donations for Construction of County's Second Habitat for Humanity Home

June 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s affiliate chapter of Habitat for Humanity will hold its Radiothon Fundraiser on WJLE Friday morning, June 15th.

“This radiothon will be a main source of funds to put one local family into an affordable and decent home of their own,” says Nolan Turner, president of the local affiliate chapter. “I ask everyone who shares our commitment to help the less fortunate to consider making a donation.”

The Adams St. home will be built for Felicia Gibbs, a divorced single mother, and her children Dasia, 4, and Trystan Seth, 9 months old. Felicia grew up in Alexandria, attended DeKalb West Elementary School, and graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2001. The family met criteria used by Habitat to identify the best candidates for successful home ownership: demonstration of need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat.

The group hopes to exceed the $25,000 raised on WJLE in August 2005. “We were overwhelmed with the response to our first radiothon, and are depending on that kind of community support once again,” says Tecia Pryor, chair of Habitat’s development committee and past president.

Radio listeners can phone in a pledge and challenge other members of the community to make a donation by calling 597-4265, 215-5316 and 215-5317 during the three hour event, hosted live on the local radio station from 9 until 12.

All money raised will be applied toward lot purchase, materials and services, with labor donated. Recipients of Habitat-built homes must make a downpayment and put in hours of “sweat equity” before construction can begin. After the house is built, they assume a 20-year interest-free mortgage for the purchase price, based solely on the price of materials and related services.

If Habitat reaches its fundraising goals, construction should begin later this summer. Estimated total costs are expected to exceed $40,000. Monthly mortgage payments should range between $200 and $300.

For more information, please contact these officers of the Habitat Board of Directors: Nolan Turner, president; Tecia Pryor, vice president and chair of the development committee; Nancy Lewis, secretary; or Glenda Davis, treasurer. You may also leave a message on the Habitat voicemail at 215-8181 and a board member will return your call.

Smithville Police Investigate Burglary at Jewel's Market

June 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are investigating a burglary early Monday morning at Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard.

The offense report states that \"On or about Monday, June 11st at approximately 1:19 a.m., Officer Leilani Defore was dispatched to an alarm at 1226 South Congress Boulevard. Upon arrival, Officer Defore observed that the front door glass had been shattered to gain entry into Jewel's Market. There were lottery tickets strewn in the parking lot between the store and the car wash, south of the store. There was no sign of anyone on the premises at that time. Store owner Jewel Redmon then arrived and stated that the only thing that he could tell was missing was a case of lottery tickets. There were also pry marks on the side door where someone had attempted to gain entry and failed due to a wooden brace being across the door. Pictures were taken of the scene and Mr. Redmon was asked to call the police department when he could determine a dollar amount of the loss.\"

No arrests have been made.

In other cases, Smithville Police arrested 32 year old Frank Smith of 194 Village Place in Smithville for DUI. Officers detected Smith speeding and driving erratically and confirmed their suspicions after field sobriety tests were administered. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Meanwhile, 46 year old Sandra Cool of 528 Frazier Street was arrested for domestic assault. Officers responded to the 300 block of West Broad Street due to a reported domestic fight in progress. Upon arrival they met with the victim Brian Carter who stated that Cool pulled into the parking lot and jumped out and began striking him in the face. Officers spoke to several witnesses that confirmed the story. Carter, who declined medical treatment, had numerous marks and scrapes to his neck and face area.

Cool was arrested for Domestic Assault and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,500 bond.

Second Annual Education Celebration Set for August 6th

June 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Second Annual Education Celebration for DeKalb County has been set for August 6th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

The celebration is being organized by DeKalb County Board of Education Federal Programs Supervisor Michelle Burklow along with committee members Jennifer Mitchell, Angela Johnson, Pamela Poss, Suzette Barnes, Gina Denman, Melissa Pirtle, and Jamie Vickers.

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can visit the schools and events and show their support. Local businesses partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

All five schools in DeKalb County will have a booth and be displaying a photo board with their staff and their individual credentials. Each school will also be represented by their school's PTO about what the PTO does and how parents can help. The Lion's Club Vision Screening van will be available that day for vision screenings, the DeKalb County Health Department will be represented with information, and the Tennessee Voices for Children and many other organizations will be there. School bus shuttle rides will be available. Parents are encouraged to park at Northside Elementary starting at 4:45 p.m.. There will be refreshments, inflatable jumping balloons and FREE school supplies.

This event is still in the planning stages and volunteers are needed. Business sponsors are also needed. If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the celebration, downtown Smithville on August 6th.

Ina Ruth Bess Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

June 14, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Teacher of the Year is Ina Ruth Bess.

Kathy Bryant, President of the DeKalb County Education Association, made the announcement during Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

A Teacher of the Year is selected at each of the five schools and one of them is chosen DeKalb County Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Bess was named Teacher of the Year at DeKalb County High School. She is now retired.

Bryant also recognized the other Teachers of the Year including Tom Hill of DeKalb Middle School, Shelia McMillen at DeKalb West School, Christie Young at Smithville Elementary School, and Carrie Gottlied at Northside Elementary School. McMillen was not present during Thursday night's meeting.

Each teacher was awarded a cash prize and a gift from the DeKalb County Education Association.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the board.

Those who have resigned since last month include Rob Robinson, Special Education Assistant at DCHS; Michelle Fontanez, a teacher at DCHS, and Jonathan Fontanez, Assistant Principal at DCHS.

Those hired since the last meeting include Janet Green, part-time vision teacher; K. Wayne Taylor, substitute custodian; Helga Thompson, substitute teacher; and Viva Vickers, substitute bus assistant.

Those granted a leave of absence as requested are Kimberly Crook, teacher at DeKalb West School and Amy Fox, teacher at Smithville Elementary School.

The board was scheduled to adopt the tentative budget for 2007-08, but action was postponed until a special meeting set for June 26th at 7:00 p.m., because the final numbers from the state on funding are currently unavailable.

Judy Thomas of the DeKalb Youth Soccer League briefly addressed the board concering possible use of a field between Northside Elementary School and the Family Medical Center.

Chairman Johnny Lattimore said the board plans to meet in an informal workshop session in July to discuss the issue.

The board approved overnight trip requests for FFA students to attend a camp July 2-6 at Doyle and for the DCHS Golf Team to participate in a Golf Tournament at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina September 14-15.

Board member Charles Robinson recognized Willoughby for having done a good job during his first year as Director. Robinson and other board members applauded Willoughby on his performance. Willoughby became Director of Schools on July 1st, 2006

Sheriff Urges Senior Citizens to Beware of Recent Scam

June 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Senior citizens are urged to beware of a recent scam which was perpetrated on a local elderly person.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a white male, with a large frame build and a close cut beard, went to the home of a senior citizen in the Cherry Hill area of DeKalb County and asked if he could come into the home and check the house for properly insulated walls.

While the man was in the residence, he told the victim that measurements would have to be made of the interior walls. He then asked the victim to take the end of a tape measure and go into another room. With the victim out of sight, the man began prowling through the senior citizen's belongings.

After the victim realized what was going on, he asked the man to leave.

The man was last seen driving a newer model maroon or Burgundy colored 4 door mid-size car possibly a Toyota Camry.

According to the victim, the man said he represented a company that goes door to door to senior citizen's homes making inspections for proper insulation. However, the man would not reveal his company's name nor his own name.

Sheriff Ray asks anyone who has been a victim of this or any scams to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office at 597-4935.

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