Local News Articles

TABC to Receive Certified Liquor Referendum Results

November 21, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Businesses in the City of Smithville wishing to sell wine in grocery stores or to serve liquor by the drink in restaurants will soon be able to file an application for a license with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

“Once we get the certified election results from the election commission then we can begin processing applications,” said Zack Blair, Assistant Director of the TABC.

City voters approved a referendum on Tuesday, November 8 authorizing the legal sale of wine at retail food stores in the City of Smithville. The vote was 691 to 515. In a separate referendum that day, city voters also approved the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville (Liquor By The Drink). It passed 665 to 597.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said the certified results of both referendums is being sent to the TABC this week.

“An establishment for either liquor by the drink or a retail food store seeking to sell wine will apply for a license with the TABC and we will then go through and make sure that they meet the requirements through the documents they have to submit to us,” said Blair in an interview with WJLE.

“For a restaurant, they have to submit an application, a manager questionnaire, declaration of citizenship form, a copy of any lease agreement, certificate of occupancy, bond, business plan, and various other documents liquor by the drink establishments have to submit in order for us to be able to match those documents up with the requirements,” Blair continued.

For more information on licensing requirements for liquor by the drink restaurants click link below:

http://www.tn.gov/abc/article/liquor-by-the-drink-restaurant

“For retail food stores, they will submit an application to us. We’ll have to ensure that they meet the requirements of the law, including the 1,200 square feet provision, that they maintain 20% of food or food related product sales, and that they submit other documents such as certificate of compliance from the city, etc,” he said.

For more information on licensing requirements for wine in retail food stores click link below:

http://www.tn.gov/abc/topic/retail-food-store-wine-license

“A liquor by the drink establishment does not need a certificate of compliance. They don’t have to go before the city except for getting their typical building inspection or certificate of occupancy.The retail food store would have to obtain a certificate of compliance from the city in order for us to issue the license,” Blair added.

Santa is Coming to Town Soon

November 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

The first of three Christmas parades in DeKalb County this holiday season will be Saturday, December 3 when the Smithville Christmas Parade sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department takes place starting at 1:00 p.m. The line up begins at 11:00 a.m. at Smithville Elementary School. To enter call Jeff Wright at 615-597-6750 or John Poss at 931-349-5598. The deadline to enter is Thursday, December 1.

The Liberty Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m. The line up will be at 1 PM at Salem Baptist Church.

The Alexandria Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 11 at 2:00 p.m. To enter stop by or call the Alexandria City Hall at 615-529-2171 extension 2

Meanwhile, Christmas on the Square will also be held on Thursday, December 15th from 5 PM to 8 PM in Downtown Smithville.

•Activities include: ◦Courthouse and Chamber of Commerce Open House

◦Lots of great goodies provided by the County Officials in the basement of the Courthouse

◦Special holiday music

◦Boy Scout Troop #347 will have a Flag-Raising Ceremony

◦Photo Booth & DJ Music – Sponsored by the City of Smithville

◦Justin-Potter Library Activities for the Children

◦Great Christmas Shopping Downtown

◦Tree Lighting Ceremony

•For more info, call the Chamber office at 615.597.4163.

Martin Becomes 2nd All-Time Winningest DCHS Boys Basketball Coach

November 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lynus Martin

DeKalb County High School Tiger Basketball Coach Lynus Martin reached a coaching milestone Friday notching his 257th career victory and passing former Coach Danny Bond for 2nd on the all time list, behind former Coach Harold Luna. Martin is beginning his 15th season.

The victory came in the season opener against the Chattanooga Patriots in which the Tigers won 87-36.

"I've been fortunate enough to coach a lot of good players over the years that have helped make all this possible. I appreciate my wife and my kids for allowing me to do this. I appreciate Coach Danny Bond for all the years of mentoring me and allowing me to be in this position. Hopefully we've got a lot more years to come," said Coach Martin.

Bond resigned as boys basketball coach in 2002 having recorded 256 wins in 17 seasons. Luna had 516 victories as a boys coach and girls coach (several years) from 1964-84.

DeKalb County travels to Trousdale County Monday night with action starting at 6:00 p.m.

Billings' Arrested in Michigan, 8 Month old Xavier Placed in Protective Custody

November 18, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Xavier Billings
Andrew Billings
Adriana Billings

The search is over for 8 month old Xavier Billings and his parents.

29 year old Andrew Billings and 19 year old Adriana Billings were found with the child at a residence in Flint, Michigan tonight (Friday). The Billings' were arrested by the City of Flint Police Department and Xavier was placed in protective custody by the Michigan Department of Children Services. The Billings' will be extradited back to DeKalb County to face charges of aggravated child abuse and initiation of methamphetamine manufacture process.

Since the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Endangered Child Alert on Thursday, the DeKalb and White County Sheriff's Departments and TBI agents have conducted an around the clock investigation and, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray, they got a break in the case today (Friday) when it was discovered that the Billings' were possibly staying at a residence in Flint, Michigan. "We were able to gather information as to the whereabouts of the Billings family. We were able to obtain a name and address of where the Billings family might be staying. We immediately contacted the Flint Police Department and in return, they were able to locate these individuals there," said Sheriff Ray .

“At approximately 7:00 pm (Friday), Officers from the City of Flint Police Department in Michigan were able to capture Andrew Billings and Adriana Billings and were also able to take in protective custody their 8 month old child, Xavier Billings. The Michigan Department of Children Services were summoned to the residence and the State of Tennessee Children’s Services has been notified. Andrew and Adriana Billings will be extradited back to DeKalb County to face criminal charges of aggravated child abuse and initiation of methamphetamine manufacture process," said Sheriff Ray.

"A special thanks goes to White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe and his Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Johnson, DeKalb Central Dispatch and all of the people who have reported tips into our office and the Endangered Child Alert System," Sheriff Ray added.

An Endangered Child Alert was issued for Xavier Thursday after his parents took him and fled the scene of a wreck investigation last week in which a meth lab was found in their vehicle.

“On Thursday November, 10th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol worked a two vehicle accident on Highway 70 east (Sparta Highway). After 3 occupants in one of the vehicles, including the child, had been examined by EMS, the adults fled the scene with the child. During the inventory of the vehicle, the Trooper found what he believed to be a methamphetamine lab. The Trooper has taken criminal warrants in the case on both of the adults for manufacturing meth and aggravated child abuse,” said Sheriff Ray.

Since the accident, the Trooper obtained information that the child might have a medical condition and notified the Department of Children Services.

Sheriff Ray said that at 11:19 p.m. Wednesday night, November 16, the Department of Children Services came to his office and filed a missing/endangered child report. The Sheriff said his department immediately entered the child into the National Crime Information System which prompted the Endangered Child Alert System.

DeKalb West Junior Beta Club Inducts New Officers and Members

November 18, 2016
by: 
Bill Conger
DWS Junior Beta Club inducted its newest members in a candlelight ceremony Nov. 14.
Front (left to right) Hannah VanDyne, Reporter, Garrett Hayes, President, and Jaden Johnson, TreasurerBack (Left to Right) Levi Driver, Chaplain, T.J. Alexander, Vice President, and Gracie Griffin, Secretary

The DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club inducted a new slate of officers and members in a special candlelight ceremony Nov. 14.

Peers elected Garrett Hayes, President; T.J. Alexander, Vice President; Gracie Griffin, Secretary; Jaden Johnson, Treasurer; Hannah VanDyne, Reporter; and Levi Driver, Chaplain.

“The Beta Club exists as much for the school as for the members,” Hayes told the crowd. “The aim of our organization is the same as the goal of education---preparation of an individual for his/her place in a democratic world.”

Taking the pledge for membership were Cameron Bailey, Isaac Brown, Alonna Christian, Gavin Conger, Makayla Cook, Allen Curtis, Nathan Dace, Caleb Dies, John Ellis, Noah Evans, Aniston Farler, Lane Goss, Aly Griffith, Bonnie Hale, Lucas Hale, Izzy Haugh, Jon Lawson, Jamison Marlar, Emma Martin, Madison Martin, Alex Moreno, Bralin Moss, Matt Nokes, Audrey Pierce, Kortnee Skeen, Ellie Vaughn, Hagen Waggoner, Brett Walker, and Parker Winfree.

Junior Beta members will leave for state convention Nov. 20 for a two-day stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. They’ll be competing in a variety of academic, arts and crafts, and other contests.

Motlow State awarded $5.5 million grant to build Advanced Robotics Training Center in McMinnville

November 18, 2016

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and the governor’s office announced today that Motlow State Community College has been awarded a $5.5 million grant to build a state-of-the-art robotics training center near its McMinnville campus, according to Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs for the College.

The grant is the largest ever awarded to Motlow State and will have a significant impact on the economies of Warren County and the middle Tennessee and Upper Cumberland regions.

“This is a game changer for the state of Tennessee, the middle Tennessee region, and for Motlow State,” said Tony Kinkel, Motlow president. “We are very excited about this news and we are appreciative to everyone who worked together to make this dream a reality.”

The new robotics training center will be located on 4.5 acres adjacent to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and the Motlow State McMinnville campus, and was donated to the College by the Warren County Commission. Motlow and the TCAT are partners in the new project.

A news release from Gov. Bill Haslam's office announced the Motlow grant as being part of "the Drive to 55 Capacity Fund, an initiative designed to support colleges and universities as enrollment increases since the launch of Tennessee Promise."

“Tennessee has seen unprecedented numbers of students enrolling in college for the first time," Gov. Haslam said in the news release. "As Tennessee Promise has made college a reality for so many of our students, we are committed to providing our institutions with the resources to support them. The Drive to 55 Capacity Fund assists our campuses in getting these students to and through college, so we can continue to close the skills gap in Tennessee’s workforce.”

“This grant will enable Motlow to build a state-of-the-art robotics training center to support existing and new industries throughout the area as they utilize more industrial robots”, said Rascoe. “With the growth of manufacturing in middle Tennessee it makes sense to have a training center to support that growth.

“Currently, it is estimated there are over 7,000 robots in use within 75 miles of Motlow’s McMinnville campus and that number will only grow,” continued Rascoe. “Middle Tennessee is fast becoming a nationwide leader in advanced manufacturing, which uses robotic technology. Motlow State is vital in the process to train skilled workers to support these fast-paced industries.

“This adds another level of technology education for Motlow State,” added Rascoe. “Building upon our mechatronics technology program, this grant will only enhance Motlow’s efforts to offer highly-skilled training; meeting the needs of this fast-paced industry. As a leader in mechatronics technology training, Motlow will be poised to become a leader in advanced robotics technology training as well.”

Key personnel who helped Motlow secure the grant, along with Rascoe and Kinkel, includes Todd Herzog, owner of Accu-Router in McMinnville; Megan Farrischoate, economic development planner and assistant director for the Upper Cumberland Development District in Cookeville; Don Alexander, director of the Warren County Development Board; Bobby Cox, director of Warren County schools; Herschel Wells, county executive of Warren County; Melody Edmonds, interim vice-president for academic affairs at Motlow; and Shane Buchanan, Motlow’s director of mechatronics.
Proposals were reviewed by a team of readers from across state government, including the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the University of Tennessee system. Based on reader scores and final approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, projects were selected for funding.

“As we have expanded access to higher education through the Drive to 55, it is crucial that we ensure colleges and universities have the resources to prepare students for the workforce,” Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, said in the news release. “The process of awarding these funds was very competitive and each funded program will provide opportunity and growth to students across our state.”

DCHS Class of 2017 Seeks Donations for Project Graduation

November 18, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Rachel Fuson

Members of the DCHS Class of 2017 are asking for your support of Project Graduation.

Rachel Fuson, a DCHS Senior, urges you to stop by any DeKalb County branch office of Liberty State Bank to make a donation.

“I am a captain of the DCHS Football cheerleading squad, the Vice President of the BETA and Climate Crew clubs, President of the Science Club, and Miss DCHS. But more importantly, I am a member of the 2017 graduating class. We are raising funds for our Project Graduation event that will take place the night of graduation in May. We will have food, fun activities, and it is designed to keep us safe from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. In order to hold this event, we must raise funds and request the community’s help. Please stop by your local branch of Liberty State Bank in Alexandria, Liberty, or Smithville and make a donation to our account. All help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support,” said Fuson

Endangered Child Alert Has Been Issued for Eight Month Old Boy

November 17, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Xavier Billings
Andrew Lafate Billings
Adriana Nichole Billings
Andrew, Adriana, and Xavier Billings
Window Decal on Billings' vehicle

An Endangered Child Alert has been issued for an eight month old boy from DeKalb County after his parents took him and fled the scene of a wreck investigation last week in which a meth lab was found in their vehicle.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE ALERT ANNOUNCEMENT)

USTN_BILLINGSDekalbCOSO.pdf (127.45 KB)

The child, Xavier Billings, may have a medical condition. His parents are 29 year old Andrew Lafate Billings and 18 year old Adriana Nichole Billings.

“On Thursday November, 10th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol worked a two vehicle accident on Highway 70 east (Sparta Highway). After 3 occupants in one of the vehicles, including the child, had been examined by EMS, the adults fled the scene with the child. During the inventory of the vehicle, the Trooper found what he believed to be a methamphetamine lab. The Trooper has taken criminal warrants in the case on both of the adults for manufacturing meth and aggravated child abuse,” said Sheriff Patrick Ray.

Since the accident, the Trooper has obtained information that the child might have a medical condition and notified the Department of Children Services.

Sheriff Ray said that at 11:19 p.m. Wednesday night, November 16, the Department of Children Services came to his office and filed a missing/endangered child report. The Sheriff said his department immediately entered the child into the National Crime Information System which prompted the Endangered Child Alert System.

The child, Xavier Billings is identified as 24 to 26 inches in height and weighs 16 to 18 pounds. He has thin blonde hair and his eyes are blue. He was last seen wearing a white onesie sleeper.

The father, Andrew Lafate Billings, is described as 5’6” in height and weighs 170 pounds. His hair is strawberry/blonde and his eyes are blue.

The mother, Adriana Nichole Billings, is 5’1” tall and weighs 105 pounds. Her hair is brown and her eyes are green.

The Billings’ have been reported to be in a maroon 2005 Nissan Sentra, tag number 2A34N4 with a decal of two Browning Deer Heads (see photo) on the back window of the vehicle.

Anyone who has any information regarding the whereabouts of these people are asked to contact DeKalb Central Dispatch at 615-215-3000 or Sheriff Ray at 615-597-4935.

Saint Thomas Health Cuts Hospital Positions

November 16, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

In a restructuring move, Saint Thomas Health has reportedly trimmed staffs at hospitals in this region, affecting approximately 40 positions overall including 11 at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, several being LPNs.

The other hospitals involved are River Park in McMinnville, Highlands in Sparta and Stones River in Woodbury

In a prepared statement, hospital officials say “Saint Thomas Health is in the process of coming together as a statewide network with the goal of improving the healthcare quality and experience at an affordable cost for the patients and communities we are privileged to serve. Our statewide integration involves re-thinking some services and positions across our system to ensure the long-term strength of our organization as we continue to deliver compassionate, personalized care to those who need it most”.

The decision to integrate positions within the organization has been an ongoing issue for several months. It was just less than five months ago when the corporation announced that the DeKalb, Woodbury and Sparta facilities would immediately become under the management of a single chief executive officer, eliminating the positions of Sue Conley and Bill Little. Within the statement given at that time, Gordon Ferguson, President and CEO Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and Regional Hospitals, stated, “There are, though, additional opportunities for consolidating operations and leadership and we need to make changes."

Saint Thomas Health is a family of Middle Tennessee hospitals and physician practices united by a single mission: to provide spiritually centered, holistic care that sustains and improves the health of the communities it serves.

Saint Thomas Health is the leading faith-based health-care system in Tennessee and is a part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world's largest Catholic health system.

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