Local News Articles

County Firefighters Pay Tribute to State Senator Mae Beavers

October 18, 2008
Dwayne Page
County Fire Chief Donny Green and State Senator Mae Beavers
County Fire Department Headquarters and Training Center
Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World presents flag to County Fire Department-

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the grand opening and dedication of the newly renovated headquarters and training center on King Ridge Road with an open house on Saturday.

State Senator Mae Beavers, instrumental in helping the department acquire the former TDOT building, was recognized with a special tribute. A framed picture of Senator Beavers and a copy of the tribute are on display inside the building.

Also during the program, Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World, presented an American flag to the department.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Saturday was a special day for the department. "This is a big deal for our county wide fire department. It benefits, not only our eleven stations and 80 volunteer fire fighters, but it benefits our community. This building and training center is available to our other emergency agencies and community groups for meetings. We'll share it with any of those who would be interested in using it. The sheriff's department uses it and our medical first responders have used the training facility. We have two nice training rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs, so we can have two separate meetings going on at the same time. That all results in better training for our department and other emergency agencies and better service to the people out in the communities of DeKalb County. It means so much for our training program in DeKalb County.

Chief Green says members of the department volunteered their time and talents to help renovate the facility. "This renovation has been about an eight month effort, beginning in early January and we've been putting some of the finishing touches on it this week in preparation for the open house. All the labor has been done by our volunteers. We've had a few things like the central heat and air and electrical services that was contracted but all the building and interior frame work was built by our volunteer fire fighters. We've got a lot of skilled people on our department that have some good construction skills. We've been able to save the county a lot of money by doing this work by ourselves instead of having to hire it done. We appreciate County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission for helping and supporting us in this renovation project. We also want to recognize State Senator Mae Beavers for her contribution in helping us acquire this piece of property that used to be the State Highway Department, the TDOT building. We actually got a deed to the property a little over a year ago. After that, we started planning this renovation project."

During Saturday's ceremony, Chief Green read from a special tribute to Senator Beavers. "Each person who walks through this remarkable facility should always remember Senator Mae Beavers as a very special person who has committed her service in Tennessee's 17th Senatorial District by keeping her constituents' safety and well-being her top priority."

"In 2002, Senator Beavers received DeKalb County Fire Department's highest honor by being selected as an Honorary Lifetime Member. Her leadership in state government and in our communities has been an inspiration to all, and an example for others to lead by."

"Today, DeKalb County Fire Department is celebrating the completion of this building project that is a culmination of many years of hard work. It all began in 2002 when Senator Beavers negotiated a $1 per year lease for this property between the Tennessee Department of Transportation and DeKalb County Government. On August 14, 2007, Senator Beavers acquired a permanent property transfer deed to the DeKalb County Fire Department from the State of Tennessee. Since that time, Senator Beavers, DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Commission provided funding and grant sources that made it possible to renovate and complete a large addition to the existing building."

"Without our leader's extraordinary generosity and vision, this facility would not have come to fruition. However, we owe our gratitude to the many people who have been instrumental in making this day possible. To the men and women of the DeKalb County Fire Department who volunteered countless hours of personal labor and sacrifice in the building of this facility, Walter and Linda Siggleko, and Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District's Project Hometown Help for generous financial contributions."

"This facility's central location in DeKalb County is symbolic of the central role it will play in benefitting our communities. This is why, today, we are here dedicating this facility to Senator Mae Beavers, as she is the true representation of community spirit, leadership, pride, and cooperation. Our security and prosperity depend upon our willingness to be involved in our world. Senator Beavers' involvement in making DeKalb County Fire Department better prepared to serve our communities is a testimony to her legacy."

"This is a great day for DeKalb County Fire Department. This is a day of honoring the legacy of Senator Beavers and an opportunity to rededicate our commitment to serve our fellow man. It is well known and widely accepted that investments in preparedness and training yield enormous benefits to our citizens through improved safety, better health, and community vitality."

"Senator Beavers and our county's leaders, through their vision, have duly recognized the importance of public safety in supporting our current and future firefighters. Sacrifices we make today builds our progress of tomorrow. The benefits of this facility can be hard to predict, but based upon the past, the future will be more spectacular than we can ever imagine."

Senator Beavers, saying she was undeserving of the honor, gave the credit to Chief Green and the department. "Thank you for what you do for this community. You have no idea probably of what we pay on a fire rate just in Wilson county to have the service and you are giving all of this to DeKalb County. It's a tremendous help to the county and I appreciate your dedication to your community and just the fact that you're out there everyday putting your lives on the line. It means so much to me. It was an honor for me to help get this building and it's just tremendous to see what you have done with it. I'm going to get some pictures to take to the commissioner to show him what this means and what TDOT has done for this community. It's an honor to serve you. This is a great county."

Whitehouse Knocks off DeKalb County 49-35

October 17, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Whitehouse Blue Devils defeated the DeKalb County Tigers 49-35 in Smithville Friday night.

It was senior night, the last home game of the regular season.

With the loss, the Tigers slip to 6-2 on the season and drop to 2-2 in the region.

The Tigers took the opening kick off but the drive stalled at the Whitehouse 34 yard line.

After a Tiger punt, Whitehouse started their first offensive series on the Blue Devil 5 yard line and went 95 yards for a score. They capped the drive on a 42 yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Trox Greenwade to Chad Neal. Matthew Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 7-0 with 6:44 left in the first quarter.

The score at the end of the first quarter was 7-0, Whitehouse.

DeKalb County got on the scoreboard with 9:27 left in the second period on a 19 yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. to tie the game at 7-7. The Tigers began the drive at their own 32 yard line and moved 68 yards for the score.

The Blue Devils broke the tie with 3:29 left in the second period on a 39 yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Greenwade to DeMarrius Payne. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 14-7.

The Tigers mounted another scoring drive to tie the game again with 1:29 left in the second period as quarterback Poteete threw a strike to Travon Johnson that covered 16 yards for a touchdown. Taylor converted on the P.A.T. to make the score 14-14.

After the ensuing kick off, Whitehouse started the next drive on their own 38 yard line, but on the first play, Hunter Poteete picked off a Greenwade pass and returned it 40 yards to the endzone for a Tiger touchdown. Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County took their first lead of the game at 21-14.

But the lead was short lived as Whitehouse got the ball back and moved quickly down field to tie the game again, on a 21 yard touchdown pass play from Greenwade to Matt Parker. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and with 19 seconds left in the second quarter, Whitehouse and DeKalb County were tied at 21-21.

The halftime score was 21-21.

The Blue Devils took the kick to start the third period and marched 53 yards in four plays to grab the lead. DeMarrius Payne capped the drive on an 11 yard touchdown run. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 28-21 with 10:12 left in the third period.

The Tigers answered on their first offensive series of the third period. Facing a fourth down and six from the Whitehouse 16 yard line, quarterback Poteete found Hunter Stewart on a 10 yard pass play for a first and goal from the Whitehouse 6 yard line. On the next play Poteete scored on a 6 yard quarterback keeper. Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and the game was tied at 28-28 with 7:23 left in the third period.

Just over a minute later in the game, Whitehouse took the lead again as quarterback Greenwade hooked up with Matt Parker on a 60 yard pass play for the touchdown. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and the Blue Devils led 35-28 with 6:17 left in the third period.

The score at the end of the third quarter was Whitehouse 35, DeKalb County 28.

Whitehouse stretched their lead early in the fourth quarter as DeMarrius Payne raced 55 yards for a touchdown with 10:56 left in the game. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and the Blue Devils led 42 to 28.

The Blue Devils took a three touchdown lead with 3:04 left in the game on a 60 yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Greenwade to Matt Parker. Gossett converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 49 to 28.

DeKalb County scored their last touchdown of the game with 31 seconds left as quarterback Poteete threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to J.J. Herriott. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and Whitehouse led 49 to 35.

The final score, Whitehouse 49, DeKalb County 35.

Despite the setback, the Tigers are still hoping to land a play-off spot at the end of the regular season.

Greenbrier notched it's first region win of the season Friday night with a 32 to 6 victory over Pearl Cohn and Sycamore defeated Macon County 41 to 13. Station Camp had the night off.

The current standings in Region 4-3A are as follows:
Whitehouse: 7-1 overall (4-0 in region play)
Station Camp: 6-2 (4-0)
Sycamore: 5-3 (3-2)
DeKalb County: 6-2 (2-2)
Greenbrier: 4-4 (1-3)
Macon County: 1-7 (1-3)
Pearl Cohn: 1-8 (0-5)

Four teams from the region will earn a spot in the state playoffs in three weeks.

The Tigers will travel to Sycamore next Friday night and conclude the regular season at Macon County on Thursday night, October 30th.

Habitat Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday, October 24th

October 17, 2008

Habitat Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday!

Who makes the best chili in DeKalb County? Find out on Friday, October 24th when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 5th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale on the square. In case of rain, the event will be relocated to the Smithville First United Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the west lawn of the courthouse. You can purchase your bowl for $5.00, eat all the chili you want, and vote for your favorite chili and the best decorated booth. Handmade pottery bowls will be available for $10.00. Delicious baked goods prepared by members of local churches will also be for sale.

“We are looking forward to another great day of good food and fellowship at the chili cook-off,” said Nolan Turner, president of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. “We have completed our second Habitat house and are looking forward to building a third,” said Turner. “The proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used towards building our next house, so we hope that we will have a great turnout!”

At press time, those competing in the Chili Cook-off are the “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials; “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing; “Three-Star Chili Team” from the Chamber of Commerce, “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education; “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank; “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park; “The Janney Bean Counters” from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates; the DeKalb County Republican Women’s Club; Allen’s Chapel Methodist Church and “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance. The Smithville Review will be hosting a “relief table” for after-chili stomach needs.

Last year, “The Chuck Wagon Chili Crew” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took the top honors for Best Chili, with The Inn at Evins Mill following in second place. In the decorating contest, “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing won the “Best Decorated” booth award.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Jeff McMillen at 597-4153. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, call 215-8181.

Two State Troopers from DeKalb County Recently Complete Homeland Security Training

October 17, 2008
Dwayne Page
THP Officers Brian Raymond and Charlie Caplinger

Emergency Responder Trooper Brian Raymond and Trooper Charlie Caplinger, from Tennessee Highway Patrol / Special Operations, recently completed Homeland Security training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, Alabama. The CDP is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and is the only federally-chartered Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training facility in the nation.

The CDP provides federally-funded, interdisciplinary training for emergency responders from across the United States and U.S. Territories, for ten responder disciplines: Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Service, Fire Service, Governmental Administrative, Hazardous Materials, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Public Health, Public Safety Communications, and Public Works.

Healthcare and Public Health training is conducted at the CDP’s Noble Training Facility, the nation’s only hospital facility dedicated to training hospital and healthcare professionals in disaster preparedness and response.

Many training courses culminate at the CDP’s Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility, the nation’s only facility featuring civilian training exercises in a true toxic environment, using chemical agents. The advanced hands-on training enables responders to effectively prevent, respond to, and recover from real-world incidents involving acts of terrorism and other hazardous materials.

Responders attending CDP training are selected from the nation’s 11 million emergency responders. Training at the CDP ensures that responders gain critical skills and confidence to be better prepared to effectively respond to local incidents or potential WMD incidents.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Senator Corker Explains Vote on Rescue Plan During Town Hall Meeting

October 16, 2008
Dwayne Page
U.S. Senator Bob Corker at Smithville Town Hall Meeting

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, during a town hall meeting Wednesday in Smithville, provided details of the $700 billion dollar "rescue plan" and the reasons why he voted for it.

Corker, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, says constituents who contacted his office prior to the vote were overwhelmingly opposed to the plan, but he says action by the Congress was needed to prevent the financial crisis from getting worse and resulting in damage to the broader U.S. economy.

The senator says Wall Street, regulatory agencies and policymakers in Washington failed America and too many Americans borrowed money for houses they simply couldn't afford. "There's no doubt that the federal government has encouraged home ownership and there's no doubt that, in some cases, homeownership was not the right thing. But I think to say that this is the essence of the problem would be a little bit of a stretch but no doubt it exacerbate the problem and made it worse. We have a lot of policies, for instance the Community Reinvestment Act, where banks are basically are asked to go out into places that have typically been difficult for loans to be put in place and encouraged to make that happen. Some of that is good so we've got to balance it. What happens whenever we have a crisis, sometimes we try to react with a ready, fire, aim mentality. I think what we'll do in January is come back with cooler heads. Certainly the policies that took place with Freddie and Fannie. Those were absolutely abusive and excessive and need to end. Those we need to solve. There are some other policies that encourage home ownership that are actually good so what we need to do is to leave the good ones in place and then take out these excessive cases of bad behavior that were certainly very prevalent in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae."

Corker says regardless of how we got here, the troubled financial system must be stabilized. He says this is not a "bail-out of Wall Street," but an unprecedented effort to avert a catastrophe that would devastate Main Street.

He says the plan will restore stability and confidence to the credit markets, and enable the financial system to continue financing the needs of American businesses, consumers, homeowners and students.

Corker says this plan provides accountability and oversight, and limits exorbitant executive pay. It will actually strengthen the banking system in Tennessee by allowing the FDIC to insure deposits up to $250,000 for one year, a significant increase from the current $100,000.

Through this rescue plan, Corker says we will purchase assets that will hopefully produce gains, and 100 percent of any income made will go toward paying down the debt. He says if our resources are invested properly, the federal government will get all of its money back and taxpayers may even see a return on the investment.

Senator Corker says the reckless way Wall Street has taken risks and made choices that have pushed our credit markets to a breaking point is reflective of the way Washington has run up the federal deficit and refused to control spending. "I am hopeful that passage of this plan will be the beginning of a strong focus on cleaning up the mess in Washington and on Wall Street."

Governor Appoints Amy Hollars as Special Circuit Court Judge for 13th Judicial District

October 15, 2008

A physical disability has forced Circuit Court Judge John Turnbull to take a temporary leave of absence from the bench.

Governor Phil Bredesen has appointed Judge Turnbull's daughter, Amy V. Hollars of Livingston, to serve as special circuit court judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District in his absence, effective immediately. The Thirteenth Judicial District includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White Counties.

Hollars, who is currently a solo practitioner in Overton County, is a former partner in the Knoxville firm Hodges, Doughty and Carson.

“I appreciate Amy’s willingness to step in and serve the state as special judge during the absence of Judge John Turnbull,” Bredesen said. “I believe her skills, education and practice experience will serve her well in this temporary capacity.”

Judge Turnbull submitted a notice of physical disability due to a ruptured disc in his neck and back surgery. Tennessee law provides a process for the appointment of a special temporary judge in the event sickness or disability prevents a state judge from carrying out his or her duties. TCA Section 17-2-116 (a)(1) states: “the governor shall appoint and commission a special judge who shall have the same qualifications as the regular judge to attend and hold such courts for and during the absence or disability of any such judges.”

Hollars, 41, holds degrees from the University of the South and Vanderbilt University and received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Since 2002, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She and her husband James Hollars have three children.

“It is an honor to have the confidence of Governor Bredesen, and I am happy to be able to help out by serving in this capacity on a short term basis,” said Hollars. “I will bring to this appointment a strong work ethic and a commitment to fairness and good work for the people of the Thirteenth Judicial District.”

Winter Heating Bills Could be Higher for Natural Gas Customers Compared to Last Year

October 15, 2008
Dwayne Page
Leslie B. Enoch, II

Although natural gas prices have declined since the summer, your heating costs may still be higher than last winter.

Leslie B. Enoch II, CEO of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District, says natural gas prices are currently higher than last year, though they have been trending downward in recent weeks. "We've watched a lot of different factors. We've been watching the recent turmoil in the financial markets and hurricane activity but neither of those has seemed to have had an impact on natural gas prices. We're pleased that natural gas prices, at the national level, have declined significantly since the record highs of the summer months. They've stabilized at a lower level. They're still higher than they were at this time last year, but just like gasoline prices, the trend is in the right direction, it's down and we're encouraged by that."

As for this winter, Enoch says expect to pay a little more on your monthly heating bill. "We believe at this point and time that the projected increase will be lower than we originally expected. If the weather is the same as last year, gas bills should be about 10% higher but that's substantially less than we thought it was going to be with the high energy prices we were seeing earlier in the summer. There's still room for natural gas and petroleum prices to go down and we're optimistic that will continue."

Enoch says the utility makes every effort to keep prices down. " We're very fortunate to have a very robust storage capability which helps stabilize prices for our customers. We have the opportunity to put natural gas in storage in several different locations around the country. We buy a lot of our gas in the summer and put it in underground storage, then we also buy some gas on the futures market. We're pretty well set. We have about 50% of our supply already ready and available and we'll buy the balance of it as we go into the winter based on how the temperatures change."

Enoch adds that natural gas customers can save money on their monthly heating costs by winterizing and conservation. "There are several ways to reduce energy usage and lower gas bills. We encourage our customers to winterize their homes by improving insulation, applying weather stripping, changing filters, and setting the water heater to a lower temperature, maybe to 120 degrees. One of the most important ways to do it (conserve) is to keep your heat at a lower, but comfortable level. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save about three percent on your heating bill. The district appreciates it's customers and provides free safety inspections and pilot lighting. We encourage our customers to go ahead and call us to set up those appointments. Call 597-4388."

Woman Airlifted After Tuesday Morning Traffic Accident

October 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 48 year old woman was injured in a one vehicle traffic accident around 4:30 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) on the Cookeville Highway.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Valerie Helms Rodriguez of Beaufort, South Carolina was driving north on Highway 56 in a 2009 Chevy HHR when she failed to maintain the proper lane of travel, entered a ditch on the east side of the road, struck a driveway culvert and overturned twice. The vehicle came to final rest upright on it's wheels on the east side of the highway.

Rodriguez, who was in the area visiting relatives, says she was going to the store at the time of the accident.

She was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Fisherman Drowns in Caney Fork River

October 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 51 year old fisherman drowned in the Caney Fork River in the area of Happy Hollow boat ramp Sunday morning.

Officials of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and TWRA say Roman S. Grzybowski of Antioch, Tennessee was in the river trout fishing, wearing waders, when he apparently stepped in a hole. Water filled the waders and dragged him down.

According to the Herald Citizen, 28 year old Nathan John Wilson and his brother, 30 year old Nicholas R.T. Wilson both of Smyrna told deputies they were fishing when they noticed a man who was fishing downstream from them fall.

The two men took off their waders and swam to the man but by the time they got to him, he had stopped moving. They pulled him out of the water and began CPR. Paramedics later arrived

The victim was taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department received the call around 7:47 a.m..

9th Annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour

October 13, 2008
Donna B. Emmons
Christine Colombarini Vessel
Claudia Lee- Paper
Tim Hintz-Chair

Enjoy unique demonstrations, engaging conversation with some of this area's premier craftspersons and the opportunity to purchase beautiful works of art at the 9th annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour, set for Friday, Oct. 24 - Sunday, Oct. 26, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm in nearby DeKalb and Cannon counties. This year the tour has added an extra day and extra hours as well as a new studio and new guest artists to surprise and entertain their visitors. A detailed map available by mail or on the website will serve as a guide to a weekend of leisurely touring the beautiful fall settings in rural middle Tennessee.

Bigger and better than ever, this free and fun-filled event includes 11 professional, private craft studios simultaneously open to the public for this one special weekend. Visit over 26 award-winning artists as they demonstrate their unique talents and explain how they create their stunning designs in wood, glass, pottery, jewelry, metal, concrete, textile arts, paper, fabrics, mixed media, and architectural ceramics.

Included in this year's tour is the hospitality center located at the eclectic Stella Luna Art Gallery in Smithville where visitors can see a stunning collection of distinctive crafts, while enjoying demonstrations and light refreshments.

Among this year's award-winning and published artists are William Kooienga, wood sculpture; Tim Hintz, ladderback chairs; Susan DeMay, clay; Claudia Lee, paper and books; Tom Fuhrman, glass; Meredith Novak, textile art; Louis and Christine Colombarini, clay; Arlene Knaak, clay; Cheryl Ludwig, fibers; Kem Alexander, concrete; Chery Cratty, pulp painting; Amy Potter, architectural ceramics; Breanna Rockstad-Kincaid, fibers art; Rob Harvey, clay; Randy Johns, wood furniture; Sherri G., clay; Sarah McClary, jewelry; John Sellberg, clay; Damon MacNaught, glass; T. J. Edwards, clay; Dee Vanek, concrete sculpture; Ed Wooten, glass and Shaker boxes; Sharon Kooienga, fibers; Sandre Krikke, fabrics; Timothy Weber, clay; and Sande Krikke, fabrics.

For more information or to receive a detailed brochure with map, visit www.smithvilletn.com/studiotour, email obp@smithvilletn.com, or call Tim Hintz at (615) 597-8770.

Brochures and information will be available at the Habitat for Humanity Chili Cookoff on Friday, October 24th on the square.


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