Local News Articles

Blackwell Charged with Five Counts of Forgery

July 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police have charged a 36 year old man with five counts of forgery for allegedly passing forged checks on the account of a family member at a local bank totaling $2,075.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Russell Blackwell is under a $50,000 bond and he will be in court on August 16.

According to Chief Caplinger, Blackwell passed checks in the following amounts on the following days on the account of Harold Blackwell: $475 on June 22; $300 and $600 on June 25; $350 on June 26; and $350 on June 28.

28 year old Roxanna Landis is charged with public intoxication and leaving the scene. She is under a $4,000 bond and will be in court on August 2. Chief Caplinger said Landis was a passenger with Russell Blackwell when police arrested him on a recent DUI offense and brought in his vehicle. The next day, Landis came to the city parking lot, where Blackwell's vehicle was parked, and tried to drive off in it. But in doing so, she crashed it into a vehicle belonging to the City of Smithville. Landis then left the scene on foot. She was later arrested. At the time of her arrest, Landis was intoxicated. She had very slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Police had to stop the field sobriety tasks for her safety because she couldn't stand.

36 year old Peggy Bandy is charged with domestic assault. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, July 7 an officer responded to a domestic disturbance at 477 West Main Street. Upon arrival, he spoke to Gary Bandy who stated that his wife had assaulted him. Bandy said while at his sister's home, Peggy arrived saying she wanted to speak to him. While the two were on the porch, Bandy claims Peggy became violent and punched him on the side of his face and grabbed his shirt, tearing it. She allegedly threatened to kill him. The officer spoke with Peggy Bandy who allegedly admitted to hitting Gary in the face and tearing his shirt because he had pushed her. It was determined that she was the primary aggressor.

26 year old Jordan Adams is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and cited for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on August 2. Chief Caplinger said that on Tuesday, July 3 an officer responded to a residence on Cookeville Highway where a man was in a vehicle asleep at the wheel or passed out. The caller said the man had been there for about 45 minutes. Upon arrival, the officer found the man, Adams, slumped over the steering wheel. The officer awoke Adams. He had very slurred speech. Adams said he had taken prescription medication about twelve hours earlier. He submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He was very unsteady on his feet. Adams refused to submit to an alcohol/drug test but a mandatory draw was done due to a prior DUI against him on September 12, 2007 in Putnam County.

One week later, on Tuesday July 10, Adams was cited for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana). Chief Caplinger said Adams was stopped at the intersection of Church and North College Streets due to a warrant against him. While checking Adams, the officer found inside his shorts a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Adams allegedly tried to resist arrest.

26 year old Stephanie Bone is charged with domestic violence. Her bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer responded to a residence at 675 Kendra Drive to a domestic call where a husband and wife were in an altercation. The man told police that his wife had allegedly assaulted him and made threats to hit and stab him. The man had marks on his shoulder and neck area and two large cuts on the right side of his chest. Ms. Bone allegedly told police that she and her husband had been fussing and that she had thrown a picture frame at him. It was determined that she was the primary aggressor.

20 year old Joseph Blair is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for speeding. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on July 26. Chief Caplinger said an officer stopped Blair's vehicle for speeding on South Congress Boulevard. He was clocked at 77 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour speed zone. The officer noticed that Blair's speech was very slurred and he appeared to be disoriented. The officer asked him if he knew where he was and Blair responded that he was in Dickson. Blair submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test.

30 year old Nicholas Hollingsworth was cited for shoplifting at the Dollar General Store on Wednesday, July 18. He will be in court August 9. According to Chief Caplinger, a store employee told the responding officer that Hollingsworth was seen putting items into a bag. A search of the bag turned up merchandise stolen from the store.

57 year old David Lee Alwin is cited for speeding and violation of the open container law.

51 year old Roy Atnip is cited for shoplifting. He will be in court August 2. Chief Caplinger said Atnip allegedly took merchandise from Advance Auto Parts and tried to sell those items at another local business. The incident was reported to police. Atnip was confronted and upon a search, he was found to have the stolen items from the store in his possession.

Juan Luis Carrera Munoz is cited for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He will be in court on August 2. According to Chief Caplinger, Munoz asked his fifteen year old son to drive to a location across town to pick up something for him. The boy drove the vehicle and became involved in a traffic accident in front of the Dairy Queen on Broad Street. He rear ended another automobile and left the scene. The incident occurred on Thursday, July 12.

Early Voting Ends Saturday

July 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

Three hundred seventy three people have voted early in the August 2 elections. Early voting ends Saturday, July 28.

The largest single day turnout for early voting so far has been the first day, Friday July 13 when 70 people cast ballots. The response each day since is as follows:

Saturday, July 14- 31
Monday, July 16- 42
Tuesday, July 17- 42
Wednesday, July 18- 53
Thursday, July 19- 55
Friday, July 20- 37
Saturday, July 21- 43

Early voting this week will be held Monday from Noon until 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until Noon. All early voting is being held in the first floor or basement courtroom of the courthouse near the election commission office. Election Day, August 2 voting will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at all sixteen precincts in the county.

As a voter you may vote for whom you choose in the DeKalb County General Election regardless of party affiliation in the races for assessor of property, constable, or school board member. In other words, you can vote for a democrat in one race and a republican in another.

However, if you choose to vote in one of the state primaries which include the offices of State Representative, U.S. Representative, or U.S. Senator, you must declare in which primary you intend to vote. For example, if you declare your intention to vote in the State Republican Primary, you can ONLY vote for Republican candidates for State Representative, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator but you MAY vote for ANY candidate you choose regardless of party affiliation in the county general election (Assessor of Property, Constable, School Board)

Likewise, if you choose to vote in the State Democratic Primary you can vote
for only Democratic candidates for State Representative, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator but you MAY vote for ANY candidate you choose regardless of party affiliation in the county general election (Assessor of Property, Constable, School Board)

In simple terms, you can vote for a Democrat in the County General and still choose the Republican State Primary; or you may vote for a Republican in the County General and still choose the Democrat State Primary.

Local voters will be electing a new Assessor of Property in August. The candidates are Scott Cantrell and Mason Carter. Two school board seats will be filled along with five constable seats.
In the state primary, local voters will help select the party nominees for State Representative in the 40th district, the 46th district, Congressman in the 6th District and one U.S. Senator.

THP Investigating Fatal Bicycle Accident

July 21, 2012
Dwayne Page

A 50 year old man involved in a bicycle accident Thursday afternoon on Pea Ridge Road in the Dry Creek area has died and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating to determine if he was the victim of a hit and run.

Dead is Tim Caldwell of Dowelltown.

According to the THP, Caldwell was riding alone on a bicycle when he apparently went off in a ditch and was thrown from the bike.

Central dispatch was notified at 4:48 p.m. The caller reported that a guy had been hit by a car on a bike. Officers arrived at the scene and spoke with Caldwell who reportedly told them that a big car with a young guy driving had been responsible.

Caldwell was taken by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone set up near the scene. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt hospital where he died on Friday.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite and the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating but has not yet determined whether Caldwell was the victim of a hit and run or just a tragic accident with no one else involved.

Smithville Church of God To Give Away Backpacks for Back to School

July 20, 2012
Backpacks for Back to School

The Smithville Church of God is gearing up for back to school with plans to give away 200 backpacks filled with school supplies to students. The backpacks will be available as a part of the church’s free back to school party on Saturday, Aug 4. From 10-2 that day, the church fellowship hall and parking lot will be filled with inflatables, food, and fun for the community with the backpacks being given away on a first come-first served basis. Those interested in a backpack are urged to reserve one by registering on the church’s website www.smithvillecog.com or by calling the church office at 615-597-1419.

This giveaway comes as a part of a challenge, issued by Pastor Jeff Armstrong, for the church to reach out to the community in new ways. Pastor Armstrong instructs his church to follow the model set forth by Christ in His ministry: caring, reaching out, and helping those in need. Armstrong notes that Jesus always cared first for the physical and emotional need of those around him, enabling them to focus on spiritual necessities. He further reminds us of the biblical calling for the church to care for widows, orphans, the hungry, the lonely, and the lost.

The congregation kicked off the challenge by handing out over 2500 free bottles of water during the Smithville Jamboree and plans to continue over the next year with a series of events for all ages.

On August 22, there will be an after school youth rally for students in grades 7-12 featuring games, free food, and giveaways. There will be free transportation from school for the students for an afternoon of fun, and the evening will culminate with a youth centered service featuring the youth band and drama team and a message by youth pastor, Chris Moore.

On August 25, Gospel Bluegrass band Right on Time will perform at a BBQ dinner to raise funds for the projects of the Women’s Ministries; a $10 contribution will entitle you to a BBQ plate dinner as well as admission to the concert.

In September, the church will host a revival with Evangelist Rick Cottrell. We will also follow up this spring’s popular Princess for a Day fundraising event with Cowboy for a Day, which will offer boys a day of Wild Western fun.

October will begin with a Friend’s Day and picnic and will end with the annual Trunk or Treat Celebration featuring a free hot dog dinner for the entire family, as well as decorated vehicles and lots of candy for the kids.

November brings the Community Thanksgiving service and our annual contribution of Shoeboxes donated to the international charity, Samaritan’s Purse.

There are plans to wrap up the year in December with the annual Christmas walk-through, The Bethlehem Experience.

It is the hope of Pastor Armstrong, the staff, and congregation that these events will help the community to see Christ and his followers in a new light of caring and love.

Country Artist Kalisa Ewing to Perform at the DeKalb County Fair

July 20, 2012
Kalisa Ewing

Country artist Kalisa Ewing will perform at the DeKalb County Fair Tuesday night at the Lion's Club Pavilion following the Little Miss and Mister pageant.

"Look in the mirror find a new reflection, those chains won't hold you down unless you let them. Life can surprise you when you least expect it, that's what's so beautiful about redemption."

With her sweet country voice and hauntingly beautiful lyrics, singer/songwriter Kalisa Ewing is no stranger to life's surprises. Her songs are bold, fresh and honest; stories that may never have been told if not for a divine intervention of sorts.

"My mom and I got into a car accident the summer before my Sophomore year of high school and I blacked out. I remember during that time, visions of my guitar in my hands, playing my guitar and being on stage, all flashed before my eyes. That was enough to make me think a little bit harder about writing songs and what playing music meant to me."

Kalisa grew up in the country just outside Nashville where, at age 11, she picked up a guitar and penned her first song. She credits her insatiable passion for music to her grandfather, who died of heart problems just after she was born. Kalisa's grandfather, Owen McCarty, was a blind musician who moved to Nashville to fulfill his dreams as an artist in Music City.

Like her grandfather, Kalisa continued to search for a home in music. She took guitar lessons and began writing poetry to sharpen her songwriting skills.

"I've always felt a little bit like an outcast," said Kalisa. "It seems like so many people I meet either grew up singing in church or playing music with their families. I never did any of that. Hearing stories of my grandpa, I think he was the closest person in my blood that I can say dreamed the same dream. I know it must have been passed down to me by him."

Fast-forward through years of odd-end jobs and dead-end promises, Kalisa met industry veteran, Todd Wilkes, who recognized her unparalleled talent and opted to publish her independently. Under the helm of Wilkes and Kent Earls (Universal Music), Kalisa became the first co-venture of Wilkes' company, KingSpirit Music, and signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.

"One of my songs, ‘Redemption,' is about everything that I've had to learn the hard way through the years. That's the kind of real stories that I hope connect with people. I like to write about love, screwing things up, being a screw up, finding redemption and then living to tell about it. I write about what I've learned."

If there's one thing Kalisa knows about life's little surprises it's that it will bring you to where you need to be when you least expect it. It will bring you home. And that's exactly what her music is all about.

Pealer Files Federal Lawsuit Against UCDD

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Ashley Pealer

Ashley Pealer, a former Upper Cumberland Development District employee has filed a federal court lawsuit against the agency; the man who fired her, Randy Williams, UCDD's interim executive director; and Mike Gannon, chairman of the UCDD board. Pealer claims her personal cell phone messages and Facebook account were hacked, a violation of her Constitutional rights.

Pealer is being represented by W. Gary Blackburn of Nashville, who filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Northeast Division Wednesday morning.

Allegations involve violations of the Stored Communications Act and the Wiretap Act, allegedly committed by Williams and Gannon.

Pealer claims that after she was fired, her cell phone, issued to her by UCDD, was taken from her; that some three hundred pages of her private text messages, which were stored through Verizon, were accessed by the defendants, printed and published to various persons. Pealer alleges that at least one of the defendants used her private password to invade and access her Facebook account as well. The Defendants also allegedly intercepted a private email communication to Pealer's Facebook account, according to the lawsuit.

Pealer claims the purpose and intent of this behavior was to embarrass and intimidate her in retaliation for her refusal to participate in or remain silent about the illegal behavior of former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins, and to determine the extent to which she (Pealer) was involved in disclosing illegal conduct to the news media.

Pealer is asking the court to "permanently enjoin any further publication of her text messages or information obtained from her Facebook account; that the court order the defendants to answer to Pealer in damages caused by their violation of the Secured Communications Act, in an amount of no less than one thousand dollars for each violation, to be assessed against each individual Defendant, and in an amount not less than ten thousand dollars for violation of the Wiretap Act; that the Defendants be assessed punitive damages as provided under the Secured Communications Act; that the Defendants be further assessed damages for the deprivation of Pealer's rights as guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; that Pealer be awarded her reasonable attorney's fees and expenses as provided both by the Secured Communications Act and the Wiretap Act; and that a jury be impaneled to try all issues so triable"

Allegations of the lawsuit state as follows:

Prior to June 18, 2012, the Plaintiff (Pealer) had been employed for a number of years by the UCDD. Pealer was provided a Droid smartphone by the UCDD. Her business email address was apealer@ucdd.org. The published personnel manual of the agency provides that communications stored in agency systems are the property of the agency. Pealer therefore does not assert any expectation of privacy with regard to the agency email account or voicemail.

Pealer maintained a separate private email account with the address and a private password protected Facebook account.

Pealer also communicated through text messages which were stored through a service provided by Verizon. The UCDD personnel manual is silent concerning text messages. The Agency, through its supervisory personnel, never sought access to or advised of rules concerning text messages prior to June 18, 2012. Pealer sent and received personal messages and regarded them as private.

In the months preceding June 18, 2012, the agency was the subject of an extensive investigation by NewsChannel5 television of Nashville. This investigation revealed what was appeared to have been the misappropriation of funds and the diversion of agency money for the private benefit of the Director, Wendy Askins, her family members and others. The Agency, its directors and employees have been and are the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

As a consequence of the scandal, the agency employed counsel to do an internal investigation at a cost of nearly two hundred fifty thousand dollars. During this investigation, Pealer was interviewed. At no time were her text messages requested or reviewed, nor was she asked to permit access to her Facebook account. At no time were her personal Hotmail emails requested or reviewed.

Director Wendy Askins, who was suspected of misappropriation of public funds, was forced to resign. She was permitted to retain her cell phone and upon information and belief, none of her messages were requested or reviewed by the Agency or by any attorney employed on its behalf.

Subsequent to Ms. Askins' departure, Mr. Earl Carwile was asked to become the interim Executive Director of the Agency. Pealer served as acting Deputy Director and reported directly to Mr. Carwile.

On May 31, 2012, Mr. Carwile submitted to Mike Foster, who at that time served as Chairman of the Board, his resignation as Executive Director. Mr. Carwile complained of what he believed to have been poor financial management and inappropriate conduct on behalf of the UCDD Board. This included the surrender of over one hundred thousand dollars in grant money to an individual who had applied for the grants while a UCDD employee. Mr. Carwile complained that rather than focusing upon the multiple problems created by the unethical and illegal conduct of the former Executive Director, board members previously associated with Ms. Askins had become obsessed with identifying the person or persons who had contacted the media and who had taken "information out".

Pealer was associated with Mr. Carwile and was among those who had opposed and refused to remain silent about illegal and possible criminal activities attributed to Ms. Askins, her friends and family.

On June 18, 2012, Pealer reported to work. She was taken to the office of the then acting, Director, Randal Williams, and terminated. Mr. Williams falsely told Pealer that she was being terminated mainly because of an agency reorganization.

None of the procedures for such an adverse job action contained in the policy and procedures manual was followed.

Defendant Williams, in the presence of Sherry Thurman, announced in pretentious language that Pealer had been terminated and must leave the premises immediately. Pealer was not allowed to obtain her personal belongings and her cell phone was taken from her.

Thereafter, some three hundred pages of private text message of Pealer, which were stored through Verizon, were accessed by the defendants and printed. The defendant, Mike Gannon, who by then served as the Chairman of the UCDD Board, reviewed the text messages along with Defendant, Michelle Price, Sherry Thurman, and Patty Ray. After the text messages were printed, they were published to various persons.

At least one of the Defendants used the private password of Pealer to invade and access Pealer's Facebook account as well. The Defendants intercepted a private email communication to Pealer's Facebook account.

The purpose and intent of this behavior was to embarrass and intimidate Pealer in retaliation for her refusal to participate in or remain silent about the illegal behavior of Wendy Askins, and to determine the extent to which she was involved in disclosing illegal conduct to the news media.

At the time the stored messages were accessed by the Defendants, Pealer had already been terminated. Consequently, none of the texts were used as a premise for her termination, and no proper or legitimate purpose has been offered by the defendants.

The Stored Communications Act prohibits unlawful access to stored electronic communication.

The intrusion of the Defendants as agents of a public agency into Pealer's stored text messages and Facebok account constitutes a warrantless search upon private property in which Pealer had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The search was not done pursuant to a warrant or in the investigation of any matter concerning Pealer's employment, but was done following her termination for an improper purpose. This constitutes a deprivation of Pealer's rights under the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The UCDD, through its agents and employees, intentionally intercepted a wire or electronic communication from a third person to Pealer through the theft and misuse of her Facebook password. The UCDD therefore violated the Wiretap Act.

Referendum Petition Drive Underway to Allow Liquor Stores in Smithville

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Public May Decide If Liquor Stores Such as This Be Allowed in Smithville
Should Liquor Stores be Allowed in Smithville

One month after the liquor by the drink referendum was defeated in the Smithville Municipal Election, another petition drive has been started calling for a public vote in November on allowing liquor stores in the City of Smithville.

Randy Paris, the local businessman who started the petition drive to get the liquor by the drink question on the city election ballot in June, is now circulating a petition calling for a local option referendum in the November General Election to "authorize retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the City of Smithville" Only ninety valid signatures are needed to get the issue before city voters.

Paris, in a telephone interview with WJLE Thursday, said this is a way to boost the local economy and bring in more tax revenue. "Since we barely lost in the liquor by the drink referendum, I decided to try for liquor stores where people could buy wine and other alcoholic beverages at a market. But the decision really shouldn't be about whether you drink or not or whether you approve of it or not. It should be a business decision that will help our city economically. We have a huge tourism trade and this is a way of generating revenue for our city from the amount of tourism we have as well as our local people who are spending money in Putnam County, Rutherford County, Jackson County, and all the surrounding areas. The money would stay in our county and our city to help us," he said.

Paris has until around the first of September to get his petitions turned into the election commission.

The City of Smithville has a beer board that issues permits to eligible applicants for the sale of beer within the city limits. The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission would apparently have the authority over the issuance of liquor licenses.

Just last month, Smithville city voters denied an attempt to get liquor by the drink in qualifying city restaurants. By a vote of 402 (54.69%) to 333 (45.31%) city voters said "No" to the liquor by the drink referendum, which would have given city restaurants the opportunity to apply for a license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve wine and other mixed alcoholic beverages to its patrons. Under state law, that issue cannot be raised again for at least two years.

Cumberland Presbyterian Revival Releases First CD Recording "A New Hallelujah"

July 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Cumberland Presbyterian Revival

Cumberland Presbyterian Revival, a group of contemporary Christian singers and musicians from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, has released its first recording called "A New Hallelujah".

The new release, available on compact disc, features thirteen spirit filled selections with CPR's own brand of praise and worship sound. From the first notes of "A New Hallelujah" to the last refrain of "You Are Here", each song is sure to touch a chord with churches and listeners alike.

"This is stuff that we do every Sunday," said Thea Tippin, a CPR vocalist. " These are songs that we love and the congregation loves. We've had people ask us to do a cd for so long and we have wanted to do one for so many years. We hope this will be successful. We hope it blesses people. That's the main thing," she said.

Teresa Trapp, a founding member and vocalist of CPR, said the group had plenty of songs from which to select for the cd. "We all just got together and decided each one would write down five or six of his or her favorite songs that we enjoy singing and bring those to the table and from those, we recorded and then from the recording, we chose which ones to go on the cd. It was a collaboration of everybody in the group," she said.

"After listening to it, you can just tell that it was just God ordained, " said Fran Tyson, CPR vocalist and keyboard player. "Every song on there, the Lord chose for us," she said. "I think my favorite worship song that we have on there just for entering into the presence of the Lord is "Worthy Is the Lamb" and then it moves into "Shout to the Lord"," she said.

The title, "A New Hallelujah" is the lead off song on the cd and is a personal favorite of most members, partly because it was recorded by members of the children's choir from the church. "We got the children's choir together several months ago and did the song live at church one Sunday morning and it was just overwhelming," said Scott Brown, who performs in the group as a vocalist and on acoustic guitar. " People liked it and we've had a lot of compliments on the song on the cd so far,"he said.

Colton Rhody, lead guitarist, said he prefers the more upbeat songs. "I like the second song on the cd "I Came to Praise the Lord" and there's a song called "Don't You Wanna Go" I like. Those are more southern gospel or country type and I get to play a little more on those," he said.

Other members who make up Cumberland Presbyterian Revival are James Snyder, bass guitarist and vocalist and Ty Linscomb and Hunter Tramel, vocalists. The cd includes a special performance on the song "A New Hallelujah" by vocalists Thomas Tippin, Caven Ponder, Briz Trapp, Cameron Miller, Ted Tippin, Bill Miller, Brittany Pinkard, Allison Rogers, Paige Snyder, Noah Gill, and Nathan Atkins.

You may purchase a copy of the "A New Hallelujah" cd at F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, Charlie Max & Company, or Creative Styles in Smithville. You may also buy a copy directly from members of the praise group or at the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The cost is $20.00.

Proceeds from the sale of the cd will help support the church building fund. "We have been growing by leaps and bounds at our church and we thank God for that but we've been getting a little crowded so there has been talk of starting a building fund and we thought this would be a good way for us to contribute so all the proceeds from this will go back to the church for the building fund," said Brown.

Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 Attend Camp

July 19, 2012
Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 Attend Camp

Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347, sponsored by the Smithville Rotary Club and First United Methodist Church Smithville, spent July 8th – 13th at Boxwell Scout Reservation, Camp Craig, near Gallatin. Scouts attending and courses taken include:

Tyree Cripps:
Environmental Science*, Photography, Space Exploration, Leatherworking, Woodcarving

James Mathis:
Indian Lore, Personal Fitness*, Chess, Rifle Shoot

Jim Sherwood:
Personal Fitness*, Chess, Rifle Shoot; winner of the “Chess Master” Award, 1st place in the camp-wide chess tournament

Nate Sherwood:
Indian Lore, Fish & Wildlife Management, Chess, Rifle Shoot

Will Stephens:
Geology, Fish & Wildlife Management, First Aid*, Space Exploration, Leatherworking, Woodcarving
*denotes Eagle required merit badge

There are a few outstanding requirements for some boys and some badges, such as Personal Fitness requires documenting 3 months of exercise and the improvements and First Aid requires the scout put together a first aid kit for their home.

Adult Leadership during camp: Jen Sherwood, Will Sherwood and Walt Stock.
Boys 11 years of age and up are welcome and encouraged to join Troop 347. There is a full schedule of camping, canoeing and high adventure scheduled for the 2012 – 2013 year. Call 615 597 2321 for more information.

Utility-funds scam is gathering steam and victims – don’t be next!

July 18, 2012

Have you been contacted by someone claiming to be from your utility company, promising the U.S. government will aid your payments through specially approved funds? The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs warns utility consumers to be on guard: Your personal information is at risk.

Consumers that are contacted are being advised to provide Social Security numbers. Once a consumer provides this information, a bank account number is given, supposedly to fund payments. But, the bank account numbers being provided to victims are fake and consumers’ payments are being returned.

“There is no such federal utility payment assistance program,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “However, utility customers seem to be falling for the ruse, making it one of the more successful scams in recent times. Victims often share the information with family and friends, who also fall for the scam before learning the truth.”

Scammers find victims through all the usual channels: emails, bogus Tweets and Facebook messages. They are also reported to be going block by block, knocking on residents’ doors and handing out leaflets encouraging people to pay their bills with the bogus account information. Scammers also tend to prey on people looking for a shortcut or for the promise of free or easy money. Word of mouth playing on that theme also appears to help this scam spread.

“One reason the scam is spreading is because it seems to work – at first,” said Cordell. “Before the local utility company gets wise to the bogus account numbers being used, the payments are processed and initially credited to victims, who receive payment confirmation notices. Only later, the payments are rescinded.”

If you are contacted by one of these scammers:

•Do not provide your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about to whom you are speaking.

•If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

•Never allow anyone into your home supposedly to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Always ask for – and verify – proper identification.

If you have questions about your utility’s conduct, contact the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at www.tn.gov/TRA.


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