Local News Articles

Service Restored for DUD Customers Affected by Broken Water Line

October 16, 2010
Dwayne Page

Water will soon start flowing again for customers of the DeKalb Utility District who have been without water for the last day or two.

DUD officials say work was completed late Friday night to a main line break which was discovered Thursday on Highway 70 at the top of Snow Hill across from DeKalb Market.

Service should be restored Saturday morning for customers in the area. It may also take a little while for water pressure to build back for some customers.

Officials say because the line was buried so deep in the ground, it was difficult to reach. Digging operations began shortly after the break was discovered Thursday. DUD workers and other local contractors worked late in the night Thursday and early Friday morning. More digging equipment and manpower were brought in Friday to join in the effort to locate the line.

Smithville Home Heavily Damaged by Fire

October 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Home of Reba Scott Heavily Damaged by Fire
Home of Reba Scott on Forrest Avenue

A fire Thursday night caused extensive damage to the home of Reba Scott at 1004 Forrest Avenue, Smithville.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:42 p.m.

Captain Jeff Wright of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department says Ms. Scott left the house a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. and the fire was already in progress when she returned. A neighbor apparently reported it.

The blaze could be seen coming through the roof as firefighters worked to bring it under control.

Captain Wright says the fire appeared to have originated from the kitchen area of the home but the exact cause has not been determined. Most of the homes contents were either damaged or destroyed in the fire

City Beer Board Suspends Permits of Three Businesses for 90 Days

October 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Susana Jasmin Saldivar
Jim Judkins, attorney for Susana Saldivar
City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

The Smithville Beer Board has suspended the license of three businesses for violation of the city's beer ordinance which prohibits the illegal sales of alcohol to a person under the age of 21.

The owners of Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard, Village Market on North Congress Boulevard, and El Mariachi (BP Station) on West Broad Street are prohibited from selling beer for ninety days.

The beer board held a hearing Thursday evening at city hall.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, in presenting his case against the stores to the beer board Thursday night, explained that a confidential underage informant was sent into all locations that sell beer in Smithville on Friday, August 27th. In each case, Chief Caplinger said the informant, who is 18 years of age, presented his ID and tried to buy beer. He was successful only at these three stores, Jewel's Market, El Mariachi, and at Village Market. "At each stop, myself and detective (Matt) Holmes, positioned ourselves where we could actually see the operation. He (underage informant) would go in and pick up a six pack of beer out of the cooler, come to the counter, and set it down. We watched to see if he was asked for an ID or not. Some stores turned him down, some did not."

In the case against El Mariachi, Chief Caplinger explained that "at this particular location, and we did not know it at the time, but the (clerk behind the counter working there) was a juvenile. We observed her sell him the beer and she did not ask for an ID or anything. He did have the ID out but they did not check it. He bought a six pack of Busch beer. We observed him pay for it, pick it up, and then he came out of the store and got back in the van with us (Caplinger and Holmes). We recorded everything and went to the next location."

Chief Caplinger said the store clerk was still working behind the counter when police returned later to make the arrests. "That's when we found out that she was only sixteen years old."

The girl's aunt, 33 year old Susana Jasmin Saldivar was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing a sixteen year old female store clerk to sell beer. The 16 year old was also charged in a juvenile petition with selling alcohol to a minor.

Since then Saldivar has appeared in General Sessions Court where she pled guilty to the charge. She was given a six month suspended sentence and fined $50 in the case.

Jim Judkins, the attorney for Ms. Saldivar, appealed to the beer board not to punish the aunt for the actions of her niece, who was not an employee of the store. "This was an afternoon where she (niece) came over to the store. What we would allege is that they (uncle and aunt) have allowed her to stand up near the bar (store counter) where the cash register is and do her homework. At this particular time, she (niece) was supposed to get Mr. Rodriguez (her uncle) to come over and do this (make the sale). He was on the very other side of the store checking out a shipment and got distracted. Ms Saldivar, the owner, was in the back in the ladies room. So our position is that the owners or none of their employees ever made or allowed any sale of beer to a minor under 21 years of age. Their niece, and I'm not saying she's a bad girl because sometimes kids break the rules, but she didn't do what she was supposed to and she went ahead and made the sale. Our argument is that my clients, the owners and their employees, no one who was authorized to sell beer that day did it. The niece did it."

In response, city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said the city ordinance is clear. "It says "make or allow" and they were allowing her to run the cash register. The ordinance says "It shall be unlawful for any beer permit holder to make or allow any sale of beer to a minor under twenty one years of age."

Judkins added that Saldivar entered a "best interest" guilty plea and accepted the sentence rather than spend another two weeks in jail.

In the case against Jewel's Market, Chief Caplinger explained that the underage informant showed the store clerk, Kira G. Clouse, his ID but she ignored it and sold him the beer anyway. " Our client went in and purchased a six pack of Natural Ice Beer. She did ask for an ID and he produced it, showed it, but she just looked down at it and handed him the beer and he walked out."

The store manager of Jewel's Market, Neil Patel, was present during Thursday night's beer board hearing and admitted that the store was guilty of making the illegal beer sale. The store owner did not attend the meeting. Patel said the owner lives in Georgia. The court case against Ms. Clouse is still pending.

In the case against Village Market, Chief Caplinger said the buy went pretty much the same way as the others. "Our agent went in and picked up a six pack of Busch beer. He put it on the counter. No ID was checked there. He paid for it and received a receipt for it and he came out with the beer."

The case against the store clerk who made the sale at Village Market, Hardik Pravinbhai Patel, is still pending in court.

The owner of Village Market addressed the beer board Thursday night. He too admitted that the store was guilty of making the illegal beer sale, but asked that he be allowed to pay a penalty fine in lieu of a 90 day suspension of his license. The owner said he would lose business and might have to lay off employees because of this.

Parsley said the city ordinance does not provide for the option of a fine." The ordinance says upon the finding of any violation by any permit holder, the punishment for the first offense shall be a minimum suspension of the beer permit for a period of ninety days. Upon any permit holder committing a violation a second time, the punishment shall be the revocation of the beer license."

The beer board, made up of Steve Hayes, Farron Hendrix, Annette Greek, and Alderman Cecil Burger, voted in each case to suspend the beer license of each establishment for ninety days. Beer board member Lloyd Black was absent Thursday night.

Parsley instructed each of the store owners and operators to stop selling beer immediately and warned of the consequences if they are caught selling beer to anyone during the 90 day suspension period.

Chief Caplinger is expected to pick up the license of each of the three stores by Friday.

School Board Seeks To Work Out Details with City and County on Plan to Direct Traffic in Two School Zones

October 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Student Representative on School Board Samantha Lewis
Former School Board Member Joan Draper Recognized

The DeKalb County Board of Education appears to be willing to join in a partnership with the City of Smithville and County Commission to appropriate funds toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school subject to agreement on final details.

During Thursday night's school board meeting, seventh district member Johnny Lattimore made a motion that a committee be appointed to meet with county and city officials and " if everybody agrees to everything, the director of schools and (school board) chairman can take executive action to issue those funds to cover our part of it. Then we can vote on it next month."

Chairman Charles Robinson appointed board members Billy Miller and Kenny Rhody and he will ask Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins III, who was absent Thursday night, to also be on the committee.

School board members apparently discussed this issue in a workshop on Tuesday night but it was not on the regular meeting agenda Thursday night. Third district member Kenny Rhody brought it up near the end of the meeting and Lattimore suggested that it first be referred to committee before taking board action. "Money is not the issue. It's how we pay the people that are going to direct the traffic. I think it would be a good idea to form a committee to meet with the county commission and the city council to discuss the details and work it out because if not we're just going to be passing it back from one meeting to the next. Everybody needs to sit down and iron out all the details."

Fourth district member Billy Miller said he started doing some checking after concerns had been raised about liability.."I've done some checking today. I think an issue was whether or not it would be a liability to each department or not. If it was set up as a 1099 tax form where it was contractual labor, the liability goes back to the person who is actually doing it in the state roadway. There is also a one day training that each individual has to take that is put on by the state at no cost to the county. Each one will have an insurance that will cover them for the liability. As far as wrecks, school zones, I checked with state, county, and city officials today and there is nothing any more special about a school zone than any other public highway. Accidents work the same way. There is no more liability. When humans are involved, humans are going to err and there may be accidents out there but I still think that having somebody out there will far outweigh what it would be if we didn't have anybody out there."

Lattimore responded, "I agree Mr. Miller but I think it would be better if everybody just sat down at a meeting and discussed it."

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley asked "Hasn't the city and county already approved it?

Lattimore answered, "They've already approved it but nobody has said who is going to take care of the payroll issue of it. That's what needs to be discussed."

Rhody interjected, "The city's went ahead and put their good faith money up. The county has already done theirs. I think they're just waiting on us to approve our part. We (should) all sit down and iron out all the details."

Miller also addressed the issue of the man hours involved. "I think there is a concern on how many hours they would be out there. I think everybody at this point and time is looking at somebody at Northside and the high school and down from two hours (at one school) to one hour (per day at each school). I spoke with some city officials today and there's not an issue with the city handling that as far as having them come in and clock in. They can check in on the (police) radio and clock their time in and out because we (school system) don't have anybody here at seven o'clock in the morning. If somebody calls in sick or there needs to be a replacement, we wouldn't be able to provide that but the city would. It's my understanding from the conversations I've had with them (city officials) that this would not be an issue to do that if we were willing to put up our third of the monies."

The DeKalb County Commission last month voted 12-2 to appropriate up to three thousand dollars a year toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school.

The Smithville Aldermen voted to make the same $3,000 appropriation last month (for Northside Elementary) with the understanding that the county and school board would each fund one third of the costs as well.

In other business the board set Friday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. as the date for the 2011 DeKalb County High School Graduation

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

Those employed since last month are:

B.J. Patterson, part-time computer tech
Roger Sharp, Jr., part-time computer tech
Sarah Ashley Barnes, DeKalb Middle School Guidance Counselor
Kelly Talent, certified substitute teacher
Deliah McGhee, substitute cafeteria worker
Paulette Ruffner, substitute cafeteria worker
Tammy Judkins, substitute school nurse
Thomas Maney, substitute custodian
Cerina S. Craig, part-time Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Leave of Absence:
Crystal Gordon, Special Education Assistant at Northside Elementary, leave as requested
Paulette McDonald, Special Education Assistant at DeKalb Middle School, leave as requested
Georgia Young, DeKalb West School Cafeteria Manager, leave as requested
Holly Hendrix, Smithville Elementary School teacher, leave as requested
Brad Mullinax, Technology, leave as requested
Amy Fox, leave as requested

Richard Bullard, custodian at DCHS
Peggy Semmes, DCHS teacher
Summer Kinnaird Shelton, DeKalb Middle School Guidance Counselor
Diana Moon, Educational Assistant

The board recognized former fourth district member Joan Draper, who served four years on the Board of Education and did not seek re-election this year. Her term expired August 31st.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented her with a school bell as a token of appreciation for her service. " She served this board to the best of her ability and did an outstanding job. A lot of times people run for public office for their own personal agenda and sometimes the agenda they run for is not for everybody. But when Ms. Joan ran for office as a school board member, she ran for all the children of DeKalb County and she served the children of DeKalb County. Our schools have been very fortunate to have had Ms. Joan Draper as a board member."

Board members welcomed this year's student representative on the Board of Education, Samantha Lewis of DCHS

The policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring custodians.

The resolution states "Whereas, custodians take pride in the appearance of their schools and they recognize that the way they carry out their job responsibilities greatly influences the first impression of the school of those who walk through the doors; and

Whereas, we depend on custodians to help keep our students and staff free from illness by providing a healthy learning environment for our students and staff by keeping the school in the cleanest and best condition possible and being "Germinators" who tap out germs, smack down dirt, and knock-out odors; and

Whereas, our custodians make our schools better places by being friendly, helpful, encouraging and consistently demonstrating patience and kindness toward students and staff in the performance of their duties; and

Whereas, custodians frequently go beyond the call of duty to assist students and staff members in numerous ways that reflect well on the schools and school district; and

Therefore, be it hereby resolved, that the School Board expresses appreciation for the Germinators who strive to keep our schools in an orderly, clean, and safe condition each day to make schools better places for students to learn.

Be it further resolved that the School Board declares October 14th as Custodian Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Public Schools.

Be it further resolved, that each school principal is hereby encouraged to get students involved in planning and celebrating Custodian Appreciation Day."

Man Airlifted after Car Crash Near Alexandria

October 14, 2010
Dwayne Page

An 18 year old man was seriously injured in a one car crash Wednesday night on Highway 70 near the stock barn in Alexandria.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says Kyle Thomas of Alexandria was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier when he lost control and wrecked. According to reports, the car flipped over on it's top and Thomas, who was partially ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle, had to be extricated.

Thomas was removed from the car and taken by ground ambulance to the Lebanon airport where he was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

A woman called 911 just before 10:00 p.m. to report that a reckless driver on Highway 70 had almost run her and her husband off the road. The woman and her husband were traveling in separate vehicles. Moments later, the caller reported that the reckless driver had run off the road himself near Dry Creek Road at Dowelltown, but then got back on the road heading west toward Alexandria.

The motorist apparently continued to follow the car and witnessed the wreck. The accident was reported to 911 at 10:08 p.m.

In addition to the Tennessee Highway Patrol and DeKalb EMS, members of the Alexandria Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded along with the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's rescue and extrication team and the Liberty Fire Station.

Firefighters Invite you to DeKalb County Engine 59 Auction and Fish Fry

October 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Bradley Johnson

A DeKalb County Engine 59 Auction and Fish Fry will be Saturday, October 16th at 782 King Ridge Road. The fish fry and auction preview will be at 5:00 p.m. The auction starts at 7:00 p.m. Items to be auctioned include handmade quilts, homemade pies and cakes, and numerous goods donated from local businesses.

Bradley Johnson, a member of the fire station, invites you to come and enjoy the food and fellowship and get to know your firefighters and what they do for this community. "We're excited. We're having a fish fry and an auction on Saturday. We'll be starting at five o'clock. We'll have a LIVE band from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Jubal's Cry will be coming out and playing for us."

"We are very fortunate to have a county that provides for us and we've also been very fortunate to have received some grants but we do try to supplement a few things we need through fundraising. Last year we purchased a generator with some of the funds we got and a few other things we needed."

"A little history about engine 59, we began in 2007. That was when a fire engine was first placed in that community. Right now we have six members including Jimmy Martin. He's our Station Commander. He's been on the fire department for seven years and last year he got "Firefighter of the Year."

"Other members are Kyle Casper. He's been on for four years. Billy Crymes has been on the county fire department for nine years."

"I (Bradley Johnson) received the "Rookie of the Year" award last year and I have been on for a little over two years."

"Bradley Taylor has been on for a little over a year and Jake Bond is a Rookie this year. We're always looking for new recruits."

"Out of our station, we run one engine, a tanker and service truck for the entire county, a rescue/extrication truck, a brush truck, and a boat, which all run out of the main station. We stay pretty busy."

Prices for the fish fry are $10 for adults and $5 for those age ten and younger. Directions: Take Highway 70 west and turn beside Kilgore's on Highway 83 (King Ridge Road). Then turn on the third road on the right. The fire station is on the right. Look for the signs. Donations for the auction are still being accepted. Call 615-418-6067.

October is National Chiropractic Health Month.

October 13, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and County Mayor Mike Foster have signed resolutions recognizing October as National Chiropractic Health Month.

The resolution states that "Whereas, a healthy weight is an essential part of a healthy and active lifestyle;

Whereas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States over the past 20 years;

Whereas, statistics show that more than 60% of adult Americans are either overweight or obese and that nearly one-third of U.S. children and adolescents are either overweight or obese;

Whereas, being overweight or obese is associated not only with heart disease and diabetes but also with increased risks for certain types of cancer;

Whereas, excess weight puts added stress on the low back and forces the spine to work harder to hold the body upright, which in turn causes stress and tension in the muscles and often leads to pain;

Whereas, Doctors of Chiropractic are preventive care providers who focus on the health of the whole person and have particular expertise in the prevention and care of neuromusculoskeletal injuries;

Whereas, Doctors of Chiropractic are trained in proper nutrition and often provide their patients with dietary advice and exercise recommendations;

Whereas, National Chiropractic Health Month serves as a reminder to all of our Smithville and DeKalb County citizens about the importance of making good health decisions, including eating nutritious foods and getting adequate amounts of exercise;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Mayor of Smithville and County Mayor of DeKalb County join with the American Chiropractic Association and Dr. R. Atnip of Atnip Chiropractic Clinic in proclaiming the month of October as National Chiropractic Health Month.

Outdoor Burning Permit Season Begins October 15th

October 13, 2010

It's again fire season in Tennessee, and the Division of Forestry is reminding everyone in DeKalb County that if they intend to do any outdoor burning, they are required by state law to obtain a burning permit. The free permits are required October 15th through May 15th and can be obtained by telephone.

Even though the fire season doesn't officially start until October 15th, because of the lack of rain recently and the low humidity, several people in the county have already had trouble controlling their debris fires. A poorly prepared or unattended burning debris pile can, under these extremely dry conditions, escape control and become a destructive wildfire. The Tennessee Division of Forestry asks everyone to be cautious when doing any outdoor burning.

Before doing any outdoor burning:

First call the Division of Forestry for a burning permit at 597-4015 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (call on Friday for the weekend). If weather conditions permit, they will issue you a burning permit. They will also advise you of any weather conditions such as predicted wind, low humidity or other factors which might call for extra precaution.

Establish wide control lines down to the bare mineral soil around brush piles or other piled debris to be burned. The larger the debris pile, the wider the control line needs to be to ensure that burning materials won't be blown or roll off the pile into vegetation outside the line.

Keep water, tools, and plenty of help ready in case your fire should attempt to spread.

Stay with all outdoor fires until they are completely out.

Be aware of where your smoke is going. Avoid burning when your smoke will be bothersome to neighbors or when near sensitive locations such as highways.

Remember, you as a homeowner have control over the most basic things that will make your house safer from wildfires and allow the local fire department and the Division of Forestry to protect your home. This includes:

Clear away flammable brush and other materials at least 30 feet from your house.

Don't pile firewood or other flammable materials near your house or on your porch or deck.

Keep your yard, roof, and gutters free of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.

Keep leaves, pine needles, and other debris off of or from under decks.

The only materials for which a permit can be issued are brush, leaves, grass, or plant materials that are grown on the property or untreated and unpainted lumber. Anything else such as automobile tires, roofing shingles, household garbage, feed sacks, or anything not grown on the property cannot be legally burned. Failure to obtain a permit or the burning of illegal materials could result in a citation to court and a fine.

For more information on this or any other forestry related matter, call the Division of Forestry or visit the Division of Forestry's Wildfire safety website at www.burnsafetn.org. And remember, ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES!

State Fire Marshal offers tips for Fire Prevention Month

October 13, 2010

October is Fire Prevention Month, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans to regularly check their homes for hazards that could lead to fires.

“Tennessee occupies an undesirable ranking in the country for fire deaths. Falling asleep while smoking in bed or in a comfortable chair remains a significant cause of fire deaths in Tennessee,” says Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “If you smoke, make sure your home’s smoke detectors are functioning properly.”

Tennessee residents should avoid other practices in the home that quickly become hazardous:

•keeping space heaters too close to bedding or drapes,
•burning candles or incense near flammable materials,
•using frayed cables, extension cords or holiday lighting sets, overloading wall outlets and surge protectors, and
•improperly storing or disposing of chemicals.

Newman urges Tennessee families to practice their home escape plan this month. “Having an established escape route is one of the most important things Tennessee families can do. We encourage them to rehearse it routinely – not just in October but all year.” Residents also should replace smoke alarms’ batteries when adjusting clocks for daylight saving time. They can do that on November 7, when clocks are set back an hour this year.

For further information, contact 615-741-2981 or visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

TN Dept. of Safety Urges Motorists to Watch Out for Deer

October 13, 2010

Autumn marks the start of deer mating season. As a result, the Tennessee Department of Safety cautions that an increase in deer-related crashes is likely during the months of October through December. Motorists are encouraged to be watchful of deer on the move during these months.

“Motorists should always be aware of the likelihood of deer traveling on or around the roadways, no matter what time of year,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “However, it is particularly important to pay attention and stay alert, especially on roads less traveled, during hunting and mating season.”

Motorists should exercise extra caution when not traveling on a major thoroughfare. Between 2005 and 2009, less than 10 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. November – the start of deer-hunting season – is the worst month for deer-related crashes.

In 2009, there were 5,247 deer-related crashes, including 268 that involved injuries and one that was fatal. That was up by almost two percent from 5,157 the previous year. However, since 2005, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have risen over 8.5 percent.

Additionally, State Farm®, the nation's leading auto insurer, estimates 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010. That's 21.1 percent more than five years earlier.

The Department of Safety and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

·Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer teen to move at dawn and dusk.

·Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.

·Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.

·When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.

·If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

·Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours.


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