Local News Articles

Lydia Trail Recently Awarded John W. Harris Trophy

December 11, 2010
Bill Conger
Lydia Trail (Right) Wins John W. Harris Award

A DeKalb West School 8th grader recently won the Jr. Beta Club's M.V.P. trophy during the Tennessee Junior Beta Convention in Nashville.

Lydia Trail, the daughter of Heidi Trail, was one of two students picked in Tennessee and one of 25 across the nation selected for the prestigious John W. Harris service and leadership honor. Jr. Beta Club sponsor Bill Conger nominated Trail for the awarded and wrote an essay about her character traits that was sent to the National Junior Beta Club office. National Junior Beta Club sponsor Judy Cummings presented Trail with the award on stage at the recent event. Trail has helped with service to her school and community in a variety of ways. She has assisted numerous times to organize and distribute food to the needy at the Second Harvest Food Mobile at Smithville First Methodist Church, has helped spruce up around the school with landscaping and litter pick-up, and has helped make cards of thanks to the military and local community leaders. The local Beta club's secretary has served in leadership roles with 4-H, maintained high academic standing, and currently plays on the Lady Bulldog basketball team.

"Likewise, I want to congratulate the 22 other students who participated in a variety of academic, arts and crafts, and political leadership activities," Conger said. "At D.W.S., we required that students obtain an average of 92 or above among all their core academic subjects the first 9 weeks, give at least five hours of service work to the school and community, and demonstrate good character in their behavior at school. Several of our students juggled the time needed to commit to their studies along with numerous outside activities like basketball, cheerleading, and church along with the service work and the time to practice and prepare for events at the competition. They worked hard. I am proud of them all." Two students, Kenzie Morris and Hailey Walker, demonstrated the show-must-go-on spirit when they set aside their personal sickness at the convention and performed in the political campaign skit the first night of the convention. They were joined in the event by Teddy Tippin, James Sherwood, William Cain, Brooke Martin, Bruce Wilson, Alex Foutch, Bailey Redmon, Rosa Payne, and Cason Oakley. Singer/Songwriter Thea Tippin and Dancer Extraordinaire Chelsie Young helped with the music and choreography for the campaign skit. Caitlyn Lawrence, Payne and Redmon read twelve books in preparation for the Battle of the Books contest. Alexis Nokes, Lydia Trail, Taylor Ellis, Brooke Martin, Leah Burchfield, and Mary Belle Mofield made a special banner that fit the convention theme, "Beta: A Volunteer State of Mind." Sonya Edge coordinated that category for D.W.S. Cason Oakley, Leah Burchfield, Taylor Ellis, and Nate Sherwood decked out as chimney sweeps to recreate a scene from "Mary Poppins" in the Living Literature event. Lisa Oakley coordinated the event while Alexandria Mayor Ria Baker was instrumental in helping with the costumes and set design. John Cain oversaw the Tower of Power event with a team of D.W.S. students--Alex Foutch, Ashley Grater, William Cain, Teddy Tippin, and James Sherwood. Entering individual contests were Maegan Harris, Poetry; Kirkland Smallwood, Spelling; Bruce Wilson, Math; Charlie Young, Social Studies; Kenzie Morris, Arts and Crafts-Handmade jewelry; Anna Bess Malone, Arts and Crafts, Black and White Photography; Bailey Redmon, Arts and Crafts-Color Photography; Lydia Trail, Arts and Crafts, Sketching (Pen and pencil).

Lastly, although Kelsey Hedge is not a member of the DWS chapter of the Junior Beta Club, she is one of our own students in the county that we should praise. As a member of the D.M.S. Junior Beta Club, she ran a very commendable campaign for Chaplain at the state convention. She is the daughter of David and Trina Hedge and the granddaughter of one of my childhood heroes, the late Amos Hedge and his wife, Frances.

School Board Approves School Zone Traffic Control Plan

December 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
Billy Miller
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III
Charles Robinson

After failing to adopt it last month, the DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night approved a plan to fund the cost of having persons direct traffic in the school zones during the mornings and afternoons at Northside Elementary, DCHS, and DeKalb Middle School.

Under the plan, the Board of Education, City of Smithville, and DeKalb County government will each fund one third of the cost.

The proposal has been under consideration for several weeks. The city and county had already approved the partnership under a memorandum of understanding, but last month the school board failed to adopt it on a 3-3 vote. Board members Kenny Rhody, Billy Miller, and Bruce Parsley had voted for it but members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, John David Foutch, and Charles Robinson voted against it. One member, Johnny Lattimore was absent. Some board members believe the school system should not be in the business of traffic enforcement.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night's meeting, said Board member Billy Miller had requested that the issue be raised again. "At our last meeting, an update of a workshop conducted by the DeKalb County Commission on October 21st was discussed. At this workshop, county government agreed to hire and train personnel to direct traffic at Northside Elementary, DCHS, and DeKalb Middle School. A contract or memorandum of understanding was to be prepared by the county attorney on how funding would be handled. Prior to this, city and county government had agreed to fund $3,000 each and proposed that the board of education also contribute $3,000 during a meeting on October 1st in which representatives of the board of education were unable to attend. After some discussion on the role of the DeKalb County Schools involving traffic control on public roadways as well as funding issues, a motion was made by Mr. Rhody to fund the $3,000 and with a roll call vote the motion failed. Mr. Miller has made a request to revisit this issue at tonight's meeting."

Miller then explained his reason for wanting to bring it back up. "I have talked to several people in the community and everybody that I have talked to, two to one has suggested that they want somebody out there directing traffic. I know there are several people on the board and in the community who think that it's not the school board's responsibility and it may not be. But I think it is the school board's responsibility to make sure that our kids get to and from school safely. If that means that we have to put up $3,000 to make sure that's done per year then I think that we should do that. I don't think that is necessarily making us traffic cops no more than us serving lunch at school each day would make us running a cafeteria. It's part of the education process. I make a motion that we take the money this year, send somebody out there as traffic controllers and then we bring this issue back up in May, so that we can revisit this issue while the students are out for the summer. We can revamp it on a yearly basis."

Board member Evins suggested that the board make specific in the motion that the appropriation is for one third of the cost, up to $3,000 since we're already nearly half way through this school year and may not need to spend the entire $3,000. Evins also called for an independent study of the Northside Elementary School Zone by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to determine if there are better alternatives for traffic control there.

Board Chairman Robinson explained how that an MTAS study could be beneficial. "It's an agency of the University of Tennessee's Institute for Public Service and they provide technical assistance to cities and towns. Their consultants will assist in the development of practical and individual solutions. They will provide consultants who specialize in most areas of municipal operation. They also have a person who specializes in police matters including traffic. Mr. Evins once mentioned about the feasibility of using Smith Road as an entrance to an exit from the school. If we were to ask this guy (consultant) for a traffic study, we may have enough information to actually erect a traffic control device at the intersection of Highway 56 north and Smith Road that would allow entrance and exit during school time or have the sensors that operate the signals. I would recommend that we have this guy do the study which would look at all facets."

The board, by a unison voice vote, approved the plan. No one voiced any opposition. All seven board members were present Thursday night.

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

Those employed since last month include:

Gary Good, special education assistant at DeKalb West School
Dana Davenport, substitute cafeteria worker
Talitha Looney, cafeteria worker at Smithville Elementary School
Cerina Craig, part-time PTA

Eric Snow, transferred from substitute bus driver to full time bus driver position
Tayla Turner, transferred from substitute teacher to educational assistant at Northside Elementary School

Leave of Absence:
Kathy Bryant, teacher at Northside Elementary, leave as requested

Melvin Riley, bus driver
Glyn Taylor, bus assistant

Four Arrested by Smithville Police For Passing Counterfeit Bills

December 9, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jessica Hubbard
Brian Thomason
Crystal Turner
Billy Moss

An investigation by the Smithville Police Department and U.S. Secret Service agents into reports of counterfeit bills being passed at city businesses, has resulted in the arrest of four people, charged with criminal simulation.

Chief Randy Caplinger said 25 year old Jessica Hubbard, 23 year old Brian Thomason, 35 year old Crystal Turner, and 28 year old Billy Moss were arrested Thursday.

In addition to the U.S. Secret Service agents, the investigation was conducted by Detective Matt Holmes and K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow of the Smithville Police Department.

According to Chief Caplinger, Thomason and Hubbard are charged with passing a counterfeit $20 for a Pizza Hut delivery. The report, filed by Officer Scott Davis on Saturday, November 27th states that Pizza Hut delivered a pizza to 425 Dry Creek Road and received a counterfeit $20 bill for the order.

Thomason and Hubbard are also implicated in an incident at the Discount Tobacco Outlet. According to the report filed by Officer Matt Farmer on November 24th, Thomason allegedly tried to pay for items with a counterfeit bill. The clerk noticed that the bill was not real and pressed the panic alarm. Thomason was accompanied by his girlfriend, Hubbard.

Chief Caplinger said Turner is charged with passing a counterfeit bill at Kwik-N-Ezy. According to the report filed by K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow on December 7th, a female (Turner) came into the store and paid for $5.00 in gas with a $20.00 bill. She received fifteen dollars in change. The $20.00 bill was found to be counterfeit, but by that time Turner had already left the store.

In the case against Moss, Chief Caplinger said he is accused of passing a $100 counterfeit bill at the Wal-mart pharmacy to purchase pseudoephedrine. The report filed by Officer Tatrow on December 6th states that Moss passed the bill at the pharmacy counter and received about $90 in change from the transaction, which was captured on the store's video surveillance system.

Thomason was just arrested by Smithville police last week on seven counts of burglary, one count of felony theft, six counts of misdemeanor theft, and one count of felony vandalism in connection with several recent car burglaries on Whaley and Cill Street.

City Seeks up to $1 Million in Disaster Recovery Grant Funds for Sewer Rehab

December 9, 2010
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is making application for up to one million dollars in Disaster Recovery CDBG Funds from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to ensure that much needed rehabilitation of the sewer system is met to avoid any problems that may arise in the event of severe flooding.

Mayor Taft Hendrixon said Monday night during the city council meeting that funds are available due to floods which occurred last May." I was approached about a week and a half ago by the Upper Cumberland Development District concerning about a $10 million pot of money for the fourteen county area for the May flood disaster. They asked if we wanted to be involved in this and I said certainly so. We had a public hearing and decided that probably our most pressing thing right now for infrastructure is the infiltration of water into the waste water treatment plant during floods. The Upper Cumberland Development District has prepared a resolution which they must have before they can proceed with it. We'd like to get that passed tonight."

The resolution states as follows:

"Whereas, the City of Smithville is eligible for grant funds under the Disaster Recovery Funds Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; and

Whereas, the City of Smithville is taking into account the long term recovery and planning of the City due to the severity of flooding on May 2nd, 2010,

Whereas, the City realized they lack certain equipment to deal with an emergency of that magnitude;

Whereas, the City of Smithville needs to ensure the much needed rehabilitation of sewer is met to avoid any problems that may arise if other similar flooding were to occur and

Whereas, sewer rehabilitation projects are eligible activities under the Disaster Recovery Funds Community Development Block Grant Program; and

Whereas, Smithville is eligible for a maximum grant of one million dollars under the Community Development Block Grant; and

Now, therefore be it resolved by the Mayor and City Council that the Mayor be authorized and directed to:

Execute and submit an application for Community Development Block Grant funds to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in order to provide an adequate sewer service for the community

Enter into the necessary agreements with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to receive and administer said grant funds.

Execute necessary agreements for Administrative services without further action by the commission, contingent upon approval by the funding agencies.

The Upper Cumberland Development District shall prepare all necessary documents for the completion of said application for the proposed project at no charge to the City of Smithville. Should said CDBG grant be approved, UCDD shall be engaged to perform all administrative services for said project."

The aldermen adopted the resolution.

In other business, the council approved a resolution establishing a $30 per day fee for the impoundment and storage of seized vehicles by the Smithville Police Department.

The resolution states as follows: "Whereas, the Smithville City Police Department, has the authority to make and execute traffic stops within the City limits of Smithville; and

Whereas, the Smithville City Police Department, has a vehicle impound lot; and

Whereas, the Smithville City Police Department, has just cause to impound vehicles for various traffic offenses; and

Whereas, the City of Smithville is entitled to charge and collect a reasonable impound and storage fee on these vehicles;

Now, therefore be it resolved, by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Smithville that a charge of thirty dollars per day is hereby assessed on each and every vehicle that has been seized or impounded by the Smithville Police Department for a violation of the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Laws and/or City Ordinances.

This resolution rescinds a previous resolution regarding this issue.

In other business, the aldermen voted to spend about $1,800 to fertilize and overseed the greens at the golf course.

Alderman Steve White raised the issue."The greens at the golf course. They did aerate them back in September but they did not overseed and fertilize. This would cost approximately $1,800. I think it would be well in our interest to go ahead and get those greens taken care of and that should hold them through the winter. If we don't, they're going to be in a whole lot worse shape come spring. It really should have been done in September."

The aldermen voted to pay $3,512 to replace carpet for the Business and Professional Women's Club. The carpet is used during the organization's annual beauty pageants. The club had stored their old carpet in a warehouse building across from city hall. That building was demolished during the summer. The carpet was destroyed in the process.

Alderman Aaron Meeks said the city had little choice but to pay the bill to replace the carpet. "The purchase was authorized by an employee of the city (Hunter Hendrixson) who is authorized to make purchases, therefore the merchant delivered the merchandise under the assumption that he was selling to an authorized individual, which he was, so I don't think we have any choice but to pay that amount for the purchase."

Meeks added that "If we are storing anything else for other people, or if in the future we store for other people, I think we should get them to sign something stating that they are liable for the loss and not the city."

Alderman W.J. (Dub) White suggested that the aldermen take action to reduce the limit for which purchases may be made by city officials without board approval to no more than $500. The mayor and other aldermen voiced concerns about White's suggestion. No action was taken.

The aldermen voted against making an adjustment to the water/sewer bill of Regal Craft Kitchens. John Daniels addressed the aldermen last month, stating that his company recently received a water bill from the city for $3,300 for a one month period when the bill is normally around twelve dollars a month. Daniels asked that the city remove the sewer charges on the bill and allow him to make payments on the water bill. Mayor Taft Hendrixson said last month that the water meter was removed for testing and it checked out okay. There were also apparently no obvious water leaks. Daniels said he couldn't understand why the bill was so high.

The issue was brought up for discussion again Monday night. Since there was no evidence to prove that the water did not go through the sewer system, the aldermen voted against adjusting Daniels' bill.

Mayor Hendrixson explained that "What we do for large water usage, is if it didn't go through the sewer, we usually take the sewer (charges) off the bill and charge for the water. The state of Tennessee will not let us give away water, nor do we want to."

Alderman Steve White added "I don't think anybody has shown that the water didn't go through the sewer and by checking the meter and it being correct, the water did go through. It went through the sewer also. Personally, I can't see where we would be able to give any type of a break. Usually we set up some payment plan on it but I wouldn't want it to be for too many months. I think four or five months would be long enough."

Waniford Cantrell, city resident, taxpayer, and former mayor, addressed the mayor and aldermen with a concern. Cantrell believes the city is selling water to the DeKalb Utility District at below cost.

Several weeks ago, Cantrell pointed out to the mayor and aldermen that the city had budgeted a 43% water rate increase for it's own customers, compared to a 9 1/4% increase for the DeKalb Utility District.

Cantrell asked that the city conduct a study to determine the cost of producing water. Since then, the city's financial consultant prepared some cost figures. But Cantrell, speaking Monday night during the council meeting, said he has no confidence in the report. "I reviewed this thing and I'm having a problem with it. I have no confidence in the cost they show on the report. As a good example, on the report it shows $84,000 in depreciation. But your actual budget last year and actual costs that you show was $100,000. That's $16,000 bucks (difference) but if you add all this together it's going to increase the costs of your water."

"The study didn't have any methodology used in how they come up with the figures. There are no assumptions listed but there had to be some kind of assumptions because some of the figures are showing at 100%, some at 50%, and some at 25%. So I don't know how they came up with the assumptions. There was no pro-rated interest expense and no pro-rated consultant expense. These are just to name a few. Really what they came up with in my opinion is useless. I'm not a certified cost accountant but I have some cost accounting experience."

"The only way you're going to actually determine the cost of water is to get a cost accountant, sit him down and let him do it. He could do it in two or three days, if not less."

The aldermen took no action on Cantrell's suggestion Monday night.

George Oliver of the Smithville Rotary Club asked the city for a donation of maybe $200 to help provide Christmas baskets to 80 senior citizens this year.

The aldermen took no action.

Gary Durham, city resident and taxpayer, addressed the mayor and aldermen expressing his opinion that the city should establish a 10 year or 20 year plan which would put the city in a better position to prepare for future needs regarding maintenance and or expansion of city services. Durham said the city had a long range plan covering the period 1984-2004 but it seems that nothing has been done in recent years to update it.

Durham also questioned why the city has limits for property right's voting in city elections. Durham said it's unfair to prohibit people who own a business (property) in the city but who live outside the city from voting in city elections just because they don't meet a specific lot size requirement.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs responded saying "Most municipalities do not allow property rights voting, we're one of the few who do but there has to be limits."

The term "property rights voter" applies to those people who live inside DeKalb County but outside the city limits and yet they own property inside the city limits. The Smithville Charter allows property rights voting. It does have a (city property) size requirement of at least 7,500 square feet.

UCHRA Serves 12,304 Individuals in DeKalb County

December 9, 2010
UCHRA Serves 12,304 Individuals in DeKalb County

“During the past year, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s DeKalb County Office has provided services to 12,304 individuals with $2,854,008 being spent in the County. The UCHRA programs addresses the needs of all ages and has a positive impact on the residents in DeKalb County,” stated County Executive Mike Foster.

The UCHRA provides services to the residents in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland Area through more than 68 programs supported by federal, state, and local dollars. The mission of the Agency is to assist individuals in moving from ‘dependence to independence’.

“The Agency ‘delivers hope’ to approximately 166,000 individuals, annually, and continuously strives to make each of the Upper Cumberland Counties the best place possible to work, live, and retire,” said Phyllis Bennett, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency Executive Director.

In DeKalb County, approximately 29% of the dollars expended last year supported the following services: 16,409 nutritional meals were provided through the nutrition program for older persons and other adults with disabilities, and the commodities food program distributed food to 1,010 eligible individuals to be used to prepare meals at home. Five UCHRA transportation vehicles provided 21,549 trips to over 1,089 households enabling these individuals to go to the doctor, medical facilities, grocery and drug stores, and other business locations in the County. The fourteen county UCHRA transportation program runs approximately 2,818,617 miles in a given program year and the miles traveled transporting DeKalb County residents to and from locations in the County accounts for approximately 7% of those miles.

“These services are so important to the residents of the City of Smithville and to DeKalb County, especially in the difficult economic situation we have faced during the past year. The City and County is fortunate to have a committed, dependable Agency like the UCHRA to contact to access quality services,” said Taft Hendrixson, Smithville City Mayor.

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency appreciates the work of the City and County officials in DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Advisory Committee for the UCHRA, and the UCHRA DeKalb County Office Staff. This team of local leaders, interested businesses and citizens makes it possible to provide quality services to the residents of DeKalb County,” said Bennett.

For further information about services available through the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency please contact UCHRA’s DeKalb County Office at (615) 597-4504 located at 527 West Main Street, Smithville, TN 37166.

CUTLINE: Pictured are the new officers for the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s Board of Board of Directors and Policy Council. These officers were elected for 2011 during UCHRA’s Annual Meeting. Pictured from left to right: Curtis Hayes, Treasurer of the Board of Directors; Dale Reagan, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors; Shelvy Linville, Secretary of the Board of Directors; Michael Nesbitt, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Mike Foster, Chairman of the Policy Council; Mike Gannon, Vice-Chairman of the Policy Council; and Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director.

Center Hill Seepage Rehabilitation is in a transition period

December 9, 2010

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced today a normal decrease in construction activity at Center Hill Dam as the Seepage Rehabilitation project transitions from first phase grout placement to the next phase of constructing a foundation barrier wall.

"We want to assure the public there is no reason for concern if they notice a lull in activity," said Project Manager Linda Adcock. "The grouting contract is basically complete and proposals for constructing a foundation barrier wall are currently being evaluated."

The seepage rehabilitation plan is a combination of grouting and construction of a continuous concrete barrier wall for long-term stability. The District anticipates awarding the 2.5-year-long contract to construct the permanent seepage barrier for the earthen dam's foundation in the spring of 2011.

"A vertical concrete wall, at least 2-feet thick, will be constructed through the earthen dam and into the rock foundation below to prevent seepage from harming the foundation," Adcock added.

Awarded in March 2008, the grouting contract was the first major contract of the seepage rehabilitation effort and is essentially complete. The grouting filled voids and soil-filled openings in the rock foundation and prepared for the safe construction of a concrete barrier wall. More than 1.5 million gallons of grout have been successfully placed in the rock foundation along the 800-foot-long earthen dam, 2,700-foot-long left rim and 700 feet downstream of the earthen dam, making the dam safer according to Adcock.

The problem was identified through long-term dam monitoring and stems from the type of karstic limestone rock on which the dam was constructed in the late 1940s.

A study is also underway to determine if rehabilitation is needed in the foundation for the earthen saddle dam built to fill a low area about 1,500 feet east of the main dam and should be concluded in early 2011.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $295 million, with about $120 million spent to date on investigations and construction.

The Corps plans to maintain Center Hill lake levels as it has in recent years, targeting a summer high of 630 feet above mean sea level and a winter pool of about 620 feet; however, day-to-day lake levels are highly weather-dependent.

Additional information is available at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill/index.htm.

Counterfeit Bills Showing up in Smithville

December 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Counterfeit bill passed at a local business (Police have covered the serial #)
Counterfeit $100 Bill Passed at Local Business
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

Counterfeit bills are showing up in Smithville

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said some phony $20 and $100 bills have been passed recently at a few local businesses and he is urging all store owners and operators to watch closely and mark any bills that may arouse your suspicion.

According to Chief Caplinger, a tell tale sign could be someone trying a use a large bill to buy a small amount of merchandise, in order to receive a large amount of change in return. "As the holiday season is getting closer, we're getting a lot more counterfeit bills that are being passed at our businesses here in town. The main denominations we're finding are $20 dollar bills. We're also finding a few $100 bills. A lot of the vendors do mark those. What we're finding mainly are the $20 bills. We're asking that all vendors especially be careful this time of year and mark those bills if at all possible and check them before they leave. Anyone who observes someone passing a counterfeit bill, we'd appreciate them giving us a call to let us know who it is or we'll come to the scene and take the bill and also question the people involved. We've been to five locations so far this week. We're getting calls from drugs stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and Wal-mart has had some. No one is safe from being hit. Anyone who accepts currency is susceptible to being hit."

Chief Caplinger said no arrests have yet been made but a few persons of interest have been questioned. " We have some persons of interest who we're talking to and we hope that'll lead us further in finding out where these bills are actually coming from."

The Smithville Police Department is being assisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in the investigation.

If you have questions or information that could help solve the case, contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210.

Smithville Among Communities Selected for Tennessee Downtowns Revitalization Program

December 8, 2010
Suzanne Williams

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today announced the 12 communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts.

The selected communities are: McKenzie, Henderson, Athens, Linden, Red Boiling Springs, Smithville, Centerville, Brownsville, Lewisburg, Mountain City, Rockwood and Pikeville.

“The Tennessee Downtowns program is the first step toward reviving a community’s central business district in a comprehensive, sustainable way,” said ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber. “We applaud each of the selected communities for reaching this milestone and look forward to partnering with them in future endeavors.”

Tennessee Downtowns is a tiered program affiliated with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Tennessee Main Street Program. Communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns will form a volunteer committee of local citizens who will participate in a multi-month training curriculum supported by the National Main Street Center. The curriculum is designed to teach citizens about comprehensive, sustainable downtown revitalization and historic preservation. The training includes attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop and a grant to complete individualized downtown development projects.

The 12 selected communities are each home to downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and have demonstrated their readiness to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization.” The highly competitive selection process was based on five core criteria: historic resources, need (economic and physical), demonstrated local effort, overall presentation and probability of success.

“Tennessee Downtowns will be a vital resource and a basis of support for downtown revitalization efforts for the participating communities,” said Rick Meredith, assistant commissioner for Community Development at ECD. “I am confident that each community will see a strong return on their investment of time and resources, and we look forward to being a part of that investment.”

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber, made application for the Tennessee Downtown Program on behalf of the city of Smithville and was very encouraged and excited upon hearing the news about Smithville being one of the 12 chosen cities. “Smithville’s Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Secretary/Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, City of Smithville Aldermen, and the Downtown Merchants Association along with our new TN Downtowns Program steering committee members are committed to working hard and doing what it takes to help revitalize our public square. Our aim is to partner together to help create a renewed sense of pride and excitement about our downtown. We want to develop an attainable but challenging plan, create a business environment conducive to entrepreneurship, stir up interest and enthusiasm, and promote volunteerism so people will have a real vested interest and a sense of pride in the project. We want to see the all the vacant buildings downtown filled with thriving businesses again,” says Williams.

Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district. For information about the Main Street Program and the Main Street Four Point Approach, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/.

Tennessee’s Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.

For more information about Tennessee Downtowns, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd or www.investtennessee.org.

Temperance Hall Community Home Destroyed by Fire

December 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Carl Montgomery Home Destroyed by Fire

A man and his grandson were left homeless after a fire destroyed their residence at 138 Old Temperance Hall Road Monday night.

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were called to the home of Carl Montgomery around 6:00 p.m. after a passerby spotted flames coming from the residence and called 911 to report it. Neither Montgomery nor his grandson were at home at the time and no one was injured.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said when firefighters arrived they found flames coming through the roof and back side of the house. The home could not be saved. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to other structures nearby.

The home and all contents were destroyed.

Chief Green said it appeared the fire started from a back bedroom. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Temperance Hall, Liberty, Main Station, and tanker truck responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

DMS Students Participate in Jr. Beta Convention

December 7, 2010
Kesley Hedge Ran Unsuccessfully for State Chaplain at Jr Beta Convention

Jr. Beta Convention is a time for Beta students to compete in numerous activities that explore the arts and the academics. It also allows students to campaign and run for state office. Kelsey Hedge, and 8th grader at DeKalb Middle School and daughter of David and Trina Hedge, followed her predecessors as she ran for office of State Chaplain.

In previous years, Jonathon Craig, Mason Merriman, and Jordan Wilkins vied for state office. Kelsey spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 7,000 youth and adults. Kelsey was confident and sure of herself as she delivered an outstanding speech that honored DeKalb Middle School, as well as her parents, friends and family that offered up support, as she braved the waters. Kelsey was clear that God was first in her life and that she would lead well in their endeavor. When the votes were counted, Kelsey came up short and was defeated. The experience was life changing and will give her a boost as she continues to lead and represent her fellow students. Hats off to Kelsey and the campaign team that followed her campaign speech with a skit in Kelsey's support. The skit was flawless. This team of students put forth great effort and exhibited dedicated and skill in bringing Kelsey's campaign to life. Great job!

Running for State Chaplain: Kelsey Hedge
Campaign skit: Ale Maciel, Savannah Driver, Bethany Poss, Harlli Silcox, Kathryn Blair, Michael Caplinger, Mariah Jones, Destiny McCardell, Kristen Hale, Julia Little, Emilee Stephens, Amanda Blanco, Loren Cripps, and Makalee Ruch.

Other competitions that DMS competed in:

Talent: Darrian Turner sang "It Happens" by Sugarland
Tower of Power: Jailyn Bolding, Katie Parker, Tyra Graham, Loren Cripps, and Ale Maciel
Spelling: Chase Bryant
Speech: Julia Little
Photography: Caitlin Jacobs
Banner: Brooke Reffue, Kaylene Ferguson, Jennifer Caplinger, Kyra Trapp, Rachel Gash, Caitlin Jacobs, Caitlin Turner, Christian Turner, Clara Knowles, Chloe White, Hannah James
Scrapbook: Katie Parker, Mariah Jones, Lenzi Dickens, Lexi Barnwell, Kelsey Braswell.
Arts with Acrylic Painting: Erin Perry
Math: Corey Ferrell
Battle of the Books: Ashli Chew, Erin Perry, Makalee Ruch, Hannah Lasser
Poster: Harlli Silcox, Lance Ball
Quiz Bowl: Michael Caplinger, Amanda Blanco, Savannah Driver, and Kristen Hale
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker
Social Studies: Lane Ball
Science: Dylan Cantrell
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker, Carlee White

Meanwhile, Chase Bryant, an outstanding seventh grader at DeKalb Middle School, recently placed fourth in the Division I Spelling Competition. Bryant is the son of Don and Teresa Bryant. He competed against 51 other Beta members from across the state of Tennessee. Chase was given words like "subterfuge". He ended his spelling streak on the word "eulogy". Chase watched numerous members be seated as he remained standing. Chase placed fourth out of 51.


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