Local News Articles

FSA County Committee Nomination Period Underway

June 20, 2008
Dwayne Page

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced farmer and rancher candidate nominations began June 15 for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees.

The nomination period continues through August 1, 2008. Elections take place this fall.

"I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Schafer. "We are counting on as much participation as possible, because county committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have seen a trend in recent years of increased nominations of minority and women producers and we hope that will continue."

According to Donny Green, County Executive Director for the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency, Committees apply their judgment and knowledge to make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other farm program-related issues. Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.

Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 which is described as the area that includes: West of a line where Hwy. 146 crosses the Cannon County line following Hwy. 146 north to Hodges Rd.; thence north to Tabernacle Rd.; following a line from Tabernacle Rd. to Dry Creek Rd.; west of Dry Creek Rd. to Hwy. 70 West; north of Hwy. 70 to Hwy. 96 North (Dale Ridge Rd.); west of Hwy. 96 North to Hwy. 141 (Wolf Creek Rd.);West of Hwy. 141 to Center Hill Dam; thence following the Caney Fork River north/northwest to the Smith County line; thence south of the Smith County line; thence east of the Wilson County line to the Cannon County line; northwest of the Cannon County line back to the intersection of Hwy. 146 and the DeKalb/Cannon County line. LAA # 2 generally covers the following communities in DeKalb County: Alexandria, Liberty, Dowelltown, Snow Hill, Temperance Hall, Dale Ridge, portions of Short Mountain, Dry Creek, Pea Ridge, Wolf Creek, and Lancaster.

Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability.

The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections. For more information about FSA county committees, visit the DeKalb County USDA Service Center or call 615-597-8225, extension 2.

Alexandria Police Arrest Watertown Man on Drug Charge

June 18, 2008
Dwayne Page

Jeffrey Lynn Brashears

A Watertown man, already in possession of Xanax pills, got arrested in Alexandria Tuesday night after police learned he showed up at a residence on Avant Circle looking to buy more drugs.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says 46 year old Jeffrey Lynn Brashears was charged with possession of a controlled substance (Xanax).

According to Chief Collins, Brashears came to the residence on Avant Circle where an alleged drug dealer once lived, looking to purchase more Xanax pills, but learned that the person he wanted to see had moved.

Alexandria Police stopped Brashears on West Main Street after the person who now lives at the Avant Circle residence, called them to report the incident.

Chief Collins says Brashears was in possession of Xanax pills at the time of his arrest and was charged in the case.

Hendrixson, Burger, & White Win Re-election

June 17, 2008
Dwayne Page

Incumbent Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Incumbent Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger have been re-elected to new two year terms after beating their challengers in Tuesday's Municipal Election.

A total of 963 voted in the election including 684 during early voting and 279 on Tuesday (election day).

Mayor Hendrixson defeated Faye Driver Fuqua 542 (56.75%) to 413 (43.25%).

Alderman Burger led the ticket with 570 votes (34.46%) followed by White with 567 votes (34.28%). Unsuccessful candidates for aldermen were Danny Washer with 409 votes (24.73%) and Alford Webber with 108 votes (6.53%).

Mayor -elect Hendrixson and Aldermen-elect Burger and White will be sworn into office again soon. Their terms officially begin July 1st.

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen consist of Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Stephen White, Cecil Burger, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins' Sr.

The positions of Sullivan, Thomas, and Hutchins will be up for election in June 2009.

The vote in the mayor's race Tuesday breaks down as follows:

Faye Driver Fuqua:
Early Voting-271
Absentees (paper ballots)-39
Election Day-103

Taft Hendrixson:
Early Voting-353
Absentees (paper ballots)-14
Election Day-175

The vote in the aldermen race breaks down as follows:

Cecil Burger:
Early Voting-362
Absentees (paper ballots)-32
Election Day-176

Danny Washer:
Early Voting -276
Absentees (paper ballots) 21
Election Day-112

Alford Webber:
Early Voting-75
Absentees (paper ballots)-9
Election Day-24

Stephen White:
Early Voting- 367
Absentees (paper ballots)-21
Election Day-179

Smithville Police Charge Woman with Theft of Merchandise from Wal-mart

June 17, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police charged a 43 year old woman with theft of property under $500 Sunday after she allegedly stole merchandise from Wal-Mart.

Sharon L. Young of Obie Adcock Road is under a $1,000 bond.

Officer Travis Bryant, in his report, states that "On June 15th at Wal-mart on Highway 70, Sharon Young loaded a shopping cart with groceries and pushed it out the store without paying for them. The items were valued at less than $500. She took the items to her car and began putting them into her vehicle. When confronted by associates, she said she did not have a receipt and then got into the car and left, almost striking two associates with her car as she was attempting to get away. Associates obtained the license plate number from the car, which belonged to a man in Warren County. McMinnville officers went to the man's address and spoke with him. The man told police that he had loaned the car to Sharon Young, his mother-in-law."

Young was later arrested and charged in the case.

Meanwhile, 20 year old Britnie K. Stafford of Village Place was charged with child neglect and abuse on June 9th. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court June 26th.

Officer Travis Bryant, in his report, states that "Stafford was sleeping on her couch while her two year old child had gone out of the house and crossed the street onto other property unattended. Other officers have responded to this residence several times for the same problem."

29 year old Michael D. England was charged with theft of property under $500 on June 11th.

Officer Matt Holmes reports that " On June 11th at Tenneco on Highway 70, England allegedly took boxes of scrap brass and loaded them in a truck in an attempt to take them for his use. The brass was valued at less than $500. The brass was allegedly taken from the plant in a milk crate and placed in England's truck. Two boxes of brass were found in the back seat of the truck by England's boss and maintenance coordinator at the plant." England reportedly told them he just needed the money. England is under a $1,000 bond and he will be in court on the charge July 17th.

19 year old Guerra Castillo Antolin of McMinnville was charged with underage possession and consumption of alcohol on Saturday. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court June 26th.

Officer Scott Davis reports that after a traffic stop on Broad Street and Tiger Drive, Antolin was found to have an open beer in the vehicle. He also had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Antolin was a passenger in the vehicle in which the driver was arrested for DUI. Antolin allegedly admitted to drinking two beers..

The driver of the vehicle, Jantes Jeovani was charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court June 26th.

According to Officer Scott Davis' report, Jeovani's vehicle was stopped for erratic driving. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were also bloodshot. No field sobriety tests were administered because of safety reasons due to the location where he stopped. Jeovani had an open beer in the vehicle and admitted to drinking two to three beers.

25 year olf Clayton A. Moore of Rolling Acres was charged Saturday with driving under the influence. He was also cited for no proof of insurance, no proof of registration, illegal parking, violation of the seat belt law, refusal to sign citations, and resisting arrest. His bond totals $3,500 and he will be in court August 7th.

Police say Moore was operating a motor vehicle and was stopped for reckless driving at Village Place. Moore, who parked in the street, had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was unsteady on his feet, and had slurred speech. No field sobriety tasks were performed because he refused to consent. He also refused to submit to a blood test. Moore allegedly refused to comp,y with the officer's request when told what to do. When officers were putting him into the patrol car, Moore allegedly tried to pull away.

DeKalb County Native New Postmaster For Readyville

June 17, 2008

Readyville’s new postmaster is now official.

Ceremonies were held Friday for Mindy Versluis, a DeKalb County native. Versluis, a 9 year veteran of the service will replace Wally Cothran. Cothran has retired from the Postal Service.

Readyville residents and family members were in attendance for the ceremony. David Underwood, manager of postal operations administered the oath of office.

(click on picture to get a larger view)

(This story provided as a courtesy of wbry in woodbury)

Pease Arrested on Fugitive from Justice Warrant

June 16, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department picked up a man last week on a fugitive from justice warrant who is wanted for questioning in a murder case in Florida.

21 year old Brandon Christopher Pease of Mine Lick Creek Apartments which is located in the Austin Bottom area of DeKalb County, was arrested Tuesday on a fugitive from justice warrant. Sheriff Ray says Pease was picked up because authorities in Marion County Florida wanted him for trespassing in an occupied structure. Pease was also wanted for questioning about a murder in Marion County, Florida. Pease has signed his waivers for extradition and is willing to return to Florida. He is being held under a $10,000 bond in the DeKalb County Jail.

Also on Tuesday, 47 year old Gary Wayne Cantrell of Page Drive Smithville was charged with driving under the influence. Sheriff Ray says a deputy observed Cantrell on Highway 70 East driving in the wrong lane of traffic. After stopping the vehicle, Cantrell was given field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. Cantrell did admit to drinking beer. Cantrell's bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is June 26th.

27 year old Jason Ross Frizzell of Maple Street Cookeville was charged Sunday with driving under the influence. Sheriff Ray says Frizzell was pulled over on Highway 56 North. He had apparently passed out under the steering wheel of his vehicle because deputies had a difficult time trying to wake Frizzell. After waking him up, Deputies thought Frizzell seemed confused and he also had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Frizzell submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. He was placed under arrest for DUI and also he was written a citation for an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

Fiddler 5K Set for July 5th

June 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

The annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, will be Saturday, July 5th, the weekend of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree.

The deadline for pre-registration is Monday, June 30th. Race entries will also be accepted on Saturday, July 5th, at the race check-in, located on Highway 56 North, ¼ mile North of Smithville, in front of the Family Medical Center.

All pre-registered participants must check-in at 6:30 a.m. All other participants must register at 6:00 a.m.

The entry fee is a donation of at least $15.00 for pre-registration and $20.00 for those who register after June 30th (walkers and runners).

The race begins promptly at 7:00 a.m., rain or shine, on Highway 56 North in front of the Family Medical Center. The race ends on Church Street.

Age divisions for the 5K Run are as follows: 12 to 18, 19 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 and up (women only), 50 to 59, 60 to 69, and 70 and up (men only).

T-Shirts will be given to all participants on the day of the race. Awards will be given to the male and female individuals with the overall best times in the 5K Run and the best times in each of the 5K age divisions.

All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

For more information, call 597-7370. Registration forms are available at www.smithvilletn.com. Click on the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree button, then Fiddler 5K Run.

School Board to Consider New Employment Contract with Director Mark Willoughby

June 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education is considering entering into a new employment contract with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

The issue was discussed at an informal workshop Thursday evening attended by board members John David Foutch, Charles Robinson, Kenny Rhody, Joan Draper, and Johnny Lattimore.

Willoughby's current three year contract with the board took effect July 1st, 2006 and is scheduled to expire June 30th, 2009.

Because it was not a regular or special called meeting, no vote could be taken, but board members seemed to be in agreement with a proposal to terminate Willoughby's current contract, which still has one year left, and enter into a new three year deal with him, effective July 1st, 2008 to June 30th, 2011.

Terms and conditions would be basically the same. Willoughby's base salary, beginning July 1st, would be $85,308 plus another state required $1,000 as a CEO. He would get a three percent increase each year of the contract following an annual favorable evaluation.

In the current contract, the school system funds Willoughby's total family health insurance package. However under the proposed new agreement, the school system would instead pay a part of the coverage but would add $5,103 to Willoughby's salary pushing his pay to more than $90,000 a year. Officials say this would be a benefit to Willoughby for retirement and tax purposes and it would increase the retirement paid by the system by $327 per year.

The board will formally consider Willoughby's contract at a special meeting on June 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the board of education building.

Record Early Voting Turnout Reported for City Election

June 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

If early voting is an indication, the city election Tuesday may be decided by a larger number of voters than the last several municipal elections.

A total of 683 people cast ballots during the early voting period from May 28th through June 12th, a new early voting record for a Smithville Election.

On Thursday, the last day of early voting, 82 people voted including 80 by personal appearance and 2 by mail.

The daily numbers of people voting from Wednesday, May 28th to June 12th are as follows:

Wednesday, May 28th- 58 (56 by personal appearance and 2 by mail)
Thursday, May 29th- 66 (64 by personal appearance and 2 by mail)
Friday, May 30th- 36 (33 by personal appearance at the courthouse and 3 by personal appearance at a retirement home)
Saturday, May 31st- 37 (36 by personal appearance and one by mail)
Monday, June 2nd- 44 (43 by personal appearance and one by mail)
Tuesday, June 3rd- 43 (43 by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Wednesday, June 4th- (37 by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Thursday, June 5th- (49 by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Friday, June 6th- (49 people voted by personal appearance and 2 by mail)
Saturday, June 7th- (23 people voted by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Monday, June 9th- (23 people voted by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Tuesday, June 10th- (54 people voted by personal appearance and 4 by mail)
Wednesday, June 11th- (43 people voted by personal appearance and 0 by mail)
Thursday, June 12th- (80 people voted by personal appearance and 2 by mail)

Prior to the start of early voting, 33 persons voted by mail or by personal appearance at nursing and retirement homes.

In the city election last year in which three aldermen were elected, a total of 738 people voted including 555 early voters and 183 on election day.

In 2006 in which a mayor and two aldermen were elected, a total of 696 voted including 425 early voters and 271 on election day.

Numbers of voters in city elections from the year 2000 to 2005 are as follows:

Year 2005: 70 voters including 28 early voters and 42 on election day
Year 2004: 800 including 450 (early) and 350 (election day)
Year 2003: 450 including 231 (early) and 219 (election day)
Year 2002: 833 including 442 (early) and 391 (election day)
Year 2001: 473 including 218 (early) and 255 (election day)
Year 2000: 642 including 313 (early) and 329 (election day)

Election day is Tuesday, June 17. Voting will take place in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. The polls will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. Everyone waiting in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. To vote in the Smithville Election you must be a registered voter and be a resident of the city or be registered as a property rights voter. Please bring identification with you when you come to vote.

The absentee counting board will convene Election Day to count the paper ballots cast for the Smithville Election. The early voting machines will be tallied and the results announced as soon as possible at the close of the polls.

WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. at the courthouse or hear the results LIVE on-line at www.wjle.com

Election Commission Issues Statement About Possible City Election Voting Irregularities

June 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission is investigating allegations of illegal practices by persons engaging in voter intimidation, procuring votes, violations of the boundary line and other prohibited actions related to elections and voting.

In a prepared news release, the election commission asks that "anyone with knowledge of voter fraud to contact the Election Commission at 597-4146 or stop by the office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday."

The commission, in the news release, states that ‘"the election laws are quite specific about what is allowed and which practices are illegal. Unfortunately some people have been "playing the dirty political game" for many years and seem to believe they have the knowledge to circumvent the law or believe themselves to be above the law. "

"In accordance with T.C.A. 2-7-111 there is a 100 ft campaign free zone established at the polling place. Within the boundary there may be no display of campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials, distribution of campaign materials or solicitation of votes. T.C.A. 2-19-119 specifies that a person is committing a misdemeanor by violating 2-7-111 while boundary signs are posted during voting hours."

"T.C.A. 2-19-115(3)-It is illegal for any person directly or indirectly, personally or through any other person to practice intimidation upon or against any person in order to compel such person to vote or refrain from voting. If someone comes to your residence and refuses to leave until you sign an application for voting or to receive an absentee ballot, they are breaking the law."

"A person is allowed to assist a person to vote, with the person's permission. T.C.A. 2-19-110 states the person giving assistance should not abuse this assistance and should not cast any vote contrary to that voter's wish."

"It is illegal for any candidate to bargain for support according to T.C.A. 2-19-121. That person may not pay, promise or agree to enter into any contract with any person to vote for or support any particular policy or measure. Likewise T.C.A. 2-19-122 states it is unlawful for any person to demand that any candidate shall promise or agree in advance to support any individual policy or measure in consideration of the vote or support, financial or moral, of such person in any election."

" T.C.A. 2-19-126 states it is illegal for any person directly or indirectly, personally or through another person to induce voters to vote or refrain from voting by paying, loaning or contributing anything of value, or to offer or promise any place, office or employment in order to induce someone to vote or refrain from voting."

"It is illegal for anyone to accept any money, gift, loan or other valuable thing, T.C.A. 2-19-127. This includes food, money, alcohol or anything of value. Trading goods or services to induce someone to vote is also a violation."

"However, 2-19-137 exempts those from prosecution who testify against other persons violating these statutes, except for perjury."

"If a person has received compensation for voting and tells the truth they will not be liable to indictment, prosecution or punishment for the offense with reference to which such testimony was given."

"Elections are the cornerstone of democracy. It has been said that elections are the great equalizer. All votes are counted the same. It does not matter whether you are old or young, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, all votes are equal. The commission asks that if you have been a party to or witnessed voting irregularities or violations of the voting laws to please contact the DeKalb County Election Commission office and speak with the Administrator of Elections, Mrs. Lisa Peterson. The office is located in Room 104 in the basement of the Courthouse The phone number is 597-4146 and the fax number is 597-7799."


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