Local News Articles

UCHRA Announces Program Policy Changes

June 14, 2011
Dwayne Page

The State of Tennessee Department of Human Services recently announced a policy change regarding the application process through UCHRA’s county offices for families and individuals applying for energy assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and for emergency assistance through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

For both programs the current contract year, which began July 1, 2010 and would normally end June 30, 2011, will be extended an additional three months to end September 30, 2011. Clients who were served during the July – June period will not be eligible to apply again until October 1, 2011. During the three-month period from July 1 – September 30 applications will be accepted only from eligible households that were not served during the previous 12-month period.

“This is a significant change in policy,” stated Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director. “These programs have operated on a July – June year since UCHRA began administering them in the early ‘80s, and I believe they have always been awarded based upon the State fiscal year.”

According to the Department of Human Services the reason for the change is that the Federal fiscal year is October 1 – September 30, and funds for these programs are appropriated for that period. DHS feels that planning and coordination of both LIHEAP and CSBG will be improved by aligning the LIHEAP and CSBG funding with the Federal fiscal year.

“We are concerned about getting word of this significant change out to the public, and especially to households that are used to being able to apply for LIHEAP and/or CSBG beginning July 1,” said Lee Webb, UCHRA Community Services Director. “UCHRA is doing everything possible to circulate this information to everyone affected.”

Anyone having questions regarding this policy change may contact the DeKalb Countyoffice located at 527 West Main Street, Smithville, TN 37166, or phone (615) 597-4504. For more information on programs available in your county, go to www.uchra.com/dekalbcounty.html.

Qualifying Deadline Approaching for Alexandria City Election

June 14, 2011
Dwayne Page

Noon Thursday, June 16 is the qualifying deadline for the Alexandria City Election.

No one has qualified to run so far.

The City of Alexandria will conduct an election September 1, 2011 for the purpose of electing three aldermen.
The seats up for election are currently held by Derrick Baker, Darrell Dixon and one currently vacant seat.

Qualifying Petitions can be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office in Room 104 of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Smithville.

The last day to register to vote in the Alexandria election is August 2

Local Businesses Urged to Participate in 10th Annual Project Welcome Mat

June 13, 2011
Liberty State Bank participates in Project Welcome Mat
Liberty State Bank Two Sided Sign Welcoming Jamboree Visitors

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all local businesses to help welcome visitors to the 40th annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival by participating in the 10th annual "Project Welcome Mat"

Businesses having changeable signs or marquees are asked to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors. The wording may be only a simple "Welcome to the Jamboree" or as elaborate as you choose. Executive Director of the Chamber, Suzanne Williams, says, “With thousands of visitors coming into town, every effort should be made by the local merchants to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business. The program has been successful over the past years with many businesses participating. Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the DeKalb County / Smithville area can be!”

All businesses may participate in "Project Welcome Mat." There will be recognition awards in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award." Plaques will be presented to winners along with media recognition.

If your business would like to participate in the contest, email the Chamber at dekalbtn@dtccom.net or call 597-4163. Wording should be in place no later than Friday, June 24, 2011.

County Crime News

June 13, 2011
Dwayne Page
Clay Andrew Bain
Elizabeth Rochelle Bradshaw
Richard Neal Meyers
William Joseph Post
Tonya Gail Brennan

In his latest update on crime news, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 19 year old Clay Andrew Bain of Lakeview Drive, Smithville was issued a citation on Monday, June 6 for driving on a suspended license. Less than an hour later Bain was caught driving again and arrested for driving on a suspended license. Bain was further charged with simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone) and cited for simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and simple possession of drug paraphernalia (marijuana pipe). He will appear in court on June 30. His bond totals $5,000.

Sheriff Ray reports that Bain pulled up to DeKalb County Jail in his truck. A deputy, having knowledge that Bain's drivers license were suspended for traffic violations, issued a citation. The officer then advised Bain to leave the truck where it was parked and not to be driving it. About thirty five minutes later, Bain got into his truck and drove it across the public square to another parking spot. Bain was placed under arrest. Upon conducting a pat down search at the jail, the arresting officer found a marijuana pipe and a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in Bain's pocket along with five pills believed to be hydrocodone.

27 year old Elizabeth Rochelle Bradshaw of Halls Hollow Road, Smithville is charged with resisting arrest. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on June 16.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, June 7 a deputy went to Bradshaw's residence to arrest her for violation of probation stemming from a case in another county. After receiving consent from the property owner to search the home, Bradshaw was found hiding in a bedroom closet. After being discovered, Bradshaw then tried to run out of the room and refused to comply with the officer's commands to stop resisting arrest. She was eventually placed in custody.

38 year old Richard Neal Meyers of Hickory Place, Smithville was charged on Tuesday, June 7 with a seventh offense of driving on a suspended license. Meyers was also issued a citation for failure to yield to a stop sign. His bond totals $7,500 and he will be in court June 15.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy while on routine patrol noticed that a vehicle failed to yield to a stop sign at Lakeview Drive on Highway 56 north. The officer stopped the automobile and asked the driver, Meyers, for his license. Meyers told the deputy that he did not have a license because they were suspended. A computer check revealed that Meyers' license were suspended for failure to satisfy citations in other counties.

39 year old William Joseph Post of Ditty Road, Cookeville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on June 16.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, June 11 a deputy was dispatched to the Austin Bottom boat ramp to check on a possible traffic accident. Upon arrival, the officer saw a man lying in the road beside of a vehicle that was in a ditch. While speaking to the man, Post, the deputy detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His speech was slurred and when he stood, Post was very unsteady on his feet. Complaining of chest pains, Post was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of the hospital. After being released, Post was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

While at the Austin Bottom boat ramp, the officer was informed that three other persons had been in the vehicle and pointed toward the woods. When the deputy shined a light toward the woods, he saw a male and female in the tree line, unclothed and engaging in sexual activity. The officer advised them to get dressed. The female, 47 year old Tonya Gail Brennan of Medlen Road Baxter, got dressed and came toward the officer but the man ran away. Upon speaking to the woman, Brennan, the officer noticed that her speech was very slurred, she was unsteady on her feet, and she had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. Brennan was charged with public intoxication. She was further cited for indecent exposure. Her bond totals $1,500 and she will be in court on June 16.

DeKalb Young Democrats Attend State Convention

June 13, 2011
Emma Rigsby, Jordan Wilkins, Eli Gill

DeKalb Young Democrats attended the Tennessee Young Democrats' State Convention held in Lebanon on Saturday, June 11.

Members attending were Jordan Wilkins--President; Eli Gill-- Vice President; and Emma Rigsby---Secretary/Treasurer.

Wilkins ran for and was elected to the 6th Congressional District Representative seat for males. He was also appointed to be Chairperson of the Tennessee Young Democrats' High School Outreach Caucus.

Rigsby ran for and was elected to the 6th Congressional District Representative seat for females. She was also appointed to serve as a member on the High School Outreach Caucus.

Gill was appointed to serve as a member of the High School Outreach Caucus.

Officials said DeKalb County has excellent representation at the State Level in the Young Democrats' organization.

Joyce Hendrixson, ex-officio advisor to the DeKalb County Young Democrats, accompanied the Young Democrats to the convention.

The DeKalb Young Democrats wish to thank James Hale for his sponsorship of the Young Democrats' participation in the State Convention.

(Pictured above left to right: Emma Rigsby, Jordan Wilkins, and Eli Gill)

13th Annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run Set for July 2nd

June 12, 2011
Dwayne Page
2010  5K Winners: Christopher England of Atlanta (pictured with son). Also pic

The 13th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County will be Saturday, July 2nd, the weekend of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree. All proceeds from the race will be used in building the 4th Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County, which will be constructed this fall.

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.

Christopher England of Atlanta, Georgia was the 2010 overall winner of the 5K. He completed the course in 17:54. England also holds the course record at 16:30 in 2008.

Sara Terashima of Richmond, Indiana was the 2010 overall winner for females. She finished the course in 20:53.

Caroline Payne of Gainesville, Florida holds the course record for females at 20:02 in 2004.

A new category was created last year for the male and female masters. Lee Piccirillo of Murfreesboro was the overall winner in the male masters. His time was 19:23.

In the female masters, Lisanne McLaurine of Liberty was the overall winner. Her time was 24:07

Tate Chumley of Murfreesboro was the overall winner of the 2010 One Mile Fun Run. His time was 7:15

Macy Hedge of Smithville completed the course in 7:38, the best among females.

A total of 365 runners competed in the 2010 race including 283 in the 5K and 82 in the One Mile Fun Run, which was the second largest in the 12 year history of this race. The 2009 race was the largest with 387 participants.

The following is a short video clip of the 2009 Fiddler 5K race

The 2011 Registration for the 5K or Fun Run is as follows:

Adults rates (over 18)
Adults Pre-Race: $20
Adults Day of Race: $25

Youth rates (18 and younger)
Youth Pre-Race: $15
Youth Day of Race: $20

Re-registration options:
Pre-register online at www.active.com until June 29th midnight

Pre-register by mail by printing a form at www.fiddler5k.com and sending the form along with your payment to: P.O. Box 750, Smithville, Tennessee 37166. Pre-registration forms must be received in the mail by June 27th. Shirts are only guaranteed for those pre-registered. For more information call 615-597-7370

Race Day Check-In Times:
Pre-registered: 6:15 a.m.
Race Day Registration: 6:00 a.m.
Please bring a completed registration form with you

5K awards:
Overall and Master (40 plus) male and female finishers
Top three male and female finishers in the following age divisions:
9 and younger
75 plus

Fun Run Awards:
Overall male and female finishers age 12 and younger
Top three male and female finishers age 12 and younger

Race Perks and other information:
Pre-registered participants will receive a commemorative microfiber shirt. All participants will receive free refreshments and be eligible for door prize giveaways before the awards ceremony

The Course is certified and R.A.C.E. Nashville will be managing timing. Strollers are welcome and at the start line, should line up at the rear. No pets allowed. 5K course is open for 60 minutes.

All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

England Earns Doctor of Optometry Degree

June 12, 2011
Laura Elaine England

Laura Elaine England, O.D., of Smithville, TN was among 119 students recently awarded the Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis. She has been accepted and will continue her education in a residency program from BVA Advanced Eye Care in Edmond, OK.

A graduate of Tennessee Tech and DeKalb County High School, Dr. England is the daughter of Brian and Janet England of Smithville, TN. Grandparents are Neil and Emma Jean Dudney, and Tom and Cheryl England of Smithville, TN.

Optometrists are independent, primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases/disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures, as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.

Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education.

Smithville Police Department Crime News

June 12, 2011
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

The Smithville Police Department has made several arrests within the past month on charges ranging from driving under the influence, public intoxication, assault, drug offenses, and burglary and theft, among others.

In the latest crime news released to the media, Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that on Saturday, May 14th Officer Brandon Donnell arrested 50 year old James Milton Florida, of Smyrna for DUI. According to the warrant, Officer Donnell responded to Hardees to check out a report of a man who had passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle in the drive thru. Officer Donnell arrived and tried several times to wake him up. In doing so, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Florida's court date is June 23rd. His bond is $1,500.

On Monday, May 16th Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested 51 year old Landon Lynn Mathis of West Broad Street for burglary and theft under $500. According to the warrant, Mathis was in an area not open to the public knowing he was not supposed to be there. He allegedly took fruit without paying for it. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is June 23rd.

On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant cited 25 year old Laura Beth Elmore of Gentry Avenue for theft. Elmore was found to have in her purse, items taken from Dollar General Store that had not been paid for.

On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 74 year old Phyllis Angeline Thompson of Foster Road for abuse of 911. Thompson allegedly called 911 and when Corporal Bryant arrived at her residence in answer to the call, she told him her cell phone was making a buzzing noise. Ms. Thompson had been informed several times since May 2nd not to dial 911 unless she had an actual emergency. Her bond is $1,000.

On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 65 year old Jo Ann Luna of Joe Turner Road for public intoxication. Corporal Bryant and Officer Matt Farmer responded to a call at Wal-Mart and met with Luna. After speaking with her, Corporal Bryant noticed she appeared to be unsteady and had slurred speech. After submitting to field sobriety tests Ms. Luna was arrested. Her bond is $1,000.

On Thursday, May 19th Officer David Phillips cited 41 year old Brenda Lou Barrett and 33 year old Tanya Ann Chapman both of Liberty for simple possession and casual exchange. Barrett was stopped for a traffic violation and after giving the officer consent to search her vehicle, she and Chapman were found to be in possession of prescription medication for resale.

On Saturday, May 21st Officer Andy Snow arrested 46 year old Artemio Juarez of Jackson Street for a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license because of a DUI. Officer Snow was called to check on a person who had passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle. Upon arrival Officer Snow found Juarez in the driver's seat asleep with the key in the ignition. Juarez had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person, blood shot eyes and he was unsteady on his feet. A computer check of his license revealed them to be revoked for a previous DUI. His bond is $6,500 and his court date is June 16th.

On Monday, May 23rd Corporal Travis Bryant cited 46 year old Susan Elaine Shaw of Dearman Street for theft under $500. Witnesses saw Ms. Shaw allegedly put items that she had not paid for in her purse at the Dollar General Store.

On Thursday, May 26th Officer Matt Farmer cited 20 year old Krista Lauren Ellis of Highland Avenue for shoplifting. Ms. Ellis was seen allegedly putting items belonging to Dollar General Store in her bag that she had not paid for.

On Monday, May 23rd Sergeant Randy King arrested 24 year old Julian Flores Cruz of Morgan Drive for aggravated assault. Cruz allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by backing her into a closet in her home with a knife and then sticking the knife in the wall next to her body. His bond is $25,000 and his court date is June 16th.

On Saturday, May 28th Sergeant Randy King arrested 28 year old Abalardo Lara of West Broad Street for DUI. Sergeant King was looking for a reported reckless driver coming into the city limits when he met the vehicle coming toward him. According to Sergeant King, the automobile crossed the center line and almost hit him head on. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, Lara, Sergeant King noticed a strong smell of a fermented beverage about his person. Lara had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 16th.

On Saturday, May 28th K-9 Officer James Cornelius arrested 26 year old Stephen Brandon Pirtle of Rolling Acres Road for domestic assault and public intoxication. K-9 Officer Cornelius and Officer Brandon Donnell responded to a domestic call where Pirtle had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and then left the residence. Officer Donnell made contact with Mr. Pirtle by the side of the road. While talking with him, officers could smell alcohol on his person and noticed his speech was slurred. Bond for Pirtle is $4,000 and his court date is June 23rd.

On Monday, May 30th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 40 year old Vickie Lenae Alvis of Sparta Highway for DUI and escape. Corporal Bryant stopped a vehicle for speeding on East Broad Street and while speaking with the driver, Alvis, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and Alvis' speech was slurred. Ms. Alvis was transported to the police department but while there, she was able to get the handcuffs off and walk outside. She was quickly apprehended again. Her bond is $5,000.

On Wednesday, June 1st Detective Matt Holmes arrested mother and daughter, 63 year old Charlene Poss and 27 year old Terri Lynn Poss both of Poss Road for theft under $500. A report was taken stating that on September 10th, 2010 several pieces of jewelry were taken from F Z Webb & Sons Gifts. On May 19th, 2011 Terri Poss allegedly went to Granny's Gold Mine and sold the jewelry to the business while her mother, Charlene stayed outside in the car. Bond for each is $5,000 and their court date is June 16th.

On Wednesday, June 1st Officer Brandon Donnell arrested 28 year old Cassandra Nicole Estes of Foster Road for public intoxication. Officer Donnell was dispatched to Pizza Hut to check on a possible intoxicated female inside. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Estes and saw that she could not keep her eyes open. Estes had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet to the point where she could hardly stand up. Bond for Estes is $1,000 and her court date is June 23rd.

Estes was arrested again the next day, Thursday June 2nd, along with 35 year old Tyrone Dwayne Owens of Shady Drive. They were each charged with public intoxication. Officer David Phillips and Sergeant Randy King were in court when they saw Estes and Owens in the court room about to pass out. Both had slurred speech and they were unsteady on their feet. Bond for each is $1,000. Estes will be in court on August 4th. Owens' court date is June 23rd.

On Thursday, June 2nd Officer Bradley Tatrow cited 22 year old Brittany Jean Bell of King Ridge Road for possession of drug paraphernalia. Ms. Bell was observed snorting something inside her car at Bill Page Ball Park. Ms. Bell gave consent to search her vehicle and Officer Tatrow recovered a pipe believed to be used for smoking marijuana. Her court date is June 23rd

On Thursday, June 2nd Officer David Phillips cited 27 year old Millissia Ann Berry of Gainesboro for theft of property. Ms. Berry was seen putting items in purse that she had not paid for. Her court date is June 23rd.

On Friday, June 3rd Officer Matt Farmer arrested 26 year old Melinda Beth Murphy of Webb Street for violation of probation. Officer Farmer responded to a disturbance near Webb Street where he identified Ms. Murphy. A background check revealed active warrants against her for violation of probation.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on any criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Bridge Construction Projects Affecting Traffic on Two County Roads

June 11, 2011
Dwayne Page
Construction Begins at Bridge in Dry Creek Area
Road Closed Signs Posted on Dry Creek Road near Intersection with Old Mill Hill
Bridge Construction Continues over Helton Creek on Tramel Branch Road

A portion of two DeKalb County roads remain closed due to bridge construction.

Dry Creek Road in the Pea Ridge area was closed on Monday, June 6th and will tentatively be closed through July 15th while the work is in progress.

County Mayor Mike Foster spoke of this project recently at a county commission meeting. "It's really going to adversely affect some people for a short period of time. They're (state) requesting to close Dry Creek Road in order to construct the north abutment of the new bridge right below Pea Ridge. The new abutment sets on the edge of Dry Creek Road which will require a drill rig be set up that will block the road. The wing wall closest to the existing bridge sets on the edge of the roadway. This will require an excavation approximately ten feet deep into the opening up of the roadway. It is impossible to keep traffic on this section of road while this work takes place. This is the upper bridge just before you get to Pea Ridge. Everybody from just this side of the bridge, the road will be cut this side of the old bridge. So that means that everybody up there, even Cave Hollow and everything above there, will be required to go around (detour) until this bridge is replaced. It will take about five weeks. They're going to build the abutment on the south side, southwest side, and the pier and then they're going to close the road and add in the pier on this side. While that's being done, it will be closed," said Foster.

TDOT has awarded a bid to Roads, LLC of Brentwood in the amount of $623, 963 to build a concrete I-Beam bridge at Dry Creek. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving. The work must be completed on or before November 30th.

Meanwhile progress is being made on the construction of a bridge on Tramel Branch Road over Helton Creek near Alexandria.

In February, the Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded a bid to Mountain States Contractors, LLC of Mount Juliet in the amount of $505,991 to build a new concrete box beam bridge there. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving.

Tramel Branch Road is closed to traffic at the point of the bridge site. The work is to be completed on or before November 30th.

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE that both projects are being funded with 80% federal funds and 20% local matching money, including 14% from the DeKalb County Highway Department budget (state aid) and 6% from the county general fund.

Local Administrator of Elections Attends Seminar, Speaks on Media Relations

June 11, 2011
Dennis Stanley

A law known simply as “the photo identification” law was one of several topics of discussion at a recent seminar attended by the state’s election officials, including Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections.

In addition, Stanley was one of the speakers at the two-day seminar and his lesson on media relations will now be part of the training program for newly-appointed administrators.

“Obviously, the new photo I.D. law was hot topic of discussion,” Stanley said, “and election officials had many questions relating to the measure, which passed this year and will go into effect January 1, 2012.”

Beginning with all elections held next year, voters will be required to produce a government issued photo I.D. before they will be allowed to vote on the voting machine. If no photo identification is provided, the voter will vote a provisional ballot and the voter will have two business days to return to the election commission office and show a valid photo I.D. or the ballot will be rejected.

Stanley said there are two exceptions to the I.D. requirement. The voter can sign an oath stating he/she is indigent or an oath stating a religious objection to being photographed. After signing the oath, the voter will vote on the machines.

Also, the law does not apply to voters who vote absentee, are hospitalized or in a licensed nursing home.

A valid photo I.D. includes a Tennessee driver’s license, U.S. passport, Department of Safety photo I.D. card, state or federal employee photo identification card, a photo I.D. card issued by the federal government or other state and a U.S. military photo I.D.

“Keep in mind,” Stanley said, “a college photo I.D. is not considered a valid I.D. for voting purposes.”

To assist voters who do not currently have a proper photo I.D., the Department of Safety will issue an I.D. for voting purposes only at no charge beginning next month (July 1).

“Under a separate bill that passed the legislature, a voter can go to the Department of Safety (driver’s license stations) and sign an affidavit stating the requested photo I.D. is for voting, that he/she is a registered voter and the voter does not have a valid government issued photo I.D. card for voting. Once the form is signed, the department will issue the photo at no charge,” Stanley said.

Much more information will be released well in advance of next year’s elections, he said.


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