Local News Articles

Flu Vaccine Now Available at DeKalb County Health Department

September 25, 2007

Flu season is just around the corner and the DeKalb County Health Department is ready to offer flu shots to area residents. No shortage of vaccine is expected this year and the health department says local supplies will not be restricted while they last.

A mass flu clinic is currently scheduled for Thursday, October 11th from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the DeKalb County Health Department. Mass flu clinics offer convenience and people are able to get in and out quickly. No appointments are needed.

"October and November are often the best months to get the influenza vaccine because that's generally before we begin seeing many flu cases. In Tennessee, flu activity usually peaks in late January, and can peak as late as April, so we will continue to vaccinate residents through the winter, or as long as we have vaccine available, said Dr. Don Tansil, Upper Cumberland Regional Health Officer.

Though influenza vaccine is recommended for anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza, certain people are at especially high risk of serious illness or death from influenza, especially the elderly and the very young. People who live with or care for those at high risk for serious illness should be vaccinated to prevent exposing them to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reccomends that individuals in the following groups receive the vaccine unless their health care provider has told them otherwise:

Children aged 6 months through 59 months up to their 5th birthday
Pregnant women (or those who will be pregnant during flu season)
Adults aged 50 years and older (especially those 65 and up)
Residents of long term care facilities
People of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, certain muscle or nerve disorders, and diabetes)
All healthcare workers
Household members and caregivers of people in the above high risk groups

In DeKalb County the cost of the flu shot will be $25.00 for adults and $13.70 for children. Pneumonia vaccine will also be available for $41.00. Payment can be made in the form of cash or check and Medicare and TennCare can be billed. Correct change is preferred. Individuals receiving flu shots need to wear short sleeve shirt.

For more information about scheduled flu clinics, call the DeKalb Health Department ar 615-597-7599.

DeKalb County Man Makes TBI's Most Wanted List

September 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

28 year old Toby Lynn Young, a DeKalb County Jail escapee who has been on the run for over three years, is now on the TBI's Most Wanted list.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "Within the past few months we've been getting tips that Young could be moving between DeKalb and Cannon counties and we would like to get him picked up. I contacted the TBI to assist us in his capture and now he is on the TBI's most wanted list. Young's criminal history dates back to at least 1997. Young has been charged with offenses such as underage consumption, DUI, theft and weapons charges. He is now wanted for escape and other charges here and more charges in surrounding counties."

Sheriff Ray says Young has brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. Young also has an Eagle's head tattoo on his back.

If you have seen him call 1-800-TBI-FIND or the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says on Sunday 19 year old Jose Martinez of East Main Street, Smithville was stopped for weaving on Highway 56. Martinez was found to be under the influence. He was arrested for DUI and Violation of the Implied Consent Law. His bond is set at $1,000 and his court date is October 4th.

34 year old Luis Manuel Ortiz of Short Mountain Road, Smithville was involved in an accident last week in the Smithville City Limits. Ortiz fled the scene and was stopped by a County Deputy for weaving on Short Mountain Highway. Ortiz was charged with DUI. His bond is set at $1,000 and his court date is October 4th.

19 year old Brandon Ray Riddle of Toy Slatten Road, Sparta was seen by two off duty law enforcement officers loading a 4 wheeler into a pickup truck at around 1:00 am Sunday morning at a residence on Highway 70 near Liberty. The officers called in the incident and a county Deputy stopped Riddle in Liberty on Highway 70. Deputies also found a .25 caliber pistol in Riddle's possession. Through an investigation, officers learned that Riddle was also involved in stealing another 4 wheeler on Parsley Road earlier this month and selling another stolen 4 wheeler, which was stolen out of Kentucky, to an individual in DeKalb County. Riddle was charged with three counts of theft of property and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond is set at $35,000 and his court date is October 4th

The Sheriff's Department, on Monday morning, responded to a vandalism call at DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Sheriff Ray says someone had come there during the night and vandalized a statue of Jesus by pouring a red liquid substance on the statue. Owners of the cemetery advised the statue was purchased some where around 1962 for $25,000. If any one has any information about this crime, please call the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935 or the Sheriff's Department Crime Line at 464-6400.

Three Constable Candidates Have Qualified for Local Democratic Primary

September 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

Three people have qualified to run for constable in the February 5th, DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that Mary Thomason has qualified to run for constable in the seventh district, Cantrell Jones for constable in the sixth district, and Incumbent Mark Milam for constable in the fifth district.

Two persons have picked up petitions for Assessor of Property but have not yet returned them.

DeKalb County Democrats will nominate candidates for the offices of Assessor of Property and Constable in each of the county's seven districts on Tuesday, February 5th.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Lisa Peterson says Democratic and Independent candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable may qualify with the Election Commission now through the deadline of noon December 13th.

Democrats will qualify for the February 5th Primary while Independents will qualify for the August 7th, 2008 DeKalb County General Election.

DeKalb County Republicans select their nominees for the DeKalb County General Election by convention, rather than a primary, but GOP candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable must be certified to run for the August Election by noon December 13th.

DeKalb County Site Added to National Register of Historic Places

September 22, 2007

The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced 12 Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including one in DeKalb County.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee.

The local site recently added to the National Register of Historic Places is the Susie Foster Log House at 810 College Street.

According to the narrative in the press release, "Miss Susie Foster wanted a log house as early as 1915 when her cousin gave her a lot in Smithville (DeKalb County). It was not until 1946 to 1950 that her house was built. The house was constructed of logs salvaged from older log homes that were in the Caney Fork River Basin prior to Center Hill Lake being built. The house is a mid-century interpretation of the popular Colonial Revival style and the exposed logs on the exterior and interior, original mantel, windows and doors, exemplify the 20th century Colonial Revival movement."

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the Web site at www.tdec.net/hist.

Smithville Police Investigates Two Traffic Accidents Friday at the Same Location

September 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police investigated two traffic accidents Friday at the same location.

Two people were involved in a traffic accident around 8:25 a.m. Friday morning at the intersection of North Mountain Street and West Broad Street.

Police say 40 year old Melissa Lynne Jones of Patterson Road, Smithville was north on Mountain Street, driving a 2000 Pontiac, and was making a left turn on West Broad Street as a 2002 Buick, driven by 59 year old Joyce Vandergriff of McMinnville, was traveling west on Broad Street. The two vehicles collided in the intersection.

Both drivers were transported to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Meanwhile, two other people were involved in an accident around 1:15 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Mountain Street and Broad Street.

40 year old Gordon Rackley of Poss Street, Smithville was driving east on West Broad Street in a 1994 Chevy S-14 as 17 year old Daniel Frazier of Woodbury was traveling west on Broad Street in a 1991 Nissan. According to police, Frazier was making a left turn onto Mountain Street and pulled into the path of the Rackley truck. Frazier was cited for being an unlicensed driver. There were no injuries.

Members of the DeKalb EMS and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department responded to both accidents, along with the Smithville Police Department, who investigated the crashes.

Carter Seeks Probation In Appeal of Statutory Rape Case

September 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man, unhappy with the sentence he received a year ago in a statutory rape case, could hear soon from his appeal to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division, as to whether the lower court's sentence was proper.

Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr., in September 2006, sentenced Gary Carter to four years probation, except for nine months to serve in the county jail, after Carter entered a guilty plea to one count of statutory rape, involving a female, who was seventeen years old and only a few months shy of turning eighteen when the incident allegedly occurred.

Carter has remained free on bond since filing the appeal nearly a year ago. His name is also listed on the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.

In the appeal, the attorney for Carter, Hilton Conger, is asking that Carter be granted probation, and not be made to serve nine months in jail.

Conger, in his written argument filed with the higher court, says the trial court erred in denying Carter probation, especially since Carter had no previous criminal record. Conger writes, " Despite the overwhelming evidence in the record that the appellant (Carter) was a favorable candidate for alternative sentencing, the trial court ambiguously ignored the presumption and failed to articulate in the record its reason or reasons for doing so."

Conger also claims that the trial court "abused its discretion when it summarily denied the appellant's application for Judicial Diversion without specific consideration, on the record, of the relevant factors required under Tennessee Law. Even if sufficient evidence exists to support the denial of Judicial Diversion, the trial court must state its reasons for its denial of Judicial Diversion. It is clear from the record that the trial court failed to weigh all of the factors necessary prior to making its determination that the appellant's application for Judicial Diversion would be denied."

According to Conger, "requiring the appellant to serve nine months would require a complete disregard for the laws and statutes of the State of Tennessee and would cause the appellant and his family to suffer without his income to support them. The appellant has learned a humiliating, humbling and frightening lesson in life which has taken it's toll on him emotionally and physically. The comments of the Assistant District Attorney and of the trial court, on the record, support the appellant's contention that he will return to the exemplary life that he enjoyed prior to the date in question. The chances that the appellant will engage in future criminal conduct are extremely remote. Additionally, the appellant has expressed sincere remorse for his actions, and has taken full responsibility."

Several Arrested on Burglary and Theft Charges by Sheriff's Department

September 21, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made several burglary and theft arrests this week

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 25 year old Charles Robert Wilmoth of Black Oak Cemetery Road, Sparta was charged Tuesday with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says Wilmoth broke into a house on Indian Mound Road. While inside the residence, Wilmoth took power tools and electronics valued at approximately $4,000. His bond is set at $60,000.

22 year old Jonathon David Thomas of Nashville Highway Liberty, 18 year old Anthony W. Tramel of Oakley Road Liberty, and 22 year old Jordan Thomas Adams of Game Ridge Road Smithville were charged Tuesday in a recent break in on Rocky Road Liberty. Sheriff Ray says the trio went to a residence on Rocky Road Liberty on September 6th and entered the home by breaking through a window. While inside, the three men took money, two shotguns, two pistols, and prescription medication valued at over $1,600. Two shotguns and one pistol have been recovered. Thomas' bond was set at $45,000 and bond for Adams was $15,000.

Meanwhile, Tramel and 23 year old David M. Caldwell of Smith Fork Road, Liberty were charged Tuesday with theft of property over $1,000.00. Sheriff Ray says these two men went to Church Street in Liberty and took a four wheeler valued at over $5,000. The four wheeler was in the back of a pickup truck. Tramel and Caldwell unloaded it, pushed it down the street, hot wired it, and drove it off. The four wheeler has been recovered. Total bond for Tramel is $22,500 and Caldwell's bond was set at $7,500. .

28 year old Ernest S. Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road was arrested on Wednesday for aggravated burglary. Cantrell allegedly pried a door open to a residence on Adcock Cemetery Road and entered into the residence. The owner of the house was at home sleeping and was awakened by the prying of the door. The owner jumped up and spotted Cantrell and he, (Cantrell) then fled the scene. Cantrell was arrested and his court date is October 4th Bond for Cantrell is $5,000.

On Thursday, 34 year old Jeffery Lynn Murphy was arrested for 1st Offense DUI. Sheriff Ray says Murphy was stopped by a deputy on Highway 56 North for weaving and running on-coming cars off the road. Murphy was on his way to General Sessions Court in DeKalb County for a Probation Violation. Murphy admitted to the deputy that he had taken Hydocodone and other prescription medication earlier. General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook placed Murphy under "no bond". His court date is October 11th.

State Smoking Ban Takes Effect October 1

September 19, 2007

The Tennessee Departments of Health and Labor and Workforce Development are two weeks away from enforcement of the Non-Smokers Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Phil
Bredesen on June 11 of this year. Under the law, which takes effect on October 1, 2007, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places within the State of Tennessee with a few exceptions.

“The most effective way to protect workers from deadly secondhand smoke is to require smoke free workplaces,” said Governor Bredesen. “The goal of this legislation is to protect Tennesseans who are
simply trying to go to work each day and earn a paycheck. I’m proud to see Tennessee join the ranks of only a few other states that have taken the necessary steps to protect the health of employees and patrons by preventing exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Both the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development have authority to enforce the law. The Department of Health will enforce the law in establishments it inspects. Among them are restaurants; public and private educational dining
facilities; health care facilities; hotels, motels and bed and breakfast facilities; organized camps; tattoo and body piercing parlors; sports arenas, including enclosed public areas in outdoor arenas; and child
care and adult day care facilities.

“The U.S. Surgeon General released a comprehensive report earlier this year detailing that non-smokers have an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer as a result of secondhand smoke in their environments,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “With enforcement of any new law, we understand there is an adjustment period where we learn and become familiar with the changes. The Department staff plans to spend the next few weeks continuing to inform and educate the public about the law, so they can fully comply with it.”

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will enforce the law in establishments it inspects including manufacturing facilities; construction sites; convenience and grocery stores; retail stores and shopping malls.

“A strong element of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s mission is to improve workplace safety and health throughout Tennessee,” said James Neeley, commissioner for the
Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. “We are committed to supporting the state’s smoke-free legislation for a healthier Tennessee for workers and the public.”

The law provides exceptions to smoking ban for some locations and establishments. They are as follows.
Ÿ Private homes and private residences are exempt unless they are used for child care or day care.

Ÿ Private motor vehicles are also exempt.

Ÿ Non-enclosed areas of public places, including open air patios, porches or decks, those that are enclosed by garage type doors when all such doors are open; and any that are enclosed by tents or awnings with removable sides or vents when all such sides or vents are removed or open are exempt. However, smoke from these areas must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited.

Ÿ Venues that restrict access to persons who are 21 years of age or older at all times are exempt. Employees must also be 21 or older in these establishments.

Ÿ Private businesses with 3 or few employees are exempt, and may only allow smoking in an enclosed room not accessible to the general public. Smoke from such a room must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited.

Ÿ Private clubs are exempt.

Ÿ Smoking rooms in hotels and motels are allowable, provided that no more than 25 percent of the rooms in a hotel or motel are designated as smoking rooms.

Ÿ Tobacco manufacturers, importers and wholesalers are exempt.

Ÿ Retail tobacco stores that prohibit minors from entering are

Ÿ Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are also exempt from this law, but are subject federal regulation and the policies and procedures established by those facilities.

Ÿ Commercial vehicles are exempt when the vehicle is occupied only by the operator.

To comply with the law, employers and business owners are required to post "No Smoking" signs at every entrance to every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited; to notify and inform all existing and prospective employees that smoking is prohibited; and inform patrons and customers who are found smoking on the premises that it is prohibited.

Those who knowingly violate the ban do face penalties. An individual who knowingly smokes in area where smoking is prohibited is subject to a civil penalty of $50. A business that knowingly fails to comply with the requirements of the act is subject to a written warning from the Department of Health or the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for a first violation in a 12 month period; a civil penalty of $100 for a second violation in a 12 month period; and a civil penalty of $500 for a third or subsequent violation in a 12 month period.

Beginning October 1, violations of the Non-Smokers Protection Act can be reported via the Internet at health.state.tn.us or by calling 1-800-293-8228. Information will then be routed to the appropriate
department for handling.

City Accepts Applications for Police Chief, Public Works Director, and Secretary/Treasurer

September 18, 2007
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is accepting applications for the positions of Chief of Police, Public Works Director, and Secretary/Treasurer.

Applications for all these positions may be picked up at City Hall from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applications will be accepted through September 28th, 2007 until 12 noon.

Qualifications for the Secretary/Treasurer position include a Bachelor Degree from an Accredited College or University, must have an ability to be bonded, must have the ability to become certified as a City Secretary/Treasurer by the State of Tennessee, five to seven years of progressively responsible management experience, similar experience in the public sector is preferred, must be able to pass a drug screen, must be a DeKalb County resident, or be willing to relocate to DeKalb County. Compensation commensurate with qualifications.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says the City of Smithville does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability.

Auditor says Smithville in Sound Financial Condition

September 18, 2007
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is in sound financial condition according to city auditor John Poole, CPA.

Poole gave a report to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night on findings of the audit for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, which ended June 30th, and gave an historical perspective of the city's financial condition. "Going back to the 1990 audit report, in the utility fund, we had about $4.4 million in cash. However, at that time we had debt of $4.2 million, so there was really only what we would call a cushion of about $200,000. Looking at the utility system today, we've got in cash in certificates of deposit almost $3.4 million. There's only $860,000 in debt, so there is a cushion, a reserve of $2.5 million. That means as this city continues to grow and needs to make improvements in expansions to existing facilities, we're not going to ask our citizens for money. We're not going to have to borrow to make those improvements. There just aren't many cities of the size of Smithville that can say it has less than a million dollars in debt and $2.5 million in reserves."

In 1990, according to Poole, " the general fund had almost $900,000 in cash. The city had some debt, we're not exactly sure how much that was, but let's just say there was none, so let's say we had a cushion of $900,000. Today in the general fund, we have $3 million in cash and there's no debt. That's $3 million that the city has as a cushion."

"We budgeted for the city to receive $2.4 million in revenues for the year but the city actually received almost $2.5 million. I think it was $2,476,000. It tells me that we're doing a good job with our budgeting and it's nice to see that we exceeded our budgeted amounts in revenue. The City of Smithville revenue streams, historically, have been very solid."

"The final budget for the year was $1.9 million, but we only spent $1.7 million. That's $200,000 that could have been spent, but wasn't. When you have revenues exceeding your budget by $75,000, and you spend $200,000 less that what you budgeted then you kind of get the feeling where these surpluses that we can use for these nice capital projects, without borrowing, come from."

Poole added, "To me, the picture is pretty rosy with steady revenue streams, expenses have been under control, the monies have been well taken care of and those monies are being invested in safe investments, but are yielding competitive rates that we get from cd's at the banks."


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