Local News Articles

UCHRA Conducts Re-Certification for Commodity Distribution

January 3, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released new Temporary Emergency Food Program products for the 2008 Commodity distributions announced Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s Executive Director Phyllis R. Bennett.

Commodities are surplus agricultural items that are given back to American families through government agencies.

In the Upper Cumberland region, the UCHRA distributes commodities in Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White Counties. “UCHRA holds distributions every other month with several hours of distribution at each location,” said Commodity Director Rebecca Harris.

Recertification must be complete before the 2008 distribution. This recertification process is scheduled for January 2 through January 15, 2008 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at your local UCHRA office located at 527 West Main Street in Smithville.

You are encouraged to bring the appropriate documentation and make arrangements to come by during the above dates. Individuals and families receiving commodities through the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency have to be recertified each year to maintain their eligibility. Those persons who receive either Food Stamps, Families First, SSI, LIHEAP or who live in public housing must bring proof that they participate in these programs, and they are automatically eligible for commodities and/or completion of a signed, self-declaration income statement that the total amount of household income is below 150% of the current income poverty guidelines. Individuals who wish to have someone else do their recertification must send a note with the person authorizing them to do so.

The USDA's Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program is available to all recipients regardless of race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.

Sparta Man Charged with DUI after Running His Vehicle into County Patrol Car

January 3, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old Sparta man was arrested on New Year's Day after running his vehicle into a county patrol car.

Charlie Lee Shockley of Oakwood Drive, Sparta was arrested for DUI and evading arrest.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies were traveling on Highway 56 south when they met Shockley, who almost hit their patrol car. The officers then turned around and went after Shockley who had turned down Seven Springs Road. Shockley continued onto Old Bildad Road where he wrecked in a curve in a ditch. The vehicle was facing the patrol car. After Shockley's vehicle stopped in the roadway, Shockley floored the accelerator and ran his vehicle into the patrol car and then hit a tree. Damage to the Patrol car was to the front bumper headlight and fender. After hitting the tree, Shockley was placed under arrest.

Shockley's bond was set at $4,000 and his court date is February 7th.

The wreck was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Karlen Evins to Speak at Chamber Banquet

January 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Annual Membership Banquet of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is set for Thursday, January 31st at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Allen Ferry Road, Smithville. The special evening begins with a "Silent Auction" at 5:30 p.m. The dinner and program starts at 6:00 p.m.

The keynote speaker will be popular author and radio personality, Karlen Evins. In addition, the Leadership DeKalb Alumni group will present their winners for "Community Leader of the Year" and "Legacy" awards. Chamber Board Members including the newly elected board members will also be introduced.

Along with entertainment, a meal will be served and a "Silent Auction" will be held. Each Chamber member is asked to donate an item for the Silent Auction. Please contact the Chamber office as soon as possible and let them know what you will offer.

Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased from any of the 15 board members or they may be picked up at the Chamber office located at 301 N. Public Square, Smithville.

Smithville Fire Department Responds to New Year's Day Grass Fire

January 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called out to a New Year's Day grass fire in the Meadowbrook and Green Acre Drive area Tuesday.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the fire came close to some houses, but no structures were damaged and no one was injured. "We responded to a grass fire back in behind Meadowbrook Drive. It started around Green Acre Drive. With the high, gusty winds, the fire spread across the grassy field at a pretty good rate. We called the Tennessee Forestry Division because it was in a grassy wooded area. We got them to help us contain the fire because it was headed toward the back of some houses. We measured it out. It was just a little over nine acres that had burned."

Parked added "It looked like somebody had started it right beside the roadside. They either threw something out or set it on fire right beside the road. We're still looking into that to see if we can find any suspects and how it actually did start."

Early Voting Begins January 16th for February Primaries

January 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

Early Voting dates and times are set for the February 5th DeKalb County Democratic Primary and Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary.

Early voting will be held January 16th through January 31st from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

Meanwhile the last date to register to vote in time for the primary is January 7th.

DeKalb County voters will select Democratic nominees for Constable and Assessor of Property on February 5th.

The candidates are Incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks and challengers Roy Merriman and Willie Thomas. The winner will face Republican nominee John David Foutch and Independent candidate Sandy C. Brown in the DeKalb County General Election on August 7th.

Democratic candidates for constable are Incumbent Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Incumbent Mark Milam in the fifth district, Cantrell Jones in the sixth district and Mary Ann Thomason and Johnny King in the seventh district.

The nominees for constable chosen on February 5th will be unopposed in the August 7th General Election. No candidate from either party qualified to run for constable in the first district and Second District Republican Incumbent Reed Edge will be unopposed in August.

Voters will also be voting for their favorite candidates for President in the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Presidential Preference Primaries on February 5th. The Presidential Election will be in November.

Voters must declare in which primary they will be voting, either Democratic or Republican. You cannot vote in both.

The candidates for President in the Democratic Primary are Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson.

Candidates for President in the Republican Primary are Rudy Giuliana, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, and Fred Thompson. Tancredo has already dropped out of the race.

Two Smithville Police Officers Receive Commendations for Helping Needy Families

January 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department helped two needy families have a merrier Christmas last week and two members of the department have been commended for their efforts.

Officers Brad C. Tatrow and Callie M. Matthews have been presented commendations signed by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Cecil Burger, Police Chief Richard Jennings, and Lieutenant Steven Leffew.

The commendations state that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent efforts in your capacity as a Smithville Police Officer. Due to your determination, the Smithville Police Department recently was able to assist two families this Christmas Holiday."

"As a result of your determination, the Smithville Police Department was able to assist two needy families, consisting of eight children this Christmas Holiday with food and gifts for the children with the assistance of local businesses."

"It's initiatives like this that will distinguish Smithville Police officers as friends and protectors and will take our Police Department to a higher level of excellence. For your outstanding performance, you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your permanent personnel record."

"Congratulations and keep up the great work!"

Almost 300 Vehicles Checked In New Year Holiday Road Blocks

January 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Smithville and Alexandria Police Department conducted recent road blocks to keep travel as safe as possible to start 2008.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a total 293 vehicles were stopped during the road blocks including 72 vehicles on Highway 56 south; 53 on Highway 70 east; 47 on Highway 53 in Alexandria; 62 on Highway 70 west in Alexandria; and 59 automobiles were stopped on Highway 146

During the roadblocks, sheriff's department deputies made three arrests.

31 year old Ramon Hernandez of College Street, Smithville was arrested for no drivers license. His bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is January 9th..

51 Year old Danny Certain of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was arrested for a second offense of driving under the influence and was issued a citation for violation of the open container law. Bond for Certain was set at $3,000 and his court date is January 31st.

22 year old Thomas Thompson of Manners Road, Lebanon was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is set at $1,500 and his court date is January 31st.

The Smithville Police Department arrested 30 year old Alfredo Bazaldua of Atnip Street, Smithville. He was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is January 31st.

The Smithville Police Department also issued two citations to one person for driving without a driver's license and littering, after the individual threw a bottle out of his vehicle.

Sheriff's Department Investigating Burglary at Local Restaurant

December 31, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Sheriff's Department is investigating a break-in which occurred this morning (Monday) at Barbara's Cedar House Restaurant on Johnson's Chapel Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says some time late Sunday night or early this morning (Monday), someone entered the restaurant and stole several cases of assorted beer, TV's, a computer, a projector, and a surround sound system.

According to Sheriff Ray, the owners of the restaurant are offering a $1,000 reward for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for the crime.

If anyone has any information about the case, please call Sheriff Ray at 597-4935 or the Confidential Tip Line at 615-464-6400. All calls are kept confidential.

In other recent cases, 18 year old Latroya Bain of Lee Homer Road, Smithville was arrested on Thursday, December 27th at Gentry Avenue for Theft of Property over $1,000 and Failure to Appear.

Sheriff Ray says on December 5th, Bain was at a residence on Lee Homer Road, Smithville and took a vehicle without the owner's consent. The vehicle has since been recovered. Bain is under a $10,000 bond and will appear in court on January 3rd.

Meanwhile, in a related case, 18 year old Jeremy Shelton of Jacob's Pillar Road, Smithville was arrested on Thursday, December 27th on Village Place, Smithville.

Sheriff Ray says on December 5th, Shelton took a vehicle on Dry Creek Road, Smithville without the owner's consent. Shelton was arrested for Theft of Property over $1,000 and Violation of Probation. His Court date is January 3rd and his bond was set at $6,000. The vehicle has since been recovered.

In another case, 62 year old James Harold Davis of Adcock Cemetery Road, Smithville was charged Saturday, December 29th with Introduction of Drugs into a Penal Institution.

Sheriff Ray says Davis brought a coffee pot into the jail for his grandson, and upon inspection by correctional officers, the coffee pot was found to be filled with tobacco and marijuana. Bond for Davis was set at $5,000 and he will appear in court on January 17th.

Two Smithville Pharmacies Burglarized

December 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

Two more pharmacies have been burglarized in recent days.

F.Z. Webb and Sons Pharmacy and Gifts in downtown Smithville was broken into early Saturday morning.

Owner Alan Webb says he received a call from his security company of an alarm around 2:00 a.m. Saturday.

Upon arrival, Webb found that someone had broken into the building through a rear door. Motion sensors apparently triggered the burglar alarm, after the intruder or intruders made entry.

Webb says he could find nothing missing, only an open bottle of cough syrup.

No arrests have been made.

Meanwhile on Christmas night, someone broke into Caldwell's Drug Store on West Main Street. Entry was believed to have been made through the roof. Police say a small vent on the roof appeared to have been kicked in and inside, the ceiling in the lobby appeared to have been pushed in from above.

Police say according to the owner, nothing was taken in that break-in. No arrests have been made.

These pharmacy burglaries come just a month after someone broke into F.Z. Webb and Sons Pharmacy in Alexandria.

Alexandria Police have charged three people in that case. 22 year old Bryon Ray (Bud) Gibbs and 25 year old Candice B. Vickers both of Liberty and 31 year old Jeffery A. Willet of Lebanon are charged with one count each of burglary and theft over $500.

Chief Mark Collins says officers discovered that entry had been made through the roof and that 6,500 Lortab pills and liquid morphine were stolen. The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between November 24th and November 26th.

All three are currently incarcerated in other jails on unrelated charges.

Three Applicants in the Running for Police Investigator Job

December 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department may soon have an Investigator.

Three people have applied for the job. Applications were accepted until noon Friday.

Those in the running include Jerry Hutchins' Jr., Marcus Caldwell, and Danny Holmes.

Hutchins is a former employee of the Smithville Police Department and he is currently employed with the Wilson County Sheriff's Department. Hutchins is also a former employee of the Lebanon Police Department where he worked as a field training officer and patrol supervisor. He is the son of Smithville Alderman Jerry Hutchins Sr.

Caldwell is also a former employee of Smithville Police Department. He is currently working for the White County Sheriff's Department.

Holmes is a former long time employee of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and is head of Safety and Security at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

In the past, the City Secretary/Treasurer, Mayor, and Police Commissioner have made the initial hire of employees in the police department, subject to final approval by the board of aldermen.

In recent months, some of the aldermen have said they want more input in the interview and hiring process.

Earlier this month, Alderman Tonya Sullivan, at a city council meeting, said the city must be consistent with it's hiring process. "The code and charter are very vague about who is supposed to be present for interviews, how many people are supposed to be interviewed, and what the process is that we are supposed to be following. We have not been consistent with our hiring process."

Meanwhile, the city is still in search of applications for a certified water plant employee and resumes for a new city attorney through noon January 11th.

At last report, none had been filed.

The city is accepting applications for a full time certified water plant employee. Only Grade III Certified applicants will be accepted.

The city is also accepting resumes from qualified, licensed attorneys for the city attorney position.

The water plant position is apparently is a new job being created. The new city attorney will succeed John Pryor, who has announced his resignation, effective December 31st.


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