Local News Articles

DTC TV Continues to Expand

October 23, 2009

DTC TV is pleased to announce the addition of five (5) additional channels to their Value Plan beginning October 23, 2009 at no additional charge.

The following channels will be added to the current DTC TV line-up:

Channel 18 – WKRN WX – Nashville Channel 2 Weather
Channel 23 – WTVF 5+ - NewsChannel 5 Plus is a local 24-hour news and talk station
Channel 29 – THIS-TV – THIS-TV has access to a library of more than 4000 movies and 10,000 episodes of TV programming.

THIS-TV features theme weeks or days such as an Elvis Marathon, a romance week near Valentine’s Day, horror films around Halloween, etc. Complimenting the movies are classic TV shows including “The Addams Family”, “Mr. Ed”, “Green Acres” and “The Patty Duke Show” to name a few.

Channel 194 – Rutherford County Access Channel – RCTV offers quality and informative government access programming for all residents of Rutherford County. Programming includes LIVE broadcast of all Rutherford County Commission meetings and their sub-committee meetings, Planning Commission meetings and their sub-committee meetings, Board of Zoning Appeals and delayed broadcast of all Rutherford County School Board meetings. These meetings are then rebroadcast at a later date to allow all residents the opportunity to view them in their entirety. Programming outside of governmental meetings is provided to or produced by RCTV. RCTV strives to produce programming that is both educational and of the highest quality possible. These programs supply useful information about the community and inform us about programs and services that are available through the Rutherford County Government.

Channel 195 – MTSU Access Channel - The Education Resource Channel at Middle Tennessee
State University provides to K-12 schools and DTC TV subscribers informative, educational, and dramatic programs that are not generally available through commercial or public television stations. Using a bulletin format, the channel also provides information about University services, classes, and events, and events in the surrounding communities. The channel shares the programs it produces with other access channels in Tennessee and across the United States.

“As always, DTC is dedicated to providing the best possible services and the addition of these channels to the DTC TV line-up further demonstrates our commitment”, said Les Greer, CEO for DTC.

About DTC Communications
DTC Communications is a member owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The
cooperative supplies communication and entertainment products and services to residential and
business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

A complete list of channels can be viewed on www.DTCcom.net. For more information about how to become a DTC TV customer, please call 529-2955

Gordon Encourages DeKalb Students to Apply to U.S. Service Academies

October 22, 2009
 Bart Gordon

Congressman Bart Gordon is accepting applications from DeKalb County students for nomination to the United States service academies through December 1.

“Attending a service academy and then joining our armed forces is one of the most admirable ways to serve our great country,” said Congressman Gordon. “I learned this lesson from my grandfather, father and uncle, and I followed in their footsteps by volunteering for the Army Reserves. I encourage all students to consider this path.”

High school seniors interested in attending the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; or, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, must receive a nomination from their member of Congress. The nomination places the student in a nationwide pool of applicants from which the academy may select to fill its class.

To be eligible, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 17 and 23. While at the academy, the student will receive a free education, room and board, and a monthly stipend. Upon graduation from the academy, a five-year military commitment is required. Admission to a service academy is valued as a $300,000 scholarship.

“Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate outstanding young men and women from Middle Tennessee to attend these distinguished service academies. The competition is tough, but I encourage anyone who is interested to apply,” explained Gordon.

Eligible DeKalb County students can contact Gordon’s Murfreesboro office at 615-896-1896 for more information or download an application through his website at www.bart.house.gov/services. Applications must be received by Dec. 1 and should be mailed to: Congressman Bart Gordon, P.O. Box 1986, Murfreesboro, TN 37133.

Health Department Schedules H1N1 Flu Clinic for Children

October 22, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Health Department will have an H1N1 flu clinic on Tuesday, October 27th for children six months to four years old ONLY.

The clinic will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. Doses are very limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

There will be no charge for this vaccine.

Both the DeKalb County Health Department and the Family Medical Center are currently out of the seasonal flu vaccine. More shipments are anticipated soon. The Family Medical Center also currently has no H1N1 vaccine.

City Auditor Tells Mayor and Aldermen that Water and or Sewer Rate Adjustment May be Needed Soon

October 21, 2009
Dwayne Page

It's been a few years since the City of Smithville has increased water and sewer rates but an adjustment could be coming in the near future, if the aldermen take the advice of the city auditor, John Poole.

Poole, who is currently working on the city audit for the 2008-09 budget year, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night and explained why a rate increase may be needed. "The state recently changed the law regarding utilities. In the past, the utility system had to make at least a dollar of profit every three years. Now you (utilities) have to make a profit every other year and sometimes with utility systems that can be very difficult to do."

"In the water and sewer fund, there's a category called "change in net assets". It's a big number $1-million 897-thousand dollars, which says the city actually showed an increase in it's net assets by that amount. We (city) were donated $1.9 million worth of sewer lines. That's very common these days. You can get developers to build your sewer lines and it can save you (city) the cost of having to do that. We, the city accepted those (sewer lines), and we have to record those as revenues and put them on our books. The state says we have to do that. But if you back that out (remove donated sewer lines from consideration) the utility system in real dollars would have shown a loss of almost $22,000 (for 2008-09), For a district this size, that $22,000 loss is really insignificant other than you have a state law that says you have to show a profit."

"When we accepted those lines, which is obviously the thing you want to do, we set them on our books, almost $2 million dollars, and we have to start depreciating that. You can figure these lines will last about forty years so we're going to be adding an extra $50,000 worth of that depreciation expense (next year). So assuming everything happened just like it did last year, next year we're going to show a $70,000 loss simply because we added these lines and the state wants you to set aside monies to make sure you can replace and repair those lines in future years."

"We're going to have to comply with the law, maybe as soon as June 2010, the fiscal year we're in now. I know it has been several years since there has been a rate increase and I know in difficult times it's hard to do those things, but you're going to have to look at doing something. I don't have the answer but that is something the board needs to start considering."

Poole added that while the water and sewer fund might need shoring up, the city's general fund is financially sound. "Even in this tough economy, the city saw surpluses in it's general fund. That's very unusual, a lot of cities are really struggling from the economy, the city of Smithville hasn't gone down as much as others. We did show a surplus in the general fund."

A more detailed report will be made available to the Mayor and Aldermen on the city audit for 2008-09 when it's completed.

Alexander, Corker Announce Funding for Safety Repairs at Center Hill Dam

October 20, 2009

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today that the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate today, includes funding to aggressively continue the safety repairs at Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams. The bill also provides funding for several other water infrastructure projects in middle Tennessee.

Both Center Hill and Wolf Creek Dams were designated “high risk” for failure in January of 2007. The senators said that currently ratepayers in Middle Tennessee have to pay an additional $100 million a year in replacement power while water levels at the dams are down for the repairs.

“This funding will support several important projects in our state, including repairs to two dams that have been designated as ‘high risk’ since 2007,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m glad to see these federal dollars coming to Tennessee to help ensure that Tennesseans are kept safe from flooding and have continuous access to safe drinking water.”

“These funds for ongoing maintenance of essential water-related infrastructure along Tennessee's waterways will help ensure public safety, preserve quality of life for Tennesseans, and promote economic development,” said Corker. “This legislation also supports the important mission of Oak Ridge National Lab, which is one of our nation’s most valuable resources for advanced scientific research and innovation.”

Key Tennessee projects funded in the Conference Report of the FY10 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act include:

$116.2 million for repairs to Wolf Creek Dam. Seepage has caused zones of high water pressure in the embankment next to the dam, posing a significant risk of dam failure and threatening the surrounding communities with flooding. Funding would be used to continue to build a cutoff wall to prevent seepage into the embankment. The bill also includes $8.5 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$52.9 million for repairs to Center Hill Dam. Since its construction in 1951, seepage problems have cost millions of dollars for constant upkeep. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Dam Safety Portfolio Risk Assessment ranked Center Hill Dam as a Class I dam safety project -- the highest priority of all Corps dams. The bill also includes $5.84 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$45,000 for the Mill Creek Watershed to complete a feasibility study to address flooding problems. Mill Creek is a major tributary of the Cumberland River in southeastern Davidson County and northwestern Williamson County.

$6.1 million for Cheatham Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.5 million for Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$4.6 million for J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$11.7 million for Old Hickory Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.1 million for Dale Hollow Lake Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

The bill must now be signed by the president before becoming law.

Senator Mae Beavers Joins Efforts to Uphold 10th Amendment Legislation

October 20, 2009

Senator Mae Beavers recently supplied a letter describing the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act passed earlier this year to the lead plaintiffs in a suit filed against the federal government, who in September claimed that both the Tennessee and Montana Firearms Freedom Acts were null and void. In the letter, Senator Beavers discussed the overwhelming support for this bill amongst the Tennessee General Assembly, with a total of only eight Senators and Representatives voting against the bill during session.

"In all my years as a legislator, I have never witnessed such staunch reproach of the federal government overstepping its constitutional authority and encroaching on my state's ability to govern itself," said Beavers. "Tennesseans and Americans are fed up, and I am proud to have passed an actual bill that directly challenges the federal government's overregulation of intra-state matters. Enough resolutions have been filed...its time for the Supreme Court to re-address this issue and what better place to do it than with the 10th Amendment legislation that has recently been passed in Montana and Tennessee."

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act and it became law in late June. The law asserts that if a firearm and/or ammunition is made totally within the state of Tennessee, and stamped "Made in Tennessee," then the federal government has no jurisdiction over that item in any fashion so long as it remains in state and outside of interstate commerce. All state regulations applying to the possession of firearms in Tennessee would still be applicable and must be complied with. This legislation was proposed to prevent a federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress.

The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. The amendment was adopted after the Constitutional ratification process to emphasize the fact that the states remained individual and unique sovereignties. Unfortunately, some courts' interpretation of Congress' power implied by the commerce clause has been misconstrued to suggest its unlimited application to state regulation.

In addition to its passage in Montana, this law will be considered by at least thirty other states in upcoming legislative sessions. A link to the suit filed against the federal government by Montana organizations and citizens, as well as other information on the Firearms Freedom Act can be found at www.firearmsfreedomact.com.

DeKalb West Junior Beta Club Students Help with Second Harvest Food Bank Distribution

October 19, 2009
Morgan Vickers and Katie Hall Help Distribute Food

Thirteen students from the DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club gave of their time during Fall Break on Saturday, October 17, to help with the Second Harvest Food Bank distribution at Smithville First Methodist Church CFC.

Students helping from D.W.S. were Beta Club President Cassie Cain, Secretary Crystal Vickers, Katie Hall, McKenzie Gann, Morgan Vickers, Casey Vickers, Destinie Edge, Alexis Nokes, Keely Mckay, Ashley Grater, Lane Davenport, Lydia Trail, and William Cain.

Students do service projects in the Junior Beta Club, which has as its national motto, "Let Us Lead By Serving Others." These students gave a club total of 44 1/4 hours for this community service project.

Thomas Gets Three Year Sentence in Attempted Aggravated Robbery-Released to Time Served

October 19, 2009
Dwayne Page
Billy Ray Thomas

A 49 year old Alexandria man, who tried to pull off an armed robbery at Prichard's Foods in Alexandria in December 2008, pleaded guilty Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Billy Ray Thomas of Lower Helton Road, who was charged with attempted aggravated robbery and unlawful carrying of a weapon with the intent to go armed, received a three year sentence as a range one offender to serve 108 days. He was given credit for time served from December 27th, 2008 to April 13th, 2009 and has been released.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Thomas must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and complete a Teen Challenge program for addiction or some similar treatment program. Thomas must also make a $75 payment to the economic crime fund.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday night, December 27th at 6:52 p.m. 911 received a call from Prichards Foods in Alexandria that a man had come into the store, got some items, and brought them to the cashier. As he approached the counter, the man was wearing a rag over his face telling the cashier he had a bad cold and didn't want her to catch it. When she totaled up the items on the cash register, the man pulled a knife, pointed it toward the cash register before the drawer opened and ordered the cashier to " give me what you got". The cashier turned and ran through the store screaming for someone to call 911.

The man then left the store and got in his vehicle but before he drove away, the store manager had followed him outside and wrote down the license tag number. He then called 911.

Another witness later called 911 and reported that he was behind the vehicle and that it was going east on Highway 70.

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled over the vehicle, a 1994 Dodge Sedan, on Highway 70 near Dowelltown and placed Thomas into custody.

Inside the vehicle, the officers found an eight inch knife between the seats and a rag that may have been used in the attempted robbery.

Sheriff Ray says officers later learned that Thomas had gone into another Alexandria store Saturday "looking for help" prior to the incident at Prichards Foods.

According to Sheriff Ray, Thomas walked into the Dollar General Store in Alexandria and asked the cashier for help. He was holding a rag over his face and had a knife in his back pocket. The cashier told him to go outside, get rid of the knife, and come back in and she would help him. He then walked out of the store and left. Thomas did not display the knife and apparently did not make any demands of the cashier while he was at the Dollar Store. Nothing was taken and no one was injured.

Thomas was not charged in that incident.

In addition to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Alexandria Police Department assisted in the case.

Meanwhile, in other cases Friday, 45 year old Jack Taylor, charged with two counts of simple assault, was granted judicial diversion for a period of 11 months and 29 days supervised by CPS probation. The cases are to run concurrently with each other. Taylor must have no contact or be in the presence of the victim.

29 year old Misty D. Goff pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted forgery and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to CPS probation. The cases are to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a DeKalb County General Sessions sentence against her. She must make restitution to Region's Bank and pay a total of $150 to the economic crime fund.

59 year old Clessie Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to supervised probation except for 30 days to serve. The cases are to run concurrently with each other. Jones must have no contact with the victim.

34 year old Stephanie Jill Kennedy pleaded guilty to a worthless check charge. She was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation. She must perform ten hours of community service work, make $84.88 restitution to the victim, and pay $75 to the economic crime fund. The case is to run concurrently with a General Sessions case against her. Probation is to be supervised by the General Sessions probation officer.

24 year old Nicole Reynolds pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to CPS probation. She has requested judicial diversion. A hearing will be held December 7th. She must pay a $250 fine and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

34 year old Billy W. Crook, Jr. pleaded guilty to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. He must pay a $250 fine and perform 10 hours of community service work. He also pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and received six months supervised probation. The two cases will run concurrently with each other.

36 year old Mark Hamilton pleaded guilty by information to driving on a suspended license. He will be on probation for six months, supervised by CPS probation. The case is to run consecutive to a General Sessions sentence against him in DeKalb County.

Barrett Home Heavily Damaged by Fire and Smoke

October 19, 2009
Dwayne Page

A Sunday night fire heavily damaged the residence of Jeff Barrett at 7181 Sparta Highway. Jeff

Barrett and Peggy Barrett, who were at home at the time of the fire, were not injured.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says Barrett was already in bed when the fire started but Peggy Barrett was still up when the smoke alarm sounded. Barrett got up and discovered the smoke and fire coming from a wall around an electrical box. A call was placed to 911 around 9:41 p.m. and Barrett used a portable fire extinguisher to try and put out the blaze until firefighters arrived.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Midway Stations of the DeKalb County Fire Department responded along with Tanker #1, the Supply Truck, and manpower from the Johnson's Chapel Station. Members of the Cassville Fire Station in White County also came to provide mutual aid support at the scene.

Chief Green says most of the fire damage was in the room where it started but the rest of the house received a lot of smoke.

Woodbury Man Charged with Theft of ATM Machine

October 19, 2009
Dwayne Page
Alton David Estes
Joey Donald Howell

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Woodbury man with stealing an ATM machine from a Liberty business.

42 year old Alton David Estes of Parchcorn Road, Woodbury was arrested on Tuesday, October 13th and charged with vandalism, burglary, and theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Patrick Ray says during an investigation, detectives learned that Estes went to the Stop and Buy Citgo in Liberty and broke the glass out of the front door. Estes hooked some kind of apparatus to the ATM machine which was located in the front of the store shopping area and then hooked the other end of the apparatus to his vehicle and pulled the top half of the ATM machine loose from lower half. The top half of the ATM machine was found in a nearby creek later that day. Estes was unable to obtain any money from the machine. Estes was arrested at his home after detectives looked at video of the vehicle and checked out a citizen's tip of who owned an automobile like the one on the video. There was evidence that the ATM machine had been loaded into the back of Estes' vehicle. Bond for Estes was set at $80,000 and he will appear in court on October 29th

On Wednesday, October 14th, deputies responded to an accident on Sparta Highway near Quail Point. Upon arrival, they talked with the driver of the vehicle, 33 year old Jimmy D. Walker of Camp Overton Road, Rock Island. Officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Walker's person and he kept telling them he was in Warren County, not DeKalb County. Walker submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Walker was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence and his bond was set at $1,500. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain his lane of travel and violation of the implied consent law. He will appear in court on October 29th on all of the charges.

On Saturday, October 17th, 37 year old Joey Donald Howell of Page Drive Smithville was arrested for burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Detectives allege that on October 15th Howell went to a construction site on Back Bone Ridge Road and busted the glass out of a work truck that was setting on the premises. Howell then took a 16 inch circular saw, a chop saw, and two nail guns that were valued at over $1,000. Bond for Howell was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on November 19th.

Also on Saturday, deputies saw 31 year old Jason Richard Skaroupka of Midway Road Smithville operating a motor vehicle on Terrell Road. An officer, having prior knowledge of Skaroupka's driver's license being revoked for being a habitual offender, stopped him and placed him under arrest for driving on a revoked driver's license. This makes Skaroupka's 7th offense of driving on a revoked license. Bond for Skaroupka was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on October 29th.


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