Local News Articles

TDOT to Repair College Street Bridge

August 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced plans to make repairs to the College Street Bridge (Veteran's Memorial Bridge) in Smithville apparently due primarily to collision damage caused by large trucks that have hit the bridge.

Plans are to replace Beam "C" in Span "3" and to repair damaged beams in Spans "2" & "3".

Construction work could begin as early as mid-October. It should take about a month to complete the project.

TDOT officials say there is an eight inch water main attached to the underside of the bridge along side Beam "C". Since Beam "C" in Span "3" is being replaced, the state is requesting that the water main be relocated. There are also telephone, cable, and electric lines running parallel with the bridge on the right side and also perpendicular to both the abutments. TDOT does not anticipate the utility lines being involved in any way.

Turnout for Early Voting Greater in Macon and Smith Counties than DeKalb

August 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

Democratic and Republican voters in DeKalb, Macon, and Smith will be selecting nominees for State Representative on Thursday.

The winners of the primaries will face off in the November General Election.

The turnout for early voting has been significantly higher in both Macon and Smith Counties than in DeKalb County.

Macon County reported early voting totals of 1,813 including 788 in the State Democratic Primary and 838 in the State Republican Primary.

In Smith County, 1,268 voted early including 873 in the State Democratic Primary and 352 in the State Republican Primary.

A total of 795 voted early in DeKalb County including 586 in the Democratic Primary and 151 in the Republican Primary.

Like DeKalb County, Macon and Smith have other races on their ballots that could be contributing to greater voter interest there, in addition to the State Representative races.

Home Owner Spots Man Breaking Into His House

August 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 29 year old man, apparently trying to break into a home Saturday, was later arrested after the owner of the residence saw him coming in the house and called authorities.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Antonio Cruz of West Broad Street Apartments is charged with aggravated burglary and no driver's license.

According to Sheriff Ray, Cruz allegedly went to a residence on Whorton Springs Road, apparently thinking the owner of the house was not at home. Cruz cut a screen out of a door to gain entry and was partially through the door when the owner saw him. Cruz immediately left the residence and the home owner called authorities. Cruz was later spotted by county deputies in a vehicle on Whorton Springs Road and they stopped him. Cruz was identified and he had no driver's license. Bond for Cruz was set at $12,500 and will appear in court on August 21st.

Meanwhile, in other cases 27 year old Brian Randell Pack of West Main Street Smithville was charged Tuesday, July 29th with six counts of forgery. Sheriff Ray says through an investigation, county detectives discovered that Pack allegedly passed six checks at a Smithville business between the dates of June 29th through July 25th 2008 totaling $550.00. Bond for Pack was set at $30,000 and he will appear in court on August 14th.

38 year old Royce Avon Foster of Jacobs Pillar Road Smithville, and 43 year old Ricky Estes and 39 year old Tony Edge, both of Whorton Springs Road Smithville, were charged Thursday, July 31st with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says the three were arrested after they allegedly entered a barn on Jacob's Pillar Road in Smithville and took a 1959 Ford car without the owner's consent on July 25th. County detectives recovered the stolen vehicle in Cannon County at Pelham's Scrap Yard before it was crushed. Bond for each was set at $50,000 and they will appear in court on August 14th.

44 year old Darrell Ray Ramsey of Jack Hudson Road Sparta was stopped Friday, August 1st by county deputies on Highway 70 for a traffic violation. Sheriff Ray says upon speaking with Ramsey, officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he had bloodshot eyes. Deputies administered field sobriety tasks but Ramsey failed them. He was charged with a 2nd offense of driving under the influence. Ramsey has a previous DUI offense in DeKalb County, in October, 1997. Bond for Ramsey was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on September 4th.

County Seeks Grant Funds For Farmers Market

August 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

A Farmer's Market is held each Saturday around the courthouse in which local farmers bring their home grown produce to sell.

The county commission last week voted to authorize a grant application to USDA Rural Development, which if approved, would help relocate the Farmer's Market to property at College and Bryant Street, where a proper structure could be built.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the Farmer's Market helps bring people downtown on Saturday, which is a good thing, but the farmers who bring their produce to sell need shelter from the weather and the proposed new location could provide that. However, Foster says he would still like to see farmers set up downtown on occasion, even if a new site is developed for them.

Foster read the resolution last Monday night during the county commission meeting. "This is a resolution to authorize the County Mayor to submit an application to USDA Rural Development requesting a Rural Business Enterprise Grant for a Farmer's Market."

" Whereas, the Mayor and County Commissioners of DeKalb County believe that the quality of life for the citizens of DeKalb County is very important and, Whereas, the County Mayor and Commissioners feel it is in the best interest of DeKalb County to look to the future and obtain necessary funds to build a new Farmer's Market and , Whereas, financial assistance is available to DeKalb County from USDA and Rural Development and the Rural Enterprise Grant Program and, Whereas, DeKalb County is eligible for a grant from USDA Rural Development and wishes to submit an application in the amount of $50,000 to Rural Development for a Rural Business Enterprise Grant in order to help finance the project."

" Now therefore, be it resolved by the County Mayor and County Commissioners of DeKalb County that the County Mayor be authorized to sign and execute all application documents to USDA Rural Development in order to make application for grant funds and submit the same on behalf of the citizens of DeKalb County and to enter into necessary agreements with Rural Development to receive and administer such loan funds and to execute necessary agreements or administrative service without further action by the board contingent upon approval by the funding agencies."

DeKalb County would be responsible for local matching funds, if the grant were approved, but Foster says some of that could be in-kind. " That is the thing that makes this attractive is that we can furnish the land and do site preparation and some of those things that go a long way toward counting as our match."

(Pictured- Jeff Cantrell displays homegrown produce at Saturday's Farmers Market- click on picture to see larger image)

All Systems Go for Election Day Thursday

August 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

Voters will go to the polls Thursday August 7th to cast ballots in the DeKalb County General Election, Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries, and the Dowelltown and Liberty Municipal Elections..

Voting at all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County will be Thursday, August 7th from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

WJLE will have exclusive LIVE election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. from the courthouse on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and on-line at www.wjle.com. Listen to LIVE streaming or check our local news page for regular updates throughout the night. We will also have a special section on our website for results by precinct in several races.

Democratic candidates for the United States Senate are Mark E. Clayton, Gary G. Davis, Kenneth Eaton, Leonard D. Ladner, Wm Mike Padgett, and Robert D. Tuke.

Incumbent Bart Gordon is the only Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District.

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th Representative District are Cleveland Derrick Bain, Jeff Barrett, Steven K. Cantrell, Gayla C. Hendrix, Carl (Hix) Jones, Dean Sircy, and Sarah Marie Smith.

Spaces are on the ballot for DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee member from each district and precinct but there are no candidates.

Incumbent Lamar Alexander is the only GOP candidate for the United States Senate.

Two GOP candidates are listed for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th Representative District including Nicky Rittenberry and Terri Lynn Weaver.

There is no GOP candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District.

Candidates for Assessor of Property include Democratic incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks, Republican John David Foutch, and Independent Sandy C. Brown.

Candidates for school board member in the 5th district are Larry Evans and Incumbent W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, both Independents.

In the 6th district, candidates for the school board are Incumbent Linda Louise Fuston and Bruce Parsley, both Independents.

Constable candidates are Republican Incumbent Reed Edge in the 2nd district, Democratic Incumbent Wayne Vanderpool in the 3rd district, Democrat Paul Cantrell in the 4th district, Democratic Incumbent Mark Milam in the 5th district, Democrat Cantrell Jones in the 6th district, and Democrat Johnny King in the 7th district. All are unopposed. There is no candidate for constable in the 1st district.

In Dowelltown, Incumbent Mayor Gerald W. Bailiff is unopposed and Aldermen candidates are Incumbent Joe L. Bogle and Elizabeth A. Redmon, also unopposed.

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The candidates are Todd Dodd and incumbents Jerry W. Johnson, Dwight Mathis, and Paul M. Neal.

The ballot also asks for a "yes" or "no" vote on the retention of two state supreme court judges, William C. Koch, Jr. and Gary R. Wade; two court of appeals judges (middle division), Andy D. Bennett and Richard H. Dinkins; court of appeals (western division), Steve Stafford; court of criminal appeals (eastern division), D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.; and court of criminal appeals (western division), Camille R. McMullen.

A Total of 795 Vote Early for August Elections

August 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

A total of 795 people voted early for the August 7th elections from Friday, July 18th through Saturday, August 2nd.

According to the Election Commission, 586 people voted in the Tennessee Democratic Primary and 151 voted in the State Republican Primary.

In August, 2004, there were 12,476 registered voters and 798 voted absentee/early and 1,169 voted on election day for a total of 1,967

Four years earlier in August 2000, DeKalb County had 11,207 registered voters and 433 voted absentee/early and 917 voted on election day for a total of 1,350.

In August 1996, there were 10,850 registered voters and 458 voted absentee/early and 2,134 voted on election day for a total of 2,592.

In this year's election, the daily early voting totals since Friday, July 18th were as follows:

Friday, July 18th- 36, including 34 by personal appearance and 2 by mail
Saturday, July 19th- 33 by personal appearance
Monday, July 21st- 53, including 51 by personal appearance and 2 by mail
Tuesday, July 22nd- 41 by personal appearance
Wednesday, July 23rd- 41, including 40 by personal appearance and 1 by mail
Thursday, July 24th- 70, including 69 by personal appearance and 1 by mail
Friday, July 25th- 35 including 34 by personal appearance and 1 by mail
Saturday, July 26th- 36 including 35 by personal appearance and 1 by mail
Monday, July 28th- 32 including 30 by personal appearance and 2 by mail
Tuesday, July 29th- 46 including 44 by personal appearance and 2 by mail
Wednesday, July 30th- 51 including 48 by personal appearance and 3 by mail
Thursday, July 31st- 103 including 97 by personal appearance and 6 by mail
Friday, August 1st- 95 including 92 by personal appearance and 3 by mail
Saturday, August 2nd- 99 including 97 by personal appearance and 2 by mail.

A total of 23 voters cast ballots by mail and by personal appearance prior to July 18th

A few absentee by mail ballots have not yet been returned.

Foster Pleased with County Run Ambulance Service

August 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

Ten months after the county assumed control of the ambulance service, County Mayor Mike Foster says he and others are pleased with the operation.

"Everybody has been pretty well pleased with it. We're really happy with the employees. A lot of them are local and they have a lot of pride in it. We're getting a new ambulance any day. The building (new ambulance service location) has worked out really well. The employees seem to be satisfied with it."

Foster added that the collection rate on billing has also been good. " From the numbers that we have billed, which started in October, we have an 82% collection rate. Before, it was costing the county about $180,000 plus an ambulance every year when (Sumner Regional Medical Center) was running it. I think when we get at the end of a solid year where we can really tell how revenues and expenses have run, I think we'll be near that (previous costs). It'll be at least be a break even. The cost of a new ambulance is about $98,000. We also did a remount on one (ambulance) for about $59,000 where we buy a truck and take our box and put on that truck. The running gear and all that is new but the box is the same."

Last year, Sumner Regional Regional Medical Center, which had been under contract to operate the local EMS service, decided to get out of the ambulance business in DeKalb County. Sumner Regional was providing the service for $163,000 per year, and the county, which owns the ambulances, bought a new one each year. Sumner Regional also rented the ambulance service building for $600 per month.

After considering proposals from other companies to take over the operation of the ambulance service, the county commission decided that it would be better if the county ran it. The county did approve an agreement with EMS Consultants to do the billing for the ambulance service. EMS Consultants receives a fee of 6.5% of accounts collected.

The county also bought and renovated a building for the new home of the ambulance service at Mountain Street and Meadowbrook Drive.

The proposed 2008-09 budget includes an expenditure of $1.2 million to operate the ambulance service which includes funds to pay a staff of paramedics, EMT's, a director, a secretary, and to buy a new ambulance, equipment and to pay for utilities and other costs.

School Board Earns TSBA "Distinction" Honor

August 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education has completed the necessary steps to become a "Board of Distinction"

The award, presented by the Tennessee School Boards Association, is to recognize outstanding performance by school boards as a whole.

Tennessee school boards that seek this designation must meet specified requirements in four key areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. Board of Distinction status is for two years, after which time the board may reapply for continued status.

In a letter to Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Cindy Smith, TSBA Member Services Coordinator, says "This is a great honor for the DeKalb County Board of Education, and I congratulate each of you on this outstanding achievement."

"At a later date, a TSBA District Director will present your Board of Distinction plaque during a school board meeting.."

First Day of School Education Celebration Set for Tuesday

August 1, 2008

The Third Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Tuesday, August 5th from 6-7:30 P.M. downtown around the Court House Square.

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can visit the schools and events and show their support. Local businesses partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

Events planned for DeKalb County’s First Day event are all five schools in DeKalb County will have a booth and be displaying a photo board with their staff and their individual credentials. Each school will also be represented by their school’s PTO about what the PTO does and how parents can help. Many organizations will be there giving out information about resources available to them. Refreshments, inflatable jumping balloons and FREE school supplies will also be part of the celebration.

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join us in Downtown Smithville on Tuesday

Please remember that one of our goals for the evening is to have a safe and fun event for all. The City of Smithville partners with us in our concern for the safety of all participants on this evening and they block off traffic so please work with us and do not park in areas that have been closed to vehicle traffic. The safety of our students and families is very important to us.

The First Day of School America-- Education Celebration committee would like to take this opportunity to THANK the sponsors that are making this event possible:

Smithville Church of Christ
Alexandria Church of Christ
Dry Creek Baptist Church
New Hope Baptist Church
Grace Bible Church
Church of the Nazarene
Jacob Pillar United Methodist Church
New West Point Free Will Baptist Church
Indian Creek Baptist Church
Tabernacle, The Baptist Church
UMW First Methodist Church
First Methodist Church
Liberty Methodist Church
Upper Helton Baptist Church
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Banks Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Lighthouse Home Ministries
Dowelltown Methodist Church
Dowelltown Baptist Church
Temple Baptist Church
Johnson’s Chapel Free Will Baptist
Smithville Church of God
Calvary Baptist Church
New Union The Baptist Church
Salem Baptist Church
Gospel Lighthouse Baptist
Smithville Church of God
Laurel Hill Church
Mt. View, The Baptist Church
New Life United Pentecostal
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church
Smithville First Free Will Baptist
New Life Community Church
Smithville First Baptist Church

Wal Mart
Food Lion
DeKalb Farm Bureau
Wilson Bank and Trust
Dr. David Foutch
Dr. Cliff Duke
Love Cantrell Funeral Home
Janney and Associates
Smithville Order of Eastern Star 374
T Koen Orthodontics, PLLC
Griffin’s Fruit Market
Jr. Pro Basketball
DeKalb Co. Tee Ball Coach Pitch
Chris Whitney (Florence and White Ford)
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas (Hometown Help)
Kingston Timers

Mr. Bratten “Butch” Cook, Juvenile Court Judge
Smithville Elementary and PTO
Northside Elementary and PTO
DeKalb Middle School and PTO
DeKalb Co High School and PTO
Dekalb County West School and PTO
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department
City Fire Department
DeKalb County Wellness Commission
DeKalb Community Bank/Wilson Bank and Trust
Liberty State Bank
DeKalb County High School Marching Band
University of Tennessee Extension
TNCEP Tennessee Nutrition Consumer Education Program
Imagination Library sign up at the public library
Hendrix Financial Group
Tops- Migrant Education Program
DeKalb County Health Department
DTC Wireless
Blue Flame University (MTNG)
Tennessee Highway Patrol
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency
Hendrix Financial
Garrett Insurance
Tennessee Voices for Children
DeKalb County Public Libraries

A special thanks to the City of Smithville, DeKalb County Officials, and the many volunteers that makes this event possible for the students in our county.

Bridge to be Closed to Traffic but Preserved as Historical Structure

July 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

A bridge at Dry Creek is being closed to traffic but it will become an Historical bridge remaining open for pedestrians.

The county commission took the action Monday night.

County Mayor Mike Foster says this concrete arch bridge is on Dry Creek Lane, a short road that connects Dry Creek Road and the Old Dry Creek Road, just off Highway 70. " There's very little traffic on it but it is kind of a unique bridge. We got a letter from the state concerning this bridge. They are basically saying that it either needs to be replaced or closed. You can get on either Old Dry Creek or New Dry Creek Road within a hundred yards on either side of the bridge. So it (Dry Creek Lane) just connects that little area there. It doesn't make sense to spend a half a million dollars putting a new bridge there when we need them in other places. It was Kenny's (Edge) recommendation that we close the bridge to traffic but blocking it so that it can be open to foot traffic and that it be retained as an Historical site because of it's unique construction."

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE Tuesday that this is the only remaining arch bridge in DeKalb County. The bridge was designed and built in 1922 by the Luten Bridge Company of Knoxville.

(Picture-Kenny Edge stands near bridge at Dry Creek)


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