Local News Articles

Voters To Decide If Local Option Sales Tax Rate Should Be Increased

May 22, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution calling for a referendum seeking authorization from the people of DeKalb County to increase the local option sales tax in DeKalb County from the current rate of 1.5% to the maximum of 2.75%.

The question, as recommended by the county budget committee, will be put before the voters of DeKalb County on the August 3rd General Election ballot.

County Mayor Mike Foster says under a 1967 agreement that still exists between the county and the city governments of Smithville, Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown, a majority of the local option sales tax revenues that are generated help fund the school system. \"If agreeable to the cities and the school board, this additional money, would go to the local purpose fund to finance school debt service and operations. It is projected to raise approximately $850,000 in additional sales taxes. Part of this money would go to the cities, but if they continue the current agreement, they would be contributing to the local purpose fund up to 66% of the new revenue to schools\".

Of the 95 Tennessee Counties, 33 have a local option sales tax rate of 2.75%, 39 have a rate of 2.25%, six counties have a rate of 2% and 14 counties have a rate of 2.50%. Cannon County's rate is 1.75%. Only DeKalb and Johnson County have a local option sales tax rate of 1.5%.

Foster says by increasing the rate, the county government would be in a better position financially, should the state government decide to keep a portion of the local option sales tax revenue, as is being considered.; and he says, more sales tax revenue could keep the county from having to enact drastic increases in property tax rates in the future.

Proponents of the increase also argue that consumers, whether they realize it or not, are already paying more sales taxes when they shop in other counties, where the rates are higher and tax money spent in those counties goes to fund their local governments and schools.

The overall sales tax rate in DeKalb County is 8.5%, including 7% state and 1.5% local.

If approved, the new rate for DeKalb County would be 9.75%, including 7% state and 2.75% local.

Fire Destroys Vacant Trailer Home

May 24, 2002
Dwayne Page

A vacant trailer home, belonging to Brad Johnson, was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning on Yulanda Hills Road in the Holmes Creek area.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says fire fighters were summoned to the scene around 1:00 a.m. but the structure had already been burning for quite some time before it was discovered and it could not be saved.

Green says no one lived at the trailer and no utilities were connected to it.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Members of the Cookeville Highway and Short Mountain Highway stations and the tanker truck responded. No one was injured.

Ninety Vote Early This Week In City Election

May 24, 2002
Dwayne Page

A total of 90 people have voted early to date in the Smithville Municipal Election.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that 27 people voted in person on Wednesday, 24 cast ballots in person on Thursday, and 39 voted in person on Friday.

These totals do not count ballots arriving by mail.

Early voting for the city election began Wednesday, May 31st.

Voting hours will be from 9:00 a.m. until noon Monday through Saturday, through June 15th on the first floor of the courthouse at the Election Commission Office.

Election Day voting will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the same location.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 20. The positions are currently held by Mayor Cecil Burger and Aldermen Steve White and Jackie Rigsby.

Rigsby is currently serving out an unexpired term and will be seeking his first elected term; and Burger is running for alderman instead of mayor.

Other candidates for aldermen are Alford Webber and Incumbent Steve White

Taft Hendrixson and Jerry Hutchins' Sr. are running for mayor.

Each of the terms is for two years.

Call 597-4146 for more information.

DeKalb County Jail & Annex Meet Standards For Re-Certification

May 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Lloyd Emmons says he is pleased to announce that the DeKalb County Jail and the Jail Annex have both met standards for re-certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute

In letters to Sheriff Emmons, Jerry Abston, Executive Director of the Tennessee Corrections Institute, based on an inspectors report, wrote that \" The DeKalb County Jail is an older facility, but the officers are doing a fine job in keeping the facility clean as evidenced by my walk-through. I noticed the cell areas were clean, the kitchen was in order with knives stored and locked up when not in use. The medical section had a good medical receipt system. The logs and record keeping showed no standards violations. I recommend continued certification of this facility.\"

As for the jail annex, Abston wrote,based on an inspectors report that \" The facility was clean during my walk through. I observed cell areas, the kitchen, and the medical section of the Annex. All of these areas appeared to be in order with no apparent standards violations. I recommend continued certification of this Annex.\"

Sheriff Emmons says he is pleased the jail has been re-certified and gave his jail administrator and staff much of the credit, \" Jail Administrator Kenneth Ray and staff have done an excellent job with the jail. I depend on Kenneth to keep things running over there and I have to give him and his staff a lot of credit.\"

Emmons found the Jail Annex was de-certified when he became sheriff but he worked to get both the annex and the older jail facility certified during his first year in office. The jail and annex have been re-certified each year since.

Bob Rochelle Announces For State Senate

May 31, 2006
Dwayne Page

Former State Senator Bob Rochelle formally entered the 2006 State Senate race in the 17th District this week and said he would not support a state income tax without a vote of the people.

?My name is Bob Rochelle and I want to be your State Senator?again,? Rochelle said at a press conference. Rochelle was surrounded by friends and supporters at the Wilson County Judicial Center as he made the announcement.

?Four years ago in the middle of a crisis, I felt we had to act. But times have changed. The crisis has passed. When times change, public officials should change with them. Therefore, I am today committing to the people of the 17th District that, as their Senator, I will vote against an income tax that is not approved by a vote of the people. Put very simply: No vote, No tax,? Rochelle said.

?The tax debate of four years ago created a massive distraction for the state. I apologize for that distraction,? Rochelle said.

Rochelle said he wanted to return to the State Senate so that he could get results for the 17th District.

?The income tax debate resulted in the election of some sub par one issue candidates who have shown no ability to get things done for our community. They have no answers, no courage, no solutions and will say whatever it takes to stay in office,? Rochelle said.

The 17th Senatorial District includes Wilson, Trousdale, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and part of Sumner Counties.

?I wanted to deal with the income tax question from the beginning,? Rochelle said. ?It?s a dead issue, I?ve dropped it and I won?t pick it back up. Now is the time to move forward.?

Rochelle noted that his opponent, State Senator Mae Beavers, was the only State Senator to vote against Governor Phil Bredesen?s new Cover Tennessee health care program, voted against the state budget and opposed a modest increase in the minimum wage.

?Senator Beavers is out of step with the 17th District,? Rochelle said.

?We need new roads to alleviate the traffic and congestion and to bring more jobs to our district,? Rochelle said. ?I stand here today prepared to fight for the future of Tennessee. I am ready to go back to work for you. I ask for your help.?

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Drug Store Burglary

May 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have apparently solved the burglary of a local doctor's office and pharmacy with the arrest of a 28 year old man.

Detective Sergeant Chris Russell of the Smithville Police Department says Samuel Wade Walker of 128 Jerry Walker Drive, Smithville has been charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (percocets), theft over $10,000, and two counts of burglary. His bond is set at $140,000.

Walker is charged in connection with a break-in on Thursday, May 18th at the office of Dr. Melvin Blevins and Johnny's Drugs.

During the pre-dawn hours of May 18th, Russell says someone broke out a rear window at Dr. Blevins' office at the Center Hill Medical Building and entered.

Once inside, several attempts were made to make entry to the drug store next door through the wall.

After bursting through a sheet rock wall, the intruder or intruders removed from the pharmacy a large quantity of controlled substances including oxycontin, hydrocodone and xanax. The intruder or intruders then left, going back out the same way they came in.

Detective Sergeant Russell says police got a break in the case on Friday, May 26th when Police Chief Gus Clemente received an anonymous tip that Walker had a substantial amount of prescriptions at his residence.

Chief Clemente assigned Detective Sergeant Russell to the case and he initiated an investigation. Search warrants were subsequently executed and served at Walker's home around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.

Detective Sergeant Russell says while executing the search warrant, he found a metal lock box in Walker's bedroom closet. Inside the lock box were various prescription medications including percocets, xanax, morphine, tylox, subutex, avinza, and liquid morphine. The lock box also contained $1,200 in cash.

Russell says the drugs were positively identified as the narcotics taken in the burglary at Johnny's Drug Store.

He says the street value of these drugs is estimated at $300,000.

Detective Sergeant Russell was assisted by Smithville Police Officer Steve Deffendoll, Deputy Jon Slager of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the TBI and the Middle Tennessee Drug Task Force.

More arrests may be forthcoming as a result of this investigation.

VFW Honors Gold Star Mother During Memorial Day Weekend Program

May 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

The VFW POST 7623 held a Memorial Day weekend breakfast service Sunday morning and honored Gold Star Mother Norene Anderson, whose son, Ronnie Reeder, was killed during the Vietnam War.

Other Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend, but apparently could not be present.

Ms. Anderson says she is thankful that there are still some people who recognize the sacrifices of those who have served their country. \"I appreciate the VFW for all they do to remember those people who gave their lives. I was reading a letter from my son yesterday and he said, ?mother, when you hear the expression war is hell, it is'. He knew. He was right in the midst of the Vietnam war. It's a blessing that some people remember. A lot of people don't remember. I appreciate the VFW and all they do.\"

County Mayor Mike Foster, the guest speaker, says all veterans and those who died in action, should be remembered throughout the year and not just during Memorial Day. \"The people in this room are the ones that have made a difference in this world, not just in our community. If it hadn't been for them, there wouldn't be freedom probably anywhere in the world. I think we need to appreciate all the veterans from all the wars, what they have done, and the sacrifices they have made for us. We need to honor and respect them. We need to instill in our people the importance of freedom and how we need to sacrifice for that if we have to.\"

Foster continued, \" I remember going to Ronnie Reeder's funeral and that brought a realism to me. Up until that time, a veteran was from World War II or Korea. But when it's someone you knew and played sports with, it brings things home to you. We need to involve our young people, even in those tragic situations, so they realize those sacrifices are real. It's very important to keep these traditions alive. That's what we need to hold onto.\"

At the conclusion of the program, a wreath was laid at the monument outside the VFW building, which bears the names of local servicemen who died during World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Local Memorial Day Observance Held At Courthouse

May 29, 2006
Dwayne Page

Several people gathered at the Veterans Memorial Monument on the south side of the courthouse Monday morning for a local Memorial Day observance.

Les Enoch, Chief Executive Officer of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District, was the guest speaker for the program.

In his remarks, Enoch said \"We should never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.\"

\"As we know, Memorial Day is observed annually on the last Monday in May in honor of the nation's armed service personnel killed in wartime. The holiday was originally called ?Decoration Day' because it is a time for decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. Over time, the designation ?Memorial Day' became far more common. After World War I, Memorial Day observances were changed to honor the dead in all American Wars, starting with the American Revolution.\"

\"We should never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We must continue to honor them and all military personnel who defend our freedom. It is a privilege to be from a country that is served by so many brave men and women. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this program to pay tribute to those who gave their lives defending freedom. We pray that their sacrifice will always be honored and remembered. May God continue to bless America.\"

Southern Harmony, a local group made up of Annette Greek, Mary Lynn Page, Susan Parham, and Betty Martin, sang two patriotic songs during the program. These ladies are members of the Smithville First United Methodist Church.

A wreath was placed by the Veterans Memorial Monument at the conclusion of the program as Colton Rhody played taps on the trumpet.

The program was sponsored by American Legion Post #122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7623.

Deputy Fired For Alleged Inappropriate Contact With Female Prisoner

May 29, 2006
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County Sheriff's deputy has been terminated for alleged inappropriate contact with a woman he placed in custody Friday night.

Sheriff Lloyd Emmons confirms that he has dismissed Officer David Sharp.

According to Sheriff Emmons the woman, who was taken into custody by Officer Sharp for violation of probation, was upset when she arrived at the jail, complaining to the staff that she had been the victim of a sexual assault.

The Sheriff's Department conducted an internal administrative investigation while the TBI is conducting a criminal probe into the matter, including the collection of DNA evidence.

Sheriff Emmons says the woman has been moved to another location where she is receiving counseling.

Harold Ford, Jr. Speaks at DeKalb Rally

June 2, 2006
Dwayne Page

With a beautiful spring rain as a backdrop, the Democratic party faithful gathered under shelter number one at Greenbrook Park on Thursday evening to call for renewed efforts in the upcoming elections. Initially, over 200 people entered the area immediately surrounding the band shell at Smithville's most beautiful park to the sounds of the TCB Band and the Smithville Community Chorus.

The tales of a tranquil evening soon turned breezy and threatening weather briefly disrupted local elected officials serving fresh, hot barbeque with all the trimmings. County Executive Mike Foster, General Sessions Judge Batten Cook, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillan, Assessor of Property Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, County Court Clerk Mike Clayborn, and Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack broke down the tables as quickly as possible and moved the food under a shelter while the remainder of the crowd and local candidates took cover from the arriving rain. Even though the inclement weather was a brief distraction, the spirits ran high and everyone settled in for what turned out to be a wonderful evening, reminisce of a by gone era. One filled with laughter and singing; cozy seating and good ole time feeling of togetherness. No public address system, no stage ? just a podium and the voices of those seeking office. The most fundamental elements of politics permeated this crowd as they listened to their candidates speak. Party Chair Faye Fuqua called the meeting to order and Katherine Pack led the pledge of allegiance while Jackie Smith gave a stirring rendition of our national anthem. Sheriff candidate Myron Rhody spoke first, and then Russell Ambrose introduced Trustee candidate Anthony \"Doc\" Green. Next, Criminal Court Judge Lillie Ann Sells spoke to the crowd.

Bert Driver then came to the podium and introduced Congressman Harold Ford, JR. Ford, candidate for the US Senate called for those in attendance to remember that Democrats have always led the way in new and innovative ideas, and that he believes in a balanced budget, something the current administration and Republican led Congress has forgotten. Ford, 36, hails from Memphis and spoke passionately about the importance of the upcoming election. His spirit and zeal energized the crowd at Greenbrook Park as he thundered away about what it means to care about your fellow man; in fact, lightning and thunder provided a dramatic backdrop for the evenings' key note speaker. The revved up crowd gave Harold Ford, Jr. a standing ovation as he mounted up in his black ford pickup and headed to his next campaign stop.

Other candidates and officials who spoke were: Mike Foster, Second District County Commission Candidate Shane Cook, Sixth District County Commissioner Marshall Ferrell, Judge Bratten Cook, II, Katherine Pack, Mayoral Candidate Jerry Hutchins, Sr. Mike Clayborn, State Representative Frank Buck, Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, Jeff McMillan, District Public Defender in the 13th District David N. Brady, Two State Senate candidates from the 17th District were represented: Bob Rochelle of Lebanon was represented by his son Bruce Rochelle while Aubrey T. Givens also of Lebanon was represented by his fianc?e.

Faye Fuqua closed the program by reminding everyone that there was still work to be done and that nothing is to be taken for granted. She thanked all the candidates and especially recognized all the members of the DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee for all their hard work and for making the event possible.


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