Local News Articles

Dowelltown Announces City Lights Winners

December 23, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Winners of the Dowelltown City Lights Contest have been announced.

1st place Door/porch
Sisters Lisa Wassom Lorie Sells

2nd place
Tommy & Dorothy Duggin

1st place Window
Joseph & Bethany Chandler

2nd place
Mike &Elizabeth Redmon

1st place overall
Chris Walker &Terri Dodd

2nd place overall
Darry & Susan Driver

3rd place overall
Joe &Vicki Bogle

DeKalb County Drug Court Hosts Christmas Party

December 22, 2014
by: 
Norene Puckett
DeKalb County Drug Court Hosts Christmas Party

The DeKalb County Drug Court program hosted its 5th annual Drug Court Children’s Christmas party on Friday, December 19. Each year, the DeKalb County Drug Court organizes a day for the participants and their children to come together to celebrate their recovery and the joy of being with family. The event included dinner and of course Santa Claus came to deliver presents! The DeKalb County Drug Court was so over joyed at the amount of donations and gifts the community provided this year. The staff and participants would especially like to thank the Smithville Church of Christ, Cops 4 Kids program, Omega House and Sober Living Services staff, and the private residents of DeKalb County for making donations that were able to give 29 children of DeKalb County presents and Christmas cheer.

Pictured Left to Right:
Drug Court Case Manager Les Trotman, John Quintero Haven of Hope Counseling, Drug Court Program Coordinator Norene Puckett, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Drug Court Case Manager Kristy Longmire, Judge Bratten H. Cook II

TWRA Seeks to Increase License Fees

December 22, 2014

For only the second time in 25 years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is seeking to adjust the way hunting and fishing licenses and fees are structured in order to maintain its successful wildlife, fisheries and education programs. The proposal includes some incremental fee increases and the inclusion of new user groups.

The TWRA will ask that all license fees be raised by 22 percent at the Jan. 15-16 meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting at Discovery Park in Union City.

If approved the most purchased permit, the Type 1 resident hunting and fishing license, would go from $27 to $33.

The annual sportsman license would go from $135 to $165.

The new fees do not go in effect until July 1. The 2014-15 license expires on Feb. 28.

It wasn’t too long ago that the sight of a white-tailed deer, a bald eagle or a wild turkey in Tennessee was a rare treat. These and other key wildlife and fish are now thriving across the state, thanks to intensive restoration and management by the TWRA.

“The reality is that managing our wildlife and fisheries has never been more expensive than it is today,” said TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter. “Our objective with this proposal is to spread the cost of these programs across more user groups who utilize Tennessee’s public lands and waters.”

This license fee change proposal is the first since 2005, and only the second to be sought since 1990. It’s also the smallest increase in the TWRA’s 65-year history. The Agency, which is funded almost exclusively by hunting and fishing licenses, boating registrations and federal excise taxes on related equipment, has seen operating costs increase dramatically. This includes everything from fertilizer to fish food and other essential expenses over the last 10 years.

“We employ 46 fewer people Agency-wide now than we did eight years ago, and salaries and benefits such as health insurance have increased significantly,” Carter said. “Our wildlife officers, biologists and other staff do an incredible job, and we’re doing more work with fewer people than ever before to provide world-class outdoor opportunities.”

Changes to the way license fees are structured can be found across the board in the new proposal, which will be considered by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission in January. If approved, the new fee structure would go into effect on July 1, 2015. Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses expire on Feb. 28, and new licenses will be on sale at the current prices from mid-February through the end of June.

Highlights include: incremental increases for resident hunting and fishing licenses; elimination of certain short-term non-resident licenses; a new fee for professional hunting and fishing guides; new senior citizen license options; and fees related to the use of TWRA firing ranges, as well as for horseback, off-highway vehicle and mountain bike riders whose activities have a maintenance impact on state Wildlife Management Areas. More details on the proposal can be viewed by clicking here.

“Our mission is to manage the fish and wildlife of the state and their habitats for the use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Tennessee and its visitors,” Carter said. “We take that responsibility very seriously and have been very successful in creating access for all user groups to these incredible public resources. We’re now asking more of those users to contribute to the effort.”

TWRA’s success stories are many. Plentiful wildlife such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bald eagles, black bears and wild elk were severely threatened or thought lost forever well in to the 20th century. All are thriving today, thanks to the efforts of TWRA.

The Agency has also stocked more than 100 million fish into Tennessee waters, and now manages more than 250 public boat access points across the state. TWRA also oversees more than 1.5 million acres of publicly accessible land. In the last decade alone, the Agency has planted more than three million trees and protected 42,000 acres of wetlands across the state.

Meanwhile, examples of significant cost increases abound: fish food pellets are up 76 percent since 2004, milo seed is up 150 percent, and farm diesel is up 58 percent. Items including vehicles, boats and motors, pond liners and other significant expenses have all increased at or above the approximately 25 percent rate of inflation over the last decade.

“This new fee structure will allow us to continue doing the good work we do every day for Tennessee’s wildlife and fisheries into the foreseeable future, without having further cuts to programs,” Carter said. “We don’t take these increases lightly, which is why this is only the second time in 25 years that we’ve sought such an action. But it’s the reality of today’s economy, and a burden we can all share incrementally.

“There’s no question that the world-class hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities available today in Tennessee simply didn’t exist 25 years ago, and we’re excited to continue enhancing those resources for the public good.”

Needy Families Treated to Christmas Party (VIEW VIDEO)

December 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Children Visit with Santa and Get Presents at Cops for Kids Christmas Party
Many Families Treated to Christmas Party

Many needy families were treated to a dinner, entertainment, and gifts at the third annual Cops for Kids Christmas party held Friday night at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.

The party, sponsored by the Smithville Police Department and organized by records clerk Beth Adcock, is held each year by invitation only for families who are experiencing a difficult time around the holidays due to illness, loss of income, or other circumstances. In addition to Cops for Kids, a drawing was held to give away bicycles and riding toys which were donated. The bike collection drive was conducted recently by employees of the City of Smithville.

The singers and musicians from the First Assembly of God performed during the party and Iain Swisher read passages of scripture from the Bible about the birth of Christ.

Santa and his elves showed up to hand out presents to the delight of everyone, especially the children. The youngsters also received a Bible.

State Fire Marshal’s Office Urges Fire Safety for Christmas Trees

December 19, 2014

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans with natural, fresh-cut Christmas trees to keep them in water because of the fire risk posed when they are allowed to dry out.

“Properly maintaining a cut Christmas tree’s moisture content by keeping it in water significantly reduces the chance that its needles will dry out and pose a fire hazard,” said Gary West, deputy commissioner of the Fire Prevention Division, Department of Commerce and Insurance.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), structure fires caused by Christmas trees result in an average of six deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage every year. Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they occur, they are likely to be very serious. On average, one of every 40 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death. A heat source placed too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (18 percent) of these fires.

To illustrate the short time in which a dry, cut Christmas tree can catch fire and engulf a room in flames, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s office is distributing this link of a side-by-side comparison of the burn rates of a properly maintained tree and a dried-out tree: http://youtu.be/RNjO3wZDVlA
In addition to keeping natural trees watered, the State Fire Marshal’s Office also shares these Christmas tree safety tips:
Picking the tree

• If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1 inch – 2 inches from the base of the trunk.

• Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces,
radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are
only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for
screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to
connect.

• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After Christmas

• Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger
and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

• Check with your local community to find a recycling program.

Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your home. The plan should include two ways out of every room and a designated meeting place outside where everyone can be accounted for.

Don’t forget to install smoke alarms on every level of your home and to test them monthly.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has distributed more than 68,000 smoke alarms throughout the state in two years’ time through our “Get Alarmed Tennessee” program. So far, that has resulted in 71 lives being saved. For more information, visit our website
at http://www.tn.gov/fire/.

About the Department of Commerce and Insurance: The state Department of Commerce and Insurance is a diverse entity of six divisions charged with protecting the interests of consumers while providing fair, efficient oversight and a level field of competition for a broad array of industries and professionals doing business in Tennessee. Our divisions include the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Division of Insurance, the Division of Securities, the Division of TennCare Oversight, the Division of Fire Prevention, and the Division of Regulatory Boards.

Police Issue Citations and Make Arrests for Shoplifting, Vandalism, and Alcohol Offenses

December 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

In his latest report on city crime news, Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 30 year old Jeffery Dawes is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said according to a Walmart employee, Dawes recently left the store with unpaid for merchandise in his possession. He was confronted and found with the items.

25 year old Zel Carter is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said Carter was recently observed by Walmart employees placing two SD cards in his pocket, valued at $99.76. He was stopped trying to leave the store without paying for the cards which were found on him.

23 year old Sonny Stults is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to an automobile accident on Allen's Chapel Road. Stults was found to be the driver of the vehicle. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he performed unsatisfactorily on field sobriety tasks and a portable breath test. He was placed under arrest.

Willard Darrell Brown is charged with vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 15. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to a residence at City Walk Apartments on Bryant Street to a possible domestic and vandalism. Upon arrival he spoke with a woman who reported that Brown had done damage to her apartment and her car. Police confronted Brown who allegedly admitted to damaging the apartment and vandalizing the car with a hammer. Several items in the apartment were also damaged.

42 year old Cherri Murphy is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to East Bryant Street on a disturbance call. Police had already been summoned there once before that day. On the second call, the responding officer found Murphy to be unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. She was in a hallway using profane language toward other people. Murphy was placed under arrest.

56 year old Terry Brent Hall is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to 724 Short Mountain Street for a possible intoxicated person. Upon arrival, the officer found a man laying in the back yard, identified as Hall. He had been drinking from a half gallon of Country Club vodka. Hall was placed under arrest.

25 year old William Keith Melson is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, December 3 an officer responded to Food Lion in reference to a shoplifter. Melson was observed putting two beers inside his coat pocket. He will be in court on January 8.

Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

December 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

Second grade students at Smithville Elementary recently participated in a community project for Christmas.

Students worked to make cards to send to a sick little girl who may be celebrating her last Christmas. The students will be mailing the 6 year old girl over 120 homemade Christmas cards.

Pictured are a few students from each class that worked on the cards.

County Clerk Announces New Location for Drivers License Kiosk

December 17, 2014
County Clerk Announces New Location for Drivers License Kiosk

Customers needing the services of the Driver’s License Kiosk machine will now find it more conveniently located inside the County Clerk's Office.

“Prior to my involvement it (Kiosk machine) was initially situated at the far end of the hallway upon entering the county office building. That placement has shown to have been very difficult for customers to recognize, viewing from a distance a machine from the rear with no identifiable signage visible. Also the distance of walking for the disabled, people using walkers and wheelchairs was much farther before. In addition to its poor location and for other reasons many citizens remain unaware of the existence of the Kiosk machine. With all considered I felt moving this machine would offer better recognition, convenience and allow our office to better assist the customer. I coordinated this relocating process through The Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Kiosk machine was officially moved Friday December 12," said County Clerk James L. "Jimmy" Poss.

Solid Waste Transfer Station Expected to be Operational by Spring

December 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling

Construction is underway on the new solid waste transfer station and it is expected to be operational by spring.

County Mayor Tim Stribling updated the county commission Monday night after seventh district commissioner Larry Summers asked about the progress of the project "The transfer station is coming along great. The building is going up. The steel frame has been erected. They are getting ready to put on the sheet metal. The foundation for the scales has been laid. They have the pad poured for the office that is next to the big building. Everything is running on schedule. Hopefully by March we'll be operational. Then we will be closing down the Class I cell after we're up and running good with the transfer station. The rest of the Class I cell will be turned into a Class III/IV landfill (for non-household solid waste). The permit has already been sent in to the state requesting the change from a Class I to the Class III/IV. The road is cut (to the facility). A new two lane road that extends on from Moog Boulevard. The electric poles are set. I don't know if the lines are run. Gas and sewer have been run. The city still has to run the water down to the new road but it (project) is taking shape. I'd recommend anybody drive out there and take a look at it," said County Mayor Stribling.

Household garbage from DeKalb County will be hauled to the Smith County landfill for disposal after the solid waste transfer station is up and running.

The county commission in August voted to enter into a five year contract with the neighboring county who will dispose of DeKalb County's solid waste at the rate of $29.00 a ton. The commission also awarded a bid to Elk Mountain Construction of Cookeville to build the transfer station in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. Elk Mountain's base bid was $1,308,092 with a deductive alternate of $425,077 from the base bid for road work into the proposed facility.

The county still has to find some way it getting the garbage to Smith County. The county could either haul it or contract the service.

Sheriff Reports Increase in Auto Break-ins

December 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

With the rise in automobile break-ins lately in portions of DeKalb County, Sheriff Patrick Ray is urging you to "take notice and be on alert" especially during the holiday season.

"Christmas time is when we have a lot of thefts and break-ins and over the last few weeks we have seen an increase in our vehicle burglary reports where thieves have made entry into locked and unlocked vehicles and stolen items from the inside. This has happened on Highway 56 north and on Highway 70 west," said Sheriff Ray.

Items stolen from these vehicles included GPS systems, money, wallets, Christmas presents, sunglasses, etc. "We're asking the public to call the dispatch number at 615-215-3000 if you see any suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood, maybe vehicles that drive by real slow and drive multiple times up and down the road or if you see somebody walking during the day or especially at night in your neighborhood who are strangers to you. If you call we can get a deputy out to take a look and make sure everything is okay. We can have extra patrols set up through the sheriff's department. If you would like to be placed on the list for extra patrols call 615-215-3000. We also have deputies stationed around the county in case we do get calls so we can get somebody there quickly and maybe find who the person is," said Sheriff Ray.

To keep from becoming a victim of these type crimes, Sheriff Ray urges you to keep your automobiles locked when you are away from them and don't leave valuables in plain sight. "We ask you to keep your cars locked. Take any valuables especially Christmas presents into the house or keep them locked in the trunk. Do not put things in the glove box. When a thief breaks into the car most of the time that's the first place he looks is in the glove box. If you have a GPS, take that off the windshield, remove the suction cup, and hide those somewhere or take them in the house with you. And call us if you see something suspicious. You never know when you might be saving another victim from a crime. Take notice and be on alert. Keep your eyes and ears open," said Sheriff Ray.

You may phone in tips to the sheriff's office at 615- 597-4935 or call the tip line at 464-6400 to report any type of crime whether it be burglaries, thefts, drugs, etc.

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