Local News Articles

Mayor Facing Possible Censure from Aldermen for Violating City's Hiring and Nepotism Policies (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

March 15, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss

Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss may be facing a censure by the Aldermen for hiring his son, Tony Poss last September to work at the golf course and swimming pool without the approval of the Board.

Members of the town council say Mayor Poss violated the city’s hiring and nepotism policies and should be held accountable. A workshop was held Thursday evening at city hall to discuss the matter but the mayor did not show up. All five aldermen were there including Jason Murphy, Shawn Jacobs, Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Josh Miller along with City Attorney Vester Parsley and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

M2U02662 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

City records show that from September 1 to March 2, Tony Poss earned $300 per week (gross) for a total of $8,100. When the issue came to light on March 5, Tony’s employment with the city ended.

Although Tony was supposedly hired to mow the grass at the golf course, Mayor Poss admitted at the March 5 city council meeting that he (Tony) actually did other things.

“We had a problem and what he (Tony) has done, he has taken care of that golf course with what Riverwatch wasn’t doing. He (Tony) has protected us from freezing up. The pool was running low with no water being put in it. It wasn’t being maintained by the city and that wasn’t Ken’s deal (Ken Lacy of Riverwatch). This is what Tony did. He took care of the city’s property. Now it wasn’t mowing. That’s an error there,” explained Mayor Poss.

The aldermen are not satisfied with the mayor’s explanation and question whether Tony actually did any work to earn his salary. They want to know specifically what work was done there on a daily basis during the six months between September and March when there was little or no activity at the golf course and pool, except for the work the Riverwatch team was already contracted to do in refurbishing the course. “The things they (Riverwatch) weren’t going to do we were having Kevin Robinson’s department (Public Works) to do which were already city employees handling those issues,” said Alderman Hendrix.

According to the city’s “Nepotism Policy” the City of Smithville shall not show favoritism in the recruitment or employment of municipal employees nor in their supervision. Immediate family members of City officials, Mayor, and Department Heads shall not be employed by the City unless a clear business reason exists and the hire is approved by the Mayor”.

Under the city’s charter, All officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by ordinance, shall be appointed and removed by the Mayor, but only with the approval of at least two-thirds majority vote of the council present voting upon the appointment or removal, and the employees shall be under the direction and control of the Mayor”.

“I think any employee needs to come before us (aldermen for hiring approval) because we are ultimately liable for the city employees and we need to know who they are,” said Alderman Hendrix.

While they are limited in their authority on punishing the mayor, the aldermen say members of the public are outraged by his actions and many want him to resign. Others say Mayor Poss should apologize and reimburse the city for the money paid to Tony during the six month period in which he was on the payroll.

“I have had phone calls from people who are not happy about this and want to know what we are going to do about it. That is one reason I thought we needed to have a workshop because this is a violation of what is supposed to be done,” said Alderman Hendrix.

"This is an ethics complaint and under the city’s personnel policy we could bring it to our city attorney to do an investigation and give us an advisory opinion or we could hire a separate attorney to do an investigation. An elected official is then subject to punishment or disciplinary action according to the municipality’s charter or other applicable law in addition to censure by the governing body," Alderman Hendrix continued.

"Some people are asking for his head but I have told them I don’t think that is an option. But I think a little remorse and humbleness and an apology (from the mayor) would really go a long way. Most people are pretty forgiving," said Alderman Murphy.

"If it can be shown what was done to earn any of this money, I would be fine with him paying back the difference and issuing an apology,” said Alderman Washer.

“I think a censure from the board would be in order and in that censure we could request that the money be paid back. I don’t know if we have the authority to enforce it but we could request it as a board,” said Alderman Jacobs.

"I also want an assurance that city government is going to be more transparent. I am looking for city government to be more responsive and for us (aldermen) to have a better idea of what is going on," added Alderman Jacobs.

Although they apparently don't plan to oust the mayor or force him to resign over this even if they could, the aldermen have called for a special meeting for Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at city hall to officially decide whether to censure the mayor or go further.

Local Attorney Celebrates Newly Renovated Office Building

March 15, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Law office building of Attorney Jeremy Trapp as it looks today
Director Suzanne Williams of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce  and other guests were on hand for the presentation of a Community Improvement Award to Attorney Jeremy Trapp whose law office building was recently renovated.
The building was home to People’s Bank & Trust of DeKalb County 100 years ago
The building can be seen in the background on the public square during a celebration for WWI veterans
The building during the years it was home to First National Bank
Local Attorney Jeremy Trapp and wife receive Chamber's Community Improvement Award. They are joined by staff, guests, and friends for the special occasion.

A celebration was held Thursday to commemorate the centennial anniversary of a downtown landmark and its recent renovation.

Local attorney Jeremy Trapp and his family and staff hosted an open house to show off his law office located on what was once referred to as “the white corner” on the public square, the former home of Cantrell’s Jewelry.

Director Suzanne Williams and other representatives of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce were on hand to present a Community Improvement Award.

The two story building with 1200 square feet on each floor was erected 100 years ago and has been used for a variety of purposes including a bank, department store, dentist office, jewelry store, and law office.

Trapp relocated his law office there a few years ago after purchasing the building and making renovations.

“I purchased the building from Imogene Cantrell a few years ago when it was Cantrell’s Jewelry and I just wanted to do a complete renovation of the building. I always thought it would make a nice office. I thought it was a unique building. It’s taken a while. We did the outside and the bottom level first and then we moved in. A few years later we decided to go ahead and do the top floor of the building, which really hadn’t been used much except for storage since about the 1940s. We basically gutted the top and completely renovated that too so now the whole building is completely restored after 100 years and we’re using both floors for law office space,” said Trapp.

Trapp said there are a lot of interesting facts about the history of the building.

“It started out around 1917-18 as People’s Bank & Trust of DeKalb County. That is what it was originally built for. In the late 1920’s First National Bank bought out or took over the bank. From that time period until about maybe the late 1950s or early 60s it was actually Puckett’s Department Store for a while. We have a picture of that. Not many people remember Puckett’s Department Store being at this location. I believe Joe L. Evins bought it from First National Bank and let Puckett’s Department Store rent it for a while until Imogene and Max Cantrell bought the building in 1965. From that time on, she and Max owned it,” said Trapp.

A dentist and attorney also made use of the upstairs portion of the building many years ago.

“In the old days there was a dentist office upstairs. I talked to some older clients who had actually been up here when it was a dentist office. There was also an attorney’s office in one part of the upstairs building. His name was R.L. Turner and that name was still on the door on the top level when I bought the building,” Trapp continued.

Since acquiring the building, Trapp has added a stairwell to gain access to the upstairs from the first floor, as the original structure had none.

"They didn’t have a stairwell in. The only access to the upstairs was from the outside of the building in an area that joins the neighboring or adjacent building. It was basically an easement that both buildings used to get to the top half of each building. I went ahead and put in a whole new stairwell and made it look really nice,” said Trapp.

Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday

March 15, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday

As part of its community outreach ministry, the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church is again sponsoring a drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning, March 17 rain or shine.

In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the church plans to prepare enough food boxes to serve up to 300 families regardless of their income status, on a first come, first served basis. Families will receive enough food to last them for a full week. Second Harvest will bring in pallets of food on trucks. The food will then be off loaded and organized in preparation for the distribution.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the food will be delivered from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Unlike most food distributions, those being served by the mobile pantry will not have to get out of their automobiles. They will drive thru in a pickup line and volunteers will deliver the food directly to their vehicles, placing the food boxes either in the back seat or trunk. Cars will line up facing north on College Street across from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

"It's a mobile food pantry but it's also a drive thru. The recipients will stay in their cars. They will line up starting at 8:00 a.m. on College Street and when we have everything prepared and organized we'll start the line moving, hopefully around 9:00 a.m. Recipients will drive through. As they enter in we'll have a team there to put a box of food in their cars, either in their back seat or trunk," said spokesperson Teresa Trapp Brown.

"We will line up right across from the church (Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church) on College Street. We'll start registration at 8:00 a.m. We'll need the name of the recipients and how many families are being served. We're limited to two families per vehicle to make sure we have enough food," added Isaac Gray, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Others who wish to volunteer may show up Saturday, March 17 or call for more information at 615-464-7896 or 615-597-4197.

Frazier Brothers Celebrate their 92nd Birthday

March 15, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page and Susan Hinton
Edward and Edsel Frazier

Family and friends joined twins Edward and Edsel Frazier, both World War II veterans, in the celebration of their 92nd birthday during a lunch at Patty’s Restaurant Tuesday.

Each received a letter from Congressman Jim Cooper congratulating them and both are to be recognized with resolutions commemorating their birthday from state lawmakers.

The letters from Congressman Cooper state “It gives me great pleasure to extend my greetings and congratulations to you on the occasion of your 92nd birthday. Reaching 92 years is a tremendous milestone and I am certain that you have touched and enriched countless lives along the way.

You have seen this country change and have helped to prepare the next generation for the 21st Century. I commend you on your long life, your good work, and for sharing your wisdom with generations that followed your own. Your family is privileged to have you in their lives, and we are all very proud of you.

As you celebrate with family and friends, know that I join with citizens from throughout the Fifth Congressional District of Tennessee in saluting you and wishing you a very happy birthday.

Again, congratulations on your very special day,” wrote Congressman Cooper.

Edward and Edsel were born to Hassie and Robert Lee Frazier on Dry Creek in DeKalb County on March 13, 1926.

The Frazier brother twins were inducted at Camp Forrest, Tennessee during World War II at 18 years of age. Edward and Edsel both started in the 99th Army Infantry Division and served with General Hodges and General George Patton while crossing the Blue Danube. The twins walked across the bridge at the landing of Normandy in the icy cold water. Their boots were frozen along with the rest of them.

Both have stories about the extreme weather conditions and surviving the war with Edward even going into an old farm house to stay next to a cow to try and get warm. Edward still credits that cow with saving his life after he was separated from the others in his platoon. The other soldiers in the company that night thought he was dead when he turned up missing, but had a good laugh when he finally caught up. These are a few of the memories they love to share, but there were many memories too painful to relay. Edward always talks about seeing so much hunger and to this day has trouble seeing people throw their food away wastefully. Both of the guys couldn’t wait to get back to their home state of Tennessee after the war and to roam in the hills of Dry Creek where they were both born.

Their Rank: Private 1st Class; Edward was recommended for Master Sergeant at the end of the war, but was too anxious to return home to stay in the army. He recalls the joy when told the war was over and everyone was returning home.

Edward and Edsel earned various medals including two battle stars, I Eastern Rhine, 1 European Theatre-medals, along with other awards. During the war, Edsel was hospitalized while Edward’s troop moved on so the guys were separated briefly during the war. The men were discharged in Fort Logan, Colorado in Denver at the end of the war.

A reporter talked to the guys and Edward laughingly told him that they were named by their father who loved his old Model T so much he named them after the Ford’s, Henry Edsel and Henry Edward. This was picked up by the AP Wire and sent all across the U.S. about the Ford Twins.

Through the years, the guys have both contributed much to the community with Edward being active in politics and serving on numerous county committees as well as being elected Mayor of Smithville for two terms. Edsel was a U.S. Postal employee and retired from that position and is also a member of the Shriners. Both have played key positions with their local VFW and American Legion organizations with Edward serving as Commander for many years.

Liberty State Bank Makes Donation to DCHS Tigerette Softball Program

March 14, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Liberty State Bank Makes Donation to DCHS Tigerette Softball Program
Casey Midgett (left) and Rhonda Caplinger of Liberty State Bank present donation to DCHS Tigerette Softball Coach Danny Fish

The DCHS Tigerette Softball Team was presented a check Monday for $5000 from Liberty State Bank. Rhonda Caplinger and Casey Midgett came to bring all the girls nice caps and to present the check. These funds will be used to further the advancement of the facilities such as new batting cages and other larger expenses they may have. They want to express their deep gratitude and appreciation to Liberty State Bank for their very generous gift. ​

City Hires Managers of Golf Course, Pool, and Tennis Court

March 14, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Golf Course, Swimming Pool, and Tennis Court will soon be under new management.

During a special meeting held Tuesday evening at city hall, the aldermen voted 4-0 to hire Ken Lacy and Pete Ferguson to manage the facilities for at least one year. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer voted in favor. Alderman Jason Murphy was absent.

(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW PROPOSAL OF LACY AND FERGUSON)

Scan2.pdf (1010.95 KB)

The city will pay each of them $1,000 per month. This equates to a shared annual wage of $24,000. Lacy and Ferguson will also be offered the city’s healthcare insurance package which is a $7,000 benefit to each of them. The city will receive revenues generated through the facilities.

The mayor and aldermen held a workshop concerning the future of the golf course on Saturday.

“We had a workshop Saturday at the golf course to get an update on the condition, the maintenance, and how everything is looking. Everything is looking wonderful. The report was that potentially the golf course could be ready to open by April 1,” said Alderman Hendrix.

The city had previously had the golf course and pool leased to Tony Poss but he surrendered his lease last August. After that, the city entered into a one year maintenance agreement last September with Riverwatch Golf & Resort to upgrade and maintain the golf course at a cost to the city of $74,115.

The aldermen decided at that time to begin looking for a manager by spring instead of leasing the facility again.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Alderman Hendrix moved to hire Lacy and Ferguson as managers. She said their proposal was the best of those submitted for consideration.

“We had some applications submitted for manager but after reviewing everything, I would make a motion that we hire Ken Lacy and Pete Ferguson. I thought their proposal was by far the most economical and they are the best qualified for the position. I feel like we are very fortunate in this small town to have people of this expertise willing to do this and it will include management of the golf course, swimming pool, and tennis courts. They will be in charge of all of that” said Alderman Hendrix.

Alderman Miller suggested that the deal with Lacy and Ferguson be subject to a review after one year.

“Since we don’t really know what kind of revenue this golf course will bring in, I think we should at least make sure we have the option of looking at this again in a year,” said Alderman Miller.

The board gave its approval.

Sexton Airlifted After Tuesday Rollover Crash

March 14, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Clarence Sexton Jr Airlifted After Rollover Crash on Evins Mill Road

A 48 year old Smithville man was airlifted after a one vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon on Evins Mill Road.

According to Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Clarence Sexton Jr. was traveling west in a 2003 Ford Taurus when he lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a curve and ran off the left side of the roadway overturning down an embankment before coming to final rest on its top.

After the crash Mr. Sexton called someone to pick him up and transport him to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital where he was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center. Charges are pending.

Miller Signs to Play College Football at Thomas More in Kentucky

March 14, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Football Athlete Bradley Miller, a senior, signed Tuesday to play for Thomas More College in Kentucky. Miller’s parents, Michael and Dee Dee Miller joined Bradley for the signing
DCHS Football Senior Bradley Miller has signed to play at Thomas More College in Kentucky next season. Pictured: SEATED:  Assistant Coach Tommy Hinch, Bradley Miller, Head Coach Steve Trapp; STANDING: Assistant Coaches Justin Burum and Thomas Cagle

Another outstanding DCHS Tiger football athlete is moving on to the collegiate level after he graduates from high school.

Bradley Miller, a senior, signed a letter of intent Tuesday morning to play for Thomas More College, a Catholic Liberal Arts College of the Diocese in Covington, Kentucky.

Miller’s parents, Michael and Dee Dee Miller joined Bradley for the signing along with his high school coaches and several of his Tiger teammates.

“I just visited there (Thomas More) and I felt it was the right place for me. I really love their academic program and everything they had to offer me. Their football program has been very consistently in the play-offs. Its an all around great program,” said Miller.

During the team banquet in January, Bradley was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season. He was also selected as the Most Outstanding Defensive Back in Region 3 Class 4A.

“Anytime we have a guy who has an opportunity to play at the next level its very exciting for our program and for other guys who are still in our program to see guys like Bradley who have played for four years and who have contributed to our program on and off the field. It’s a good thing for everybody involved,” said Coach Steve Trapp.

“What he has done on the football field, especially during his Junior year, was probably the best ever for a defensive back at DeKalb County High School and being an All-State performer. But he has really taken care of business in the classroom as well. He had a lot of different opportunities to go play at different places (colleges) and all of them are high academic institutions. Good test scores, good GPAs, and good football lead to scholarships,” added Coach Trapp.

During the presentation of his MVP Award in January, Coach Trapp said “This guy played a lot of football for us this year as a senior. I don’t think he came off the field a whole lot. He was on special teams, defense, and offense. We put him in as running back in a couple of games. He returned kicks and punts. Last year as a junior he probably had the best defensive back year ever as a DCHS football player but he didn’t have as many opportunities this year because people just wouldn’t throw at him. Last year he was All-State in different areas and pre-season All State this year. He is a tremendous high school football player,” said Coach Trapp.

Early Voting Hours Set for May 1 DeKalb Democratic Primary

March 13, 2018
Early Voting Hours Set for May 1 DeKalb Democratic Primary

Early voting hours for the May 1 DeKalb County Democratic Primary have now been set.

The DeKalb County Election Commission, meeting in regular session Monday evening, set the same time frame as in previous county elections.

The times are as follows:

Mondays—1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursdays—2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Fridays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturdays—9 a.m. to noon.

Early voting begins April 11 and runs through April 26 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

“The commission is very mindful of the fact there are different population segments and not everyone is available to cast their ballot at the same time of the day and that is why there are a couple of afternoon voting periods,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

The commission also set the Election Day voting hours at the usual time—8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Stanley announced there is still time to pick up a petition for the August 2nd municipal elections and available school board seats. The qualifying deadline is Noon April 5th.

In Alexandria a mayor and three aldermen will be elected to four-year terms and one alderman will be elected to a two-year term to fill a vacancy.

Petitions have been issued in Alexandria to Lloyd Dyer and Eddie Shane Blair for Alderman but those petitions have not yet been returned and verified.

In Liberty a mayor and five aldermen will be elected. Petitions issued and returned for mayor include incumbent Dwight Mathis and challenger Darrell Johnson.

Derek Johnson has picked up and returned a petition for one of the aldermen spots. Other alderman petitions have been issued to incumbents Jason Ray, Eddie Dwayne Blair, Joe Don Bratten and William H. Reynolds.

In Dowelltown three aldermen are to be elected. No petitions have been issued for those races.

In Smithville a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. Petitions issued and returned for mayor include incumbent Jimmy Poss and challenger Josh Miller. Petitions issued and returned to date for alderman include incumbents Jason Murphy and Gayla Hendrix along with challenger Brandon Cox.

Five school board seats are up for election in August. In District 1 incumbent Danny Parkerson has picked up and returned his petition.

In District 2 petitions have been issued to incumbent Jerry Wayne Johnson, C.D. Webb, Thomas Alan Hayes and Orville Hendrix. Only Hayes has returned his petition.

In District 3 a petition has been issued to incumbent Jim Beshearse and it has been returned and verified. In District 4 a petition has been issued to incumbent Kate Miller. In District 7 a petition has been issued to incumbent Shaun Tubbs and it has been returned and verified.

Again, the qualifying deadline for the August 2 DeKalb County General and Municipal Elections is Noon April 5.

Turner Gets 30 days for Contempt After Coming to Court Intoxicated

March 13, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Richard Brandon Turner
Bransford Lee Patterson
Kyle Michael Brown

A man who showed up for court intoxicated last Thursday is now serving 30 days in jail for contempt.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 3/12/2018 Thru: 3/19/2018)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_62.pdf (2.38 MB)

46 year old Richard Brandon Turner of Miller Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication and resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is April 5.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, March 8 Turner arrived at the courthouse while court was in session with slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Turner was asked repeatedly during court to remain silent but he refused.

The judge found Turner in contempt of court and ordered him to serve 30 days in jail. As Turner was being placed in custody he resisted and tried to pull away from the arresting officer after being asked to place his hands behind his back. The officer took Turner to the floor and arrested him.

31 year old Bransford Lee Patterson of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and vandalism. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is March 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 10 Patterson kicked in the back door of a home on Short Mountain Highway and then refused to get out after being ordered several times by the homeowner to leave the premises. Patterson caused an estimated $300 in damage to the door and door frame.

19 year old Kyle Michael Brown of Springfield is charged with possession of a schedule III drug. He was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia (set of digital scales containing a white powdery substance). His court date is March 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 10 a deputy stopped to assist a motorist on Highway 70 east. After the vehicle left, the officer noticed that the motorist had left behind on the side of the road a milk crate and a black box. The deputy notified another officer to stop the vehicle so that the items could be returned. After making the traffic stop, the officer made Brown aware of the discovery. Brown told him that he got those things at his friend’s trailer but that shoes, a booster box, and small lock box found among the items belonged to him. The officer asked Brown to prove that the lock box was his by unlocking it. He did so and in plain sight was a small plastic container with part of a pill in it. Brown said the pill was Suboxone. After being asked by the officer, Brown said he was on probation and that it was for driving on a suspended license. But after the deputy checked with the White County Sheriff’s Department, Brown admitted that he was actually on probation for possession of marijuana. Brown was then placed under arrest.

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