Local News Articles

DeKalb Among Nine Additional Counties Included in Ice Storm Disaster Declaration

May 10, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that nine counties will be added to the existing 36 receiving federal recovery assistance from the severe winter storm of Feb. 15, to Feb. 22, 2015.

Claiborne, Cocke, Davidson, DeKalb, Greene, Hawkins, Pickett, Rhea and Wayne counties were added to the declaration following new damage assessments requested by the state, and conducted by local officials, representatives of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“I appreciate the hard work of all the county emergency management officials who are out there every day working for the citizens they serve to get them the help they need, and this assistance will provide some relief to these additional counties,” Haslam said.

Tennessee now has 45 counties included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration, DR-4211, of April 2, 2015. Previously declared counties include: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Hardin, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.

The federal assistance will allow eligible government entities and certain private non-profits in the declared counties to apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program.

The Public Assistance Program provides a 75 percent funding reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

State and local governments and electrical utilities spent more than $30.4 million in their response and recovery actions before, during and after the winter storm.

The February storm took 30 lives, severely damaged local utilities, forced universities, K-12 schools, and daycares to close, and impacted communities and residents throughout the state.

Multiple state agencies were involved in the response, including the Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Correction, Environment and Conservation, Finance and Administration, General Services, Health, Human Resources, Human Services, Transportation, Military, Safety, and the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Commission on Aging. The response involved approximately 3,500 state employees.

TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. For more information, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

Alexandria Alderman Issued Petition to Run for Mayor

May 10, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bennett Armstrong and David Cripps Reading Documents at a Recent Alexandria Town Council Meeting
Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley and City Attorney Vester Parsley
Alexandria Aldermen Pat Jackson and John Suggs

An Alexandria Alderman has apparently decided to run for mayor.

Bennett Armstrong, who had picked up a petition to seek a full term as alderman, has withdrawn it and has been issued a new petition as a candidate for mayor. Armstrong is currently an alderman appointee, serving out an unexpired or vacant term.

Mayor Tony Tarpley also plans to be a mayoral candidate. Tarpley was appointed to the office in 2013 after Jim York was elected mayor and resigned three days after taking office. Tarpley has served the first two years of York's unexpired term as mayor. Both Tarpley and Armstrong plan to seek the last two years of the term.

Other candidates who have picked up petitions are:

Alderman: David G. Cripps and John Suggs (both for 4 year terms). Cripps and Suggs are incumbent aldermen, appointees serving out unexpired or vacant terms.

Alexandria voters will have a chance to elect a mayor and as many as five aldermen in the town's election on September 3.

Qualifying petitions are now available from the DeKalb County Election Commission. The deadline to get in the race is noon on June 18.

In this year's Alexandria election, three aldermen are to be elected, each to serve a four year term. Meanwhile, a mayor and two other aldermen are to be elected to fill vacancies or the remaining two years of unexpired terms. No petitions have yet been issued for the two-2 year terms to fill vacant/unexpired terms.

The sitting members are Mayor Tony Tarpley and Aldermen Pat Jackson, David Cripps, John Suggs, and Bennett Armstrong. All are serving as appointees except for Jackson, who was elected in 2013 and still has two years remaining in his term.

Relay For Life Brings People Together in Fight Against Cancer (View Videos Here)

May 9, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

In what has been a DeKalb County tradition for eighteen years now, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life successfully brought together hundreds of people Friday evening who wanted to show their support for and honor the memories of their loved ones who have been afflicted with cancer.

Greenbrook Park was filled with folks who gathered to help in the battle against cancer, inspired by this year’s theme," Cancer: Not here, Not there, Not anywhere".

The program from the stage featured singers and church groups along with a special performance by Darrin Vincent and daughter Victoria. The opening ceremony included presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347, the National Anthem performed by Suzanne Slager, welcoming remarks by Renea Cantrell and a song in honor of cancer survivors by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby.

Cancer survivors, introduced and presented with a medallion, took the first lap around the walking trail in the park.

Teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer.

At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Aldermen Uphold Mayor's Termination of Caplinger by Simple Majority Vote (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Randy Caplinger apparently will not be getting his job back as Smithville Police Chief

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, the Smithville Aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

But the vote itself has become an issue.

Caplinger's attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox insist that the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination. And Aldermen Jacobs and Miller said they had spoken with legal representatives of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) who told them that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor.

Cripps and MTAS are basing their opinion on Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) states that "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 (2/3) 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."

But City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter. "My contention is that a simple majority would be enough," Hinting that there might be a legal challenge, Parsley added that "the courts may have to decide that issue," said Parsley.

The section of the charter to which Parsley refers is Section 3.08 in Article III which states that "The appointment and promotion of employees of the city shall be on a basis of merit, considering technical knowledge and education required to perform satisfactorily the work, experience in the particular or similar line of work and administrative or supervisory qualifications. The Mayor, or the City Administrator, if established by the Board, may, with the approval of a majority of the Board, make appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, suspensions, and removal of all employees".

Throughout the hearing, Cripps and Cox called numerous witnesses to testify on Caplinger's behalf including the former Chief himself, trying to show that he was being treated unfairly; that similar things he was being accused of were being committed by other employees who were going unpunished; and that the city administration was undermining his efforts to lead the police department.

However, several officers, including the Captain, detectives, and sergeants testified against Caplinger, blaming him for creating confusion and tension between officers essentially by making decisions and then not supporting supervisors when those directives were carried out.

Prior to the vote, Alderman Jacobs urged the council to follow the advice of MTAS and tensions grew between he and Alderman Gayla Hendrix as Jacobs accused some city officials of conspiring against him. "I called MTAS Legal Consultant Melissa Ashburn on the way to the meeting today. She texted me right before the meeting and said according to Section 3.01 of the Smithville Charter, firing requires a two thirds vote of council members present. If five are present, this would require four votes to fire. If four are present it would require three votes to fire. I would submit that is why many of you conspired not to have me present here today. I think we have to go with the MTAS legal opinion. I don't think we have a choice. I'm not saying this because of Randy Caplinger. If it were a dog catcher, police officer, someone in public works, or any employee of the City of Smithville, I would take the same stand. This is a farce. This is a circus. You all have tried to act without the inclusion of the entire board and certainly without the scrutiny of the public of the City of Smithville. I am offended. It was a big hardship upon me today to make this meeting. I think that by being a long standing member of the board and Vice Mayor, I deserve more respect than this. And certainly, Mr. Caplinger, who is the person in question at this point also deserves more respect regardless of his guilt or innocence of these charges" said Alderman Jacobs.

"Mr. Jacobs, I would like to say I do not appreciate you reprimanding this board saying we didn't want you included here. This has been a hardship for all of us not just yourself. I've missed a full day's work just as these other board members have. You keep implying that the rest of us have some kind of vendetta against you. I don't understand where that comes from but that is certainly not the case. Or it's not with me. I can only speak for myself," said Alderman Hendrix.

"I wasn't necessarily referring to you", replied Alderman Jacobs.

"Well that's what you have been doing for the last several meetings and I do not appreciate it," Alderman Hendrix responded.

"No ma'am I have just referred to some members," said Alderman Jacobs.

Meanwhile, Alderman Danny Washer responded to allegations made during the hearing that he had once tried to intervene with an officer and later the sheriff to keep his son in law from being charged with DUI. "I don't feel like I did anything wrong. If I did I'll apologize. But Mr. Caplinger and every officer in this room or that I spoke to or dealt with and myself included has all told me that if there is anything I can do for you, let me know. If I can help you in any way. I told them the same thing. I'd do the same thing again tomorrow. I did nothing wrong in trying to help my son in law. I didn't use my influence or my power. I don't care what anybody says. The only thing I said was I'm Danny Washer and he is my son in law. If I can take him home and maybe keep him from losing his job I'd appreciate it. Nobody knew I was calling the Sheriff except me. Nobody up there. I called him (Sheriff). He talked to his officer. I again talked to the sheriff and he said I am supporting my officer. I am backing him. I said I understand. No hard feelings. I just wanted to try and help my son in law. If I am wrong in doing that then I am not much of a daddy, step dad, father in law, husband, or friend if I can't try to help you. If Randy (Caplinger) had been working that night, I would have called him. I just knew who was working. He always told me just like every other officer if there is anything I can ever do to help you call me. That's what I did. If I'm wrong and I broke the law I'm sorry. I didn't know I was. I was just trying to help my family or I'd help a friend the same way," said Alderman Washer.

Mayor Poss also noted some criticism directed at him during the hearing. "There has been a lot of talk today. I'm like Danny. I've been wore out (with criticism). Most of it was unwarranted. I didn't know I was going to be on trial today. But evidently I am," said Mayor Poss. Some officers testified during the hearing that Mayor Poss would often show up at or near crime scenes as they were conducting investigations and that the mayor had been critical of one former city police officer who he thought had spent too much time at the sheriff's office on one occasion.

As she cast her vote for termination, Alderman Hendrix said she tried to look specifically at the allegations and to weigh the evidence. "Lack of leadership and loss of morale are the foremost allegations that upsets me. We've had testimony of five employees and most of them have worked for the city for numerous years. I can only imagine how difficult it is to have to come to a hearing like this and give testimony against your boss. It's not easy and I don't think any of those gentlemen would have done that if they did not feel it was necessary. It does sound like there is a lot of confusion in the department. It actually sounds fairly chaotic. Each department has to have a department head who can be the leadership figure and run it efficiently and effectively. From what I've heard today I don't see that. I love Randy Caplinger as a person but as a Chief of Police I'm going to vote with the mayor. We need a change, " she said.

"I do not take lightly the concerns of the officers who have had to testify here today. I value your opinions very much. I appreciate the job you all do. I am very concerned about what you have had to say here today. Obviously there was quite a bit of confusion in the department. However, I'm not sure that rises to the level of dismissing the chief, especially without these problems having been brought to the full board to begin with. I am also troubled by the fact that we don't have any written reprimands in Chief Caplinger's file or where the mayor or Mr. (Hunter) Hendrixson, or the police commissioner have tried to counsel the chief or discipline him in any way. I think if the problems were that severe, and I'm not saying they weren't, but I'm thinking if they were that severe then some action should have been taken and that it should have been documented and placed in a file so that we would have some evidence to go on when we were brought to this hearing here today," said Alderman Jacobs before voting against termination.

City Council to Decide Case Against Randy Caplinger

May 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger
Sarah Cripps

The Smithville Board of Aldermen will convene Friday morning to conduct the long awaited due process hearing for Randy Caplinger, who wants his job back as Police Chief.

Mayor Jimmy Poss fired Caplinger on March 19 citing eight reasons for the termination

The hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. at city hall and WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

At the end of the hearing, the five member board of aldermen is expected to take a vote on whether to confirm the mayor's termination of Caplinger.

Under the City of Smithville's Personnel Policies regarding "New Hires, Promotions, Demotions, and Transfers", Section IV subsection J regarding Employment states that "Pursuant to the City Charter, the Mayor has the authority to hire, promote, demote, transfer, suspend, and remove all officers and employees of the City of Smithville with proper Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval. The City of Smithville is an at-will employer and may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without cause. Employees may be disciplined up to and including termination of employment at any time."

"The point I want to make is the hiring and removal of employees can be initiated and done by the mayor but only with the approval of our board of aldermen. It says "proper" approval which I think is terribly important," said Sarah Cripps, attorney for Caplinger.

While some apparently believe a simple majority vote (three out of five) is all that is necessary to confirm the mayor's action to terminate Caplinger, Cripps told WJLE Thursday that the city charter is the controlling legal authority for the city, taking precedence over the personnel policy if there is a conflict, and the charter requires a two thirds majority vote which would be four out of five aldermen voting in the affirmative. Cripps bases her opinion on Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) which states that "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 (2/3) 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."

"Apparently there have been a lot of discussions in our community about what is required to confirm the mayor's decision. It's simple. This is true at every level of our nation's government. At the federal level. At the state level. And most applicable to our case at the local level. The presiding executive can appoint certain officials who are department heads. Those officials must be confirmed by the legislative body with not a simple majority but a two thirds majority. It's called a super majority. It's there to protect the people from the whims of our government. That's why its special. A super majority is sixty six and two thirds percent of the members of that body. In the U.S. Senate, a simple majority is 51%. In Smithville, a simple majority is three members out of the five serving. Is that enough to terminate the chief? To confirm the mayor's decision? Absolutely not. How do I know that?. The charter tells me so in Section 3.01 because sixty six and two thirds percent is four (aldermen) out of the five. That is why the question that should be called Friday is will the board affirm or confirm the mayor's recommendation that our chief be terminated? If so, they must have four persons out of the five to confirm that decision," said Cripps.

No one knows for certain how any of the aldermen will vote Friday but Cripps said should the aldermen fail to affirm the mayor's termination of Caplinger, the mayor does not have the authority to cast a veto. According to Cripps, the city charter states that mayoral vetoes are reserved only for legislative actions by the aldermen. Cripps cites Article II of the charter regarding the Mayor as Presiding Officer. In Section 2.04 subsection (1) the charter states that "The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Board and shall not have a vote on any matter except in case of a tie vote". In subsection (2), the charter explains that "The Mayor shall have veto power over any legislative action of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen."

"The important point here is the term "legislative action". What is a legislative action? This section (2.04 subsection 2) tells us. It says upon passage of a legislative ordinance or resolution, the mayor shall notify the board in writing of a veto within ten days. A legislative action is very clear. It is a resolution. It is an ordinance. That is what legislative bodies do. They make law on whatever level of government they happen to be serving. In other words, our board of mayor and aldermen promulgate laws that affect the city. Those are ordinances. Those are resolutions where they desire to make their wishes known. Section 2.09 of the charter talks about what legislative action means. What is not defined in Section 2.09 as a legislative act under which the mayor has veto power, is the board's decision to hire or remove an employee. The mayor cannot exercise a veto in this case because it is not provided for in our city's charter. This is clear. It is not open for legitimate debate. If there is a veto, it is patently illegal. It's contrary to the provisions of the charter, which is the law under which our city operates because the vote being taken by the board Friday is not a legislative act. It is not a lawmaking act" said Cripps.

Congressman Diane Black Tours Omega Apparel, Donates Books to DCHS

May 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Congressman Diane Black toured Omega Apparel in Smithville Thursday. Shown here with Omega CEO Dean Wegner, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and County Mayor Tim Stribling
Congressman Diane Black donates books to the DCHS library from the Library of Congress. Shown here with Class of 2015 Salutatorian Makalee Ruch and DCHS Librarian Lisa Craig
Congressman Diane Black visits DCHS Thursday. Shown here with Class of 2015 Salutatorian MaKalee Ruch and DCHS Librarian Lisa Craig
Congressman Diane Black visits Omega Apparel. Looking on are County Mayor Tim Stribling, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, and Omega CEO Dean Wegner

Congressman Diane Black was in Smithville Thursday to take a tour of Omega Apparel. She also visited DeKalb County High School where she donated books from the Library of Congress to the school library.

"The Library of Congress gets a copy of every book printed each year whether it's an instructional book, a nonfiction or fiction book. When the shelves get too full they weed out, and as they do we are allowed to pick out books to send back to the district and we take them to schools," Congressman Black told WJLE.

DCHS Librarian Lisa Craig and Class of 2015 Salutatorian MaKalee Ruch were among those who greeted Congressman Black at the school to receive the donation of books.

Dean Wegner, President and CEO of Omega Apparel, accompanied Congressman Black on her tour of the local factory. County Mayor Tim Stribling, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams joined them.

"It's incredible what they are doing. When I was here three years ago there was concern that there was not going to be as much business there and the drop in the number of employees and now we see someone who has lots of new ideas and really growing the business. It's going to be a wonderful thing for DeKalb County and the people that live here," said Congressman Black.

Asked about her concerns in Washington, Congressman Black said tackling the nation's debt is still a priority. "I think it's our growing debt that we're going to leave on the next generation. So every dollar that is spent in Washington, I am looking to see if there is fraud, waste, and abuse and if it's being spent wisely because I do worry about the future generations and what we're building up for them to have to pay back," she said.

As a member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Black said she continues to push for tax reform and a repeal of Obama Care. "We know that if we could do something that would reduce the tax burden on people that money would then be spent in the economy and would grow our economy so tax reform is a top priority and then what's happening in Obama Care and what I'm hearing from people about how it is directly affecting them. I am on a committee that has jurisdiction over both of those things and they are two issues that are up front for us," she said.

International turmoil is also a major concern. "That is a huge issue that is very difficult because militarily some people want us to be stronger. Others don't want us to be as strong. Funding for the military has dropped and I worry about our men and women that we ask to serve our country. Are we giving them the very best that they can have to protect them while they are on foreign soil," Congressman Black concluded.

Letter Carriers' Annual Food Drive Set for Saturday

May 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Letter Carriers' Annual Food Drive Set for Saturday

Your help is needed in "Fighting Hunger and Feeding Hope" on Saturday, May 9 by joining with the Letter Carriers (NALC) union in its 23rd annual food drive--the largest one-day food drive in the nation. The effort locally is being held in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

Letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food donations for the drive from postal customers in the Smithville area as they deliver mail along their postal routes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.

According to local Letter Carriers, food items can be left in your mail box for mail carriers to pick up or you may drop off your donations at the lobby of the Smithville Post Office. Food may also be left at 430 East Broad Street (Food Bank Building next to Dr. Burke's Animal Clinic).

Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters in DeKalb County. For more information, call Roger Young at the Smithville Post Office at 615-597-4781.

This food drive is the nation’s largest single-day collection effort and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

Hunger affects about 49 million people around the country, including millions of children and senior citizens. One in six Tennesseans struggle with hunger each day. Again, all of the food donations collected by your post office will stay in your county.

Join the effort to feed the hungry

DCHS Tigerettes Claim District Tournament Championship

May 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
District Softball Tournament Champions! (PHOTO BY GENA CRIPPS)
All-District DCHS Tigerette Honorees Kayley Caplinger, Loren Cripps, Dani Meadows, Allison Maynard, Tyra Graham, and Katie Hall (Photo by Gena Cripps)

The DCHS Tigerettes are District Tournament Champions.

They defeated Macon County Wednesday night 9-2 in the title game played at Upperman High School in Baxter. The Tigerettes will host their first round game of the Region Tournament Monday against Grundy County in Smithville at 5:00 p.m.

It's the 14th district tournament championship for Coach Danny Bond in his thirty year softball coaching career at DCHS.

The Tigerettes stayed undefeated throughout the district tournament with wins against York Institute 10-0 on Friday, Cannon County 3-2 on Monday, Macon County 3-2 on Tuesday, and against Macon County 9-2 on Wednesday.

In the Championship game Wednesday evening, the Tigerettes scored nine runs on ten hits and made three errors. Macon County scored two runs on four hits and made two errors.

DeKalb County scored five runs in the second inning, one run in the third, one run in the fifth, and two runs in the sixth inning. Macon County scored two runs in the seventh inning.

Kayley Caplinger, the winning pitcher, struck out five.

Katie Hall and Allison Maynard each had two singles while Tyra Graham, Loren Cripps, Dani Meadows, Myranda Bailiff, Hannah Walker, and Lexi Bates each singled.

Meanwhile, All-District 8-AA Regular Season and All-District Tournament selections were announced Wednesday night following the Tigerettes victory over Macon County in the District Softball Tournament Championship game at Baxter.

DeKalb County's Dani Meadows shared the District's Regular Season Most Valuable Player honor with Paige Clark of Macon County. Meadows also received the Defensive MVP distinction for the season. Kayley Caplinger was named the District's Pitcher of the Year.

Meanwhile, Kayley Caplinger and Katie Hall made the First Team All-District for the Regular Season while Tyra Graham and Loren Cripps were selected to the Second Team-All District.

Tyra Graham was named Most Valuable Player of the District Tournament. Graham made the All-District Tournament Team along with Kayley Caplinger, Dani Meadows, and Allison Maynard.

Former DCHS Tigerette Cynthia Woodward was among four inductees to the District 8-AA Softball Hall of Fame.

Town of Alexandria Lowers its ISO Classification

May 6, 2015
Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley (Seated), Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge, and Assistant Chief John Partridge

Mayor Tony Tarpley and Fire Chief Brian Partridge announced today that the Insurance Services Office has raised Alexandria’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating to Class 4 from a class 7. This upgrade indicates that insurance premiums, particularly on commercial properties, could be lowered by year’s end.

A community’s PPC depends on:

• emergency communications systems, including facilities for the public to report fires, staffing, training, certification of telecommunicators, and facilities for dispatching fire departments

• the fire department, including equipment, staffing, training, and geographic deployment of fire companies

• the water supply system, including the inspection and flow testing of hydrants and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires

• community efforts to reduce the risk of fire, including fire prevention codes and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation programs

The improved score was a result of improvements in all categories that the town is graded on including; the Emergency Communications section which evaluates Dekalb E-911, Water Supply section that inspects the town’s hydrant system and the Fire Department Section which graded The Alexandria Fire Department. Dekalb E-911 earned 9.55 credits out of 10 available. The Fire Department improved from 11.61 to 27.99 out of 50 possible credits.

DQ Manager and Boyfriend Arrested for Theft After Staging Break-In

May 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Recover Stolen Cash from Dairy Queen
Rebecca Duffield
Anthony Skinner

A manager of the Dairy Queen and her boyfriend have been arrested after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the business and then staging the scene to make it look like a break-in late Sunday night.

21 year old Rebecca Duffield and 20 year old Anthony Skinner are each charged with theft of property over $1,000 and vandalism. Bond for each is $12,500 and they will be in court on May 14.

According to Smithville Police, Duffield and Skinner were inside the restaurant cleaning up before closing when they stole more than $6,800 from the safe and then ransacked the office. Before they drove away in a blue Dodge Durango, Skinner was observed by a witness breaking out a glass in the drive through window apparently to give the impression that someone had broken into the business. The witness notified police and Officer Joey Myers responded to the scene at around 11:55 p.m.

Upon further investigation, Captain Steven Leffew said that the Durango was found parked at a residence on Short Mountain Highway and that both Skinner and Duffield were inside the home. Lieutenant Matt Holmes was informed that Duffield had just closed up the Dairy Queen and left moments prior to the incident. Lt. Holmes went to the residence and requested permission to search both the home and the Durango where evidence was collected. Police recovered over $6,800 which has been returned to the owners of the Dairy Queen.

Captain Leffew said he would like to thank DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Deputies Sergeant Brian Williams, Shane Hickman and Jimmy Martin for their assistance. He also commended Smithville Police Officers Lt Matt Holmes, Sgt Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers on a job well done.

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