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County Offers DCS Use of Cherry Hill Community Center Building

December 20, 2016
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Norris
Joe Johnson

It may not be the place they preferred, but the Department of Children Services has been offered a site for children in their care to visit with family and participate in activities.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, the county commission voted to make available, at least temporarily, the Cherry Hill Community Center over the wishes of Fourth District Commissioner Jonathan Norris who wanted the county to provide a specific vacant room in the county complex. The room previously used by judicial commissioners is in the section of the building where the county officials are located.

“Children in the care of the Department of Children Services don’t have a very good place to meet with their parents and families. Many times they are forced to meet in small corners of the DCS office or local restaurants. But it doesn’t allow really good quality time for them to visit with their parents. It’s been brought to my attention that there are up to 80 children from DeKalb County needing these services. The room that formerly housed our judicial commissioners is an empty room in the back of the county complex with access in and out of the building without using main hallways or public entrances. It would make a great place to help provide for these children. This would be at no expense to the county. The county’s only goal would be to offer a helping hand to these kids in need of these services. By providing the room it would allow the opportunity for quality time with their parents or guardians,” said Commissioner Norris.

While DCS has been using a public area of the county complex for visitation, Commissioner Norris said it doesn’t provide enough privacy. “They are already using this building. They use the county complex to do some of their visitations in the general area. All we would be doing is saying you can use this room so that when these kids are getting to see their parents, there are not 50 other kids or other people running around or distracting them. It’s not that we’re providing them office space. The idea is to give 80 kids an opportunity to see their parents and spend some time with them at no cost to us,” said Norris.

“I would like to make a motion that we allow the DCS to use the vacant room with a private room entrance at the rear of the county complex for the use of parents, guardians, and children,” added Norris.

After Norris’ motion received a second, Commissioner Joe Johnson of the Second District offered an amendment to Norris’ motion for the county to offer DCS the Cherry Hill Community Center instead of the vacant room at the county complex. Johnson said that room is unfinished and needs work. “I’m for the kids having a place to meet 100% but I think we need to look at some alternatives and I have come up with one. We’ve got the Cherry Hill Community Center. Why couldn’t we use it? I went over there and looked at the room (county complex). It doesn’t have a ceiling in it. The heat and air ducts are knocked down. It’s never been inspected by an electrical inspector. There are some more rooms that go to it. It’s going to cost 10 or 12 thousand dollars to put a ceiling in it, to finish the duct work, and get it inspected. I don’t see why the Cherry Hill Community Center wouldn’t suffice,” said Commissioner Johnson.

“Did we not have to have the electrical inspection when the judicial commissioners were using it”, asked Norris

“Should have been,” answered Commissioner Johnson.

“At the time we put the judicial commissioners over there we were pressed to find a place for them,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

Fifth District Commissioner Jerry Adcock argued that the Cherry Hill Community Center is not suitable because it is not centrally located in the county.

Second District Commissioner Jimmy Midget offered a second to Johnson’s motion amending Norris’ motion. The vote was 10-4 on the amendment to offer the Cherry Hill Community Center instead of the room at the County Complex.

The motion as amended was adopted 13-1. Although a few commissioners still oppose the Cherry Hill Community Center as a suitable location, ll but one voted in favor of the motion as amended supporting the county’s effort to provide space to DCS.

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers asked County Mayor Stribling to look into the possibility of grant funding or other resources that could be used to help finish the vacant room at the county complex “to make it presentable and safe” so that it might be used.

Four DeKalb Firefighters Graduate from Live Burn Training Class

December 20, 2016
Dwayne Page
Four DeKalb Firefighters Graduate from Live Burn Training Class

Four members of the DeKalb County Fire Department have graduated from the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Training Academy's Live Burn Firefighter I and Firefighter II class.

The instruction was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 16, 17, and 18. Those graduating locally were Tony Tramel, Chandler Haynes, Clint Cope, and Eli Turner.

Lieutenant Brian Williams said this 22-hour course requires students to demonstrate skills needed to extinguish a passenger vehicle fire attack, exterior Class A fire attack, interior structure fire attack, commercial buildings and ground cover fire attack. "We are extremely proud of these recent graduates. Today, our department stands better prepared to respond to emergencies because of the high standards for training we set for our firefighters," said Lieutenant Williams

Photo Pic Left to Right
Tony Tramel
Chandler Haynes
Clint Cope
Eli Turner

Two Involved in Rollover Crash

December 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
Two Involved in Rollover Crash

Two people from McMinnville were involved in a rollover crash on Highway 70 east near the Midnight Express on Saturday.

Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 21 year old Gabriel Isaac was driving east in a 2000 Toyota Tundra when he lost control while trying to negotiate a curve. The vehicle hit a guardrail and overturned coming to rest on its top off the highway. Both Isaac and his passenger, 22 year old Shaylas Dunlap were wearing their seatbelts and received only minor injuries. They were treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS but refused transport to the hospital.

Isaac was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Mountain Harbour Property Owners Association Makes Donation to Project D.A.R.E.

December 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
Pete Siggelko and Barbara Ward present check to Sheriff Patrick Ray

The Mountain Harbour Property Owners Association has donated $900 to “Project D.A.R.E.” and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Pete Siggelko and Barbara Ward made the presentation on behalf of the Association to Sheriff Patrick Ray following Monday night’s monthly county commission meeting.

“We’re part of a committee of the Mountain Harbour Property Owners Association Board of Directors and we make an annual donation to various charities. One of the groups we wanted to make a donation to this year is Project D.A.R.E. and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. We have donated before but Sheriff Ray had a good project this year so instead of making two or three small donations this year we’re making one single donation to benefit Project D.A.R.E,” said Siggelko.

Sheriff Ray said the $900 donation will be used to fund the purchase of a “DAREN The Lion” mascot costume. “We’re going to buy a costume. "DAREN the Lion" is the mascot for D.A.R.E. and we’re going to buy a life size "DAREN the Lion" costume. That will help put a good amount toward the costume. We’re very appreciative of them donating the money and it is going toward a good cause. We’re proud to do it,” he said.

D.A.R.E stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and its taught in 5th grade classes at both Northside Elementary School and DeKalb West School by Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

DeKalb County Authorities Searching for Missing Georgia Man

December 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
 Vincent McKeever Rossetti
Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad conduct search on the lake for missing Georgia man
Missing Georgia man's car found abandoned at Sligo Marina parking lot (WJLE PHOTO)
Vincent McKeever Rossetti
Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad members and TWRA Officer Joe Fortner at Sligo Marina
State Trooper Dash Cam photo taken of Vincent McKeever Rosseti on Sunday, December 18

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad spent the day today (Monday) searching for a 22 year old Georgia man, whose car was found abandoned at the parking area of Sligo Marina.

The man, Vincent McKeever Rossetti of Peach City, Georgia was wearing a maroon button up shirt, blue jeans, black shoes, blueish green jacket when he left Georgia on December 17th. He is 6' 2 " tall and weighs 180 pounds. His eyes are blue and he has light blonde hair. He also wears glasses.

In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray said that “at 3:05 p.m. on Sunday evening December 18th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol checked on a vehicle that was parked on the side of the roadway in White County close to the DeKalb County/White County line. The driver was found to be Vincent McKeever Rossetti. Rossetti was entered into the Georgia Crime Information Center as a missing person out of Georgia. The Trooper called an ambulance to the scene to check Rossetti out. White County EMS transported Rossetti to Highland Medical Center in Sparta. One of the White County EMS personnel drove Rossetti’s vehicle to the hospital for him. Rossetti was treated and released from the hospital before his family could pick him up. When Rossetti’s family arrived at the hospital, the White County Sheriff’s Department issued a BOLO (Be on the lookout) on Rossetti to all law enforcement agencies," said Sheriff Ray.

"At around 11:52 p.m. on Sunday night, Troopers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol found the car in the parking lot of Sligo marina. The vehicle was left unattended and Rossetti was nowhere to be found. A ground search was conducted by officers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. The Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad was summoned to Sligo Marina at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning to perform searches of the bank and water. Officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Corps of Engineers from Center Hill Lake also assisted," Sheriff Ray continued.

“We are actively searching for Mr. Rossetti. We filed a missing person report through the Sheriff’s Office here in DeKalb County because of his vehicle being found in the Sligo Parking lot. We are not sure if Mr. Rossetti is in the water or not. We have entered Rossetti into the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) as missing. Agencies have searched the banks and water by foot, boat, and air with no luck finding him. The weather has been the enemy last night and today. It has been very cold on everyone," said Sheriff Ray.

"On Sunday December 18th when the Trooper found Rossetti, he was wearing a blueish green jacket and jeans. He also was wearing glasses.
If anyone has seen Mr. Rossetti or knows his whereabouts, please contact DeKalb Central Dispatch at 615-215-3000," Sheriff Ray concluded.

DeKalb Recovery Court Staff Attend TADCP Training

December 17, 2016
Norene Puckett
DeKalb Recovery Court Staff Attend TADCP Training
Jeremy Woodard with Judge Bratten Cook, II and Norene Puckett
Christy Berry with Judge Bratten Cook, II and Norene Puckett
Nelda Bandy with Judge Bratten Cook, II and Norene Puckett
Michael Blanchfield holding the finished coat rack

DeKalb County Recovery Court staff of both the adult and juvenile programs attended the Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals (TADCP) annual statewide training in Chattanooga, TN December 7-9, 2016. Program Coordinator Norene Puckett was on this year’s conference committee.

The conference hosted a Recovery Art Exhibit in which artwork was solicited from Recovery (Drug) Court participants across the state with the prompt “what does recovery mean to me?” DeKalb County Recovery Court had 5 pieces submitted.

During the opening ceremony, DeKalb Recovery Court participant Michael Blanchfield shared his story of addiction and his journey through recovery while crafting a coat rack that is typical of his work in his business Rustic Recovery. Michael said during his presentation, “at one time this coat rack was put together, just as my life once was. Now it is in pieces, which is what my life had become due to drug addiction. Through the recovery court program, my sponsors and mentors, I have been able to put my life back together, just as I have this coat rack.” The finished product was given away as a door prize at the conference.

Following Michael’s speech was the key note address from TN Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark. Justice Clark congratulated Michael on his story and success. She also noted many highlights in the last four years of the programs throughout the state, including the name change from drug court to recovery courts to be more inclusive of all the types of treatment courts throughout the state (i.e. veterans court, drug court, DUI court, juvenile drug court, etc.) and to show the positive aspects of the programs. She closed her talk by thanking all of the professionals who work with offenders with addiction and/or mental health issues to once again become, “the best persons they can be, so that they will be productive citizens in our communities.”

While at the conference, Norene Puckett was elected on the Board of Directors for TADCP as the Middle TN representative and Case Manager Rhonda Harpole was selected to be on next year’s conference committee. TADCP is a statewide 501-(c)-3 not-for-profit organization with an office located in Nashville, Tennessee. TADCP supports recovery courts by providing training, technical assistance, education, legislative advocacy, resource sharing and networking opportunities for recovery courts and their partners. TADCP is committed to reducing substance abuse, crime, and recidivism in Tennessee by promoting, advocating, and supporting recovery courts and individual TADCP members in their efforts to provide a quality therapeutic community that promotes positive change in criminal and addictive behavior for the purpose of transforming offenders into positive, contributing members of our communities.

In other news, DeKalb County Recovery Court hosted its 7th annual Children’s Christmas party at New Life Connection Center on December 13, 2016. Each year the program gathers donations to provide presents for the children of the adult participants. The program staff, participants, and their families enjoyed a meal together and a special visit from Santa Claus! That night, three program participants were presented with framed certificates and recognized for having one year sobriety. The program would like to give a special thanks to Smithville Church of Christ, New Life Pentecostal Church, Haven of Hope Counseling, The Purple Porch, Todd Hasty of Premier Realty, DeKalb Community Advisory Board, and the private citizens of DeKalb County for their contributions to this year’s party!

Pictured at conference with Christmas Tree:
Kay Quintero, John Quintero-Haven of Hope Counseling, Tom Vickers- Sober Living Services, Rhonda Harpole-Case Manager, Molly Webb-Endeavor Program Juvenile Case Manager, Norene Puckett-Coordinator, Holly Baugh-Probation Officer, Tish Mccloud-DCS Probation Officer, Sara Hoenstine-DCS Probation Officer, Allison West-Asst. Public Defender, Richard Williams-Youth Services Officer, & Kristy Longmire-Case Manager.

Participants with Certificates with Judge Bratten Cook II:
Jeremy Woodard, Nelda Bandy (in black), Christy Berry (in pink)

Michael Blanchfield holding the finished coat rack

Smithville Police Treat Head Start Children to Gifts for Christmas (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

December 16, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins presents bag of gifts to child at Smithville Head Start Center Friday
Children at Smithville Head Start get visit from Santa and Smithville Police Department bearing gifts Friday

Children at the Smithville Head Start Center were treated to bags of gifts today (Friday) thanks to the Smithville Police Department’s “Cops4Kids” program.

Police Chief Mark Collins, Mayor Jimmy Poss, and other members of the police department presented the children with the gifts. Other guests were on hand for songs and special treats.

Members of the Police Department participated in “No Shave November to help raise money to purchase gifts and Woodmen Life Lodge 1077 recently donated a check for $250 in support of “Cops4Kids”.

“Each year the Smithville Police Department tries to do something around this special holiday. This year we again chose the Head Start. What we do is we collect donations and presents and we give them to the kids. They get to interact with us. Its really enjoyable for all of us to interact with the kids. This is a good event for us. Its a way we can give back to the community and these kids really appreciate it and seem to enjoy it," said Police Chief Mark Collins.


Livestock Forage Program Signup Underway

December 15, 2016
Donny Green

Do you have cattle, sheep, or goats? If so, you could be eligible to receive payment from the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency. According to Donny Green, County Executive Director, signup for the Livestock Forage Program is now underway and will continue through January 30, 2017.

The Livestock Forage Assistance Program (LFP) has been approved for DeKalb and Cannon counties due to recent and extreme drought conditions that have affected livestock grazing during the 2016 normal grazing period. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land with permanent vegetative cover, or planted specifically for grazing.

According to the U. S. Drought Monitor, DeKalb and Cannon counties were designated as D3 (Extreme Drought intensity) counties on November 22, 2016. This designation qualifies eligible livestock producers in the county for three monthly payments.

Livestock producers operating in DeKalb and Cannon counties will need to visit the FSA office in Smithville to report their livestock inventory and complete their application. Customers are encouraged to call the office at 615-597-8225, Ext. 2 to provide some preliminary information that will be needed to process the application. Signup for the 2016 LFP will end on January 30, 2017.

Hospital Staffs Donate Christmas Gifts for Needy Babies and Toddlers

December 15, 2016
Photo: (from left to right): Sinda Hull, Shan Burklow, and Bob Burritt

Sinda Hull of The Stephen Center (Healthy Beginnings), Shan Burklow and Bob Burritt of Saint Thomas Health, a part of Ascension, hold one of over a hundred gifts donated by the staff at Saint Thomas DeKalb and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospitals to help needy babies and toddlers during the Christmas season.

Individual associates, and entire hospital departments, sponsored 13 children across the region providing warm clothing, coats, shoes, diapers, blankets, and toys for the holidays.

“We are honored to partner with The Stephen Center again for 2016 to help these children from low to zero income families,” said Shan Burklow of Saint Thomas Health. “Our hospital staff are among the most caring and selfless people on earth, making them the perfect fit for this need. We are always looking for ways to give back to the community to better the areas we serve.”

Photo: (from left to right): Sinda Hull, Shan Burklow, and Bob Burritt

Nurses celebrate 15 Years with NHC

December 15, 2016
Dwayne Page
Monica Baker (left) and Sabra Murphy

NHC Smithville recently honored two local nurses for 15 years of service to NHC Smithville. Sabra Murphy and Monica Baker are both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and serve as Unit Managers at NHC Smithville. They received their 15 year service pin, along with other special gifts during the monthly partner (employee) meeting on December 13, 2016.


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