Local News Articles

47th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival Coming July 6th & 7th (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

June 1, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
47th Annual Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival Coming July 6th & 7th
Fiddler's Jamboree Craft Awards will be presented during the weekend for "Best of Show", "Best Appalachian Craft", "Best Newcomer", and "Best Craft Display"
Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival and he will be accepting the award on Saturday, July 7th at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.
Fiddlers Jamboree & Crafts Festival

Smithville and DeKalb County’s largest two day tourist event is only one month away

The 47th Annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, July 6th & 7th. The Festival begins at 9:00 am each day, and continues until the final competition has been awarded. With over 35 music and dance categories, streets full of hand-made crafts, and over a dozen food booths, there is something for everyone at the Jamboree. You have to experience it in person...come and see the Jamboree!

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 6:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (Solo); Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Old-Time Appalachian Folksinging (Duet, Trio, Quartet); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event (Spoon Clacking, Jug Blowing, Washboard, Tub, Saws-Appalachian Related Only); Autoharp, Gospel Singing (Solo); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Youth Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers); Gospel Singing (Duet,Trio, and Quartet); Mandolin; and Old Time Fiddle Band.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

A United States flag and a Tennessee State flag will be presented on Friday evening. The flags, which have flown over the state capitol, go to the persons who travel the greatest distances, both from inside and outside the country, to get here. The flags will be presented by State Senator Mark Pody and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Clark Boyd.

The Smithville Community Chorus is expected to perform with a variety of patriotic songs.

Fiddler's Jamboree Craft Awards will be presented during the weekend for "Best of Show", "Best Appalachian Craft", "Best Newcomer", and "Best Craft Display"

On Saturday, July 7, preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Flat Top Guitar; Contest Fiddle for the Neil Dudney Award; Bluegrass Band; Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers).

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.

Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival and he will be accepting the award on Saturday, July 7th at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.

Last year, Harpeth River of Franklin won the Square Dancing Competition during the 2017 Smithville Fiddlers ' Jamboree and Crafts Festival
(VIEW VIDEO BELOW OF THEIR PERFORMANCE IN THE FINALS LAST YEAR)

The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.

Last year Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tennessee repeated as the Grand Champion Fiddler of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival after first winning the title in 2016

(VIEW VIDEO BELOW OF HER PERFORMANCE DURING 2017 FIDDLE-OFF)

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon, July 7 during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.

One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer Trophy Award and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy.

Last year, Iris Shepherd of Henry, Tennessee won the top Jamboree award as the best fiddler in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners.

In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature many crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.

WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.

For more information on the festival, go to www.fiddlersjamboree.com

Project Welcome Mat Encourages Businesses to Greet Fiddlers Jamboree Visitors

June 1, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas received the 2017 Chamber’s “People’s Choice” award
Project Welcome Mat award for  2017“Most Original” sign went to DeKalb Middle School
Project Welcome Mat’s 2017 “Best Worded”sign award went to Liberty State Bank

The 47th annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival is coming Friday and Saturday, July 6 & 7 and the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce invites all county businesses to again use their changeable signs or marquees to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors.

“This marks the 18th year for the Chamber’s “Project Welcome Mat”, said Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber. “With thousands of visitors coming into town, every effort should be made by the local merchants to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business.

The program has been successful over the past years with many businesses participating. Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the DeKalb County / Smithville area can be!," she continued.

All businesses may participate in "Project Welcome Mat." The wording may be only a simple “Welcome to the Jamboree” or as elaborate as you choose. There will be recognition awards in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award." Plaques will be presented to winners along with media recognition.

If your business would like to participate in the contest, email the Chamber at swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org or call 615-597-4163. Wording should be in place no later than Friday, June 15, 2018.

June is National Dairy Month

June 1, 2018
by: 
Leigh Fuson
 DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling signs a proclamation to declare that June is Dairy Month.  Front: Jenna Cantrell, Elizabeth Seber, Tim Stribling, & Ansley Cantrell. Back: Laura Magness, Colby Barnes, and Luke Magness.

County Mayor Tim Stribling signed a proclamation Thursday, May 31 to officially designate June as Dairy Month in DeKalb County.

Jenna Cantrell, the 4-H June Dairy Month chairperson, along with other 4-H members witnessed the signing and enjoyed some ice cream in celebration with Mayor Stribling.

The proclamation reads:

WHEREAS dairy farmers have contributed to the development and well-being of DeKalb County since the earliest formation of DeKalb County.

WHEREAS, the dairy industry is a major industry in Tennessee, a significant contribution to the economy.

WHEREAS, milk and dairy foods provide health benefits and valuable nutrients; and

WHEREAS, real milk and dairy foods are superiors to their imitations in quality, values, and taste; and

WHEREAS, the 81st celebration of June Dairy Month, highlighting the dairy industry, will occur during 2018;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by Tim Stribling, mayor of DeKalb County, that June 2018 is designated to the celebration of June Dairy Month, and I call upon all the government agencies and the people of DeKalb County in order to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities.

DeKalb County 4-H has many activities planned for the public including participating in Get Outdoors Day at Floating Mill on June 9th, the summer reading program at Justin Potter library, and a special event at Evins Park beside the Square on the evening of June 30th. They will be announcing more information soon. Be sure to “Like” DeKalb County 4-H June Dairy Month Adventures on Facebook to keep up with where the 4-H Dairy Crew will be headed next! You may also call 615-597-4945 for more information.

Photo Caption: DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling signs a proclamation to declare that June is Dairy Month. Front: Jenna Cantrell, Elizabeth Seber, Tim Stribling, & Ansley Cantrell. Back: Laura Magness, Colby Barnes, and Luke Magness.

Committee Rejects School Budget with Proposed Local Pay Raises

June 1, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of Budget Committee: Left to Right- Jimmy Midgett, Jerry Adcock, Wayne Cantrell, County Financial Consultant Steve Bates, County Mayor Tim Stribling, and Committee member Jack Barton.

Teachers will get a pay raise in the coming months but the increase will not be as large as they had hoped.

During a meeting Thursday night, the budget committee of the county commission voted to reject the proposed 2018-19 budget for schools which included a request for a $2,400 local increase in pay for each teacher and certified personnel and a $1,500 increase for non-certified support staff. The only pay raise teachers can count on now is a $600 increase the state will be funding.

In his meeting with the budget committee Monday night, May 21 Director of Schools Patrick Cripps tried to make the case for giving teachers more money saying DeKalb County is not keeping pace with other counties in the rate of pay for teachers and they (teachers) are getting harder to come by.

Members of the budget committee want the school board to spend no more local money in the new budget than it has this past year. The committee is concerned that the county cannot afford to pay for all the proposed new spending requested by the school board without digging too deeply into the school system’s fund balance.

The Board of Education will now be forced to revisit its proposed budget and make cuts or revisions. In addition to the proposed pay raises, the school board had requested new spending for other needs but that too might have to be eliminated unless the board can re-work its budget to fund them with the money it already has coming to the district.

The Board of Education wanted more money to purchase Chrome Books for the 3rd through 5th grades at a cost of $240,000. Students from the 6th grade through high school already have Chrome Books. Extra funds ($20,000) would be included to repair and replace existing Chrome Books.

At the May 21 meeting, Cripps said $215,000 is needed to buy new textbooks. “This is a big change in our budget. This year is science adoption and that is K-12. We have to get new books for every student. The average book is $150,” he said.

New funding ($25,000) was also requested to implement a Dyslexia Program to help children at the elementary school grade level in reading. “The state is really pushing for testing of dyslexia and they are going to start holding us accountable for identifying our students that may have this issue. That program would be in K-2. It will help with reading and identify struggles kids may have,” said Director Cripps.

The proposed budget included $10,000 in new spending for meeting mandates of state evaluation and testing.

“The state mandates that we have a Response to Intervention (RTI) to see where students skills are as far as remediation in math, English, and reading and what we need to do to meet those students needs. With that you have to buy materials to test them. A universal screener. That costs $12 for each student per test in grades K-8 and that’s three times (per month). We check them throughout the month in between those three times to see the progress they are making,” Director Cripps said.

Due to the increasing demands of technology, the board wanted to make a current half time computer tech position full time ($16,000 in new money) which would give the school system three techs.

One new bus is usually purchased each year. The board wanted to buy two new school buses this year. That would be an extra expense to the system of $100,000.

Extra funds were also included for employee matching benefits and $2,500 to help schools cover their phone bills. “We have added $500 per school to assist with phone charges at the schools since they have to pay for their own phone bills,” said Director Cripps.

The proposed new spending for schools in this budget came to more than $1.7 million dollars over expenditures budgeted this past year and possibly could have been as much as $2.2 million if spent on a recurring basis without any increases in state BEP funding.

The budget committee is also trying to hold the line on spending in the general fund next year as well.

Except for pay raises already approved earlier this year for county employees and anything mandated by the state, the budget committee is recommending that no new spending be included in the general fund for the 2018-19 budget.

Requests from the Assessor of Property and County Clerk for an additional full time employee for their offices based on need were denied by the budget committee along with a request for more local funding for the Recovery Court and a proposed $5,000 increase in salary for the EMS director.

In order to close out the current fiscal year June 30 the county expects to go into its fund balance by from $600,000 to $900,000 to balance. By this time next year, the county might have to take as much as $1.3 million from its cash reserves to balance the books.

The budget committee is hopeful that more revenue will be generated in the ambulance service next year to offset the expenditures and the county’s subsidy of the EMS operation. In the last couple of years the county had contracted with another company to do the patient billing and collection for the ambulance service but saw receipts decline. The county is ending that agreement and will once again do the patient billing in-house at the ambulance service hoping to improve collections.

The budget committee will meet again Monday evening at the courthouse to review proposed budgets of other departments. Still to be considered are budgets for the local highway department, solid waste department, requests for charitable contributions, and others.

When the budget committee finishes its work, it will make a recommendation to the entire county commission for passage of the consolidated budgets for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Members of the committee say they do not plan to recommend any local property tax increase this year.

Barry Mitchell’s Readers ROCK Show Kicks Off Library Summer Reading Program (View Video Here)

May 31, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Barry Mitchell and Hyena the Chicken entertain children at Justin Potter Library
Kids and grownups enjoy Opening Party for Summer Reading Program at Justin Potter Library
Barry Mitchell with Sam the Tune Turtle and Hyena the Chicken

Children attending the opening party for the Summer Reading Program at Justin Potter Library were treated to a musical medley of fun Thursday afternoon with Barry Mitchell’s Readers ROCK Show.

Readers Rock is a symphony of fun that plays well for all ages. It’s magic of a musical nature, storytelling, and a crescendo of laughs. And it all leads to the star of the show, Sam the Tune Turtle and Hyena the Chicken.

Mitchell has entertained for country music stars, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Nabisco’s Oreo magic shows, the Magic Castle in Hollywood, the Magic Circle in England, and schools, churches and corporations across America and abroad. Barry is also an author and inventor of magic tricks used around the world by professional magicians.

He's a fixture at the annual KIDabra conference and is known for his lectures on creativity which are always well-attended. His easy-to-perform routines are very popular with kids entertainers and his DVDs are filled with original ideas.

Whether he's doing shows for the public, or lecturing to magicians, Barry Mitchell is all about Entertaining Encouragement that’s more than funny, it makes a difference.

The Justin Potter and Alexandria Libraries Summer Reading Program is now underway through June 28. Children of all ages get to set their own reading goal and will receive a participation certificate and other goodies at the Final Party on June 28 at the County Complex Theater. This year's theme is "Libraries Rock".

Justin Potter Library's Summer Reading Events will all be held at the library except the Final Party on June 28th.

The weekly schedule is as follows:

Thursday, June 7 at 2 p.m.-Edgar Evins State Park Rangers & Animal Friends.

Thursday, June 14 at 2 p.m.-Mr. Bond the Science Guy

Thursday, June 21 at 2 p.m.-Libraries Rock Story time and activities with Board of Education group.

Thursday, June 28 at 2 p.m.-Final Party with Kevin Kidd's Family Band at the DeKalb County Complex Theater.

For more information, call Justin Potter Library at 615-597-4359 or visit Facebook or the website at www.dekalblibraries.net

Alexandria Library Summer Reading Programs:
Story Times with Activities on Wednesday, June 6, June 13, and June 20 at 2 p.m. For more information call the Alexandria Library at 615-529-4124.

Brad Mullinax Named New Chief Administrative Officer at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital

May 31, 2018
Brad Mullinax

Saint Thomas Health today (Thursday) announced executive leadership changes at Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals. The newly structured hospital leadership teams will be comprised of a chief administrative officer and director of nursing. Saint Thomas Health is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

At Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Brad Mullinax will serve as the new chief administrative officer. Previously, Mullinax served as the director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Mullinax will be supported by Emily Elrod, who has been appointed as the director of nursing at both Saint Thomas Stones River and DeKalb Hospitals. Previously, Elrod served as director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital.

In support of Saint Thomas Health’s mission and strategic direction, the leadership team continues to look for the best ways to provide affordable, safe, and quality and accessible care to all, with special attention to those most vulnerable.

“Our leadership structures will continue to develop to support the goals of our strategic direction, and these changes include elevating and promoting Saint Thomas Health associates to help sustain our hospitals in the future,” said Gordon Ferguson, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas regional hospitals. “As we continue to make our care delivery operations more efficient, we have made the decision to form separate leadership teams for Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals, allowing for a focus on growth, quality and operational excellence at each hospital.”

At Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, Richard Tumlin will serve as the interim chief administrative officer. Tumlin was most recently the chief operating officer at Southern Hills Hospital in Nashville where he worked since 2011. Tumlin graduated from both the University of Georgia and Georgia State University and currently lives in Brentwood, Tenn. In addition, Jennifer Halfacre will serve as interim director of nursing at Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, and she will be supported by Bob Peglow, chief nursing officer for the Saint Thomas Health regional hospitals. Halfacre will continue her current responsibilities for surgical services at the hospital.

At Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital, Brian Gill has been named chief administrative officer. Gill has been extremely involved with the behavioral health services provided at several Saint Thomas hospitals, and he will continue to support the behavioral health services provided at Saint Thomas regional hospitals.

As a result of these changes in the executive leadership structure, Andy Wachtel will be transitioning from his role as president and CEO for these three regional hospitals. Additionally, the clinical operations position has been eliminated at each of these hospitals.

“With the ever-changing landscape in healthcare, we must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities, and the new executive leadership structure will allow us to have a strong leadership presence at each hospital every day,” said Ferguson. “Times of change can be difficult, but we remain committed to the continued service of each of these regional hospitals.”

ABOUT SAINT THOMAS HEALTH

In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates. Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $92 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2017. Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.sthealth.com.

Boating Safety Class from Coast Guard Auxiliary Sat, June 2nd

May 31, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 11-6 is offering a one-day boating safety class on Saturday, June 2 at the Dekalb County Community Center located at 712 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville, Tennessee from 8:00 AM – 4:00PM. The class is taught free but $7.00 fee per student covers lunch and room rental fees. Preregistration is required as the class size is limited. For more information and/or to register, please call John Whelan at 615-948-8051 and leave a message.

BOAT TENNESSEE is a comprehensive boating course designed for both beginners and novice boaters. This course will be taught in a one-day
session with a short lunch break. Topics include: Types and Uses of Boats/Engines; Boat Handling; Equipment for Boats, Trailering, Aids to
Navigation, Rules of the Road, Inland Boating, Boating Laws/State Laws, Boating Problems/Emergencies, and more. The exam to be given
will be the State of Tennessee boating exam.

This course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Those who successfully complete the course and
exam are awarded certificates of completion. Many marine insurance companies offer discounts on boat insurance to those who complete this
course.

If the student taking this course and exam was born after January 1, 1989, then the student MUST also pre-register with the State of
Tennessee to take the boating exam and pay an additional fee of $10 per person to the State. The exam ticket is Type 600 and can be
obtained from any TWRA fishing/hunting licensing agent. Proof of identity of student may be required. Students are also strongly
encouraged to obtain their textbooks in advance for reading and studying.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, created by an Act of Congress in 1939, is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and
supports the Coast Guard across all mission areas. For more information on the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a flotilla near you,
visit www.cgaux.org

Barrett Group Finds $60,000 in Sales Tax Money for County

May 31, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of County Commission
Donna Barrett of the Barrett Group

A total of $60,777 in local option sales tax funds is being shifted from the cities of Smithville, Liberty, and Dowelltown to the county due to state sales tax reporting errors that were discovered in a review by the Barrett Group of Murfreesboro, who was contracted by the county commission last fall to conduct the study.

During Tuesday night’s county commission meeting, County Mayor Tim Stribling said this money was always due the county instead of the cities but mistakes were made in the reporting of sales tax proceeds from businesses located near the city limits of those three towns.

The portions being taken from the cities and sent to the county for the last 12 months is $60,568 from Smithville, $199 from Dowelltown, and $9.84 from Liberty. None were found in Alexandria.

“It was not due to any fault of the city or county it was just whoever was reporting their sales tax. It won’t change anything as far as dollar amounts they are reporting but they will now report their portion to the county instead of the city,” said County Mayor Stribling.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson made the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen aware of the finding during the May 7 city council meeting.

The review was authorized by the county commission last October when it entered into a Revenue Enhancement Consulting Agreement with the Barrett Group of Murfreesboro.

During a prior workshop, Donna Barrett of the Barrett Group addressed the county commission to explain the proposal.

Under the agreement, the Barrett Group was to conduct a review to make sure the county is getting all the revenues it is due from various state taxes that local businesses pay including sales tax, Hall income tax, beer and liquor tax, excise tax, etc.

For example, if a municipality within the county is found from this review to be erroneously receiving any tax revenues from businesses outside of the municipality, then the mistake will be corrected and the tax money will be re-directed to the county.

The Barrett Group is to receive 50% of any extra revenues generated to the county from this review only for the first year. After the first year, no further fees will be paid to Barrett. Had the review turned up no mistakes, the county would not have owed Barrett anything.

In other business, the commission tabled action on a request by the Board of Education for approval of a budget amendment to receive funds from a U-trust mini-grant in the amount of $15,500.

Grant funds are to be used by the school district as follows:
$5,000 for an End of the Year Celebration
$1,000 for Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week
$7,500 for Monthly Teacher/Staff Morale activities
$1,000 for Teacher of the Year Banquet
$1,000 for Board members Meet and Greet/Open House

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers requested that action on this budget amendment be tabled until school administrators address the commission on why the grant funds are being used in this manner.

“We hear all the time teachers need materials to teach. Why are we throwing $15,500 out when it looks like to me it would go a whole lot better for teacher materials? I understand grants but why is there even this category at a time when they’re wanting teacher pay raises and to build new schools and when teachers are constantly having to reach into their own pockets to buy materials? Can any of this money be diverted”, asked Summers?

“Again I understand grants are very specific and it will probably fall under the category of if we don’t use it somebody else will but I would like to ask questions and table this until next month,” added Summers.

On another matter, the commission adopted a budget amendment in the amount of $120,500 by a 12-2 vote that was previously tabled which would allow the Board of Education to use unexpected new funds from the state for the purpose of helping cover the district’s health insurance costs.

Last fall, the Board of Education voted to add another $50 per month to each teacher who has health insurance through the school system to help ease their burden of soaring out of pocket costs.

A few county commissioners felt that the school board should divide this extra money from the state and give it to teachers to further help them with their out of pocket expense for health insurance.

However, Fifth district commissioner Anita Puckett said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps informed her that this new money from the state is a one-time allocation and non-recurring and it could not be spent directly on teachers in this manner.

In a letter to County Mayor Stribling, Director Cripps wrote that “this money was sent for an increase in the insurance. This money was based on the amount of people who left the limited plan to go to a higher cost plan. This was money that was sent to help school districts pay for the cost difference we incurred between the limited and higher cost plan,” wrote Cripps.

In his monthly sales tax report, County Mayor Stribling said local option sales tax for the month of April for DeKalb County was $64, 017. The net collections for the month of April for DeKalb County was $357,369 which is up over collections for April, 2017 which was $342, 329.

Deadline Approaching for August Write-In Candidates

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Contested races for county and city mayor, write-in candidates in Alexandria, and nine candidates for governor highlight the ballot for the August 2 elections.

Elections are scheduled in all four of the county’s cities with the mayor’s race contested in three of those towns, including a ballot of mayoral write-in candidates in Alexandria. In addition the county mayor’s race is contested along with the race for sheriff, road superintendent, circuit court clerk and all seven county commission seats. One of three school board seats will also be contested. State primary elections are set for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress in the 6th district, Tennessee Senate District 17, Tennessee House 40 and 46 and each party’s state executive committee positions.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said his office is gearing up for a busy summer in preparation for all the August elections.

“Letters have already been sent to Smithville property rights voters and we should have an official ballot we can send out in the very near future,” Stanley said. “Smithville property rights voters can only vote in the city race by paper ballots and this, of course, has no impact on their voting early or at the polls in the county general and state primary elections.”

In addition, Stanley said the deadline to be a “write-in” candidate for any of the local races is Noon June 13.

“We already have two-write in candidates for mayor in Alexandria and two write-in candidates for aldermen in Alexandria,” Stanley said. The mayor candidates are incumbent Bennett Armstrong and challenger Donna Davis. The other write-in candidates are Shane Blair, an incumbent, for a full four-year term and Bridgette Rogers, for a two-year term that fills a vacancy.

Stanley said a complete official ballot will be available in the coming days and will be published at www.dekalbelections.com and on wjle.com.

Meanwhile, early voting in the August elections is set for July 13 through July 28 (with exact hours to be announced later). The last day to register to vote is July 3 and that applies also to property rights voters.

Four Seasons Fire Hall Project Delayed Again (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

Another delay in the construction of a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community.

The county commission has again decided to re-bid the project after offers in the first two rounds of bidding came in too high. But this time, the county may alter the bid specifications and change engineers.

“I think they deserve a fire hall and we’ve told them (community) we’d like to build a fire hall there but I think it’s costly. I think we need to re-draw it, re-think it, and re-bid it. My suggestion is for us to take a look at the drawings and specs again and maybe have it re-drawn. I’ll get with (County Fire Chief) Donny (Green) to see if there is anything that can be cut out and we’ll re-bid it. I want to do a fire hall but I want to take care of our money too,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling during Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting.

Last week three companies submitted bids to build a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community but they were all much higher than the best bid the county received during the first round of bidding on the project in March.

The latest bids were opened for the fire hall Thursday morning, May 24. Triton Construction of Rockvale had the lowest base bid at $257,000 with two deductive alternates totaling $19,200 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls). Quality Builders of Sparta submitted a base bid of $278,060 with no deductive alternates and Preston Brothers of Woodbury offered a base bid of $285,300 with two deductive alternates totaling $27,690 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls).

During the first round on March 29 two bids were received including one for $284,000 from Preston Brothers of Woodbury (minus $11,000 if the county put the gravel on the parking lot) and $197,000 from FTM Contracting of Cookeville (deductive alternate of $2,400).

The county commission, during its regular monthly meeting on April 23, voted to re-bid the project because the first bids received were too high.

County Mayor Stribling said two local builders had come to him recently inquiring about the project but neither submitted a bid

“Would there be an option of the county bidding this out? We have a building committee. Could they sub it out and build it,” asked Second District Commissioner Jimmy Midgett?

“That’s a possibility but anything (project) over $25,000 that the county spends you’ve got to have an engineer or architect according to Tennessee Code Annotated,” replied County Mayor Stribling.

“I can get with Donny (Green) and see if there are some things we can cut out. This is a two bay fire hall. We might could look at a one bay fire hall. You could still have a one bay fire hall with a restroom,” said Stribling.

“There are no frills. Its a metal building with steel construction and concrete floors,” said County Fire Chief Green.

“I am concerned about this because its in my and Commissioner Jerry Adcock’s district and for four years this has been on-going trying to get something constructed. This is affecting our ISO rating. I worry if we keep putting this off the bids are going to continue to get higher. We’re four years into this and not a brick has been laid,” said Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett.

“I know we need to look toward the future but we need to look at getting them something we can afford. I think it needs to be a one bay fire hall but it does need a bathroom in it,” added Sixth District Commissioner Betty Atnip.

According to County Mayor Stribling, current plans call for the fire hall to be 40’ x 55’ in size consisting of two bays, a restroom, shower, and a small meeting room. He said while the plans do not include any frills it will be a turnkey project with all the work including construction, concrete pad, septic tank, etc all to be done under one contract.

A new fire station at Four Seasons would be the 12th station in the county operated by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The other fire halls are on Short Mountain Highway, Midway Community, Belk, Keltonburg, Cookeville Highway, Austin Bottom Community, Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, Johnson Chapel, and Blue Springs.

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