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UCHRA awarded LIHEAP funds to assist with utility bills

June 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has been awarded funds to help people having difficulty paying their utility bills.

Applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally-funded program designed to assist low-income households meet home energy needs and supplement energy costs for eligible households, will begin taking applications for the new program effective July 1.

Priority for service is not “first come, first served,” but instead is based upon a point system.

Documentation of all household income will be required for the application process. This includes check stubs for 13 weeks, or six paystubs if by-weekly or bi-monthly, Social Security or pension award letters, or unemployment benefit letters. If self-employed, an applicant should provide a tax return.

Applicants must also provide a copy for 12 months of the household’s electric and/or gas bills (if residing at a current address is less than 12 months, a printout of all energy usage at this address is required). Proof of all Social Security numbers is required for all household numbers. Some additional documentation may also be required to process applications.

Assistance provided to households ranges from $300-$600, depending upon total points. Once an application has been submitted by a household, it will be notified by mail within 90 days of the status of the applications.

Households awarded assistance are required to continue paying their energy bills until the awarded payment has been received by its designated utility provider, and when the benefit is exhausted, the household will return to paying for the energy costs.

Ten seats on Tennessee's state-level courts up for retention elections

June 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Ten seats on Tennessee's state-level courts are up for retention elections on August 4, 2016. Three seats on the Tennessee Supreme Court join three seats on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and three seats on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

The supreme court justices at large standing for retention are Holly Kirby, Jeff Bivins, and Roger A. Page.

The appeals court judges standing for retention are Kenny Armstrong, Brandon O. Gibson, and Arnold B. Goldin (All Western Division)

The court of criminal appeals judges standing for retention are J. Ross Dyer (Western Division) Timothy L. Easter (Middle Division), Robert L. Holloway,Jr. (Middle Division), and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr. (Eastern Division)

Voters will be asked to either “retain” or “replace” each judge or justice.

Smithville Police Bust Man on Meth and Drug Paraphernalia Charges

June 17, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Eddy Deloyd Farris
Michael Lee Shuttleworth
Alisa Ann Jackson
Melissa Ann Wheeler
Kenneth R. Adams

Acting on a complaint of illegal drug activity, Smithville Police went to a residence on Jennings Lane Thursday, June 16 and found a man with meth and drug paraphernalia.

35 year old Eddy Deloyd Farris is charged with possession of a schedule II drug for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for Farris is $6,500 and his court date is June 30.

After entering the residence, police found Farris trying to hide under a bed mattress. While there officers were informed by Central Dispatch that Farris had active warrants against him. During a search, police recovered a black camera case containing a baggie with a white crystallized substance believed to be meth weighing approximately 7 grams, a burnt glass straw with a copper filter, a set of scales, a burnt light bulb configured with a straw coming out of the end, a spoon with a white substance melted onto it and a loaded syringe with a white substance inside.

27 year old Travis Patterson was cited for two counts of simple possession on Thursday, June 9. Police found Patterson passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle at Caney Fork Electric Cooperative. During their investigation a silver metal container was found on him containing four green pills believed to be Xanax and a piece of a pill thought to be Suboxone. His court date is June 23.

23 year old Michael Lee Shuttleworth was arrested for public intoxication on Friday, June 10. Shuttleworth was found intoxicated in a public place to a degree which rendered him to be a danger to himself as well as the public. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 23.

45 year old Alisa Ann Jackson was arrested on Sunday, June 12 for public intoxication and resisting arrest. Jackson was reported to be under the influence of alcohol and or drugs and causing a disturbance while at Pizza Hut. Jackson had an odor of a fermented beverage on her breath and her speech was slurred. While being taken into custody, Jackson became uncooperative and resistant with the arresting officers. She started yelling, kicking, and trying to pull away from them. Jackson continued to resist despite repeated verbal warnings from the officers to stop and calm down. Her bond is $6,500 and her court date is July 14.

32 year old Melissa Ann Wheeler was arrested on Wednesday, June 15 for public intoxication. According to the warrant, police were called to the emergency room of St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital to speak with Wheeler, who was reported to be fidgety and paranoid. Wheeler was constantly scratching all over her body and she would not sit still or focus. According to police, the emergency room medical staff indicated Wheeler was exhibiting signs of methamphetamine intoxication. Officers gave Wheeler a ride home but she refused to stay there due to her paranoia. As there was no other place for Wheeler to be taken and due to her being a danger to herself, she was arrested for public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will make a court appearance on June 30.

Kenneth R. Adams was arrested recently for filing a false report. Police went to Adams’ residence with a bail bondsman regarding a warrant. Upon arrival officers spoke with a man they thought was Adams and asked if he was Adams. The man replied "no". The bondsman informed the officer that the man was Adams. The officer again asked the man if he was Adams. He replied "yes" and said that he was aware of a warrant against him. Bond for Adams is $3,500 and his court date is June 23.

DCHS Football Program Gets Two New Assistant Coaches

June 17, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tiger Head Coach Steve Trapp
Tiger Assistant Coach Michael Shaw
Tiger Assistant Coach Clarence Trapp
New Tiger Assistant Coach Thomas Cagle
New Tiger Assistant Coach Brad Trapp

The DCHS Tiger Football program will have two new assistant coaches on the sidelines this fall helping head Coach Steve Trapp.

Thomas Cagle and Brad Trapp will be joining the staff.

Cagle of Cookeville has been hired by the school system as a world history and geography teacher at DCHS. He comes to DeKalb County from Jackson County High School in Gainesboro where he served one year as head football coach and U.S. History teacher. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 2012 from Tennessee Tech.

Cagle and his wife Melanie are the parents of two sons, 5 year old Rylan and 1 year old Evan.

“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to come to DeKalb County. Its a place after my own heart. The more I talked to Coach Trapp about the experience on Friday nights it kind of reminds me of back home. I’m originally from Bledsoe County. I grew up and went to school in Pikeville. From there I went to Cookeville. I got my degree at Tennessee Tech in Education. I met my wife while I was in Cookeville. We then moved to Nashville for a couple of years. That’s where I started my coaching career with Brian Wait at East Nashville Magnet High School. I coached there for two years and then we moved back to Cookeville where my wife got a job opportunity. I got on with Sean Loftis in Jackson County. I coached under him as an assistant coach for one year and then I was the head coach last year for Jackson County High School before I decided to make the move to DeKalb County as an assistant again,” Coach Cagle told WJLE.

Coach Trapp said he is thankful to the administration for the extra help and looks forward to Coach Cagle joining the program. “I want to say thank you to our administration. It’s going to fill a big need in the football program. Coach Cagle is very good in special teams so we’re pretty much going to turn over our special teams responsibilities to him. He’ll have the opportunity to build and design what he thinks will fit our program special teams wise. He has a lot of great kids in that area to work with including Matthew Poss who has been kicking for us for four years. We’ve really got some good players in that regard. We’ll come in and help him with that but he’ll have the opportunity to lead that direction. He will also help Coach Clarence (Trapp) with the offensive linemen and the defensive linemen and with the outside linebackers as well,” Coach Trapp told WJLE.

Brad Trapp has been hired by the school system as a teacher aid at DeKalb Middle School. For the last four years, Brad has been a coach in the Junior Pro Football Program. He is a DCHS graduate and received a Business Administration Degree from Colorado Tech in 2008. Trapp and his wife Kim have three children, 18 year old Liz, 15 year old Cailin, and 10 year old Briz.

“My cousin Brad Trapp will be coming up to help us coach as well this fall. He has taken the same path I did in coaching. He has been in the Junior Pro level for a few years coaching. That’s where I got my start in coaching. Brad now has an employee position at the middle school so he is in the school system,” said Coach Trapp.

In addition to head Coach Trapp and the new assistants Cagle and Brad Trapp, longtime assistants Michael Shaw and Clarence Trapp will be returning for another season. “Going into my 12th year its only been two years where we have returned the same coaching staff. That has definitely been a challenge for our program since we’ve been here but it has been one we have always faced and worked through and the guys who have helped me have done a wonderful job. My uncle Clarence Trapp is back. If I’m not mistaken this will be his 25th year of coaching in DeKalb County if you add Junior Pro and Middle School and all the experience he has on the high school level. Michael Shaw has been here six or seven years and is our defensive coordinator,” said Coach Steve Trapp.

Coach Trapp said he is looking forward to another great season. “I’m proud of all the guys. We’ve had a great off season in the weight room. We’ve had some guys get a whole lot bigger, faster, and stronger. We had a good spring. We were very successful in both of our spring games and we’re looking forward to a great fall. We’re very excited. We’ve got a big senior group. A lot of those guys have been playing for three and four years out there on the field. They have a lot of experience and are just really hungry to be the most successful team they can be,” Coach Trapp concluded.

Jim Vinson named to DTC Board of Directors

June 16, 2016
Jim Vinson named to DTC Board of Directors

The DeKalb Telephone Cooperative Inc. Board of Directors appointed Jim Vinson to fill the unexpired term of his deceased father, Dwight Vinson, continuing three decades of service by the family.

Vinson, 43, joins the 10-member board responsible for overseeing the cooperative. He intends to continue the legacy of his father, elected in 1987 to represent the Milton area.

“We’ve made lasting friendships with the folks of DTC,” Vinson says. “Those friends have been there for my family during the good and bad times. I want to fulfill my dad’s commitment to the people he served.”

Vinson brings a wealth of business experience to the board. He started his banking career in 1993 with Cavalry Banking, which later merged with Pinnacle Financial Partners. He serves as a financial advisor at Pinnacle in Murfreesboro.

He is a graduate of Oakland High School and Middle Tennessee State University. Vinson and his wife, Amy, have been married for 17 years and have two sons: Luke, 15; and Cale, 12.

Now, Vinson hopes to continue the dedication his father gave to the DTC board and employees.

“I really appreciate the opportunity the DTC board has given me to complete my dad’s elected term. He loved representing the Milton community and serving all of the members of the cooperative.”

Dwight Vinson, 64, died from injuries he received when a tree fell during a storm on May 4 in Rutherford County. Just more than a year remains of his board term.

DTC Communications is a member-owned telecommunications cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative provides communication, entertainment, and security products and services to residential and business customers, primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Ravelo Charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana

June 16, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Alexis Ravelo owner of Poss Road property

Although he was not there when federal, state, and local authorities found an active indoor marijuana growing operation Wednesday, the owner of the property on Poss Road in DeKalb County is among eleven people who were later arrested as a result of a two year multi-county investigation into organized drug trafficking in Tennessee.

51 year old Alexis Ravelo was taken into custody at 602 Larkin Springs Road, Nashville and charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana. He has owned the property at 1117 Poss Road since 2014.

An investigation by Special Agents with the Drug Investigation Division of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the DEA, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and multiple Middle Tennessee law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of hundreds of plants and more than $100,000 in cash along with the arrest of these eleven individuals.

The probe focused on an organized drug trafficking operation involving the cultivation and distribution of high-grade marijuana in Middle Tennessee. The investigation culminated in the execution of more than a dozen search warrants executed simultaneously Wednesday morning. Six searches were conducted in Davidson County, and others were executed in Lewis, Sumner, Macon, Cannon, Bedford, Putnam, DeKalb and White Counties.

Among the agencies involved in the drug investigation and search warrant executions were Metro Nashville Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Task Forces with the 15th, 16th, 17th, 21st and 22nd Judicial Districts, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Cannon County Sheriff’s Department, and the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication.

Active indoor grow operations were found in Lewis, Macon, DeKalb and White Counties. A total of 320 plants were recovered and seized Wednesday; 224 plants were found in Lewis County, 52 in Macon County, and 44 in DeKalb County. The street value of the high-grade marijuana seized today is more than $560,000. More than 15 pounds of finished product, valued in excess of $37,500, and multiple weapons were found in one of the Davidson County locations. Three guns were found in the Bedford County location, and a total of more than $140,000 in cash was seized from multiple sites. Additionally, 40 plants were recovered in the White County location, along with ten pounds of finished product valued at $25,000, more than $11,500 in cash, and a gun.

“The sophistication and danger of indoor grow operations like this demonstrate the complexity of what’s involved in these organizations,” says TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “It takes the collaboration and persistence of law enforcement agencies, and we want those involved in the production and distribution to know they’re not going to get away with it.”

“This is exactly why it’s difficult for law enforcement officers to wrap their minds around legalization efforts,” says Drug Investigation Division Assistant Director T.J. Jordan. “This is a sophisticated organization with the goal of operating covertly, producing and trafficking high-grade marijuana, and making money at the expense of Tennessee citizens.”

On Wednesday, all eleven individuals, including Ravelo were arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and booked into the Davidson County Jail.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, 44 buckets of marijuana were found at Ravelo’s property on Poss Road with plants up to 7 ½ feet tall and up to 3 ½ feet wide capable of producing as much as five pounds of pot per plant at an estimated street value of $2,500 per pound. “What we got today had an estimated value of $220,000,” Sheriff Ray told WJLE.

“This grow operation was located in a metal barn located behind a house on Poss Road. The growers had a watering, grow light, chemicals, and fertilizing system installed in the barn and they were stealing electricity from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative to power the operation,” he said.

Raid Uncovers $220,000 worth of High Grade Marijuana in Elaborate Indoor Grow Operation

June 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Raid Uncovers $200,000 worth of Marijuana in Elaborate Indoor Grow Operation
44 buckets of marijuana were found with plants up to 7 ½ feet tall and up to 3 ½ feet wide capable of producing as much as five pounds of pot per plant at an estimated street value of $2,500 per pound
Marijuana grow operation was found in a metal barn located behind a house on Poss Road
Marijuana growers set up system to steal electricity from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative to power the indoor growing operation

An estimated $220,000 worth of high grade marijuana was uncovered Wednesday in an elaborate indoor grow operation at 1117 Poss Road during a raid by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, TBI agents, and members assigned to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force. A helicopter fly over of the property was also conducted by the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication.

While no one was at home at the time of the raid arrests were made later but no names have yet been released locally because of the on-going investigation in which more arrests are expected.

Wednesday’s discovery was part of a multi-county investigation and similar raids took place in other parts of the state where indoor grow operations were suspected. Law enforcement agencies reportedly served more than a dozen search warrants in Nashville and Putnam, Cannon, Bedford, Macon, Sumner, Lewis, and DeKalb Counties and eleven people were arrested and charged in this high grade marijuana grow and distribution network operated by Cuban nationals

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, 44 buckets of marijuana were found at the Poss Road location with plants up to 7 ½ feet tall and up to 3 ½ feet wide capable of producing as much as five pounds of pot per plant at an estimated street value of $2,500 per pound. “What we got today had an estimated value of $220,000,” Sheriff Ray told WJLE.

“This grow operation was located in a metal barn located behind a house on Poss Road. The growers had a watering, grow light, chemicals, and fertilizing system installed in the barn and they were stealing electricity from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative to power the operation,” he continued.

“In an environment such as this, plants can produce up to four times a year. The grower cuts the buds off and regrows the buds. Out of the plants we found Wednesday, that’s nearly a million dollars a year if each plant produced as much as five pounds,” said Sheriff Ray.

If you should have information on any other suspected indoor marijuana grow operation in DeKalb County, Sheriff Ray advises you to contact the Sheriff’s Department.

Warren County Crash Claims Teen with Ties to DeKalb County

June 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ashley Dawn Celestino
Ashley Celestino

A McMinnville teenager with ties to DeKalb County lost her life due to injuries suffered in a Warren County traffic accident Monday afternoon.

Dead is 19 year old Ashley Dawn Celestino.

According to the Southern Standard, the crash occurred during a brief thunderstorm as Celestino was driving north on Short Mountain Road in a Nissan Xterra. She lost control in a curve near the intersection with Patterson Road, went off the roadway and struck a utility pole head-on.

Celestino was transported to River Park Hospital in McMinnville where she later died. A back seat passenger, 19 year old Megan Braswell was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 19 year old Tristian Darna, a front seat passenger, suffered minor cuts, according to the report.

The funeral will be Friday at 4:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Visitation will be Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. until the service at 4 p.m.

Celestino was a Dietary worker at NHC of Woodbury and a member of the First Assembly of God. She was also associated with Lighthouse Christian Camp, a former cheerleader, and softball player for DeKalb County. She enjoyed beauty pageants as well.

She is survived by her mother, Tammy Horsley of DeKalb County. Three sisters, Tiffany and Austin Wilmore of DeKalb County, Raven Celestino and Matthew Elliot of DeKalb County, and Kelsey Murphy of DeKalb County. One brother, Jacob Fogle of Illinois. Two nephews, Brayden and Troy Wilmore of DeKalb County. A niece, Oaklyn Celestino-Elliot of DeKalb County. Grandparents, Rick and Mary Wright of Broughton, Illinois. Several aunts, uncles, and cousins survive.

Property Owners Fighting to Keep Proposed SES Substation Out of Neighborhood

June 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Planning Commissioners  left to right around the table: Glen Nichols, Hoyte Barrett,  Beecher Taylor,  Shawn Jacobs, Norris Colvert,  Wade Smith, Jason Murphy,  City Attorney Vester Parsley,  Dwayne Snow, City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson,and  Mayor Jimmy Poss (present but not pictured)
Left to right: property owner Joe Rice, attorneys Brandon Cox and Sarah Cripps, property owner W.C. Braswell, property owners Mrs. and Mr. Gordon Murphy,  SES Manager Richie Knowles, and City Building Inspector Joe Johnson

Property owners on College Street are trying to keep a proposed new Smithville Electric System Substation out of their residential neighborhood.

Attorney Sarah Cripps spoke on their behalf during a special meeting of the Smithville Planning Commission Tuesday evening at city hall and called for the city to reject plans for the project, which she referred to as an “electrical supply and service " use, because it is to be erected in a residential zone and doesn’t adhere to the city’s chart of permitted land uses. City officials contend that SES’s plans call for a “substation” which, according to the city’s zoning ordinance, is a permitted use in any zoned district.

The facility is to be located on just over five acres at 1233 South College Street.

While SES would continue to share the existing substation on West Main Street with TVA and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, the new one would be solely for the use of Smithville Electric System in order to provide a secondary source of power especially in times of emergencies and to ensure continued reliability for current and future demands.

During Tuesday evening’s meeting, the City Planning Commission voted to disapprove SES’s plans. Board member Norris Colvert made the motion to disapprove saying that “this proposal in a residential zone is not in keeping with policies and objectives outlined in our Smithville Land Use and Transportation Policy”. Six members voted to disapprove. Two members abstained saying they felt the planning commission needed more information about the project and its potential impact on the neighborhood.

However, according to City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors has the authority to overrule the decision of the planning commission and proceed after a site plan review and approval from the building codes inspector as to setbacks, etc.

Parsley explained that under state law, TCA 13-4-104, a municipality may make the final decision if it has control over a utility. But if the utility is a separate entity, then the city has no such authority “In my opinion TCA has two procedures, both of which require (SES) to come before the planning commission. The procedure is that if the board (planning commission) disapproves it and the City of Smithville makes the budget for Smithville Electric then a majority of the aldermen would have to approve this substation. However, Smithville Electric is a separate entity from the City of Smithville. They have their own board which approves and disapproves projects all the time. Thus, with this (planning commission) disapproval , if a majority of the Smithville Electric System Board approves this substation they can go forward,” said Parsley.

Richie Knowles, Manager of Smithville Electric System, told the planning commission that the new substation is needed to keep the utility from having to conduct city wide power outages when work is required on the existing substation. “ We are in the middle of a project. An upgrade at our current substation and we’re going to have to take three or four city wide power outages to do that. And that is very costly to our industries. I don’t have a number for that but I know it’s a lot. And they have asked us not to take anymore city wide power outages. That’s the reason for building a second substation. So we can feed everything out of this substation for the whole city and upgrade the other substation without having to take those outages,” said Knowles.

Although city officials have had copies of SES’s site plans for some time, the planning commission apparently hadn’t seen them until Tuesday evening.

“I apologize for not bringing these plans (to the planning commission) before now. We were told by the city planner and city officials that being a part of the city and because of the ordinances we didn’t have to come before the planning commission so that was our error. We apologize for that. It was never our intent to bypass the board or any rule or regulation,” said Knowles.

“We looked at the city’s zoning ordinance and verbally gave Smithville Electric authorization to put it (substation) wherever they wanted it. They had to get permitted through the state. But from the city’s standpoint, they are permitted (authorized) to build it. There’s nothing we can do about that. It (zoning ordinance) says (substations are permitted) in all districts,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

Cripps insisted that the SES’s proposed project is defined in the city’s “Chart of Permitted Uses” as an “electrical supply & service” use which can only be located in a General Business or General Industrial Zone.

“In the city’s “Chart of Permitted Uses in Districts” it talks about electrical supply & service. By the zoning ordinance our chief legislative body has crafted, it says that electrical supply & services are permitted in B-2 (General Business) and M-1 (General Industrial) Zones. What is the proposed construction on South College, gentlemen? I submit to you it is an electrical supply & service. Just because you call it a duck doesn’t make it a duck. Why does the Smithville Electric Board want to call it a substation? Because it gives them the freedom and the latitude to put it next to my home and next to your home without any curtailment of where this is to be constructed. But if we are intellectually honest with ourselves, gentlemen and we recognize this for what it is it is electrical supply & service. It is supply because it is the intermediary, the conduit between the hydroelectric facility at the dam and the consumer. It is there to supply electricity to the consumer. What is the service portion of that? When they receive all of this voltage, the service portion of supply & service is to convert that voltage from high levels of voltage to low levels. To ready the power then for dissemination and distribution to the consumer. This is no more a substation that I am. Its electrical supply & service,” said Cripps.

She went on to assert that the city’s zoning regulations are intended to protect residential properties from this kind of development. “When you read the objectives of the B-2 and M-1 zones it is completely consistent to have this in a B-2 or M-1 zone. That’s what they are there for. Industrial uses. This should not be erected near the homes of people like W.C. Braswell and Gordon Murphy and his wife nor to destroy the property values of land developers by putting this monstrosity in the midst of a residential area. That is completely inconsistent with the zoning plan of the city,” Cripps said

“Mr. (Joe) Rice (subdivision owner in the area) tried to sell a piece of property the other day. He had an interested purchaser and he being honest said I need to disclose to you that there are plans afoot to erect an electrical service and supply terminal. At that point, the conversation was terminated. It chilled that sale. In fact it did more than chill it, it killed it,” Cripps continued.

According to Knowles, Smithville Electric System was deliberate in its search for property to build this facility. “In the beginning when we started this project we looked for property all across the city of Smithville. This is not just something we threw together. We put a lot of thought into it. We tried to find a place that was of least impact to the city and to the cost to the neighbors as well. It was one of the reasons for buying this property because we could set it back off the street and back in the woods. Then we found out we had a wetlands issue. We didn’t know that at first because it’s not in the deed. We had to move it (substation development) forward (closer to College Street) a little bit and we have to replenish the wetland. But we’ve filed all that paper work and it has all been taken care of. We had to meet all of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s requirements and they (plans) were submitted to TDEC and TDEC has approved it,” said Knowles.

Although he was not present for the meeting Tuesday, Staff Planner Tommy Lee said at a planning commission meeting in March that the city's zoning ordinance allows substations as a permitted use without review in a residential zone.

“I have talked with him (Lee) and he agrees with the project. He says it is allowed in that zoning area,” said Knowles.

“I’m going to move that we disapprove this as a planning commission because it is inconsistent with our land use plan. If we’re not respectful to this residential area on College Street then how are we not going to be respectful to Riley Avenue or Golf Course Lane or anywhere else in the city where this utility or any utility wants to do something. I think we’re setting a good precedence on the planning commission to say to utility companies if you are going to do this you are going to do it right and its going to be buffered adequately and that other things are going to be considered. If Smithville Electric System overrules us, the site plan will come back to us and we can evaluate it in conjunction with our zoning ordinance. Then we, with our building inspector, can decide whether or not the setbacks are met and the drainage and buffering and things like that are properly taken care of,” said Colvert.

Again, Parsley said he believes the issue is settled should the Smithville Electric System Board vote to overrule the city planning commission. “My opinion is that you can disapprove this as a board. Then the Smithville Electric Board can then take a vote and approve it over your disapproval. The citizens group may then do whatever they wish,” said Parsley.

County Mayor Expresses Appreciation to All in Response to Courthouse Fire

June 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling

County Mayor Tim Stribling wishes to express his appreciation to those who responded during the fire at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

A special thanks goes to local attorney Jim Judkins for his quick response after discovering the fire; to the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department for making sure the fire was out; to the public officials and their employees in the courthouse for the smooth evacuation of the building; to the Smithville Police Department for their investigation which led to the arrest of the individual believed to have been responsible for the fire; and to the DeKalb County Ambulance Service and Sheriff’s Department who were also on the scene Tuesday ready to provide assistance.

“In whatever way you may have rendered assistance, you have my sincere gratitude and appreciation,” said County Mayor Stribling.

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