Local News Articles

DeKalb West School Hosts Ribbon Cutting and Open House (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 4, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West School

A host of guests joined members of the administration and faculty at DeKalb West Thursday evening to celebrate the opening of the new school addition.

Surrounded by a crowd of educators, parents, students, public officials, and other members of the community retiring Principal Danny Parkerson and his successor Sabrina Farler cut the ribbon just inside the main entrance to mark the milestone.

"The people standing behind us (students) are the people this school building is dedicated to. I look for great things out of them and I know their teachers do," said Parkerson.

The school sports a new look from the front and includes new classrooms, restrooms, and hallway, most of them tornado safe shelters. The facility also features a new secure entrance to the school, an office, clinic, conference room, and a teacher work area. Both the kitchen and cafeteria in the older building have also been expanded.

Parkerson, who will be stepping down as principal next Tuesday, thanked his staff for their support and paid tribute to teachers he has worked with over the years. "I can never say enough about the teachers and the staff at DeKalb West School. When you've been somewhere 37 years, it's a lifetime and I've enjoyed every minute of it. So many people (teachers) have shaped my thoughts and my life and I could never thank them enough. I'll bet that all of you standing here remember that one teacher that did something for you that made a difference in your life. If that teacher is still living tell him or her thank you. These teachers never get the credit they should get. Our teachers love your kids and that's what makes a good teacher", he said.

"I don't know what Tuesday will be like when I walk out of here the last time being a teacher or principal at DeKalb West. It'll be a strange feeling but I know I'm leaving it in good hands. If I summed up what I meant to our schools, I think the number one thing is that kids felt safe with us. We have a lot of different people raising kids nowadays. They want their kids to feel safe at school. Some of the things we've done here allows for more safety," he said.

"I'm extremely proud of all our (public) officials and you (public) as a taxpayer because ultimately we work for you. Taxpayers pay the bills and get things done. I give you credit and I thank you on my behalf for sharing your children with me. They are special and I appreciate it," said Parkerson.

Farler, who will be taking over as Principal at DeKalb West School next Wednesday said no major changes are planned. "I'm very excited about this wonderful school year we're going to have. Everybody keeps asking is there going to be a lot of change. We've got a lot of great things going so why change something great that's already going?"

Foutch Industries to Create Forty New Jobs

September 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Foutch Industries
Foutch Industries Operation

Foutch Industries has announced plans to add 40 jobs to its workforce.

"We're looking to add 40 people to the current staff which will put us at around 170," said Tracy Foutch, CEO and President of the Company in an interview with WJLE Wednesday.

"We're looking for assembly line workers, warehouse personnel, truck drivers, maintenance personnel, quality personnel and managers," he said.

Job opportunities are available for first, second, and third shift operations.

"This is good news for DeKalb County," said County Mayor Tim Stribling. "Companies like Foutch Industries are so vital to our community. They can add jobs when business improves and this helps our local economy. We have a good workforce here and I want to see all the industries we already have grow and prosper because that's just as important as our goal of attracting new industries which we hope to do in the months and years ahead," he said.

(Click the link below to download a job application)


(Check out Foutch Industries website at http://www.foutchindustries.com/)


Foutch Industries is a full service industrial warehouse, and a custom coating operation for the automotive industry and many other industrial sectors with the capability to perform continuous or batch operations using either wet paint or powder coating media. Custom paint and powder coating capabilities are adaptable to a wide variety of industries. When parts need to be powder coated, wet painted or washed and cleaned, Foutch Industries can handle it. From continuous automated runs to batch manual jobs, Foutch Industries can customize a solution to exactly meet the need.

In 2013 Foutch Industries earned PACCAR quality certification for coating all substrates.

Some of the industries for which Foutch Industries has done work include:
•Agricultural Equipment
•Appliances (large and small)
•Communication Equipment
•Construction & Construction Equipment
•Consumer Products
•Dental Equipment
•Home Furnishing
•Electronic Equipment
•Industrial Equipment
•Industrial Fasteners
•Industrial Piping
•Industrial Storage
•Landscaping Equipment
•Machine Tool
•Marine Equipment (fresh and saltwater)
•Medical Equipment
•Office Equipment
•Outdoor Storage
•Photographic Equipment
•Small Tools and Accessories
•Railroad Industry
•Transport Industry (truck & bus)

The company consists of three individual plants in Smithville where various aspects of the job are performed or completed. The main facility is a 277,000 square foot state of the art painting and warehousing structure where larger jobs and larger items are coated using their modular, and configurable paint lines for wet paint, powder, adhesive, soft touch paint, or any other application needed. Automated and manual paint guns, surface preparation machines, and robotic application are all used to complete various aspects of a project at this location.

The second facility is a 155,000 square foot multi-coating facility where smaller to medium sized items are coated in either one of their manual spray booths, or on one of several automated lines. Small batch runs, or large continuous jobs are performed at both locations.

A full service metal works and fabrication shop supports all of the various racking, component builds, and maintenance work required for the operation. Customized equipment needed for a specific project can be designed and built quickly and economically in-house by their experienced design team, reducing the cost and time required to bring the project to completion.

Applications for employment are also available in the black box located on the front of the guard shack in front of the plant in the Industrial Park on Highway 70 east. Completed applications may be returned there or applicants may email a resume with a cover letter to jgrissom@foutchindustries.com. You may further contact the HR Director Anna Robinson at 615-597-6909 for more information

Benefit for Two Local Firefighters Set for Saturday

September 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
 Lieutenant Anthony Wright
Firefighter Patrick Edge

Firefighters in our community are committed to helping their neighbors when the need arises. On Saturday, September 6 fire fighters need your help.

"Brothers Helping Brothers" is a benefit for Lieutenant Anthony Wright and Firefighter Patrick Edge of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department who have been battling serious illnesses in recent months which has resulted in mounting medical bills.

The benefit, to be held at Evins Park beside the Smithville Fire Hall downtown Smithville, is an effort to raise money in support of those firefighters. "We'll have a gospel singing, a barbeque dinner, and a silent auction. It all starts at 4:00 p.m. and you can buy your dinner tickets at the door or in advance from any Smithville firefighter. They are also available in the offices at the Smithville City Hall. We encourage everybody to come out. We are doing this benefit for two of our own firemen. Both of them have gone through some pretty extensive illnesses this year and have incurred a lot of medical bills so we're doing something to help them. Please come out to help us raise some money to support them," said Fire Chief Charlie Parker.

Food will be by Fireman One Barbeque located inside the Smithville Fire Hall building. The rain date is Sunday, September 7 at 3:00 p.m. Admission to the gospel singing and silent auction are free! Tickets for the barbeque dinner are $7.00 each. Bring your own chair for the LIVE music. The silent auction will feature special donated items. If you wish to donate silent auction items, contact Fire Chief Charlie Parker at 615-597-4141. To make a cash donation, stop by First Bank and make your contribution to the "Brothers Helping Brothers" Fund. Join their facebook at Smithville Fire Department.

Dowelltown Woman Charged with Stealing Jewelry

September 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Angel Dawn Ferrell
Cynthia Duggin

A Dowelltown woman has been arrested for stealing jewelry from a residence on Dale Ridge Road.

43 year old Angel Dawn Ferrell of Dale Ridge Road is charged with theft of property over $500. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on September 11.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, August 18 Ferrell allegedly took several pieces of jewelry from a residence on Dale Ridge Road. The jewelry was valued at $870. She allegedly sold some of it to a local jeweler for $43.00. According to Sheriff Ray, Ferrell has admitted taking the jewelry.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.

33 year old Cynthia Duggin of Hayes Court Road, Smithville is charged with five counts of forgery. Her bond is $25,000 and she will be in court on September 25.

Sheriff Ray said that Duggin allegedly forged checks in the following amounts on the following dates: $310 on July 12; $160 on July 18; $80 on August 9; $80 on August 14; and $100 on August 19 without the owner's consent.

The case was investigated by a Criminal Detective of the Sheriff's Department.

72 year old Sarah Opal Atnip of Shady Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 30, Atnip allegedly assaulted her son's girlfriend by slapping her in the face and pulling her hair. According to Sheriff Ray, a large amount of hair was missing from the victim's head and she had redness to her face. Atnip allegedly admitted to slapping the woman.

34 year old Christopher Ray Rachel of Antioch, Tennessee is charged with driving under the influence. He was also cited for driving while his license were suspended, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and failure to drive within his lane. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 31 a deputy spotted a purple car leave its lane of travel on a four lane highway and strike a guardrail. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Rachel. He admitted to consuming a couple shots of vodka and five or six beers. Rachel performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was unsteady on his feet. Rachel also submitted to a blood test. A computer check revealed his license to be suspended on May 18, 2014 for failure to pay child support. He could not produce proof of insurance. Rachel was arrested and charged with DUI.

31 year old Brandon Ross Bogle of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked or suspended license. He is being held without bond. He will be in court September 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, August 25 Bogle appeared in court on a charge of driving on a suspended license. The judge advised Bogle not to be driving. After his court appearance, a deputy observed Bogle get into his truck at the courthouse and attempt to drive away by backing out onto the roadway. The officer arrested Bogle for a third offense and transported him to the jail for booking.

29 year old Carly Chaundra Jones of Coconut Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with evading arrest. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 26 a deputy was called to Coconut Ridge Road to serve an arrest warrant on Jones for violation of probation. But when she saw the officer drive up, she tried to evade arrest by running into the woods. The deputy caught up with Jones and placed her under arrest.

45 year old Victor Glen Gingerich of Jimmy Malone Road in Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. He was further issued a citation for driving an unregistered vehicle and violation of the open container law. Gingerich further has a violation of probation and a failure to appear warrant against him. He will be in court on September 11. His bond totals $6,500 on the DUI and DRL charges. He is being held without bond on the VOP. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 28 Gingerich was found to be operating a motor vehicle on Sparta Highway while under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. Gingerich was observed passing a motorist and then leaving his lane of travel several times. An officer pulled over Gingerich in the parking lot of Hillcrest Market. Gingerich had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. An open 12 ounce can of beer was found in the center console of the vehicle. Gingerich refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and a blood test. The deputy obtained a search warrant for a blood draw on Gingerich due to a prior DUI conviction against him. A computer check revealed his license to be revoked for the prior DUI offense in DeKalb County. He was placed under arrest.

28 year old David Adam Colglazier of South Maple Avenue, Cookeville is cited for simple possession of a schedule VI drug (Marijuana). He will be in court September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 29 a deputy made contact with Colglazier at the Austin Bottom Lake access area. A K-9 unit was on the scene and the dog alerted on Colglazier's vehicle. Upon searching the automobile, the officer found Colglazier to be in possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana.

Mayor and Aldermen-Elect Sworn Into Office (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 2, 2014
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen-Elect were sworn into office today (Tuesday) to begin their new four year terms.a

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. administered the oath to Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy and Gayla Hendrix.

Mayor Poss and Alderman Murphy are starting their second terms. They were first elected in 2012 to a two year term. Alderman Hendrix was first elected to a two year term in 2011 but was unsuccessful for re-election in 2013. She ran again last month and was elected unopposed.

DeKalb County Man "Person of Interest" in Statesville Homicide Investigation

September 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Alan Mooney, Jr.,

A DeKalb County man has been identified as a "person of interest" in a Wilson County arson and homicide investigation at Statesville.

38 year old Alan Mooney, Jr., who resides on Old Snow Hill Road in DeKalb County, is under investigation in connection with the fire which occurred at the home of his father Alan Mooney, Sr. Human remains were found at the scene.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has assisted Wilson County authorities. "We have assisted a little bit in the case as far as doing some searches and things at his residence. That's all that we've done with it," said Sheriff Ray.

Mooney's brother, 36 year old Richard J. Mooney of Watertown stood trial in DeKalb County two years ago for felony murder and theft of property over $1,000 in the October, 2009 death of 63 year old Robert "Bob" Senick, whose remains were found in the rubble of his mobile home near Liberty, which had been burned to the ground. Although Richard Mooney was found not guilty in that case, he is currently serving a ten year prison sentence in a previous Rutherford County car jacking case.

According to the Wilson Post, " Alan Mooney Sr.'s home and an outbuilding located on Armstrong Road in the Statesville area were reported on fire about 1:30 p.m., Friday, August 29

“Unidentifiable human remains” were discovered at the scene, said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan late Saturday afternoon.

“We’re working this as an arson,” Bryan said, adding there were “suspicious circumstances.”

“We are releasing the name of the person (Alan Mooney, Sr.) that resided at the home who we cannot locate,” he said, adding “we have recovered remains at the house.”

The sheriff said his department’s investigators are working along with the state Bomb and Arson, Middle Tennessee State University Anthropology Department and the State Medical Examiner to identify the human remains, according to the Wilson Post report.

Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, along with Watertown and Lascassas Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the fire.

Authorities on Friday afternoon began searching for “a person of interest” who they wanted to talk to but who they were unable to locate. However, that person, identified as Alan Mooney Jr., son of the resident of the burned home in Statesville, was located in a vehicle sometime around midnight, or shortly thereafter, and fled on Highway 96 going into Rutherford County.

Bryan said spike strips were deployed on two occasions in Rutherford County, but the person did not stop.

“It was a low-speed pursuit,” Bryan said, since the tires on the vehicle had been punctured by the spike strips.

Officers from WCSD, Murfreesboro Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol were involved in the pursuit.

Bryan said Mooney Jr. struck another vehicle at an intersection in Murfreesboro where he was taken into custody and charged with Reckless Endangerment and Assault on an Officer. He is being held in the Rutherford County Jail under $90,000 bond.

“We’ve been consulting with the District Attorney’s Office, and we’ll continue consulting. We’ll probably go before the grand jury in the next few weeks and go from there", said Sheriff Bryan according to the Wilson Post report.

County Clerk's Office No Longer Performs Marriages

September 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. "Jimmy" Poss

County Clerk James L. "Jimmy" Poss has announced that his office will no longer perform marriage ceremonies.

While state law gives county clerks the authority to marry couples, it is not mandated that they do so. Poss told WJLE he feels weddings should be performed by ministers.

"As I begin my job as your County Clerk, my staff and I are excited and humbled to have the opportunity to serve you. I take my service to you very seriously. With that said, I want to ask you to understand an issue that has traditionally been associated with the office of County Clerk. The issue involves performing marriage ceremonies."

"Although state law permits County Clerks, as well as other elected officials, the option to solemnize a marriage, I have a strong personal conviction that marriage involves a covenant between two people and God. My understanding is that God instituted marriage and that it is a holy union. Whether that it your personal belief or not, it is my strong conviction, and I cannot, in good conscious and faith, perform marriage ceremonies or services. I hope you can consider and respect my sincere belief that administering lifetime vows, between two people and God, should be conducted by ministers or others who are trained in counseling couples before making this awesome and binding commitment."

"Again, this is just my personal belief and conviction and I do not fault or judge any other elected official with the authority to solemnize a marriage if they choose to exercise their authority to conduct marriages."

Tennessee Code Annotated 36-3-301 (State Law) specifies officials who may conduct and perform marriage ceremonies.

Who Can Solemnize a Marriage?

The rite of matrimony may be solemnized by any of the persons listed in T.C.A. § 36-3-301:

1. All regular ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders of every religious
belief, more than eighteen (18) years of age, having the care of souls.

2. Current and former members of county legislative bodies.

3. County mayors/executives and former county mayors/executives.

4. Current and former judges and chancellors of this state, including federal judges.

5. Current and former judges of general sessions courts.

6. Municipal court judges.

7. The governor.

8. The county clerk of each county, and former county clerks who occupied the office on or after July
1, 2014.

9. Current and former speakers of the senate and speakers of the house of representatives.

10. Mayors of municipalities.

"I am sincerely and humbly asking that each of you respect my decision and conviction as I make this announcement that marriage ceremonies or services will not be offered as a service of the County Clerk’s office effective September 1, 2014. However, the County Clerk’s office will continue to be responsible for issuing state marriage licenses," Poss said.

County Clerk Poss said he plans to maintain a list of ministers in the office who are available to perform weddings and any couple wishing to marry may have access to it. Ministers may add their names to the list by contacting the County Clerk's Office.

DeKalb West School to Host Dedication and Open House

September 1, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West School Has New Look

DeKalb West School will be hosting a brief dedication ceremony and open house for the new addition to the building on Thursday, September 4th.

The public is invited to attend.

The dedication begins at 6:00 p.m. and tours of the school will follow at 6:30 p.m. For those who can't attend Thursday, the school will be open for tours again on Sunday, September 7 from 2-4 p.m.

The addition is located at the front of the school with a new façade and it includes new classrooms, restrooms, and hallway, most of them tornado safe shelters. The facility also features a new secure entrance to the school, an office, clinic, conference room, and a teacher work area. A new larger kitchen has been constructed as an extension to the existing building and the cafeteria is enlarged.

The school made use of their new storm shelter for the first time only two weeks when severe thunderstorms raked across the county downing trees and power lines.

Students at all schools in the county were kept about an hour longer than usual that day because of the storms as a safety precaution.

At DeKalb West School, students, staff, and parents in the pickup line were directed to the new storm shelter classrooms and hallway. "It happened around 1:30 p.m. when we started moving to the safe rooms. We had lots of space. There are seven classrooms in that area, a bathroom and a very large hallway. Each room was assigned to a grade level and they were very quickly moved to that area and they stayed there. We opened it up to the parents who were in the car line. We had probably about fifteen parents come in the building and stay with us in the hallways. As an administrator it was very comforting having them in there as we were watching over the building. It put you at ease and the parents were very pleased," said Assistant DWS Principal Sabrina Farler, who will be the new DWS principal later this month

"Everybody fit in that area without any problem and we could have had even more people come in," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. "

"In the future we're going to have plans made out so that the community can come in there (during a severe storm threat). People might want to come in there for a safe place. Hopefully we can set it up where there will be a remote way that it can be unlocked and people can come into a certain part of the building. That is one of the reasons it was designed. It is not only for the school but for the community," said Willoughby.

Although no one was hurt and the school received no storm damage from the winds, a lightning strike shut down a one thousand amp breaker at DeKalb West that day which caused schools to be dismissed early on the day after the storm and then closed the following day until the breaker could be replaced.

Mike Foster Era as County Mayor Over

August 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

He had hoped to have another term in office starting today, but the 12 year era of County Mayor Mike Foster has come to an end.

"I'm going to take a week off," Foster jokingly said in an interview with WJLE Friday. "I went to fill out my social security application the other day and I have worked basically for 47 years so I'm going to take some time off," he said.

Foster was first elected County Mayor in 2002 and he was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. He lost his bid for a fourth term when he was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Tim Stribling in May. Stribling went on to win the General Election on August 7. Prior to becoming county mayor, Foster served many years as an employee and supervisor with TWRA.

Looking back on his three terms in office, Foster believes he and the county commissions he has worked with have made a positive difference for the people of DeKalb County. Although neither he nor the county commission were directly responsible for it, Foster cited among the most significant achievements, the construction of the new Sligo Bridge and the renovation of Hurricane Bridge. Foster said had those projects not been funded, DeKalb County might have suffered economically. " We certainly didn't build them but I think the best thing that happened during the last twelve years as far as affecting the most people in the county was getting the bridge (Hurricane) repaired and the new bridge at Sligo. Of course TDOT built those but we were about to be isolated in that we couldn't get industries (trucks) in and out (due to weight limits on the bridges) to the north and east because of the condition of those two bridges and it looked for a while that they (projects) might be postponed indefinitely. Our industries were really concerned about not being able to cross the bridges with loads of their products but working with them we first talked to former Governor Phil Bredesen when he was in office and later to Governor Bill Haslam and they helped make it possible to build a new bridge at Sligo and to repair Hurricane bridge," said Foster.

Among the projects overseen by Foster during his years as county mayor were:

*Developing an Emergency Communications District (911) and establishing a new centralized 911 dispatch headquarters on Mountain Street in Smithville, a move supported by the county as well as Smithville and Alexandria which eliminated police dispatching responsibilities for the sheriff's department and city police departments. The operation has also been updated over the years.

*The County assuming control of the DeKalb EMS operation and establishing a new ambulance service headquarters at the intersection of Mountain Street and Meadowbrook Drive in Smithville. For several years, the county had contracted with Sumner Regional Medical Center to operate the ambulance service but that agreement ended in 2007.

*Expanding the size of Justin Potter Library

*Developing a Solid Waste Transfer Station (not yet completed) so that the county can eventually close its Class I landfill and have all its household garbage collected at one location and shipped out from there to the Smith County Landfill. The county plans to maintain a Class III/IV landfill for the disposal of non-household garbage including things like construction material, etc.

*Establishing a new Farmers Market beside DeKalb Ace Hardware in Smithville.

Perhaps the endeavor for which Foster will be best remembered is the county's purchase and renovation of the old Town and Country Shopping Center, which was developed into what is now called the County Complex. In fact, the county commission honored Foster just last week by naming a portion of the building the "Mike Foster Multipurpose Center". The complex has meetings rooms, a gym, game room, exercise center, auditorium, and is home to the county extension office, Motlow College classes, senior citizens center, and local UCHRA operations. Part of the building also serves as offices for four county officials, the Trustee, Register of Deeds, Assessor of Property, and County Clerk.

Although there continues to be naysayers about the complex, Foster said he believes time has proven it to have been a good investment because more and more people are making use of it. "At first I had people criticizing it, especially farmers. But later when more people started seeing it and utilizing it, I was at a meeting one day with some farmers there and they looked at me and said what did we do before we had this. We now have an exercise facility that 1,900 people (including families) are utilizing. That's a lot of people over a year's time coming and going out of there. But it's done at a cost that everybody can afford. There is something there for everybody at the complex and that's the way it should be," he said.

With the support of the county commission, Foster said the financial condition of the county has improved over the years resulting in a better bond credit rating ( going from Baa to A1) and DeKalb has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state. "Right now we have a really low per capita debt load but that was deliberate in planning for some things we knew would be coming. Over the last two years we've had school repairs, the new building at the west school, and the (school) energy efficiency project that have been done at a little over nine million dollars and those are on fifteen year notes. Take that off and the county is only in debt by about four or five million dollars. We (county) still owe five years on the Northside Elementary School. That will be paid off in 2019. The note on the complex will be paid off in nine years," he said.

Foster is also proud that DeKalb County has been able to obtain its share of grants for a variety of services from local bridge projects, to fire protection, and extension of water lines. "Nearly everything we did in some form or fashion, grants were involved. Altogether we've probably gotten approaching $20 million in grants in the last twelve years. We've gotten two million dollars in grants for the fire department to upgrade to where we have an ISO rating of 6 pretty well in the entire county. We have a really good fire department, one of the better ones in Tennessee. Of course the fire department is responsible for that. But we helped them to get the money to get the grants."

"We've received at least three million dollars in water line grants (on behalf of DUD) to serve various places across the county. One of the big pushes was to go from Liberty to Dismal, up Dismal over Tramel Branch to Lower Helton and we have done that. We've applied for another grant to come back from Tramel Branch to Highway 70 and to go up Givans Hollow and to go down Oakley Road. That whole area of the county there didn't have water. The short term goal is to get those people down there who don't have water a source of water. The long term goal is to be able to supply water to Alexandria if they ever want it and now we've got it to where they (Alexandria) could tie on if they wanted to today," he said.

"One of the projects that really helped people is the bridge on Smith Fork at Dismal. That bridge was over a million dollars and the county had to kick in a little bit for that (grant match) to help the local road department. There was another bridge project at Tramel Branch and Upper Helton and a couple on Dry Creek. These projects were several million dollars but funded mostly through grants. And we just got a quarter of a million dollar Safer Roads grant to help improve the safety of several local roads," Foster said.

Asked if he had the opportunity would he do anything differently during his years as county mayor. Foster replied, " I would have missed a meeting in Cookeville one day". Foster was referring to a UCDD board meeting in 2012 which resulted in a federal indictment charging him almost a year ago with a single count of making false statements involving the use of federal money regarding the Living the Dream project.

The controversy stemmed from Foster's tenure as the chairman of the Upper Cumberland Development District, at the same time that longtime UCDD boss Wendy Askins was allegedly diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of agency money into that million-dollar Living the Dream facility in rural Putnam County. What was supposed to become a home for needy seniors also became Askins' home.

Federal prosecutors indicted Foster for a moment caught on television cameras where Askins gave him language asking the UCDD board to retroactively approve a bogus set of minutes in an attempt to justify a $300,000 transfer. Foster's attorney, Hal Hardin, argued that he should never have been charged with making false statements because the video showed he was being manipulated by Askins and because he had expressed some uncertainty about whether the minutes were really accurate. Faced with a motion to dismiss, federal prosecutors agreed to drop the charge against Foster in February and the federal judge signed the order to make it official.

"It's one of those things that devastates your life and you've done nothing," Foster told WJLE Friday. "I know the average person may say, well you have to have done something. Well, I didn't."

Foster said the whole ordeal hurt him politically and may have cost him re-election. "It planted a seed of doubt with people and to many perception is reality. It doesn't matter that they (prosecutors) come back later and say we couldn't find where you violated any criminal act. You accuse somebody of something and you've destroyed their life and then you say Uh Oh I'm sorry, I made a mistake. But it's too late," he said.

While he has his detractors, Foster said he has tried to do what he believes has been in the best interest of the county. "If you are in an elected office you can make friends and you can make enemies. You can't be everything to everybody. You have to do what you think is right and I have tried to do that. It's like the Farmer's Market. There are people who criticized that. But you go out there on Saturday now and it's packed. If you go to the county complex, you have to wait sometimes on certain nights to use the exercise equipment. And then you look next door and there's three hundred people at a meeting or at a play or something. And then you look on down and there's a wedding reception or something. You can't argue with that," he said.

Now that his days as county mayor are over, Foster said he will find other ways to serve the community. But don't expect him to seek public office again. "I hope I've never been a politician. I hope I've been a public servant. I want to do things to help the community that I can do. I still want to help people and volunteer my time to do things. My family has been here forever and I just feel like it's the place to be. I don't know why anybody would want to be anywhere else," he said.

Governor Appoints Smithville Woman to State Council

August 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced the appointments of 118 Tennesseans to 52 boards and commissions including one from DeKalb County.

Tecia Puckett Pryor is a member of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities

“I am honored to make these appointments, and I appreciate these men and women who are so willing to serve in this capacity,” Haslam said. “Tennessee will be well-represented on these boards and commissions.”

The governor continues to evaluate the state’s complete range of boards and commissions to identify potential reforms that might be made to ensure Tennesseans have a government that is responsive, effective and efficient.

Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications.

The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is an independent office in state government funded through the federal Developmental Disabilities Act.

The Council works to ensure that Tennesseans with developmental disabilities (including intellectual disabilities) are independent, productive, and included in their communities.

Responsibilities include:
•Conducting comprehensive review and analysis of state disability services
•Identifying state policies and practices that will improve outcomes for Tennesseans with developmental disabilities
•Developing goals to address unmet needs of Tennesseans with developmental disabilities using strategies that include:
. Educating policymakers and the public
. Demonstrating new approaches to services and system design
. Facilitating interagency collaboration and coordination
. Assuring citizen participation in government

The Council works with public and private groups across the State to find necessary supports for individuals with disabilities and their families, so that they may have equal access to public education, employment, housing, health care, and all other aspects of community life.

The Council encourages individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to play decision-making roles in policies and programs that affect them.


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