Local News Articles

New State Law Adjusts 911 Surcharges

June 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bradley Mullinax

Local land line telephone subscribers will soon be seeing a reduction in 911 surcharges. The rate will increase for cell phone customers.

According to Bradley Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District, the Tennessee General Assembly recently passed a bill (SB 2407/HB2255) that will take effect in January 2015 to effectively lower the 911 surcharge for DeKalb County citizens. "Currently, residential customers pay $1.50 per month for 911 service. The new legislation will reduce the residential surcharge to $1.16 per month. We are excited about this legislation since the results will actually increase funding for DeKalb County 911. Essentially, the TN General Assembly's actions have set the 911 surcharge at $1.16 across the board for all counties. As a result, there will be a larger pool of money to be distributed among the districts," said Mullinax.

"Cell phone customers will see a small increase in charges. The current rate is $1.00 per cell phone and that charge will also be set at $1.16, an increase of only 16 cents per cell phone," he added.

Meanwhile, Mullinax reports that several upgrades are being made in the DeKalb County 911 system. " Specifically, the district has purchased a new mapping system that has been made available to many of the county officials and government offices in DeKalb County. This service should help make doing business with county government much easier. Additionally, we are in the process of making major radio upgrades in the community. There will be more information on the radio updates once they are complete. However, the most important part of these upgrades is they are being completed with grant funding with no local match. Therefore, No tax dollars have been required to make these upgrades," said Mullinax.

911 Board Recognizes Foster and Stribling

June 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster and Bradley Mullinax
Tim Stribling and Bradley Mullinax

The DeKalb County 911 Board recognized both County Mayor Mike Foster and Smithville Alderman Tim Stribling during a regular meeting Tuesday night.

According to a prepared statement released by Bradley Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District," County Mayor Foster was honored by a permanent resolution for his dedicated service to the District. The resolution thanked Mr. Foster for his outstanding leadership in helping DeKalb County 911 become a centralized entity that has provided state-of-the-art service to the citizens of DeKalb County".

Alderman Stribling serves on the DeKalb County 911 Board but his term expires this month. "The board recognized Mr. Stribling for two years of dedicated service to the 911 Communications District and the citizens of DeKalb County. Tim has been a member of the board since he was elected to the Smithville Board of Alderman in 2012. He has been instrumental in leading the 911 center in acquiring new equipment and providing the best service possible at the lowest possible cost to the citizens of our community," according to the prepared statement.

" The DeKalb County Emergency Communications Board of Directors and employees would like to thank these two men for their service to our district. We have been very fortunate to have such outstanding leadership," the statement concluded.

Business Picks up at Lakeside, UCHRA Still Looking to Sell Resort

June 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lakeside Resort

As UCHRA continues efforts to sell the financially troubled Lakeside Resort, business there is picking up this summer.

"Business has been good. Sales are up 25% for the month of May which is encouraging. As of now we're already full (booked) for the fourth of July," said Bob Sotis, manager of Lakeside in an interview with WJLE Tuesday. "We're helping a little bit with the Smithville Jamboree this year. We're going to be one of the stage sponsors. We're housing six of the judges for the Jamboree. They are going to be staying with us versus coming back to Cookeville. In the past years, we've never really participated but this year we're trying to be part of the community and it's real positive. We're full this weekend. We're full the following weekend. We're full the fourth of July weekend so we're looking good. We need to get some longer dates (booked) like Sunday through Thursday dates booked," said Sotis.

In April, 2012 UCHRA settled on a deal to sell Lakeside Resort to the Brentwood Arts Society, an entity controlled by Jim Himelrick and Bob Pierce, real estate developers and former investors in Nashville Shores but the deal later fell through when the partners failed to come up with the earnest money of $50,000.

The sale price for Lakeside is for the amount that is still owed on it, which is approximately $1.5 million. Of course the property is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (federally owned property cannot be sold) but any sale of the resort would include the purchase of the equipment, furnishings, and the rights to be able to occupy and use the facility. The Corps and USDA Rural Development would have to give approval for any new owner to assume the land lease.

UCHRA's real estate committee recently sought bids for proposals to list Lakeside but received none."The committee meeting was designed to possibly hire a real estate company to orchestrate a sale of Lakeside but no real estate company has taken interest in that as of this point but we have been in negotiations with some other people so we have some development out there. There has been three or four different entities that have looked at it that would be real positive for DeKalb County. We've looked at possibly a children services (program) and different developments like that have looked at it that have shown some interest. That's real positive. It's a good deal for the $1.5 million to take it over but it's going to take someone with a good heart and good ideas to take it to the next level," said Sotis.

Last fall, UCHRA Officials said if the deal to sell Lakeside to the Brentwood Arts Society did not go through, they would look at the possibility of opening a residential center for youth there. As of now, Sotis said UCHRA has not yet given up on efforts to list the property. "I believe what is going to go on now is that James (Starnes) who is our (UCHRA) Deputy Director, he is going to make some direct phone calls to some real estate companies and see if they want the listing and try to sell the lease to it (Lakeside). But quite honestly, it needs to be in Nashville, Knoxville, or some bigger cities that have a little bit larger exposure versus a town like Cookeville or Smithville. We need to be with some corporate brokerage firms like Coldwell Banker. One of those big ones that will span it out to all the United States. Someone will take the listing, it's just a matter of finding that right person," said Sotis.

Postal Service Plans to Reduce Hours at Dowelltown Post Office

June 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dowelltown Post Office

The U.S. Postal Service is looking to reduce hours of operation at the Dowelltown Post Office.

The proposal is to reduce the window hours from eight hours to six hours a day Monday through Friday. Saturday hours would remain the same. Similar plans have already been enacted at both the Alexandria and Liberty Post Offices.

(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW PUBLIC NOTICE BEING SENT TO DOWELLTOWN POSTAL CUSTOMERS)

Dowelltown Public Notice.pdf (103.17 KB)

A community meeting is set for Tuesday, July 15 at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the proposals with the public at the Dowelltown Post Office. "Back in May of 2012 the U.S. Postal Service announced a strategy that we would keep post offices open in smaller communities but with modified retail window hours to match customer usage. We are looking to take the Dowelltown Post Office from an eight hour office down to a six hour office. We will be holding a community meeting on Tuesday, July 15 at 2:30 p.m. at the post office to discuss this plan with the customers," said David Walton, a spokesman for the Tennessee District of the U.S. Postal Service in an interview with WJLE

Dowelltown Postal customers are being sent a notification letter along with a survey. "What we do in advance of the meeting, we send the customers a letter and along with that letter is a survey because of course they (customers) are the ones who use the post office so we want their input on any decision that we make. This survey gives them four options. One option would be keeping the post office open at reduced hours. The other three suggestions would be to close that office and they would obtain their services through other means," said Walton.

The Postal service will post a final decision a few days after the community meeting is held. "Once the decision is reached, we'll put a posting up at the office to let people know what the decision is. Usually after the decision is made it will be implemented within thirty days," Walton concluded.

Committee Rejects School Budget Again

June 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Concerned that the school system may soon have to actually start dipping into its reserves to operate, members of the county budget committee are asking the school board to keep spending next year down to this year's levels.

By a vote of 4-1 Thursday night, the committee turned down the Board of Education's 2014-15 budget request and asked that proposed spending be cut by $331,469 to keep total expenditures next year at the same level as this year.

Members of the county budget committee are Wayne Cantrell, Rick Cantrell, Jerry Adcock (alternate), Jerry Scott, and Marshall Ferrell. Larry Summers was absent. All voted to reject the proposed school budget except Ferrell."I just feel like we've had this thing (budget) too short a time tonight to know how much to cut," said Ferrell.

The budget committee's action means that total spending for schools is to remain at $20,576,347 for 2014-15. The school board had asked to spend $20,907,816.

Total local revenues for schools will be $4,037,739 for 2014-15, an increase of $25,649. The rest of school funds are derived from State BEP and federal sources.

During a special meeting on the budget, the Board of Education last Tuesday voted 4-3 (with board members Billy Miller, W.J. "Dub" Evins, III, and Johnny Lattimore voting against it) to request that the county adopt a spending plan totaling $20,907,816 in expenditures with total revenues at $19,233,260. To make up the difference , the school board asked that a total of $1,674,556 in available Technology and BEP cash reserves and unassigned monies from the fund balance be budgeted to meet expenses in balancing the budget. Although the school system is not seeking a tax hike, the $1.6 million in reserves proposed for school operation in next year's budget is equivalent to almost an additional 39 cents on the property tax rate, if it had to be funded that way.

County budget committee members are concerned that if reserves are used and eventually depleted, a large tax increase for schools could be coming in the future. "What worries me is going into the reserves by that much money ($1.6 million). Sooner or later that's going to bite us if they keep doing that," said county budget committee member Wayne Cantrell.

While the school system normally anticipates having to use some reserves to balance its budget each year, it has not yet had to do so. Last year (2012-13), the district projected a deficit but actually ended up around $300,000 in the black by the end of the fiscal year. However this year (2013-14), school officials are projecting a shortfall of possibly more than $500,000 by June 30, 2014.

Three weeks ago, the Board of Education submitted its original tentative spending plan for next year but the county budget committee rejected it because it was $273,000 out of balance and would have required a six to seven cent property tax increase. After last Tuesday's meeting, the school board had cut the request for additional local funding down to $29,285.

The proposed budget still includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS.

A total of $20,330 is budgeted for additional supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570; two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School/West School Cross Country Coach and a DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395); and an assistant high school football coach ($2,785). The original plan included $5,000 for an Athletic Director and $2,500 for DeKalb West School to have its own Cross Country Coach but those supplements were cut from the budget. The board decided to create one Cross Country program for the DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School combined subject to funding.

The proposed school budget includes funding for a half-time speech pathologist; one Academic Coach totaling $50,000 instead of $200,00 to fund four positions as had been originally proposed; a new full time Technology position at $30,000; and a four thousand dollar pay raise for the Transportation Director position putting that salary up to $36,710.

Funds are also included in the budget for Odyssey Ware. "This is a credit recovery program and we have been paying for that out of the Race to the Top money. That money has gone away so we have added that ($20,000) into the budget (Under Other Contracted Services),"said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Fifteen thousand dollars is budgeted for New Attendance Software under Other Contracted Services.

Under Evaluation and Testing $37,000 is budgeted including new money of $18,000 for Universal Screener and $4,000 for ACT software. "We will be doing state required assessments of students throughout the year through Universal Screening. The ACT software will help students score better on the ACT," said Director Willoughby.

The Board of Education will meet again in a work session on Wednesday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. regarding the 2014-15 school budget followed at 8:00 p.m. by a special called meeting to consider and act on passage of a revised Tentative budget for the 2014-15 year.

Aldermen Okay New City Budget On First Reading

June 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Janice Plemmons Jackson, Mayor Jimmy Poss, and Hunter Hendrixson
Aldermen Tim Stribling, Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer

It appears Smithville property taxes and water and sewer rates will remain the same for another year.

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen this morning (Tuesday) adopted the new 2014-15 budget on first reading. The vote was 3-1. Alderman Shawn Jacobs cast a no vote saying the budget does not meet city needs. "I appreciate the work you all have done in balancing the budget but I don't think it meets the needs of the city therefore I'm voting no," said Jacobs.

Aldermen Tim Stribling, Danny Washer, and Josh Miller voted for the budget. Alderman Jason Murphy was absent.

Second and final reading will follow a public hearing during another special meeting set for Monday, June 30 at 9:00 a.m. at city hall.

(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW 2014-15 CITY BUDGET)

2015 budget and amended 2014.pdf (1.12 MB)

"This is by far the most barebones budget I've worked with, "said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson. "It's a no frills budget. I'll have to commend this board. Basically all of them told me including the mayor that they wanted a balanced budget and that's what we did. We had to cut out some of the projects we were looking to do this year and they are going to be put on hold until we find ways to fund those projects. Our revenues are not going up or down. Expenditures are the only thing going up. Until we find a way to increase revenues we need to cut back as much as we can without having to use city surpluses to compensate for any revenues we're not getting," said Hendrixson in an interview with WJLE after the meeting Tuesday.

During the meeting, Alderman Jacobs said the city should begin thinking in terms of incremental property tax increases to keep up with inflation. "Unfortunately we can't make improvements in the city as a result of every year or almost every year the consumer price index goes up and we don't have any way of accounting for that. Personally, I think it would be good to take a percentage of the consumer price index and applying that to our property tax rate every year because one of these days we're going to have to raise property taxes. Instead of a small incremental increase every year it's going to be a big increase. I'd rather do an incremental increase every year. I know most people don't appreciate that logic but with government, that's the way it is and I think we are behind so many cities our size in the services we provide them," said Alderman Jacobs.

The new budget totals $6-million 504-thousand 600 dollars. Under the new spending plan, the property tax rate will remain the same at .6490 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Water and sewer rates are to remain the same. City water customers will continue to pay $5.00 per thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are $7.50 per thousand gallons. The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District remains at $2.67 per thousand gallons. City sewer customers will continue to pay $5.00 per thousand gallons plus the flat usage rate of $3.62.

Hourly and salaried city employees will get a 1.5% cost of living pay raise except for police officers who are due to get a raise under the eight step wage scale for all hourly employees in the department.

When the fiscal year started July 1, 2013, the general fund was projected to be $386,608 in the red by June 30, 2014. City officials have revised the deficit projection down to $365,112 but as of April 30, 2014, the city was in the black by $251,517 in the general fund according to the proposed budget. Projections are that the general fund will end in the black by June 30, 2015 by $4,906.

Hendrixson said the actual deficit by the end of this fiscal year 2013-14 (June 30th) should be less than the projection of $365,112. "We took out $150,000 we had put in for paving which isn't going to happen before July 1. When you take that out and a few other things we have the projections down to a little over $200,000 in the red for this fiscal year but we have a good cash surplus in the general fund and water and sewer," he said.

The water and sewer fund, at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, 2013 was expected to finish in the red by $62,280 as of June 30, 2014. The deficit projection now is expected to be $60,149. But as of April 30, 2014, the water and sewer fund was $88,510 to the good. Projections are that the water and sewer fund will end in the black June 30, 2015 by $14,882.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $1,002,000 but $904,000 of that is for airport projects, which are largely funded by grants.

Specific projects are as follows: Legislative- $5,000; Parks and Recreation- $5,000; Public Works-Buildings and Grounds (unspecified)-$10,000; City Hall Building (Unspecified) $10,000; Fire Protection (Pagers) $10,000; Street Department (Unspecified) $25,000; Police Department (Police Car)$28,000; Animal Shelter-$5,000; and Airport-Lighting Rehabilitation $427,500, Fuel Farm $330,500, Hangar Door $50,000, and Land Acquisition $96,000 for a total of $904,000.

According to Hendrixson, a home near the airport is in the flight path and will eventually have to be removed. The state provides grant funds to the city to help acquire the property. "There's a house (currently being rented by the owner) on Allen's Chapel Road that is in our flight path according to the FAA. The state funds monies to municipalities to go out and acquire properties (such as this). We'll have to demolish the house once it's been acquired through the state and it will become city property. The state is in the appraisal phase and then the property has to be surveyed," said Hendrixson.

Proposed water and sewer fund capital outlay expenditures include $55,000 for a water service truck, $150,000 for sewer plant improvement design fees, $410,000 for the automatic meter readers project, which will be funded largely through a loan/grant program

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

43rd Fiddlers Jamboree July 4-5

June 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
43rd Fiddlers Jamboree July 4-5

Thousands will be flocking to Smithville for the 43rd annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival Friday and Saturday, July 4 & 5.

The musical competition kicks off on Friday morning, July 4 at 9:00 a.m.

The order of on-stage events has been altered a bit this year in that the flat top guitar competition will be on Saturday instead of Friday and Junior Fiddlers, Bluegrass Banjo, Contest Fiddle, and Flat Top Guitar will be held Saturday AFTER the Beginners Competition.

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 4:

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.

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree from Smithville Jamboree on Vimeo.

All first place winners get $125, except the Old Time Fiddle Band, which gets $525 for first place and Youth Square Dancing which is awarded $300.
Second place winners get $100 and third place winners receive $75. The Old Time Fiddle Band second place winner gets $425 and $325 for third place. The Youth Square Dance second place team is awarded $200 and $100 goes for third place.

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 Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody.

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 5, 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.

Prize money in most categories is $125 for first place; $100 for second place; and $75 for third place. Awards for Junior Fiddlers and Senior Fiddlers are $225 for first place; $175 for second place; and $150 for third place. Prizes for Bluegrass Band are $525 for first place; $425 for second place; and $325 for third place. Awards for Square Dancing are $400 for first place; $300 for second place; and $200 for third place.

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. The winner gets $300.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon, July 5 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.

Prizes are $100 for first place, $75 for second place; and $50 for third place. One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer Trophy Award and $125 and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy and $175.

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.

To learn more visit http://smithvillejamboree.com/

Two from DeKalb honored by TTU’s College of Arts & Sciences

June 16, 2014
Jacob E. Parsley and Zachary Ryan Martin

Two students from DeKalb County were recently recognized by Tennessee Tech University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Zachary Ryan Martin, a freshman chemistry major, received the Dr. James R. and Dr. William L. Headrick pre-health sciences scholarship. He has been on the dean’s list at TTU and also received the Golden Eagle academic scholarship. After graduation, he hopes to go to pharmacy school. His parents are Stacey and Dewayne and he graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2013.

Jacob E. Parsley, a sophomore math major, received the grateful heart scholarship and the Angelo and Jennette Volpe scholarship. After graduation, he plans to go to graduate school. A 2013 graduate of DeKalb County High School, he is the son of Bruce and Leslie Parsley and Barry and Elizabeth Young.

Mullican Charged with Being Fugitive from Justice

June 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joshua Lynn Mullican

In his latest crime report, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 29 year old Joshua Lynn Mullican of Keltonburg Road, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 19. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, June 11 authorities learned from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) that Mullican was wanted in Arkansas for committing a forced entry to a residence.

37 year old Crystal Shandale Deck of Toad Road, Dowelltown is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court June 19. She was also issued citations for driving on roadways laned for traffic, no insurance, and failure to carry registration. Her license plate expired April, 2013. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, June 11 a deputy spotted a Toyota Camry traveling west on the Nashville Highway and noticed that the vehicle left its lane of travel and had an expired license plate. After stopping the vehicle, the deputy spoke with the driver, Deck. She could not produce a valid driver's license. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended on April 30, 2012 for failure to provide insurance. Her first driving on suspended offense was June 11, 2013. The second offense was November 21, 2013.

40 year old Sharon Joyce Malone of Dry Creek Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court July 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 13 a deputy observed Malone driving a motor vehicle. Having prior knowledge that Malone had a warrant against her, the officer conducted a traffic stop. A computer check revealed her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. She was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Ribbon Cutting Held for New Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad Building

June 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
City officials join Rescue Squad members for Ribbon Cutting
New Rescue Squad Building with the existing headquarters in background

A ribbon cutting was held Saturday for the new 2,160 square foot Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad building which is located next to the existing facility near Green Brook Park.

Joe Johnson, Treasurer and Technician for the Rescue Squad, told WJLE that while the new building is now functional, there is still some work yet to be done to complete it. "We started out with an idea of redoing our Rescue Squad operation where we would have better response time so we came up with an idea for this building. We contacted the city and the county and got their okay. We made up some money and put $8,700 into an account. The county also gave us $8,700 so we had a total of $17,400. We started building from that with the plans and all the Rescue Squad (members) putting all the labor in. We had another fundraiser and built up some more money and as of today, we have actually spent roughly $21,000. That's approximately ten dollars per square foot. That includes doors, site work, utilities, and everything," he said.

Between the new building and the existing facility, Johnson said the Rescue Squad will be able to house all of its vehicles and equipment. "The new building is over 2,100 square feet. It's 60 feet long and 36 feet wide and we have three bays and each is 60 feet long and twelve feet wide. We have four Rescue Squad vehicles. One is a box truck. It is similar to an ambulance. It carries equipment. It can carry a patient. We have a heavy duty four wheel drive pickup truck that pulls the boats and goes in bad locations. We have an original 1969 carryall type vehicle that's very old but still functional. We have like an SUV that pulls the boats. We have a Gator for going in back locations. That's most of the large equipment. We'll keep two vehicles in here with boats hooked to them so that in an emergency, say if somebody has a boat wreck and they are bleeding and on the other side of the lake and ambulance personnel can't get to them, we can immediately leave, go to the lake, put in, and go across to get to them. We also have some paramedics and EMTs on our staff to provide temporary medical help until we can get them (victims) across to meet an ambulance so they can be taken to wherever they need to go," he continued.

The Rescue Squad still has to come up with another five to six thousand dollars to finish the new building according to Johnson. "It wouldn't take us but a couple of months to finish it if we had the money. It's a functional building and we can use it now but we still need to do the guttering. The ramps are graveled. We don't have any electrical wiring other than three lights and one plug but that's just to get us by until we can do better," Johnson concluded.

(TOP PHOTO: City Alderman Danny Washer, Rescue Squad Captain Dustin Johnson, City Alderman Tim Stribling, Rescue Squad Treasurer Joe Johnson, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss. Other Rescue Squad members pictured in the background)

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