Local News Articles

UCHRA to Purchase Forty-four Transit Vehicles

June 10, 2009
Edward Hale, Phyllis Bennett, Rebecca Harris, Mike Foster

Economic stimulus dollars is making a difference in the Upper Cumberland Area Rural Transit System (UCARTS) operated by the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA). “As a result of the stimulus dollars, the Agency will purchase forty-four (44) new vehicles to add to the UCARTS program to meet the requirements requiring replacement of vehicles with excessive mileage. During the economic hardships that the residents of the area are facing, the program has increased demand for UCARTS services. The system is making a difference in individuals getting to work; going to the doctor, drug store, and grocery store; and being able to get to other business appointments,” stated Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

UCARTS offers transportation to rural residents of all ages with first priority to elderly, handicapped, and economically disadvantaged with medical needs and provides each community with customized services to address the needs of residents as they are identified. The economic stimulus dollars will allow the agency to replace vehicles in each of the fourteen (14) counties and to provide back-up vehicles to meet additional transportation needs. “The goal of the Agency is to operate a safe, well maintained system to accommodate the transportation needs of the residents of the Upper Cumberland Area,” stated Rebecca Harris, Transportation Services/Director, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

“As a result of approximately $12,081,232 made available to the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency for the fourteen (14) county area through the Economic Stimulus Package, the Agency is able to expand programs and bring back other programs that have not been available for a number of years such as the Summer Youth Employment Program. This help from the federal government will provide immediate economic assistance as well as make a difference for years to come,” stated Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

In addition to the forty-four (44) additional vehicles funded through the stimulus package, employment and training will provide dollars to be spent in each of the cities and counties, older adults and other adults with disabilities will receive additional meals, weatherization to homes across the district will reduce energy costs, the head start program will experience an increase to offset rising cost in providing the service, and the Agency will assist additional individuals with an increase in the Community Services Block Grant Program. “Each of the counties and cities in the Upper Cumberland is pleased to have programs that will help the residents in this difficult economic time. The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has the experience needed to implement the programs in an efficient, effective manner and works tirelessly to make the fourteen (14) county area the best place possible to live, work, and retire,” stated Mike Foster, Chairman, Board of Directors, UCHRA.

CUTLINE: Pictured from left to right: Edward Hale, Mayor of Liberty; Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director; Rebecca Harris, UCHRA Transportation/Services Director; and Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive & UCHRA Board of Directors Chairman.

Summer Chefs, Be Sure To Follow Grilling Safety Guidelines

June 9, 2009

Nice weather, cookouts and gatherings are the perfect recipe for summer good times. The State Fire Marshal’s Office wants to remind Tennesseans that cooking safety is important, whether indoors or outdoors.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas and charcoal grills cause an average of 900 home structure fires and 3,500 home outdoor fires each year. "By all means, enjoy the weather and the cookouts,” says State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman, “but keep fire safety on your mind as you grill.”

Be sure to practice the following safety guidelines:

• Position the grill away from siding, deck railings, overhanging eaves and overhanging branches. Half of all gas and charcoal grill fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch.
• Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
• Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when handling food.
• Periodically remove grease buildup in trays, to prevent ignition by a hot grill.
• Gas grills have a higher fire risk than charcoal grills. Leaks and breaks in the gas cylinder or hose are the leading cause of gas grill fires. Placing combustibles too close to heat and leaving cooking unattended are two other leading causes.
• Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Applying a light soap-and-water solution to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by bubbling.
• If you determine your grill has a gas leak, turn off the valve on the tank and have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
• If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
• Use only gas cylinders with an overfill protection device (OPD). OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel. OPDs shut off the flow of gas before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up.
• Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
• Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
• When using charcoal grills, avoid using starter fluid – use a chimney starter instead. This is a cylindrical metal tube that uses paper to start the coals. Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid.

“Outdoor grilling is a big part of Tennesseans’ summertime activities,” said Newman. “Make safety your No. 1 priority by using common sense and following these tips.”

The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

WJLE Receives Special Recognition from AmVets Post 101

June 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joe Carter, Dwayne Page, and James T. Jay Smith

WJLE was honored to receive special recognition from the AmVets Post #101 Tuesday.

Joe Carter, Commander of the AmVets Post #101 and 2nd District Commander for the State and James T. Jay Smith, Past State Commander of AmVets presented WJLE with a plaque "In appreciation for outstanding service rendered to Carol F. Hanan, AmVets Post 101, Smithville."

Station manager Dwayne Page accepted the plaque on behalf of WJLE.

Smithville Elementary to get ARRA Grant for Lunchroom Equipment

June 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen and Commissioner of Education Dr. Timothy Webb have announced school food authority grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These grants will fund the purchase of lunchroom equipment for school district's participating in the National School Lunch Program.

The DeKalb County School System is to receive a $42,000 grant for Smithville Elementary School

The ARRA provides this funding as a one-time appropriation to Tennessee.

"We cannot ignore the importance of healthy, nutritious meals that give students the fuel they need to focus in school and continue good eating habits as adults," Governor Bredesen said. "This Recovery Act money will allow school districts across the state to improve the quality of school nutrition, thus improving the quality of our children's education."

The focus of these competitive grants include purchasing equipment that improves the safety of food served in school meal programs, improving the overall energy efficiency of school nutrition operations, supporting expanding participation in school meal programs and improving the overall quality of school nutrition meals that meet dietary guidelines.

To be selected, a school must have 50 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced price meals and must meet other criteria set out under the ARRA.

"We are very fortunate to be able to provide nutritious meals to our students, especially as we meet the challenges of increased standards next year with the Tennessee Diploma Project," Commissioner Webb said. "Our children need every educational tool available and that includes nutritional services."

Cookeville Man Found with Pills Arrested by Sheriff's Department

June 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brian Bronson Roberts
Earnest Paul Barnwell
Lisa Rena Taylor

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a Cookeville man last week after they found him with many pills in his possession.

32 year old Brian Bronson Roberts of Hamer Street, Cookeville is charged with one count of sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug Xanax and one count of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug Hydrocodone. Bond for Roberts was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on June 25th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Wednesday, June 3rd, deputies responded to a call about shots being fired on Hurricane Ridge Road in Smithville. When the officers arrived, they saw Roberts throw something on the ground. Upon a further investigation, Deputies found a container with 90 and ½ pills believed to be Xanax and 6 pills believed to be Hydocodone. They also found 9 more pills believed to be Hydrocodone in Roberts' pocket.

Meanwhile, 39 year old Danny Lee Smithson Jr. of Brooke Lane, Smithville and 42 year old Fowler Stoney Ramsey of Rolling Acres, Smithville were arrested Tuesday, June 2nd after deputies responded to a fight call on Brooke Lane.

Ramsey was charged with public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says Ramsey had indicators of being intoxicated and officers found on the ground beside Ramsey's feet, an ink pen barrel containing white residue. Ramsey admitted that it belonged to him and that he was using the device to snort pills. Ramsey's bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on June 25th.

Sheriff Ray adds that Smithson, who was in control of a motor vehicle, was charged with a 4th offense of driving under the influence, a 5th offense of driving on a revoked license, and possession of a prohibited weapon. Deputies found a 15 inch long club with writing on it lying in plain view in his vehicle. Smithson's bond was set at $101,000 and he will appear in court on June 25th.

In another case, deputies stopped a vehicle on New Home Road in Smithville Friday, June 5th for a traffic offense. The driver, 38 year old Jefery Vincent Overall of West Green Hill Road, Smithville was arrested for a 6th offense of driving under the influence. Upon speaking with Overall, Deputies noticed his speech to be impaired, he was unsteady on his feet, and Overall had poor motor skills. Bond for Overall was set at $10,000 bond. He was also issued a citation for violation of implied consent. His court date is set for June 25th.

On Sunday, June 7th, the Sheriff's Department received a tip of someone growing marijuana at his residence. Deputies arrested 21 year old Eric Joseph Dickens of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville for manufacturing marijuana after they found seven marijuana plants growing on the back deck of his home. Dickens' bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on June 18th.

(Today), Monday, June 8th deputies arrested two more people on sealed indictments from the drug round up several weeks ago. 34 year old Earnest Paul "Hot Rod" Barnwell and 27 year old Lisa Rena Taylor were picked up at a residence on Webb Lane in Smithville. Barnwell was indicted on two counts of sale of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) and two counts of delivery of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). His bond was set at $150,000. Taylor was indicted on an attempt to introduce a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) into a penal institution. Bond for Taylor was set at $50,000. Both Barnwell and Taylor will appear in Criminal Court on June 26th.

Meanwhile, Sheriff's Department detectives are currently investigating complaints received over the last few months of someone destroying mailboxes in parts of the county. Sheriff Ray says "We have had complaints on Blue Springs Road, Underhill Road, Banks Pisgah Road, Vaughn Lane, Big Rock Road, Four Seasons Road, and other roads in the county where someone has destroyed mailboxes. We are asking everyone to be on alert in the county and report any information such as tag numbers, vehicle descriptions, or any individuals who may be involved in the vandalisms." If you have any information of criminal activity in the county, you may call the DeKalb County Crime Tip Line at 464-6400 or call Sheriff Ray at the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

11th Annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run set for July 4th

June 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 11th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, will be Saturday, July 4th, the weekend of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree.

The deadline for pre-registration is Monday, June 29th. Race entries will also be accepted on Saturday, July 4th, at the race check-in, located on Highway 56 North, ¼ mile North of Smithville, in front of the Family Medical Center.

All pre-registered participants must check-in at 6:30 a.m. All other participants must register at 6:00 a.m.

The entry fee is a donation of at least $15.00 ($10 for 18 & younger) for pre-registration and $20.00 ($15 for age 18 & younger) for those who register after June 29th (walkers and runners).

The race begins promptly at 7:00 a.m., rain or shine, on Highway 56 North in front of the Family Medical Center. The race ends on Church Street.

Age divisions for the 5K Run are as follows: 11 and younger, 12 to 18, 19 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 and older (women only), 60 to 69, and 70 and older (men only).

T-Shirts will be given to all participants on the day of the race. Please pre-register to guarantee your shirt size. Awards will be given to the male and female individuals with the overall best times in the 5K Run and the best times in each of the 5K age divisions. Top three One-Mile male and female times by participants age 12 and younger will also receive awards and recognition.

All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

Registration forms may be obtained at www.fiddler5k.com.

DeKalb Middle School Student Wins Essay/Poster Contest

June 6, 2009
 Anita Puckett and Quenton McSparren-

Quenton McSparren recently participated in an essay/poster contest sponsored by the Country Music Association and the Tennessean: Newspapers in Education.

Mrs. Anita Puckett, Quenton's 8th grade Reading teacher, shared/offered the contest to her classroom students.

The contest consisted of writing an essay over the topic "Why are school music programs important? and creating a poster that follows along with their essay theme. Quenton submitted his essay/poster by the May 15th deadline and was contacted on June 1st of his winning.

McSparren won an array of prizes such as a $300.00 savings bond from CMA, Four tickets to the CMA Music Festival concert at LP Field,$100.00 gift card from Barnes and Noble, Nashville Shores Family four pack,Grand Ole Opry family four pack, $100.00 Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum prize pack, plus 4-pack of tickets, poster and essay to be published in The Tennessean and a commemorative plaque from all sponsor partners. Mrs. Puckett won a
wonderful selection of prizes as well. In addition to that Quenton won classroom passes (up to 34) for Nashville Shores and the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

McSparrens essay/poster will be published in the Sunday June 7th edition of The Tennessean.

Below is Quenton McSparren's essay

Why are school music programs important?

"Music promotes unity among students. I was fourteen before I learned to read music and joined the band. It was a great experience; I had one problem they did not like me counting to keep track of where we were. To me learning to read music notes was easy. I was diagnosed
with dyslexia and dysgraphia in the first grade and have been struggling ever since. This was the first time I did not feel behind my peers. I only wish the music teachers had asked if anyone had special needs. I try to hide my disability. Nevertheless, band was the one place I was not behind in my reading. Finally, it provides a chance to learn about music that you may never get anywhere else. That is why school music programs are important."

Police Investigating Church Break-In, Make Arrests in Other Cases

June 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving recent crimes including a break-in at a local church.

Chief Richard Jennings says on Tuesday, June 2nd, on or about 6:45 p.m. someone broke into the Temple Baptist Church at 500 Miller Road. Entrance was gained by breaking open the front door of the church. A blue tinted water jug containing approximately $200 in paper and coin currency was taken. The estimated damage to the church structure is approximately $500.

Meanwhile on or about Tuesday, May 26th, in the morning hours, someone struck the brick entrance to the subdivision of Love Lane on Riley Avenue. Damage to the entrance is estimated at approximately $1,000. Police suspect that considerable damage would have been done to the vehicle that struck the brick entrance.

Officer Travis Bryant was dispatched to 634 Restview Drive on Wednesday, June 3rd at approximately 10:15 p.m. to investigate an assault. Upon arrival, Officer Bryant talked to the victim who said she was sitting on her front porch when someone came up behind her, grabbed her head and began assaulting her with what she thought was a rock or some other hard object. The woman was unable to identify her attacker.

Chief Jennings says any information you could provide to help police solve these or any criminal offenses is greatly appreciated. All information is kept confidential.

Meanwhile Smithville Police have made several recent arrests.

32 year old Sharon R. Barnwell of 1071 Banks Pisgah Road and 28 year old Brandon Edward Smith are each charged with theft of property. Bond for each is $5,000 and each will appear in court on June 11th. 33 year old Jo Ann Rutland of 223 East Bryant Street, Apartment 1 is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and aggravated burglary. Her bond totals $11,000. Rutland's court date is June 11th. According to police, Officer Matt Farmer recovered some stolen property in a pawn shop in McMinnville on Tuesday, May 26th. This property, along with other articles, was taken in a burglary on May 21st from the residence of Jose A. Narvaez of 1222 South College Street. The total estimated value of the property taken in the burglary was $3,301.

Chief Jennings says 41 year old Teodulo Lara Garcia of 721 Short Mountain Street, Smithville was arrested Friday, May 29th and charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine), violation of the open container law and no driver's license. His court date is June 11th and his bond is $11,500. According to police, several complaints were made about the manner in which Garcia was driving. Officer Matt Farmer responded to the call and at approximately 9:58 p.m., he made contact with Garcia near the Ace Hardware store in Smithville. Garcia submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Further investigation revealed that he had cocaine in the vehicle and an open container of beer. Garcia did not possess a driver's license.

44 year old David Junior Sandlin of 632 Restview Avenue, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His court date is June 11th and his bond is $1,000. Officer Travis Bryant responded to 632 Restview Avenue on Saturday, May 30th at approximately 9:07 p.m. because of a complaint of persons fighting in the front yard. Upon arrival, Officer Bryant made contact with Sandlin. According to police, Sandlin was across the street from his residence creating a disturbance by yelling and using profane language.

41 year old Robert K. Geist of Aurora Drive, Murfreesboro is charged with public intoxication. His court date is July 16th and his bond is $2,500. Lieutenant Steven Leffew and Officer Randy King were recently dispatched to Mapco Express to investigate a complaint of an intoxicated person in the parking lot. The officers made contact with Geist, who was very unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech, and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person.

33 year old Amy Denise Green of 917 Short Mountain Street was arrested by Officer Scott Davis on Saturday, May 30th and charged on an outstanding warrant from Wilson County for criminal trespassing.

23 year old Roel Sosa Celaya of 320 West Broad Street is charged with driving on a suspended license, simple possession of a schedule II drug (cocaine). His court date is June 11th and his bond totals $2,500. According to police, at approximately 2:23 a.m. on Sunday, May 31st, Officer Matt Farmer observed a vehicle turn in to the parking lot of the apartments located at 320 West Broad Street. The vehicle did not have it's head lights on. Officer Farmer approached the vehicle to investigate and made contact with Celaya, the driver. Upon further investigation, Officer Farmer learned that Celaya was driving on a suspended license. He was placed under arrest. During the search, incident to arrest, a white powdery substance, believed to be cocaine, was found.

29 year old Brandon N. Loader of 2069 Bethel Road, Apartment G-2, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence. He will be in court June 11th and his bond is $5,000. Officer Travis Bryant was dispatched to McDonalds restaurant at approximately 11:39 p.m. on June 3rd to a possible impaired driver. Officers Bryant and Matt Holmes had difficulty in getting the vehicle to stop, but it was finally pulled over in the parking lot of Save-A-Lot on Congress Boulevard. The automobile was operated by Loader. Officer Bryant noticed that Loader's speech was slurred and there was an odor of alcohol on his person. Loader exited the vehicle upon request and submitted to a field sobriety task in which he performed poorly. Loader was then arrested for DUI. Loader told Officer Bryant that he currently had a DUI charge pending in court in Warren County. Loader further stated that he had been convicted of a first offense DUI on June 7th, 2002, a second offense of DUI on February 23, 2005, and a third offense of DUI on September 20th, 2007 all in Warren County.

39 year old Robert Todd Hendrixson of 2320 Old Snows Hill Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended/revoked license. His court date is June 25th and his bond is $1,000. Officer Matt Holmes, on Thursday, June 4th, observed a vehicle traveling west on Broad Street. He clocked the speed of the vehicle on his radar unit at 52 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour speed zone. The vehicle was stopped near Sunshine Cleaners on Broad Street. Officer Holmes checked Hendrixson's license through the state computer and found the status to be suspended/revoked.

Lighthouse Boy's and Girl's Ranch has Celebration Service and Open House

June 5, 2009
Grand Opening of the Lighthouse Boys' and Girls' Ranch

A celebration worship service, ribbon cutting, and grand opening of the Lighthouse Boys' and Girls' Ranch at Lighthouse Christian Camp was held at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, May 30th. The service was followed with a delicious meal and tours were given of the two Ranch homes and the camp facilities. The event was well attended by many from DeKalb County, Nashville, Putnam, and other areas of Middle Tennessee.

The Lighthouse Boys' and Girls' Ranch is a ministry of Lighthouse Christian Camp, Inc., and the homes, one for boys and one for girls, will provide a permanent home for children in need of a safe, secure, and loving environment. Children, ages five to 12, will be accepted by referral from grandparents and others, who find it difficult to provide for the basic needs of children in their care. Many children are being left with grandparents, relatives, and friends, and find they are unable to provide the care that children from difficult circumstances really need and deserve.

Joe and Kim Madden are the parents for the boys' home, and Clint and Jeanne Underwood are the parents for the girls' home. Each home will accommodate six children. The beautiful, two-story homes have spacious living areas, large kitchen, and dining room, library, and five bedrooms. Every bedroom has a private bath, and every bath has double vanities.

The Lighthouse Boys' and Girls' Ranch will provide programs and services designed to strengthen and support the total development of the children. This will be accomplished primarily through the parents, attendance in church, and participation in all the programs at Lighthouse Christian Camp.

"We get so excited thinking about the opportunity to provide a Christ-centered, biblically based, stable and loving home for precious children in such desperate need. A mom and dad that love the Lord Jesus Christ will provide consistent love, discipline, and direction children need and deserve," said Bro. Ben Chapman.

The children that come to live at the Ranch will be assured of a permanent home through high school and will be provided an opportunity to live in a transitional home on the property until they graduate from college, technical school or until they are gainfully employed.

Those that may know of children that would benefit by being a resident at the Lighthouse Ranch are encouraged to call Bro. Ben Chapman at 615-597-1264 for more information.

For those that are interested in serving or supporting the ministry of Lighthouse Boys' and Girls' Ranch or Lighthouse Christian Camp, please call any of the staff at 615-597-1264 or visit the website at www.lighthousechristiancamp.com.

(Pictured:Front Left to Right: Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, County Executive Mike Foster, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Ben and Ermeda Chapman, President & Camp founders; Donna England, Executive Board; Stacey Hancock, Ranch Advisory Board; Jeannette Gaw, Ranch Advisory Board; Kay Quintero, Ranch Advisory Board; Kim Madden, Ranch parent

Middle: Jeanne Underwood, Ranch parent; Clint Underwood, Ranch parent

Back: Gordon Parham; Ranch Advisory Board; Pastor Larry Green, Ranch Advisory Board; George Robinson, Executive Board; Adam Whitecotton; Joe Madden, Ranch parent)

State Senator Mae Beavers’ Legislative Update

June 5, 2009
 State Senator Mae Beavers

In her latest Legislative Report, State Senator Mae Beavers says the General Assembly addressed bills this week that left many scratching their heads as to the role of government and the validity of the Constitution.

Senator Beavers says she saw herself as the sole "no-vote" in the Senate after debate on an energy bill that would heap huge costs and burdens on small counties in the form of mandated international building codes. In addition, bills were passed that stressed the importance of both the 10th and 2nd Amendments. The Senate hopes to wrap up its business within the next two weeks before adjourning for the summer.

Meanwhile Senator Beavers says the State Senate approved legislation this week that seeks to combat the destruction of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution by the Federal government in their attempt to infringe upon states' rights. Senate Bill 1610, known as the "Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act," sponsored by Senator Beavers, takes a step in the right direction to restore to the states control of intra-state commerce and the regulation of firearms manufactured and sold within Tennessee.

"Be it the federal government mandating changes in order for states to receive federal funds or the federal government telling us how to regulate commerce contained completely within this state - enough is enough," urged Beavers. "Our founders fought too hard to ensure states' sovereignty and I am sick and tired of activist federal officials and judges sticking their noses where they don't belong."

The Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act asserts that if a firearm and/or ammunition is made totally within the state of Tennessee, and stamped "Made in Tennessee", then the federal government has no jurisdiction over that item in any fashion so long as it remains in state and outside of interstate commerce. All state regulations applying to the possession of firearms in Tennessee would still be applicable and must be complied with. This legislation is being proposed to prevent a federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress. This bill is similar to one signed into law in Montana, and is currently pending passage in at least 30 other states.

The State Senate has approved legislation (SB 2300) aimed at drawing down stimulus funds for energy efficiency in Tennessee. Yet, opponents of the bill, most noticeably Senator Beavers, argued that such high energy standards would heap huge costs on local builders.

"The last thing we need to do during a housing slump is to raise the prices of homes so that environmentalists in Washington and Europe can have something to cheer about," argued Beavers. "Protecting the environment and lowering future energy costs is important; however, for the state to mandate adoption of international building codes during a recession is pure stupidity."

The Senate voted 21 to 9 on Thursday to override Governor Phil Bredesen's veto of legislation that would allow law-abiding handgun permit holders to "carry" into restaurants that serve alcohol. The measure would apply as long as the owners of the premises have not posted notification that guns are banned and that the legal permit holder abides by current law which prohibits them from drinking alcoholic beverages while carrying their firearm.

The vote to override the bill was taken as crime victim Nicki Goeser, who supported the action, looked on from the floor of the Senate. Goeser's husband Ben Goeser was shot and killed by Hank Calvin Wise in April in the Karaoke business he managed. There were about 50 people inside the business when the shooting occurred. Nicki Goeser and patrons who watched as the crime occurred were prevented from carrying a weapon in the establishment under current Tennessee law.

Thirty-six other states, including Tennessee's neighbors, have a law that allows for legal permit holders to carry their firearms into restaurants or bars that serve alcohol. There has been no move to repeal any of those laws.

Two bills dealing with landowners and their responsibility when trespassers come onto their property were approved this week. One bill, SB 679, amends Tennessee's criminal trespass law to shift the burden from individual property owners to the alleged trespassers. Current statute requires extensive posting and signage, and this bill shifts that burden to the individual who will be required to know if he/she has permission to be on the land. Farmland can prove to be especially difficult to post, and this bill will protect farmers to ensure that trespassers are held accountable for their actions.

The second bill, SB 2102 , addresses problems experienced by landowners and farmers where ATV riders or others have trespassed on private property. Under current law, if a trespasser is harmed by a dangerous condition created by a force of nature, like a ditch produced by heavy rainfall, the landowner could be responsible regardless of whether or not the person harmed was invited. This legislation seeks to remedy that action by protecting landowners when the condition is one created by natural forces.

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