Local News Articles

Smithville Police Department Hosting Internet Safety Class

April 10, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Investigator Jerry Hutchins Jr and Police Chief Richard Jennings

The Smithville Police Department will be hosting an Internet Safety Class on Thursday, April 16th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the city hall community room upstairs. The program will be presented to parents and children of all ages.

Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says the program will illustrate the dangers of on-line predators, provide on-line safety tips, and show how someone can track individuals with limited information. The dangers of taking pictures and posting them on-line will also be discussed.

Hutchins and Jennifer Wilkerson, the Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center will be the featured speakers.

Chief Richard Jennings says there is no cost to attend and everyone is invited.." The Smithville Police Department wants to put on informative classes and seminars to help the public. I want everyone to come out and hear what Jennifer Wilkerson has to say. She also has other presentations that she puts on that's geared for teachers and high school students. Other topics of programs she puts on are child abuse, peer pressure, child abuse prevention, speaking out against child sexual abuse, and the topic of rape." Those issues however will not be addressed in this seminar Thursday night.

DeKalb Co. Receives $7K Grant to Help Homeless

April 10, 2009

As the economic downturn continues, the rate of both homelessness and hunger has increased in Middle Tennessee and across the country. Congressman Bart Gordon announced today that DeKalb County has been awarded a $7,422 grant to help people in need of food and shelter.

“The money allocated today will help to expand DeKalb’s existing program,” explained Congressman Gordon. “Not only can the funds be used for food and shelter purposes, but they can also be used to provide one-month assistance with rent, mortgage and utility payments to prevent evictions, and transition assistance from shelters to stable living conditions.”

The America Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law on February 17th, provided funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter (EFSP) National Board Program. ESFP’s objectives are to allocate funds to the neediest areas; to ensure fast response; to foster public-private sector partnerships; to ensure local decision-making; and to maintain accountable reporting.

If you have any questions about the grant DeKalb County received, you can contact the DeKalb County Help Center at 615-597-5175. Funds were allocated on the basis of a formula that took current population, unemployment and poverty into account.

Gordon added, “I am confident that grants like this, in addition to the job creation components and federal grant programs that received funding from the Recovery Act, will pull Middle Tennessee and the rest of the country out of this recession and back on the track of economic prosperity.”

For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the programs that received funding, visit Congressman Bart Gordon’s “Economic Recovery Center” at www.bart.house.gov/recovery.

Director of Schools Hires Professional Personnel for 2009-2010

April 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed contracts with the Professional Personnel for the 2009-2010 school year.

Willoughby presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-

Angie Anderson, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kevin Burchfield, Boyd Cantrell, Harriett Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Mary Anne Carpenter, Patrick Cripps, Dixie Crook, Jared Daniels, Linda Dean, Deborah DePriest, Donna Emmons, Marshall Ferrell, Tina Fletcher, Amanda Fuller, Judy Fuson, Wayne Fuson, David Gash, Marie Hill, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, John Isabell, Lori Isabell, William Jennings, Natasha Judkins, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Lynus Martin, Lori Barnes Myrick, Rolando Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Rebecca Oliver, Lori Page, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, John Pryor, Rebecca Purdue, Joey Reeder, Leslie Rice, Melissa Ruch, Frederick Sanders, Daniel Sebers, Peggy Semmes, Larry Steffee, Amy Tobitt, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Carol Williams, Jonathon Wright, Charlotte Wruble, Melvin Young, and Kathy Hendrix.

Northside Elementary School-

Joyce Alexander, Rebecca Baugh, Lisa Bell, Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Kathy Bryant, Linda Bush, Wendy Colvert, Trent Colwell, Michael Crockett, Amanda Dakas, Alisha Day, Holly Espinosa, Jerry Foster, Ashley Garrett, Carrie Gottlied, Amy Green, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Sabrina Kirksey, Kristy Lasser, Lisa Mabe, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Pamela Miller, Louise Owen, Judy Redmon, Amy Raymond, Bethany Rigsby, Melissa Roysdon, Scott Rupe, Tammy Sims, Jama Todd, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vance, Julie Vincent, Betsye Walker, Ginger Wenger, Tiffany Wheatley, Sandy Willingham, and Gayle Redmon.

DeKalb West School-

Pat Allen, Doris Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Genrose Davis, Tonya Dickens, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Lesa Hayes, Lindsay Holmes, Ricky Hendrix, Regina Kent, Kathy Lawrence, Michael Littrell, Shelia McMillen, Melanie Molander, Tammy Payne, Debra Poteete, Cynthia Preston, Lori Pryor, Cynthia Pulley, Joyce Robertson, Susan Robinson, Pam Sanders, Lori Sexton, Jane Watson, Vicki Wilson, Amy Young, and Danny Parkerson.

Smithville Elementary School-

Sharon Anderson, Ana Bain, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Kim Brown, Vickie Burton, Beth Cantrell, Laura Carter, Layra Crook, Trena Curtis, Sue Driver, Vicky Duke, Wanna Foster, Kelli Foster, Misty Franklin, Tina Gash, Amanda Hardiek, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Betty Hickey, Anna Johnson, Karen Knowles, Carrie Lee, LeVaughnda Midgett, Margaret Nichols, Christina Ontiveros, Lisa Pack, Beth Pafford, Jane Parsley, Kristy Parsley, Jennifer Peek, Mary Pugh, Lori Purnell, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Carol Sampley, Carol Tallent, Jan Thomas, Janet Trapp, Carol-Ann Tripp, Fay Turner, Sherian Waggoner, Janet Woodward, Crystal Young, Christie Young, and Dr. Billy Tanner.

DeKalb Middle School-

Joey Agee, Josh Agee, Jan Alexander, Ashley Barnes, Pat Barnes, Lori Cloyd, Lisa Craig, Lisa Cripps, Tena Davidson, Nancy Dillon, Jenny Elrod, Sabrina Farler, Amy Fletcher, Lori Hendrix, Jill Herron, Tom Hill, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Gail Kirksey, Taleen Lambert, Michael Lewis, Michael Littrell, Debra Moore, Rebecca Oliver, Joy Parker, Karen Pelham, Anita Puckett, Joyce Robertson, Candice Scrabro, Penny Smitty, Lori Sexton, Tonya Sullivan, Kitty Thomas, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, and Randy Jennings.

Central Office Staff-

Gina Arnold, Katherine Ballard, Michelle Burklow, Clay Farler, Dr. Carol Hendrix, Dr. Danielle Collins, Dee Anna Persinger, and Mary Nelle Summers

County Wide-

Amy Fox, Judy Malone, and Lori Rogers.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix updated the school board on recent activities at her school.

In other business, Director Willoughby recommended that the following teachers be granted tenure because they have successfully completed the statutory apprentice period of three years as required for tenure:

William Conger, Misty Franklin, Shelly Jennings, Sabrina Kirksey, Kristy Lasser, Michael Littrell, Rolando Navarro, Elizabeth Pafford, Rebecca Oliver, Amy Raymond, and Amy Young

Meanwhile, Amy Fox has been transferred to a full time special education compliance/federal programs literacy coach.

Michael Hawkins, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, and Vickie Terrell, teacher at DeKalb Middle School are retiring. DCHS teacher and girls basketball coach Mike Shockley has resigned.

The board voted to seek state approval to extend the utilization of two 66 passenger school buses with twelve years of service for this year. The buses will have to be inspected at least every six months, if the state grants approval of the request. The buses, which are currently out of service, would be used for substitute buses.

Meanwhile, the DCHS BETA Club was granted permission to attend the National BETA Club State Convention at Gaylord Opryland April 13th through April 15th

The Junior Class of DCHS was granted permission to have the Prom off campus at the Cedarvine Manor in Lebanon on April 24th from 8:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

The board granted permission for a school bus to be used to transport 4-H'ers to the Sub-Regional Project Achievement Day in Cookeville on May 12th and to the Regional Clover Bowl Contest in Cookeville on May 15th. Both events will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

The school board also approved two budget amendments and will request the county commission to do the same.

One amendment is to appropriate $6,000 in additional state revenue for the Model Dropout Prevention Grant Program, including $4,000 for teachers and $2,000 for instructional supplies.

The other amendment is to appropriate $414,198 from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Energy Efficiency Loan Program to improve energy efficiency in the school system as approved in the Energy Loan Application.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson, at the beginning of the meeting, called for a moment of silence in remembrance of the late Billy Colwell "Janitor Billy" who was a custodian at DCHS.

National Weather Service to Conduct Storm Spotter Class in Smithville

April 9, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

Interested in Weather? Become a National Weather Service Storm Spotter!

A free training class will be held in Smithville on April 22nd at 6:30 p.m.that will teach people how to properly identify and report significant weather phenomena and contribute to public safety. The class will be held in the community room of the Smithville City Hall building.

Even with sophisticated technology like radar and satellites, The National Weather Service still needs ground truth information from trained weather spotters throughout the year.

Charlie Parker, DeKalb County Emergency Management Coordinator and Smithville Fire Chief, says you will learn about how thunderstorms work, how to identify cloud features associated with microbursts and tornadoes, visually estimate wind speeds, and how your reports tie in to warnings and advisories issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). In addition, you will learn about all of the services available from the NWS. "Mr. Tom Johnstone of the National Weather Service is coming to DeKalb County to conduct a storm spotter class. The whole community is invited. No registration is required. Just show up that night. The class is approximately two hours long and it involves familiarizing everybody with the weather including when conditions are right for tornadoes. You will become a certified storm spotter and you will be given a phone number you can call and report to the National Weather Service from your areas. We encourage anybody interested in weather to come to this class, from a novice to emergency personnel. It's a really interesting class. We want to get DeKalb County certified as a storm ready county and in doing that we must have these storm spotter classes. We have people scattered out around the county that would be able to help us in the event of a storm. If they see funnel clouds or tornadoes that pop up they could report it."

Adult volunteers are community minded individuals, who understand that they play an essential role in providing storm information to the National Weather Service. Anyone can be a spotter.

Judge Patterson Hands Down Sentences in Criminal Court

April 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Judge David Patterson handed down several sentences Monday in Criminal Court.

25 year old Warren Brandon Glasby pleaded guilty to vehicular assault, driving under the influence, aggravated burglary, and theft over $500.

Glasby received a total of six years on these charges, all on probation except for 48 hours to serve in the DUI case, pay a $365 fine and lose his license for one year.. This sentence will also run consecutively with another case against him. His probation will be supervised by community corrections and he must successfully complete an alcohol and drug assessment, make restitution totaling $2,100 to the victims, and pay $250 to the economic crime fund.

39 year old Walter R. Redmon pleaded guilty to three counts of theft under $500. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run concurrently with each other and with another sentence against him in the General Sessions Court.. He must serve his sentence in the county jail and pay restitution totaling $3,325 jointly and severally with a co-defendant. He was given jail credit from September 24th, 2008 until now.

25 year old Brandon Tallent pleaded guilty to attempted sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a two year sentence, all suspended to DOC probation. The case is to run consecutive to a DeKalb County General Sessions sentence against him which he is now serving but concurrently with any other sentence. Tallent must make restitution of $50 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, perform 100 hours of community service, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

38 year old Comer Vance pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $500, two counts of theft under $500, and shoplifting. He received a total of four years with 180 days to serve. The sentence will run consecutive to a sentence against him in Warren County. Vance will be on DOC probation supervised by community corrections. He must make restitution to the victims and make a contribution to the economic crime fund. Vance was given jail credit from September 24th to now.

Grand Jury Tours County Jail

April 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The members of the Grand Jury were given a tour of the DeKalb County Jail Monday.

According to the brief report issued by the grand jury, "the Jail was found to be well maintained and in good working order. Sheriff Patrick Ray was very cooperative and informative. He seemed very compassionate towards the well being of the inmates and concerned with budget management."

The report was signed by all members of the DeKalb County Grand Jury and the DeKalb County Grand Jury Foreman.

Teachers Preparing for TCAP Tests

April 7, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Students in grades 3-8 will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test this month.

Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 7 to 12 and Testing Coordinator, says TCAP testing is conducted each spring. "The Achievement Test is a timed, multiple choice assessment that measures skills in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Student results are reported to parents, teachers, and administrators later in the year."

"Testing dates for this year are April 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, & 22nd. This year the state allowed six consecutive school days to be used for testing instead of the usual five days which allowed our school system to have a weekend between subjects allowing students to rest between tests."

"On April 15th, we'll have Reading and Language; on April 16th, we'll have Math, and then April 17th will be a makeup test day for those two areas as well as any tests that special education students take. April 20th will be Science; April 21st, Social Studies; and April 22nd will be the final makeup test day."

"The TCAP Achievement Test includes only Criterion-Referenced items for students in grades 3 through 8 in Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies."

"Criterion-Referenced items measure a student's performance according to specific standards, rather than to the performance of other test takers. The Achievement Test assesses student performance on items directly aligned with the State Curriculum Content Standards. Performance information is grouped by Reporting Categories. Each Reporting Category measures student performance on items linked to specific State Performance Indicators. The TCAP Achievement Test Reports provide information in terms of three Performance Levels: Below Proficient, Proficient, and Advanced."

"A brochure created to assist parents in understanding the reports they receive after their student has taken the TCAP Achievement Test will be sent to each parent along with specific scores."

Dr. Hendrix adds that there are specific things parents can do days before the testing to assure that the students do well. "See that your child is rested and eats a good breakfast, see that your child arrives at school on time and is relaxed, and encourage your child to do the very best possible. If your child is sick, I would send my child to school (on testing day), I'd wait until one of the make-up days. These are just some of the things parents can do to assure that their child does well on the tests."

City Leaders Urged to Re-authorize Water Fluoridation

April 7, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dr. Steven Cooper
Dr. Mitchell Tatum

It's been at least three or four years and maybe longer since the City of Smithville fluoridated it's water supply and many believe it's time the fluoride treatment was started again.

City officials say the machine that feeds the fluoride into the water system broke down a few years ago and was never repaired or replaced.

Smithville physician Dr. Steven Cooper and dentist Dr. Mitchell Tatum addressed the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday night asking that the fluoridation be re-activated for the benefit of the citizens.

Dr. Cooper says fluoridation is needed "The reason I'm concerned about this is because if we're not fluoridated, then we need to make this known to the physicians in the community because, especially in well child exams, we're supposed to be supplementing fluoride, giving vitamins that contain fluoride or supplementing fluoride in areas where the water supply isn't fluoridated. Of course, I can do that and I have already given out some vitamins with fluoride supplements but I think that would penalize people who are uninsured or people who are lower income who can't afford these supplements. I would ask the board to consider voting to make sure that the fluoridation is reinstated. Water in the United States has been fluoridated since World War II and it's cut the cavity rate by 50%. It's a lot easier and cheaper to prevent a cavity than to go back and fill a bunch of cavities. As far as the costs, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says on average in the U.S. it costs about 72 cents per person per year to fluoridate. If you don't fluoridate, you double the dental costs in most communities. That's been studied. Fluoridation is very safe in the proper concentration. Obviously, too much of anything can be bad. If you eat too much salt, that could be bad for your blood pressure, too much sugar, diabetes, whatever. It's the same with fluoride. If you ingest too much it can be harmful but not in the proper concentrations, which in the city water system that would vary between .7 and 1.2 parts per million. To give you an analogy, if you equated that to distance, that would be equivalent to an inch per sixteen miles so it's a very tiny concentration and done properly it would be very safe with no adverse affects."

Dr. Tatum added that "Nearly 100 national and international organizations recognize the public health benefits of community water fluoridation in preventing cavities. Some of them are the American Dental Association, the American Dietetic Association, the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the CDC which has named fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century in the United States. That's just to name a few. I would also like to quote some of the past Surgeon Generals including Dr. C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He stated that fluoridation is the single most important commitment a community can make to the oral health of it's children and future generations. Dr. Audrey Manley, Acting Surgeon General from 1995 to 1997, stated that data consistently has indicated that water fluoridation is the most cost effective, practical, and safe means for reducing the occurrence of tooth decay in a community. Water fluoridation continues to be the cornerstone of community oral disease prevention. Fluoridation has been the standard and the policy of Smithville and the State of Tennessee for many years. It is not a mysterious substance. It is not an experiment. It is safe. It is cost effective and it is needed for this community. There is no credible organizations that are against it. Water fluoridation has been studied for over 50 years. It occurs naturally in our water and there has never been one study that has said that it's a health risk. That's from the CDC's website."

The aldermen voted 4-0 to have city officials research the feasibility and costs of re-implementing the fluoridation treatment, and check to see whether any state assistance is available. The issue will be revisited at the next city council meeting on April 20th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

City Attorney Says Mayor Must Re-do Appointments

April 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen
Mayor Taft Hendrixson

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson will have to try again if he wants to appoint Tim Stribling to the city industrial development board and Walter Burton to the Smithville Electric System Board.

The aldermen voted 4-0 Monday night to set aside those appointments after City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. issued an opinion that the mayor should have first notified the aldermen in writing of his intentions before making the appointments, according to the city charter

During the March 16th city council meeting, Mayor Hendrixson appointed Burton to fill the unexpired term of the late John Bill Evins on the Smithville Electric System Board. He also appointed Stribling as a member of the Smithville Industrial Development Board, to serve out the remaining term of his brother Leon Stribling, who recently resigned.

The aldermen, at the March 16th meeting, voted 4 to 0 to approve the appointment of Stribling. However the board was split 2 to 2 on Burton's appointment. Mayor Hendrixson cast the tie breaking vote in favor of Burton. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted for Burton but Aldermen Tonya Sullivan and Jerry Hutchins, Sr. voted no. Alderman Willie Thomas was absent.
Alderman Sullivan, during the March 16th meeting, complained that the appointments of Stribling and Burton were not included on the agenda and that the mayor may have violated the city charter by not presenting his request in writing to the aldermen.

Both Sullivan and Mayor Hendrixson later asked City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. to render a legal opinion on whether the appointments were made properly.

Parsley, during Monday night's meeting (April 6th), said be believed the mayor should have given written notice to the board and recommended that the appointments of Stribling and Burton be set aside until written notice is given. Based on Parsley's opinion, the board voted 4-0 to set aside the appointments. Alderman Steve White was absent.

In a letter to the mayor and aldermen, Parley wrote that "After the regular March 16th, 2009 meeting with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, I was asked to give an opinion regarding the appointment of Mr. Tim Stribling to the City of Smithville Industrial Board and Mr. Walter Burton to the Smithville Electric System Board without written notification to the board."

"The Charter for the City of Smithville under Section 6 provides as follows: It shall be the duty of the Mayor, by written communications, to lay before the Board any information coming to his attention which, in his judgment, demands the consideration of said Board. It is my opinion that although the charter does not specify how that written communication should be given, the charter does require some type of written communication, be it by placing same in the minutes or a letter to the Board of Alderman. Therefore, these appointments would require some type of written notification to the board before passage."

So, the positions which would have been filled by Stribling and Burton will remain vacant for now until Mayor Hendrixson formally gives written notice to the aldermen of his appointments.

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson reported to the aldermen Monday night that the city water and sewer operation is currently operating at a deficit, mainly due to higher electricity costs, and that rate adjustments may be needed in the near future.

Mayor Hendrixson provided a monthly break down of water and sewer electric expenses from September, 2007 to February, 2009. "These are for the water intake, water plant, and sewer plant. In September 2007, the total bill for the three was $19,883. In January, 2009 it was $33,422 and in February it was $32,875. That is an increase of approximately 59% from a year and a half ago. That is causing the water and sewer operation to operate at a deficit. We have covered the deficit and have no problem doing that but the state will not let us continue operating the water system at a deficit. If we do they'll come in and set the rates for us. The water rates have not been increased since 1998. That's eleven years that the water rates have been the same. But the cost of chemicals, electricity, and everything has gone up tremendously in the last eleven years. The last time the sewer rates were increased was in 2005 and I think the state mandated that be done. I just want to make you aware that the water and sewer operation, mainly because of the electricity costs, is operating at a deficit this year. It will have to be addressed in the near future."

Under the current rate structure, City water customers pay $3.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $3.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are 50% higher.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District is $1.85 per thousand gallons. Those rates (DUD) are evaluated annually based on cost.

City sewer customers pay the flat usage rate of $3.62 plus $3.25 per thousand gallons thereafter.

The City of Smithville has 2,344 water and 1,877 sewer customers.

Taylor Indicted in December Robbery at Sonic Drive-In

April 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Eddie Leroy Taylor

A DeKalb County man, charged with a December 2nd robbery at the Sonic Drive-In of Smithville was indicted by the Grand Jury Monday.

42 year old Eddie Leroy Taylor of A.B. Frazier Road will appear in criminal court on the robbery indictment Monday, April 13th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, at the time of the arrest, said that Taylor, who was dressed in camouflage and wearing a mask, attacked a 17 year old car hop who was serving a customer. Taylor allegedly grabbed the employee's money belt and threw the car hop to the ground. Taylor then dragged the employee across the concrete parking lot until the money belt broke lose causing bodily injury to the car hop. Taylor then fled with the money belt which contained approximately $75 in cash.

In addition to the robbery indictment, Taylor was also indicted on charges of burglary and theft under $500 in a separate case.

According to detectives, Taylor took a drill on December 12th belonging to a work crew doing electrical work on the First Baptist Church recreation building on Church Street in Smithville. At last report, the drill had not been recovered.

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