Local News Articles

Willoughby Names Julie Vincent as Principal at Smithville Elementary School

June 6, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
SES Principal Julie Vincent
Assistant SES Principal Karen Knowles

Smithville Elementary School is getting a new principal.

Julie Vincent, who for the last year has served as assistant principal at Northside Elementary School, will become principal at Smithville Elementary School, effective July 1st.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made the announcement Wednesday. "Julie Vincent will be our new principal starting July 1 at Smithville Elementary School. Karen Knowles will be the assistant principal there. We're excited. During the transition there, I am sure that Ms Vincent will be bringing some new ideas and new thoughts to Smithville Elementary. We have already received several positive comments," he said.

Dr. Bill Tanner, who had been principal at Smithville Elementary for several years, will be re-assigned to another position in the school system.

Vincent, who once taught at Smithville Elementary, said she is excited to be returning to the school. "I am very excited. I love Smithville Elementary School. When Darrin and I first moved here, about seventeen or eighteen years ago, I started teaching here in the special education department so its like coming back home again. I'm real excited to be over here at Smithville Elementary," she said.

She began her teaching career in DeKalb County at Smithville Elementary teaching resource in the special education department and then moved to Northside Elementary, after that school opened. "I later moved to a fourth grade classroom, then to a third grade classroom. This year I was the assistant principal at Northside,"she said.

Untitled from dwayne page on Vimeo.
A native of Maine, Vincent received her bachelors degree in Vermont. She later married and moved to Missouri. The couple lived there for a couple of years before relocating to DeKalb County. "From my bachelors degree, I went to Tennessee Tech and got my masters degree in early childhood special education. I then went back and got my Eds in instructional leadership," she said.

Vincent is married to Darrin Vincent of the very popular and award winning duo Dailey and Vincent. The couple have three children, Zachary, a senior at DCHS; Victoria, a sophomore; and Chandler, an eighth grader at DeKalb Middle School. Zachary plays on the Tiger basketball team. Victoria is a basketball cheerleader and Chandler plays basketball on the Saints team.

Asked if she had any special changes planned for the school, Vincent said she just wants to build on the success already established there. "Right now I'm just trying to get my feet on the ground. I've got some ideas that I am excited about. There's a lot of great things that's already taking place here at Smithville Elementary. I am just looking forward to enhancing some of the good things already happening," she said.

"I am going to miss being at Northside, " said Vincent. "They are a wonderful family over there. I am going to miss being over there, being with Dr. Redmon and the rest of the staff. But I am excited to come over here and get reacquainted with some old friends here and make some new ones," she said.

Patrick Cripps Named Principal at DeKalb County High School

June 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Patrick  Cripps
Assistant DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant
Assistant DCHS Principal David Gash

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has announced that Patrick Cripps has been named principal at DCHS.

Cripps, who has served as assistant principal at DCHS for the past seven years, succeeds retiring principal Kathy Hendrix. Prior to his role as assistant principal, Cripps was guidance counselor at the high school for five years.

A graduate of DCHS, Cripps earned his BS in psychology at Tennessee Tech in 1995. Four years later, he received a degree in pre-K through 12 school counseling from Tech. In 2004, Cripps earned an Eds degree in instructional leadership, also at Tennessee Tech.

Cripps, in an interview with WJLE, said although he is well acquainted with the school, the students, and staff, his role now will be very different. "As an assistant, I dealt mostly with the discipline. Now, I will have greater responsibilities. I will be dealing more with academics and working with teachers whereas before I was working more closely with students," said Cripps.

"I'm looking forward to getting school started and getting back at it," he said. "We're developing the schedule right now and we're hiring several new teachers. We had several to retire and those teachers are going to be missed but we're looking forward to our new teachers coming in," said Cripps.

Son of Gene and the late Brenda Cripps, Patrick is married to the former Amy Williams and they have three children, 12 year old Callie Ryann, seven year old Zoe Potter, and one year old Brody John Cripps. Cripps' sister, Michelle Burklow, is the Supervisor of Instruction for pre-K to sixth grade in the local school system.

Cripps becomes the 10th principal at DCHS since 1963. His predecessors included Amon Snyder, Jim Butler, Tucker Hendrix, Ernest Ray, Dr. Charles Collier, Larry Johnson, Dr. Barry Roberts, Weldon Parkinson, and Kathy Hendrix.

Director Willoughby said he appreciates the work former principal Kathy Hendrix did at the high school and he is looking forward to working with Cripps. "Kathy Hendrix did a great job at the high school and Patrick Cripps will do a great job. He has been interviewing and recommending people for hiring. He has got a real good staff there and I am real excited about the things that are going to happen and the changes that he is going to implement. He is already doing a great job, although he doesn't officially really start until July 1. Patrick has energy and is excited about the high school being his school and the fact that he is there for DeKalb County children that are coming on up," said Willoughby.

Untitled from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Assistant principal David Gash will remain part of the administration team at DCHS and Kathy Bryant will be coming to the high school from DeKalb Middle School to fill the other assistant principal position. "Our assistant will be Kathy Bryant," said Willoughby. "She is moving from DeKalb Middle School to the high school. She is going to be working mainly with the curriculum, analyzing and giving details and looking at some areas that we can improve on and some areas that we can strengthen even more. She will be helping to develop some improvement plans for us in areas that we would like to be making higher grades. She is going to be a real plus to that staff. She dealt with the curriculum at the middle school and was very successful there and she will also be successful at DeKalb County High School," he said.

"Mr. Gash will be dealing more with discipline than curriculum," said Willoughby.

Aldermen Add New Spending to City Budget, Mayor Concerned About Shrinking Surplus (CLICK PDF TO READ ENTIRE BUDGET)

June 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen (Older Photo)

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading an $8.2 million dollar budget ordinance for the 2012-13 fiscal year which includes cost of living pay raises for employees, larger pay hikes for the police chief, secretary-treasurer, and airport manager, the creation of one new full-time fire department administrator position, addition of a part-time court officer position for the police department to relieve overtime, and funding for a new fire department ladder truck. A new eight step wage scale would also be established for employees in the police department, while all other city employees would remain under the current four step wage scale

(CLICK THE PDF LINK BELOW TO READ THE ENTIRE CITY BUDGET)

BUDGET FYE 2012- 2013_0.pdf (577.67 KB)

The budget ordinance passed on a 4 to 1 vote. Alderman Steve White voted no saying he wanted more time to study the budget. Second and final reading will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Taft Hendrixson asked that action be delayed until another workshop could be held to address the new spending, which will require an appropriation of $975,233 from the surplus to the general fund, just to balance the budget without a property tax increase. Mayor Hendrixson pointed out that while $646,000 of the $975,233 to be taken from the surplus is going to pay for the ladder truck and the local grant match for an airport runway and apron overlay (paving) project, the city will be using $329,233 of the surplus to fund recurring expenses, and that, he said is a concern. "If we spend everything in this budget, it's coming out of reserve, or there is another alternative, raise taxes and I don't think anyone wants to do that. I certainly don't. Normally we don't spend everything that's in the budget, but its in there, and we might. I don't know. I hope not. But its not prudent business to take out of your savings account (surplus/reserve) and do daily spending," said Mayor Hendrixson.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said he felt comfortable going ahead and approving this spending plan, since budgets in the past have projected red ink and actually ended up in the black, due to sound financial management practices during the fiscal year. "This board, especially you (Mayor) and Hunter (Hendrixson) have done a tremendous job in holding the line on spending and it seems that you always return money to our surplus account so because of that I am comfortable with showing a deficit because I don't think we will spend it and if we do we can certainly address it next year," said Alderman Jacobs.

According to the budget, the city's general fund ended the 2011 fiscal year on June 30th last year at $221,830 (actual) to the good and was $579,593 (actual) in the black by the end of the 2010 fiscal year on June 30th two years ago.

"What's happening now is our spending is going up and our revenues are not," said Mayor Hendrixson. "We're probably not going to add anything to the reserve this year," he said.

Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the city's financial advisor added, "sales taxes and property taxes have been fairly constant for the last few years but they have not been increasing so revenues have been fairly stable. You're probably going to end up (the 2013 fiscal year) with a deficit because of the fire truck payment," she said.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix asked how much money the city has in the reserve account.

Hunter Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer, said "the general fund, in our checking account today, and it has stayed roughly the same for the last several months, I think its around $3.5 million dollars and then we have $400,000 in cd's for the general fund," he said.

If the city discovers later in the year that changes need to be made in the budget, Alderman Hendrix said amendments can be adopted. "We can make amendments to the budget after its passed. If we get six months down the road and realize we have made a huge error we can come back and make amendments," she said.

Alderman Jacobs agreed, saying cuts could be made later if necessary. "I would prefer to go ahead and pass it as it is and make cuts later on in the year if we have to. We're certainly going to try and hold the line on spending the best we can. There are a lot of improvements in this budget that I think we can be proud of. I am very proud of this budget. I think it is a very good budget," he said.

"Even though it (spending) is a little higher than usual, we are making some great improvements in this budget," said Alderman Hendrix. Some of these improvements won't have to be made again for many years to come because we're doing it now while we have the revenue to do it. Its nice to save every penny we make but its not nice to never make improvements," she said.

Under the budget, a new fire administrator position would be created. The salary is to be set at $35,000 plus benefits. No other full time fire department positions have been included in this budget, but others may be considered if a grant is obtained to fund them.

The budget also increases the salaries of three other department heads or managers as follows: Secretary-Treasurer: regular pay to be increased from $49,896 to $56,000 per year
Police Chief: regular pay to be increased from $48,204 to $55,000 per year
Airport Manager: regular pay to be increased from $29,818 to $35,000 per year

Each of these four positions, fire administrator, secretary-treasurer, police chief, and airport manager, like all other city employees are budgeted to receive a one percent bonus at Christmas time, and they receive a health insurance benefit equating to $7,905; along with an $85 life insurance and $276 dental insurance benefit, paid by the city.

All other city employees are to receive any step pay raises due them, plus a 3% cost of living increase, under this budget.

Step increases will be given on the hire anniversary date, rather than July 1 of each year, beginning with this budget.

New employees will receive the full amount of the starting pay for their positions when put to work, instead of their pay being increased after a sixty day probationary period.

A part-time court officer to work twenty hours is to be added to the police department, with overtime reduced for the other officers by approximately 52 hours per officer.

The aldermen are also seeking to adopt an eight step wage scale for just the police department, upon the recommendation of Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Currently, all city employees are set up on a four step scale. Employees with up to four years of service get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale plus a yearly cost of living increase, as approved by the aldermen. City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale only get the cost of living increase.

Chief Caplinger has compared what Smithville pays its officers with law enforcement agencies in surrounding towns and found that the city is falling behind. Smithville has lost officers in recent years to departments in other cities for better pay, and Chief Caplinger is concerned that his department may lose more personnel, unless the city keeps wages competitive.

Chief Caplinger has proposed a new wage scale for Smithville police officers, which would have them top out after eight years, rather than four years in the city's current wage scale. Chief Caplinger said he came up with a plan for his department, after surveying other towns, averaging the starting and top out pay for each position in their police departments and using that as a model "I took each city's starting salary and their top out salary (for each position of rank in the department) and I combined those together, including ours. That gave me an average starting pay and an average top out. I just took it from the middle, kept our starting pay the same, and then took the difference from that starting salary and the averaged middle and put it in an eight step between that," said Chief Caplinger. "It doesn't make us the highest paid but it doesn't make us the lowest, we're just in the middle of our surrounding area. It puts us comparable with our competition around and gives an incentive for the officers to stay," he said.

The city budget will not be drastically impacted, according to Caplinger because the raises are spread out over eight years instead of four. "It really didn't hurt the budget of the city because the raises were basically the same, it just extended it out further but gave a higher top out, which is an incentive to keep employees. Nobody is getting a big raise. In fact, a couple of officers may be getting a little less raise (under the new plan) than they would otherwise have received July 1 (under the current wage scale)," said Chief Caplinger

The proposed new eight step wage chart for the police department (including a 3% cost of living increase) this year is as follows (hourly rate) and (Annual Pay-No Overtime)
Officers:
$13.88 (Step1)- $28,879
$14.98 (Step2)- $31,150
$16.07 (Step3)- $33,421
$17.16 (Step4)- $35,692
$18.27 (Step5)- $38,006
$19.36 (Step6)- $40,277
$20.46 (Step7)- $42,548
$21.63 (Step8)- $44,990

Sergeants-Detectives:
$15.30 (Step1)- $31,814
$16.71 (Step2)- $34,749
$18.12 (Step3)- $37,684
$19.53 (Step4)- $40,619
$20.94 (Step5)- $43,554
$22.35 (Step6)- $46,490
$23.76 (Step7)- $49,425
$25.17 (Step8)- $52,360

Lieutenant:
$16.10 (Step1)-$33,485
$17.62 (Step2)-$36,656
$19.15(Step3)- $39,827
$20.67 (Step4)-$42,997
$22.20 (Step5)-$46,168
$23.72(Step6)-$49,339
$25.25 (Step7)-$52,510
$26.77(Step 8)-$55,680

Captain:
$20.41 (Step1)-$42,462
$21.83 (Step2)- $45,397
$23.24 (Step3)- $48,332
$24.65(Step4)- $51,267
$26.06 (Step5)- $54,202
$27.47 (Step6)- $57,137
$28.88 (Step7)- $60,072
$30.29(Step8)- $63,007

The proposed budget, totaling $8-million 297-thousand 195, calls for no increases in water or sewer rates or the property tax rate, of .6190 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value. But in order to balance the budget, the city is appropriating to the general fund $975,233 from the surplus. The city property tax rate generates approximately $790,000 a year.
Water customers will continue to pay $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates are $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage.
The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to be $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter. In addition, all sewer customers will continue to pay the $3.62 cent per month flat rate usage fee.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $2.00 per thousand gallons but will increase to $2.05 per thousand gallons beginning with January 1, 2013 sales.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $2,382,667.

Specific projects are as follows:
Financial Administration:
$25,000 unspecified

Parks and Recreation:
$10,000 unspecified
$5,000 for a fence

Public Works/Buildings and Grounds:
$15,000 for a trailer

City Hall Building:
$25,000 unspecified

Fire Protection:
$10,000 unspecified
$496,000 for ladder truck payments

Street Department:
$20,000 for a chipper truck
$20,000 for a vehicle
$15,000 for traffic lights

Police Department:
$25,000 for a police car
$25,000 unspecified

Swimming Pool:
$15,000 unspecified

Golf Course:
$5,000 unspecified

Airport:
$1,666,667 for the runway and apron overlay (90% of that funded by grants with a 10% local match by the city)

Animal Shelter:
$5,000 unspecified

Sanitation Fund:
$5,000

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: Automatic meter readers project- $410,000; Capital improvements-paint water tank- $80,000; Sewer plant improvement study & engineering fees- $18,000; Sewer plant updates- $250,000; Sewer rehabilitation camera- $125,000
Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

The proposed budget breaks down as follows:

REVENUES:
General Fund: $4,424,570
Special Revenue Fund-Sanitation: $283,000
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,378,000
Drug Fund: $7,050
Appropriation of Surplus- General Fund: $975,233
Appropriation of Surplus-Drug Fund: $11,750
Appropriation of Surplus-Water & Sewer Fund: $217,592

Total Revenues: $8,297, 195

EXPENDITURES:
General Fund: $5,399,803
Special Revenue Funds Sanitation: $282,927
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,595,592
Drug Fund: $18,800
Total expenditures: $8,297,195

Smithville Man Accused of Assaulting Child with an Airsoft Gun

June 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Thomas Smith

A Smithville man is accused of assaulting a neighbor child, using an airsoft gun.

42 year old Thomas Smith will be in court on June 21, charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $2,500.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Wednesday, May 30 officers were called to a residence on Morgan Drive in reference to an assault. Upon arrival, police spoke with a woman who said that her six year old son had been shot in the back with an airsoft gun. She accused her neighbor, Smith, of doing the shooting. The officers checked the boy and saw a raised red welt on his back. He was not seriously hurt. Police then went to Smith's home on Morgan Drive to speak with him. Smith denied shooting the boy with an airsoft gun, claiming instead that he had shot the child with a paper wad, using a rubber band. Smith gave officers permission to enter his home, and there they found an airsoft gun on the couch, belonging to Smith.

Police say the incident occurred after Smith found the boy playing in his yard and ordered him off the property.

Airsoft guns are replica firearms that fire plastic pellets.

Meanwhile, 27 year old Rhonda Goff was cited for shoplifting on Friday, June 1. She will be in court on June 21. Chief Caplinger said an officer was dispatched to the Dollar General Store in reference to a shoplifter. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with an employee of the store who said she saw Goff putting merchandise into her purse. During a search of the purse, the merchandise was recovered.

25 year old Kara Funk was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, June 3. She will be in court on June 28. Chief Caplinger said an officer was dispatched to Rite Aid Pharmacy in reference to a shoplifter. When the officer arrived, Funk was at the counter. Funk had things in her purse belonging to the store, totaling $338.

23 year old Audrey Grieve is cited for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court on June 14. According to Chief Caplinger, on Saturday June 2, Grieve was a passenger of a car stopped by police for a traffic violation. The K-9 dog was deployed and indicated on the vehicle. A search turned up a hand rolled cigarette containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and two glass pipes used to smoke marijuana. The pipes contained residue believed to be marijuana.

32 year old Heather Trapp is cited for theft of merchandise (shoplifting) and criminal trespassing. She will be in court on June 21. Chief Caplinger said on Tuesday, May 29, an employee of the Dollar General Store told police he saw Trapp place items in her purse. Trapp was confronted and confessed to the theft, removing the items from her purse. Trapp also admitted that she had been ordered, in a prior shoplifting offense there, not to be on the property of the Dollar General Store.

24 year old Christine Cushing is cited for shoplifting. She will be in court on June 21. According to Chief Caplinger, while shopping at the Dollar General Store, Cushing concealed items in a bag that she was carrying. The merchandise was recovered.

31 year old William Doop is charged with criminal impersonation and evading arrest. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court on June 21. Chief Caplinger said officers were dispatched to a residence on Fisher Avenue in regard to drug trafficking and to serve a warrant on Doop for violation of an order of protection. Upon arrival, police were told that Doop was not at home, but that he had been there. Officers looked through the residence but couldn't find Doop. He was later found hiding outside under a bush. Police spoke with both Doop and his wife, 30 year old Ismay Doop. They gave his name as 33 year old Anthony Hicks. After a further investigation, it was learned that they had lied about Mr. Doop's identify. He was arrested for criminal impersonation and taken to jail. Mrs. Doop was charged with filing a false report with an officer. Her bond is $1,500 and she will also be in court on June 21.

35 year old Wesley Chandler is charged with public intoxication and simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 21.

Chief Caplinger said an officer responded to DeKalb County Ace Hardware in reference to a man in the store who appeared to be intoxicated. Police arrived and confronted the man, Chandler, at the knife counter. Chandler's speech was very slurred. He was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Chandler admitted to having consumed a couple of beers and said that he had taken some medication. He was placed under arrest. Chandler gave the officer consent to search his vehicle and he found on the console, a container with a pill believed to be hydrocodone. Several cans of beer in a cooler were also found in the vehicle.

38 year old Glen Jones is charged with criminal trespassing. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 14. Chief Caplinger said police responded to a residence on Restview Avenue on a complaint of an unwanted guest. Upon arrival, officers found Jones at the residence. Police had already confronted Jones earlier that day and told him to leave the home and that he would be arrested if he returned. Jones was placed under arrest.

Fiddlers Jamboree Issues Media Release About Festival

June 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jack Barton

The 41st annual Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival will be Friday and Saturday July 6th & 7th starting at 9:00 a.m. each day

Realizing that many people want to know more about how the Fiddlers Jamboree operates, Jack Barton, President and Coordinator of the festival, said a news release has been prepared that will hopefully address any questions they may have concerning the festival.

CLICK THE FOLLOWING PDF FILE TO READ ENTIRE FIDDLERS JAMBOREE NEWS RELEASE

2012 Jamboree Press Release FINAL.pdf (190.87 KB)

Three Nashville Area Men Arrested During Burglary in Progress at Center Hill Sports Marine

June 4, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dainier Vasquez Hernandez
Davier Negron Cabrera
Lisyander Morales

A Sheriff's Department deputy caught three Nashville area men committing a burglary and theft at Center Hill Sports Marine on Sparta Highway while doing his nightly patrols, checking on businesses Friday evening, June 1.

20 year old Dainier Vasquez Hernandez of Star Boulevard, Madison; 28 year old Davier Negron Cabrera of Drummond Drive, Nashville; and 28 year old Lisyander Morales of Lutic Street, Nashville are each charged with possession of burglary tools, vandalism, theft of property over $1,000, and burglary. Bond for each is $16,500 and they will be in court on June 21.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that entry was made by cutting through a fenced area on the property. Once inside the fence, the three men entered several boats. Found at the scene were bolt cutters, used to cut the fence. Inside their vehicle, a white Suburban, the deputy found various tools including a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, and binoculars. Items stolen from the boats included sixteen life jackets, two tubes, a knee board, two fire extinguishers, and multi boat ropes. The total estimated value of these items is $1,240.

According to the officer's report, the deputy discovered the burglary in progress while conducting his nightly business checks. While pulling in the parking lot of the business, the officer saw someone inside the gated area, carrying a tube that is normally pulled behind a boat. The man waved at the officer, then dropped the tube. When the deputy stopped and got out of his patrol car, he saw life jackets piled up outside the fence and noticed that the fence had been cut. Bolt cutters were found by the fence. He also spotted a white Suburban parked across the road and heard persons nearby running into the woods. More life jackets were found at the vehicle. After searching the area, the deputy saw one of the suspects in the woods near the Suburban. Two other men were later seen walking along Sparta Highway. All three men were taken into custody.

According to Sheriff Ray, this is an example of how his program of conducting nightly business checks is working. "We do checks on businesses throughout the county on the night shift. The officers go around and check the doors to make sure they are locked and to make sure nothing around the buildings looks suspicious. It puts a patrol car in the area. It also lets the owner of the business know that we have checked on them. We do leave a card there at the business which shows their property was checked by us. We do not write the times of the checks on those cards, but we know and that gives us a time line in case something does happen later," said Sheriff Ray.

Atnip Caught Driving Drunk on Riding Lawn Mower

June 4, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Robert Roy (Bobby) Atnip, Jr. (Older Photo)
Michael Andrew Snyders

A Smithville man is in trouble with the law after he was caught allegedly driving drunk on a riding lawn mower late Saturday night on Riley Avenue.

42 year old Robert Roy (Bobby) Atnip, Jr. of Allen Ferry Road, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for possession of drug paraphernalia and for having an unauthorized vehicle on the roadway. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court June 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, June 2, an officer saw someone driving a riding lawn mower all over the roadway on Riley Avenue at 10:54 p.m. The deputy turned around and got behind the man, Atnip, and saw him run over a curb, and then come back into the roadway and stop. Atnip had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. He submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. Atnip also submitted to a blood alcohol test. A needle and two spoons were found on Atnip.

According to Sheriff Ray, TCA 55-10-401 (Tennessee DUI Law) states that "It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any of the public roads and highways of the state, or on any streets or alleys or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, or any apartment house complex, or any other premises that is generally frequented by the public at large, while under the influence of any intoxicant".

Meanwhile, in other cases 22 year old Tameika Danielle Gist of Quinland Lake Road, Algood is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on June 7.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, June 2, a deputy responded to a domestic in progress at the Keystop gas station on Highway 56 north. When the officer arrived, he made contact with Gist and her boyrfriend. Gist said they got into a verbal argument after he arrived late to pick her up from work. Gist admitted to punching her boyfriend in the face. He had a red mark below his left eye. The officer determined that Gist was the primary aggressor.

26 year old Michael Andrew Snyders of West Main Street, Smithville is charged with violation of probation, evading arrest, and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. His bond totals $6,000 and he will be in court June 7. He is being held without bond on the violation of probation and his court date on that offense is June 26.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy, while patroling on Highway 70 east Tuesday, May 29, spotted Snyders walking into the Eastside Citgo store. Having prior knowledge that Snyders had a violation of probation warrant against him, the deputy stopped, went inside the store, and placed Snyders under arrest. After putting Snyders in the patrol car, the officer went around to get in the vehicle. Snyders then opened a back door to the car, got out and fled on foot. The deputy caught up with Snyders about 100 yards away and handcuffed him. During the arrest, the officer noticed Snyders trying to put a small brown medicine bottle into his front pocket. The deputy retrieved the bottle and found nine green round pills, believed to be Clonazepam, a schedule IV drug.

37 year old Travis Payne Pinkerton of Gassaway Road, Woodbury is charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued a citation for misuse of registration. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court June 7.

Sheriff Ray said that a deputy stopped Pinkerton's vehicle on Highway 70 west last Monday, May 28 for a registration violation. The driver, Pinkerton, told the officer that he did not have a license. A computer check confirmed that Pinkerton's license were revoked for prior offenses in Wilson and Chester counties. Also, he said the license tag on Pinkerton's vehicle was for another automobile.

"Paint the County Purple" in Celebration of Relay for Life

June 3, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bessie Jones of the Flower Box Prepares Purple Bows for Relay for Life

You are urged to help "Paint the County Purple" this week in celebration of the Relay for Life on Friday, June 8, at Green Brook Park.

Organizers ask local businesses and residents to help show their support for the Relay for Life and the fight against cancer by turning their business or home purple. Examples might include hanging purple balloons or bows on their front doors or mailboxes, or wearing purple to work.

The Flower Box, downtown Smithville, has distributed ninety purple bows, prepared by Bessie Jones to those wanting to join in the effort. The ribbon for the bows was provided by DeKalb County Florist, downtown Smithville. No more bows are currently available.

The 15th annual Relay for Life, sporting the theme "Dancing Under the Stars", begins Friday with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations.

The lineup of musical entertainment and events for this year's Relay is as follows:
5:00 p.m.: Jimmy and Alisha Stephens
5:15 p.m.: Kathy Goodwin
5:30 p.m.: Dessa Ray
5:45 p.m.: Suzanne Slager

5:55 p.m:
Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347
The National Anthem by Suzanne Slager
Invocation by Dwayne Cornelius, Pastor of the New Life Pentecostal Church

6:00 p.m.:
Opening ceremony
Welcome by Ivadell Randolph
Introduction of Cancer Survivors
Song honoring Cancer Survivors by Bonnie Rigsby and Shelley Cross
Prayer for Cancer Survivors by Don Davidson, Pastor of the Real Life Community Church
6:45 p.m.: David Turner & Friends
7:00 p.m.: Page Family
7:15 p.m.: Gather Round Boys
7:30 p.m.: Terry Hodges
7:45 p.m.: Tina Boston
8:00 p.m.: Fluty and the Flutones
8:15 p.m.: First Assembly of God
8:30 p.m.: Kevin Roberts
8:45 p.m.: Wendell Judkins

9:00 p.m.
Luminaria Ceremony
Prayer by Jeff Armstrong, Pastor of the Smithville Church of God
9:15 p.m.: Smithville Church of God Youth Group
9:30 p.m. New Life Pentecostal Praise Group
9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Chapel Youth Group
10:00-11:00 p.m.
11:00 p.m.: 61 Seconds
Midnight: Team Activities Begin

Free Fishing Day, Saturday June 9th

June 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tony Cross

Free Fishing Day in Tennessee is Saturday, June 9 when anyone in the state may fish free without a license in Tennessee's public waters.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides the free day in hopes of increasing interest in fishing. The day allows anyone the opportunity to try this great outdoor sport, especially children. In addition, children ages 13-15 may fish without a license beginning on Free Fishing Day through the following Friday, June 15.

As part of Free Fishing Day, TWRA officer Tony Cross says children may fish Saturday, June 9 at the Wildlife Management Area pond at Pea Ridge. "Up at Pea Ridge, we will be having our Pea Ridge Fishing Rodeo at the pond on the Wildlife Management area. It will run from 7:00 a.m. until approximately noon on Saturday, June 9. We will be furnishing all the kids lunch and drinks and we will have prizes for each participant. Children ages 15 and younger will be eligible to participate in the fishing rodeo. Anyone sixteen or older is not eligible. We ask that if you have access to a fishing rod or pole to bring that with you. Bring a chair and maybe an umbrella to keep the sun off of you. If you want to bring your own bait you are welcome to do so but we will furnish, probably some night crawlers. So just come on up. We hope to have a great day of fishing."

The day and week are annual events in Tennessee and are great opportunities to introduce children to the enjoyment and excitement of a day on the water catching fish. The TWRA is among several organizations planning special fishing events, primarily for youngsters. The TWRA annually provides several thousand pounds of fish for stocking for various events.

Free Fishing Day and Week apply to Tennessee's public waters, TWRA owned and operated lakes, and state park facilities. Some privately owned pay lakes continue to charge during this special day and week. Anglers may consult with lake operators if there are any questions about a particular facility.

UCDD Remains In Upheaval

June 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Upper Cumberland Development District remains in upheaval.

The latest development came Thursday when the interim director Earl Carwile announced his resignation in a scathing letter to the UCDD Board. Carwile's resignation is effective June 15.

The executive committee is set to meet in a special-called session Tuesday, June 5, at 10 a.m. to discuss it.

Carwile, who was also the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation director, has been the agency's interim director since the board placed former director Wendy Askins on administrative leave in February while an internal review of allegations of misappropriation of funds was conducted. Askins resigned a few days before her administrative leave was up.

"I have been a faithful employee of UCDD for over 16 years, however, I will not continue to be associated with such an organization," Carwile said in his resignation letter.

He goes on to state that the board needs to be "transparent and provide financial security to an agency that has been so negatively impacted by poor fiscal management."

His resignation comes a week before the board's annual meeting, where new officers will be officially announced.

In his resignation letter, Carwile mentions the large attorney bill the agency recently received and how he has been criticized for authorizing raises. He also specifically levels some of his criticism at UCDD board chairman Mike Foster.

"I feel it highly important to point out that you, Mr. Foster, as well as others, criticized mostly the fact that a total of $25,000 per year in raises were provided among eight employees for assuming responsibility of those eight that are no longer with the agency, rather than hiring individuals that we could not afford, especially after the exceedingly great lawyer bill that was received upon approval by the board. Where were your concerns when the accrual of a $250,000 lawyer bill was rising?"

Carwile expressed frustration over the decision by board chairman Foster and other board members to hire former agency employee Amanda Mainord as an independent contractor to handle grants for their counties.

The board voted that Mainord could take what Carwile estimates to be $135,000 in profits from grants she worked while she was at UCDD.

Carwile also states that at least two board members were contacted by a UCDD employee expressing concerns of possible illegal activities being performed by Askins and former deputy director Larry Webb, but did nothing to address it.

"In closing, I want to disclose that it is clear that this board does not have the best interest of the agency's employees or those in which are served throughout the Upper Cumberland region in mind when making decisions for future success," Carwile states. "Therefore, I am providing you with notification that I can no longer serve as interim executive director nor will I be striving to see success for the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation, a positive asset that this agency in the past has been able to serve our communities with prior to the devastation generated by another poor decision on the board's behalf to make a loan to Living the Dream without supplying any necessary questions."

Carwile's resignation comes just as the newly-formed executive director selection committee is preparing to hire a permanent UCDD director.

According to the Herald-Citizen, advertisements will be posted as soon as possible in all Upper Cumberland newspapers with applications to be submitted by the close of business on Monday, June 18.

Applicants will be required to have a BS degree with six years experience in supervisory or administrative position or 10 years experience in supervisory or administrative position.

Knowledge or familiarity of grant writing is also preferred, along with having people skills, knowledge of housing projects and computer skills. The applicant is also preferred to be willing to move to the Upper Cumberland or live in the area.

The applications are to remain unsealed and sent to Sherry Thurman at the Upper Cumberland Development District. The selection committee will then meet Wednesday, June 20, to unseal the envelopes, narrow down the most-qualified candidates and hold first interviews Monday, June 25. The magic number of five applicants will go before the full board for a final interview, with a new director to be named hopefully by the first of July.

The starting salary has also been set at $90,000 and the person is to be evaluated every quarter.

THE FOLLOWING IS A COMPLETE TEXT OF EARL CARWILE'S RESIGNATION LETTER TO UCDD BOARD CHAIRMAN MIKE FOSTER:

Mr. Foster,

On February 24, 2012, the UCDD Board placed me as well as a co-worker into interim positions after an investigation identified the misappropriation of funds and unethical/illegal practices by previous management. Upon this appointment, we received no guidance from the UCDD board or direction in which was best suited for the situation in which we inherited, rather an immediate criticism of practices that were only for the betterment of the agency.

After we received much questioning from several board members, primarily through backstage gossping (sic), an act that one certainly wouldn't expect from board members who are supposed to be of highest support; most members received education of events either by email, a phone call or in person. I feel it highly important to point out to you, Mr. Foster, as well as others, criticized mostly the fact that a total of $25,000 per year in raises were provided among eight employees for assuming responsibility of those eight that are no longer with the agency, rather than hiring individuals that we could not afford, especially after the exceedingly great lawyer bill that was received upon approval by the board. Where were your concerns when the accrual of a $250,000 lawyer bill was rising?

In taking responsibility for an agency that has received much negative publicity, it should be the intentions of the board to be transparent and provide financial security to an agency that has been so negatively impacted by poor fiscal management. However, in last week's meeting, it is clear that the board has no intention of following through with that will. Instead, a vote was taken to give Amanda Mainord, former UCDD employee, administration dollars for work that she completed while being employed at the Development District. Dollars that total $135,000.

I have to ask myself, if you or other board members owned a private business, such as an insurance firm, and Ms. Mainord was employed by you to recruit clients, she decided to take your business for personal gain, after you had paid her and supplied her all the training necessary, would you vote a unanimous yes? Yes, that she could simply take the profit in which you had paid her to work for? I believe we all know the answer to that. No.

It is clear that the board does not have the best interest of the agency's employees or those in which are served throughout the Upper Cumberland region by decisions that continue to cripple the agency financially.

Mr. Foster, I am certainly apologetic that you continue to ‘have problems' with the agency and your hand has been burned (comments that you made in May 24 meeting), however, you should identify that you and others have enabled all actions to occur that have caused you to ‘get burnt' (sic). Your hand continues to be burnt (sic) because you and others do not identify the real problems that have taken place. The real problem was that the previous executive director and her deputy, who profited much with their positions, in many ways that have already been identified by the NC5 Investigative team. However, the bigger problem is that you and others continue to focus on ‘who contacted the media' and ‘who took information out'? Both items listed are things that may never be disclosed and falsely accusing staff will provide you with even greater problems and will never allow for success to occur at this agency.

I do think it is of high importance to point out that you, as the UCDD board chairman, were contacted, via email, on June 15, 2011, by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability Mike Hann, notifying you of a question raised by a citizen who was greatly concerned about the Living the Dream project.

Also, it is of importance to point out that two board members were contacted by Michelle Price, with her expressing concern of illegal activities being performed by both Wendy and Larry. Michelle told the agency's HR manager, as well as other directors, of her concern and was advised to receive legal counseling. According to Mrs. Price, she was told that there was nothing to worry about by those board members. Should these names need to be unveiled, that certainly is not a problem, as she has told numerous individuals on different occasions of these conversations.

Many people here at the Development District give their all to ensure they provide ample service to their communities. However, we as management continue to be made aware of deals that have and are being made to ensure that I, as well as others, are removed upon appointment of the new executive director. These deals have been released and are on record. It is highly unfortunate that people who call themselves leaders would partake in such activity. I certainly do not think this was the intention of Tennessee Legislature when this agency was formed.

In closing, I want to disclose that it is clear this board does not have the best interest of the agency's employees or those in which are served throughout the Upper Cumberland region in mind when making decisions for future success. Therefore, I am providing you with notification that I can no longer serve as interim executive director, nor will I be striving to see success for the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation, a positive asset that this agency in the past has been able to serve our communities with prior to the devastation generated by another poor decision on the board's behalf to make a loan to Living the Dream without supplying any necessary questions. I have been a faithful employee of UCDD for over 16 years, however, I will not continue to be associated with such an organization. This is my formal resignation from all involvement with UCDD.

I certainly pray and hope for the best to those remaining at UCDD who have the biggest of hearts to serve the less fortunate. Overlooking things that are not right is the very thing that got UCDD in trouble before. I will not be a part of looking the other way when that happens, therefore, my resignation I presented will be in effect as of June 15, 2012.

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