Local News Articles

Senator Beavers and Representative Weaver file bill to prevent voter fraud or voting by illegal aliens

December 15, 2008

Senate Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) have filed legislation to make sure voters in Tennessee have the photo identification to guard against fraud and assure only U.S. citizens vote.

The bill allows for a number of various forms of photo identification to be used including a driver’s license, military identification, a valid passport, various forms of government employee identification cards, and any federal and state-issued identification cards that contain photographs of the voter.

“The courts have upheld the rights of states to protect the integrity of our elections through photo identification,” said Senator Beavers. “We have a right to protect our state from voter fraud and abuse. It is time for Tennessee to pass this legislation.”

According the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states specify that voters must show photo identification, including Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls. All states have some sort of recourse for voters without identification to cast a vote or provide for a provisional ballot. The bill filed by Beavers and Weaver, SB 3, provides for a provisional ballot which would only be counted if the central provisional ballot counting board is able to verify current and valid identification of the voter.

“This legislation makes it clear to everyone that Tennessee has the right to make sure that those voting are legitimately casting their votes, and are U.S. citizens,” echoed Representative Weaver. “I look forward to moving this bill forward in the 2009 legislative session.“

Sheriff's Department to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints during the Holidays

December 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting sobriety check points and saturated patrols starting on December 23rd through January 1st for the enforcement of drivers who are impaired.

The Sobriety Check Points will be conducted on the following Highways: Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 53, Highway 96, and Highway 146. Saturated patrols will be conducted on County and State roads within DeKalb County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says “The public’s safety is a top concern for me and my department. We will be doing saturated patrols and Sobriety Check Points for intoxicated people who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive. Nearly 23,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Statistics show one life is lost every 22 minutes in alcohol-related traffic collisions."

"Law Enforcement uses these saturated patrols and sobriety checkpoints as a tool to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our highways and to diminish the amount of pain, suffering, and death that results from intoxicated driving. "

"Anyone who believes they have spotted an impaired driver is urged to call the Central Dispatch Center at 215-3000”

UCHRA Receives Additional Weatherization Assistance Program Funds

December 13, 2008

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) has received an additional $614,802 in Weatherization Assistance funding for low-income consumers,” Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director, announced.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services has informed UCHRA that funding for its Weatherization Assistance Program has been increased to $1,012,288, an increase of $614,802 above its original allocation for the year that ends June 30, 2009. “The increase in LIHEAP funds will allow UCHRA to weatherize approximately 260 homes in the 14-county area,” explained Bennett.

In DeKalb County, approximately 15 homes (an increase of 9) will be weatherized expending $41,537. Bennett encouraged individuals who meet program guidelines to apply for WAP assistance this year, even if they have not previously been served. The increased funding is the result of actions taken by Congress to assist low-income families during the current economic crisis. UCHRA Board Chairman Mike Foster, County Executive of DeKalb County, said “the UCHRA Board is pleased with this new allocation to serve additional low income households during these difficult times.”

The Weatherization Assistance Program provides basic insulation and weatherization measures to homeowners and renters to assist them in reducing energy costs while safeguarding their health and safety. Licensed contactors perform the work. To qualify for assistance a household’s income must not exceed 125% of the US poverty level. For example, a family of four can earn a monthly household income of up to $2,208.33.

Priority for service is based upon a point system. Points are awarded based upon each household’s percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines (125% maximum). “Households with vulnerable household members receive additional points for such criteria as having an elderly member (60+), a disabled member, children less than 6 years of age, a member referred by Adult Protective Services, six or more household members, and having been on the waiting list for more than one year. First priority for service is given to households with the highest total points, and UCHRA works down the priority list until all available funds are spent in the county,” Lee Webb, UCHRA Community Services Director, stated.

“Upper Cumberland families in need have been on the increase. This increase in funds represents a successful effort on the part of the UCHRA Board and staff to provide more LIHEAP program funds for qualifying families. This infusion of additional funds has come at the best possible time,” remarked Brock Hill, Cumberland County Mayor and UCHRA Finance Committee Chairman.

All UCHRA county offices are accepting WAP applications between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. DeKalb County UCHRA is located at 527 West Main Street, and the telephone number is (615) 597-4504.

Many Enjoy Holiday Fun Saturday during Alexandria Parade

December 13, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Santa and Mrs. Claus at Alexandria Christmas Parade

Many people gathered in downtown Alexandria Saturday to enjoy the holiday fun of annual Alexandria Christmas Parade

State Senator Mae Beavers served as Grand Marshal of the Parade.

The DeKalb County Fair Little Miss Float won first place and the Red Hats Sassy Belles took second place.

Among the church or religious float entries, the Liberty United Methodist Church won first place while the Upper Helton Baptist Church received second place.

Charles Cantrell was awarded first place in the vintage automobile category for his 1956 orange Corvette while second place went to Brad Driver for his 1969 Camaro Supersport.

To see pictures of the Alexandria Christmas Parade, click the following link:
http://www.wjle.com/christmas2008?filter0=89

First Assembly of God Conducts Groundbreaking Ceremony

December 13, 2008
First Assembly of God Groundbreaking

First Assembly of God recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony to begin the construction of their new church located on Highway 56 North. The new facility will include a 400 seat capacity sanctuary, classrooms, administrative offices, and Christian life center.

Pastor Glenn Burks opened the ceremony with prayer and a brief history of the church. Special guest speakers included Suzanne Williams, Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce Director; Taft Hendrixson, City Mayor; and Mike Foster, County Mayor.

"The new sanctuary and Christian life center will help us to minister more effectively to this community and surrounding areas," says Glenn Burks, pastor. "It will provide more space for our youth and children's programs, along with a larger sanctuary to fulfill the vision for the harvest. Our desire is to reach more people for the Lord. We want this building to glorify God and be a blessing to this community."

City Mayor Taft Hendrixson and County Mayor Mike Foster began the groundbreaking followed by the pastor, church council, and building committee. Many church members and their families, along with representatives from Heritage Construction Company and J. Mark Rodger Architectural Firm, were in attendance to celebrate the groundbreaking and vision for the church.

"We invite everyone to come worship and see God's great blessings unfold as we unite together to reach the harvest for the Lord," says Glenn Burks, pastor. First Assembly of God is currently located on 614 Murphy Street in Smithville. Service times are: Sunday School 10:00 a.m.; Sunday Worship 10:45 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday Worship and Children/Youth Classes 7:00 p.m.

The church ministries include a van ministry reaching children and families; God Gives Hope campaign proclaiming the gospel through billboards and other programs; a radio ministry, Words of Hope, broadcasted weekdays at 6:20 a.m. on WJLE; and the Angel Food Outreach Ministries offering grocery relief to the community and surrounding areas at a reduced cost.

Mabe Pleads Guilty to Attempted Second Degree Murder

December 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Steve Mabe, Jr

35 year old Steve Mabe, Jr, charged in the shooting of 33 year old Donnie Stanley, Jr. over a year ago, received an eight year sentence in DeKalb County Criminal Court Thursday, but he has been released on supervised probation by community corrections.

Mabe, who was indicted in April on a charge of attempted first degree murder, pleaded guilty to attempted second degree murder in the case. He was represented by Lebanon Attorney Jack Lowery.

Mabe, in a separate case, also pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a six year sentence, to run concurrently with the eight year sentence. He was given credit for 392 days of time served from November 15th, 2007 to December 11th, 2008 and must pay a $2,000 fine in the drug case.

The presiding judge was David Patterson.

The shooting occurred on November 14th, 2007 at Stanley's home on Toad Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Stanley was shot once in the right side of his face and the bullet protruded into the neck. While he survived, Stanley now suffers from permanent damage apparently caused by the shooting.

Sheriff Ray said that Mabe was charged with the shooting based on the statement given by Stanley and other evidence gathered during the investigation. Sheriff Ray never publicly gave a possible motive.

After the shooting, officers spotted Mabe in his vehicle on Short Mountain Highway and they arrested him, after he pulled into the parking lot of Kilgore's Market.

The case was investigated by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Meanwhile, in another case, 42 year old Debbie Carol H. Cantrell pleaded guilty Thursday to facilitation of delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. She received a two year sentence but will be on probation.. She must pay a $2,000 fine.

Drought Declaration Announced for DeKalb County

December 12, 2008

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives David Davis (R-Tenn. 1), John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn. 2), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) today announced that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward T. Schafer has declared seven counties in Tennessee as disaster areas due to losses caused by drought. According to Secretary Schafer’s declaration, “This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.”

The following seven counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas: Carter, Cumberland, De Kalb, Loudon, Roane, Sullivan, and Trousdale.

In addition, 23 contiguous counties may also be eligible for disaster assistance. Those counties are: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Cannon, Fentress, Hawkins, Johnson, Knox, Macon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Smith, Sumner, Unicoi, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, White, and Wilson.

“I’m glad that Secretary Schafer has announced this declaration for seven counties in our state that have experienced some of the driest seasons in our state’s history,” Alexander said. “With this declaration from the Secretary of Agriculture, Tennessee farmers should be able to get the help they need.”

“I was proud to support Governor Bredesen’s request for a drought declaration and I am pleased that Secretary Schafer has made assistance available for eligible producers in these counties who have been affected by the persistent drought,” Corker said. “I hope the designation and subsequent assistance will provide some help to these farmers as they work to recover from the severe weather conditions that have plagued our region for the last two years.”

"I am glad that the USDA has declared these hard hit counties eligible for drought assistance,” said Congressman David Davis.

“I am pleased that the federal government will be offering support to Tennessee farmers as they deal with the effects of this year’s drought,” said Congressman Duncan. “These farmers work very hard every day to put food on our table and contribute to our Nation’s economy. By receiving this declaration, they will be able to apply for assistance to help get them through this tough time.”

“This USDA declaration provides some relief to the farmers in Tennessee who were hit with tough conditions this year, and whose families are having a hard enough time weathering today’s economic conditions,” said Congressman Wamp.

“We have seen in past years the effect a drought can have on Tennessee’s farmers and economy, and I will be working closely with my colleagues to help out wherever we can in these difficult times,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis.

“This drought has destroyed crop yields and hurt county economies across Middle Tennessee and throughout the rest of the state,” Congressman Gordon said. “With this declaration, the many affected farmers and their families in counties like De Kalb and Trousdale can begin to rebuild and prepare for the start of the next farming season.”

Russell Watson Receives Agricultural Educator Outstanding Service Award

December 10, 2008

A local educator has been presented an Outstanding Service Award by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Russell Watson of Smithville, an educator in the Warren County School System, was named to receive the award last Friday at an award's luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Throughout his 41 years of teaching, Watson has been very involved in the curriculum changes for many agriculture courses. Early in his career, he realized the need to incorporate courses that were not all production agriculture into the program. With McMinnville being considered the "nursery capitol of the world," Watson began to incorporate courses such as greenhouse management and agribusiness. These kinds of courses were more relevant to his students' lives, which led to increased learning and improved retention.
Watson has served on state and national curriculum committees, and he served as a reviewer for many textbooks now on the market. He began to incorporate math, science and language into the curriculum, giving agriscience courses the opportunity to count towards core credits.

Along with his service to agricultural education as a whole, Watson has also been very successful in his own classroom. Whether it is because of the changes he has made or simply his passion and dedication to the profession, he is doing something right. His agriculture department and FFA chapter has seen numerous American and state FFA degree recipients, national and state finalists in proficiency award areas, and 40 national gold chapter emblems. His students have also been very motivated in continuing their education, with many of them receiving not only a Bachelor's degree, but masters and doctorates as well. His students are not the only ones that have been influenced by Watson's work; his service has continued into the professional organizations in which he is involved. Watson is someone to whom students and fellow teachers alike can look to for advice.

"Mr. Russell Watson has not only served as an educator and FFA advisor, but as a mentor to his students," said Tracy Risinger, Warren County School System Career and Technical Education Director. "It is easy to see that his accomplishments during his 41 year tenure have definitely made a difference in the lives of his students."

State Senator Mae Beavers Re-elected Treasurer of Senate Majority Caucus

December 10, 2008

State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) was unanimously re-elected by her colleagues as Treasurer to the Tennessee Senate Majority Caucus. The election took place as the Republican Caucus met in an organizational meeting of the group on Monday.

“It is an honor to be re-elected by my colleagues as Treasurer of the Caucus and I am looking forward to continuing to serve our members in this capacity,” said Sen. Beavers, who also serves in the State Senate as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As Treasurer, Beavers is part of the Republican Leadership team. Beavers has served in various leadership capacities since she was elected as a freshman.

In other positions elected by the Caucus, Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was re-elected Senate Majority Leader, Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) as Republican Caucus Chairman, Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesoboro) as floor leader, and Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) as Secretary.

The 106th General Assembly is set to convene on January 13.

Smithville Chapter OES Donates Children's Books

December 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Order of the Eastern Star Donates Children's Books
Order of the Eastern Star Donates Children Books #2

The Smithville Chapter of The Order of the Eastern Star recently donated children's books for the "Tantalizing Tales" project.

Chapter members Carolyn Williams, Past Worthy Grand Matron, Guylene Atnip, Worthy Matron of the Chapter, Wanda Gard, Grand Representative and Joel Dawes, Project Chairperson visited Smithville Elementary Pre-K and the First United Methodist Day Care.

Pictured are the members and Deanna Adams, Director of the First United Methodist Day Care and Smithville Elementary Pre-K was represented by Jennifer Peak, Christina Ortiveros, Susan Palmer, and Lori Purnell.

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