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One Week Left for Candidates to Qualify for Smithville Municipal Election

March 8, 2012
Dwayne Page

Anyone wanting to run for mayor or alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election has one week left to qualify with the election commission office.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19. The seats are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline for the Smithville Election is NOON March 15. The last day to register to vote in that election is May 21.

Those who have picked up and returned petitions so far are Taft Hendrixson and Jimmy Poss for mayor and Jason Judd Murphy for alderman. Scott Davis has also picked up a petition for alderman.

Meanwhile, Dowelltown and Liberty will have elections on August 2. In Dowelltown, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Elizabeth Redmon.

The qualifying deadline for the Dowelltown election is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote is July 3.

Those who have picked up petitions so far are Gerald Bailiff for Mayor and Joe Bogle for Alderman

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The seats are held by Todd Dodd, Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal

The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

Both Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal have picked up petitions to run for alderman.

Petitions are also being accepted for school board races in the fifth and district districts. Kevin D. Hale and W.J. (Dub) Evins III have picked up petitions for the fifth district seat. Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens have obtained petitions for the sixth district position.

The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said there are two important messages voters should remember before going to the polls on Election Day or for early voting.

"If your address has changed since the last time you voted, you should contact the local election office to begin the process of updating your records," Stanley said. "If you show up at the polls with a voter's card that has an address different than where you currently live, you will have to fill out a ‘Fail-Safe' form and you may even be sent to another location to vote."

"Also, voters are reminded that with all elections in 2012, voters will have to have a valid federal or state government issued photo i.d. to vote on the machines," he added.

Acceptable forms of photo identification, even if expired, are any of the following: a Tennessee Driver License with your photo; a United States Passport; Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security photo I.D.; a Photo I.D. issued by the federal or state government, such as an employee I.D. from the U.S. Department of Energy with your photo; United States Military photo I.D., including a Veteran Identification Card; and a state-issued handgun carry permit card with your photo.

"If you do not bring a photo I.D. to the polls, you will vote a Provisional Ballot," Stanley said. "Then you will have two business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo I.D. If not, the ballot will not be counted."

Smithville Police and Fire Departments to Host Open Meeting with the Public

March 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

In an effort to get to know the concerns of the citizens better, the Smithville Police and Fire Departments are hosting a meeting with the public Thursday night, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said the "Night Out with the Police and Fire Departments" will give the public a chance to meet and greet members of the police and fire departments and express any concerns they have.

Refreshments and door prizes will be available.

Scott Cantrell wins Democratic nomination for Property Assessor

March 6, 2012
Scott Cantrell
Carl Lee Webb
Rick Santorum
Four of the Five  Constable Nominees (Paul Cantrell not pictured)

Political newcomer Scott E. Cantrell has unseated incumbent DeKalb County Property Assessor Timothy "Fud" Banks, and claimed the Democratic nomination for the office during Tuesday's county Democratic Primary.

Cantrell earned 763 votes to win the nomination over Banks, the four-term incumbent, who totaled 392 votes. Challenger Jonathan Bryan Keith came in a distant third in the Property Assessor race, with a total of 90 votes.

Cantrell won 12 of DeKalb County's 16 precincts and also held the edge in Early and Absentee votes, Banks carried two precincts, while Banks and Keith tied in one precinct. No votes were cast for either candidate for assessor at Edgar Evins State Park. By earning the Democratic nomination for Property Assessor, Cantrell will meet Republican nominee Mason Carter in the August General Election.

Banks will remain in office through August 31.

Cantrell carried the following precincts: Alexandria, Temperance Hall, Liberty, Dowelltown, Snow Hill, Middle School, Courthouse, County Complex, Belk, Keltonburg, Blue Springs, and Church of Christ Annex. Cantrell also had a majority of the absentee/early voting.

Banks carried Cherry Hill and Johnson's Chapel. Banks and Keith tied with one vote each at Rock Castle.

"I'd like to thank God for life itself and for my family and friends who have helped me so much during this campaign," said Cantrell. "I'd like to thank the people that I don't even know about that has been a voice for me. Helping me out during this time. I'd like to thank you who voted for me to be your democratic candidate for property assessor in the upcoming general election on August 2. I thank you DeKalb County very much for this opportunity in my life," said Cantrell.

Banks thanked the people of DeKalb County for the privilege of serving them for sixteen years. "I want to thank the people who came out and voted for me," said Banks. "I want to thank my family that's had faith in me and worked with me. I want to thank the voters for coming out and voting for me. I want to thank them for letting me be their property assessor for four terms. I have worked hard and tried to do a good job. I appreciate your vote," said Banks.

Keith also thanked his supporters. "I'd like to thank everybody for going out and supporting me in this. I appreciate everything that everybody did. Thank you," said Keith.

Meanwhile, Carl Lee Webb defeated Richard Bullard in the only contested Constable race in the county, which was held in the Sixth District. Webb tallied 128 total votes in the three precincts as well as Early Voting and Absentee ballots, while Bullard had 45 total votes. Webb carried all three precincts - Belk, Blue Springs and Keltonburg - as well as Early Voting and the Absentee ballots.

In the Republican Presidential Primary, Rick Santorum carried seven DeKalb County precincts along with Early Voting and Absentees and led the GOP ticket with 487 votes, followed closely by Newt Gingrich with 407 votes. Gingrich carried five precincts, while he and Santorum tied for the most votes in one county precinct. Mitt Romney carried the remaining three precincts and placed third in the Republican Primary with 316 votes, while Ron Paul was a distant fourth with 107 votes.

Incumbent Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama earned 579 complimentary votes in DeKalb County.

In the remaining uncontested County Constable races, Wayne Vanderpool received 149 complimentary votes in the Third District, Paul Cantrell received 133 complimentary votes in the Fourth District, Mark Milam received 127 complimentary votes in the Fifth District, while Johnny King received 112 complimentary votes in the Seventh District. All four candidates - along with Carl Lee Webb in the Sixth District - will be unopposed in the August General Election.

According to figures released by the DeKalb County Election Commission Office, a total of 2,598 voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election. A total of 1,879 voters turned out on Election Day, while 719 DeKalb County voters cast ballots during Early Voting or by absentee ballot.

(Pictured below: Constable nominees Carl Lee Webb, Mark Milam, Wayne Vanderpool, and Johnny King. Not pictured- Paul Cantrell)


Public Forum Scheduled on Fire Department Ladder Truck

March 6, 2012
Dwayne Page

To help sell the public on the need for a ladder truck, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has called for a meeting with the public to discuss the issue.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker made the request during Monday night's city council meeting. Parker said the city needs a ladder truck, still some people have misconceptions about the proposal.

The aldermen have set the meeting for Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall. Anyone both for or against the city purchasing a ladder truck or those with questions or concerns are urged to attend.

Last year, the city applied for a FEMA grant to help fund the purchase of a ladder truck, but the grant was not approved. Members of the fire department would like the city to include funding for the truck, possibly in the new city budget this summer.

Ordinance Calls for BZA Review of Future Residential Development in Downtown Business District

March 6, 2012
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is establishing oversite regulations for any future development of residential dwellings within the downtown business district (B-3 Commercial Zone)

The aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading an ordinance that provides for the construction or renovation of downtown buildings into residential dwellings or for mixed residential/commercial uses

Under the proposal, downtown property owners would have to apply for a building permit and seek approval for their project by the city board of zoning appeals.

The proposed ordinance amendment provides that "After public notice and hearing, subject to appropriate safeguards and conditions, the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) may permit construction of a new building or rehabilitation of an existing building in the Central Business District for Residential or Mixed Commercial-Residential Use. Prior to the review by the Board of Zoning Appeals, an applicant seeking to rehabilitate/convert a commercial building into a residential use shall first obtain an approved application for a building permit. In reviewing applications for such uses or conversions of buildings, the Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the overall effect of the proposal to the area and surrounding properties so that there will not be a detrimental effect to the stability and viability of the Central Business District. In making this determination, this board must evaluate the availability of utilities, number of units proposed, city's capacity to respond effectively to emergencies, and availability of off-street parking."

Second and final reading action on the ordinance will follow a public hearing at the next meeting on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

SR-56 Hurricane Bridge over Caney Fork River in DeKalb County to Close for One Night

March 6, 2012

Tennessee Department of Transportation contract crews will close the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County to all traffic on Wednesday, March 7 beginning at 8:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 a.m. CST on Thursday, March 8. The closure is necessary to allow the contractor to pour a portion of the new concrete deck. The work is part of a $26.9 million rehabilitation project which is scheduled to be complete in October 2013.

The work is weather dependent. If the contractor is unable to perform the work on Wednesday evening, it will be rescheduled to take place on the evening of Thursday, March 8 during the same time period.

Message boards will be in place to notify drivers of the closure. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR-53. The bridge will be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic by 6:00 a.m. the following morning. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will continue to remain in effect and will be strictly enforced.

For travel and TDOT construction information visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or call 511 from any land-line or cellular phone. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511. Smart phone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Voters to Pick Democratic Nominees Today

March 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
Timothy (Fud) Banks
Scott Cantrell
Bryan Keith

DeKalb County voters today (Tuesday) will choose the Democratic nominees for Assessor of Property and Constable and pick their preferences in the Tennessee Presidential Primaries.

The candidates for Assessor are Incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks and challengers Scott Cantrell and Bryan Keith. The winner in today's primary will face Republican nominee Mason Carter in the August 2 DeKalb County General Election.

Constable nominees will be selected in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh districts. The only contested race is in the sixth district between Richard Bullard and Carl Lee Webb. There are no constable candidates in the first and second districts. Constable nominees will run unopposed in the August General Election.

Polls at all sixteen precincts in the county will be open today from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com. You may also view the precinct results by clicking on the following link http://www.wjle.com/node/11684

Voters are required to produce a government issued photo I.D. before they will be allowed to vote on the voting machine. If no photo identification is provided, the voter will vote a provisional ballot and the voter will have two business days to return to the election commission office and show a valid photo I.D. or the ballot will be rejected.

The voter can sign an oath stating he/she is indigent or an oath stating a religious objection to being photographed. After signing the oath, the voter will vote on the machines.

A valid photo I.D. includes a Tennessee driver's license, U.S. passport, Department of Safety photo I.D. card, state or federal employee photo identification card, a photo I.D. card issued by the federal government or other state and a U.S. military photo I.D.

Remember, as a voter you must declare which primary you intend to vote. For example, if you declare your intention to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary, you cannot vote in either the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary or the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable). Likewise, if you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable), you cannot vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary

If you choose to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary you may vote for one of the following candidates:

Michele Bachman
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman
Gary Johnson
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Charles "Buddy" Roemer
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum

The Republican ballot also lists the names of Delegates At Large for Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney (Committed and Uncommitted) as well as Delegates in the 6th Congressional District for Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Romney (Committed and Uncommitted).

If you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, the only name listed is Barack Obama and Uncommitted.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary ballot features the Assessor of Property race. The candidates are listed as follows:

Timothy "Fud" Banks
Scott E. Cantrell
Bryan Keith

Constable candidates are on the ballot in the following districts:

3rd District:
Wayne Vanderpool

4th District:
Paul Cantrell

5th District:
Mark Milam

6th District:
Richard Bullard
Carl Lee Webb

7th District
Johnny King

City to Apply for FEMA Grant Funds to Hire Firefighters

March 5, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night gave their blessing for the fire department to apply for a FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which if approved, would fund the hiring of firefighters for up to two years at no costs to the city.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker, in asking for approval to make application, told the mayor and aldermen that the city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "The grant is a two year total grant and it would be for hiring full time personnel. It would go up to a max of $230,000 for salary supplements for that two years. That's the maximum amount. That doesn't mean that we will get the full amount but it could be some in part up to that for personnel. If we do get it, it will still need to be accepted by the board" said Chief Parker.

According to the FEMA website, the priorities for funding under this program are as follows:

First priority: Rehiring laid-off firefighters

Second priority: Retention of firefighters who face imminent layoff and/or filling positions vacated through attrition but not filled due to economic circumstances

Third priority: Hiring new firefighters

Chief Parker said the city should know by September if the grant is funded.

Woman Caught Trying to Smuggle Drugs and Tobacco into the Jail

March 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
Porsche Lynn Cantrell
Phillip Andrew Martin
Howard Eugene Brown
Melisa Gean Petty
Donnie Ray Gillman

A Smithville woman was caught trying to smuggle drugs and tobacco into the DeKalb County Jail on Sunday.

22 year old Porsche Lynn Cantrell of Peyton Lane, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution and criminal trespassing. Her bond totals $7,500 and she will be in court March 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Sunday, March 4 Cantrell was observed on jail video surveillance climbing the fence which surrounds the rear of the jail. She had tried to throw a package over the fence into the recreation yard but the package lodged in the top of the fence. Cantrell then climbed the fence in order to retrieve the package. After spotting her on video surveillance, correctional officers ran outside and recovered the package, which contained a half ounce of marijuana, tobacco cigarettes and lighters. Cantrell was placed under arrest.

41 year old Donald Earl Foster of Page Drive, Smithville was issued citations last week for violation of the light law, two counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetmine) and (oxycodone) and simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (hydrocodone). He will be in court on April 12.

Sheriff Ray said that Foster, who was operating a motor vehicle on the Sparta Highway last Monday night, February 27, was stopped by a deputy for having a tail light out. Upon searching his person, the officer found on Foster a small metal container which held five hydrocodone pills, an oxycodone pill, and a plastic bag of a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine.

24 year old Phillip Andrew Martin of Foster Road is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on March 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 27, Martin allegedly entered the residence of a family member on Eagle Creek Road and assaulted the victim, hitting him several times with his fists.

34 year old Howard Eugene Brown of Gentry Avenue, Smithville is charged with burglary, theft of property over $1,000, and filing a false report. His bond totals $11,500 and he will be in court on March 8.

Sheriff Ray reports that on December 5, 2011 Brown allegedly entered a barn on New Home Road, Dowelltown and took a 2003 Honda Rancher 4 wheeler. On Monday February 27 sheriff's department detectives went to Brown's residence on Gentry Avenue to investigate the theft. But Brown, posing as someone else, told the detectives that his name was Michael Roy West. He later admitted that his name is actually Howard Eugene Brown.

45 year old Melisa Gean Petty of Banks Pisgah Road was recently picked up on a sealed indictment charging her with sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid) in a drug free zone and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid). Her bond is $100,000 and she will be in court on March 19.

43 year old Raymond Earl Tague of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 8. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, March 3 an officer was dispatched to Highway 146 to check out a person walking in the roadway. Upon arrival, the deputy found Tague walking on the road. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. For safety reasons, Tague was transported to the sheriff's department and arrested for public intoxication.

25 year old Donnie Ray Gillman of Floyd Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on March 15. According to Sheriff Ray, Gillman and another family member became involved in a confrontation at Gillman's home on Sunday, March 4. During the incident, Gillman allegedly fired an SKS rifle in the direction of the victim. Gillman admitted to firing the weapon. No one was injured.

Capitol Hill Week From Senator Mae Beavers

March 4, 2012
State Senator Mae Beavers

Jobs and the economy took center stage on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers heard good news regarding Tennessee’s economic prospects, including the forecast that employers may see reductions in their unemployment premiums as early as July. Tennessee Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Karla Davis and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to present their budget requests and brief members on developments taking place on Tennessee’s jobs front.

Job creation reaches highest mark since 2007 -- Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty told Senate Commerce Committee members this week that Tennessee had a very productive year with the creation of 28,500 jobs in the state, the highest mark since 2007. The Commissioner attributed the success to a realignment the Department took after Governor Haslam ordered a “top to bottom review” of its operations.

“The result of that has been a fabulous job number in what has overall been a very tough economic environment,” Hagerty said. “The majority of job creation in this state comes from existing businesses as they expand. My challenge to the department has been to make sure that we maintain a 98 percent plus market share of all expansion that happens with Tennessee companies --and it is working.”

Although the focus is on expanding within Tennessee, Hagerty said Governor Haslam and the Department continue to be “very aggressive” in recruiting worldwide, visiting seven different countries in the last half of last year. The department is pursuing a new initiative to open up the market for export opportunities to increase the output from Tennessee companies. In addition, they are working on a co-investment fund to make money available for early stage capital to attract new private equity into the state for Tennessee entrepreneurs.

Unemployment Fund Projected to Trigger Employer Premium Decrease in July -- Likewise, Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Karla Davis reported on her department’s activities this week, which included good news regarding Tennessee’s Unemployment Trust Fund. As of February 1, the balance of the fund is over $306 million.

A law passed in 2009 contained triggers for higher premiums when the state’s unemployment fund goes down to insure solvency and keep the state from the federal mandates associated with borrowing or insolvency. The law also contained a 0.6 percent premium in order to keep the fund solvent. Those triggers, however, reverse to lower premiums upon reaching levels which ensure solvency of the fund.

Tennessee employers are currently paying premiums based on Tax Table 1, which assesses the highest level of premiums. The Trust Fund is expected to trigger Tax Table 2 in the immediate future. Thus, the assessment will result in a lower premium to employers in July of this year. The study also forecasts that the Trust Fund will hit the $650 million threshold in the third quarter of 2014. At that time there will be a further decrease in the tax as well as an elimination of the 0.6 percent solvency fee.

Legislation giving teachers more authority to relocate a student for safety reasons receives final approval

The State Senate unanimously approved legislation today giving teachers more authority to relocate a student who poses a safety threat without fear of being found liable. Senate Bill 3116 requires local education boards to adopt a policy authorizing a teacher's ability to temporarily move a student to a different location for the student's safety or the safety of others. The bill also requires principals to fully support the authority of teachers in taking the action when it is done according to the policy.

The genesis of the bill came as lawmakers have listened to teachers who were concerned about liability while performing assigned duties or that a lawsuit could be brought against them if they try to remove a student during an altercation. The legislation is supported by the Tennessee School Board Association, the Tennessee Teacher Association, and the Professional Educators of Tennessee.

The policy required under the measure would also cover teachers’ authorization to intervene in a physical altercation between two or more students or between a student and Local Education Agency (LEA) employee. It also allows for the use of reasonable or justifiable force upon a student if the student is unwilling to cooperate and it becomes necessary to end the altercation by relocating the student to another area.

If steps beyond the use of reasonable or justifiable force are required, the proposal says the student would remain in place until law enforcement officers or school resource officers arrive.

The bill would apply to acts committed on school property, as well as those at official school functions, including sporting events and approved field trips. In addition to teachers, it would apply to administrators, school support staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school resource officers, and others working in the school who interact with students.

Teachers must file a brief report with the principal detailing the situation that required the relocation of the student. If it is found that the student's behavior violated the LEA's zero tolerance policy, the report would become part of the student’s permanent record. The student is then subject to additional disciplinary action that may include suspension or expulsion from the school. The principal or their designee must notify the teacher involved of the actions taken to address the behavior of the relocated student.

The bill does not apply to special needs students.

Issues in Brief

DUI / Child Endangerment -- Legislation sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which she chairs, to ensures a multiple DUI offender receives the appropriate punishment when he or she endangers a child in their vehicle by driving under the influence. Currently, multiple offenders do not receive an enhanced sentence like first offenders due to ambiguity in the language of a 2005 law which enhanced penalties for child endangerment for DUI offenders. Senate Bill 2607 makes sure state law is clear for multiple DUI offenders that the punishment for child endangerment, which is 30 days, runs consecutively with any other sentence received.

Voter ID – Eighty two percent of Tennesseans consider the new voter identification law “a good idea that should be kept in place,” according to a new Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) poll. About four in five Tennesseans (83 percent) say they have heard that voters will be asked to show a photo ID at the polls starting this year, up significantly from last fall’s 71 percent.

Equal Access to Public Property Act -- The House of Representatives has approved a Senate amendment and sent to the Governor legislation to create order in the use of Tennessee’s public lands received final approval by the full Senate this week. Senate Bill 2508 makes it a misdemeanor offense to engage in the activity of camping on property owned by the state knowing that the area is not designated for that use. The “Equal Access to Public Property Act of 2012,” comes after reports of potential health threats, theft, lewd behavior and other crimes on the Capitol’s War Memorial Plaza in association with the “Occupy Nashville” encampment.


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