Local News Articles

DeKalb Hospital Earns Excellence Award from HealthStream

August 6, 2013
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital Earns Excellence Award from HealthStream
Rick Jennings
Amanda Burgess

DeKalb Community Hospital has been named a 2013 Excellence through lnsight award recipient for “Most Improved Overall Emergency Department Satisfaction” by HealthStream, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTM). A formal presentation of the award will be made during HealthStream’s annual customer Summit on October 17 in Nashville, TN, according to Sue Conley, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer.

DeKalb Community Hospital was awarded this honor for its commitment to excellence in patient care, according to HealthStream CEO Robert A. Frist, Jr. “We applaud DeKalb Community Hospital’s high-level commitment to excellence in healthcare – and we are pleased to recognize their achievement through our presentation of an Excellence through Insight award.”

To qualify for an award, a hospital must have been a patient satisfaction-tracking client of HealthStream in 2012, scored in the 75th percentile or higher, and surveyed a minimum of 100 patients. DCH was chosen for receiving the highest ratings in the small hospital category for most improved ER patient satisfaction.

“We’re very proud of DeKalb Community Hospital’s achievement,” said Mark Medley, President of Hospital Operations for Capella Healthcare, of which DCH is a part. “The staff has worked very hard in continuing to elevate the level of care available. Knowing that patients are pleased with the care they receive is certainly a very important indicator of success.”

“On behalf of all of our hospital’s staff members, I am honored to accept this award,” said Conley. “Receiving national recognition such as this affirms our staff’s compassionate service and hard work. While it’s certainly a compliment to all of our Emergency Department employees and physicians, it also recognizes the hard work of staff throughout the hospital who help provide care for our emergency patients, such as radiology and the laboratory.”

Meanwhile, DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital have announced that Rick Jennings has been named the Director of Radiology. Along with his extensive medical career, Jennings has spent the last 6 years as Radiology Director in Mesquite, NV. When asked of his move from Nevada to Tennessee, Jennings comments, “Having lived in the desert for so long, it is really nice to see green grass and trees. I truly enjoy my job as radiology director at these two wonderful hospitals. The staff is amazing and I look forward to being a part of this great team”

“I am happy to welcome Rick to our hospitals. He brings the experience and exemplary qualifications that we expect in a director. He has already been an asset to us and we look forward to great things from him as we strive for the best in patient care for both hospitals,” said Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

In his spare time, Jennings enjoys fishing and golf. With his new found love of the southeast, he has added ‘playing golf in the Carolinas’ to his bucket list. Rick currently resides in Murfreesboro, TN.

The hospitals have also announced that Amanda Burgess has been named the Director of Informatics. With over 13 years experience, Burgess is well-rounded and accomplished. When asked about her new position with both hospitals, Burgess smiles, “I take care of the software applications for nurses and physicians. My favorite part of my job is when I get to help make someone’s workload easier by solving a problem for them. That just makes my day.” Burgess was formerly the Director of Clinical Informatics at Cookeville Regional as well as being a registered nurse.

“We are pleased to welcome Amanda to our hospitals. She is doing a great job ensuring we remain compliant with the new HITECH Act and Healthcare Reform while keeping DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital on the cutting edge of technology,” said Kim Frazier, CNO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

Burgess currently resides in Cookeville and has two children—Ciara and Parker. In her spare time, she is a personal trainer, enjoys running and hiking, and loves to sketch.

Davidson County Chancery Court Asked to Intervene in DUD Case

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Utility District
Smithville City Hall

In what may be a last attempt at preventing the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant, attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville have filed a petition in Davidson County Chancery Court seeking to overturn a ruling that went against them earlier this year by the Tennessee Utility Management Review Board.

Following a hearing held April 4th in Smithville with an administrative law judge presiding, UMRB members voted to dismiss a petition brought by DUD ratepayers and City of Smithville saying they (petitioners) had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The UMRB entered its final order on June 5.

Calling the UMRB's ruling "arbitrary and capricious", attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville are asking the Chancery Court for a judicial review of the case.

Filed by Jones Hawkins & Farmer, PLC. of Nashville, the petition alleges that "the UMRB acted in violation of statutory provisions and followed an unlawful procedure by failing to apply the appropriate scope of review in its deliberations and otherwise acted illegally, arbitrarily, and capriciously in the case. Further, the UMRB’s decision was unsupported by substantial and material evidence in light of the entire record."

"Petitioners are aggrieved by the actions of Respondent and the decision of the UMRB and request the following relief:

1.That UMRB transmit to this Court the original or a certified copy of the entire record in the case, including all exhibits and all entries made in connection therewith, and in particular, the transcripts of all of the hearings held before the UMRB in this matter;

2. That process or notice be issued to the Respondent;

3. That upon briefs, filings and a hearing of this cause, this Court reverse the decision of the UMRB and decree that its action was illegal, arbitrary, and/or capricious;

4. That this Court grant such further general relief as the equities of this case may require and as the Court deems necessary and appropriate."

The City of Smithville, which has already spent tens of thousands of dollars in the case since the spring of 2012, recently voted to spend another $10,000 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file the appeal.

During the July 15 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said an appeal of the UMRB's ruling must be filed within sixty days of the filing of the order from that hearing and the deadline is August 5. "Earlier this year (April 4) we had a hearing before the (UMRB) board regarding the application that DUD had made to build a new water treatment plant here outside the city to treat water," said Parsley. " Of course we (city) would lose a substantial part of our income that we receive from DUD if they continue on that way. We had 60 days (from the date the order was filed from the hearing) to file an appeal. That 60 days will be up on August 5," said Parsley.

"I have been in communication with (Nashville attorneys) Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman who were involved with (representation at UMRB hearing) for the ratepayers of the City of Smithville and DUD customers. They need to know whether or not the board (aldermen) wants to make that appeal (to Chancery Court) because it has to be done within that deadline. If it isn't, they (DUD) can go forward (build the water plant) and that's the end of the case. The appeal process is very similar to what you see with the court of appeals. However, you're going to appeal to a Chancellor that is in Davidson County, not a local Chancellor," said Parsley. "The purpose of that appeal is to determine whether or not the (UMRB) board which came to Smithville and had the hearing made the right decision," he said.

"I have also been in communication with Mr. Purcell and Mr. Holleman regarding the cost of that appeal to the City of Smithville. They have offered to prepare an appeal for the hearing. There will be no new proof. No new depositions submitted. The fee is not to exceed $10,000. It is my recommendation to the board that we go forward with that but that's up to the board," said City Attorney Parsley. " As to the outcome of that, we'll have to wait and see how the Chancellor rules. But I think it would be good for us to go forward with that and hopefully we would get a more favorable decision from a Chancellor than we did the (UMRB) board," he said.

Alderman Tim Stribling made a motion to file the appeal. " Mr. Mayor, I'd like to see that this go before the Chancellor. I think it would be more unbiased. I think we all saw that day the deck was stacked against us so I'd like to make a motion that we appeal the decision of the board which allowed DUD to continue with building their own water treatment plant and I'd also like to make a motion that we retain Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to represent the city with an understanding that they shall be paid a fee not to exceed $10,000," said Alderman Stribling.

Alderman Danny Washer offered a second to the motion. Alderman Jason Murphy and Shawn Jacobs joined Stribling and Washer in voting for it. Alderman Josh Miller was unable to attend the meeting.

Firefighters Called to Foutch Industries

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Employees Evacuated from Foutch Industries
Employees Outside Foutch Industries

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb EMS were summoned to Foutch Industries Monday where a fire started in the duct work, causing smoke to spread through a portion of the building.

"We had a fire in the duct system where it collects dust and the grinding stuff off some of the machines," said Fire Chief Charlie Parker. "One of them (duct system) had sucked up some sparks and caught the filter on fire inside the factory. It was in the machinery and the duct work that runs from the machine to the filter. They had used like twenty fire extinguishers prior to us getting there and didn't get it out so we used water and foam and had to disassemble part of the duct work to get up in there to it to finally get it put out. The building wasn't damaged. It was all confined to the machinery inside. It did smoke up one half of the building pretty substantially but we were able to clear that out after just a little while," he said.

"The building was evacuated. I think they had a couple of employees who were sent to the hospital to get checked out. I think one of them had some burns and the other may have had a little too much of the smoke," said Chief Parker.

Smithville Fire Department to Re-Apply for FEMA SAFER Grant

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Fire Chief Charlie Parker

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

The city applied for the grant last year but did not receive approval for funding.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker said he is hoping for better fortunes this time. If approved, the grant would fund salaries and benefits for two firefighters. The city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "We are eligible to apply for a SAFER Grant. This is for hiring of full time firefighters. That is what we are applying for. We are applying for the grant. It is a non matching grant so it doesn't cost any money to do that (apply). It's for an award period of two years. After the two years, the city is not obligated to continue on with the personnel that is hired. We'll be applying for two 40 hour firefighter positions which is basically what we requested in our budget this year. Its roughly going to be, with administrative costs, up to $84,000 for the two positions. That's for salaries, benefits, and administrative costs. The deadline to apply is August 30. They will probably starting reviewing (applications) in the fall. Last year we got our turn down notice in October or November. It could be anywhere from October on before we know (if funding is approved)," said Chief Parker.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.

Eligible departments or organizations are limited to one application for Recruitment and Retention and/or one application for Hiring per application period. Volunteer fire departments are eligible to apply for Hiring of Firefighters (Hiring/Rehiring of New Firefighters) and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. Ten percent of available funds are set aside for grants awarded to volunteer or majority volunteer departments for hiring of firefighters.

Meanwhile, the aldermen approved the addition of Becky Stubbe and Patrick Edge to the staff of city volunteer firefighters at the request of Chief Parker.

Both Stubbe and Edge have successfully completed their ninety day probationary period and have met the requirements of the department's recruitment committee.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on first reading a zoning ordinance amendment that would no longer require plans for off-street parking in developments with six or more parking spaces to be approved directly by the planning commission. Instead, all plans for off-street parking shall be shown on site plans, under this ordinance amendment.

City Honors the Late William "Bill" Golden

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mayor with Family of William Bill Golden

It's been a long time coming, but the City of Smithville recognized the services of the late William "Bill" Golden during Monday night's city council meeting.

Golden, who began his service with the city in the 1950's, worked in the sanitation department as a street cleaner. He retired in the 1980's. Golden passed away in 1996.

Members of Golden's family were presented a plaque by Mayor Jimmy Poss. The plaque reads " In appreciation. William "Bill" Golden for many years of loyal service and dedication shown to the City of Smithville during employment"

Family members in attendance were Anita Chapman, Claude Chapman, Debbie Young, Tara Young, Billy Golden, Christine Golden, Jordan Golden, Bethel Golden, and Linda Golden.

Veterans Outreach Event Set for Tuesday

August 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sarah Tinch and DeKalb Veterans Service Representative Paul Cantrell

The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the Warren County Veterans Service Office, is sponsoring a Veterans Outreach Event in McMinnville.

It will be held on Tuesday, August 6 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Warren County Administration Building, Magnolia Room, 201 Locust Street.

Sarah Tinch, TDVA Veterans Benefit Representative, said the purpose of this event is to provide assistance to veterans of the Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserves, and their Dependents and survivors of deceased veterans.

Refreshments will be available.

Fifteen organizations will be there to provide assistance:

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs
Warren County Veterans Service Office
V.A. Nashville Vet Center
V.A. Outpatient Clinic of McMinnville
V.A. Medical Center Women Veterans Program Manager
Tennessee Medical Center Women Veterans Program Manager
Tennessee Department of Labor
Motlow College
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of McMinnville
Tennessee National Guard J9 Military and Family Readiness
Upper Cumberland Development District
Wounded Warrior Project
Project Healing Waters
American Legion POST 173
Marine Corps League Bobby Ray Detachment 1377

For more information, call Sarah Tinch at 931-526-6929 or the Warren County Veterans Service Officer Chuck Mayfield at 931-473-6920.

Area Chambers form Alliance for a prosperous Upper Cumberland

August 5, 2013
Area Chambers form Alliance

People working together are greater than they could ever be working apart. That principle was the driving factor for the area’s Chamber of Commerce Executives to formalize the group, the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA). There are 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland region including Macon, Clay, Pickett, Jackson, Smith, Putnam, Overton, Fentress, Putnam, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Cannon, Warren, and Van Buren.

Approximately a year and a half ago, TTU had gathered the Chamber executives from across the region for some informal and educational meetings to discuss best practices, available resources and to share pertinent information and challenges. These meetings demonstrated the value of this alliance as the Chamber executives gathered and continued their education.

“The birth of the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA) will assist every county in the Upper Cumberland region to develop and share information on critical issues that will benefit all,” said Ray Norris, newly elected Chairman of the UCCEA. “Further, we all appreciate the fact that Tennessee Tech has played a pivotal role in the formation of UCCEA and we hope they will continue to play a valuable role going forward as the UCCEA matures. The UCCEA will support the region’s economic development as well as providing the ability to speak as one united regional entity as this can benefit each and every county to some extent. I am personally thankful to my peers for their support in starting this organization.”
Dennis Tennant, Associate Director of Extended Programs and Regional Development at Tennessee Technological University, had a vision for organizing this group as other professionals such as the Upper Cumberland Directors of Schools have aligned forces to benefit the community.

It was time to formally organize the group said Tennant, and TTU is looking forward to continuing the partnership with the UCCEA.

Bylaws were approved and officers elected at the June meeting. Norris, Clay County Chamber, was elected as Chairman; Walter Page, Fentress County Chamber was elected as Vice Chair; and Jody Sliger, Sparta - White County Chamber was elected Secretary of the UCCEA.

“We are looking forward to working together for the purpose of improving not only our individual communities, but the Upper Cumberland as a whole,” said Suzanne Williams, Smithville - DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Plans include having educational sessions with other partners across the state including the TN Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA, TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation, TN Dept. of Tourist Development, and more. For more information, you can contact Norris at (931) 243-3338.

Photo cutline:
Working together. Chamber executives from across the Upper Cumberland in partnership with TTU have united in an alliance to further the improvements of our region. L-R: Walt Page, Billy Robbins, Jody Sliger, Ray Norris, Shirley Hitchcock, Dennis Tennant, Alicea Weddington, John Dennis, Marilyn Baker, Suzanne Williams, Lori Jones, Janie Robbins, and Doug Young.

Community Gathers to Pray for Our Schools

August 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Prayer for Our Schools
Larry Green serves as Moderator

A large group turned out Sunday afternoon to join in a special "Prayer Service for Schools" observance at DeKalb County High School.

The prayer service has become an annual event conducted by local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the students, teachers, transportation staff, and other employees. "It started out a long time ago with a group of teachers who got together on the Sunday before school started and prayed. Each year they invited more and more people. Somewhere along the line someone said we need to keep this thing going so we started organizing and getting the ministers involved. We try to get ministers from all across the county from different denominations because it's great when different denominations come together to praise God and pray. I truly believe God blesses those efforts," said Larry Green, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church who moderated the program Sunday.

Among the local ministers participating were Dan Gulley of the Smithville Church of Christ, Ben Simpson of the Alexandria West Main Baptist Church, Cleo Sanders of the Bible Grace Church in Dowelltown, Donnie Kelly of the First Assembly of God in Smithville, B.J. Thomason of the Calvary Baptist Church in Smithville, Bernard Houk of the Smithville First Free Will Baptist Church, and Bill Robertson of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made some remarks. Retired teacher Linda Franklin also spoke about the importance of prayer and how she started each school day with a moment of prayer during the last fifteen years of her teaching career. Franklin further mentioned how that her class once gathered to pray for her during Franklin's absence from school due to the loss of her father.

Woman Killed in Truck Crash Near Dowelltown and Liberty

August 4, 2013
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Rescue Work to Remove Woman from Truck (WJLE PHOTO)
DeKalb Fire Rescue Stabilize Truck During Extrication (WJLE PHOTO)
DeKalb Fire Rescue Work to Extricate Woman from Truck (WJLE PHOTO)

A 53 year old woman lost her life in a pickup truck crash Saturday on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty.

Dead is Lisa Fineis of Alexandria.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:56 p.m. on Saturday.

Trooper Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Fineis was driving west on Highway 70 in a 2011 GMC Sierra when the truck went off the right shoulder of the highway. After hitting a berm near an access road off the highway, the truck went airborne and flipped as it hit the ground, coming to rest on its side. Fineis, trapped inside, was initially reported to be unresponsive. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

DeKalb EMS quickly arrived on the scene along with members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Rescue Team who were called to perform extrication.

Fineis was removed from the truck and taken by ambulance to meet a Life Force helicopter ambulance which had landed in the grass near the intersection of Highway 70 and East Main Street in Liberty. But instead of airlifting her, the woman was taken by ground ambulance to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where she died.

Trooper Wilkerson was assisted in the investigation by Troopers Tommy Cooper and Kyle Herron of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Deputies of the Sheriff's Department and Constable Mark Milam were also on the scene along with the Liberty and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Twelve Indicted in Smithville Police Department Drug Investigation

August 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr.
Vickie Cantrell
Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell
Danny Reeder
Althea Bailey
Kenny Herman
William Cory Dickens

Twelve people have been named in sealed indictments on drug charges following a year long undercover investigation by the Smithville Police Department.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that Indictments have been served on seven of the defendants.

The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. K-9 Officer James Cornelius and Sergeant Brad Tatrow assisted in some of the cases. The actual drug buys were made by confidential sources.

Those arrested and their charges are:

Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr., indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana) in a drug free zone.

Vickie Cantrell, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid).

40 year old Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)

60 year old Danny Reeder, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule IV (Lorazepam)

59 year old Althea Bailey, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone) in a drug free zone.

52 year old Kenny Herman, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Methadone) (2 counts).

28 year old William Cory Dickens, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)

Indictments (now unsealed in each case) state the following:

Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr.: "On or about February 26th, 2013 Perry did sell and deliver a Schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana) within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, childcare agency, or public library, recreational center, or park." Lieutenant Holmes said Perry sold marijuana to a confidential source from his home.

Vickie Cantrell: "On or about December 5th, 2012, Cantrell did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). Lieutenant Holmes said Cantrell sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell: "On or about December 6th, 2012, Cantrell did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). Lieutenant Holmes said Cantrell sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from a parking lot.

Danny Reeder: "On or about August 6th, 2012, Reeder did sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance (Lorazepam)." Lieutenant Holmes said Reeder sold ten pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

Althea Bailey: "On or about July 26th, 2012, Bailey did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone) within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, childcare agency, or public library, recreational center, or park." Lieutenant Holmes said Bailey sold four pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business."

Kenny Herman: "On or about August 6th & 7th, 2012 Herman did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Methadone)". Lieutenant Holmes said Herman sold from his home to a confidential source four methadone pills on August 6th and three pills on August 7th.

William Cory Dickens: "On or about December 13th, 2012 Dickens did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)". Lieutenant Holmes said Dickens sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

The names of the other five defendants will be released once they are served with the indictments.


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