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Three Liberty Area Residents Charged with Attempted First Degree Murder in Cannon County

March 22, 2011

Three people from Pea Ridge Road near Liberty are facing attempted first degree murder, aggravated arson, and especially aggravated robbery charges in Cannon County after allegedly trying to destroy a mobile home by fire with someone still inside last Wednesday, March 16th.

Mary V. Hill, James W. Hill, and Charlotte M. Hill, all of 4641 Pea Ridge Road Liberty were being held in the Cannon County Jail at last report under bonds of $2.5 million each.

The Cannon Courier reports on its website that the Hills were in the process of moving from the home of Lonnie Estes on Big Hill Road to 4641 Pea Ridge Road when an argument began over sheets and towels, according to Cannon County Sheriff's Department Investigator Anthony Young.

According to the report, "Mr. Estes said that James Hill hit him with his (Estes') walking cane," Investigator Young said. "It broke, then he (Hill) hit Estes with a chair, knocking him to the kitchen floor. Estes said James Hill then went outside, got a gallon milk jar of gasoline, came back inside and threw it on the kitchen floor and set it on fire."

Estes said the three Hills then left the residence, taking his wallet in the process.

The 68 year old Estes made it out of the house and called 911.

Investigator Young responded and rode in the ambulance with Estes to DeKalb Community Hospital to obtain a statement.

Estes was treated and released for a severe laceration to his head and also for multiple bruises to his face and body.

According to the Cannon Courier, the arson and bomb squad was called in to investigate the fire, which caused extensive damage to the kitchen and smoke damage throughout the residence.

Investigator Young said he then returned to the scene and obtained statements from friends and neighbors of Estes and they began searching for the Hills.

"We put out a BOLO and then initiated an area-wide search. They were found within 12 hours. After initially leaving the county, they returned to the residence on Pea Ridge Road and were apprehended there," Investigator Young said.

The Hills are scheduled to make their initial appearance in Cannon County General Sessions Court on June 6.

Sheriff's Department Issues Citations

March 21, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

In this week's crime report from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 36 year old Jonathan David Culwell of Allen's Chapel Road was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for violation of the financial responsibility law. His court date is March 30th. He was involved in a two car accident and could not provide proof of insurance.

36 year old Autumn D. White of Chapman Hollow Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Opana). Her court date is April 7th. Sheriff Ray said that on March 18th during a Department of Children Services home visit, a DCS worker found a schedule II controlled substance (Opana) in the hallway floor, believed to belong to Ms. White.

19 year old Travis Joe Davenport of Eagle Creek Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for violation of the financial responsibility law and violation of the child restraint law. His court date is April 13th. Davenport, who was traveling north on Mountain View Drive, was pulled over by a deputy. With Davenport was a three year old child sitting in the lap of a seventeen year old in the passenger seat. The child was not in a child restraint device and Davenport could not provide proof of insurance.

25 year old Eduardo Dimas Romo of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Sunday, March 20th for having no drivers license, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the open container law, and for causing a roadway hazard. His court date is April 7th. Sheriff Ray said that Romo, who was operating a motor vehicle, stopped in the middle of the roadway on Cecil Hale Road causing a road hazard. Romo could not provide proof of insurance and he had an open 12 ounce can of beer in a cupholder within his reach. A computer check revealed that Romo had no drivers license.

DeKalb County Has Over 1400 Handgun Permit Holders

March 21, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

More DeKalb Countians are choosing to obtain a valid handgun carry permit.

According to the latest available records kept by the state, DeKalb County had a total of 1,462 handgun permit holders as of January 1st, 2011. That's up 141 from 1,321 on January 1st, 2010 and an increase of 422 since January 1st, 2009.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, who is also an authorized state handgun permit class instructor, said a lot of people are obtaining a handgun carry permit to make them feel more safe and secure. "A lot of people are concerned about protecting themselves now, especially in their homes. A lot of people are also concerned about taking the training, learning how to operate a weapon and to be comfortable with it. We get a lot of people who want to take the class just for the safety aspect of it."

Caplinger said he has been teaching the class since his days with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "I teach the state authorized handgun permit class for anyone interested in obtaining a Tennessee handgun permit. I started teaching these classes in 1996 and continued to teach during my career with the Tennessee Department of Safety. After I retired with the THP, I continued teaching the classes."

Handgun carry applicants must be at least 21 years of age and meet other conditions, according to Caplinger. "You cannot be a convicted felon. If you're being treated for any type of drug or alcohol abuse; if you're under any type of restraining order or other court order; or if you've been convicted of any type of spousal abuse, stalking, or sex crime it can and will keep you from getting a handgun carry permit. If you've had one DUI within five years or two DUI's within ten years it can keep you from getting your handgun permit. If you're being treated for any type of mental disorder or if you're under any type of mental treatment you're not allowed to apply for a handgun carry permit," said Caplinger.

In order to obtain a valid handgun carry permit, Caplinger said you must complete a training course. "The first thing you have to do if you're interested in obtaining a handgun carry permit in Tennessee is to attend one of the authorized classes at a school that is certified with the State of Tennessee Department of Safety handgun permit course. You can take up to an eight hour class, depending upon the instructor. Usually it's a one day class which starts with classroom training following a certain curriculum that the state requires to make everyone aware of where they can and can't carry the gun. The course then goes into the safety part on how to operate and carry the weapon. The class covers several different aspects. After the classroom part is completed, you go to the firing range and fire the weapon. After completing the course, you must apply for the Tennessee handgun permit. Just because you attend the school does not automatically grant you a permit. It only gives you the right to apply for the permit because you have had the mandatory training by taking the course," said Caplinger

"Once you successfully complete the course, you're given a certificate that you are to carry to any full service drivers license station in Tennessee. The ones closest to Smithville are in Cookeville, McMinnville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro. You must present your handgun certificate, your certified birth certificate or valid passport and $115 before being able to make application for your permit. If your birth certificate is not certified, they will turn you down. You must present a certified birth certificate," said Caplinger.

If you don't have a copy of your birth certificate, Caplinger said you can obtain a copy at the health department. "You can go to your local health department and have a copy of your birth certificate printed. It will be certified. I think the charge is either seven or eight dollars. You can go on-line to the department of health in Nashville and order a copy of your birth certificate on-line with a credit or debit card or you can call the department of health by phone and use a debit or credit card and obtain it that way. It will be sent to you in the mail," said Caplinger.

Once you obtain your handgun carry permit, Caplinger said its valid for four years before renewal. "Some people get confused because their drivers license are valid for five years. They (drivers licenses) expire on your birthday. Your gun permit expires on the date it was issued, which might not necessarily be close to your birthday. You will receive a notice in the mail to renew your gun permit. You're never retested again. The only thing is you'll have to go through a background check. The Department of Safety issues the background check to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."

"Your permit renewal application is sent out four months prior to it expiring, "said Caplinger. "Once the Department of Safety sends out that notice, they enter your name with the TBI and the TBI will start a background check Once the background check is completed, if there's nothing on your record to hold it up or any questions that arise, you will receive your notice in the mail. You can then send it into the state because it's already been approved. That's something new that the Department of Safety has started and its working. Two years ago if you renewed your handgun carry license, you were lucky to get it back within ninety days. Most people had to get an extension. Today, if a renewal goes through with no problems and everything is approved, you're probably going to get it back within twenty days even though the Department of Safety tells us to tell everyone it will be ninety days," said Caplinger.

Should you let your handgun carry permit expire, Caplinger said you have a six month grace period before having to retake the course. "If you wait beyond that six month grace period you have to go through that complete course and everything again. Once you get your permit for the first time and you keep it valid, your permit is good for four years. At the end of four years you never have to pay the $115 again but you have to pay $50 for the renewal fee every four years for the remainder of the time you keep the gun permit but you never have to go through the class again," said Caplinger.

While Tennessee does not have a concealed carry law, Caplinger said he urges his students to be cautious about displaying their handguns. "By law, if you obtain your handgun carry permit you are legally allowed to carry your weapon in public if you wish. Some do. Some don't. Instructors have different opinions. I do not recommend that anyone carry their handgun out in the open but it's still up to the individual who has the permit."

Caplinger adds that there are several places where a handgun is prohibited. "A good way to remember is that if you're in or on any city, county, state, or federal property, building, school, or at any type of judicial proceeding, carrying a handgun is off limits. You are also prohibited from carrying a handgun into a restaurant that sells alcohol or a bar if you're going to be drinking."

Many people opposed to handgun carry laws have expressed concerns about more people in public with weapons, but Caplinger said it hasn't been a problem here. "We don't have a problem with most people (with handgun carry permits) because they've had the training. They understand what they can and can't do. Most people understand that if a problem arises and they misuse that permit or that weapon, they can lose that permit just as easy as they got it. These people are good, everyday citizens that can pass the background checks. We've really had no problem with them. It was a concern when it started in 1996 (when handgun permits were first issued) but law enforcement understands that the people with these permits have had the training and know what should happen and what can happen, and how to handle a gun. It hasn't been a problem," concluded Caplinger.

Crash Victim Receives GHSO "Saved by the Belt" Award

March 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
THP Sgt Mark Dial, Brandyn Wright, and Trooper Dewaine Jennings
Brandyn Wright's 2000 Ford Focus

A seatbelt may have saved the life of a 30 year old Smithville man or at least prevented him from suffering serious injuries after being involved in a three car crash on Highway 70 near Alexandria in January.

For choosing to buckle up, Brandyn Wright has received the "Saved by the Belt" Award from the Governor's Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

THP Sergeant Mark Dial and Trooper Dewaine Jennings presented the award to Wright on Saturday morning.

The award states "The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office commends Brandyn Wright for your lifesaving choice and for the strong example you provide to others on the importance of wearing safety belts. You are living proof that safety belts save lives."

On January 6th, Wright was traveling east on Highway 70 toward Smithville in a 2000 Ford Focus when another vehicle traveling west tried to pass a car on a double yellow line. The vehicle that pulled out to pass struck Wright's car nearly head-on and then hit the car it was trying to pass. Wright's car spun around and came to rest facing north on the shoulder of the roadway. The car trying to pass broke into two pieces from the crash and the two occupants were ejected because they were not wearing their seatbelts.

THP officials say Wright's decision to wear his seatbelt not only saved his life but also kept him from sustaining more serious injuries in what proved to be a very serious accident.

A Look at the Tennessee Legislature

March 20, 2011
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a weekly legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver:

Governor Gives First State of the State Address, Outlines Ambitious Plans to Reduce, Transform Government

In a 34-minute speech that focused on reducing the size of government, balancing the budget, and reforming education, the Governor laid out a clear vision for remaking Tennessee. The Governor urged Members of the General Assembly to continue working together to find solutions for the problems voters highlighted last year.

The Governor stated, "The people of Tennessee told us to roll up our sleeves, find consensus on a responsible and realistic spending plan, educate our children, encourage great teachers, create more jobs — and do it now." Along with the annual Address, the Governor provided his budget blueprint for scaling back State spending.

The Governor’s budget proposes an average reduction throughout state government of 2.5 percent. Most executive branch agencies funded with general funds will be reduced. These cuts will save Tennessee taxpayers millions of dollars. The plan calls for reductions in the State workforce but not in the quality of services provided to Tennesseans. In fact, the Governor called for all levels of government to become leaner and more efficient to better serve citizens of the Volunteer State.

Immediately following the speech, many Members applauded the Governor for his proposal. This budget illustrates what Tennesseans have said loud and clear. It illustrates fiscal restraint and stays true to our principles. This is an opportunity for us to manage government differently in the years to come. These are common sense measures that look past partisan lines to get Tennessee back on track. His call to action transcends the political divide and transforms the way our government operates. Tennessee has a strong leader in the Governor and I look forward to working with him to create an environment where job growth is a lasting reality for Tennesseans and government is more accountable to our citizens.

General Assembly Plans to Exempt Itself from Government Pay Raise

Several Members highlighted the fact the Governor included a small raise for State workers after a four year freeze. The Governor found significant savings in many areas for taxpayers but also discussed the fact the State should be competitive in salary for its workers. While several Members were encouraged by the news, some Members of the General Assembly are proposing an amendment to the budget to exempt legislators from the raise so further savings could be realized for taxpayers.

The sponsor of the Amendment for the exemption remarked, “I am delighted the Governor has produced a budget that has made significant and responsible reductions to the overall amount of spending in our State. This is a principle we campaigned on last fall and I am proud to say Tennessee is leading the way for fiscal restraint. That said, I believe we can already go a step further. While there are many hard workers serving our State who deserve a raise—including educators and service professionals—I believe Members of the General Assembly should forego this raise and lead by example.”

A New Way Forward To Empower Teachers Emerges from Education Subcommittee

On Wednesday, a new plan emerged from the House Education Subcommittee to give a voice to every teacher and reward those educators who embody excellence in the classroom. The amendment to House Bill 130, passed by a vote of 8-5, was a collaborative effort and provides a new path for reform in an area that is key to the long-term success of education in Tennessee.

The plan allows for equal access to all education associations for teachers and calls for restrictions on what can be discussed by unions in education. Overall, the plan removes politics from the classroom and enables teachers to focus on student achievement—the State’s number one priority in education.

Instead of settling for the status quo that benefits the few, this amendment allows for us to reach higher for the benefit of all. It gives us a distinct Tennessee solution to the hurdles we face. This legislation promotes accountability in our education system because it encourages and promotes the highest-performing teachers and rewards them for the amazing work they do with our children.

The Governor weighed in with his support on the plan by saying, “It gives superintendents greater flexibility in making personnel decisions and supports my central focus of doing what's best for children in Tennessee classrooms.”

First Lady Urges Parents to Get Involved in Education

Tennessee’s First Lady championed parental involvement in education and childhood development this week. The First Lady made her remarks at Children’s Advocacy Days 2011, an event hosted by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. The First lady will creatively seek out ways to increase and inspire parental involvement, both in Tennessee schools and during early childhood development.

“To help convey the message that a parent is a child’s first teacher, I want to encourage parents, engage communities and empower families in Tennessee,” Mrs. Haslam said.

The First Lady said she plans to travel the state and meet with parents in order to listen and challenge communities to set local objectives for parental engagement. Mrs. Haslam plans to work with parents to help meet their goals.

The First Lady also announced as part of her initiative, she will be focusing this first year on early childhood reading and plans to partner with Governor Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Education to raise the literacy rates for children.

SCORE Calls for Governor’s Tenure Reforms to be Passed

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) this week released a video, narrated by Dr. Bill Frist, Chairman of SCORE and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, on the importance of reforming Tennessee’s tenure system as a way to improve teacher effectiveness.

“Teachers are the most important factor in determining how much a student learns,” said Dr. Frist. “A crucial step in ensuring there is a great teacher at the front of every classroom is reforming the way Tennessee grants tenure. Tenure should be a reward for excellent teachers and an incentive for others to improve. The legislation proposed by Governor Haslam and currently moving through the General Assembly will make tenure for teachers meaningful by clearly tying it to classroom performance.”

During the various committee assignments and Bill presentations I made this week, I had the privilege to join Leadership DeKalb for lunch and a Q and A time as well. Having folks from the fortieth come to the Capitol to observe and take part in the process is always a highlight of mine and one I encourage my district to participate in. It is indeed such an honor to serve Macon, Smith and DeKalb Counties.

Walk Across Tennessee Kickoff for DeKalb County Set for April 4

March 19, 2011
by: 
Extension Agent April Martin
April Martin

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends or your family by participating in Walk across Tennessee, which is an eight-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in DeKalb County. Beginning Monday, April 4 teams of eight will compete to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of exercise in their community. Biking or jogging teams can have a team of four. The miles walked are not literally across the state, but reported on a map posted at the UT Extension Office and Greenbrook Park.
Since everyone participates in a variety of sports, the Walk across Tennessee program also has an exercise conversion chart so that participants can count aerobics, swimming, weight lifting, etc. For example, 16 minutes of high intensity aerobics would equal one mile.

The Walk across Tennessee kickoff for DeKalb County is set for Monday, April 4 at Greenbrook Park at 5:30 P.M. “Teams will keep track of their miles and weekly results and team standings at the park, on the Walk Across TN website, facebook, and other places around the community. Teams can be composed of coworkers, teachers, students, neighbors, etc. While it would be great for teams to exercise together, this is not a requirement. This is an excellent team competition for the workplace and schools” said April Martin, DeKalb County Extension Agent

Many people are unaware of the positive benefits of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 problem in the United States. The risk of heart disease could be significantly reduced by regular exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control, the positive effects of physical activity are not limited to lowering the risk of heart disease. Not only does regular exercise help relieve stress and anxiety,” physically active people outlive inactive people. Participating in Walk across Tennessee DeKalb County is not only a great way to get involved with our community, it’s a healthy habit,” Martin stated.

To participate in Walk across Tennessee, first get a team of eight together. Biking and jogging teams are limited to four people. Choose a team captain and name your team. Team captains need to download up a captain’s packet, available at http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty/ in the handout section or at the DeKalb County Extension Office, 115 West Market St. Smithville, located right near the courthouse in Smithville. Each team member will need to complete a registration form which is included in the team captain’s packet or at the Walk across Tennessee website. “Competition kicks off on Monday, April 4, 5:30 P.M. at Greenbrook Park under pavilion one,” Martin said. “Come out and plan to have lots of fun.” For more information, call the Extension office at 597-4945 or visit the website.

All of the programs of the University of Tennessee are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.. .

2010 Census Shows DeKalb Population Up 7.5%- Hispanic Count Almost Doubles

March 18, 2011

DeKalb County grew 7.5% to a population of 18,723 according to 2010 census results released by the government on Wednesday. That's an increase of 1,300 people from the 17,423 count in the 2000 census for DeKalb County.

The DeKalb County Hispanic population almost doubled going from 633 to 1,239

The cities of Smithville, Alexandria, and Dowelltown experienced some growth over the last ten years but Liberty's population decreased.

2010 census figures show Smithville's population at 4,530, an increase of 13.4%. That's 536 more people than the 3,994 counted in the 2000 census.

Alexandria's population is at 966, an 18.7% increase or 152 more people than the 2000 census count of 814

Dowelltown's population count grew by 53 people from 302 to 355, an increase of 17.5%

Liberty's population dropped from 367 to 310, a decrease of 57 people or 15.5%

The DeKalb County 2010 population breakdown by race is as follows compared to 2000:

White:
17,352 (2010)
16,653 (2000)

Black:
250 (2010)
250 (2000)

American Indian, Alaskan:
35 (2010)
48 (2000)

Asian:
49 (2010)
24 (2000)

Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
2 (2010)
3 (2000)

Other:
797 (2010)
282 (2000)

Multi-Racial:
238 (2010)
163 (2000)

Hispanic Origin:
1,239 (2010)
633 (2000)

The numbers for the 14-county Upper Cumberland region were tabulated by Upper Cumberland Development District analyst Henry Bowman, showing an overall growth in the area of 10.9 percent or 338,158 total residents.

Cumberland County saw a 19.8-percent jump in population, from 46,802 to 56,053.

Putnam County, with the largest population of any county in the Upper Cumberland at 72,321, grew by 16.1% from the 2000 census.

Numbers for other counties in the Upper Cumberland include: Cannon County, which saw a 7.6-percent increase to 13,801. Clay County saw a 1.4-percent decrease in population, falling to 7,861. DeKalb County grew 7.5 percent to a population of 18,723. Fentress County also saw an 8-percent increase and now stands at a population of 17,959.

Jackson County saw a 6-percent population increase and now stands at 11,638 residents. Macon County saw a 9.1-percent increase to 22,248. Overton County now has 22,083 residents, a 9.8-percent increase. Pickett saw a 2.7-percent increase to 5,077. Smith County saw a 8.2-percent increase and has a population of 19,166.

Van Buren County, meanwhile, saw a slight 0.7-percent increase to 5,548. Warren County saw a 4.1-percent increase to 39,839; and White County saw a 11.9 percent increase to 25,841.

The Tennessee population grew by 11.5% to 6,346,105 and the United States count increased by 9.7% to 308,745,538.

4-H Camp Dates Set

March 18, 2011
by: 
Extension Agent April Martin
April Martin

Several camps are available to 4-Hers this summer. 4-Hers in grades 4 – 6 can attend Junior Camp in Crossville this summer the week of June 20 – 24 at the Clyde M. York Center. 4-Hers can participate in swimming, playing sports, kayaking and canoeing, the rifle range, campfires, and making crafts. Cost of camp is $235 (cash or check) or $245 (credit card).

Junior High 4-H Adventure Camp is for grades 7th – 8th. This camp will be held May 31 – June 3 and is located in Crossville at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center. 4-Hers can participate in swimming, playing sports, kayaking and canoeing, the rifle range, campfires, and making crafts. They will also get to choose one special adventure to do while at camp (horseback riding, skeet shooting, aerial design, ziplining, hiking, or a day at the lake. Cost of camp is $245 (cash or check) or $255 (credit card).

4-H Electric Camp for 4-Hers in the 6th and 7th grades will be held June 28 – July 1 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Campers will enjoy “hands-on” learning centers such as making an electric lamp, riding in an electric vehicle, electrical safety, and energy conservation. Cost is $185 and includes meals, transportation, lodging, and a trip to Dollywood. Two partial scholarships will be awarded to the top two winning essays submitted to the office by April 29. The essay should be on “The Future of Electricity” and should be a minimum of 500 words. It can be hand written or typed.

4-H Line and Design Camp is for 4-Hers in grades 6th – 8th. The camp will be held July 12 – 14 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. 4-Hers will participate in sewing, modeling, and fashion design classes and will get to make a memory board, a scarf, and lotions and lip gloss. The cost for this camp is $100 and does not include transportation. This camp is very limited in the number that can go, so 4-Hers are urged to submit their application and payment as soon as possible.

All applications for these camps and other information can be found at http://dekalb.tennessee.edu or at the University of Tennessee Extension Office located at 115 West Market Street in Smithville. Additional information can be found at
http://www.utextension.utk.edu/4H/ under the summer camps.
Questions can be answered by calling 615-597-4945.

Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident

March 16, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident
Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed in School Bus Accident

Attorneys for a local family involved in a traffic accident with a DeKalb County School bus almost a year ago filed a circuit court lawsuit Tuesday seeking a total of one million dollars in damages against the bus driver Walter Phillips, individually; DeKalb County, and Phillips' employer, the DeKalb County Board of Education.

Ashley Spivey is suing on behalf of herself and her minor children, Isaac Dyal and Alissa Dyal, asking for "a money judgment in favor of herself in the amount of $300,000; for a money judgment in favor of herself for loss of consortium in the amount of $100,000; for a money judgment in favor of her daughter Alissa Dyal, a minor, in the amount of $300,000; and for a money judgment in favor of her son, Isaac Dyal, a minor, in the amount of $300,000."

Spivey, who is represented by Nashville attorneys Blair Durham and Ben Winters of Durham and Dread, PLC., also wants a jury to try the case.

The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon, April 27th, 2010 near the school zone at the intersection of North Congress Boulevard and Smith Road in front of Northside Elementary School. Phillips and the eighteen students aboard his bus (#3) escaped injury. However, Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr., Ashley LeAnn Spivey, Alissa Dyal, and Isaac Dyal, who were in the 1992 Chevy Blazer that struck the bus, were injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.

After conducting the investigation that day, Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that bus # 3, driven by 81 year old Walter Phillips, had just left the school with the students and was on Smith Road, turning south on Highway 56 when a Chevy Blazer, driven by 23 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr. of Smithville, struck the bus. Dyal was traveling north on Highway 56 (North Congress Boulevard). The impact damaged the rear left side of the bus and detached the rear axle from the frame. The bus had to be towed away and the blazer was totaled.

Lieutenant Maynard said the three persons in the Blazer with Dyal were 23 year old Ashley LeAnn Spivey and their children, a two year old girl (Alissa Dyal) and a one year old boy (Isaac Dyal).

In the lawsuit, Spivey alleges that she and her children were passengers of the vehicle operated by Kenny Dyal, Jr. traveling north on North Congress Boulevard when Phillips, who was traveling westbound on Smith Road, turned left in front of Dyal's vehicle, causing the collision.

Spivey claims that Phillips was negligent and violated state laws in that he "failed to yield the right of way; was not paying attention; failed to keep his vehicle under due and reasonable control; and was driving in a reckless manner without regard for the safety of the public in general and the plaintiffs in particular."

The lawsuit further alleges that "DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Board of Education, employers of Phillips, are and should be vicariously liable to the Plaintiff for the acts and omissions of their employee pursuant to (state law)"

As a result of the accident, Ashley Spivey alleges that she and her two children have "sustained severe, permanent painful injuries from which they have incurred and shall continue to incur pain, suffering, emotional duress, and the loss of ability to participate in and enjoy the pleasures of life, for all of which they deserve to be compensated; and that they have incurred and shall continue to incur medical expenses for the treatment of these injuries, for all of which they deserve to be compensated."

Six in the Race for Smithville Alderman

March 16, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gayla Hendrix
Cordell Walker
Danny Washer
W.J. (Dub) White
Shawn Jacobs
Aaron Meeks

The three Smithville aldermen up for re-election will be challenged in this summer's municipal election

Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White are seeking a new two year term in the city balloting on Tuesday, June 21st. All three were elected two years ago. Jacobs is completing his first term. Meeks served as alderman from 2003 to 2007 when he lost a bid for re-election. He ran again in 2009 and was elected. White served as alderman from 1993 to 2001. He served as alderman again from 2003 to 2007 when he lost a re-election bid. White ran again and was elected in 2009.

Others hoping to win a seat on the city council as aldermen this summer are Smithville attorney and former educator Gayla Hendrix and local businessmen Cordell Walker and Danny Washer.

All three are familiar faces on the political scene. Walker is a former Smithville alderman. Washer made a run for alderman in 2008 and Hendrix ran for state representative three years ago.

All six, Jacobs, Meeks, White, Hendrix, Walker, and Washer have qualified by petition with the DeKalb County Election Commission.

Three aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 21st. Each term is for two years. The terms of office for those elected will begin on July 1st.

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election will be June 1st through June 16th. Meanwhile, May 23rd is the voter registration deadline for the Smithville City Election.

Voters who don't live in Smithville but own property in the city may vote in the municipal election under certain conditions.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 23rd registration deadline.

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley reminds voters who have moved since registering to vote that the election commission office needs your current address on file.

"While checking the names of registered voters on some of the petitions returned recently, we noticed some voters have moved but have not informed the election commission office of their change of address," Stanley said. "Updating the record is a simple process. All the voter needs to do is fill out a change of address form, which is available at the election commission office. To see if you need to update your record, simply check the address on your voter registration card. If it is different than your current address, you need to update the information with the election commission."

"Updating the address will make your voting experience go much easier and quicker." Stanley said," and will not slow down the line at the polling place during early voting or election day."

For more information, you may contact the DeKalb County Election Commission Office which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The phone number is 615-597-4146.

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WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

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