Local News Articles

May is the Joe Black Effort Membership Drive Month

May 2, 2013

May is the Joe Black Effort Membership Drive Month

For those of you who don’t know who we are, the Joe Black Effort is a “no kill” animal rescue group. In fact, we are the only “no kill” rescue in Dekalb County. By “no kill”, we mean that we do everything we possibly can to help the stray, abandoned, abused or neglected animals that are trying to survive on their own. Occasionally there is an animal that may be too sick to save. At those times, after all options are exhausted we must have them humanely euthanize out of kindness and caring so they won’t suffer.

We currently operate from a small office at 458 W. Broad Street. We house our animals with foster families until we can get them adopted out to a great home with people who will love them and care for them. One of the things we do when we have an animal come into our network is get them the medical care they need. That includes their shots, heartworm and feline tests and also have them spayed and neutered. We have many wonderful supporters who donate food, beds and toys for the animals, however, we are in need of your memberships and generous monetary donations to help pay the vet bills. With your help, we also plan to have a “no kill” shelter built in Dekalb County, which will be manned by the volunteers of the Joe Black Effort! We need it, our members know we need it and we are committed to making that happen. We are asking you to have a heart and do your part by supporting the Joe Black Effort.

That’s why May is our membership drive month! We have several memberships to choose from. One for every budget and every little bit helps. The Regular Joe Membership is $10 a year. You receive a membership card and 10% off all Joe Black Effort items and 10% off all of our events. Our Heart and Soul Membership is free to volunteers who give at least 20 hours a year to Joe Black. Heart & Soul members are welcome to donate as well, if they wish. These members will also get 10% off everything Joe Black Effort items such as t-shirts, bracelets, hats, decals and whatever events we have throughout the year. The Hearts of Gold Membership is sustaining members. This membership means a once a month donation, minimum is $10 up to whatever you’d like to give. A Heart of Gold membership receives 50% off all of our Joe Black Effort events and all items we sell again such as t-shirts, bracelets, hats and whatever we decide to sell to fund raise. If we have lots of members, each helping a little bit financially and a few volunteering some time, we can continue to grow into the kind of rescue Dekalb County animal and citizens need, want and deserve!

If you are interested in becoming a member, please call us at 615-464-LOVE, or email us at joeblackeffort@gmail.com and we will get a membership application to you asap. You can also pick up Membership Applications at Dekalb Animal Hospital (Dr. Little’s office), Dekalb Veterinary Clinic (Dr. Wheeler) and Smithville Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Burke).

Be part of the solution!
Let’s make Dekalb county a safe place for animals to live and a dangerous place for animal abusers to live!

Together we can make a difference…..one pup at a time…. One kitten at a time.

American Cancer Society Celebrating 100 Years of Saving Lives

May 2, 2013
Dwayne Page

Hundreds of caring members of our community will gather at Green Brook Park on Friday, May 10 in the battle against cancer when the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of DeKalb County gets underway. Participants will be marking a major milestone in the Society’s fight against cancer – 100 years of saving lives.

The American Cancer Society is celebrating 100 years of saving lives from cancer and creating a world with more birthdays. It’s the progress we’ve made together – as a community, as volunteers, as survivors and as leaders – that has helped us reach this incredible milestone with tremendous success. By lending your support to the DeKalb County Relay event this year, you’ll be supporting Society’s efforts to finish the fight and bring an end to cancer as we know it.

The 16th annual Relay in DeKalb County begins with entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring an introduction of cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

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

The schedule of entertainment from the stage is as follows:
5:00: Denise Page
5:10: Infinity
5:25: Kathy Goodwin
5:40: Dessa Ray
Presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347
The National Anthem sung by Suzanne Slager
Invocation by B.J. Thomason, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church

Opening Ceremony-Welcome by Renea Cantrell
Introduction of Cancer Survivors
Song honoring Cancer Survivors performed by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby
Prayer for Cancer Survivors by Don Rigsby, Pastor of Prosperity Baptist Church

6:45: David Turner and Friends
7:00: Denise Page
7:15: Clifford and Glenda Randolph
7:30: Suzanne Slager
7:45: Fluty and the Flutones
8:00: Kevin Roberts
8:15: Tina Boston
8:30: Terry Hodges
8:45: New Life Pentecostal Church Praise Group

Luminaria Ceremony
Prayer by Jeff Armstrong, Pastor of the Smithville Church of God

9:15: Receive It Ministries of the Smithville Church of God
9:30: Rampage Youth Group by the Edge Worship Center
9:45: First Baptist Youth Group by the Smithville First Baptist Church
10:00: Smithville Assembly of God Youth Group
10:15: Brandon and Becky Duke, Elizabeth Chapel Singers
10:30: Denise Page
10:35: 61 Seconds
11:30: Closing Ceremony
Midnight: RELAY ENDS

Carbon Monoxide Threat Forces Evacuation of Apartment Building

May 1, 2013
Dwayne Page

Carbon monoxide from a natural gas water heater Tuesday night forced an evacuation of several occupants at City Walk Apartments on East Bryant Street.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the apartment complex to check out a possible natural gas leak in one of the buildings. After arriving, Chief Charlie Parker said firefighters entered the building to investigate and discovered the presence of carbon monoxide, using CO detectors. Chief Parker said a natural gas water heater in a maintenance closet of the building was the source of the carbon monoxide.

All occupants in the building were evacuated by firefighters and officers of the Smithville Police Department
Chief Parker said Middle Tennessee Natural Gas was notified and sent a crew to shut off the water heater. The fire department brought in fans to clear out the building of the potentially poisonous gases.

The residents of the apartment were later allowed to re-enter the building after it was re-checked for carbon monoxide and found to be safe. No one was injured.

Corps to Implement Waterborne Restrictions Around Center Hill Dam

April 30, 2013
Dwayne Page
Corps to Implement Waterborne Restrictions Around Center Hill Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is beginning to implement permanent full-time water access restrictions around Center Hill Dam and the other nine dams on the Cumberland River and their tributaries this week.

The restricted areas will be the minimum area allowed per Corps regulations upstream and downstream of locks, dams, and power plant facilities. All forms of water access within the restricted areas will be prohibited including boating, swimming and wading. The Corps continues to promote bank fishing in all areas that were previously approved, including areas adjacent to some restricted areas.



The Restricted Area Boundary Lengths around Center Hill Dam will be:

Upstream Restricted Area Length.....400 feet

Downstream Restricted Area Length.....750 feet

All forms of waterborne access within the restricted areas will be prohibited including boating, swimming, and wading.

Unrestricted Area Boundary Length Downstream of Center Hill Dam will be:

Unrestricted Tailwater Area Boundary.....2,739 feet

Bank fishing is still permitted and is encouraged in designated/permissible areas.

Enforcement of these restrictions will be effective when the placement of buoys and sufficient signs is completed at each dam.

The installation of buoys and signs will continue through the spring and summer of 2013. The district will not be installing physical barriers at this time. Buoys and signs will be used to mark the restricted areas.

The district will be coordinating enforcement of the restrictions with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District initially announced plans last fall to implement restricted waterborne access to hazardous waters immediately upstream and downstream of all Corps-owned locks and dams, flood control dams and multi-purpose dams along the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries in accordance to ER 1130-2-520, Chapter 10.

Best described as industrial areas, the hazardous water areas above and below dams in the Nashville District pose a high level of risk for the public because of the Hydroelectric, spilling, sluicing and lock operations that are often present or begin with little or no notice. Turbulent boils and powerful currents are capable of swamping, capsizing, and even trapping boats and people in turbulent waters. Also during instances of emergency boater distress, project employees are not always immediately available to respond. This places emergency responders and other boaters at risk of a life-threatening situation during rescue attempts. Lock, hydropower, spilling and sluicing operations are disrupted after and during any emergency response effort. These incidents have far reaching impacts; the most important of which are families that have to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Since 2009, three fatalities, one serious injury and ten near misses/rescues have occurred in hazardous waters immediately downstream of dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries. Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned wore a life jacket.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement today that it would proceed with its proposed fishing restrictions below dams on the Cumberland River:

“This is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an unreasonable interference with the right to fish below the dams the public owns,” Alexander said. “We will therefore move ahead in the U.S. Senate next week with legislation to ensure the freedom of Americans to fish in these waters at times that the state wildlife agencies believe is consistent with reasonable efforts to ensure public safety.”

The senator’s statement follows an announcement by the Corps today, Tuesday, April 30, that it would proceed with restricting access to tailwaters areas below the dams in Tennessee and Kentucky on a full-time, permanent basis through the use of buoys and signage. The Corps is not proceeding with physical barriers at this time, though that has been part of the plan.

Alexander previously introduced the “Freedom to Fish Act” to prohibit the Corps from restricting access to the tailwaters, noting that the waters are only dangerous 20 percent of the time. Cosponsors included Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), as well as U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) in the House.

On March 23, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to the budget that would allow for Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the Corps’ plan. Alexander has also held a range of meetings with Corps officials, encouraging the Corps to work with Tennessee and Kentucky wildlife agencies on a compromise to ensure safety.

County Firefighters Contain Carport Fire

April 30, 2013
Dwayne Page

County firefighters kept a carport fire from spreading to the rest of Bessie Atnip's home at 6770 Short Mountain Highway Tuesday afternoon.

Central dispatch received the call at 12:52 p.m.

Atnip and her caregiver Diana Malone were at home when the fire started from a 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck parked on the carport. They had apparently just started up the truck to let it run a while and went back inside to eat lunch when the pickup caught fire. Malone discovered the blaze and got Atnip out of the house. Neither of them was injured. The fire was then reported to 911.

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, the fire destroyed the truck and caused extensive damage to a 1995 Pontiac Bonneville parked outside near the carport. He said the fire broke through the carport into the attic above the kitchen but firefighters got the blaze stopped before it could spread to the house. The fire and water damage was confined to the carport area but smoke spread to other parts of the home.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker and equipment truck. DeKalb EMS and officers of the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Massman Construction Awarded Contract to Build Sligo Bridge

April 30, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded the construction contract on Sligo bridge to the Massman Construction Company based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Massman, at $38,903, 917, had the lowest bid of the six bids submitted for the project. According to Jennifer A. Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, the bid came in at well under TDOT's estimated cost of the project at $43.5 million dollars.

Flynn told WJLE Monday a pre-construction meeting will be held within a few weeks in which all parties involved will gather to discuss issues related to the project. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

Paul Degges, Chief Engineer for TDOT, met with County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission in January to update them on plans for the Sligo project. Since the state could not reach a right of way agreement with Sligo Marina, the bridge will be built primarily from the water. "We brought in a lot of contractors and did a constructability review so now we have come up with a way to build the bridge from the water and from the roadway so we're not going to have to be off our reservation so to speak with the bridge," said Degges.

The project will be more costly to build the bridge from the river, according to Degges but the marina will not be impacted in this manner. A construction staging area will be set up at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch where contractors may gain access to the lake in getting to the bridge. The project will be under construction by summer and should be finished within twenty four to thirty months. "For the most part we're going to be building the bridge from the river. It is going to run our costs up but we believe we have the resources available to deliver it," said Degges. Certainly there will be some construction delays through there but we won't have a traffic signal. As far as construction impacts, there will still be access to the marina during construction and there will still be access across the bridge. It will be posted. Its at 22 tons right now and we hope to be able to keep it at that weight posting. I don't see anything happening that's going to have us change that," he said.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We're going to build what we call a steel plate girder bridge with a concrete deck," said Degges. "Right now, the bridge is a truss.The bridge is somewhat narrow. The new bridge we're going to put in here will have twelve foot lanes and ten foot shoulders. It will be what most people would consider a traditional bridge in that the beams of this bridge will be under the deck," he said.

The project is being funded under TDOT's Better Bridges, a four year program approved in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly that utilizes bonds to pay for the repair or replacement of more than 200 structurally deficient bridges in the state including Sligo. "We were able to come up with a new funding mechanism which we call our Better Bridges Program that allows us to utilize dollars available so we don't have to borrow money. It is a way that we use bond authorizations that allow us to let bigger projects and pay for them as they're being constructed. It keeps us from having to borrow any money but it allows us to advance pretty expensive projects," said Degges.

Early Voting Set for Smithville Municipal Election

April 30, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has set the dates and times of early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election. Three aldermen are to be elected.

Voting will be May 29 through June 13 on the following days and hours:

Mondays: Noon until 5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. until Noon

Election day is Tuesday June 18. All voting will be done on the first floor of the courthouse. The last day to register to vote in time for the election is May 20.

Candidates for aldermen are incumbents Gayla Hendrix, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer and challengers Aaron Meeks, Josh Miller, and Anthony Scott.

TBI Arrests DeKalb County Man for Theft

April 29, 2013
Paul Allen Willingham
Abigail Vogel
Matthew Allen Baker
Bruce Lee Gammons

On Friday April 26, 2013, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a Dekalb County man on a theft charge for stealing computers from his employer after he was indicted by the Davidson County grand jury last month.

Paul Allen Willingham, 33, of Smithville, Tenn. was charged with one count of theft of property over $1,000. While working as a computer tech for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Willingham stole two computers from the agency. The 20th Judicial District Attorney General requested TBI to investigate on March 20, 2013. The laptops were later recovered and Willingham was fired from his position.

Willingham was booked into the Dekalb County Jail on $10,000 bond and was transferred to the Davidson County Jail.

Meanwhile in his latest report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 33 year old Abigail Vogel of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication and introduction of drugs into a penal institution. Her bond is $6,500 and she will be in court on Thursday, May 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 26 a deputy responded to a call of an unwanted visitor at a residence on Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown. Upon arrival, the officer found Vogel on the property. She was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. For her safety and the safety of the public, Vogel was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

After arriving at the jail, Vogel was asked several times if she had anything on her person that was illegal that the officers needed to know about. She replied no. When the correctional officer searched her before being booked, a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana was found in Vogel's pocket.

31 year old Matthew Allen Baker of Pine Orchard Road, Smithville is charged with resisting arrest. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on Thursday, May 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 26 a deputy went to Royal Oak Apartments on Miller Road to serve a state warrant out of Cannon County on Baker. As a drug detective was trying to handcuff Baker, he jerked away and attempted to flee. After a struggle, Baker was placed under arrest and brought to the jail for booking.

30 year old Bruce Lee Gammons of Shady Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on Thursday, May 2.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 28 Gammons and a woman got into a confrontation. She threw a half filled bottle of soda at him and he threw it back, hitting his eight year old son in the side leaving a red swollen area. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Three Teens Involved in Car Wreck

April 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Three Teens Involved in Car Wreck

Three local teens were involved in a one car accident Saturday night on Jacobs Pillar Road.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that the driver of the car lost control in a curve on the rain slick road. The vehicle struck a culvert and flipped over on its side.

A female passenger of the car was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital in Cookeville. The other two occupants of the car, both males, were not injured.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Smithville Man Charged with Theft of Money from Vending Machines

April 27, 2013
Dwayne Page
William Corey Dickens

A 28 year old Smithville man has been charged with four counts of theft for allegedly using special tools and access codes to break into and steal money from vending machines at Federal Mogul, NHC Health Care Center, and DeKalb EMS. The cases have been under investigation by the Smithville Police Department.

William Corey Dickens is under a $17,500 bond and he will be in court on May 2. More charges are pending against him locally. He is also charged with similar offenses in Putnam and Warren County.

According to the warrants, Dickens allegedly broke into vending machines belonging to Five Star Food Services at Federal Mogul on Grizzly Lane in Smithville on February 1 & 8 taking over $500 in cash. On February 1, Dickens was escorted off the property by security on two occasions.

Dickens then went to NHC on Fisher Avenue in Smithville Saturday, March 18 where he allegedly took over $500 in cash from vending machines belonging to Five Star Food Services.

Finally, Dickens went to DeKalb EMS in Smithville on Wednesday, April 17 and allegedly took less than $500 from vending machines belonging to the Dr. Pepper Company. Since that date, Dickens has been charged and incarcerated in Putnam and Warren County for similar offenses. While in custody, Dickens was found to have coins, access codes, and special tools for entering the vending machines.


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