Local News Articles

Pilot Program to Provide Food to Needy Children at SES During Christmas Break

October 6, 2009
Dwayne Page
Cindy Childers(left) and Deanna Persinger(right)

The DeKalb County School System is making plans to launch a pilot program at Smithville Elementary School to make sure children who receive free or reduced priced meals at school have plenty to eat during the Christmas holiday at home.

Deanna Persinger, School Health Coordinator, says through the"BackPack" program, children receive food they can take home. The food is child friendly, non perishable, and easily consumed and vitamin fortified. "We're looking into something called a "BackPack" program for our students and possibly piloting that at Smithville Elementary and the reason why we have chosen Smithville Elementary is because we have a large percentage of students, approximately 357 kids who receive free and reduced priced meals, that we would look at feeding. The BackPack program serves as a way to feed those children during the holidays when they may not have food available to them. What we would do is fill bags of food to put in the backpacks with the children to go home during the holidays. We're shooting for Christmas break. We would send information home to the parents who are interested. Some parents won't be interested in the program but for the ones who are that's who we would be sending the food home with. We are looking for some partnerships as far as food donations, the plastic bags to put those in, and most importantly we need volunteers to help stuff those bags because if we're looking at approximately 350-360 children, that's a lot of food to stuff. The types of foods we're looking for are those that won't spoil that the kids could prepare for themselves if they are home alone or with siblings. If the program is successful we would like to continue that maybe during spring break or every other weekend. This is something lots of school systems in the state are already doing. Metro Nashville schools are partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank to do this. Other states are doing this as well. This is something that has gained in popularity and definitely something I see a need for here."

Suggested individually packaged food to donate for the BackPack program include: 100% juice in single serving unbreakable bottles, boxes, or pouches; small boxes or bags of nutritious cereal; nutritious snack/breakfast bars; fruit cups; small boxes of raisins or dried fruit; microwave popcorn; non-perishable single serve microwave kids meals; and individually packaged crackers (peanut butter and crackers)

For more information, call Deanna Persinger at 215-2118 or Cindy Childers at 215-2161

The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.

In addition to providing nutritious food to school children in need, some BackPack Programs provide extra food for younger siblings at home and others operate during the summer months when children are out of school and have limited access to free or reduced-priced meals.

The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.

More than 140 Feeding America members operated more than 3,600 BackPack Programs and served more than 190,000 children in FY2009.

State Fire Marshal offers tips for Fire Prevention Month

October 6, 2009
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen has designated October as Fire Prevention Month, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans to regularly check their homes for hazards that could lead to fires.

“Tennessee occupies an undesirable ranking in the country for fire deaths. Falling asleep while smoking in bed or in a comfortable chair remains a significant cause of fire deaths in Tennessee,” says Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “If you smoke, make sure your home’s smoke detectors are functioning properly.”

Tennessee residents should avoid other practices in the home that quickly become hazardous:

• keeping space heaters too close to bedding or drapes,
• burning candles or incense near flammable materials,
• using frayed cables, extension cords or holiday lighting sets, overloading wall outlets and surge protectors, and
• improperly storing or disposing of chemicals.

Newman urges Tennessee families to practice their home escape plan this month. “Having an established escape route is one of the most important things Tennessee families can do. We encourage them to rehearse it routinely – not just in October but all year.” Residents also should replace smoke alarms’ batteries when adjusting clocks for daylight saving time. They can do that on November 1, when clocks are set back an hour this year.

For further information, contact 615-741-2981 or visit www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

Sen. Beavers and Rep. Weaver to File Legislation to Ease the Economic Burden on Contractors and Subcontractors

October 5, 2009
Dwayne Page

State Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver recently met to discuss the upcoming legislative session. In particular, the issue of easing the economic burden on small businesses and contractors during these hard economic times was at the top of their agenda.

“We cannot expect small businesses, particularly those sole proprietors and small contracting companies, to emerge from what has been a devastating few years in the economy and housing market if the state and federal governments continue to burden them with regulations and fees,” said Sen. Beavers. “Self-employed contractors are hurting enough as it is; the state doesn’t need to help put them out of business.”

The particular law addressed was a bill passed in 2008 that required all contractors and subcontractors – even those sole proprietorships whose owner is the only employee – to carry additional workers compensation insurance. The law will go into effect in 2010 after attempts to delay its implementation until the current economic crisis subsides was defeated in committee this year.

Rep. Weaver was not a member of the legislature when the bill passed, but nonetheless feels it is her responsibility to her district in these hard economic times to sponsor legislation that repeals this law. “Part of the reason I was elected was to help small businesses in my rural counties. The last thing these self-employed people need are more hurdles to clear when our economy is in need of a boost,” Weaver said.

Sen. Beavers was one of only five Senators who voted against the bill on the floor last session. “You have to be aware of the economic climate and what effects that state mandates will have when the legislature passes bills,” said Beavers. “And whereas I do think this issue should be discussed further in the coming years, I believe many legislators, including Republicans, were quite short-sighted when they passed this law.”

Rep. Weaver added, “Now is not the time to start putting yet another fee, regulation, or tax on self-employed businesses.”

Both Sen. Beavers and Rep. Weaver urge everyone to call their other legislators and ask them to support the bill they will be filing to repeal the 2008 law, in particular those who voted aye for the 2008 bill.

Lou Ann Zelenik Announces Candidacy for Congress

October 5, 2009
Dwayne Page

Lou Ann Zelenik has announced she has filed the necessary documents with the Federal Election Commission to formally enter the race for Congress in Tennessee’s Sixth District.

Zelenik, a small business owner for more than twenty years and current chairman of the Rutherford County Republican Party, will seek the party’s nomination to oppose Congressman Bart Gordon in November of 2010. She enters the race with a pledge to provide representation that reflects the growing conservative views of the Sixth District.

“In his twenty-five years in Congress, Bart Gordon has steadily moved away from the views of this district,” Zelenik said. “As Middle Tennessee has embraced a more conservative philosophy, he has become an increasingly reliable vote for the liberal leadership in Congress. Tennesseans have said we are looking for someone who stands with us. Congressman Gordon has shown he prefers to stand with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”

Zelenik co-founded L&N Construction in 1985 and closed the successful business in 2007. In announcing her bid, she emphasized her understanding of the impact government policy has on small business and job creation in a faltering economy. “I understand priorities. I understand that families and businesses must live within our means but Congress spends our money at an unprecedented rate. Bart Gordon’s ‘stimulus’ package was sold to the people as necessary to keep unemployment under eight percent. Today it stands near ten percent. His vote to force a ‘Cap and Trade’ energy tax on families in the Sixth District threatens to kill more jobs when government should be on the side of working Tennesseans. His decision to support government-run health care runs counter to the values of Tennesseans. Bart Gordon’s addictions to the perks and privilege of the Washington lifestyle have made him a loyal supporter of Nancy Pelosi and her leftist agenda.”

Zelenik pledged to return representation to the Sixth District that hears the voices of Tennesseans and stands up for their values. “We understand that lower taxes create more economic opportunity. We understand that government policy should be driven by the interests of the people, not the political action committees. I will work to put the government back on the side of working families and give Tennesseans a voice in Washington. I enter this race knowing it will be difficult. Bart Gordon will be well financed by special interests. He will have the backing of ACORN and liberal national groups who don’t care about Tennessee. But our children’s future is worth the fight and I am ready to get to work. I ask the voters of the Sixth District to join me in this cause.”

Zelenik is the mother of one daughter. She is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering and attends World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrests

October 5, 2009
Dwayne Page
Darrell Jerome Gurley
Michelle Lee Culwell
Heather Perkins

Three people were arrested Saturday by the Sheriff's Department..

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 35 year old Darrell Jerome Gurley of Parsley Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation in addition to two warrants for violation of probation. 32 year old Michelle Lee Culwell of Parsley Road is charged with simple possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone) and 29 year old Heather Perkins of Mountain View Drive, Smithville faces a charge of tampering with evidence.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy, while on patrol on Highway 56 north Saturday, spotted Gurley sitting with two females, Culwell and Perkins, in a vehicle at the parking lot of a local business. The officer had prior knowledge of two active violation of probation warrants on Gurley so he stopped to speak with him. Gurley initially identified himself as Paul Allen Sullivan and gave a date of birth and social security number. But after the officer confronted him about his identity, Gurley gave his real name. Gurley's bond is $1,000 and he will appear in court on October 15th. After receiving consent to search from Gurley and the women, the officer found ten pink pills believed to be Hydrocodone in Culwell's pocketbook. Culwell said she had no prescription for the pills. Her bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on October 15th. While searching the vehicle, the officer also noticed that the other passenger, Perkins, was trying to conceal something in her pants. The officer asked Perkins to empty her pockets and she produced a small container that was missing the lid. He inquired about what was in the container and where it went and she replied that it was a Xanax and that she had swallowed it. Perkins added that she did not have a prescription for the drug and that she had purchased it from a friend. Her bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on October 15th

Meanwhile, 50 year old Jack Christopher Adams of Petty Road, Smithville was arrested on September 28th after a deputy spotted him operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 South. The officer had prior knowledge that Adams' drivers license was revoked. After stopping Adams, the officer confirmed that his driver's license was revoked for a conviction of driving under the influence on January 3rd, 2008. Adams also had eight separate prior charges of driving on a revoked driver's license. Adams' bond was set at $15,000 and he will appear in court on October 15th.

On Sunday, October 4th, deputies were dispatched to an auto accident on Highway 146. After speaking to the driver, the investigating officer arrested 31 year old Phillip Miranda of Cecil Hale Road Smithville for driving on a revoked driver's license. Miranda's license was revoked for a driving under the influence conviction on June 17th, 2008. Miranda's bond was set at $1,000. He was also issued a citation for no insurance and failure to maintain his lane of travel on the roadway.

Fighting Tiger Band finally gets to start their Contest Season

October 5, 2009
DC Band Boosters
DCHS Band Field Commander Hunter Tramel Takes First Place
DCHS Band Percussion Section Wins at Lebanon

The DeKalb County Fighting Tiger Band traveled to Lebanon on Saturday for what should have been their second contest of the season. Their first contest, scheduled to be in Hendersonville on September 19th, was rained out, so the Lebanon Blue Devil Marching Invitational ended up being the first of the season. Band director, Jonathan Wright, said, “It’s good to finally get this first contest under our belt so the new students know what we’re practicing for.”

Saturday started out like most “Band Contest Saturdays”. They gathered at the High School at noon to practice for approximately two hours to work out a few last minute kinks in the show. After a few minor instrument repairs and maintenance procedures, the students were focused and ready to perform.

After the rehearsal, the band loaded the bus and made their way to Lebanon with a long convoy of supporters behind them. Some of the cars were decorated with window paint cheering on the band of their favorite band student. The people that support the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band are among the most passionate around.

As per tradition, the last fifteen minutes or so of the band’s ride on the bus becomes completely silent. The students look straight ahead and focus on what they have to do to get their job done. This tradition was created several years ago by the band students of Mr. Randy Rhody, and has remained in place before every contest performance since.

The Band took the field at 5pm and was determined to give their best performance of the year, and they did not disappoint. “This was by far the best performance of the season,” says Mr. Wright.

During the awards ceremony it was revealed that Hunter Tramel was the 1st place field commander not only in class but in the whole competition, which included big bands and small bands alike. This is the second year in a row that Hunter has achieved this status. The percussion section won first place in class as well.

Mr. Wright is quick to brag on his young band. “Our color guard was one of only two that got a superior rating, and even though there was no recognition or trophy for the accomplishment, they placed second overall in the class. Despite the overall young age of the band they far exceeded expectations. We have great things in store for next week.”

Next week the band will travel to Goodpasture High School for The Cougar Marching Invitational. This is a prelims/finals contest which means the 12 bands that are in the contest will be slimmed down to the top 8, and those bands will perform again for the final placement in the contest.

To find out more about the band log onto www.DekalbBand.com or check them out on FaceBook.

New Bildad Primitive Baptist Church Receives Chamber Milestone Award

October 3, 2009
Dwayne Page
New Bildad Primitive Baptist Church Celebrates 200 Years

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently presented a Milestone Award to the New Bildad Primitive Baptist Church in celebration of the church's Bicentennial.

Elder Ricky Arnold, pastor of the church, says the church has been in the Seven Springs-Keltonburg community for 200 years." We want to take this opportunity to thank God for His amazing Grace. In 200 years, the church has probably touched the lives of a lot of people and families that are here in DeKalb County. We'd love for those folks to come back and visit us."

"The church divided in 1854 and the church that became known as Old Bildad changed their original church covenant but the church that became known as New Bildad still holds the church covenant and the Articles of Faith from 1809 and we still practice and worship as they did 200 years ago. We have a rich history and we want to thank God for that."

Pictured from left:

Debbie Arnold, Pastor Ricky Arnold, Deacon Ralph Arnold, Chamber Director
Suzanne Williams

Woman Injured in Alexandria Wreck

October 3, 2009
Dwayne Page

A 33 year old Smithville woman was injured in a one vehicle accident Wednesday morning on Highway 70 in Alexandria near Highway 53.

Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Lynda M. Neville was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 2006 Kia when she went off the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, came back across the left side of the road, hit a road sign, a ditch, and a culvert.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue team were summoned to the scene to extricate Neville from her vehicle. She was airlifted from nearby by a Life Force Helicopter Ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Knowles says Neville's injuries were not believed to have been life threatening.

Others on the scene were members of DeKalb EMS, the Alexandria Police Department, the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Tigers Get 18-15 District Win at York Institute

October 3, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers snapped a two game losing skid Friday night with an 18 to 15 win at York Institute.

The victory improves the Tigers record to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in District 8AA.

Neither team scored in the first quarter and points were precious in the second quarter.

York Institute's first half score came on a four yard Matt Brown touchdown run with 7:37 left in the second period. The P.A.T. kick was good and the Dragons led 7-0.

The Tigers only points of the first half came on the leg of kicker Zach Taylor who connected on a 31 yard field goal with 3:35 left in the second quarter to trim the Dragon lead to 7-3. That was the half time score.

Taylor was called upon for another 31 yard field goal try with 10:04 left in the third period and again came through to pull the Tigers to within one at 7-6.

DeKalb County got their first touchdown of the night later in the third period on a 12 yard run by Tyler Weatherby. The two point conversion attempt failed but the Tigers led 12-7. That was the score at the end of the third period.

York Institute took the lead again with 10:34 left in the fourth period on a 45 yard punt return by Tyrel Asberry. The Dragons also scored on the two point conversion try and pulled ahead of the Tigers 15 to 12.

DeKalb County scored it's next go ahead touchdown with 7:38 left in the fourth period on a five yard quarterback keeper by Hunter Poteete. Taylor's P.A.T. attempt was no good but the Tigers led 18 to 15.

On their final drive, the Dragons were moving the ball on the ground against the Tigers and found themselves in scoring position with less than a minute and a half left in the game, but Abram Edwards picked off a pass by the Dragon quarterback to seal York Institute's fate and preserve a DeKalb County lead and victory.

Smithville Police Make Five Arrests in Child Neglect/Drug Investigation

October 2, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police, investigating a reported child neglect case Thursday, found drugs and made five arrests at a residence on West Main Street.

Chief Richard Jennings says 52 year old Billy Joe Rigsby and 44 year old Marla A. Turner of 214 West Main Street are charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession. 19 year old Phyllis Danielle Lack of 214 West Main Street is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. 24 year old David Franklin Turner and 21 year old Toni Michelle Turner are charged with child abuse and neglect.

Officer Travis Bryant says he initially responded to a call of a child in the street and a subsequent investigation of a possible child neglect case was conducted by Detective Jerry Hutchins, who responded to the home of Billy Joe Rigsby and Marla Turner at 214 West Main Street along with Drema Edel of the Department of Children Services. Upon arrival Detective Hutchins and Edel spoke with both David and Toni Turner, the parents of the child. Danielle Lack,.Billy Joe Rigsby, Marla Turner were also at the residence. Rigsby and Marla Turner gave the officers consent to search the premises and Chief Jennings, Patrolman Matt Farmer, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow and Patrolman Randy King joined Detective Hutchins at the scene.

The search revealed a bottle containing yellow pills believed to be K-4 Dilaudid. Several clean and dirty needles were also found through out the home along with several cut straws containing residue and a prescription belonging to someone who was not present.

Bond for Rigsby and Marla Turner was set at $30,000 each $5,000 each for David and Toni Turner. All five defendants are to appear in court October 22nd.

36 year old John Allan Judkins of 4762 Jefferson Road was arrested Thursday, October 1st for possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the report, on that day Officer Bradley Tatrow observed a vehicle driving erratically on West Broad Street near Stewart's Auto. Upon activation of blue lights to signal the vehicle to stop, the automobile continued to travel for about ¾ miles before stopping. While behind the vehicle, Officer Tatrow saw the passenger of the vehicle reach into the back seat. Upon making contact with the driver, Dale Evans and passenger John Judkins, Officer Tatrow immediately executed a safety pat down of the men for weapons. Evans gave verbal consent to search his vehicle and one used hypodermic needle along with a cut off straw with powdery residue were recovered from the back seat area where Tatrow had observed Judkins reaching while the vehicle was in motion. Judkins was placed under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia and transported to the Smithville Police Department. His bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is October 29th.

47 year old Dawn Elizabeth Beavers of 731 Webb Lane was arrested Friday, October 2nd for theft of property. Detective Jerry Hutchins arrested Beavers for allegedly taking $20 scratch off tickets from Kwik N Ezy, where she worked, and putting the tickets in her purse without paying for them. According to the report, Beavers has committed this act several times in the past. The total value of the stolen tickets amounts to more than $10,000. Beavers allegedly cashed in the winning tickets at other stores. Her bond is set at $10,000 and her court date is October 22nd.

28 year old Julian G Soto of 203 Bryant St was arrested September 25th for driving under the influence. According to the report, on that date Officer Bradley Tatrow observed a vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone on Highway 146 North. Upon stopping the vehicle, Officer Tatrow made contact with Soto, the driver. Soto had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Soto submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest for DUI. Soto refused a chemical test to determine the alcohol/drug content of his blood and he was charged with a violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is October 15th.

21 year old Pablo O. Valenciano was arrested on September 27th for violation of probation. Officer Randy King reports that he pulled over Valenciano for failing to yield to a stop sign at the corner of Miller Road and Anthony Avenue in Smithville. He did not have a license, insurance or registration. After issuing citations, Officer King was advised that Valenciano was wanted for violation of probation in Warren County. He was placed under arrest and transported to the police department.

Meanwhile, Chief Jennings says citizens and business operators need to be aware that counterfeit twenty (20) dollar bills are circulating in the city and county. If you receive one of these bills, please call Central Dispatch at 215-3000 and they will send an officer or deputy to make a report.


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