Local News Articles

Third Annual Tiger and Lady Tiger Camp of Champions Starts Monday

June 18, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tiger and Lady Tiger Basketball 3rd Annual Camp of Champions will be June 24-27 from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the DCHS Gymnasium. It's for ages 5-14.


Camp Goals are to provide each camper with a positive, fun-filled learning experience. The camp is designed to teach the fundamentals of basketball and give campers added game experience, while emphasizing teamwork and competition in a fun environment.

Enrollment Instructions: A fee of $60 covers the entire cost of all instruction. Each additional child from a family will cost $30. Each camper will receive a camp T-shirt. Competitive contests will be held each day to allow campers to earn prizes and awards. Campers will have the opportunity to compete against other players in game situations and shooting competitions. Camp will be divided into age groups and ability groups.

Cost of Camp is $60. There are two ways to register. LIVE registration will be held at the DCHS gymnasium on June 23 from 2-4 p.m. or you can mail the camp fee to: DeKalb County Basketball in care of Debra Magness at 1130 West Broad Street, Smithville, TN 37166. The $60 must be paid at the time of registration.

Camp Staff are Directors Lynus Martin and Joe Pat Cope. Staffed by county and area coaches.

Include with the fee the camper's name, age, grade next year, address, phone number, and t-shirt size: YS, YM,YL, S, M, L, XL, and the parent's signature.

Woman Charged With Burglaries, Thefts, and Vandalism at Sligo Marina

June 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Stephanie Lee Vanatta
Willard Darrell Brown
William Joseph Kitchen
Luis Enrique Hernandez
Jose Maria Sanchez
Billy Joe Davis, II

Accusations of vandalism, burglaries, and thefts at a local marina has landed a local woman in trouble with the law.

36 year old Stephanie Lee Vanatta of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with four counts of burglary, four counts of theft under $500, and one count of vandalism over $500. Her bond totals $60,000 and she will be in court on June 20.

Vanatta is accused of breaking into and taking items from two pontoon boats, committing vandalism of an automobile, and breaking into and stealing items from two other vehicles at Sligo Marina on Thursday, May 23.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, May 23 Vanatta allegedly entered a pontoon boat at Sligo Marina and took two fish locators, a tool bag containing miscellaneous tools, a solar battery charger, and an electric fish cleaner all valued at less than $500.

Vanatta allegedly entered another pontoon boat and took two flashlights, a can of WD 40, a set of tools, two quarts of oil, and miscellaneous tools all valued at less than $500.

Vanatta further allegedly entered a Ford pickup truck by breaking out the glass on the driver's side and taking a gas can, extra car keys, and a boat latch lock.

The same day, Vanatta allegedly entered a Toyota by breaking out the back glass and taking a bag containing several keys, a first aid kit, a thirty one bag, flip flops, a cleaning kit, and two Sam's cooler bags all valued at less than $500.

She also allegedly damaged a 2006 Chevy HHR vehicle by leaving marks on both of the driver side and passenger side doors causing over $500 in damage.

41 year old Willard Darrell Brown of Earl Avenue, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs in a penal institution. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court June 20.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 14 Brown was at the jail to serve a court ordered weekend sentence. When he entered the jail, correctional officers asked Brown if he had anything on him they should know about. Brown replied no. After observing Brown on camera at the jail, officers suspected he may have had contraband on his person. When the correctional officers went to his cell, they noticed that Brown had something in his fist. When told to open his fist, Brown refused. The correctional officers had to take Brown to the floor. Brown then put a bag in his mouth. The correctional officers had to forcibly remove the bag from Brown's mouth. The bag contained Xanax, a schedule IV drug and Lortab, a schedule III drug.

William Joseph Kitchen of Amherst, Ohio is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, June 10 Kitchen allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on Potts Camp Road by putting his hands on her throat, strangling her and leaving marks on her neck and throat. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

20 year old Luis Enrique Hernandez of McMinnville and Jose Maria Sanchez are each charged with public intoxication. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court July 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 16 the sheriff's department received a call about noise on Adcock Cemetery Road. Upon arrival, the deputy spoke to both Hernandez and Sanchez who each had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on their persons and were unsteady on their feet. For their safety, both Hernandez and Sanchez were arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

51 year old Billy Joe Davis, II of Heritage, Tennessee is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 15 Davis was operating a motorcycle on Dale Ridge Road that was involved in a crash. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Davis had two containers. One of the containers was full of wine and the other was empty but had an odor of wine. Davis performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test. Davis was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Aldermen Ratify New City Charter

June 17, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen held a brief special meeting Tuesday morning, June 18 at 7:30 a.m. at city hall to formally ratify the new charter before election day voting began at 8:00 a.m. The vote was 5-0 to adopt the new charter.


HB1363.pdf (117.79 KB)

The aldermen wanted to enact the charter before the election because it extends the length of terms of the newly elected aldermen from two years to three years. Beginning with those elected next year and with all future elections, terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will be four years.

A resolution, seeking these and other changes in the charter, was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the Tennessee General Assembly.

Legislation amending Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make these changes in the charter was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly on Friday, April 19. However, by law the aldermen had to wait at least sixty days before taking action to ratify it. Tuesday, June 18 marks the 60th day.

According to the legislation, "This act shall have no effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of the City of Smithville, with such vote to be taken not fewer than sixty (60) nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days following the passage of the act by the General Assembly".

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. recently sought an opinion from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) on whether the aldermen could meet election day, which is the 60th day, to ratify the new charter.

In reply, Josh Jones of MTAS wrote that " I do not think it violates Tennessee law to have the ratification vote of the governing body and the election for aldermen on the same day."

Jones based his judgment on a State Attorney General's opinion in a Springfield charter change which was decided by a public referendum. "In the (AG) opinion, the private act charter of the City of Springfield was amended by private act of the general assembly. The amendment increased the length of aldermanic terms from two to four years. However, to be ratified the private act had to be approved by referendum. That referendum was occurring during the same election as the vote to elect new aldermen. Hence, the term length of these aldermen was dependent upon the outcome of the referendum," wrote Jones.

"This parallels the situation in Smithville. The only difference being a 2/3 vote of the governing body as opposed to a referendum is required to ratify."

"In the opinion, the Attorney General stated that both elections could be held simultaneously and the fact that one affected the other was not fatal."

"Based on my reading of this opinion, I do not think it violates Tennessee law to have the ratification vote of the governing body and the election for aldermen on the same day," wrote Jones.

Under the new Smithville city charter the terms of office will be extended for the mayor and aldermen. It extends voting rights to county residents that own commercial property in the city (two persons per deed), allows property rights voting to county residents who own at least 3,500 square feet of property in the city, and allows by ordinance regular city council meetings to be held only once per month.

The new charter calls for city elections every two years, on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general election and state primaries. Terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will go from two to four years.
The three aldermen elected Tuesday, June 18 will serve a three year term until after the August election in 2016. From then on three aldermen will be elected to serve four year terms.

Next year under the new charter, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected on the first Thursday in August. Those elected will serve for four years.

Because the voter registration deadline has already passed, no new voters including property rights voters can register in time for Tuesday's election.

DCHS General Metals Class Assists County Fire Department with Tanker Project

June 17, 2013
DCHS General Metals Class Assists County Fire Department with Tanker Project

Over the course of the last few months of the 2012-13 school year, the DeKalb County High School's General Metals Class has partnered with the DeKalb County Fire Department to complete a very important project that increases the capabilities of three of the department's tanker trucks. The project entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on our tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. "In order to maintain and improve our county's fire protection rating, we have to demonstrate that we can provide water supplies that can allow us to flow at least 250 gallons per minute for a constant 2-hour period. This equipment will greatly enhance our ability to do that," says Chief Donny Green.

Todd Cantrell, General Metals Class Instructor, and Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter, planned and directed the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. According to Cantrell, the class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks.

Chief Green says he wants to personally express the department's thanks to the following individuals for making significant contributions:

Todd Cantrell and DCHS General Metals Class (fabrication and labor)
Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter (Project Director)
Tracy Foutch, Foutch Industries (painting)
Phil Boner (painting)
Brian Williams, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Captain Michael Lawrence, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Jeremy Neal, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Lieutenant David Agee, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Stan Morris, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)

In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total; solely for materials. Green says that purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000.

Staging Area Being Set up for Construction of New Sligo Bridge

June 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Staging Area atHighland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch
Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer
Highland Ramp Closed

Construction on the new Sligo bridge should begin within a few weeks.

The contractor who was awarded the bid on the project, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri is starting to set up the staging area at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch to gain access to the lake in getting barges to work from down to the bridge. The boat ramp is now closed to the public until construction is completed.

Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, told WJLE Wednesday that Massman has until June 2016 to get the new bridge completed. "A lot of people don't realize that work has started on this project but you are not seeing anything yet. We had a pre-construction conference on May 22 and after that the contractor, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri began staging their equipment. What that will consist of is getting their equipment to where they can be able to work in the water and get their barges in the water to begin construction in earnest on the brand new bridge. To do this, they are utilizing the Riverwatch community and the Mountain Harbor community to move their equipment. That's where the staging area is. They'll have to go through those neighborhoods. I would caution anyone in those neighborhoods to watch out for some large trucks, probably the next month or so. We did have a meeting with the neighborhood leaders after the pre-construction meeting to inform them of the plans. Once they get things in place, the extra traffic should calm down. They will see some traffic go through their neighborhood occasionally but it won't be anything like it probably is right now," said Flynn.

"This is a $38.9 million dollar project and it's slated for completion in June 2016. But the contractor has a very aggressive schedule and they hope to have things completed before then. We look forward to it. People will soon see barges in the water and that is when they will really get started in earnest on the actual construction of the brand new bridge. I look forward to that bridge being finished and I know the people of DeKalb County also do because they have been waiting a long time for a brand new bridge. It certainly will be a refreshing change for them to be able to fish and look up and not see nets hanging down from a bridge," said Flynn.

Massman Construction, at $38,903,917 had the lowest of the six bids submitted for the project.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We will maintain traffic on the existing bridge and once the new bridge is constructed we'll move traffic to the new bridge and then they will demolish the old bridge," said Flynn.

Two Injured in Thursday Night Wreck

June 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Two Injured in Thursday Night Wreck
Crash on Highway 96 (Toward Center Hill Dam)

Two people were injured after their vehicle plunged off an embankment Thursday night on Highway 96 (road to Center Hill Dam)

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 42 year old Richard Clyde Clemmons of Lebanon was traveling east on Highway 96 in the direction toward Center Hill Dam in a 1996 Jeep Cherokee when he failed to negotiate a curve to the left. The vehicle left the road to the right, went down an embankment, and ran into a tree. The impact with the tree kept the vehicle from going further down the hill.

Clemmons suffered minor injuries. A passenger, 41 year old Joel Bruce Barry of Lebanon was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Clemmons was cited for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for a registration violation for having the wrong tag displayed on his vehicle.

Leadership DeKalb Seeks Support to "Feed the Need" of Hungry Children

June 15, 2013
Dwayne Page
Darrell Gill

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2013 is asking for your help to "Feed the Need" of hungry children in DeKalb County this summer.

Darrell Gill, President of the Leadership DeKalb Class, said the outreach effort began last week and proved quite successful. "Last Thursday (June 6) we had a community night where we served hot dogs, chips, and drinks to children around the community. We visited over near the Joe L. Evins ballpark. We were in the Bell Street area and also at Short Mountain Village," said Gill.

"We knew there was a need for food for hungry children this summer while they were out of school. Of course, our class picked that as our project for the summer. We ended up reaching twenty four families, a total of seventy six children. The need is definitely there. We are committed to giving these families food once a week on Thursday or Friday. It's really humbling to see that we have kids right here in our hometown that lay down at night and may be hungry," he said.

You may partner with Leadership DeKalb by making a donation of non-perishable foods or cash to help "Feed the Need" this summer. "I'm asking for people to partner with Leadership DeKalb 2013 and either bring non-perishable foods or monetary donations that we can use to continue to provide this service throughout the summer until school starts back," said Gill. "Those donations can be dropped off at DeKalb Tire and Service, Smithville Computer, and we'll also have some food drop boxes at a couple of other locations in town. Donations may be sent to 200 East Broad Street, Smithville TN. Attention Darrell Gill, made out to Leadership DeKalb 2013," he said.

DeKalb West Addition More Costly Than Expected

June 14, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jason Morris

The DeKalb West School building project is more expensive than the architect originally anticipated.

During Thursday night's meeting, Jason Morris of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc. of Mount Juliet, informed the school board that the total costs come to more than $4.8 million dollars. The county commission, last summer approved a $3.4 million note to cover this project and other school roofing work. "The project bid came in over budget," said Morris. "We did the bid with a base bid and a couple of alternates. The alternates that we chose to put on there, one was to re-roof the existing building and the other was to add onto the kitchen-cafeteria and dining room," he said.

J. Cumby Construction of Cookeville had the overall lowest bid of the three bids submitted at $3,534,000. The base bid is $2,179,000 to construct the new addition and $75,341 to purchase the roofing materials; $509,000 (alternate 1) to re-roof the existing building and $192,872 to purchase the roofing materials; and $846,000 (alternate 2) for the kitchen/cafeteria renovation and $12,866 to buy the roofing materials. The project also includes a cost of $986,924 for energy efficient renovations of school buildings by Johnson Controls.

"The reason we put alternates on is because they allow us to sort of pick and choose what we're going to do without being locked in," said Morris. "If we were to have put everything in the base bid, it would be a lot harder to go in and pick and choose and pull things off of the total cost. By having alternates you can say we'll do this one (project) because the price is okay or we won't do this one (project) because we won't have the money to do that," he said.

In an effort to cut the overall total cost of the project, the architects are proposing more than one million dollars in spending reductions , including the re-roofing project of the existing building. That alone would be a total savings of almost $702,000. " What we did was look at the alternates and we also looked at items that were in the job that we thought maybe we could pull out and help reduce the cost a little bit. What we're proposing to do at this point is to take the base bid from Cumby Construction with the kitchen cafeteria and not take the re-roof of the existing building. Pull that out of the project and then bid it separately at a different time. It could be in a month, it could be six months whenever the cash flow scenario works out to where you have the money to do that and then we can come back and re-bid it. In taking the base bid and alternate 2, the only thing you are not getting is the re-roof. You're still getting all the square footage of the plans. You're still getting the new kitchen. What you have seen on the plans will still be there. It's just that the new roof won't be there. You're still getting all the classrooms, science labs, FEMA corridor, generator, FEMA roof, windows, and new finished and ceiling tile in the kitchen," he said.

School officials said the problem is the roof on the existing building is already more than twenty years old and needs to be replaced soon.

"If we pulled out the roofing project from this bid and bid the roofing project separate, do you think that would come in at less money?", asked Board Chairman Johnny Lattimore.

"It could. You're probably going to have more people go after it because it's just a re-roofing so it probably would be more competitive," replied Morris.

"The more we drag our feet on construction, it's going to affect school," said Board member Charles Robinson. " If we went ahead and did the new construction, then we could do the roofing (existing building) later and it's not going to affect what's going on in the classroom. There will be more competition and the possibility of getting it done cheaper. You'll have roofers doing (bidding on) roofing," he said.

Board members decided to delay action until more study can be made of the options available to them. " I would like to sit down with Mr. Morris and anyone else who wants to and look at this a little bit more," said Director Mark Willoughby. " I really don't want to have to re-bid this (overall project) because I'm afraid if we re-bid this, it might be higher. But I do want to get a better understanding," he said.

"We're going to have another special called meeting of the budget," said Chairman Lattimore. " We've been asked by the county commission to make some other reductions (in the proposed budget). We need to do that ASAP. We can come back to this matter then. In the meantime, that would give Mr. Willoughby time to go speak to the county executive and county commission to let them know what is going on. We can accept this bid tonight as is without the roof but because that is who we're getting the money from (county commission), I think they need to be informed of what is going on. They can get with Mr. (Steve) Bates (county financial consultant) and see what the additional money (needed for a roof) would do to the debt service and how that is going to affect it. We can then come back and make a decision on this when we make a decision on the budget. We'll table it until the special called meeting, hopefully within a week or so," said Chairman Lattimore

"Whatever we do if we award the bid, I want a small exception clause to make sure our auditors approve us doing this," said Director Willoughby.

The DeKalb County School System last year received approval from TEMA and FEMA for grant funds of more than $1.5 million to build eight tornado safe rooms at DeKalb West School. The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building the rooms. The proposed addition will be constructed in the front of the school, including the eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, and guidance and teacher work area. The county is paying for additions not covered by the grant.

The county commission, last July approved funding for the DeKalb West School project in the form of the note to cover the local grant match for the safe rooms along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation at DeKalb West School as well as roofing projects at DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Smithville Elementary School.

Early Morning Structure Fire Causes Extensive Damage

June 14, 2013
Dwayne Page
Early Morning Structure Fire Causes Extensive Damage

A Friday morning fire caused extensive damage to a residence at 944 South Mountain Street near the DeKalb EMS headquarters.

911 received the call at 4:42 a.m.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker said the blaze apparently started in the kitchen and spread to the living and dining room. City firefighters were able the save the rest of the structure.

Chief Parker said the cause has not been determined.

No one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

City Election Set for Tuesday, 426 Vote Early

June 14, 2013
Dwayne Page

Four hundred twenty six people cast ballots during the two weeks of early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election.

Seventy people voted Thursday which was the last day of early voting. That was the largest single day turnout of the early voting period which ran from May 29-June 13.

Two years ago a total of 538 people voted in the Smithville Municipal Election. 350 people voted early or by absentee ballot, while 188 people voted on Election Day.

Daily totals for this year's early voting were as follows beginning, Wednesday May 29:
Wednesday- 23
Friday- 19
Wednesday- 29

Three aldermen are to be elected.

Election day is Tuesday June 18. Voting will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse.

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


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