Local News Articles

Three People Involved in Wednesday Morning Wreck.

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people were involved in a two vehicle accident Wednesday morning at the intersection of Highway 56 south and Vaughn Lane.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Jamie Carroll of 834 Gentry Avenue was east on Vaughn Lane in a 1990 Chevy pickup, crossing Highway 56, when he collided with a Buick LaSabre, driven by 74 year old Charles Burgen of Pekin, Indiana, who was north on Highway 56.

Burgen and his wife, 71 year old Edith Burgen were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Trooper Tisdale says Carroll was cited for a second offense of driving on a suspended license and other charges are pending.

He says the Burgen's had been visiting their daughter who lives in McMinnville.

Candidates May Now Qualify for Smithville Municipal Election

December 22, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission is now accepting qualifying petitions for the Smithville Municipal Election.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on June 17th. The positions are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline is Thursday, March 20th at 12 noon.

The last day to register to vote in the city election is Monday, May 19th.

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 19th registration deadline.

Early voting for the city election will be May 28th through June 12th. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Meanwhile, January 16th is the first day candidates in the Liberty and Dowelltown Municipal Elections may pick up qualifying petitions.

The Dowelltown Election will be held on August 7th to elect a mayor and two aldermen. Three aldermen will be elected in Liberty on August 7th.

The qualifying deadline for both the Dowelltown and Liberty elections is 12 noon on April 17th and the last day to register to vote is July 8th.

The charters in both towns allow property rights voting, but proof of ownership must be provided to the Election Commission office by the July 8th deadline along with a registration form.

Early voting for both elections is July 18th through August 2nd. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Rogers Named General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

William S. (Bill) Rogers will become the General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, Inc. on January 1st.

A brief news release states that "Mr. Rogers began serving as the cooperative’s interim general manager on October 8, 2007. He has worked at the cooperative since 1985 as Director of Engineering. In addition to his duties as Director of Engineering, Mr. Rogers became the Assistant General Manager in 1997."

"Mr. Rogers is a native of Clarksville, TN and has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. He is married to Kristie Rogers who is an assistant principal at the Warren County Middle School in McMinnville. Mr. Rogers has one son, Slayden, a sophomore at Warren County High School."

"In his tenure at the cooperative, Mr. Rogers has worked closely with the rate structure. He has been instrumental in building three new substations, completion of office improvements at three of the cooperative offices, and has worked closely on the two way automated meter reading system now being installed at the cooperative."

Local Law Enforcement Working To Keep Roads Safer During New Year Holiday

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local law enforcement agencies are teaming up in preparation for the New Year's Holiday.

The Alexandria and Smithville Police Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be out in full force starting December 28th through January 1st for the safety of you and your family.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "The Public's safety is a top concern for me and my Department. We will be conducting saturated patrols and Sobriety Check Points for intoxicated people who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and we will also team with the Alexandria and Smithville City Police Departments to better cover areas where drinking and driving are more prevalent."

"Nearly 23,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Statistics show one life is lost every 22 minutes in alcohol-related traffic collisions. Law Enforcement uses these checkpoints as a tool to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our highways and to diminish the amount of pain, suffering and death that results from intoxicated driving."

Chief Richard Jennings of the Smithville Police Department say's his department will be on the watch for impaired drivers on the streets of Smithville. "The Smithville Police Department will be out patrolling the streets of Smithville in full force this weekend with saturated patrols looking for impaired drivers. We are working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department on conducting Sobriety Check Points within the City of Smithville to keep everyone safe."

Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department say's his department will also be out in full force. "The Alexandria Police Department will conduct saturated patrols within the city limits of Alexandria. We will be working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department conducting Sobriety Check Points within the city limits of Alexandria looking for impaired drivers. We want everyone who lives or travels through Alexandria to be safe and enjoy the upcoming New Year."

The Sobriety Check Points will be conducted on the following Highways: Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 53, and Highway 146.

THP Investigating Triple Fatality on Highway 96 Near Liberty

December 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people died and a 12 year old girl was seriously injured in a two vehicle crash on Highway 96 near Liberty Thursday evening.

Dead are 24 year old Nathaniel Dane Hishke of Milton, Florida, 37 year old Kenneth Lemke, Jr. of Franklin, and 42 year old Debbie Parchman of Alexandria, who was an educational assistant at DeKalb County High School and a former substitute teacher. Parchman's daughter, Haley is now in stable condition at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

The accident, which occurred a little over a mile from the intersection of Highway 70, was reported to 911 at 4:32 p.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Hishke was driving a 1993 Pontiac Firebird, traveling west on Highway 96 (toward Murfreesboro) when he lost control and slid sideways into the path of a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Parchman, who was traveling east (toward Highway 70). Trooper Jennings says Parchman's vehicle T-boned or struck the Firebird in the passenger side door.

Lemke, who owned the Firebird driven by Hishke, was a front seat passenger of the car. Both had been wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Parchman's daughter was a front seat passenger of the Cherokee. Neither she nor her mother were wearing their seatlbelts. The preliminary investigation revealed no sign of alcohol as a factor in the crash.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke, Lemke, and Parchman, who died at the scene, had to be extricated from their vehicles, as did the child. The young girl was transported by DeKalb EMS to UMC Medical Center in Lebanon and was later airlifted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke and Lemke were employed by Ford Roofing company of Franklin, and had visited Lemke's mother, who resides in Alexandria, prior to the accident.

The crash remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Others on the scene included Lieutenant Brian Lawson and Troopers Allen England and Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

Sales Tax Reduction goes into Effect on January 1

December 20, 2007

As people return to work and school in 2008, their wallets will be a little heavier after a trip to the grocery store. The state sales tax on food and food ingredients will be reduced from 6% to 5.5% on the first day of the New Year.

The measure to reduce the sales tax on food was guided through the Senate by Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). Beavers, an advocate of completely eliminating the sales tax on food, calls the half-cent reduction a “good first move.”

In addition to lowering the state sales tax on food, the 2007 legislative session bill (now Public Chapter 600) specifies an additional sales tax holiday weekend in 2008 to take place March 21-23. Current law provides one annual sales tax holiday scheduled for the beginning of the school year in August for the purchase of clothing and school supplies.

“There is no question that the state needs to refund the taxpayers of their overpayment of taxes whenever possible,” stated Beavers. “The reduction especially assists the elderly and those families who need help the most, which is a step in the right direction,” commented Beavers.

The sales tax reduction will be on all food and food ingredients except prepared food, alcoholic beverages, candy, dietary supplements, and tobacco.

UCHRA To Provide Enrollment Services for CoverKids

December 20, 2007

CoverKids, Governor Phil Bredesen’s free health insurance program for uninsured children, is partnering with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency to offer enrollment information and assistance to families in its service area.

“Providing families with easy access to CoverKids is essential to the program’s continued success,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, CoverKids Program Director. “Ensuring the health needs of Tennessee’s uninsured children is a monumental task. By working with Tennessee’s Human Resource Agencies (TAHRA), we hope to effectively reach these children and provide access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare services.”

Part of a statewide partnership with the Tennessee Association of Human Resource Agencies, this effort will enable families to meet with case workers at UCHRA’s offices and learn more about CoverKids and ultimately enroll in the program.

“Our mission is to provide services and resources to families in the Upper Cumberland and CoverKids is yet another opportunity to fulfill our mission,” said Phyllis Bennett, TAHRA President and Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency. “This program addresses a very specific need faced by the families in our service area, and we want to do everything to encourage enrollment and participation.”

CoverKids, a Cover Tennessee Program, allows qualifying children 18 and under to get free, comprehensive health insurance for preventive health care services, such as, vaccinations, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and hospital visits. Maternity coverage is also available for pregnant women who meet eligibility criteria.

A family of four with a $51,625 yearly income will qualify for CoverKids. Qualified, low-income children will have no monthly premiums for coverage, will pay only $15 for doctors’ visits and $5 for generic medications, and will not have any co-pays for routine exams, labs or x-rays. Families with income in excess of 250% FPL, could have coverage available at full premium.

Vision benefits will be added for children in CoverKids beginning Jan. 1, 2008, and dental benefits will be included later in the first quarter next year.

“We are excited to be a part of this process to help provide health insurance for children,” remarked Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive. Applications are now being accepted at local UCHRA offices. To apply for CoverKids, contact Mitzi Bradford, County Coordinator, at 527 West Main Street, in Smithville, call 615 597-4504 or visit UCHRA’s website at www.uchra.com to access an application.

Cover Tennessee provides health coverage to uninsured individuals in Tennessee through three insurance programs and a pharmacy assistance program. CoverTN is an affordable and portable health insurance initiative for working Tennesseans who are uninsured. Comprehensive insurance for children is provided through CoverKids and chronically ill adults are eligible for AccessTN, a high-risk pool. CoverRx is a statewide pharmacy assistance program designed to assist those who have no pharmacy coverage, but have a critical need for medication. More information on all Cover Tennessee programs is available at www.CoverTN.gov or by calling 1-866-COVERTN.

Bond Reduced In Sosa Case

December 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr. Monday granted a defense request to reduce bond from $25,000 to $10,000 for 18 year old Lillian Elizebeth Sosa.

Sosa has been in the DeKalb County Jail since October 29th, when she was charged with second degree murder in the death of her baby, which was found on October 26th in a ladies room trash can at the El Rancho Restaurant on West Broad Street.

The murder charge was later dropped after an autopsy concluded that the infant was stillborn.

Sosa is now charged with the abuse of a corpse.

She is being represented by April Craven, assistant District Public Defender.

Meanwhile, in other cases Monday, 20 year old Ashley L. Hix, charged with theft over $1,000, was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of two years. Hix must perform 100 hours of community service work. The case will run concurrently with a Clay County sentence and Hix must make restitution. Hix was given credit for four days of jail time served.

35 year old Patsy McCoy pleaded guilty to possession of a legend drug and theft under $500. She was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days to serve 30 days. She will then be on good behavior probation. The case will run concurrently with a General Sessions Court violation of probation case against her. McCoy was given credit for 151 days of jail time served.

32 year old Michael David Mason, Jr., charged with possession of a schedule III controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of two years. He was fined $2,000 and must perform 100 hours of community service work.

47 year old Christopher Neal Barnes pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a revoked license. He was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to PSI probation except for 60 days. His license has been suspended for a period of two years. Barnes was fined a total of $660.

41 year old Shannon L. Newby pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to good behavior probation. The case is to run concurrently with the TDOC sentence he is now serving.

22 year old Jonathan D. Thomas pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. He received a four year sentence to serve 45 days and then be on supervised probation. He must also perform 100 hours of community service work and he is liable for restitution of $1,500 jointly and severally with co-defendants in the case. Thomas was given credit for 45 days of jail time served.

26 year old Michael Chad Owens pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and theft under $500. He received a four year sentence on the burglary charge and 11 months and 29 days on the theft offense. The cases are to run concurrently. Owens was given credit for time served, about 75 days, and he will be on supervised probation. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution of $129.00.

33 year old Federico Torres pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and he received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to 48 hours in jail. He was fined $360 and was given credit for one day of jail time served. He will be on probation until March, 2008.

30 year old Amy Lawson pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule II and III controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a total sentence of four years, all suspended to time served. She was fined $2,000 and must perform 100 hours of community service work. Lawson was given credit for 79 days of jail time served.

18 year old Matthew Wilbur, charged with theft of property over $1,000, was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of two years. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution of $2,067. Wilbur was also given credit for three days of jail time served.

26 year old Charles Wilmoth pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. He received a sentence of four years, all suspended except for six months to serve. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution of $3,800. The case is to run concurrent to a Putnam County case against him. Wilmoth was given credit for 91 days of jail time served.

31 year old Alvin Sink pleaded guilty to manufacturing meth and received a four year sentence, all suspended to time served. Other counts against him were dismissed but he must forfeit a weapon. Sink was fined $2,000 and must perform 100 hours of community service work. He was given credit for 122 days of jail time served.

DeKalb Community Hospital Welcomes New Physician

December 19, 2007

DeKalb Community Hospital is pleased to announce the association of a new physician.

Dr. Charles Jackson Wray will be seeing patients at the Medical Specialty Office.

Dr. Wray grew up in Nashville. He completed Medical School and his Internal Medicine Residency at Vanderbilt University. After serving as a Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt, he moved to San Diego where he finished a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Having moved back to Nashville several months ago, he joined the Frist Clinic. Dr. Wray is a member of the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Wray specializes in Pulmonology, the branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the respiratory system. He diagnoses and treats conditions such as asthma and emphysema.
His wife Sarah and he are expecting their first child in February 2008. He enjoys running and watching the Tennessee Titans play on Sundays. He is looking forward to helping serve Smithville’s health care needs for years to come.

State Fire Marshal Gives Tips On Holiday Safety

December 19, 2007

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman wants to remind Tennesseans to keep fire safety on their minds as they decorate their homes for this holiday season.

"Home decorations make a home cheerful and festive, but items such as string lights and Christmas trees introduce fire risks," said Newman. Every year we hear of families that have lost their homes, or worse, suffered an injury or death due to a fire caused by decorations.

These risks can be minimized by following a few fire safety tips:
· Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.
· Choose a sturdy tree stand so that the tree will not tip over.
· When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
· Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators. Try to position the tree near an outlet to keep electrical cords from running long distances
· Choose decorations made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
· Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials. Never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
· Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
· Carefully inspect new and previously used electrical decorations for cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires prior to use. Replace any damaged items. Do not overload extension cords.
· Do not mount lights in any way that can damage the cord's wire insulation (i.e., use clips, not nails).
· Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.

The activities and excitement surrounding the holidays can make people less careful at a time when they should be more cautious, said State Fire Marshal Leslie Newman. "Keeping fire safety in mind and following a few fire safety guidelines will ensure that Tennesseans have a safe and happy holiday season.

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