Local News Articles

Two Injured In Monday Afternoon Crash

June 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two women were treated and released at DeKalb Community Hospital after a two car crash Monday afternoon on East Broad Street in Smithville.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 92 year old Ella May Delong Jones of Smithville was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla attempting to cross Highway 70 from Third Street to Oak Street when her car struck the driver's side of a 2007 Ford Focus, driven by 56 year old Judy Faith Daniel of Smithville, who was traveling east on Highway 70.

Daniel's vehicle overturned on it's top and came to rest on the sidewalk at the corner of Highway 70 and Oak Street, while the Jones car came to rest in the parking lot of a car wash.

Both women were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team helped get Daniel out of her vehicle. She was not trapped but needed help getting out because she was restrained in her seat with the car upside down.

Both women were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.

The accident was investigated by Trooper England and Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene included DeKalb EMS, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, and the Smithville Police Department.

Trooper England says the eastbound lanes of Highway 70 were closed to traffic for a while during the investigation and cleanup

John Pryor Named City Attorney by Smithville Aldermen

June 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

John Pryor has been named City Attorney by the Smithville Board of Aldermen.

By a vote of 3 to 2, Pryor was selected by the city board Monday night, at least on a temporary basis, to succeed Sarah Cripps as City Attorney.

Cripps resigned earlier this month.

The city received resumes from only two attorneys, Pryor and Vester Parsley, Jr., to fill the position.

Aldermen Aaron Meeks, Cecil Burger, and Paul Young voted for Pryor, while Steve White and W.J. \"Dub\" White voted for Parsley.

After naming Pryor, the Board of Aldermen voted to set his retainer at $1,500 per month, which is $18,000 a year.

Pryor has been an attorney at the law offices of Sue N. Puckett-Jernigan in Smithville since April 1999.

From January 1998 until March 1999, Pryor was an Assistant District Attorney for the State of Tennessee, 13th Judicial District in Cookeville.

He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in May 1997 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, was licensed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in October, 1997, and was admitted to practice in November, 1997.

Pryor also has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a Major in Finance.

He is a member of the DeKalb County Bar Association and the Upper Cumberland Bar Association.

Pryor is Chairman of the City of Smithville Beer Board, a member of the Smithville Community Chorus, and a former member of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and DeKalb Jaycees.

He and his wife, Tecia, who is also an attorney, reside in Smithville. They have one son.

City and County Leaders Differ on Long Term Sales Tax Agreement

June 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Since 1968, the City of Smithville, by agreement with the county, has given two thirds of it's local option sales tax collections to the county's education local purpose tax fund to help pay for construction and other school capital outlay projects. But with the sales tax set to increase from 1.5% to 2.75% effective July 1st, city officials are balking at a request from the county to extend that agreement for another thirty years.

County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission met with Mayor Taft Hendrixson and all five city aldermen Monday night during an informal workshop meeting at city hall to discuss the issue.

The city is legally obligated to turn over to the county 50% of it's local option sales tax collections for education purposes, but for almost 40 years, the city has been contributing more than it's share at 66 and 2/3%.

County officials want to keep it that way, but city leaders say they are opposed to signing any extended long term agreement giving the county two thirds of the city's sales tax collections, because Smithville, in spite of a large general fund surplus now, might need that extra money in years to come for needs that are, as of now, unforeseen.

Last summer, before the first sales tax referendum, the city council adopted a resolution pledging a continuation of the agreement to turn over to the county two thirds of it's sales tax collections if the county voters approved an increase in the sales tax from 1.5% to 2.75%. But the first referendum, held last August, failed at the polls.

Since the resolution agreement had no termination date, County officials assumed that it would be valid for the second referendum, held last month, which was approved by county voters

However, city officials insist that the first resolution pertained only to the first referendum, and since county officials did not seek approval of a new resolution for the second referendum, they are no longer obligated to honor it.

Since the sales tax referendum was adopted in May, city leaders have given serious consideration to keeping fifty percent of the local option sales tax collections for city government, rather than turning over two thirds of the revenue to the county government.

County Mayor Foster told the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night that if they do that, then the county commissioners will not be able to cut the property tax rate to county tax payers by 19.5 to 20 cents as they have pledged to do, now that the sales tax referendum has been adopted by the voters.

City leaders now say they may continue the agreement turning over two thirds of the sales tax collections to the county, but they do not support signing a 30 year agreement, as the county has proposed.

Alderman Aaron Meeks suggested that the city act on the agreement on a year to year basis.

Steve Bates, the county's financial advisor, warned that the county could not do any long range planning with only a yearly commitment from the city. He says new schools will have to be built in the coming years and the county must count on that extra sales tax revenue coming in from the city to support such projects. Plus, he says, the county must meet state maintenance of effort requirements, meaning that schools have to be funded by the county, at least with the same amount of local dollars from year to year. In other words, the county may increase funding each year for schools, but it cannot cut funding.

Bates says the county is considering reducing the local property tax rate for schools by 16 cents from 73 cents to 57 cents in the new budget, but giving them back the same of amount of dollars from the increase in the local option sales tax funds.

County Mayor Foster said, even by turning over two thirds of it's sales tax collections to the county, the city would still gain about $361,000 every year, plus growth, whereas the county, during the first three or four years, would not gain because of the reduction in the property tax rate, as promised to the voters.

Concerned because city leaders wouldn't commit to a thirty year agreement, Foster told the mayor and aldermen that \"without an agreement, in hind sight, we would have been better off it (referendum) had failed.\"

The mayor and alderman could take no action on the issue Monday night, because it was not scheduled for the regular city council meeting.

DeKalb County Fair Set for July 23-28

June 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria will be held this week, July 23 through July 28.

The following events are scheduled:

Monday, July 23: DeKalb Idol Preview at 5:45 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion; Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the grandstands ; Junior Fair Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion. $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Tuesday, July 24th: Snow Bird from Channel 4 will be at the fairgrounds from 5-7 p.m.; DeKalb Idol Preview at 5:45 p.m. and the Little Mr. and Miss Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by David Turner and Friends at the Lions Club Pavilion; Go-Cart Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena; and a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Wednesday, July 25th: DeKalb Idol Preview at 5:45 p.m.; Little Miss Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion; Four Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Thursday, July 26th: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; DeKalb Idol Preview at 5:45 p.m.; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; a Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the barn; and Lawn Mower Racing at 7:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Friday, July 27th: DeKalb Idol Preview at 5:45 p.m.; Toddler Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by Gospel Singing at the Lions Club Pavilion; an Antique Tractor Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena; and a Demolition Derby at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Saturday, July 28th: DCHS Band at 5:00 p.m.; DeKalb Idol Final Competition at 6:00 p.m.; a Horse Shoe Tournament at 3:00 p.m. at the barn; and a Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena: $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol daily winners at the Pavilion..

You must be present to win the cash. Any unclaimed money during the week will be given away on Saturday night.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available each night for $14.00.

The fair will feature lots of delicious foods and many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children under age four will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us or dekalbtn.com.

Thomas, Sullivan, & Hutchins Win City Election

June 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three new Aldermen were elected Tuesday during the Smithville Municipal Election.

Willie Thomas, Tonya Sullivan, and Jerry Hutchins Sr., unseated Incumbent Aldermen Aaron Meeks, W.J. (Dub) White, and Paul Young.

Thomas led the ticket with 317 votes (17.5%) followed by Sullivan with 283 votes (15.6%), and Hutchins had 280 votes (15.5%)

The other candidates and their vote totals are as follows: Shawn Jacobs- 266 (14.7%),W.J. (Dub) White- 190 (10.5%) Aaron Meeks- 168 (9.3%) Paul Young-167 (9.2%)and Todd Van Dyne- 134 (7.4%)

A total of 738 people voted in the city election, including 555 early voters (533 by personal appearance and 22 by mail) and 183 voters on election day.

The following are the results for each candidate during early voting and election day:

Willie Thomas- 238 (early votes), 79 (election day)
Tonya Sullivan- 200 (early votes), 83 (election day)
Jerry Hutchins, Sr.- 208 (early votes), 72 (election day)
Shawn Jacobs- 189 (early votes), 77 (election day)
W.J. (Dub) White- 158 (early votes), 32 (election day)
Aaron Meeks- 124 (early votes), 44 (election day)
Paul Young- 140 (early votes), 27 (election day)
Todd Van Dyne- 99 (early votes), 35 (election day)

Thomas, Sullivan, and Hutchins will each serve a two year term, beginning July 1st.

The new Board of Mayor and Aldermen will consist of Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen, Thomas, Sullivan, Hutchins, Cecil Burger, and Steve White.

Smithville Police Make DUI Arrest

June 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department made a DUI arrest Wednesday.

Chief Tom Stufano says \" Wednesday morning at approximately 1:00 a.m. Smithville Police patrolling West Broad Street, came in contact with a vehicle driving erratically. Further observance noted that the Chevy Pickup had crossed the centerline numerous times. Upon contact with the driver now known as 34 year old Jules Cassidy of 3393 Central Valley Road in Murfreesboro, officers found him to be highly intoxicated. Officers also noticed open beer containers on the floorboard of the vehicle during their investigation. Cassidy submitted to a field sobriety test but he was very unsteady on his feet and performed poorly. He was given the opportunity to submit to a blood test to detect the presence of alcohol in his system, but he refused. Officers found that Cassidy was also driving on a Revoked Driver's License (13th) offense, was in possession of a prohibited weapon (a set of brass knuckles) and that this arrest was his 3rd for DUI. A check of Cassidy's driver's record disclosed that he had (5) pages of driving and revocation offenses in Tennessee. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $16,500 bond for combined offenses. His vehicle was seized under the state's forfeiture act.\"

Chief Stufano says \"The detrimental effects of drinking and driving are severe and unforgiving, with accidents usually resulting. The Smithville Police in cooperation with the Governor's Highway Safety Council are concentrating on keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe against those who insist on drinking and driving. We encourage our residents, neighbors and guests to contact the Police if you suspect a drunk driver on our roadways. \"

He says \"Remember in our small community the life you may save will most assuredly be a family member or someone you know. Your continued support and partnership in keeping our community safe is appreciated by all.\"

Dry Weather Affecting This Season's Illegal Marijuana Crop

June 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The drought seems to be having an affect on this year's illegal marijuana crop in DeKalb County and other parts of the state.

The Governor's Task Force on Marijuana Eradication, in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department, conducted a helicopter fly over of DeKalb County Wednesday in search of marijuana, but no marijuana could be found.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says two helicopters flew over the county Wednesday in the areas of Austin Bottom, Cookeville Highway, Dowelltown, Liberty, and Alexandria. He says \" They saw places where marijuana had been grown last year as well as places where the soil had been prepared this year but the marijuana had not been put out (planted).\"

Sheriff Ray says the reason there seems to be so little marijuana this year is due to the dry weather conditions. He says it takes a lot of fertilizer and water to grow marijuana, especially in the early stages, and many of these growers are probably finding it difficult to get water to the marijuana patches, since many small streams and creeks have dried up because of the drought.

He says members of the Task Force say DeKalb is among eight counties they have flown over recently and found no marijuana. This year, he says, the yield of marijuana could be under 50% compared to previous years.

The Governor's Task Force on Marijuana Eradication include members of the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and agents of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff Ray says his department will continue the search for marijuana throughout the growing season and if you have any information where some might be, contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Another Smithville Police Officer Involved In Traffic Accident

June 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Smithville Police Officer was involved in a traffic accident Thursday at the intersection of Broad Street and South Mountain Street.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 21 year old Officer Tyler Wix of Smithville was south on South Mountain Street in a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria Police Car when he entered the intersection and struck the driver's side of a 2000 Dodge Stratus, driven by 39 year old Donny Green of Smithville, who was traveling east in the inside lane on Broad Street.

Upon impact, the vehicles spun out in front of a 1994 Chevy van, driven by 49 year old Beulah Saddler of Auburntown, who was traveling east in the outside lane on Broad Street.

According to Trooper Raymond, Saddler swerved to the right onto South Mountain Street to avoid hitting the patrol car and struck two other vehicles, a 2007 Ford Mustang, driven by 53 year old Shelia Adamson of Smithville, who was sitting in the northbound lane of Mountain Street, and a 1993 Buick Century behind her, driven by 40 year old Martha Castillo of McMinnville.

Green received minor injuries and was taken by private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released. No one else was injured.

Trooper Raymond says traffic going east and west on Broad Street had the green light and that Officer Wix, who was responding to an emergency call, had the red light. He says Officer Wix, who had his emergency lights and sirens on, proceeded through the intersection, trying to cross Broad Street to continue south on Mountain Street, when the accident occurred.

Tuesday Wreck Victim Remains In Trauma Unit of Vanderbilt Hospital

June 22, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

One man, involved in a two vehicle crash Tuesday morning on Highway 70 near Liberty, remained in the trauma unit of Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville Friday afternoon.

Trooper Keith Maddox of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 33 year old Carlos Garcia of Dowelltown and 53 year old Temy Miller of Ypsilanti, Michigan were both seriously injured in the wreck and were airlifted from the scene by Life Flight Helicopter ambulances and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Trooper Maddox says he spoke with Garcia's wife Friday afternoon, who told him that Garcia was still in the trauma unit of the hospital. However, Maddox says he was unable to get a report on the condition of Miller.

The accident occurred Tuesday morning at around 5:10 a.m. on Highway 70 near the nine mile marker between Liberty and Dowelltown.

Trooper Maddox says Garcia was driving west in a 1998 Buick Skylark when he crossed into the eastbound lane and struck Miller's 2006 Dodge Sprinter delivery truck head-on. Miller was hauling exhaust pipe enroute to Tenneco in Smithville.

Both Miller and Garcia were trapped in their vehicles after the crash and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's rescue team. The Liberty Station of the County Fire Department was also on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Trooper Maddox says alcohol may have been a factor in the crash and charges are pending.

Five Candidates To Seek Three Alderman Seats in Alexandria City Election

June 22, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five candidates are in the race for Alderman in the Alexandria City Election, which is set for September 6th. Three will be elected.

The candidates are Derrick Baker, Sheila Clayborn, Maureen Tubbs, Henry R. Walker, and James R. Walker.

Thursday (June 21st) noon was the qualifying deadline.

Meanwhile, the last date to register to vote in the Alexandria City Election is August 8th at 4:00 p.m.

The deadline to register as a property rights voter is also August 8th and proof of ownership is required.

Early voting begins August 17th and ends September 1st.

Anyone wishing to qualify as a write-in candidate must file a notice with the Election Commission Office no later than 50 days prior to election day. The last day to file as a write-in candidate is July 18th. Anyone with any questions may call 597-4146 or stop by the election office between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen is currently made up of Mayor David Cripps and Aldermen Charles Griffith, Sarah Walker, James Keys, Eddie Tubbs, Jimmy Mullinax, and Jim York.

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