Local News Articles

DeKalb Fire Department Reports Fewer Incident Response Calls In 2012

January 14, 2013

The DeKalb County Fire Department has compiled its 2012 Incident Response Summary.

Overall, 2012 fire incident responses in the county were down by 116 calls from 2011. In 2011, the department responded to a total of 446 fire incidents. The department responded to 330 fire incident responses in 2012. This count does not include the 362 rural medical first responder calls that county fire department personnel responded to. One fire death occurred in DeKalb County in 2012.

With DeKalb County's rural population growing at rates higher than the cities' population growth within DeKalb County, the department continues to strive to prevent fires and fire related incidents by using prevention and educational measures. DeKalb County Fire Department's Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, Lt. James Pennington, says that preventing incidents is much more economical than responding to them.

Below provides a breakdown of each type of fire incident response that the department responded to in 2012:

Incident Type:
Structure: 55 (year 2011), 52 (year 2012)

Wildland/Grass/Debris: 49 (2011), 42 (2012)

Auto Wrecks: 128: (2011), 100 (2012)

Vehicle Fires: 25 (2011), 11 (2012)

Landing Zones: 36 (2011), 53 (2012)

Extrication/Entrapment: 22 (2011), 18 (2012)

Hazmat: 0 (2011), 0 (2012)

Alarms: 85 (2011), 37 (2012)

Miscellaneous: 46 (2011), 17 (2012)

TOTAL: 446 (2011), 330 (2012)

Tennessee Tech announces fall 2012 Dean's List

January 13, 2013

Tennessee Tech University is pleased to announce that approximately 3,000 of its more than 11,000 students have met the academic requirements to be included on the fall 2012 Dean's List.

To be included on the list, a student must earn at least a 3.1 grade point average on the 4.0 scale with a full course load.

Governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, TTU offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees and about 20 graduate programs, including the doctoral degree in engineering, environmental sciences and education.

TTU students from DeKalb County who earned Dean's List honors are:

Emilee B.Anderson, Joseph L. Angaran, Jessica D. Antoniak, Rosemary N. Apple, Michael C. Arms, Christian J. Atnip,

Jessica D. Ball, Wesley M. Blair, Whitney LaRay Brelje, Nicole Clara Burger, Gabrielle B. Byford,

Michael W. Caldwell, Britney M. Campbell, Talisa Marie Cantrell, Stephan Gerhard Charles, Andrew Brent Collier, Tiffany M. Cowart, Casey W. Curtis,

Erica Brooke Dickens, Ethan B. Duke, Tyler A. Dunaway, Ronnie Jamie Dunn,

Whitney N. England,

Macy Celeste Felts, Brittany Autumn Ferguson, Kendra E. Foutch,

Jessica Brooke Garrison,

Kara K. Hackett, John E. Hale, Jessica Lynn Harney, Leland T. Hasty, Abigail E. Hendrix
Zachary Stephen Holden,

Chantal Kiana Leihualani Joaquin-Starrett,

Kayla N. Judkins,

Abigail C. Laprad, Cameron N. Lester, Justin Michael Lewis, Brooklyn A. Looney, Kristen M. Lynch,

Laura E. Martinez, Alexandria B. Meadows, Samuel Max Meketon, Tia R. Menix, Lorrie Michelle Merriman

Shanea M. Nixon, Kayla Ariana Nunley,
Megan A. Osborne,

Brooke E. Pack, Laura S. Pafford, Krysta Lynn Pedigo, Frank Forest Pursell,

Amy Rebecca Ritchie, Lauren Nicole Rogers, Breanna Jo Russell,

Haley Marie Snyder, Caleb Lee Spencer, Kesha M. Staley, Jessie Y. Strickland,

Jonathan Hunter Tramel,

Martha Alan Webb,

Alyssa A. Young, Nikita C. Young, Kara E. Young, and Christopher Riley Young

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Arrests in Rash of Burglaries and Thefts at Dowelltown and Dry Creek Road

January 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Allen R. Lester, Jr
Ronald Deshon Reeder

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has apparently solved a rash of burglaries and thefts in the Dowelltown and Dry Creek Road area with the arrest of two men Friday.

24 year old Allen R. Lester, Jr. of Church Street, Dowelltown is charged with twelve counts of burglary, three counts of theft property over $500, seven counts of theft under $500, and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. His bond totals $195,000 and he will be in court on January 31.

18 year old Ronald Deshon Reeder of Smith Road, Smithville is charged with three counts of burglary, two counts of theft of property under $500 and one count of theft over $500. Reeder's bond is $16,000 and he will be in court January 31.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Friday that the burglaries and thefts occurred on December 28 and from January 7-10 mostly in Dowelltown but also on Dry Creek Road in the area from New Home Road to the city limits of Smithville. There were nine victims altogether. Lester is accused of breaking into the Dowelltown Post Office, burglarizing automobiles of residents on South Mill Street, North Mill Street, Happy Valley Drive, Corley Street, Dry Creek Road, and the burglary of a shed/guest house on Corley Street, and an outbuilding on Dry Creek Road.

According to Sheriff Ray, Lester was responsible for the actual burglaries and thefts. In the case of the vehicles, he allegedly entered through an unlocked door in most instances and took what he could find, mostly guns and GPS devices, among other belongings. Reeder is charged with Lester in three of the crimes on Dry Creek Road because he rode along with Lester and sat in the vehicle, while Lester was out committing the burglaries and thefts, knowing what Lester was doing. Sheriff Ray said after Lester was identified as a suspect, detectives and officers of the Sheriff's Department raided his home Friday and found most of stolen items.

Sheriff Ray credits his detectives for the long hours they put in on these cases. "I want to thank the detectives. My detectives have worked long and hard all week on this. They stayed up many nights and worked all day trying to spot out some people and do interviews. They've stayed up almost two days the last couple of days doing interviews. I want to commend them on a job well done. We also want to thank the public. We had some people who helped us out on things and we want to thank them for some information. We always want the public to know that we're here to help our citizens in the county. Anytime anyone has any information they are more than welcome to call me at the jail or call the detectives. Our crime tip line 464-6400. You can remain anonymous and leave a tip," said Sheriff Ray.

He also warns residents to keep their car doors locked and to secure valuables like guns and GPS devices in the trunk of your vehicle or in your home. " It's the hunting season but don't leave weapons in your car. Secure them in your home. Keep GPS devices in the trunk and make sure all car doors are locked," said Sheriff Ray.

Lester is charged in each of the following crimes:

Friday, December 28:
Lester allegedly broke into the Dowelltown Post Office and took three money orders; total value at $630 (Burglary and Theft over $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on Corley Street, Dowelltown and took a Garmin GPS, phone car mount, fifteen Disney DVD movies, car charger, 20 music CDs, and a car safety kit; total value $1,010 (Burglary and Theft over $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on Corley Street, Dowelltown and took an Ipod, adapter, charger, and a Garmin GPS; total value $540 (Burglary and Theft over $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on North Mill Street, Dowelltown and took a Stevens over and under 22 caliber 20 gauge shotgun; total value at $400 (Burglary and Theft under $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly entered a Jaguar on Corley Street, Dowelltown and took a Tom Tom GPS; total value at $125. (Burglary and Theft under $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly entered a Chevy S-10 pickup on Corley Street, Dowelltown and took a Tom Tom GPS; total value at $125. (Burglary and Theft under $500)

Monday, January 7:
Lester allegedly broke into a shed/guest house on Corley Street, Dowelltown and took a 10 inch saw with laser guide; total value at $185. (Burglary and Theft under $500)

Tuesday, January 8:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on South Mill Street, Dowelltown and took a Remington rifle with scope, H&R rifle with scope, and a Smith & Wesson 270 rifle with scope; total value at $2,400 (Burglary and Theft over $1,000)

Tuesday, January 8:
Lester allegedly entered a Chevy S-10 pickup on Happy Valley Drive, Dowelltown and took a bottle of blood pressure pills; total value $25 (Burglary and Theft under $500)

Wednesday, January 9:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on Dry Creek Road and took clothes, change, a buck knife, hunting pouch, hat, vest, and 270 Winchester shells; total value at $273 (Burglary and Theft under $500) Reeder is charged in this case for allegedly participating in the offense of burglary and theft by going with Lester and having knowledge that a burglary and theft were being committed.

Thursday, January 10:
Lester allegedly entered a vehicle on Dry Creek Road and took a Tom Tom GPS, and seven cell phone chargers; total value at $250 (Burglary and Theft under $500). Reeder is charged in this case for allegedly participating in the offense of burglary and theft by going with Lester and having knowledge that a burglary and theft were being committed.

Thursday, January 10:
Lester allegedly broke into a building on Dry Creek Road and took a Play Station 3, money, a 250 piece cobalt socket set, a Brother sewing machine, and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes; total value at $1,105 ( Burglary and Theft over $1,000). Reeder is charged in this case for allegedly participating in the offense of burglary and theft by going with Lester and having knowledge that a burglary and theft were being committed.

DeKalb West Project Could Be Ready for March Bid Opening

January 11, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb West School construction project may be ready for a bid opening in March.

Jim Harrison, engineer for Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet, updated the school board on the project Thursday night. "I'm just here tonight to update you on the progress that we've made on the design. We're proceeding through design. We're really on track for a schedule to get plans to the printer for March 7. That's our target date. We'll have drawings to the fire marshal on March 8. That's all in an effort to get to the March 28 bid opening. We'll have a pre-bid on March 13 but we're continuing at this point through design. Different elements of design are a little further along than others. Our goal is to get this all set up and to anticipate a year long construction period following that bid cycle," said Harrison.

FEMA grant funds of more than $1.5 million have been approved for the "Tornado Safe Room" addition at DeKalb West School. The plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at the school. The proposed addition will be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area. A cafeteria and kitchen renovation is also included for the school. Local funding is in place for project costs not covered by the grant.

In other business, the board of education voted 3-2 to sign a letter of intent with Energy Architects in Nashville, a strategic solar project development company, to possibly enter into a business arrangement facilitating the financing, design, construction, installation, and maintenance of solar panels on up to six local school buildings.

Jon Sturgeon, spokesman for Energy Architects, pitched the proposal to the school board. "Essentially, what we're doing is a public/private partnership. We are a strategic renewable energies company, primarily focused on solar and energy efficiency projects. All of our background and expertise is in solar deployment and things of that nature," said Sturgeon.

According to Sturgeon, the letter of intent is non-binding and allows the company to pursue looking at this project. "This will allow you to share your electric bills, for us to work in your behalf at no cost to you, to go to each building to do site drawings where the solar panels would fit on the buildings, to submit those into your local utility, to work with your local utility, and then to submit them to TVA for approval of the project. The letter of intent allows us to have time to put this whole project together for you. Once we've done all the analysis, we've got the funding group, and we've got the document before you, then we'll bring something and you'll look at it and decide if you want to do it,"said Sturgeon.

Board members Kenny Rhody, Charles Robinson, and Chairman Johnny Lattimore voted in favor of signing the letter of intent. Billy Miller and Doug Stephens voted no because of concerns over certain wording contained in the letter. Board members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III and John David Foutch were absent.

Through the TVA Green Power Providers Program, DeKalb County Schools would partner with the Tennessee Valley Authority by having solar panels installed at up to six school buildings at no cost to the school system. The money would come from third party investors. The energy produced goes straight to the TVA power grid and TVA would pay the school system a premium for the energy that's produced by the solar panels. "Essentially, we install it, we operate it, we maintain it. Typically, it's a twenty year agreement that we do. At the end of twenty years you own it," said Sturgeon. "The largest system that can be deployed in Tennessee is a 50 kilowatt system. Our model is to build, manage, and operate these systems. We essentially build these systems and work with municipalities and school districts to put them on their roof tops at no cost to the municipality or school district. Our investors pay 100% of the capital to build and maintain these programs. We put together a commercial entity who can take advantage of the tax credits that you can't take advantage of (as a non-profit entity). We have to go out in the investment community and find investors that are interested in a project like this. There's an audience of investors who are interested in embracing clean energy. They also realize that because solar has no moving parts, it's a very stable kind of energy production facility. These tend to be investors who are not really after Wall Street returns. There's no wild returns on this. But there is really good high single digit steady returns for twenty years. That's hard to find nowadays. This isn't the stock market. Its physics, electricity, and TVA paying you for the power production," said Sturgeon. "In this case, we believe you would have six buildings that would qualify so we're probably talking about a million dollars of investment that the investors would put into this," he added.

"TVA will only send the electric credits to the building owner or the person who has a meter. We can't install more solar on your building than that meter is billed each month. A 50 kilowatt system is about two hundred solar panels and that would roughly offset about $1,200 per month in electrical costs. Right now you get a bill from your utilities, Smithville Electric and Middle Tennessee Electric. What would happen, each month you would get a bill that shows the number of kilowatt hours used times ten cents per kilowatt hour and there's your total. In this program, on your bill you'll have a second line and it will say "TVA Green Power Providers", the number of kilowatt hours the solar arrays generated into the grid at nineteen cents per kilowatt hour. So they're going to pay you a premium for the first ten years of almost double retail. Once the system is installed and energized you'll get a thousand dollars from TVA for each of the six buildings but the recurring revenue over and above the cost of the payment for the system, which would be your revenue, would probably work out to be about $58,000 per building or $348,000 in revenue over twenty years," said Sturgeon.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps updated the board on upcoming events at the school including a presentation on bullying. "This coming Tuesday, January 15 we'll be doing our practice writing prompt and preparation for the state assessment. Our eleventh graders will be taking that on February 5. On January 17 Camfel productions will be doing a presentation in our school on bullying. They came last year and did a really fine job of that so they're coming back this year. Senior cap and gown pictures will be made January 30 at 8:30 a.m. in our cafeteria. Parents will be able to view the proofs of those pictures on February 2 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and on February 3 from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the high school cafeteria. Its already getting that time of year when we're getting ready for graduation," said Cripps

Sabrina Farler, Assistant Principal at DeKalb West School, also gave a report. "From DeKalb West School, we just want to remind parents that report cards went home this past Tuesday and we've just now started off our third nine weeks. We're working on safety at the west school. With the upcoming building project, we're encouraging our parents to enter through the cafeteria entrance side door as our main entrance. We are entering and exiting that door. We've installed a doorbell system. A very simple doorbell system that rings in the office and one of our school employees will come and open up the door and let you in," said Farler.

In other business, the school board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Food Service Staff.

The resolution is as follows:

"Whereas, Food Service Staff members rise before dawn every day in order to prepare breakfast and lunch for students and faculty; and

Whereas, Food Service Staff members can, by encouraging words and a pleasant attitude, spread joy to students and make every day better for them and increase their chances of learning; and

Whereas, Food Service Staff members support the programs of the school, improve public opinion of the schools and in numerous ways, contribute to the success of the students, staff and school; and

Whereas, Food Service Staff members are appreciated for their work in this county and should be honored for it during a special day just for them; and

Whereas, the Board of Education and Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools view the work of the school Food Service Staff as critically important to the success of the school; and

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that this board acknowledges and expresses its appreciation to each school Food Service Staff member in our school district; and

Be It Further Resolved that January 17, 2013 is hereby established as Food Service Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County schools; and

Be It Further Resolved that the board encourages each principal in every school to promote a program of appreciation where students, staff and community are provided an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the Food Service Staff on this day."

Board Looks to Improve School Security

January 11, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County School System is reviewing measures to improve security in response to the recent deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, during Thursday night's school board meeting, said letters are being sent to parents to reassure them. " It (letter) is talking about the things we are doing in DeKalb County, working with our local police, sheriff's department, and Charlie Parker of the local emergency management," said Willoughby. "The state has called a Safety Summit meeting to be held at the end of January. Mr. Charlie Parker has also asked to have a meeting in the county during January. We will be discussing safety and emergency procedures," he said.

One procedure mentioned in the letter is a practice that has already been in place for some time in the school system which is asking everyone visiting a school to come through the main entrance of the building and report to the office. Visitors are to sign-in, obtain a visitor's badge and proceed to their destination. After they have completed their visit, visitors are to return the visitor's badge to the office.

The school board apparently plans to meet at each of the schools in the coming months and during that time, the members will be taking a closer look at safety measures there. "Mr. (Johnny) Lattimore (school board chairman) has requested that as we go from school to school, to look at the safety aspects of each school and how to make each school a lot safer," said Willougbhy. "David Brown of Kaatz Binkley (architects) will do a survey and give us recommendations of what we might want to do. We have also asked some of our police officers and the sheriff's department to give us some recommendations of what might be good to do in our buildings also. We're being pro-active. I'd like to say we could make guarantees. We can't do that. But schools should be one of the safest places for students to be. We want our students to feel safe. We're going to do our best to take care of them and look out for them," said Willoughby.

For several years, DeKalb County High School has had a resource officer, who is employed by the sheriff's department to help address concerns. No other school in the system has one. School officials have not said publicly whether they would ask the county to fund the hiring of more school resource officers.

In the letter to parents, Willoughby wrote that "as a result of the tragic event that occurred in Connecticut, I wanted to reassure you that we are taking extra security measures to ensure the safety of all the students and staff within the DeKalb County School District. At the beginning of each new school year, DeKalb County Schools has made it a practice to review and update safety plans and procedures involving all individual schools as well as every department (transportation, maintenance, etc) in our system"

I have met with local law enforcement, principals, and supervisors recently to discuss and review our Safety plans. I can tell you we have many security measures in place. Some of those measures are visible to you, other measures are not. Our security measures are flexible, and we adapt our security measures to meet any new needs that arise. We routinely seek the advice of our local city police department, sheriff's department, and our Emergency Management personnel as well as state authorities on how to better safeguard our schools and improve our security measures. Our local police departments continually provide us with immediate and excellent support to keep our schools safe"

"In order to keep all children safe we are asking parents to enter at the main entrance of the building and to report to the office. At this time, you will sign-in, obtain a visitor's badge and proceed to your destination. When you have completed your visit with us, please return your visitor's badge to the office."

"We routinely conduct safety and fire drills in our schools, and we will continue to do so in the future. We also attend safety training sessions to keep current on school safety issues and concerns, and to share ideas on how to better protect our schools."

"As your Superintendent of Schools, I assure you that we are continually evaluating our school safety and security measures to keep our schools safe. During January, I will be attending two meetings relating with the safety of our schools. The first will be a DeKalb County Emergency Management meeting. The purpose of this meeting is for local representatives to engage in emergency planning, training, and overall emergency preparedness. The second meeting will be the School Safety Summit sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Education in order to receive the most recent updates pertaining to school safety," wrote Willoughby

Tractor Trailer Rig involved in accident on Highway 70 at Sligo

January 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Tractor Trailer Rig involved in accident on Highway 70 at Sligo
Pickup Truck and Trailer involved in Accident

An accident involving a tractor trailer rig and a pickup truck hauling a utility trailer caused a detour of traffic for a period of time Thursday afternoon on Highway 70 at Sligo.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old Joseph Suarez of Union City was driving east in a 2008 Ford F250 negotiating a curve when the utility trailer he was pulling crossed the center line and struck a westbound 2007 International Tractor Trailer, driven by 50 year old Thomas Rush of Hermitage. Rush was hauling general freight for Central Transport. The utility trailer hit the left side of the truck, rupturing the fuel tank, and causing the truck to jack knife in the highway. An environmental crew was called to the scene to clean up the fuel spill.

No one was injured but Suarez was charged with violation of due care, violation of the financial responsibility law, and no trailer registration.

In addition to Trooper Johnson, members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff's Office, TDOT highway crew, and Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker were all on site.

Suspicious Fire Under Investigation

January 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Suspicious Fire Under Investigation

The sheriff's department and Tennessee Bomb and Arson are investigating a suspicious fire Tuesday night in Liberty.

Lieutenant Anthony Boyd of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department told WJLE that firefighters were called to a vacant home at 226 Eckles Heights Street around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The home belongs to Debbie Hardaway. The home, which was up for sale, contained some furnishings but no one lived there.

The cause and origin of the fire have not been determined, according to Lieutenant Boyd but the upstairs and the back left side of the home were destroyed in the blaze with heat, water, and smoke damage to other parts of the house.

Members of the Liberty and Temperance Hall stations responded along with the Main Station, and Tanker Truck of the county volunteer fire department. DeKalb EMS and sheriff's deputies were also on the scene. No one was injured.

Motlow College Offers Several Classes in Smithville This Semester

January 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
Motlow College Offers Several Classes in Smithville This Semester

Motlow College is offering three classes this semester at the county complex in
Smithville, according to Melody Edmonds, director of Motlow's McMinnville Center.
Classes are Principles of Accounting (ACCT 1020), which will meet from 6 to 8:45 p.m. on
Mondays; English Composition I (ENGL 1010), which will meet from 6 to 8:45 p.m. on
Thursdays; and Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus II (MATH 1720), which meets from 7:45 to 9 a.m. on
Mondays and Wednesdays.

Students wanting to register for these classes need to do so as soon as possible,
Edmonds said. Classes at all Motlow College sites begin on Jan. 17.

Mary Sanders Re-Elected to FSA County Committee

January 9, 2013
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb FSA County Committee met in regular session on Tuesday, December 4 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2012 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 1 County Committee Election. The deadline to return ballots was December 3.

Mary Sanders was re-elected to serve as a member on the Committee representing LAA-2. Her third and final 3-year term began January 1, 2013. Randall West was elected as 1st. Alternate, Bert Driver was elected as 2nd Alternate, and Jeff Carter was elected as 3rd. Alternate to the Committee.

In addition, the Committee met on January 8, 2013 for its Organizational Meeting. The Committee selected Timmie Adcock to serve as Chairperson, Jack Campbell to serve as Vice-Chairperson, and Mary Sanders to serve as Member. The Committee meets quarterly at the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center located at 647 Bright Hill Rd.

Green says that the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee and office staff wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA-1 who participated in the election by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes. I do not know of any other agency providing federal programs that can say that the delivery and decision making efforts are made on the local level by a farmer-elected committee," added Green.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency's web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

City Supervisors Update Mayor and Aldermen

January 9, 2013
Dwayne Page

City officials have asked Smithville's engineering firm, the J.R. Wauford Company, to come up with estimates on what it could cost to make city sewer available to a handful of places in town that don't have access to the service.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs raised the issue at the city council meeting on November 19. Public Works Director Kevin Robinson updated the mayor and aldermen Monday night. "I've been in contact with Melissa at JR Wauford Engineering about the sewer (unserved areas) in town. She came up Friday and we rode around to every one of the spots and she is supposed to let me know and as soon as she does I'll let the board know what she found out and what its going to cost," said Robinson.

Alderman Jacobs asked if Robinson could find out more about some new technology available that might be an alternative to pumping stations, if needed to reach those unserved areas. "In addition to pumping stations, there's some new technology out there that don't require pumping stations. There's a couple of alternatives being used besides that so if these figures come back really expensive we might ask her to look at some of the alternatives to see what that would cost us as well. Of course, we're not looking at making any kind of decision right away anyway but just for planning purposes it would be good to know and see what the new technology offers and if the prices might be coming down on it in the future," said Alderman Jacobs.

Meanwhile, Todd Bowman, water plant supervisor reported to the mayor and aldermen Monday night that for both the months of October and November, the city recorded a 25% water loss. He also reported that water plant employee Shawn Thomas has passed his grade III exam and is now a certified plant operator. "He is certified in sewer and water plant operation," said Bowman. "We now have three licensed operators at the plant. Another one (employee) still there without a license plans on going in May to try and get his license," said Bowman.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reported that the department has received a new K-9 vehicle. "It will soon be outfitted completely with a cage and everything. It really looks good and we're proud of it. The officers are doing a good job and we want to get our K-9 program going further than what it is," said Chief Caplinger.

"We also have two new certified meth officers now and we're real proud of that," said Chief Caplinger. "We want to try and get as many (certified meth officers) as we can to help curb the drug problem," he said. "Our in-service training is starting up again this year, probably next month through the end of March. We finished up a grant today. We'll be taking the money out to supply us with bullet proof vests that we ordered. Those should be coming in a few days. The grant will pay for all the vests except for just a few dollars," said Chief Caplinger.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix commended Chief Caplinger and others on establishing a crime stoppers program. In response, the chief said the public is already responding to it. "I really appreciate the people we have on our crime stoppers (board). There's ten people, five from the city and five from the business community. We're getting a lot of good (public) response from crime stoppers. We're getting calls and tips coming in and we're investigating several of them right now. It looks like the program is going to pay off. Its going to work real well. It looks like it will fund itself with the help of the board we have. I think its going to be real good," said Chief Caplinger

"I also want to thank everyone who was part of our Christmas get together (party) for the (needy) children (December 21). This room (community room of city hall), I don't think you could have put another person in it," said Chief Caplinger. "The room was full. Everyone was real appreciative. We had several businesses who stepped forward and wanted to help and did an outstanding job. We hope to continue that (Christmas event) as well as the Halloween event. That's one of the things the police department wants to do is stay involved with the community. I appreciate the support of the board helping us do that," he said.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker updated the mayor and aldermen on recent fire department activities. "Highlights of our last quarter, we had a total of 32 incidents. We had 54 hours of working and 142 man hours of training in the last quarter. Also during the last quarter, the month of October was our fire prevention month, " said Chief Parker. "We held fire prevention activities at the Smithville Methodist Day School, the Church of Christ Day School, Smithville Elementary, LBJ & C Head Start, Rainbow Play School, and at DeKalb Middle School. We also had several boy scout and girl scout groups that came through so we really pushed fire prevention in the month of October. My deputy chief, Hoyte Hale heads that up. We solicit (donations) from several businesses that contribute to the fire prevention materials. We try to provide at least a piece of literature, stickers, or something for every kid through fifth grade. They get coloring books or something depending upon age appropriate. We've had a tremendous response from parents. I want to thank Hoyte for doing this and the other firefighters who helped do some of the demonstrations," he said. "Currently, we are working on our SOG's for the fire department, looking to update our guidelines and procedures. We'll have our officer elections the first part of February and then we'll come back to the board for your approval (of officers). We also have our firefighter appreciation dinner January 19. We've had a very big start with the first of the year. I think we're up to twenty calls already starting the new year," said Chief Parker.


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