Local News Articles

Mallory Sullivan Finishes Second in Region, Advances to State Golf Tournament

October 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan

DeKalb County junior Mallory Sullivan is scheduled to compete this week in the Class A/AA state golf tournament at Willowbrook in Manchester.

Sullivan finished second with an 82 in the Region 4-A/AA tournament last Wednesday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay to qualify for the state tournament

The state appearance is the third-straight for Sullivan.

The region tournament was originally scheduled for Monday, but heavy rains forced a two-day postponement.

Meanwhile, the District 8-A/AA champion DeKalb County boys team finished in third place in the region tournament last week with a 326, behind champion Signal Mountain (302) and runner-up Notre Dame (316)

Zach Martin turned in the Tigers' best finish, in 10th place with a 79. Ethan Roller was close behind with an 80, followed by Hayden Ervin (81) and Cory Kijanski (86). Dylan Young (90) was also in the lineup.

Joe Black Effort Takes Stray Animals Off City's Hands

October 8, 2012
Dwayne Page

Under an agreement with the city, members of the Joe Black Effort has removed all animals from the Smithville dog pound and plans to accept any other strays brought to the shelter in an effort to find homes for them.

Joe Black Effort supporters want to eventually establish a no kill shelter locally so that abandoned animals won't have to be euthanized.

Two months ago we held our first "DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals' meet and greet.," said Joe Black member Rene Stufano. "The mayor and Monica Summers who works at the pound were there along with many Joe Black members and other interested parties.. We discussed the situation and also the idea of Joe Black taking the animals out of the pound at some point and all of the puppies now because the pound has parvo. After our discussion we felt that the conditions sounded a lot better than what we thought according to reports from other people," she said.

"This was a big decision, but in the moment (last Friday) it was the only one we were capable of making. We went to City Hall and called the mayor. We also called Alderman Gayla Hendrix who was attentive. She made arrangements for us to get a key (to the shelter). When we went in (shelter) the conditions were deplorable. All of the animals were frightened. They were fed, there was food out everywhere in big pans but the place itself was filthy, the dogs were filthy and some of them were sick or injured. We carried them all out and took them immediately to the vet for tests and shots. Presently they are all in foster homes," said Stufano

"Our intent was not to undermine our city authorities and certainly not to condemn or hurt the present care takers of the pound. I believe they were contracted to be there 40 hours a week which isn't nearly enough time to properly care for the facility. There are 168 hours in a week, which leaves the pound unattended for 128 hours a week. I believe the city thought it was being taken care of. There is no blaming here, no fingers to point, we only need to move forward from here," she said

"Our only intent is to see to the well being of the rescue animals and to take care of them until they can be placed in loving homes," added Stufano.

City officials hope to find common ground with the Joe Black Effort for a long term solution to the problem.

Smithville Police Charge Man with Evading Arrest after Responding to Burglary in Progress

October 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police arrested a man for evading arrest after assisting the sheriff's department in possibly foiling a burglary in progress last Sunday, September 30.

Chief Randy Caplinger said 30 year old William Travis Malone is charged with evading arrest. Corporal Travis Bryant assisted the Sheriff's Department in responding to a burglary in progress at an old barn at the corner of Allen's Ferry Road and Holmes Creek Road. Upon arrival Corporal Bryant was flagged down by neighbors informing him that the suspect was hiding in an old silo. Corporal Bryant approached the silo, identified himself, and asked the suspect to come out. The suspect, Malone, took off running but was found a short time later lying down among tall weeds. His court date is October 11.

35 year old Crystal Rae King was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia on Friday, September 28. Chief Caplinger said that while on a call at Wal-Mart, an officer saw King attempting to throw a needle in the trash can. King will be in court on November 15.

52 year old Linda Sue Murphy and her son 37 year old Dewayne Dovie Thompson were cited for shoplifting on Saturday, September 29. Chief Caplinger said that Murphy was shopping in Wal-Mart and knowingly and intentionally attempted and assisted her son, Thompson in concealing items on Thompson's person in an attempt to deprive Wal-Mart of their property. Their court date is October 12.

25 year old Jonathon Carltion Armour was cited for theft of property on Monday, October 1.. The victim filed a report on September 27 stating that someone had stolen a box containing miscellaneous copper pieces from his front porch. Upon investigation it was found that Armour had taken the copper belonging to the victim. His court date is October 25.

30 year old Nicholas A Hollingsworth was cited for simple possession and drug paraphernalia on Tuesday, October 2. Hollingsworth was stopped for a traffic violation and upon a search of his vehicle, the officer found paraphernalia used for illegal drugs. A pill was also found, believed to be dilaudid. His court date is October 25.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Liberty Mule Thunder Run Set for November 10

October 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
Liberty Mule Thunder Run

The Smithville Thunder travel baseball team is pleased to announce the inaugural running of the Liberty Mule Thunder Run, a 5K road/trail race and 1-mile fun run to be held on November 10 at Salem Baptist Church in Historic downtown Liberty.

The race director and coach Danny Jenkins said the race will get underway at 8:00 a.m. with the fun run taking place first, followed by the 5K. The fun run course will be out and back on Main Street toward downtown while the 5K course will head west out Highway 70 and loop around behind DeKalb West School.

"The 5K route is really unique in that it has some elements of both road and trail running," Coach Jenkins said, "and I would rate it as a very easy and accommodating course for beginners and inexperienced runners. And, as its our first time staging this event, it is also a good place for intermediate runners to get that elusive age-group ribbon," said Jenkins.

Entry forms can be obtained from several public locations in the area, on line at smithvillethunder.org or by contacting Coach Jenkins at 615-464-7540.

(Liberty Mule image being used here with permission from the owners of the trademark)

Mahaney Gets Two Years Probation for TennCare Fraud

October 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
Krista Mahaney

A Smithville woman, charged with TennCare fraud involving "doctor shopping," or using TennCare to go to multiple doctors in a short time period to obtain controlled substances, pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

Under a negotiated settlement, 27 year old Krista Mahaney pleaded guilty to TennCare fraud. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced her to two years, all suspended to supervised probation, She must make restitution to TennCare in the amount of $1,113 and she will lose her TennCare benefits.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in a joint investigation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, announced the arrest of Mahaney in January. She was originally charged with two counts of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain controlled substances by "doctor shopping."

The charges accused Mahaney of seeing more than one physician within a 30-day period for the purpose of getting prescriptions for Suboxone, a drug used to treat heroin addiction by mimicking the effects of the drug without the addictive qualities. The physician office visits and the medications were paid for by TennCare.

"The unauthorized use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious crime, and it's compounded when TennCare is used to subsidize the activity," Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. "We're committed to ensuring that TennCare benefits are not used for the purchase and eventual distribution of these drugs to people they weren't prescribed for."
TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years per charge in prison.

Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."

Meanwhile, in other cases Friday, 24 year old Steven Andrew Cantrell pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeune) and received a two year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000

30 year old Willie Murphy pleaded guilty to burglary and theft over $1,000. He received a four year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with a violation of probation against him. Murphy must make restitution of $1,275 to Smithville Rental Center. He was given jail credit of 202 days.

23 year old Cougar Wayne Pursley pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and received a sentence of five months and 29 days on probation. He was fined $350.

28 year old Desiree Snyder pleaded guilty to promotion to manufacture methamphetamine and prescription fraud. She received a two year sentence in each case, all suspended to supervised probation. The two sentences are to be served consecutively or back to back for a total of four years. Snyder was fined $2,000 and she must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. Her probation is to be transferred to Michigan. Snyder was given nine days jail credit.

27 year old David Turner pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III drug and received a suspended two year sentence. He was also fined $2,000.

32 year old William Wayne Graham pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a six year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections and was fined $2,000.

41 year old Michael Thomas pleaded guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation by community corrections. The sentence is to run concurrently with his current probation.

25 year old Justin Thomas pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run consecutive with Wilson County cases against him.

20 year old Marv Cash pleaded guilty to theft over $500 and received a one year sentence, all suspended to probation. He has requested judicial diversion.

27 year old Robert Justin Luna pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and criminal trespass. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in the theft case, all suspended except for ten days. He must make restitution of $100 to the victim and pay $100 to the economic crime fund. Luna received a 30 day suspended sentence in the criminal trespass case. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other and with a White County case against him for domestic assault.

28 year old Rhonda J. Goff pleaded guilty to promotion of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence, suspended to probation with community corrections. She was fined $2,000. Goff must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any treatment recommendations. She was given 49 days jail credit.

34 year old Jerry Goff pleaded guilty to initiation to manufacture methamphetamine and received an eight year sentence to serve at 30% before his release eligibility date. He was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation case against him. Goff was given jail credit of 211 days.

50 year old Earl Yost pleaded guilty to a third offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to probation except for 120 days to serve. Yost was fined $1,110 and he will lose his drivers license for five years. He will report to jail on October 19.

21 year old Travis Davenport pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with his current CPS probation.

23 year old Porsche Cantrell Batey pleaded guilty to introduction of contraband. She received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for one year to serve. The sentence is to run concurrently with a general sessions court case against her. Cantrell was given jail credit from March 4 to June 7.

9th Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Set for November 2nd

October 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Board of Education won the "Best Chili" Award Last Year

Who makes the best chili in DeKalb County? Find out on Friday, November 2nd when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 9th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale at the 303 Building on the square

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can purchase your bowl for $5.00, eat all the chili you want, and vote for your favorite chili and the best decorated booth. Handmade pottery bowls will be available for $10.00. Delicious baked goods will also be for sale.

"We are looking forward to another great day of good food and fellowship at the chili cook-off," said Nolan Turner, president of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. "We have broken ground for our fourth home and construction is underway," said Turner. "The proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used towards building our next house and give us momentum to continue building in DeKalb County. A strong turn out for the chili cook-off will help get us there faster," he said.

Last year, the DeKalb County Board of Education won the "Best Chili" award, and "Blessed and Highly Flavored" from Allen's Chapel and Buckner's Chapel Methodist Churches followed in second place. "Wild West Gang" from the DeKalb County Board of Education also won first place honors in the decorating contest. The event raised $3,000.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Pryor at 597-7370. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, call 215-8181.

UMRB To Conduct DUD Rate Review; Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear Petition on Water Plant

October 4, 2012
Dwayne Page
Four members of DUD board (Older Photo)
DUD Attorney Keith Blair

The Utility Management Review Board, citing the lack of jurisdiction, decided Thursday that it would not consider a petition filed by concerned citizens and ratepayers on whether or not the DeKalb Utility District should build a water treatment plant. But the UMRB will act on the petitioners request for a DUD rate review. That issue could be addressed at its December 6 meeting.

A petition, signed by more than 1,000 persons was submitted to the Tennessee Comptroller and Utility Management Review Board in July asking for a state review of rates charged by the DUD and its plan of services including the proposed water treatment plant. The petition drive was spearheaded by the Calvert Street Group, a Nashville public relations company, hired by the City of Smithville in April to better educate the public, from the city's perspective, on the impact of the plan by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water treatment plant.

The UMRB met Thursday in Nashville and the issue regarding the petition and the DUD was tops on the agenda. During that meeting, the UMRB ruled that it had no jurisdiction to consider the petition as to the proposed water treatment plant. A decision apparently shared by Greg Cothron, Assistant General Counsel for the state comptroller's office, who had apparently recently rendered an opinion that the petition had failed to provide a basis for review by the UMRB and that the UMRB lacked jurisdiction to hear it. "On the jurisdictional issue only with regard to whether the UMRB has jurisdiction to consider the petition before it, the UMRB essentially approved a motion setting forth that they did not have jurisdiction on the question of whether or not DUD should be building a water treatment plant," said DUD attorney Keith Blair during the DeKalb Utility District's monthly board meeting Thursday afternoon.

But while the UMRB chose not to weigh in on the water plant issue itself, it has agreed to conduct a rate review, according the Blair. "So at the next hearing of the UMRB and their next regular meeting is December 6, I am assuming at this point that the rate review process will be on the December 6 docket at the UMRB. This just came down today (Thursday) so that's essentially all I know at this point," said Blair.

"The mission of the Tennessee Comptroller and the Utility Management Review Board is to look for duplicity, for taxpayer waste to protect ratepayers, and rate increases that are out of line with what their plans and their debt management policy calls for," said Darden Copeland of the Calvert Street Group.

The petition filed with the UMRB states "DUD ratepayers ask the UMRB to find that the DUD acted wrongly in approving the financing of the construction of a redundant water treatment facility in DeKalb County and in its service expansion and resulting rate increases and take all necessary action to provide DUD ratepayers with all appropriate relief afforded to them under the laws of the state of Tennessee."

DUD officials are anxious to get this matter settled as quickly as possible. In a recent letter to Cothorn and UMRB Board Coordinator Joyce Welborn, Blair wrote "As you are aware, DUD has taken significant steps to initiate the construction of a water treatment plant as well as making plans to restructure certain long term debt for additional cost savings to their customers. Once the petition in question was filed, at a time when the closing of the bonds to finance this project was imminent, DUD cautiously delayed the closing and finalization of the financing of this project in order to obtain proper verification from UMRB that the petition had no merit and, most importantly, that the UMRB did not have jurisdiction to consider the issues presented."

"With this pending petition, DUD continues to suffer monetary losses each day due to their inability to proceed forward with the planned refinancing and water treatment plant. It is clearly evident that interest rates and construction costs are at an all time low. The interest rates and construction rates will no doubt increase in the coming months which will damage DUD financially causing them to spend more on this project than anticipated which potentially could result in additional rate increases. Further, the longer that this issue is in limbo, the longer that DUD will have to purchase water from the City of Smithville, the proponent behind the petition in question."

"A delay will do nothing but prolong the final resolution of this matter and cause DUD continued delay and financial loss that will do nothing but hurt the customers of DUD. A delay only benefits the petitioner, with no due cause being shown and severely hurts DUD each day that passes without resolution." wrote Blair.

County Weighs Options for Future Solid Waste Disposal

October 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Overton County Solid Waste Transfer Station
Inside Transfer Station (Notice Open Top Semi Truck Trailer to Right)

The county commission last week authorized County Mayor Mike Foster to enter into discussions with a professional engineering company in Sparta which will provide some options for the county to consider for future landfill needs.

"I've met with the Professional Engineering Company out of Sparta and talked to them about a transfer station for our garbage rather than building another Class I cell," said Foster. "They are getting us some numbers together so we can talk about the possibility of building another Class I and Class III/IV cell together; or doing a transfer station and a Class III/IV cell; or doing a transfer station and no Class III/IV cell. The Class III/IV cell would be construction material only. No garbage. And it (Class III/IV cell) doesn't have to be lined with a real expensive liner. We would still have to line it with clay but the leachate would not have to be transported. It could run off like any other storm water. That would be one option. The other option would be to transfer everything to another county and have it hauled away. The third option would be to do just like we've been doing. So maybe by this month (October) we can begin looking at a possible site or two. This is not something that is going to happen right away but we need a tentative agreement to proceed with talks with Professional Engineering about these scenarios," said Foster.

The issue is whether the county should develop a new Class I landfill once the existing site is full within the next two or three years or to establish a solid waste transfer station and maintain a class III/IV cell that doesn't require so many regulations and which would be mainly for construction materials.

Last fall, County Mayor Foster and several local county commissioners visited Overton County's Solid Waste Transfer Station. (Shown in picture above).

Under a transfer station operation, household garbage would continue to be collected at local convenience centers across the county, then loaded onto trucks and brought to the transfer station, where the garbage would be separated from recyclables and then loaded onto semi trucks and transferred to a landfill site in another county. DeKalb would contract for the garbage to be hauled out of county and for the disposal of it at a certain price per ton. The recyclables would be baled and sold.

According to Foster, DeKalb County would have fewer environmental worries about solid waste, if it had its own transfer station or contracted with some entity or company to provide the service. "Right now (at the landfill) we have to put a 40 mil plastic liner over the entire mound of dirt when you're through as well as a 60 mil liner underneath it and then you have to put dirt on top of all that. The costs have just gone through the roof in the last three or four years so we're going to look at the option of doing that (transfer station). We may still want to run a class III/IV cell that doesn't require that (so many regulations) which would be mainly for construction materials and things like that and not household garbage," said Foster

"If we do that (develop a transfer station) we don't have the expense of building a new (Class I landfill) cell which is so expensive because now you have to put a rubber liner under and over it. These environmental issues are overpowering and you have a lot of liability there," In addition, environmental regulations require the county to monitor old landfill sites for several years after they have been closed.

Should the county develop a transfer station, Foster said it would be situated on about a four acre site somewhere in the county. "Ideally it would be better if it were centrally located but we would have room at the (existing) landfill. We would also probably want to keep a Class III/IV cell for construction materials. We've got two or three years to make this decision," said Foster.

Convenience sites would still be required throughout the county and residents could continue to bring their household garbage there or directly to the transfer station.

"Holiday Mail for Heroes” Mailbox Open Through December 7

October 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Kathy Nesmith

While military deployments and hospital stays may keep many of our nation’s heroes away from their families this holiday season, the American Red Cross is collecting and distributing cards that send words of encouragement, gratitude and cheer.

Between October 1 and December 7, Americans can give something that means something by sending a card of thanks and support to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

“It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make,” said Kathy Nesmith, Chapter Executive, Warren County Chapter which includes DeKalb County. “You say thanks, we’ll do the rest.”

The Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer until December 7 by mailing them to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Pitney Bowes Inc. receives cards at the special Holiday Mail post office box, and screens them for hazardous materials. Pitney Bowes screens, packages and ships the cards at no charge, and contributes thousands of volunteer hours at sites around the country.

Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas then sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have received and distributed more than 4.7 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.

Local card signing dates to be announced.

To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than December 7. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary donations, or using glitter or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. More information and card requirements are at redcross.org/holidaymail.

The public can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook at facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #holidaymail.

The Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 24 million veterans and their families. During this holiday season, people also can support all Red Cross services by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Individuals can also give the gift of life by making an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

New Program Gives Voters Way to Honor Veterans, Active Duty Military

October 3, 2012

Voting and paying tribute to our nation’s active and retired armed services personnel are two of the most patriotic acts citizens can perform. A new program launched by the Secretary of State’s Office this week allows people to tie the two together.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced the “Tennessee Honor Vote” program, which will provide citizens with an opportunity to dedicate their votes in the upcoming election to the servicemen and servicewomen of their choice.

A new page has been developed on the Secretary of State’s web site where people may sign up and dedicate a personal message to one or more active or retired members of the armed forces.

Once the messages have been reviewed, they will be posted online. Each participant in the program will receive an “Honor Vote” button and a letter of appreciation from Secretary Hargett.

The program will begin with dedications for the upcoming Nov. 6 election, but it will continue for future elections as well.

“Members of our armed services fight and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” Secretary Hargett said. “Their service highlights how important it is for us to exercise our constitutional right to vote. I encourage Tennesseans to participate in this program, which is absolutely free of charge. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and prepare a message. And those messages to our active military and veterans may mean more to them than we’ll ever realize.”

“More than 27,000 members of the Tennessee National Guard have deployed since 9/11, making Tennessee the fourth largest National Guard state for deployments,” Major General Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, said. “Many of these soldiers and airmen have seen firsthand in Iraq and Afghanistan just how important the right to cast your vote really is. This is a right we too often take for granted. Nothing means more to a service member than to be appreciated for their selfless service. The Tennessee Honor Vote program is just another way to show your support for the men and women defending the freedoms that we all enjoy.”

“It is extremely important to remember and recognize those who have courageously served our state and country, for without their selfless service, we may not be able to hold elections with the democratic right to vote,” Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said. “This is an innovative and unique way to reinforce the importance of voting as well as reminding our service members and veterans that we value and support their service and sacrifice.”

To participate in the program, go to: www.GoVoteTN.com/honor or call toll-free 1-877-850-4959.


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