Local News Articles

Community Gathers to Pray for Our Schools

August 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
Community Gathers to Pray for Our Schools
Prayers for Our Schools

A large group turned out Sunday afternoon to join in a special "Prayer Service for Schools" observance at DeKalb County High School.

The prayer service has become an annual event conducted by local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the students, teachers, transportation staff, and other employees.

Among the local ministers participating were Bill Robertson of the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church, Don Davidson of the Real Life Community Church, Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville First United Methodist Church and Bright Hill United Methodist, Dan Gulley of the Smithville Church of Christ, Mark Bass of the Smithville First Baptist Church, Billie Friel of the Alexandria First Baptist Church, and Austin Norton, Youth Pastor of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also made some brief remarks

The first full day of school for all students is Monday, August 6.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver to Face Sarah Marie Smith in November

August 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
Sarah Marie Smith

With the primaries now over, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and her Democratic opponent Sarah Marie Smith will be looking toward the November General Election.

Weaver was unopposed in the Tennessee Republican Primary Thursday and received 5,492 votes district-wide while Smith defeated Wesley Duane Hodges for the Democratic nomination district-wide 2,036 to 491.

Weaver is seeking her third, two year term. Smith is making her second run for this office. She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

The 40th district now includes all of Smith and Trousdale County and a portion of DeKalb and Sumner Counties.

The following are the results of the election Thursday in each of those counties:

Democratic Primary:
DeKalb County:
Sarah Marie Smith- 399
Wesley Duane Hodges-125

Tennessee Republican Primary
DeKalb County:
Terri Lynn Weaver-802

Smith County:
Sarah Marie Smith- 1,014
Wesley Duane Hodges-133

Terri Lynn Weaver- 1,375

Trousdale County:
Sarah Marie Smith-357
Wesley Duane Hodges-94

Terri Lynn Weaver-536

Sumner County:
Sarah Marie Smith- 266
Wesley Duane Hodges-139

Terri Lynn Weaver-2,780

Death of Moore Creates Vacancy on the DeKalb Election Commission

August 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
Barbara Vanatta, Kenneth Moore, Walteen Parker, Jim Dean, Harry Lasser

With the recent death of Kenneth Moore, the DeKalb County Election Commission has a vacancy.

Moore had served as one of the democratic members of the commission since 1980. His term expires next April.

No one has yet been named to succeed Moore, but someone could be selected to fill his unexpired term. The appointment would be made by the Tennessee Election Commission.

The DeKalb County Election Commission is made up of five members.

Three members, Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean, were reappointed by the Tennessee Election Commission in April 2011. Vanatta and Dean are in their second terms. Parker has served since 1992. All three are republicans.

Harry Lasser was named to replace Nolan Turner as one of the two democratic members of the local commission in April, 2011. Moore had also been re-appointed to another term at that time.

Since the state legislature is made up of a majority of GOP lawmakers, Republicans have the right to hold majority memberships on the Tennessee Election Commission as well as all county election commissions in Tennessee. The appointments to local commissions are made by the state election commission. The term of each member is for two years.

Regarding the political division of county election commissions, state law states that " three members shall be members of the majority party and two members shall be members of the minority party".

"The members of the majority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions."

"The members of the minority party on the state election commission shall appoint the persons who are required to be members of that party on county election commissions."

"When members of another statewide political party are required to be appointed to a county election commission, they shall be nominated by the party's state primary board."

"Before appointing county election commissioners, the members of the state election commission shall consult with the members of the general assembly serving each of the counties as to the persons to be appointed to the county election commissions".

Several Local College and High School Rodeo Students Compete at State and National Finals

August 4, 2012
Brady Foster and Cody Hattaway with their 1st place  State Team Roping run
Cody Hattaway with 1st place win at State Finals
 Upper Cumberland High School Rodeo Club ( 4 are from Smithville)

Several local high school students have recently competed on both state and national levels of rodeo competition.

The Upper Cumberland High School Rodeo Club is a local group of students from the Upper Cumberland Region. These students compete in High School Rodeo's in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and some even go on to compete at National levels such as Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Local students placed in the State Finals and the National High School Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Brady Foster a 2012 graduate of DeKalb County High School placed in the top 10 at the Tennessee State High School Rodeo Finals and placed in the top 10 for the 2012 season with Team roping partner Cody Hattaway. Brady also went on to the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Srings, Wyoming where he placed in the top 15 in light rifle firearms competition.

Cody Hattaway a Junior at DeKalb County High School placed in the top 10 with Team roping partner Brady Foster, Cody also placed 2nd at the Tennessee High School Rodeo Finals in steer wrestling or also known as bull doggin. Cody went on to compete at the National High School Finals in the trap shooting and placed in the top 20. Cody placed 13th in the Steer Wrestling.

Shara Adcock a sophomore at DeKalb County High School placed in the top ten in Team roping with partner Ramsey Goolsby from Watertown and placed in the top 10 in both break away roping and goat tying at the Tennessee High School Rodeo Finals.

Ramsey Goolsby a sophomore at Watertown High School won Rookie of the year at the Tennessee High School Rodeo Finals. Kelsy Bussell a senior at Cookeville High School also placed 13th at the National Finals.

Upper Cumberland Rodeo Club members for the 2012-2013 year are Katlyn Franklin, a senior from Sparta, Kelsy Bussell, a senior from Cookeville, Cody Hattaway, Waylon West, and Brandon Barnes, all juniors from Smithville, Shara Adcock, a sophomore from Smithville, Ramsey Goolsby, a sophmore from Watertown, Bubba Allison, a freshman of McMinnville, and Katie Bilbrey, a freshman from Cookeville.

On the College Level Clark Adcock from Smithville and Ben Walker from Cookeville, both students at the University of Tennessee at Martin placed 5th at the College National Rodeo Finals in Wyoming in the Team roping competition. The Upper Cumberland High School Rodeo will also be hosting a High School Rodeo at the Hyder-Burks Paviliion in Cookeville on October 6-7. There will be a special needs rodeo on Saturday October 6th at 2:00.

Suspicious Fire Under Investigation

August 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Suspicious Fire Under Investigation

A fire that destroyed the residence of Marlene Goodwin on Tramel Branch Road near Alexandria Thursday is under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Section.

Central dispatch received the call at 12:58 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Main Stations responded along with a tanker truck. Under a mutual aid agreement, the City of Alexandria Fire Department sent additional manpower to assist the county fire stations at the scene.

Although the home belonged to Goodwin, her daughter had apparently been living there and had either moved out or was in the process of moving. No one was there at the time of the fire. The family reportedly had a lease to own agreement with another person

Chief Green said the cause of the fire has not been determined but because it appeared suspicious, the sheriff's department was notified, who in turn contacted the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Section.

A member of the Temperance Hall Fire station received medical treatment after he collapsed from being overheated upon returning to the fire hall. He is now okay.

Cantrell Wins Property Assessor Race, Evins Re-elected to the School Board

August 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III

DeKalb County voters chose Scott Cantrell as their next Assessor of Property in Thursday's General Election.

Cantrell, the Democratic nominee, defeated Republican challenger Mason Carter 1,506 (62.9%) to 884 (36.9%) winning nine of the sixteen precincts including Belk, Blue Springs, Church of Christ Annex, Courthouse, County Complex, Johnson's Chapel, Keltonburg, Middle School, and Snow Hill. Cantrell also had a majority of the early votes/absentees. Carter carried seven precincts including Alexandria, Cherry Hill, Dowelltown, Edgar Evins State Park, Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Rock Castle.

Cantrell will take office on September 1st, succeeding Timothy (Fud) Banks who has been DeKalb County's Assessor of Property since 1996.

A total of 2,444 people voted in the August 2 elections including 1,525 on election day and 919 during early voting or by absentee.


Meanwhile, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III held off a strong challenge by Kevin Hale to win re-election to the school board from the fifth district. Evins received 261 votes (55.8%) to 205 (43.9%) for Hale. Evins carried both precincts, County Complex 112 to 88 and Johnson's Chapel 37 to 33. Evins also carried the early votes/absentees 112 to 84.

In other uncontested local races, Doug Stephens received 173 complimentary votes and won the Sixth District seat on the Board of Education.

Five constables were also elected in uncontested races. Wayne Vanderpool earned 232 votes in the Third District. Paul Cantrell clinched the Fourth District constable race with 235 complimentary votes. Mark Milam received 307 complimentary votes in the Fifth District. Carl Lee Webb garnered 189 votes in the Sixth District, while Johnny King earned the Seventh District constable seat with 186 complimentary votes.

In the Tennessee Republican Primary, DeKalb County voters preferred Congresswoman Diane Black over challenger Lou Ann Zelenik in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives 6th District party nomination. Black received 763 votes (67%) to 375 (32.9%) for Zelenik in DeKalb County.


40th District State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver received 802 complimentary votes in DeKalb County as she ran unopposed for the GOP nomination. Weaver will face Democratic nominee Sarah Marie Smith in the November General Election. Smith defeated challenger Wesley Duane Hodges in the Tennessee Democratic Primary. In DeKalb County, Smith received 399 votes (76%) to Hodges' 125 votes (23.8%).

46th District State Representative Mark Pody received 178 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. Pody ran unopposed in the state GOP primary and he will be unopposed in the November General Election.

Incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Corker easily won the state GOP nomination. In DeKalb County, Corker received 879 votes (81.3%). Other challengers included Fred R. Anderson with 36 votes, Mark Twain Clemens 45 votes, Brenda S. Lenard 19 votes, and Zach Poskevich with 100 votes.

In the State Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate, Mark E. Clayton received 225 votes (34%) in DeKalb County.. Other candidates were Larry Crim with 46 votes, Gary Gene Davis 66, Dave Hancock 112 votes, Park Overall 157, T.K. Owens 20, and Benjamin Roberts 33 votes.


In the Dowelltown city election, a mayor and two aldermen were elected. Mayor Gerald Bailiff ran unopposed and won with 51 votes. Joe L. Bogle won an alderman seat with 45 votes. There was no other name on the ballot for alderman but Michael Kevin Kent qualified as a write-in candidate and won with eight write-in votes.

In the Liberty city election, three aldermen were elected with Dwight Mathis, Paul M. Neal, and Jason H. Ray all running unopposed. Both Mathis and Neal each received 64 votes and Ray had 57 votes.

In the judicial retention questions, locally voters chose to retain Jeffrey S. Bevins as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division. The vote was 813 to retain and 600 to replace

Locally, voters also chose to retain Roger A. Page as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Division. The vote was 788 to retain and 589 to replace.

Observant Citizens Help Alexandria Police Solve Armed Robbery

August 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
Michael Ray Slaughter
Dustin Shane Puckett
Joseph Clark Hindelang
Angela Dawn Engelhardt

Observant citizens helped Alexandria Police solve a residential armed robbery Wednesday.

Chief Mark Collins reports the arrest of three people in the robbery at a home on Measles Lane. The owner of the home was later taken into custody on drug charges and an occupant of the residence was picked up on outstanding warrants from Wilson County.

Those arrested and their charges are 24 year old Michael Ray Slaughter of Clarksville, aggravated robbery , theft over $1000 , and evading Arrest; 25 year old Dustin Shane Puckett of Watertown, aggravated robbery and theft over $1000; and 26 Year old Joseph Clark Hindelang of Lebanon, aggravated robbery, theft over $1000, possession of a schedule VI drug ( marijuana) for resale , and a seventh offense of driving on a suspended license. The suspects' vehicle was also seized as a result of the investigation.

Meanwhile, 41 year old Angela Dawn Engelhardt, the owner of the Measles Lane home, was charged with simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia while another woman living at the residence, 30 year old Angela Bartels , has been arrested on outstanding warrants from Wilson County. Engelhardt was not at home at the time of the incident but was arrested later Wednesday night.

All will appear in court on August 16th.

According to Chief Collins, the investigation began after Alexandria Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at 141 Measles Lane.

Police learned that two of the suspects entered the home, displayed handguns and forced the occupants, an adult female and two children , to sit and remain quiet while they went through the home taking several things including electronics, jewelry, personal items, and narcotics. After leaving the home, the suspects fled into the woods nearby but they were seen by witnesses, who reported it to Sergeant Chris Russell. After spotting a man running out of the woods, Sergeant Russell gave chase. After a short foot pursuit, the man, Slaughter was placed in custody. Shortly thereafter witnesses saw the suspects' vehicle on High Street and reported it. Police responded, found the driver, Hindelang, and placed him in custody. Witnesses also reported having seen the third suspect, Puckett , running out of the woods on Brush Creek Highway. As a result, police found Puckett and arrested him. During a search of the area, officers recovered items taken from the home along with approximately 42 grams of marijuana found in the suspects' vehicle and other items believed to have been stolen from another location.

The investigation was conducted by Chief Collins and Sgt. Russell

Chief Collins said he would like to commend the actions of the observant citizens for their assistance in the apprehension of the suspects as well as assistance from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

Smithville Fire Department's First Ever Ladder Truck Arrived Wednesday Night

August 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
Ladder Truck 1

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has its first ever ladder truck .

The truck arrived Wednesday night.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker said while the truck (Ladder 1) will not be put into service until some related equipment is installed, members of the fire department are happy to have it. "They (company) delivered the truck to us around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night. We're all excited to get it here. We still have a lot of work to do to get all the equipment on it. We have some basic equipment that has to be mounted on it like hoses, nozzles, and other things to make everything where we can use it but we'll try to get it in service as fast as we can," he said.

City firefighters are also receiving some training in the use of the new truck, according to Chief Parker. "We've had quite a bit of training on it. Some of them (firefighters) have had the aerial classes before but we still have probably forty to fifty hours of training we'll be doing in-house. We'll have different instructors coming in to give instruction on how to use the ladder truck in the most efficient way. For us getting use to it, there are some drills and different scenarios that we're going to do, getting to where we're proficient on the operation of the ladder truck. So we've still got quite a bit of training to do over the next month or so in order for us to be able to use the ladder truck to the best of its ability," he said.

With the addition of Ladder 1, Chief Parker said the city now has three fire trucks in the fleet. "Ladder 1 is what our call sign is for this truck. The other engines are engine 1 and 2," he said.

Ladder 1 will most likely be used in response to all structure fires in the city, according to Chief Parker. "We're still in the process of re-writing our protocols for response but this truck will primarily go on all the structure fires for right now, small, large or whatever. That's the biggest reason we have it (truck). But it won't go on every (fire) call," he said.

In the meantime, members of the fire department are anxious for folks to see the truck. "We're going to be out over the next couple of weeks trying to show it off to the general public. We'll be answering questions, letting them have some input on what it does, and giving them some general information about it," said Chief Parker. Ladder 1 will be on display for public viewing downtown Friday evening during the First Day of School Education Celebration and everyone is invited to come by and get a closer look.

In May, city aldermen adopted a recommendation by Chief Parker to accept a bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc of Memphis for this Pierce Impel 75 foot aerial ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon per minute pump/500 gallon tank.

The aldermen, at the suggestion of Taft Hendrixson, who was mayor at the time, chose to make the initial $250,000 down payment to EVS-Midsouth for the truck as called for in the bid, and to pay the rest off, $496,305 upon delivery. The total cost of the truck is $746,305

All the money for the purchase of the truck has been appropriated from the city's general fund reserve.

DeKalb County Voters to Elect New Assessor of Property Thursday

August 1, 2012
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell
Mason Carter
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III
Kevin Hale
Diane Black
Lou Ann Zelenik
Wesley Duane Hodges
Sarah Marie Smith
Mark Pody
Terri Lynn Weaver

DeKalb County voters will elect a new Assessor of Property Thursday in the local general election.

The candidates are Democratic nominee Scott Cantrell and Republican nominee Mason Carter. Cantrell unseated sixteen year incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks in the March 6th DeKalb County Democratic Primary. Carter was nominated by the DeKalb County Republican Party Convention during the winter.

The winner will take office on September 1st.


Polls at all sixteen precincts in the county will be open Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The only other contested race in the DeKalb County General Election Thursday is in the fifth district, where Incumbent school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III is being challenged for re-election by Kevin Hale.

Those running unopposed in the local general election Thursday include sixth district school board candidate Doug Stephens and Democratic constable nominees, Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, Carl Lee Webb in the sixth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district.

Dowelltown and Liberty are holding city elections Thursday. A mayor and two aldermen are to be elected in Dowelltown but only two names are on the ballot, Incumbent Mayor Gerald Bailiff running unopposed for re-election and Alderman Joe L. Bogle.

Three Aldermen are to be elected in Liberty and three names will appear on the ballot including Dwight Mathis, Paul M. Neal, and Jason H. Ray, all running unopposed.

The Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries are also being held Thursday. You may vote in one of the primaries but not both. You must declare whether you are voting in the Republican or Democratic State Primary.

Republicans will choose party nominees for U.S. Senator, Congresswoman, and two State Representatives.

The GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate are Fred R. Anderson, Mark Twain Clemens
Incumbent Bob Corker, Brenda S. Lenard, and Zach Poskevich

GOP candidates for the United States House of Representatives 6th Congressional District are Incumbent Diane Black and Lou Ann Zelenik

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the 40th Representative District

State Representative Mark A. Pody is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the 46th Representative District.

In the State Democratic Primary, candidates for the U.S. Senate are Mark E. Clayton, Larry Crim
Gary Gene Davis, Dave Hancock, Park Overall, T.K. Owens, and Benjamin Roberts

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District are Wesley Duane Hodges and Sarah Marie Smith

The ballot also includes two Judicial retention questions

Shall Jeffrey S. Bivins be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)

Shall Roger A. Page be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)




Edgar Evins State Park to Hold Anniversary Event August 9

August 1, 2012
Edgar Evins State Park to Hold Anniversary Event August 9

The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks' 75th Anniversary, and to help commemorate this important milestone, Edgar Evins State Park will hold a special community event on Thursday, August 9, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

"This is a great opportunity to thank the park's many patrons and the entire local community for their support throughout the years and invite community members to see what the park has to offer," said Park Manager Carl Halfacre.

Come out and meet the park staff and learn more about the history of Tennessee State Parks. The day's agenda includes a roster of special guest speakers, special tours of the park's facilities, in addition to re-enactors portraying historical figures from Edgar Evins State Park's unique past – including James Edgar Evins and Adam Dale. Shuttle rides will be offered through the park, along with motor tours for those wishing to drive their own vehicles. Light refreshments will be served, including a commemorative anniversary cake. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about upcoming programs at the park.

Also making an appearance will be Tennessee State Parks' new traveling anniversary exhibit, which recently hit the road to tour state parks and various communities – sharing Tennessee State Parks' rich and storied history. Enclosed in a colorful trailer emblazoned with various images and logos, the exhibit interprets the origins and heritage of Tennessee's state park system.

Others planning to attend are State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, former State Senator Vernon Neal, Commissioner Bob Martineau, Department of Environment and Conservation, Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill, Tennessee State Parks,
Anne Marshall, Senior Adviser for Tennessee State Parks, Interim Director of Parks Mike Robertson, Park Manager Carl Halfacre, Edgar Evins State Park, Ward Weems, Chief Historian for Tennessee State Parks, Fount Bertram, President of the Friends of Edgar Evins,
The Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, and local elected officials and community members.

The Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937, and those laws – with modifications and additions over the years – remain the framework for park operations today. As in most states, Tennessee began in cooperation with federal programs that instigated individual parks. Later, Depression era recovery programs gave a boost to the idea and the possibility of creating parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked on land conservation, but also delved further into the actual planning and construction of what would become the first of 54 Tennessee State Parks.

Today, there is a state park within an hour's drive of just about anywhere in Tennessee. A 2009 University of Tennessee study highlights the positive economic impacts that state parks provide local communities, particularly in rural areas of the state. The study found that for every dollar spent on trips to Tennessee State Parks, an additional $1.11 of economic activity was generated throughout the state. When the direct and indirect expenditures were combined, the impact of Tennessee State Parks to the state's economy was $1.5 billion in total industry output, supporting more than 18,600 jobs.

"Our vision statement highlights the inherent value of our natural environment, along with the value of the many physical reminders of Tennessee's past," added Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. "Tennessee's state parks have played such an important role in our history, and they play a critical role in our health and quality of life, which will benefit Tennesseans well into the future."

Tennessee's state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, preserved ecologies, outdoor recreational opportunities and protected historic scenes and resources – together representing the heritage of Tennessee in the landscape.

Tennessee's 54 state parks and 82 state natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For upcoming events in connection with the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, please visit the state parks website at www.tnstateparks.com.

In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation launched an innovative new microsite at www.tnstateparks75.com. Established in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the microsite displays Tennessee State Parks' rich heritage and showcases the many outdoor adventures awaiting state park visitors through rich media and dynamic content.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the steep, hilly Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000 acre park provides excellent recreational opportunities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and picnicking. Accommodations range from campsites around the slopes of Center Hill Lake, to a lodging complex featuring a series of suites. For more information about Edgar Evins State Park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/EdgarEvins or call (931) 858-2446.


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