Local News Articles

Boating Officer Tommy Alexander Retires from TWRA

December 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
TWRA Officer Tony Cross (left) and Tommy Alexander (right)

After twenty three years with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tommy Alexander has retired.

The former school teacher turned TWRA boating officer appeared on WJLE with his fellow TWRA officer Tony Cross Monday morning to talk about his years with the agency, why he is retiring, and what lies ahead for him. "When you reach a certain age the (TWRA) officers can't work out in the field anymore," said Alexander. " I've reached that age so they said it was time for me to go. They didn't have to push me out the door. I was heading that way already. Its been a pretty good ride. Its been interesting. Its been fun. There's been some heartache but overall its been a good experience," he said.

Asked how he got involved with the TWRA, Alexander said "I kind of fell into it really. I was teaching school next to (former school teacher)Linda Franklin (wife of former TWRA officer Ben Franklin). They were going to hire a boating officer and they were really looking for someone who wasn't going to be moving on to somewhere else after being trained. School teachers are kind of that way. They don't tend to move around a whole lot so I guess I was kind of what they were looking for. So I was hired as a boating officer," he said.

Alexander said the job has been rewarding and interesting. "I've met a lot of people and run into a lot of characters. Our county has some very colorful people. I've worked things like security for a Sylvester Stallone movie. I wasn't in the film and my name didn't scroll across the screen in the credits but we had to do a little security work for that." he said

"On the average during the twenty three years, Its been a very safe lake and a good place to work. There's not been a whole lot of problems but this past year has been unbelievable with the problems we've had (drownings and accidents). Its so sad with so many lives lost. This is not what I was looking for on my way out," said Alexander.

Alexander said he plans to remain active in his retirement. "I'm going to play a little golf and pittle around. I've got plenty to do. I ‘ve got a lot of family that can fix my schedule up for me. My wife is pretty good about this stuff," he said

TWRA officer Cross praised Alexander for his service to the agency and this community. "Tommy has been great to work with over all these years. He actually started the same summer that I started. I started part time in 1988 and have worked with Tommy for a lot of years here on Center Hill Lake. Any time you ever called him, day or night, if you needed anything he would come to help. We're going to miss him. He was a great officer and as dependable as anybody could ever be. But if I want to find him, I know where to go. The golf course is not far away," said Cross.

Saint Thomas to Partner with DeKalb Community Hospital

December 8, 2011
DeKalb Community Hospital

Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to form a partnership that will result in the joint ownership of Capella's four Middle Tennessee Hospitals including DeKalb Community Hospital.

According to a Monday, December 5th Capella Healthcare news release, this partnership will create an innovative venture that will improve healthcare throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Based in Nashville, Saint Thomas Health includes five hospitals affiliated with Ascension Health Ministry, the largest Catholic system and the largest non-profit in the United States. Capella Healthcare, based in Franklin, operates 15 hospitals in seven states, including five in Tennessee.

The pending partnership will result in the joint ownership and operation of Capella’s four Middle Tennessee hospitals and potentially additional healthcare facilities in a 60-county area of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Capella hospitals included in the joint venture are River Park Hospital in McMinnville, White County Community Hospital in Sparta, DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, all in Tennessee. These hospitals will operate as part of the Saint Thomas Health Network, which will hold an equity interest. In addition, Saint Thomas Health will become the tertiary care partner for the hospitals within the new venture.

“This is a landmark partnership for us and the communities we serve,” said Mike Schatzlein, M.D. Saint Thomas Health president and chief executive officer. “We are partnering with Capella Healthcare and the outstanding physicians in the communities of their Middle Tennessee hospitals to expand and enhance services in the communities they serve. We look forward to providing support for the expansion of cardiac, neurosciences and other specialty services, as well as collaborate on strategies for the use of innovative technology and clinical integration.”

Capella will be the managing member and the majority partner in the new venture, and under the agreement, Capella will be the exclusive development partner for Saint Thomas Health across Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.

Capella Healthcare CEO Dan Slipkovich stated, “Partnering with Saint Thomas Health, which is nationally recognized for its quality of care and innovative strategy, positions our Middle Tennessee hospitals for greater success as we seek to further expand services. This venture also provides a significant opportunity for Capella and Saint Thomas Health to jointly partner with additional hospitals that recognize the value of these kinds of partnerships, especially as accountable care and health reform continue to evolve. Our two organizations share a commitment to providing the highest quality of care for the individuals and communities we serve, and look forward to leveraging our strengths to expand our services.”

The LOI was formally signed today by Dr. Schatzlein and Slipkovich at the Saint Thomas Health Network Service Center. Officials expect the new partnership to begin operations on or before March 1, 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including due diligence, further negotiations and execution of definitive agreements.

About DeKalb Community Hospital
DeKalb General Hospital was built in 1969 by Hospital Corporation of America, and saw its first patient August 6 of that year. In 1987 the Hospital was part of the HCA spinoff to HealthTrust.

In August, 1992, the hospital was purchased locally and remained under local ownership for three years. In July of 1995, it was purchased by Baptist Hospital in Nashville, and became Baptist DeKalb Hospital. Then in January of 2002, it was purchased by Ascension in St. Louis.

Finally, in July of 2006 the hospital was purchased by Cannon County LLC, a group comprised mainly of local physicians. The name was changed to and remains DeKalb Community Hospital. The hospital has enjoyed a long history of medical excellence being named one of the Top 100 Hospitals in America by Solucient for five years.

DeKalb Community Hospital, now an affiliate of Capella Healthcare, is still partly owned by some of the physicians who serve their patients

About Capella Healthcare
Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Capella owns and/or operates 15 general acute-care hospitals in seven states. With the philosophy that all healthcare is local, Capella collaborates with each hospital’s medical staff, board and community leadership to take care to the next level. The company has access to significant leadership and financial resources, reinvesting in its family of hospitals to strengthen and expand services and facilities. For more information, visit www.CapellaHealthcare.com

About Saint Thomas Health
Saint Thomas Health is the market share leader in Middle Tennessee with 6,500 associates serving the region. Saint Thomas Health’s regional health system consists of five hospitals – Baptist and Saint Thomas Hospitals and The Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro and Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinic and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.sths.com

Fire Destroys Home

December 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Home

A fire Wednesday evening destroyed a summer home belonging to Lee Neal at 344 Cooper Lane off Holmes Creek Road.

County Fire Chief Donnie Green said that a neighbor spotted the fire and reported it. The structure was fully involved in flames by the time it was discovered and could not be saved. The home and all contents were destroyed.

Firefighters contained the blaze to keep it from spreading to another home some fifty feet away.

Members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Tanker truck responded along with the Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS. No one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured. The cause is undetermined.

Banks Faces Two Challengers in Re-Election Bid for Assessor of Property

December 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks
Scott Cantrell
Jonathan Bryan Keith

Three candidates will be in the race for Assessor of Property in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary on March 6.

Incumbent Assessor Timothy (Fud) Banks, Scott Cantrell, and Jonathan Bryan Keith have qualified for the race with the DeKalb County Election Commission. Noon today (December 8th) was the qualifying deadline

The only contested constable race in the March primary is in the sixth district between Richard Bullard and Carl Lee Webb. Incumbent constables Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district will be running unopposed. There will be no candidates for constable in the first or second districts

Republicans have already nominated Mason Carter to be the GOP candidate for Assessor of Property next August. There are no republican candidates for constable

Republican and Democratic nominees for Assessor of Property will face off in the August 2012 DeKalb County General Election. Constables nominated in March will be unopposed in August.

Alexandria Man Gets 10 Year Sentence for Aggravated Kidnapping and Domestic Assault

December 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Brian Gadbois

A 30 year old Alexandria man, charged with kidnapping and assaulting his ex-girl friend in March got a ten year sentence in DeKalb County Criminal Court last Wednesday.

Judge David Patterson sentenced Brian Gadbois after he entered a guilty plea to charges of aggravated kidnapping and domestic assault. Gadbois is to serve at least 85% of his ten year sentence before his release eligibility date on the kidnapping charge. He also received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve in the domestic assault case. Both sentences are to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with a Rutherford County sentence against him. He was given jail credit from April 4, 2010 to November 28, 2011

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that Gadbois lived with his ex-girlfriend, who was six months pregnant at the time, and their four children, ages nine months, nineteen months, three years, and twelve years, at a residence at 143 Measles Lane.

Described as a very jealous and abusive man, Chief Collins said that on the night of March 17, Gadbois allegedly became upset when the woman arrived home from work a few minutes late. He tied her to the footboard of a bed in the home and assaulted her repeatedly throughout the night. She was kicked, punched, and slapped. The woman was made to sit on the floor at the foot of the bed, partially clothed, with her hands tied to the footboard. The couple's four children were in the home at the time.

The next morning Gadbois gathered up all the children and left to take one of the kids to meet a school bus at an area bus stop. While he was gone the woman untied herself and escaped from the home, hiding in the woods. She later made her way to city hall and reported the incident to authorities.

When Gadbois returned home and found the woman had left, he took the children to their grandparent's home and he fled. He was arrested a few days later in Rutherford County.

Chief Collins said his department charged Gadbois in the case. At the time, Gadbois was already facing similar offenses in Rutherford County.

The woman and her children have now moved to another county.

Aldermen Reluctantly Vote to Make Final Payment to Pool Company

December 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Tony Poss, Taylor Dobbs of Langley and Taylor, and Steve White at pool in April

The Smithville aldermen Monday night reluctantly voted to pay the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville the remaining $13,649 the city owes for repairs made to the city swimming pool over the summer.

City officials have been withholding final payment claiming Langley and Taylor has failed to respond to city demands to fix problems with the pool regarding drains and lights since they finished their work replacing the fiberglass coating of the pool with ceramic tile. Last February, the aldermen awarded a bid to Langley and Taylor in the amount of $83,649 to do the job.

During Monday night's city council meeting, city attorney Vester Parsley said the city should make that final payment to Langley and Taylor or risk a lawsuit in which the city might be forced to pay for the work anyway, plus the company's attorneys fees.

Parsley said he believes the company has met it's obligations under the contract and can't be held accountable to fix problems with the pool that may have been pre-existing. However, he pointed out that there is a three year warranty and the company could be held responsible for work called for under the contract which was warrantied but not done properly. "On September 6th I received a correspondence from their attorney asking about why we hadn't paid. I wrote a letter about the things that needed repair and explained to him that we wouldn't be paying anything until those repairs were done. I got an email last Thursday from the attorney for Langley and Taylor asking what the city intended to do. He wrote that the company had someone come up and do those repairs. I called Hunter (Hendrixson) and he said that he (Hunter) and Kevin (Robinson) had been over there (pool) and everything looked okay. There were cracks in some tile. We do have a three year warranty that says they will warranty their work for that period of time. Based upon what Hunter said and the communication I had with the attorney for Langley and Taylor, I would recommend that the board go ahead and pay that balance. I think they are in compliance with their contract. There might have been some things that slipped by us but if they're not in the contract then we can't hold them to it. My recommendation would be to go ahead and pay them. They do have a provision in there (contract) that if they have to seek collection they could collect their attorneys fees," said Parsley.

Alderman Steve White said he is not pleased with this company and their apparent unwillingness to fix problems that persist with the pool which they may have caused while doing other repairs. The pool apparently has been continually overflowing the gutters on the deep end since the new tile has been put down and the lights in the pool have not worked properly since they were removed during the renovation and later re-installed after completion of the project. "I was actually over there when they were shooting the grade on the drain. I asked him how it was. He told me that it was an eighth of an inch off which is about as perfect as you can get for an area that big. But after we filled the pool back up, its off by like an inch and a half on that one corner which would consist of pulling the tile back off and taking a layer of mud concrete and building up that one corner and then laying the tile back down. They took out what was there and now what they put back isn't working properly. This has never been an issue before. With the actual drain covers, they pulled them off and when they put them back they didn't put all the screws in them or in some cases they put screws in them and broke the screws off and left the broken off screws," said White.

Tony Poss, golf course tenant and pool operator, said the pool lights have not been working properly since Langley and Taylor finished their work. "All the electrical lights that go in the sides of the pool have all quit working. The pool company did pull the lights out and installed them back. I've been told they're supposed to have a sealed beam in there to keep the lights on so they will work. They're shorting out a GFI box and that's kicking them breakers off. I just want them or whoever to fix it," said Poss.

Acting on the advice of the city attorney, Alderman Danny Washer made a motion to make that final payment to Langley and Taylor to avoid a possible lawsuit. Aldermen White and Shawn Jacobs also voted to pay for the same reason but said they felt the company had not fulfilled its obligations to the city. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix and Cecil Burger were absent Monday night.

Meanwhile, Alderman White asked that cost estimates be obtained for making the pool handicapped accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city must comply with ADA requirements at the pool by next spring. The options are to purchase portable chairlifts or going to the zero entry concept, which would require removing the kiddie pool and constructing a zero grade ramp which gradually slopes into the pool.

Alderman White also asked for cost estimates to install more restroom facilities at the swimming pool to accommodate the larger crowds that are now coming to the pool during the summer.

Alderman White further made a motion, which was approved, to keep the pool filled and circulating year round to possibly keep algae from forming and leaves from gathering and staining the sides of the pool. Mayor Taft Hendrixson favors keeping the pool filled but questions the need for continual circulation and the higher electric costs which the city will have to bear.

In other business, the aldermen approved on second and final reading an ordinance amendment to the city code to give full time employees three new paid holidays including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and the Friday of the Fiddlers Jamboree. The action followed a public hearing. There was no opposition.

Kevin Robinson, public works director, in his monthly update to the board reported that "we went over to the golf course on Friday and worked on the irrigation and got it winterized. We also got our sixteen inch water main fixed. Its back in service. We found a mini track hoe over in Cookeville. The guy there let us use it for a day. He was wanting $15,500 for it and I talked him down to $14,500. It's a good machine, I haven't seen one like it. It's a Kubota. I just wonder what you want to do about purchasing it. Its got 1950 hours on it," said Robinson.

The city has budgeted funds to make the purchase

Todd Bowman, water plant operator, gave a report on water loss for the month. "We had 49.7 million gallons of water that left the plant in October. We used 396,000 for backwash and 300,000 for re-wash. We metered 380,000 at the plant. The DeKalb Fire Department used 500 gallons which left the total amount of finished water leaving the plant at 49.2 million gallons. We sold 37.5 million gallons which left a total unaccounted for at 10.6 million which comes up to a 22% loss which is still a rather good loss. The floor people are supposed to be at (the water plant) December 19. W&O or whoever has hired some different people to come in to re-do the floor. These people have said they can get the floor right and make it look like we want it to look," he said.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger reported that "we had a real good result with our grand jury sealed indictments. I want to give credit to these officers. They've been out working and I appreciate their efforts and ask them to continue doing what they're doing. They seem to be motivated to do it. We had a prisoner who recently got out of her handcuffs and got away. We picked her up within just a few minutes. So we do now have a new holding cell for anyone (prisoner) who comes in. Its been approved and you're welcome to come and look at it," said Chief Caplinger.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker reported that "we had a total of six fire calls for November, two motor vehicle accidents, and three alarm calls. We had both engines pump tested last week so both of them did pass the annual pump test. We've got a little work to do with them catching things back up but they did at least pass the tests. Our old air compressor that we use for filling out SCBA breathing air packs. Since we got a new one this year, we pulled our old one out of service. I've had another fire department contact me about trying to purchase that. Its not a lot of money, probably somewhere around one thousand dollars for that. I'd talked to Hunter (Hendrixson) about getting some independent group to give us some kind of appraisal on what they thought it would be worth to see if we could sell it to this other department so they could get a little bit of use out of it," said Chief Parker.

Airport manager Wesley Nokes reported that "we recently talked about our upcoming runway overlay project. That's going to be approximately a two million dollar project. We put in a grant for it. I went to TDOT the other day to present the grant application but TDOT has capped funding right now for everybody. Nobody got awarded their full amount. TDOT made a recommendation that we just do the engineering aspect of this project first. The asphalt has to be engineered for weight tolerances. We have one spot that's never had any asphalt on it whatsoever. It'll take more engineering work as far as that goes. The grant is going to be $150,000. We were awarded that the other day. It's a 90/10% matching grant. This grant just pays the engineers and consultants. They have to survey and do all that stuff. (The city's matching grant portion is $15,000).

Two Cited for Shoplifting

December 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Bridget Nicole Vientos
Daniel R. Wilson

Smithville Police issued citations for shoplifting against two people last week.

34 year old Bridget Nicole Vientos is cited for shoplifting and public intoxication.

Chief Randy Caplinger said an officer was called to Rite Aid Pharmacy on Friday afternoon, December 2. Vientos was observed by an employee leaving the store with items she had not purchased.. When confronted, Vientos allegedly claimed she had simply forgot to pay for them. She was cited for shoplifting, Several hours later on the same day Vientos got into more trouble as she was cited for public intoxication. An officer was called to check out a public disturbance on Meadowbrook Drive. Vientos and her boyfriend were together in their automobile. She got out of the car on Meadowbrook Drive, climbed onto the hood, and began screaming. Police were notified. Upon arrival, The officer found Vientos agitated, belligerent, and unsteady on her feet. She was cited for public intoxication. Vientos will be in court on December 22.

Meanwhile 27 year old Daniel R. Wilson is cited for shoplifting and charged with resisting arrest. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 15

Chief Caplinger reports that an off duty Smithville Police Officer saw Wilson in Walmart on Sunday, December 4 and noticed that he was acting suspiciously. Wilson was seen leaving the store with a camouflaged jacket he had not purchased. An on duty officer was notified and saw Wilson running from the store upon his arrival. Wilson was chased down in the parking lot. Again, he was cited for shoplifting and charged with resisting arrest.

Cantrell Charged in Meth Case

December 5, 2011
Dwayne Page
Justin Andrew Cantrell

A 24 year old man is in trouble with the law after being caught with meth lab components at City Walk Apartments near Smithville Elementary School.

Justin Andrew Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road was arrested on November 30 and charged with violation of the drug free zone and initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that detectives and deputies of the sheriff's department saw Cantrell in the parking lot of City Walk Apartments holding a bag. When Cantrell saw the officers he began to walk away from them. When the officers asked to speak to him, Cantrell put the bag down beside of some parked vehicles. One of the detectives went over and looked in the bag, which was partially open. He saw tubing and a plastic bottle containing a clear liquid and noticed it to be the one pot method of manufacturing methamphetamine. The officers also found in the bag a gallon of Coleman fuel, coffee filters, a plastic bottle containing acid, two plastic baggies (cold packs)containing ammonium nitrate, and an ice pack which had been cut open. In his pocket, Cantrell had a coffee filter and a hypodermic needle. Cantrell was taken into custody and charged in the case.

Meanwhile, 26 year old Joshua Lynn McCowan of East Bryant Street is cited for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He will appear in court on December 15.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, December 2 a deputy served a warrant on McCowan for violation of probation. During a search of McCowan, the officer found a blue oval pill in his front left pocket which was later determined to be a schedule II controlled substance (Loratab)

Liberty and Alexandria Spread Christmas Cheer

December 5, 2011
Dwayne Page

The annual Christmas Parades in Liberty and Alexandria were held Sunday afternoon and many turned out to share in the fun and excitement and for the chance to win prizes.

Lelan Statom, meteorologist at NewsChannel5 and his family served as Grand Marshal of the Liberty Parade. Both parades of course featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, and Santa Claus among many other attractions.

In Liberty, the Dowelltown United Methodist Church won the float competition.

Eric Peterson of Smithville received first place for his 1957 Chevy truck in the category for vintage automobiles

Eli Johnson and Layne Hale of Liberty won first place in the miscellaneous category for their entry with the theme "Fired up for Christmas"

In Alexandria, DeKalb Community Bank won first place with their float. Zack and Ethan Martin took second place and the Malone's Chapel Baptist Church received third place.

For vintage cars, Doyle Slager won first place for his 1960 Chevy Impala. Charles Barry received second place for his 1982 Corvette, and Joseph Overstreet won third place for his entry.

Charles Caplinger won first place for vintage trucks with his 1957 Chevy Cameo. John Johnson took second place for his 1965 Ford F-100 and Kevin Bandy received third place for his 1925 Model-T.

For tractors, Dustin Dillehay took home first place for his 1953 John Deere 60, Steven Cook received second place for his 1944 Farmall H, and Ayden Wood won third place for his 1942 Farmall B.


Smithville Christmas Parade Helps Kick Off Holiday Season

December 4, 2011
Dwayne Page
Calvary Baptist Church Wins Float Competition and Spirit Award
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Wins Second Place
DeKalb Community Bank Wins Third Place
Grand Marshals Mr. and Mrs. DeKalb County

The Smithville Christmas Parade helped put folks in a festive mood Saturday.

Hundreds gathered along the parade route, which extended from Smithville Elementary School, down South Congress Boulevard, and around the public square. The weather was sunny and pleasant.

The annual parade, sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, featured decorative floats, vintage automobiles, local kings and queens, boy and girl scouts, veterans, horseback riders, horsedrawn wagons, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, local law enforcement , firefighters, DeKalb EMS, Rescue Squad, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route. Jerry Tramel and Kay Quintero, named Mr. and Mrs. DeKalb County served as the Grand Marshals.

The Calvary Baptist Church, complete with a real live camel, won first place in the float competition and also took home the "Spirit Award", sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

The Whorton Springs Baptist Church received second place.

Third Place went to DeKalb Community Bank


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