Local News Articles

Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-off Results

October 24, 2008
Tecia Puckett-Pryor
DeKalb Board of Education Wins Both Best Chili and Best Decorated Booth Awards at Cook Off
Courthouse Gang Takes Second Place In Best Chili Contest at Cook Off
Bradley Printing Takes Second Place In Best Decorated Booth Contest at Habitat Cook Off

Approximately 300 people enjoyed chili and delicious baked goods Friday at Habitat for Humanity’s Fifth Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, which was held at the First Methodist Church CFC due to the rainy weather. “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education won the “Best Chili” award, and “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Courthouse followed in second place. In the decorating contest, “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education placed first, followed by “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing in second place.

According to Tecia Puckett Pryor, Habitat Chili Cook-off committee member, the event raised approximately $3,200.00, which will be used toward the building of the third Habitat house in DeKalb County. “We were really pleased with the turnout, especially in light of the weather,” said Pryor. “We are grateful to all the chili teams for their hard work and dedication to this event and to all those who made the delicious baked goods. The bake sale alone raised over $1,100.00 and is vital to the success of this event.” Pryor added, “We’re already looking forward to next year.”

Twelve teams participated in the event, including “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing, “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education, “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank, “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Courthouse, “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park, “The Janney Bean Counters” from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates, “Three-Star Chili” from the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, “Freedom Fire Bowls” from the DeKalb County Republican Women’s Club, “Southern Smokehouse Crew” from Rick Lynch, and “Blessed and Highly ‘Flavored’ Chili” from Allen’s Chapel Methodist Church. The Smithville Review had a “Review to the Rescue” table for post-chili relief.

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. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

(Photos provided by Tecia Puckett-Pryor)

Household Hazardous Waste Mobile Collection Service in DeKalb County November 1st

October 24, 2008

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s mobile household hazardous waste collection service will be in DeKalb County on Nov. 1.

“Our household hazardous waste mobile collection service provides the people of Tennessee with a safe, environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted household chemicals and other potentially hazardous wastes at no cost,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke. “This service travels across the state holding collection events in local communities, and we encourage all Tennesseans to take advantage of the opportunity to utilize it.”

On Saturday, Nov. 1, any Tennessee resident may bring his or her household hazardous waste to the following location.

DeKalb County – DeKalb County Farmer’s Co-op in Smithville from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The local contact for this HHW collection event is Gary Carter at (615) 597-5175.

The average home in Tennessee produces 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year. Typical items to dispose of include cleaning fluids, pesticides, mercury thermometers and thermostats, swimming pool chemicals, paint thinner and automotive fluids. Also accepted are fluorescent bulbs and electronics, such as televisions, computer monitors, keyboards, computer mouse devices and computer processing units. Console televisions must be dismantled.

Items no longer accepted are alkaline and rechargeable batteries. Alkaline batteries sold after May 13, 1996, have no mercury added and may be discarded in the regular trash. Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH), lithium ion (Li-Ion) and small sealed lead-acid (Pb) batteries may be recycled through the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. You may find a drop-off location near you by entering your ZIP code at http://www.rbrc.org/call2recycle/dropoff/index.php. Other items not accepted include microwave ovens, ammunition, explosives, medical waste and any items from a school, commercial business or agri-business.

When transporting materials to the site, place containers in sturdy boxes lined with newspaper to prevent spills and cross-contamination in the trunk of a car or back of a truck. Be sure to keep materials away from children and pets. Materials should be kept in the original container whenever possible. If not, place the waste in a plastic jug with a secure lid and label its contents.

In 2007, almost 1.8 million pounds of household hazardous waste, including 377,493 pounds of electronics, were collected from 23,905 households at collection events across the state. Since the program’s inception in 1993, households have properly disposed of more than 16.7 million pounds of material. HHW material is considered flammable, toxic, reactive and/or corrosive and should not be placed in with regular garbage.

For more information on the household hazardous waste mobile collection service, please call
1-800-287-9013 or visit www.tn.gov/environment/swm/hhw.

DeKalb Jobless Rate up to Seven Percent in September

October 23, 2008

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for September was 7%, up from the revised rate for August of 6.6% and significantly higher than the 4.3% rate recorded in September, 2007

DeKalb County's labor force for September was 10,430. A total of 9,700 were employed and 730 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 7.2 percent, 0.6 percentage point higher than the August rate of 6.6 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of September was 6.1 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September show that 84 counties increased. The rate decreased in seven counties and remained the same in four counties.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 5.0 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from the August rate. Perry County had the state's highest at 16.8 percent, up from 16.2 in August, followed by Johnson County at 13.6 percent, up from 8.0 percent in August.
Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 5.3 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from the September rate. Davidson County was 5.9 percent, up from 5.6 the previous month. Hamilton County was at 6.1 percent the same as the August rate, and Shelby County was 7.4 percent, up from the August rate of 7.1.

IRS Seeks to Return $5 Million in Undeliverable Refunds

October 23, 2008

NASHVILLE — The Internal Revenue Service is looking for Tennessee taxpayers who are missing more than 5,800 economic stimulus checks totaling about $3.3 million and nearly 2,000 regular refund checks totaling about $1.7 million that were returned by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.

Nationwide, more than 279,000 economic stimulus checks totaling about $163 million and more than 104,000 regular refund checks totaling about $103 million were returned to the IRS.

“Just a simple address update will allow the IRS to get this money into the hands of its owners,” said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.

All a taxpayer has to do is update his or her address once. The IRS will then send out all checks due.

Stimulus Checks
It is crucial that taxpayers who may be due a stimulus check update their addresses with the IRS by Nov. 28, 2008. By law, economic stimulus checks must be sent out by Dec. 31 of this year. The undeliverable economic stimulus checks average $583.

The “Where’s My Stimulus Payment?" tool on IRS.gov is the quickest and easiest way for a taxpayer to check the status of a stimulus check and receive instructions on how to update his or her address. Taxpayers without internet access should call 1-866-234-2942.

Regular Refunds
The regular refund checks that were returned to the IRS average $884 in Tennessee. These checks are resent as soon as taxpayers update their address.

Taxpayers can update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov. It enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her social security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2007 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.

Taxpayers not sure of which type of check they may be due should check on a potential economic stimulus check first because of the looming deadline. See instructions above.

For Most People
The vast majority of checks mailed out by the IRS reach their rightful owner every year. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.

Through September 2008, the government distributed 116 million economic stimulus payments with only about 279,000 checks being undeliverable. Meanwhile, the IRS has distributed more than 105 million regular refunds this year with only about 104,000 being undeliverable. In both cases, well under one percent of refunds or stimulus checks were undeliverable.

Avoiding Future Problems
The IRS encourages taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their return because it puts an end to lost, stolen or undeliverable checks. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into personal checking or savings accounts. Direct deposit is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.

The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors and speeds up refunds.

State Department of Safety Urges Motorist to Watch Out for Deer

October 22, 2008

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety cautions motorists to watch out for deer, especially during the months of October through December, which is deer mating season. Deer are on the move during this period, meaning an increase in deer-related crashes is more likely.

“Deer pose a danger to drivers throughout the year, but especially in the fall. Recently, a woman was killed in Montgomery County after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed trying to avoid a deer,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “It is important that drivers always pay attention and stay alert.”

In 2007, there were 5,104 deer-related crashes, including 257 that involved injuries and one that was fatal. That was down 13 percent from 5,839 in 2006, but since 2003, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have risen almost 17 percent.

Between 2003 and 2007, only 7.9 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways, so motorists should exercise extra caution when not traveling on a major thoroughfare. November, when deer hunting season starts, is the worst month for deer-related crashes.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has these tips for drivers to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

• Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
• Be attentive, especially at daybreak and dusk, when deer tend to be on the move.
• If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human.
• Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours.

Corps of Engineers waives day use fees at Recreation areas on Veteran's Day

October 22, 2008

NASHVILLE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will waive all day use fees for veterans, active, reserve and guard service members and their families at its recreation areas nationwide on November 11.

"It is our intent to honor and support the men and women who have served our nation in the armed services," said Steve Stockton, director of Civil Works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "We chose this occasion to encourage our veterans, active duty personnel and their families to come enjoy one of the more than 2,400 Corps-operated recreation sites nationwide. Whether you like to walk, jog, bike, hunt, fish, swim, boat, bird watch or study nature, we invite you to visit a Corps lake near you.”

On November 11, day use fees will be waived for veterans, active, reserve and guard service members and their families visiting Corps-managed recreation areas. This waiver includes boat launch ramp and swim beach fees. However, fees for camping and camping related services as well as fees for specialized facilities, such as picnic shelters, will not be waived.

The Corps is the largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation in the nation. The Corps hosts about 372 million visits each year at its lakes, beaches and other areas, and estimates that 70 percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a Corps lake.

Local Farm Recognized by Governor as One of State’s Oldest

October 21, 2008
Terry Oliver, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, John W. Rose, Cindy Rose Dowell, Steve Dowell and Governor Phil Bredesen.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Governor Phil Bredesen has recognized John Williams Rose of the Temperance Hall community as the owner of one of Tennessee’s oldest farms. Lancaster Farm, located in the Lancaster community near the Dekalb County line was established by Rose’s ancestors in 1790. The farm is one of only 41 farms in Tennessee currently recognized as predating the formation of the state of Tennessee. Bredesen recently recognized Rose, along with his sister and brother in law, Cindy and Steve Dowell of Smith County, who help operate the farm.

Governor Phil Bredesen, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation honored Tennessee's oldest farms at a luncheon during the Tennessee Farmland Legacy Conference. Pioneer farms are farms founded in or before 1796 that have remained in the same family and in continuous agricultural production.

"These farms are among Tennessee's most significant rural landscapes and each generation, in its own way and time, has contributed to our prosperity and quality of life," said Governor Bredesen. "The state is proud of its agricultural heritage, and these Century Farms give us an enduring link to the past and a rich legacy for our children and grandchildren to enjoy."

Pioneer farms are part of the Tennessee Century Farms Program administered by the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and supported by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. CHP was started in 1975 by the department in honor of the nation's bicentennial celebration. The program identifies, documents and recognizes farms owned by the same family for at least 100 years. To date, there are more than 1200 certified Century Farms in Tennessee.

“It's appropriate that we take time to honor our state's oldest farms and recognize their contributions to the economy, environment and quality of life we enjoy in Tennessee,” said Ken Givens, Commissioner of Agriculture. “Not only are we preserving the past, but we're helping to ensure the future of these farms by keeping them profitable and giving farm owner’s options for keeping their farms.”

The Lancaster Farm is located on Hwy 141 in the community of Lancaster on the east bank of the Smith Fork Creek just south of the Caney Fork River. Sometime before 1790 John Lancaster and his family moved across the mountains to a parcel of land that was originally part of a Revolutionary War land grant of 2,560 acres. The family engaged in farming, owned and operated a mill on the Smith Fork and founded the nearby town of Lancaster.

In 1800, a son, Richard Lancaster, acquired the farm. In 1799, Richard survived an Indian attack and scalping. Family history records that he hunted Indians from that time until 1826, when he was captured and “shot full of arrows and hung from a bluff along the banks of the river.” Richard is buried in the family cemetery, called Prichard Cemetery, which is on the farm.

The third owner of the land was John Lancaster’s nephew, Thomas A. Lancaster, a veteran of the War of 1812. He and his wife Frances Lancaster had six children. Thomas opened a general merchandise store in Lancaster. William, son of Thomas and Frances, and his wife Elizabeth were the next to own the land. Melissa Lancaster, daughter of William and Elizabeth, and her husband, James C. Prichard, were the next owners of the property.

The farm passed through several more family owners and today is owned by John Williams Rose, who served as Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Tennessee in 2002-2003. His father, the late Jerry Lancaster Rose helped established the current farm operation. Rose is the eighth owner and the seventh generation in the Lancaster family line to own and operate the farm.

The first annual Tennessee Farmland Legacy Conference brought together a diverse group of stakeholders for presentations on farm estate planning, property taxes and conservation easements for landowners and planning techniques that protect farmland while not hindering economic growth for community leaders. Presenters explained how communities and farmers can both benefit from working together. The conference was hosted by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Tourism, The Lyndhurst Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Land Trust for Tennessee, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, USDA Rural Development, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

Tennessee Sex Offenders Prohibited from Taking Part in Halloween Activities

October 20, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Board of Probation & Parole has issued restrictions prohibiting the sex offenders it supervises from taking part in Halloween activities. Every state-supervised sex offender in Tennessee has received a letter detailing the restrictions, which apply to any Halloween celebration, festival or other fall/harvest activity.

Executive Director Bo Irvin said, “Halloween is different from other holidays because children and adults may wear costumes, and because candy is given as a treat. By issuing restrictions to state-supervised sex offenders, we make clear what they must do to comply with the law at this time. Our goal is to protect the safety of the public, especially children, throughout the Halloween season.”

The letters advise sex offenders that:

• Neither they, nor anyone in their home, can answer the door to trick or treaters on Halloween;
• They cannot pass out candy;
• Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside;
• They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes;
• They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity;
• They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences;
• They cannot give any Halloween treats to children;
• They cannot wear costumes and
• They cannot take any child trick or treating.

Probation/Parole Officers have discussed the restrictions with sex offenders under their supervision, and had the offenders sign to acknowledge they understand the conditions. Between now and Halloween, officers will make visits, both announced and unannounced, to verify that offenders are complying with their curfews and the directives.

The Board of Probation and Parole ( www.tn.gov/bopp/ ) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on probation by criminal courts.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Burglary Investigation

October 18, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made an arrest Thursday in a recent burglary investigation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested 33 year old Robert Howard Mattox of Keltonburg Road Smithville for aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. According to Sheriff Ray, Mattox entered a home on Green Hill Road in DeKalb County and took several guns, knives, and ammunition valued at over $3,707. Detectives were able to recover all of the stolen property. Due to Mattox's lengthy criminal history for property crimes, his bond was set at $125,000 and he will appear in court on October 23rd. Mattox is on parole out of Meigs County.

Meanwhile, 46 year old Tina Keith Stephens of Allen Street, Smithville was arrested Saturday by the Smithville Police Department and was being booked into the DeKalb County Jail when correctional officers found a white pill believed to be a soma. Stephens was charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution and her bond was set at $5,000. She will appear in court on November 20th.

Last Wednesday, deputies spotted 35 year old Kathyerine Michelle Carr of Kings Court Trailer Park driving an automobile on Adcock Cemetery Road. Officers had prior knowledge of Carr having a suspended license. She was stopped and arrested for driving on a suspended license. Carr's license was revoked after she failed to satisfy a citation on July 7th in Smith County. Carr was also arrested for the same offense earlier by the Smithville Police Department. Carr's bond was set at $1,500 and her court date is October 30th.

County Firefighters Pay Tribute to State Senator Mae Beavers

October 18, 2008
Dwayne Page
County Fire Chief Donny Green and State Senator Mae Beavers
County Fire Department Headquarters and Training Center
Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World presents flag to County Fire Department-

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the grand opening and dedication of the newly renovated headquarters and training center on King Ridge Road with an open house on Saturday.

State Senator Mae Beavers, instrumental in helping the department acquire the former TDOT building, was recognized with a special tribute. A framed picture of Senator Beavers and a copy of the tribute are on display inside the building.

Also during the program, Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World, presented an American flag to the department.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Saturday was a special day for the department. "This is a big deal for our county wide fire department. It benefits, not only our eleven stations and 80 volunteer fire fighters, but it benefits our community. This building and training center is available to our other emergency agencies and community groups for meetings. We'll share it with any of those who would be interested in using it. The sheriff's department uses it and our medical first responders have used the training facility. We have two nice training rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs, so we can have two separate meetings going on at the same time. That all results in better training for our department and other emergency agencies and better service to the people out in the communities of DeKalb County. It means so much for our training program in DeKalb County.

Chief Green says members of the department volunteered their time and talents to help renovate the facility. "This renovation has been about an eight month effort, beginning in early January and we've been putting some of the finishing touches on it this week in preparation for the open house. All the labor has been done by our volunteers. We've had a few things like the central heat and air and electrical services that was contracted but all the building and interior frame work was built by our volunteer fire fighters. We've got a lot of skilled people on our department that have some good construction skills. We've been able to save the county a lot of money by doing this work by ourselves instead of having to hire it done. We appreciate County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission for helping and supporting us in this renovation project. We also want to recognize State Senator Mae Beavers for her contribution in helping us acquire this piece of property that used to be the State Highway Department, the TDOT building. We actually got a deed to the property a little over a year ago. After that, we started planning this renovation project."

During Saturday's ceremony, Chief Green read from a special tribute to Senator Beavers. "Each person who walks through this remarkable facility should always remember Senator Mae Beavers as a very special person who has committed her service in Tennessee's 17th Senatorial District by keeping her constituents' safety and well-being her top priority."

"In 2002, Senator Beavers received DeKalb County Fire Department's highest honor by being selected as an Honorary Lifetime Member. Her leadership in state government and in our communities has been an inspiration to all, and an example for others to lead by."

"Today, DeKalb County Fire Department is celebrating the completion of this building project that is a culmination of many years of hard work. It all began in 2002 when Senator Beavers negotiated a $1 per year lease for this property between the Tennessee Department of Transportation and DeKalb County Government. On August 14, 2007, Senator Beavers acquired a permanent property transfer deed to the DeKalb County Fire Department from the State of Tennessee. Since that time, Senator Beavers, DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Commission provided funding and grant sources that made it possible to renovate and complete a large addition to the existing building."

"Without our leader's extraordinary generosity and vision, this facility would not have come to fruition. However, we owe our gratitude to the many people who have been instrumental in making this day possible. To the men and women of the DeKalb County Fire Department who volunteered countless hours of personal labor and sacrifice in the building of this facility, Walter and Linda Siggleko, and Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District's Project Hometown Help for generous financial contributions."

"This facility's central location in DeKalb County is symbolic of the central role it will play in benefitting our communities. This is why, today, we are here dedicating this facility to Senator Mae Beavers, as she is the true representation of community spirit, leadership, pride, and cooperation. Our security and prosperity depend upon our willingness to be involved in our world. Senator Beavers' involvement in making DeKalb County Fire Department better prepared to serve our communities is a testimony to her legacy."

"This is a great day for DeKalb County Fire Department. This is a day of honoring the legacy of Senator Beavers and an opportunity to rededicate our commitment to serve our fellow man. It is well known and widely accepted that investments in preparedness and training yield enormous benefits to our citizens through improved safety, better health, and community vitality."

"Senator Beavers and our county's leaders, through their vision, have duly recognized the importance of public safety in supporting our current and future firefighters. Sacrifices we make today builds our progress of tomorrow. The benefits of this facility can be hard to predict, but based upon the past, the future will be more spectacular than we can ever imagine."

Senator Beavers, saying she was undeserving of the honor, gave the credit to Chief Green and the department. "Thank you for what you do for this community. You have no idea probably of what we pay on a fire rate just in Wilson county to have the service and you are giving all of this to DeKalb County. It's a tremendous help to the county and I appreciate your dedication to your community and just the fact that you're out there everyday putting your lives on the line. It means so much to me. It was an honor for me to help get this building and it's just tremendous to see what you have done with it. I'm going to get some pictures to take to the commissioner to show him what this means and what TDOT has done for this community. It's an honor to serve you. This is a great county."


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