Local News Articles

City and County Firefighters Respond to Tuesday Night Structure Fires

October 1, 2008
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters at home of Larry Green

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to the home of Larry "Rat" Green at 1226 College Street Tuesday night.

Central Dispatch received the call at 6:41 p.m.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says it appears the fire started from the stove. The blaze caused extensive damage to the kitchen. Smoke spread throughout the rest of the house.

City firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and helped clear the house of smoke.

Green was not at home when the fire started but his dogs were there. They were safely removed from the house.

Meanwhile, county firefighters were called to the home of Ray Adcock at 1501 Obie Adcock Road at 11:57 p.m. Tuesday night.

A neighbor reportedly spotted the fire and called 911. Firefighters found the home engulfed in flames upon their arrival and could not save it. No one was home at the time of the fire.

Members of the Blue Springs, Keltonburg, and Belk stations responded along with a tanker truck, equipment truck, the Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

No one was injured.

Stimulus Payment Filing Help to be Offered Oct. 10 in Smithville

September 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Senior Citizen’s Center is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that local retirees, disabled veterans and low-income workers get help filing for an economic stimulus payment.

Time is running out for nearly 92,000 Social Security and VA benefits recipients in Tennessee, including 333 in DeKalb Co., who appear to be eligible for a stimulus payment but have not yet filed a 2007 federal income tax return to claim their payment. They must file by Oct. 15 to get a payment this year.

The free return preparation will be offered for those who normally are not required to file but are filing this year only to claim a stimulus payment. The free help will be available Friday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the City Hall 2nd Floor, 104 East Main St., in Smithville.

Filers should bring: (1) Picture ID or other identity document, (2) verification of Social Security Number for all persons to be listed on the return, (3) Form 1099 or a benefits statement showing Social Security or VA benefits received in 2007 (or simply the amount received if no statement is available), (4) proof of any other income – taxable or nontaxable.

To qualify for a stimulus payment, filers must have at least $3,000 in wages, tips or salary or other qualifying income, which can include Social Security benefits, VA benefits, Railroad Retirement or nontaxable combat pay. SSI does not qualify.

People who normally do not have file a tax return may be eligible for the minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus an additional $300 per eligible child under age 17.

Dependents and those who do not have a valid Social Security Number generally do not qualify for a stimulus payment.
The IRS reminds the public to watch out for stimulus payment scams. People who have already filed a 2007 federal return with the IRS do not need to file again. No one needs to complete or file any forms other than a 2007 federal income tax return to get a stimulus payment. Any e-mails, phone calls or letters that state otherwise are likely to be scams.

DeKalb County Earns Three-Star Certification

September 30, 2008
Dwayne Page
Governor Presents Three Star Award

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber announced that DeKalb County has achieved certification under the state’s Three-Star program.

“This designation is a sign of DeKalb County’s tremendous hard work, and I am proud to offer my congratulations,” Kisber said. “Strong community development is the basis for sustainable economic growth, and DeKalb County has demonstrated their commitment to improvement by accepting and meeting Three-Star’s challenging requirements. This dedication has yielded progress, and DeKalb County is more prepared than ever for long term success in the economic, and every other, arena.”

DeKalb and the cities of Smithville, Dowelltown, Liberty and Alexandria are now eligible to receive additional incentives under the guidelines of the Tennessee Three-Star program.

The Three-Star program has set high standards and incentives like no other state-run program in the nation. Governor Phil Bredesen’s five-year asset-based economic development strategic plan is the cornerstone of the program. In 2005, the Southern Growth Policies Board, a bipartisan public policy think tank devoted to strengthening the South's economy, recognized the Three-Star program as a best practices program and a Southern leader in community certification programs.

Tennessee’s Three-Star program helps urban and rural communities develop strategic economic and community development plans that meet the needs and challenges of an ever-changing economic environment. It helps communities preserve existing employment, create new employment opportunities, improve family income and develop a strong leadership base for economic development.

The Tennessee Three-Star Program, which is currently active in 89 counties and one city, represents more than 348 Tennessee cities, making this year’s participation the largest ever.

“It’s an honor for me to celebrate with DeKalb County in their achievement of Three-Star certification,” said ECD Assistant Commissioner of Community Development Rick Meredith. “DeKalb County is truly taking a strategic approach to economic development in their community, and its success in the Three-Star program is evidence that it is poised for marked growth. ECD is proud to provide support to this forward-thinking community.”

In order to receive the certification, communities are required to meet criteria in organizational, community, business, education and work force development categories. Incentives for receiving the certification include identification on all FastTrack infrastructure and job training applications; eligibility for matching grants, if criteria set by ECD are met; and the advantage of earning points in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Arrests Made in Burglary and Drug Investigations

September 30, 2008
Dwayne Page
Michael Chad Owens
Kenneth Travis Bond

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has picked up another man on a sealed indictment returned by a special session of the Grand Jury last week in a burglary investigation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 27 year old Michael Chad Owens of Shady Drive Smithville was arrested for one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $500. In June of this year, Owens forcibly entered a residence on Four Star Loop through a window and stole a Marlin 30-30 rifle and case along with various swords, daggers, and knives. The rifle has since been recovered. Owens bond was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

Meanwhile, 36 year old Kenneth Travis Bond of Womack Road, McMinnville was arrested Friday for promotion of methamphetamine, possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine), and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says on September 9th, Detectives were contacted by a local pharmacy that a man by the name of Kenneth Travis Bond was there to purchase pseudoephedrine. Officers obtained information, through the cooperation of local pharmacies, that Bond had been to at least four drug stores in DeKalb County to purchase pseudoephedrine. After purchasing pseudoephedrine from one of the pharmacies, Detectives observed Bond leaving the business in a 1997 Chevy 4x4 Z-71 pickup truck. The vehicle was stopped on Church Street in Smithville where detectives spoke to Bond and inquired about his purchasing quantities of pseudoephedrine here in DeKalb County. After receiving consent to search Bond's vehicle, officers found four sealed boxes of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. After continuing to search the vehicle, Detectives found a cloth zipper pouch containing several syringes, razor blades, plastic baggies, glass pipes, a tourniquet, a medicine bottle containing water, and a plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine. Also found in the console drawer of the vehicle was a bottle of water and two other syringes. After the completion of the investigation, Bond's 1997 Chevy was seized. Bond for Bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 6.6% in August

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for August was 6.6%, up from the rate of 6.2% in July and 4.3% in August 2007.

The DeKalb County Labor Force for August was 10,210. A total of 9,530 were employed and 680 were unamployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August is at 6.6 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the July revised rate of 6.8 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of August was 6.1 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for August 2008, show that 78 counties decreased. The rate increased in 8 counties and remained the same in 9 counties.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, up 0.1 from the July rate of 4.6 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 16.2 percent, down 3.3 from the July rate of 19.5, followed by Lauderdale County at 12.5 percent, down from 14.7 in July.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan county rate at 5.0 percent, down 0.5 percentage point from the July rate of 5.5 percent. Davidson County's rate increased to 5.6 percent, up 0.1 from the July rate of 5.5 percent. Hamilton County was at 6.1 percent, the same as July, and Shelby County was 7.2 percent, down 0.1 from the July rate of 7.3 percent.

Two Persons Wanted by Indiana Authorities Found Living in Smithville

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two people wanted by authorities in Indiana have been located living in Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives from La Porte City Police Indiana contacted the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Thursday about two fugitives living on Forrest Avenue in Smithville.

Sheriff Ray says deputies went to the address and arrested 34 year old Ryan K. Martin and 34 year old Marilyn Ann Fuller both of Forrest Avenue, Smithville. Martin had warrants on him for a failure to appear in court on a check deception, receiving stolen property, driving while suspended, battery, and a driving under the influence. These are Class "D" felonies. Fuller had a failure to appear in court on theft and receiving stolen property charges. Both are being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond and will appear in court on October 2nd.

In another case, deputies arrested 25 year old Joseph Lee Merriman of Dale Ridge Road Dowelltown Friday for driving under the influence, simple possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says while on patrol, a deputy spotted a vehicle setting on the side of the roadway on Dale Ridge Road in Dowelltown. Upon checking the driver of the vehicle, the officer noticed the operator of the vehicle was passed out, had his foot on the brake, and had a green powdery substance around his nose. After awakening Merriman, Deputies asked him to exit his vehicle and noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Merriman submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. As officers were conducting a pat down search of Merriman, they found a metal container in his pocket. Inside the container were two pills believed to be Hydocodone and an ink pen that was cut off and possibly used for snorting the pills. Merriman was arrested. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law because he refused a blood test. Total bond for Merriman was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on October 9th.

Meanwhile, on Sunday after being brought into the DeKalb County Jail by Smithville Police officers on drug charges, 43 year old Ricky Estes and 28 year old Cindy Lemons Estes, both of Whorton Springs Road, Smithville were found to have drugs on them. Correctional Officers, during the booking process, found a white pill in Ricky Estes' pocket believed to be Xanax. Cindy Estes was found to have a pill bottle in her body cavity containing three white pills believed to be Xanax and five orange pills believed to be Suboxone. Both subjects were charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution where prisoners are housed. Bond for Ricky Estes was set at $5,000 and bond for Cindy Estes was set at $10,000. Both will appear in court on October 16th.

Dowelltown Water Tested Safe to Drink

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Customers of the Dowelltown-Liberty Water System no longer have to boil their drinking water before consumption.

Testing has been completed on water samples and the results reveal that the water is safe to drink.

A break in a water line caused an interruption in service Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Officials were concerned that the water might have become contaminated because of the line break.

Smithville Fire Fighters Conduct Ribbon Cutting and Dedication of New Fire Hall

September 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Fighters Conduct Ribbon Cutting at New Fire Hall
Smithville Fire Fighters at Saturday Dedication
Firefighters Stand at Attention During Dedication Ceremony

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department hosted a dedication, open house, and ribbon cutting Saturday to commemorate the opening of the new fire hall downtown.

During his remarks during the dedication, Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker expressed his appreciation to his fellow firefighters for their committment, to past and present city administrations and aldermen, and to the citizens of Smithville for their support. "For the last several years, the Smithville Fire Department has tried to be an agreessive department, trying to build, grow, and expand our capabilities for the citizens of Smithville. This building is one of our accomplishments. We've managed to purchase several pieces of equipment over the last several years. This building is just another building block as we go forward."

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson, who also spoke during the dedication, said he is proud of this new state of the art firehall and the firefighters who staff it. Mayor Hendrixson added that he is also pleased that the city did not have to borrow money to build it due to sound financial management for several years.

In an interview with WJLE on Friday, Parker says the new firehall provides space for fire trucks, offices, training rooms, and living quarters. "When we started this project, we were trying to expand the department so that we could have a building big enough to hopefully someday buy a truck with a ladder on it in order to reach some of the taller buildings in the city. So we made the building big enough on the bottom floor to house larger equipment as the city grows. We added three bays. We presently have four trucks so we're still utilizing the old part of the fire department downstairs. We changed the garage doors of the old fire hall to make it all match the new building. The bottom floor of the new building contains three new bays so we can get all of our trucks parked inside now. None of them have to set outside. It also gives us a little room for expansion in the future. We've made a room to hopefully have a washing machine in the near future for our turnout gear. We also have rooms for our offices and training upstairs. We had extra space so we made provisions to hopefully have some full time firefighters soon. There's a kitchen and a training room upstairs, along with bathrooms and showers. We've incorporated bunk rooms. We're trying to look to the future and possibly add some full time firefighters. We've got the building and the capability to do that now. We're real proud of the new fire hall."

For more information about the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department visit www.smithvillefire.com

Tigers Rout Lions in Woodbury 63-20

September 27, 2008
Tiger Quarterback Hunter Poteete Looking for Open Receiver

The DeKalb County High School Tiger football team put their first loss of the season behind them Friday night, as they crushed the Cannon County Lions, 63-20, in Woodbury. The 63 points tied a team record for the most points scored in a game. The 1973 Tigers scored the same amount of points in a 63-0 defeat of Red Boiling Springs.

DeKalb stormed out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, as Hunter Poteete threw touchdown passes to J.J. Herriott (14 yards) and Hunter Stewart (12 yards), while Abram Edwards returned a fumble 63 yards for the third Tiger score. Zach Taylor hit two of his first three extra point attempts, as DC took the three-score advantage at the end of the quarter.

The Lions stormed back on a pair of second quarter touchdowns. Quarterback Josh Seng hooked up with Andrew Woodin on a 27-yard touchdown pass for the first Cannon County score, and Melvin Young reeled off a 28-yard run for the team's second score. Kevin Walkup connected on the first extra point attempt, but had the second one blocked, which made the score 20-13 in favor of the Tigers with 2:28 to go until halftime.

The Tigers used only 1:08 on the clock to collect their next score, as Poteete swiftly moved the team 70 yards in five plays, capped off by his five-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Lawrence. Poteete then found Abram Edwards on a deflected pass for the two-point conversion, which pushed the Tiger lead to 28-13.

With just 1:09 left in the half, Cannon County was able to pick up a first down on the ensuing drive, but did little else and was forced to punt. DeKalb took the ball at the 34-yard-line, and Poteete called his own number on a quarterback draw, which led to a 66-yard burst to the end zone with just 5.5 seconds left until the intermission. Taylor booted the PAT, which gave DC a 35-13 edge at the half.

The Tigers continued to pour it on in the second half, as Lawrence capped off the opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Travon Johnson ended the ensuing Lion drive with an interception return for a touchdown, which covered 66 yards. Taylor's PAT kicks gave DC a 49-13 lead with 6:28 to go in the third quarter.

Young broke loose for his second rushing touchdown on the ensuing Cannon County drive, as the senior darted 38 yards to paydirt, which made the score 49-20 after Walkup's extra point. DeKalb marched right back down the field, however, and scored again, this time on a 17-yard pass from Poteete to Herriott, which widened the margin to 56-20, with 1:05 remaining in the third.

With the mercy rule invoked, the clock ran continuously in the fourth quarter. DeKalb County added one more score on a four-yard run by Kevin Kijanski, which put up the final margin of 63-20 after Taylor's point after kick.

The DeKalb County Tigers improve to 4-1 on the season, and will travel to Pearl-Cohn for a Region showdown, next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

SES Students Help Raise Money for their School in Wildcat Fun Run

September 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
Students Walking in Wildcat Fun Run
SES Students Walking to Raise Money for their School

Students from pre-k to the second grade helped raise money for their school during the 17th annual Wildcat Fun Run held Friday at Smithville Elementary School.

Dr. Bill Tanner, SES Principal, says much of the money raised this year will help support the addition of an outdoor classroom at the school for all students and teachers." Last year we raised $33,000 with the Fun Run and we hope to do as well this year. A lot of the money will go toward this project (outside classroom), plus we're trying to get another grant to help along with this fundraiser. The more money we can get towards our outdoor classroom, the bigger and better one we can build."

Dr. Tanner says the Fun Run is a project of the school's PTO. "The PTO does this. It's their fundraiser to help us with some projects that we have during the year. This year, the idea was that we wanted to build an outdoor classroom. A lot of times when students are doing activities inside a classroom, like painting, using sand or other types of materials, it creates a mess for the janitors to have to clean up. Or they may be doing an activity where they're real loud, but if they are outside, they are not bothering anybody else. We can also do nature studies outside and experiments. It's not conducive sometimes to do experiments inside."

In addition to the funds raised through the Fun Run, Dr. Tanner says the school expects to receive some donated materials and volunteer labor to help build the outdoor classroom, which could be completed by spring.

Dr. Tanner says he wants to thank all those who supported Friday's Fun Run. "We've had wall to wall parents and other people out here helping with the event and it's just been a beautiful day and a great Fun Run here at Smithville Elementary School."

This event is held each year in an effort to raise money for the school. Students are asked to accept pledges or donations prior to the day of the run. During the Fun Run, students walk or jog on a 1/8 mile track for one hour with each lap being recorded for each student. After the event, the students then collect money from their pledges.


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