Local News Articles

City Leaders Interview Applicants for Police Chief

April 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Larry D Parsley
Kenneth D Smith

The Mayor and Aldermen met Monday night with each of the three men who have applied to become the next Smithville Police Chief.

The interviews with Larry Parsley of Lenior City, Kenneth Smith of Watertown, and Randy Caplinger of Smithville were conducted, one at a time, in an informal workshop setting at city hall.

Each applicant was questioned by Alderman/Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, Alderman Shawn Jacobs, Alderman Steve White, and Mayor Taft Hendrixson. Aldermen W.J. (Dub) White
and Cecil Burger asked no questions during the workshop. The same basic questions were put to all three men.

The aldermen took no action Monday night. It's not yet known when a decision will be made on the selection of a new police chief.

Parsley, who is a retired Lieutenant of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, was the first to be interviewed. In his opening remarks, Parsley mentioned that he once lived here. "I was raised in DeKalb County and lived on the Cookeville Highway. I left here in 1969 and went in the service. I live in Lenoir City right now. I'd like to move back to Smithville. I'm retired from the Tennessee Highway Patrol."

If hired by the city, Parsley pointed out that he would have to renew his POST certification since he has been retired from the THP for almost seven years. "Two years ago they changed the law. Now if you've been retired five years, you have to go to a three week school at Donelson, which I will do on my own, I don't want it to interfere with the City of Smithville. There's a $750 charge but I'll pay that out of my pocket, because one of your requirements is that (the chief) be POST certified. I am certifiable. It's a three week school and I was going to try and get in it before you hired and get it over with, but they just have a school twice per year and the next school is July 19th through August 5th. If I were God blessed enough to get this position, I will go on my own time. It's Monday through Friday, so I could work the weekends when I come back or whatever I need to do to make up the time. I'll pay for the cost of it. When I retired, all you had to do was go down there and take a test and as long as you passed it, you were POST certified. But they changed the law two years ago and I didn't know it."

Alderman Jacobs said he wants the next chief to develop a true criminal investigations division within the police department and asked Parsley what experience or special training he had in regard to criminal investigations.

In his response, Parsley suggested that as a member of the THP, he had some training along this line and had assisted other law enforcement agencies in their crime investigations." I've helped the county and city in Knoxville, Lenior City and Loudon County on several cases, where we've stopped people on the Interstate. I've gone to several schools that the Secret Service taught and some other schools. We had schools there in Knoxville with the Knoxville Police Department that I went to."

Jacobs said he wants the next police chief to do more to address the problem of drugs and property crimes in this town. "That is my number one priority. I want to see a first class investigative unit in the city police department because of the drug trade here and all the property crimes that result from the drug trade."

Jacobs then asked Parsley if he would have any problem taking the initiative in spearheading a department like that and seeing that the officers get the kind of training so they could spearhead investigations on their own.

Parsley replied, " I welcome it. Smithville has grown a lot since I left here in 1969. They need something like that here."

Parsley added that he would be visible in the community. " I'll go around town and I'll meet with every business owner in this city. I will step foot in their door, meet them and talk to them. I'd like to meet with the school superintendent, the principals of each school, and the teachers whenever they have a teacher's meeting to assist them anyway I can."

Mayor Hendrixson stressed that the police chief should be more active. "We would like to have a working chief, not just someone who is in the office all the time. On occasion, we would like for the chief to be out on the road with the officers."

Parsley said that would not be a problem for him "You will see me on the road probably more than you want to. When I go to work, I'll come to the office. If I have phone calls I need to return, talk to you gentlemen, or talk to citizens, I'll do that. I'd like to have an officer at each school zone every morning and afternoon and If I have to cover one of them, I will. I won't be somebody who will come in the chief's office, go in and stare at the wall eight hours a day. I'm not made that way. I'm a people person and I'll be out (on the streets). I'll assist them (officers) any way I can and I will be available seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. If one of my men calls in sick and I don't have enough help, I'll come in and work the road."

Alderman Meeks pointed out that "the chief's job is a 24/7 position and there is no overtime."

In response to a question from Alderman Steve White about handling drug cases, Parsley said "I've got some people I've worked with, I would call them and get them to assist me here in the city, as far as putting some undercover people here because I know there is a little drug problem here."

In closing, Parsley said "I'd like to have it (police chief) and if I'm God blessed enough to get it, I'll do you a good job."

The mayor and aldermen then turned their attentions to Smith, who is currently serving as Chief of Police of the Lakewood Police Department at Old Hickory in Davidson County.

In his opening remarks, Smith said that he is 45 years old and resides in Watertown. "I've been in law enforcement for 26 years. I started in 1984 as a reserve officer at Mount Juliet and I've worked my way up through the ranks at Mount Juliet and then I went to work for the Lebanon Police Department full time in 1986. In 2006, I left Lebanon and went to the Mount Juliet Police Department, they wanted me to head up the traffic division they were starting up. I went down there and established the traffic division and then had the opportunity to advance to the Lakewood Police Department in July, 2008, where I am still employed presently as the chief of police. I've held that position for almost two years."

Alderman Meeks asked Smith why he prefers being the chief of police in Smithville.

Smith, in response, said there are two reasons. " I like Smithville. I've always wanted to live in this area. The second reason is we have a group of people at Lakewood, called "Citizens to Reform Lakewood", they got a little upset at the commissioners about an ordinance that was passed, so now they have established a petition to take it before the election commission to abolish the city charter, which would abolish the city of Lakewood. It's before the election commission at this time. If they certify the petition, then it will go on the ballot August 5th. If it passes, then there will be a sixty day turnaround and Metro/ Nashville will take over and the city of Lakewood and all of it's employees will be no longer. I currently have twelve officers under me, five full time, one part time, and then I have reserves."

Smith addressed some of the training he has had and his background in law enforcement. "All of my certifications are still up to date. Throughout the course of my law enforcement career I have attended numerous investigative schools including a criminal investigations school, covering case prep and investigating crime scenes. For many years, I've also been the accident re-constructionist for the Mount Juliet and Lebanon Police Departments and currently I am the one (re-constructionist) at Lakewood, which involves fatalities. I have investigated numerous fatalities, which are crime scenes, homicides possibly. I've worked closely with the D.A's office. I've been involved in numerous crime scene investigations while I was with the Lebanon Police Department. For several years I worked the projects. I was over a group of guys. We did drug interdiction and patroled the projects"

When asked by Alderman Jacobs about establishing a criminal investigations division in the Smithville Police Department, Smith said he would see that this was done. "I feel confident that I could provide you with a top of the line investigations division."

Speaking of his experience as Lakewood Police Chief, Smith says " We work closely with the Metro Police Department. We've built a positive relationship with Metro compared to what it used to be. The officers work real good together. We swap intelligence. We assist Metro on undercover operations."

" I'm a firm believer in attacking drugs with every means possible. It's a war that will never be won, but we can make a dent if everybody works together. I'm a believer in training the officers to the fullest extent because it makes them a better officer and it makes them do a better job. It makes the police department look good and makes the city look good. It sends out a message that we're not going to tolerate this (drugs) in our town."

When asked by the mayor about his being a "working chief", Smith responded, "I'm not going to ask my officers to do something that I'm not willing to do myself."

In closing, Smith said "If I'm fortunate enough to get it (police chief), I'm confident that I can make you a police department that you and the city can be proud of."

The mayor and aldermen then met with Caplinger, who is a retired Lieutenant Colonel/Major of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and since October, 2006 has been Transportation/Safety Director for Kitchen Craft of Smithville.

In response to a question by Alderman Meeks as to why he wants to be the next police chief, Caplinger said "law enforcement has been my career. I spent thirty something years with the state. I enjoy what I'm doing but I miss the job (law enforcement) and that type of opportunity and when I saw it (police chief) becoming available, I decided I wanted to apply for it. I started in law enforcement in 1976 and stayed thirty years. You kinda get used to it after a while."

Caplinger, when asked about the status of his POST certification, said that "before I ever applied, I checked with POST and my understanding is as long as you're not out (of law enforcement) over five years, you're eligible to go back. Of course I have to send in my psychological, physical, and training records, and it takes a letter from the city if hired sent to POST. I was told that I'm also supposed to take a week of in-service for my certification."

In response to Alderman Jacobs' question about experience in criminal investigations, Caplinger said "As a supervisor I had investigators who worked for me and one thing you will not see on my resume is that for two years when I was a sergeant, I worked as an auto theft investigator, working investigations with drugs and auto thefts and when I became Captain I had the K-9 dogs assigned to me and I worked drugs with those in investigations through the Department of Safety. I've worked daily investigations when the state required, with auto thefts or whatever it may be and we used to work drugs. The Department of Safety doesn't work drugs anymore."

Asked if he would set up a criminal investigations division and make sure the officers receive the proper training, Caplinger said "I sure would. And not taking away from what we have now, but I think that's one of your number one problems that you have now is your investigations. The majority of the county's population is in the city of Smithville and that's where we have our crimes. We have a drug problem."

As for being a working chief, Caplinger said "That's what a chief should do. I did that even as a supervisor with the state as a Captain and even as a Major. I worked with my men. I mean, anybody who is above getting out and going to work at midnight with some of the officers, during the night, or whatever that shift may be, something is wrong. He needs to be out there, understand what's going on, know what the public wants, and what the officers need."

Alderman Steve White inquired about Caplinger's certifications as an instructor. In response, Caplinger said "As far as a radar instructor, I can go back for a twelve hour course to be re-certified. I'm still certified as a firearms instructor. The radar, the DUI, and the CPR training, I'm still certified on it. And it doesn't have anything to do with the job, I don't know what the city requires, but I'm a certified OSHA officer too, if OSHA ever comes in." Caplinger also has TEAMA training in handling hazardous materials.

Caplinger added that if hired, he would be willing to go to work at the discretion of the city. "I'm available 24/7. The chief's job is my number one priority, if I get it."

DCHS Students Enjoy Prom Night

April 26, 2010
Prom King and Queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard

"Here's to the Night"

DeKalb County High School prom king and queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard enjoy a dance during Friday night's event.

This year's prom was held at the Stone's River Country Club at Murfreesboro.

Students gathered at the high school Friday afternoon, all decked out in their prom night attire, for photographs and to meet with family and friends before leaving for the dance, many in stretch

Click here to see more prom night photos (many provided by Judith Hale) http://www.wjle.com/node/10386

Shehane Charged with Promoting the Manufacture of Methamphetamine

April 26, 2010
Dwayne Page
Clent Lee Shehane
Travis Matthew Pezak
Amy Janette Lawson
Gary Edward Matthews
Joel Thomas Hayes
John Anthony Poss
Andre Ronrico Watson
Shannon Ray Herman

A 24 year old man was arrested on drug charges last week after admitting to gathering items for someone else to make methamphetamine.

Clent Lee Shehane of Sparta Highway was charged Wednesday, April 21st with promotion to manufacture a schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine). His bond is set at $10,000 and his court date is April 29th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives went to the home of Shehane to do an investigation and found 2 hot plates, ph strips, lye, several empty cans and bottles, and a propane tank which were believed to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Shehane said he was getting the items for someone else to manufacture methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, in other cases 20 year old Travis Matthew Pezak of Ridgeview Lane, Baxter is charged with domestic assault, possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) and possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery. His bond is set at $10,000 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Tuesday, April 20th, a deputy responded to Ridgeview Lane, Baxter to a domestic call. Upon arrival, the officer spotted Pezak running off in the woods. Through an investigation, the officer discovered that Pezak had assaulted his girlfriend. The woman had blood coming from her mouth and there were marks on her back. Pezak was arrested for domestic assault and when he was searched, a container was found in his pocket with 4 Dilaudids and 10 Xanax. The officer also seized $870.00 from Pezak, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

32 year old Amy Janette Lawson of South College Street Apartments is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says on Friday, April 23rd, a deputy spotted Lawson operating a motor vehicle on College Street in Smithville and noticed that she was weaving all over the roadway and almost struck a mailbox. Lawson had slurred speech, her eyes were squinted, and she had very slow reactions to the officer's questions. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. A computer check of Lawson's drivers license revealed that they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in DeKalb County. A search of Lawson's purse turned up a hypodermic syringe. While transporting her to the jail, the officer noticed Lawson trying to hide something as she sat in the back of his patrol car. Upon inspection of the back seat , the deputy found yet another hypodermic needle. Prior to her arrest on Friday, Lawson had been in General Sessions Court, where she was ordered by Judge Bratten H. Cook, II not to be driving. Since her arrest, Judge Cook has ordered Lawson to be held without bond until her next court date on April 29th.

37 year old Gary Edward Matthews of Four Seasons Road Smithville is charged with public intoxication and introduction or possession of drugs in a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. According to Sheriff Ray, Matthews came into the DeKalb County Jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. As he entered, correctional officers noticed Matthews to be under the influence of drugs. They also found a yellow pill believed to be an Oxycodone in his sock. Sheriff Ray says this is not the first time Matthews has been charged with bringing drugs into the jail. On March 27th, 2009 Matthews allegedly tried to smuggle 19 pills believed to be Hydocodone into the DeKalb County Jail after he was arrested on other charges. Bond for Matthews was set at $11,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

32 year old Joel Thomas Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication after he came to the jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. Sheriff Ray says correctional officers noticed Hayes to be unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. Hayes admitted to taking Hydocodone and Percocet, before coming to the jail to serve his time. Bond for Hayes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

42 year old John Anthony Poss of Poss Road, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence, a first offense of driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, and reckless endangerment. His bond is set at $10,500 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Sunday, April 25th, a deputy responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on Evins Mill Road Smithville. When the officer spotted the suspected vehicle, he noticed it was swerving in the roadway and almost hit other oncoming vehicles. The deputy activated his blue lights and siren, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop. The officer pursued Poss for approximately three miles until he (Poss) hit a light pole on Prater Road. Poss appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant having a smell of alcohol on his person. He was also unsteady on his feet. Poss refused to perform field sobriety tasks telling the deputy that the reason he ran from the law is because he was intoxicated. A computer check of Poss' driver's license revealed them to be revoked for a driving under the influence conviction on October 15th, 2009 in DeKalb County.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says the latest to be arrested in the recent drug round-up are:

34 year old Andre Ronrico Watson of Oriole Drive, McMinnville charged with
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $50,000.00

25 year old Shannon Ray Herman of Author Hollis Lane, Woodbury charged with
4 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
4 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000.00

Freshman Academy Students Honored

April 26, 2010
Freshman Academy Students Honored

DCHS Freshmen Academy teachers nominated students to receive the mid-semester DCHS citizenship award.

The award was given in a recent freshman assembly to the students who most represent the DCHS Freshman Academy motto: “Do what’s right, Commit to Graduate, Honor and respect everyone, Strive for Excellence.”

(Front, l-r): Roxana Rodriguez, Zackary Caplinger, Cecilia Maciel, Marissa Garmer, Makayla Funk. (Middle, l-r): Kaylee Green, Benjamin Brandt, Devon Hickey, Kaylee Cantrell, Kristen Campbell, Courtney Whiteaker, Haley Keck, Evan Curtis. (Back, l-r): Hunter Collins, T. J. Slezak, Harley Lawrence, Hunter Graham, Quenton McSparren, Kelsey Hale. Not pictured: Lucas Phillips and Sarah Roysden.

DCHS Band Program Recognizes Members during Awards Banquet

April 26, 2010
DCHS Band Queen Britney Campbell
Band Booster President Mike Campbell and Gabby Byford
Band Banquet Award Winners

On Saturday, April 24th, the DeKalb County High School Band hosted their annual band banquet at the DCHS Cafeteria. Band Director, Jonathan Wright, started the evening's awards ceremonies by simply saying thank you to Mark Willoughby, Kathy Hendrix, Patrick Cripps, David Gash, and all of the other administrators for their support of the band program.

Mr. Wright went on to thank Band Booster President, Mike Campbell, and all of the boosters and parents for "building props, fundraising, pushing equipment, driving busses and trucks, mending uniforms, administering first aid, forcing water on the students during band camp, organizing pool parties, providing meals, fixing equipment and office furniture, dusting and cleaning the band room, chaperoning bus rides, and loving and supporting the students."

A big thank you was also sent out to the staff members, Shaun Naumann, Greg Owens, Amanda Scott, Jonathan Turner, and Joey Wilburn for helping the students improve throughout the school year.

The banquet is an evening of awards for the students of the band. Some awards are awarded by the director and staff while others are the results of students' votes. Mr. Wright introduced Jonathan Turner and Shaun Naumann to present the Color Guard Awards, which were selected by the Color Guard Staff. The Most Improved Award went to Carlie Sullivan; Leadership Award was given to Gabby Byford; and the Director's Award went to Courtney Whiteaker.

Joey Wilburn presented the Brass Awards, which were selected by the Brass Staff.

The Most Improved Brass Musician was awarded to Renny Mason; Best Attitude Award was given to Courtney Caldwell; High Brass Award went to Emma Rigsby; and the Low Brass Award went to Kerry Page.

The following awards were voted on by the band students who participated in the 2009 marching season.

Best Musician – Britney Campbell; Best Marcher - Dakota Dexter; Most Improved Musician – Courtney Caldwall; Most Improved Marcher – Courtney Rice; Most Dedicated – Britney Campbell; Best All Around – Hunter Tramel; Most Athletic Color Guard – Katie Merriman; Best Color Guard Performer – Gabby Byford; Most Dedicated Color Guard – Gabby Byford; and Most Improved Color Guard – Ashley Brandt.

The Marching Band Top 10 Awards were also voted by the band students.

Axyl Chalfant
Britney Campbell
Hunter Tramel
Dakota Dexter
Ryan Macy
Gabby Byford
Meagan Sullivan
Brandon Adcock
Katie Merriman
Tyler Seymour

The following awards were selected by Director Mr. Wright, and were designed to reward the students who were successful in both concert season and marching season.

Best Woodwind Performer – Britney Campbell; Most Improved Woodwind Performer – Kristen Campbell; Best Brass Performer – Dakota Dexter; Most Improved Brass Player – Renny Mason; Best Percussion Performer – Dalton Vaughn; Most Improved Percussionist – Sarah Cantrell; Positive Mental Attitude – Brandon Adcock; and Fixer Upper Award – Chase Cantrell.

The Band Queen is voted on by the students and is open to any junior who will be in marching band during their senior year. Mr. Wright says "This young lady has shown a special dedication to the band and has participated since her 5th grade year. The 2010 Band Queen is Britney Campbell.

Britney was also honored with an award for making the Middle Tennessee State Honor Band. In January she performed with the Gold band which is the top band. This was her 5th year to participate in Mid-State Band.

Two very special awards, the John Phillips Sousa and the Inaugural Fowler Stanton Leadership Awards, were also presented. The recipients of these awards are selected by the director.

The John Phillips Sousa Award is on permanent display in the band room. This award is for the senior who not only is a great musician, but who is also a great leader. Mr. Wright says, "This year's recipient is not outspoken but has always been there to lead and help others. He always makes sure he can perform his part at a high level and has been there to help young and older students alike as a section leader." The 2009-2010 John Phillips Sousa Award was presented to Ryan Macy.

In honor of the late Fowler Stanton, the DCHS Band has created the ‘Fowler Stanton Leadership Award.' Mr. Stanton was the founder of the DCHS Band as we know it today. His hard work and dedication led to many years of musical and life opportunities for the students. Many have mourned his passing this year and in honor of what he has done of the people of DeKalb County , this award will also be on permanent display in the band room. Gabby Byford is the inaugural winner of this prestigious award. Mr. Wright says, "[Gabby] has never failed to be a strong leader and show her dedication through her actions. Those who have worked with her know that she will do whatever she can to help you and improve the performance of the group."

The awards portion of the evening ended with Mr. Wright thanking the seniors for their invaluable leadership in the program. He encouraged them to not "be strangers. Come back and let us know what you're into." He told them, "I thank you for all of your dedication and I will miss you very much."

And finally, before the students were able to wrap up the evening with a dance, Mr. Wright unveiled the theme and some of the music for the 2010 marching season. The show for the 2010-11 school year will tell the story of a circus "gone wrong." An unruly circus performer nearly destroys the circus by setting fire to the big top, "The Show Must Go On!" The DeKalb County High School Band Presents: "Big Top Catastrophe."

The band has several performances before the school year is over. The Annual Spring concert is on Thursday, May 6th, and the Ensemble Group performances, which will include the Winter Color Guard, Brass Ensemble, and DC-1 Percussion, will be on Monday, May 10th. Both shows will start at 7pm in the High School Gym. For more information log onto www.dekalbband.com .

Redmon Charged with Criminal Trespassing

April 24, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a man Friday, April 23rd for criminal trespassing after finding him inside an automobile in the storage lot of JR Motors.

25 year old Michael Brandon Redmon is under a $1,000 bond and his court date is May 6th.

Police say Officer Matt Farmer received a complaint that someone had climbed the fence into JR Motors' storage lot and was going through the cars. When Officer Farmer arrived at JR Motors he saw someone in one of the vehicles. Officer Farmer approached the vehicle and found Redmon reclining in the seat. Redmon had on rubber gloves and he was holding a screw driver in one hand and some nuts and driver bits in the other. When Redmon was asked why he was there and what he was doing, he gave three different statements. Redmon was asked to step out of the vehicle and to empty his pockets and put the contents on the hood of the vehicle. Redmon had tools designed specifically to remove car stereos along with a screw driver and interchangeable bits. The owner of JR Motors said that Redmon did not have permission to be on the property and he was trespassing.

Meanwhile in other cases, 28 year old William Travis Malone of 1812 Morena Street, Nashville was arrested on Wednesday, April 21st and charged with two counts of simple possession, possession of drug paraphernalia & public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call of possible drug activity at 1222 South College Street. When Corporal Bryant pulled into the parking lot, Malone jumped down between the cars. Corporal Bryant saw him toss a pill bottle into one of the cars. Malone was not cooperative. He was instructed twice to put his hands on the car before he finally complied. A search of his person revealed an open syringe, a small plastic container with six capsules believed to be oxycodone and three pills believed to be hydrocodone. The pill bottle that Malone threw into the car contained seven pills believed to be hydrocodone and seven pills believed to be xanax. He appeared to be disoriented and unsteady on his feet. Bond for Malone is $5,000 and his court date is May 13th.

27 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore and 24 year old Amanda Kay Lattimore, both of 632 Andrew Street were arrested on Friday, April 16th for disorderly conduct. Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer Matt Holmes made the arrests. The Lattimores were found outside a residence on Andrew Street yelling and trying to fight others at the residence. They had been warned by Officer Nathan Estes on Thursday, April 15th to stay away from this residence. Bond for each is $1.000 and their court date is May 13th.

60 year old Terry Walker Trapp of 1434 Holiday Haven Road was arrested on Monday, April 19th for DUI. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow saw a black Chevrolet truck failing to maintain lane of travel on West Broad Street. Trapp drove on the center line for approximately one half mile. The officer activated his blue lights to signal Trapp to stop. Trapp tried to make a right turn into Florence & White Ford parking lot but missed the turn and nearly hit an ATV that was parked on the sidewalk. Trapp put the truck in reserve, backed up, and then pulled into the parking lot of the Ford dealership. Upon contact with Mr. Trapp, Officer Tatrow noticed his movements to be slow and unsteady and his speech was slurred. Trapp said that he is on several prescription medications. Trapp submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. Hid bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 17th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on the following offense is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Thursday, April 22nd, Hoyte Neal Jr of 322 West Broad Street noticed when he left to go to work that someone had cut his truck tire during the night.

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

Meanwhile, LieutenantSteven Leffew is proud to announce that Officer Matt Holmes has successfully completed a week long course in Child Passenger Safety becoming a National Child Passenger Safety Technician by the Governors Highway Safety Office. Officer Holmes will be assisting in the proper installation of child restraints.

The Smithville Police Department will be conducting a child passenger safety seat check point in the near future where there will be an availability of a variety of child restraint devices to the public free of charge.

Anyone wishing to have their child restraint properly installed and inspected may come by the Smithville Police Department.

Please be aware that it is preferred that the following be present during the inspection: The
vehicle transporting child, the vehicle manual, the child restraint device, the child restraint device manual and preferably the child and/or children to insure the proper fitting.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate Down Slightly to 11% in March

April 24, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate dropped to 11% in March, down slightly from 11.2% in February. The rate for March, 2009 was 11.4%

The local labor force for March was 9,650. A total of 8,590 were employed and 1,060 were without work.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for March was the third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Upper Cumberland counties and their unemployment rates are as follows from highest to lowest:

Pickett County- 18.2%
Van Buren- 14.5%
Clay- 14.2%
Smith- 13.9%
White- 13.8%
Fentress- 12.9%
Cumberland- 12.2%
Putnam- 10.2%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 10.6 percent, down from the February rate of 10.7 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of March was 9.7 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for March show that the rate decreased in 85 counties, increased in seven counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 7.4 percent, down from 8.0 percent in February. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.8 percent, up from 18.4 in February, followed by Marshall County at 18.4 percent, down from 19.0 percent in February.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent in February. Davidson County was 9.1 percent, down from 9.2 in February. Hamilton County was at 9.4 percent, down from 9.6 in February, and Shelby County was 10.6 percent, down from 10.7 in February.

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

April 24, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

The State Senate has approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, was approved by a vote of 19-14 this week on the Senate floor.

“If the role of the Attorney General in the state of Tennessee is to provide the best legal service possible to the state and its citizens, then it doesn’t make much sense to me that he or she is currently twice removed from the citizens of Tennessee,” said Beavers. “Currently, the people of Tennessee have to elect a governor, who appoints the Supreme Court, who then appoints the Attorney General and Reporter. This process eliminates any possible practical or substantial check of the attorney general by Tennesseans – who are supposed to be his or her most important clients.”

Forty-three states elect their attorneys general via a popular election, and in six other states, the Attorney General is selected by either the popularly elected Governor or the popularly elected state legislature. Beavers said for most of Tennessee’s history, when the Constitution called for an appointed Attorney General by the Supreme Court Justices, the court was popularly elected.

“The Supreme Court Rules talk about promoting public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” said Beavers. “How does a system where an Attorney General appointed by the same body he might one day argue a case before promote public confidence and impartiality?”

The resolution offered by Beavers would amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years. The amendment process would require approval by both the 106th and 107th General Assemblies. If approved, the question would then go to voters in a statewide referendum in the year 2014.

Issues In Brief

DUI / Interlock devices – The full Senate has approved legislation that would increase the use of ignition interlock devices to curb the number of alcohol-related car crashes in Tennessee. Senate Bill 2965, sponsored by Senator Beavers, requires the use of the devices for extreme drunk drivers, such as those who have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher or who drive intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. It also provides that those convicted of drunk driving under .15 with the option to install an interlock device instead of being geographically restricted by the court. Interlock devices are small pieces of equipment attached to the steering wheel of a car with a tube that the driver must breathe into in order to allow the ignition to start. Studies show the devices have been very successful in curbing drunk driving.

Abortion / federal healthcare law – The State Senate has passed and sent to the governor legislation to prohibit taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion services in Tennessee associated with the federal healthcare law passed by Congress. The bill, Senate Bill 2686, prohibits any health care plan established pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress from offering coverage for abortion services.

Veterans / fundraising – A resolution seeking to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to allow tax exempt veterans groups to raise funds in the same manner as 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations was sent to a Summer Study Committee for further review and to refine the language of the proposal. Veterans groups were left out of the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, due to the way their organizations are generally structured as 501 (c) (19) or 501 (c) (4) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code. The Committee will look at making the language in the resolution, SJR 982, as precise as possible to allow charitable fundraisers by veterans, without unintentionally opening a door to any unscrupulous gaming activities.

Highways / federal funds – Legislation that calls for Tennessee to keep its own road money rather than participate in the Federal-Aid Highway Program was approved by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill, Senate Bill 3678, provides for Tennessee to opt out of the federal program subject to enabling action by Congress. The state could then elect to retain the state’s contributions to the federal Highway Trust Fund for transportation purposes. Tennessee is a donor state as far as the Federal-Aid Highway Program is concerned. In the 2008-2009, Tennessee remitted $740.6 million in taxes collected from fuel, batteries and diesel to the federal highway trust fun and received $673.4 million in allocations. Under the proposal, taxes retained by the state would be directed to the State Highway Fund instead.

Foreign defamation / Libel Tourism -- State Senators voted this week to approve Senate Bill 3589 that would help in the fight against a tactic known as “Libel Tourism.” The practice is used in defamation lawsuits filed against authors critical of individuals with known ties to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and Hamas. The legislation ensures that Tennessee Courts have the ability not to recognize a foreign judgment, if that country’s laws protecting free speech and the free press are not as protective as freedoms provided in the constitutions of Tennessee and United States. The measure relates to grounds for non-recognition of foreign defamation judgments, closely resembling similar laws passed by the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Utah and Florida Legislatures on the matter.

Domestic Violence – The Senate Judiciary Committee continued to make progress in attacking crime in the state with passage of several bills this week, including two measures to address domestic violence. One proposal, Senate Bill 2708, prohibits a respondent of an order of protection from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the petitioner. The bill makes it clear that the person to whom the order is directed cannot contact the victim “for any purpose.” The action would prevent excuses from being used in violation of the order.

The second domestic violence proposal, Senate Bill 2709, allows the court to order domestic abuse perpetrators to attend counseling programs. The bill prescribes a list of counseling programs the judges can order from if they choose, including, intervention programs that are certified by Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council. The bill increases the maximum penalty for those convicted of the crime from $200 to $225, with the proceeds going to grants for domestic violence shelter programs.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 24, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

This past week was a busy one. It began with an important roundtable meeting between the Smith County Living Group, the Commissioner of Tourism and Development, Upper Cumberland Tourism, The Main Street Program, Department of Economic and Community Development, and Cumberland Region Tomorrow to discuss preserving and protecting our Courthouse and Square in Smith County. It was exciting to see us all come together and productively advance towards a solution. Towns perish without vision. However, the vision for Carthage is in full gear. The Courthouse Square is the heartbeat of any small town and we are working to revitalize and bring business back to Main Street again. It an honor as your State Representative to work for you by networking with local state government officials and working together towards making our district a better place to live and raise our families.

Tuesday was minister’s day on the Hill. What a wonderful blessing to have prayer in my office and in just the nick of time! I was also busy this week with vital legislation to our district. House Bill 3627 will be heard this week which will require the Tennessee Department of Transportation to bring a prioritized list of bridges to the General Assembly. In this economic crisis it is imperative we have transparency and accountability coupled with fiscal responsibility that will bring rural taxpayer dollars back to rural Tennessee. Our bridges and roads are vital to our economic development and security of jobs. HB3628 addresses Workers Compensation which would repeal legislation passed previously requiring sole proprietors to buy insurance. Now is not the time to add another expense to our small businesses who are struggling in this economy.

Earlier this week I paid a visit to a company in Red Boiling Springs called Raecoe. The company makes uniforms for our honorable men and women in service for our country. They employ approximately 100 people. Owner Joel Coe welcomed my visit as we toured his facility and discussed the different dynamics of his business.

This week, I along with some of my esteemed colleagues denounced a tax increase proposal floated by Governor Phil Bredesen as a way to balance the budget. The administration proposed an additional $85 million in tax increases by increasing the sales tax on single article sales.

Last week, Bredesen and his senior staff outlined a plan to remove the sales tax cap on single article sales. At present, the value of individual items over $3,200 are taxed at seven percent. The governor wants to increase this to 9.75 percent.

Many of us expressed our disappointment in the Governor for showing blatant disregard for the challenges small business owners and average Tennesseans face. Small businesses should be the driving force behind an economic recovery.

The $85 million tax increase would be in addition to $50 million the administration has called for by increasing taxes on cable television, cable television boxes, business telephone services, and free hotel breakfasts. In total, Bredesen has proposed over $130 million in new taxes this year alone.

The TennCare Oversight Committee heard an update on Monday regarding the Long-Term Care and Community Choices Act of 2008, a proposal that overhauled the state’s previously fragmented long-term care system. The plan aimed to increase options and choices for those who needed long-term care support, expand access, and better utilize existing funding.

The plan was designed to promote independence, choice, dignity, and quality of life for the elderly and/or people with physical disabilities who need long-term care support and services from the state’s TennCare program. The legislation included consumer-directed options that offered more choices regarding the kinds of long-term care services people need, where they are provided, and who will deliver them, with appropriate mechanisms to ensure accountability for taxpayer funds. In 2008, 98 percent of all long term care dollars went to nursing home care, the most expensive option. We anticipated saving money by moving funds to home and community-based care for those who were able to live at home with some assistance.

The committee heard from Pattie Killingsworth, Chief of Long-Term Care. Killingsworth reported that TennCare CHOICES, the long-term care system created by the legislation, was successfully implemented in Middle Tennessee in March of this year. The transition was seamless, and 8, 624 enrollees were transitioned to the new program. Even more Tennesseans are taking advantage of the home and community based services since March, including about 450 brand new enrollees. Killingsworth reported the department is currently working on implementing CHOICES in East and West Tennessee.

The State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority, will begin offering rebates to Tennesseans who replace old appliances with Energy Star® qualified ones. Portions of the rebate funding were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total funding for the rebate program is just over $5.9 million, and rebates will be granted until the funds are depleted.

Rebates of $250 will be available for central air conditioners, $40 for room air conditioners, and $250 for heat pumps. Because there are certain specifications that the appliances must meet in order to be eligible in addition to being Energy Star®, consumers are encouraged to check the requirements before purchasing.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development reports that the estimated energy savings for delivery and installation of qualified heating and cooling products statewide will be approximately 16 million kilowatt hours per year. A reduction in energy use of that size translates to a yearly savings of almost $1.4 million in energy costs for Tennesseans and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by 32 million pounds annually.

The Transportation Committee approved House Bill 2544 Tuesday afternoon after a long debate. The bill creates the offense of “super speeding” when a driver speeds at 75 miles per hour or more on any two-lane highway or 85 miles per hour or more on any public highway or interstate. The penalty for super speeding would be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $200 fine.

The bill will be heard next in the Budget Subcommittee. Instead of costing the state money, the legislation actually has the potential to bring in $3.7 million. Under the bill, the funds would be directed to the state’s Trauma Center System established in 2007.

In closing, remember the 40th district seat is your seat. I invite you to come to my office, the War Memorial Building room 105, anytime and spend the day shadowing your State Representative or just dropping in for a visit. As always I am happy to hear from the people in my district.

DCHS Students Help Smithville Police Stage Mock Traffic Accident

April 23, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident2

The Smithville Police Department and DeKalb EMS in cooperation with DeKalb County High School staged a "mock drill" in the parking lot of DCHS on Friday morning.

Police say the drill simulated a two vehicle crash involving drunk drivers. There were a total of eight victims, two of whom died. The others were treated at the scene. Students in the theater class at DCHS played the roles of victims in the exercise. The entire student body was allowed to witness the event.

Authorities say this drill helped test the readiness of the police department and the ambulance service while serving as a lesson to students about the dangers of drunk driving, especially on prom night.

Police also want to express a special thanks to DeKalb Tire & Service for providing the cars used in the staged accident scene.


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