Local News Articles

Two Injured In Liberty Accident

October 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

Two people were injured in a traffic accident around 9:00 p.m. Tuesday night on old Highway 96 at Liberty.

Trooper Shannon Brinkley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Flint W. Gilley II of 1745 Bethel Road, Smithville was traveling south on Highway 96 in a 1994 Saturn when his vehicle impacted an oncoming 1998 Ford Escort driven by Jeffery M. Stone of 576 Prater Road, Smithville in the northbound lane.

Trooper Brinkley says after the collision, Stone's car came to rest in the northbound lane and Gilley's vehicle veered across the northbound lane and struck a guardrail.

Stone was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Gilley, who was cited for driving left of center, suffered a slight ankle injury but refused treatment.

Governor Announces Disaster Relief For DeKalb County

October 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen today announced the state is providing $3.6 million in disaster assistance funding to many Tennessee communities that suffered damages due to thunderstorms, flooding, and high winds and tornadoes in 2003. Under the plan, the state will provide retroactive matching funds to eligible agencies and local governments in 70 counties that were declared federal disaster areas in 2003. These payments will restore a portion ? 6.25 percent ? of the total eligible damages in these counties that were not provided when the previous administration suspended state payments for disasters during a period of budget crisis.

?Responding to a disaster can impose immense financial costs on a community if they are forced to shoulder that burden alone,? said Bredesen. ?It is only proper Tennessee continue to place a priority on assisting those communities and the public agencies that have been hardest hit during a disaster. Now that we have regained control of our state?s budget and restored fiscal discipline, it?s time to restore these funds to the communities that need them.?

DeKalb County will receive $17,167.66 for damages that occurred during the disaster which was declared on May 8, 2003. This figure is the combined total from among the eligible parties in this community.

Governor Bredesen has already restored the state?s policy of paying half of the 25 percent of local matching funds required to receive federal public assistance disaster funding for future emergencies. That announcement was made following the deadly tornadoes in April of this year.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will provide budget oversight for issuance of the funds.

The federal public assistance program provides funding for debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings, public utilities and public recreational facilities.

Three Charged with Theft

October 5, 2006
Dwayne Page

Three people have been charged by the Sheriff's Department with the theft of $250 in change from a Belk Road residence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Aaron D. Ponder and 19 year old Gary Ponder both of 7851 Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown; and 18 year old Britney D. Barnes of 9850 Belk Road have each been charged in the case.

Bond for each is set at $1,000 and they will appear in General Sessions Court October 19th.

Enoch Predicts Lower Natural Gas Costs This Winter

October 5, 2006
Dwayne Page

Natural gas customers could see lower home heating costs this winter

Les Enoch, CEO of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, says circumstances that drove prices up this time last year have changed this year. \" Natural gas prices have dropped drastically and we've lowered our rates as well. If the weather this winter is the same as last year, gas bills should be about 20% lower.\"

\"We didn't have the hurricanes that were predicted like we had last year and that has made a big difference and the gas supply in underground storage has also been pretty significant and that's had a big impact on it. This time last year was a different situation. We were focusing on devastation to the Gulf Coast region during a very active hurricane season and we were also confronted with high energy prices on a nationwide basis.\"

Enoch urges consumers to conserve as much energy as possible to save even more money this winter. \"It's fall light up season. We provide free safety inspections and pilot lighting in preparation for the winter season. It's also a good time top consider winterizing your homes, take a look at your insulation, and weatherstripping, change the filters, and keep your thermostats as low as comfortable because that's another good way to save on your gas bill.\"

DCHS Students Celebrate Homecoming With Parade

October 6, 2006
Dwayne Page

School spirit was on display Friday afternoon as students from DeKalb County High School celebrated the last day of Homecoming Week with a parade from the school to downtown.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night is the Upperman Bees and each float in the parade had a Tiger versus Bees theme.

The parade featured the Homecoming Queen and her court, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, county and city law enforcement officers and fire fighters, DeKalb EMS, and State Senator Mae Beavers, among others.

The Sophomore Class took first place with their float called \"Tigers Exterminate the Bees\" The float depicted a huge can of bee spray, a large Tiger paw pressing the spray button, and a large stuffed bee dying from the spray.

The Senior Class won second place with their float called \"Tigers Hurl the Bees\". This float had a large stuffed Tiger throwing bees through the goal post, hitting a bee hive.

Third place went to the FCCLA Club for their float entry called \"Tigers Smoke out the Bees\". This float had an old time black cook stove with smoke coming out, a bee hive, and a Tiger cooking the bees with dead bees lying around.

The Junior Class took fourth place with their float called \"DeKalb Tigers Swat Down the Bees. The float depicted a large stuffed bee being swatted by a giant fly swatter, held by a Tiger standing near the bee hive.

The Freshman Class received fifth place with their float called \"Rock on Tigers, Beat the Bees\" The float featured a LIVE Rock Band with lots of balloons.

Winners of the best decorated vehicles in the parade were: First place- Keshia Byford; Second place- Kelsey Foutch; and Third place- Katie Herman.

Winners of the best decorated classroom doors at DCHS were: First place- Amanda Brown; Second place- Donna Emmons; and Third place- Marie Hill (library)

Winners of the best decorated business category were: First place- Shamrock; Second place- The law office of Sue Puckett-Jernigan; Third place- Region's Bank; and Fourth place-Atnip Chiropractic Clinic.

Federal Grant Allows DeKalb Fire Department To Purchase Equipment

October 6, 2006
Dwayne Page

A $101,015 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant will enable the DeKalb County Fire Department to purchase personal protection equipment, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon announced today (Friday).

The grant is funded 95% federal, $95,965, and 5% local, $5,050.

\"Many communites struggle to maintain fire-protection services,\" said Gordon, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. \"Even though demands on firefighters have increased tremendously over the years, the resources they depend on to provide their life-saving services have not.

\"That's why Congress initiated the Assistance to Firefighters Program, which is similar to the highly successful COPS program that put more than 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets.\"

Chief Donny Green said the funds would be used to purchase personal protection equipment such as fire fighting protection clothing and spare air cylinders for breathing apparatuses, and laundry equipment to clean the clothing of blood-borne pathogens, keeping them maintained and allowing them to last longer.

\"This is equipment we would not have been able to purchase without federal assistance,\" Green said. We're able to protect not only the community, but our firefighters, as well.\"

Homeland Security awarded the grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, created by Congress to help underfunded fire departments better serve community residents. In addition to funding operations and firefighter safety programs, the grants can also be used to purchase firefighting vehicles.

\"Countless lives and properties have been saved through the valiant efforts of firefighters and rescue squad members, \"Gordon said. \"This program is a much-needed opportunity for local fire departments to strengthen their resources and capabilities.\"

Two Injured In Friday Afternoon Crash

October 7, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 66 year old woman was seriously injured in a three vehicle traffic accident Friday afternoon on South Congress Boulevard in front of Jewel's Market.

Darlene Summers of Midway Road, Smithville was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Another woman, 27 year old Tanya A. Wood of Joe Tittsworth Road, Smithville was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was treated and released.

Thomas J. Stufano, Executive Officer for the Smithville Police Department, in a prepared news release, states that \" At approximately 3:39 p.m., officers from the Smithville Police and Fire Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office responded to a three vehicle auto accident in the 1200 block of South Congress Boulevard (State Highway 56). Upon arrival, officers found that two vehicles had collided causing major damage with one vehicle then leaving the roadway and striking a third parked vehicle.\"

\"A followup investigation revealed that Summers was traveling north on Highway 56 in her 1994 Ford car, attempting to turn left into the parking lot of Dogwood Plaza, when she collided with Wood, who was driving a 1997 Mercury car southbound. Due to the severe impact, Wood's vehicle left the roadway, going down a drainage embankment, crashing through a sign, and then colliding with a parked 1990 Chevy truck, owned by 56 Mini Storage.\"

\"Ms. Summers had received life threatening injuries but was immediately attended to by Nurse/EMT Gretchen E. Jones of McMinnville who had been driving northbound on State Highway 56 just after the accident occurred. Due to the extent of Ms. Summers serious injuries, she was flown by helicopter to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and is listed in serious condition. Ms. Wood was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital and was treated and released.\"

\"Traffic was stopped in both directions for approximately 45 minutes so that emergency personnel could attend to the accident scene.\"

\"The case is still pending investigation by Sergeant Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department.\"

Sparta Man Injured In Monday Morning Accident

October 9, 2006
Dwayne Page

One person was injured in a bizarre traffic accident around 9:23 a.m. Monday morning on Highway 70 east.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 41 year old Timothy Pedigo of Smithville was traveling west in a 2001 Chevrolet pickup truck, when a ladder strapped to the truck bed, came loose and crashed into the windshield of an east bound 1992 Jeep Cherokee, driven by 43 year old Dana Heath Wilson of Sparta.

Wilson was transported by DeKalb EMS to White County Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Pedigo was not injured

Three Suspects Charged In Two Same Day Burglaries

October 9, 2006
Dwayne Page

Three people were arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, October 4th, following break-ins at two homes that day, one on Ferrell Road and the other on New Home Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 22 year old Carrie Young of Lonnie Cantrell Road, 28 year old James Freddy Summers of Toad Road, and 25 year old Randy Caldwell of Sparta are each charged with two counts of theft over $1,000 and two counts of aggravated burglary.

The three are charged with breaking into both homes and taking a computer, guns, a DVD player, DVD's, jewelry, and other items.

Sheriff Ray says the three were arrested about four hours following the second break-in after their vehicle was spotted parked at Mapco Express.

Some of the stolen goods were found in the vehicle.

The defendants will appear in General Sessions Court October 26th.

Corps To Address Seepage Problems At Center Hill Dam

October 19, 2006
Dwayne Page

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved plans for an extensive rehabilitation to address seepage problems at the foundation of Center Hill Dam, announced U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

\"Addressing the seepage problems at Center Hill Dam will greatly enhance safety for the Middle Tenneseans who live downstream, as well as the millions of people who visit the lake each year, said Gordon. \"While the improvements may cause a tempprary inconvenience, the end result will be a safer place for recreation and residence.\"

The Corps is planning a $240 million rehabilitation, which will involve the addition of grouting to voids where seepage is occurring in the 57 year old earthen dam. Installation of a concrete cut-off wall into the rock foundation of the dam will provide another level of defense against future seepage.

While Corps officials say there is no immediate danger of the dam failing, they are monitoring the seepage so that emergency actions could be taken to lessen the possibility of a catastrophic breach occurring.

According to the Corps, a catastrophic dam failure could result in significant damage and loss of life if water from the Caney Fork River were to flood downstream communities.

\"The approval of our Major Rehabilitation recommendation for seepage problems at Center Hill Dam and the receipt funds to begin design mark an important milestone, said Linda Adcock, dam safety program manager for the Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. \"These actions show the Corps is committed to keeping Center Hill safe and functional for the future. We promise to continue close monitoring of the dam throughout the construction period and to keep the public informed through public meetings, announcements and Web site updates.\"

According to Corps officials, the design stage will be completed next year, and construction will begin in 2008.

The most recent rehabilitation to the dam occurred in 1992, when grouting was added to combat seepage.

Next month, the Corps will hold public meetings in Carthage, Cookeville, and Smithville to provide more information about the rehabilitation and to address any questions from residents. For more information on the meetings, residents should call the Corps' Public Affairs Office at 615-736-7161.


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