Local News Articles

Charles Robinson Re-elected School Board Chairman

September 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
Kenny Rhody, Charles Robinson, John David Foutch

Second district school board member Charles Robinson was re-elected Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night. The vote, however, was not unanimous.

Third district member Kenny Rhody nominated Robinson for re-election as chairman but Fourth district member Billy Miller nominated Sixth district member Bruce Parsley for chairman. The board voted on Robinson's nomination first and he received five votes to be elected chairman. Board members Miller and Parsley voted against him. All other board members voted for Robinson including Rhody, First district member John David Foutch, Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Seventh district member Johnny Lattimore. Robinson also voted for himself..

The school board reorganizes each September, naming a chairman, vice-chairman, and an assistant secretary.

In addition to Chairman Robinson, the board re-elected Third district member Kenny Rhody as Vice-Chairman and First district member John David Foutch was named assistant secretary without opposition.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly personnel report to the board.

Those employed since the last meeting are:
Kelly Burgess, Special Education Teacher at DCHS
Bonnie Rigsby, English as a Second Language Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Doris Grah, English as a Second Language Assistant at DeKalb Middle School/ DCHS
Cynthia Dias, Pre-K Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Mollie Hendrixson, teacher at Northside Elementary School replacing Kathy Bryant
Ashley Smith, teacher at Northside Elementary School replacing Julie Vincent

Those named to the approved substitute teacher list are:
Ellen Ammons, Guylene Atnip, Brenda Bandy, Lacey Beshearse, Jennifer Braswell, Carolyn Caldwell, Shannon Cantrell, Brenda Colwell, Julie Cook, Bethany Davis, Donna Davis, Linda Dean, Sally Exum, Debbie France, Ann Frazier, Holly Frazier, Kelly Frazier, Wayne Fuson, Leigh Fuson, Sherrie Giles, Johnna Goff, Natalie Green, Chelsea Grissom, Susan Guerin, Vicki Haggard, Judith Hale, Amber Hawkins, Letitia Henry, Betty Hickey, Ester Holder, Michelle Hoyle, Shirley Ingram, Milinda League, Linda Luna, Kelly Merriman, Sharon Moffett, Diana Moon, Chris Moore, Joel Moore, Stephen Moore, Eden Nokes, Carl Northcutt, Angela Osment, Elaine Perricone, Justin Poteete, Ivadell Randolph, Virginia Rose, Michael Shaw, Mary Nell Summers, Jessica Sims, Wanda Vickers, and Kim Young

Kathy Bryant, transferred to Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School
Sabrina Farler, transferred to Assistant Principal at DeKalb West School
Karen Knowles, transferred to Assistant Principal at Smithville Elementary School
Julie Vincent, transferred to Assistant Principal at Northside Elementary School
Sherree Macemon, transferred to teacher at Smithville Elementary School replacing Karen Knowles

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring bus drivers.

The resolutions states "Whereas, bus drivers must transport students to and from a variety of school sites and assure their safety while passengers are on the school bus; and

Whereas, bus drivers deal with many challenging situations each day including bad weather, traffic and sometimes unruly students; and

Whereas, bus drivers have many more responsibilities than just transporting students, including properly greeting and encouraging students, handling sick children, reporting disciplinary cases, reporting the need for bus maintenace, and much more; and

Whereas, school bus drivers continuously dedicate time to learning and increasing their knowledge about new rules, regulations and safety procedures in order to keep our transportation system among the best in the state; and

Whereas, the superintendent and school board greatly appreciate the commitment and dedication of our school bus drivers and wish to honor them for their service to our school system

Therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes September 15, 2011 as Bus Driver Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the Board encourages students, parents, and staff to join us in expressing appreciation to the bus drivers for all they do.

Bert Driver Remembers 911

September 8, 2011
Dwayne Page
Bert Driver
Pentagon after the 911 attack

Where were you?

As the 10th anniversary of 911 approaches, Americans are pausing to reflect on where they were and what they were doing on that day, September 11th, 2001.

Bert Driver of Smithville was in Washington, D.C. that morning attending a Nursery Conference. Driver said he was only a few miles from the Pentagon, which of course was one of the targets of the 911 attacks. "I had traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a nursery conference. The American Nursery and Landscape Association was hosting a conference that week. We had attended a series of seminars on that Monday. Tuesday morning we were beginning the day with Senator Larry Craig, who at that time was a senator from Idaho. (During the program) someone came to the podium to inform him of what had happened (in New York) and he was quickly escorted out of the room. So it took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. They rolled in a few TV monitors so that we could witness what everybody else was witnessing. It was relatively calm for the moment. After a few hours, people started to leave the hotel and tried to leave the city. By that time, the other plane had hit the Pentagon. I wanted to see what was going on so I made my way up to the top of the hotel. There were some maintenance guys who had opened a hatch there on the roof. They were curious as well so I had a pretty good line of sight across the Potomac over to the Pentagon. We were probably three or four miles away but we could see it (Pentagon) smoldering and the emergency vehicles. By this time, it had gotten into the afternoon hours on Tuesday. I later walked about a block away from the hotel and found it to be eerily quiet. Everybody was obviously stunned at what had happened and still processing what had happened. That was the most impressive thing to me at that moment, how quiet it had become," said Driver

Driver said although he was near the pentagon he did not see the crash or hear the explosion. "What we thought was an explosion turned out to be fighter planes. They had scrambled fighters and they had broken the sound barrier near the hotel. This was moments after the Pentagon had been hit so what we thought might have been an explosion we figured out later was actually F16s that had come down the Potomac to patrol the area," said Driver.

Anxious to return home, Driver said he had to find other means of transportation after all flights were grounded. "I wanted to leave as quickly as possible because no one knew what the next turn of events might be throughout the day and into the evening and next morning. I had gone so far as to try and get a train ticket to get out of town. I figured I could at least get down the coast to North Carolina and find my way back into Tennessee. That really was ultimately my goal. But by the morning hours one of our group, one of the other nurserymen had come up with a rental car. He had gotten a van so seven of us piled into the van and left that next morning and we drove straight through the day and into the next down through the Shenandoah Valley and made it back. We were fortunate because most people had to sit tight for a few days before they could leave," he said.

Driver said it felt good to get back home and it was also touching the way this community rallied in a special ceremony on the public square, downtown Smithville a few days after the tragedy. "I think it was a little bit of solidarity for us all to be together there in town on the square to recognize what had happened. It was moving to say the least and a great warming of the heart to be with our fellow citizens. That was a mementos day. I remember the flag they had brought down from Nashville and draped across the courthouse. It was a beautiful sunset. The bagpiper, the firemen, policemen, and all the emergency workers came in to the town square. There was patriotic music by the community chorus and the fantastic song that was unveiled by Aaron Tippin on that day "Where the Stars and Stripes the and Eagle Flies". It was a touchstone in my life and I'm sure everyone else's life. Its hard to believe a decade has come and gone and so much as happened in the world since. I can't get past those words in the song by Alan Jackson "Where were you when the world stopped turning". That really kind of sums it up. The circle of smoke and the helicopters around that Pentagon will be etched in my mind as long as I live. Those images are burned into my memory," said Driver.

Market Leadership Team Announced for Hospitals

September 8, 2011
Bill Little

A new market leadership team has been announced following the affiliation this summer of DeKalb Community Hospital (DCH) and Stones River Hospital (SRH) with Capella Healthcare. The new partnership united the two hospitals with Capella's White County Community Hospital (WCCH) to form a new regional entity designed to broaden care in the Upper
Cumberland Plateau.

Bill Little, who has served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for DCH and SRH since July 2009, has been promoted to Market CEO with responsibility for all three hospitals. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sarah Clark has moved up to Market CFO for the new entity and Eric Phillips, formerly Chief Nursing Officer for DCH, has been promoted to Market Chief Operating
Officer (COO).

Each of the three hospitals has a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), with Karen Hickey at Stones River Hospital, Robin Byler at White County Community Hospital, and Rick Gillentine joining DeKalb Community Hospital this month.

Bill Little, a native of Smithville, served as Chief Operating Officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center prior to joining DCH and SRH. Before that, he spent five years serving as Vice President of Financial Operations at Vanguard Health Systems in Arizona. While there, he also
served as the Chief Financial Officer for Arrowhead Hospital and Medical Center in Glendale, AZ. Little obtained his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.

Sarah Clark also worked at Cookeville Regional Medical Center prior to joining DCH and SRH, serving as Director of CRMC's MSO, where she directed operations for all of their employed physicians. Prior to that she was a principal in an accounting firm providing consulting and accounting services to physicians and other small businesses. She spent ten years with HCA working at the corporate office and in two facilities, Smyrna Medical Center and Livingston Regional Hospital. A Certified Public Accountant, Clark earned her B.S. degree in Accounting from Tennessee Technological University.

Prior to his promotion to Market COO, Eric Phillips served as CNO for DCH since 2009. Before that, he held nursing supervisor positions at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, University Medical Center (Lebanon) and Centennial Medical Center (Nashville). Phillips began his career in
healthcare as a paramedic. He earned a bachelor's degree in emergency management from Western Carolina University and a law degree from the Nashville School of Law. A decorated veteran, Phillips served with the U.S. Navy for four years in Sea Air Search and Rescue (Waterborne Rescue Operations), earning numerous awards.

Rick Gillentine, RN, joined DCH on September 1 as Chief Nursing Officer. He previously worked for StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna for seven years in a variety of positions, including Community Navigator, Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, and Assistant Director of Emergency Services. Gillentine also worked in nursing at Centennial Medical Center and Saint
Thomas Hospital in Nashville as well as River Park Hospital in McMinnville. He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Belmont

Karen Hickey, RN, has been CNO at SRH since 2010, overseeing all clinical departments and serving as program director for the geriatric psychiatric unit.

Robin Byler, RN, has been CNO at WCCH for five years, assisting with the hospital's transition to Capella Healthcare in 2008.

"We are excited about the strength of this leadership team and the opportunities they have before them to expand and enhance services throughout the region," said Mark Medley, President of Capella Healthcare's Hospital Division. "All three hospitals have a rich history
of providing high quality care and excellent service for their communities. We are confident they are well-positioned for success in the coming years."

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Capella Healthcare owns and/or operates 15 general acute-care hospitals in seven states. With the philosophy that all healthcare is local, Capella collaborates with each hospital's medical staff, board and community leadership to take care to the next level. The
company has access to significant leadership and financial resources, reinvesting 100% of net cash flow into its family of hospitals to strengthen and expand services and facilities.

Capella has five hospitals in Tennessee, including 71-bed DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville, 60-bed Stones River Hospital in Woodbury and 60-bed White County Community Hospital in Sparta as well as Grandview Medical Center in Jasper and River Park Hospital in McMinnville. For more information, visit the company's website at www.CapellaHealthcare.com.

Planning Commission Yet to Act on Site Plan for Proposed KFC/Taco Bell

September 7, 2011
Dwayne Page

Although plans are in the making for the return to Smithville of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Taco Bell , a combo restaurant, the Smithville Planning Commission has not yet acted upon a site plan for the project.

Wallace Caldwell, Chairman of the Planning Commission told WJLE that during the regular monthly meeting last week, the issue was on the agenda but since the site plan was not ready to be submitted for consideration, action was tabled until the next meeting.

"It was on the agenda but we just tabled it until the next time we meet (October) or if they have a special called session on it, said Caldwell.

"Right now the plans have not been submitted to the Smithville Planning Commission for approval for them to start any construction at the present time. There are a few preliminary things that they have to work out with the surveyors so we (planning commission) are at the place right now where they (KFC) are wanting to come here but we don't yet have the plans to look over to okay for them to go ahead and start their construction," said Caldwell

"With a site plan what we have to look for is to make sure they (KFC) have the adequate space for parking spaces required per square footage of the building, etc. We have to make sure there is adequate parking and that they have proper access to the highway, utilities, etc," said Caldwell

The proposed property for the business is located at East Broad Street and Oak Street near the former Estes Furniture Company and car wash locations. No land transaction on the property has yet been recorded at the Register of Deeds Office.

According to the deed restrictions on the site, currently owned by Tyree & Taylor Properties, LLC, "The property will not be used for restaurant or food service purposes for a period of 20 years from the date of December 26th, 1991, the effective date of the restrictive covenant granted to McDonald's Corporation by the Grantor. The term "food service purposes" means any retail business that provides a place where meals can be bought and eaten such as a McDonald's Restaurant." That restriction expires December 26, 2011.

Murfreesboro Man Charged with Domestic Assault

September 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Sladen Anthony Shagun
Zachary Nathaniel Hale
Daniel Ray Anderson
Joel Thomas Hayes
Cory Matthew Huffman

A Murfreesboro man was arrested Saturday after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend at Floating Mill campsite.

29 year old Sladen Anthony Shagun of Manchester Pike, Murfreesboro is charged with public intoxication and domestic assault. His bond totals $6,000 and he will be in court on September 22.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, a deputy was called to investigate a domestic violence complaint at the Floating Mill camp site on Saturday, September 3. After speaking to everyone involved, the deputy determined Shagun had assaulted his girlfriend, hitting her about the face with his fist. She had a swollen left eye, her nose was bleeding, and she had bruising on her right arm from an earlier assault that day. Upon speaking with Shagun, the officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person.

24 year old Zachary Nathaniel Hale of Meadowbrook Drive is charged with a first offense of
driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for improper passing, violation of the implied consent law, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on September 22

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, August 30, Hale was operating a vehicle on Highway 56 south near the Mystick Market when he passed an officer on a double yellow line. Hale's vehicle was also weaving on the roadway. After stopping the automobile, the officer spoke with the driver, Hale, and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Hale was asked to step out of the vehicle and to perform field sobriety tasks. Hale had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Hale performed poorly on all tasks. Hale refused to submit to a blood alcohol test, saying he would fail it. He admitted to drinking beer. A glass pipe was also found during the investigation which contained what is believe to be marijuana residue

51 year old Daniel Ray Anderson of Duck Pond Road, Sparta is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court. He was also issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court on September 22.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, August 30 a deputy stopped a vehicle on South Mountain Street, Smithville and informed the driver, Anderson that he had a capias or bench warrant against him. The bench warrant was for failure to appear in court February 3, 2010 on another charge of driving on a suspended license. The officer asked to see his license but Anderson said he thought they were suspended. A computer check revealed the license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on October 23, 2007 in Putnam County. He also had a prior charge of driving on a suspended license against him in Warren County.

33 year old Santos Menchu of Short Mountain Road, Smithville was issued a citation on September 1 for speeding, traveling 46 miles per hour in the 25 mile per hour zone at DeKalb West School; no drivers license; and violation of the financial responsibility law. He will be in court on September 22. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy spotted a vehicle traveling through the 25 miles per hour school zone at a high rate of speed. Menchu's speed was confirmed by radar. A computer checke revealed that Menchu only had an ID and no insurance.

33 year old Joel Thomas Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown is charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on October 6.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, September 2, a deputy saw a vehicle weaving while pulling a trailer on Highway 53 in Liberty. The vehicle crossed the center line three times and twice on the fog lane. The officer pulled over the automobile for failure to maintain the proper lane of travel. The deputy spoke to the driver, Hayes, and noticed that his speech was very slurred and his eye lids looked to be very heavy. Hayes submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. Hayes did submit to a blood alcohol drug test. Hayes was arrested for DUI and upon an inventory of the vehicle, the officer found two hollow ink pens containing residue; and a black plate with a white powdery substance. Hayes had in his possession prescription pills for oxycodone.

20 year old Cory Matthew Huffman of Northfield Boulevard, Murfreesboro is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, unlawful possession of a schedule VI drug for sale and delivery; and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He was issued a citation for violation of the light law. A total of four hundred dollars in his possession was also seized by the officer as evidence. Huffman's bond totals $10,000 and he will be in court on September 29

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, September 4, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 east for violation of the light law (head light out). Upon speaking with the driver, Huffman the officer noticed that he had red watery eyes. The deputy also detected a strong odor consistent with the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Huffman submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. Huffman did submit to a blood alcohol drug test. Huffman gave the deputy consent to search and the officer found in a cloth bag, several plastic baggies containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, and a small black digital scale. The approximate weight of the marijuana was 2.3 ounces.

Body of Child Recovered from Center Hill Lake

September 5, 2011
Dwayne Page
 Elizabeth Grace Hathaway
TWRA among others conducted search for missing child
Rescue squad and others searching for child near where she was last seen

A Labor Day outing on Center Hill Lake turned tragic for a Murfreesboro family Monday as the body of 10 year old Elizabeth Grace Hathaway was recovered from the lake around 6:15 p.m. near their houseboat at Hidden Harbor Marina. The child, who was not wearing a life jacket, was the victim of an apparent drowning, although an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that members of the Rutherford County Special Operations unit, using a sonar device, pinpointed the location of what they suspected was the body. Divers then went down and found the body of the child in about forty feet of water.

The body was near the back of the family's houseboat, which was docked at the marina. Witnesses reported having seen the child on the deck of the boat around 8:30 Monday morning, shortly before her disappearance.

After the family discovered her missing, they called 911 and the search effort began. Not knowing at the time whether the child had fallen into the lake or had wandered away from the houseboat and into the woods a search by ground and water was initiated and conducted throughout the day.

Searchers checked the woods and roads in the immediate area as well as vehicles parked in the vicinity. Any houseboats docked at the marina that were open or occupied were also searched.

DeKalb 911 placed automated reverse calls to residents in the area asking them to be on the look out for the child.

Among those taking part in the search either by ground or on the lake were members of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, the Sheriff's Department, DeKalb EMS, Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker, the DeKalb County Fire Department's Search and Rescue Team, the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, the Putnam County Rescue Squad and Dive Team, and the Rutherford County Special Operations unit and divers.

Special thanks to DeKalb Market and other individuals who supplied food and water to the searchers and to Hidden Harbor Marina for their assistance.

DeKalb County Election Commission Informs Voters of New Law

September 5, 2011
Dennis Stanley

The Tennessee General Assembly recently passed a law to make the elections process more secure. Beginning in 2012, voters must present identification bearing their names and photographs in order to vote, just as if they were
boarding an airplane or cashing a check.

The process is simple: voters who do not have valid photo IDs may obtain free photo IDs for voting from any participating Department of Safety driver service center across the state. And voters over the age of 60 who
have driver's licenses without photos and no other form of valid photo IDs for voting may have their photos added to their licenses free of charge.

County election commissions are making efforts now to get the message out about the changes well in advance of the 2012 elections.

"Our staff is prepared to help voters learn about the new requirements, and, if necessary, how to get a photo ID," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "We will do our best to ensure every voter is informed in plenty of time."

Examples of acceptable photo IDs, even if expired, include: a Tennessee driver's license with a photo, a United States passport, a Department of Safety photo ID, a United States military photo ID, a state-issued handgun carry permit, or any other photo ID issued by the federal or state government, except college student IDs.

"Local election administrators are working hard to prepare voters and poll workers," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "I am confident this law will be beneficial and can be implemented smoothly."

Some citizens will be exempt from the new law, including: absentee voters, residents of nursing homes or assisted living centers who vote at the facility, people who are hospitalized, people who have religious objections to being photographed and those who are indigent and unable to pay for photo IDs. Voters who do not bring photo IDs to the polls may vote with provisional ballots that will be counted if they return to their local election commission office and present a valid photo ID within two business days of the election.

For more information about the voting requirements, contact the DeKalb County Election Commission at 597-4146 or call Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections, or Andrew Dodd, Elections Specialist, in the state Division of
Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

Kidman Puckett Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 4, 2011
Dwayne Page
Kidman Puckett
DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants

The 2011 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Kidman Dawn Puckett

A senior, Puckett is the 17 year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendants are Johnna Rochele Roller, the 16 year old daughter of John and Michele Roller; and Taylor Marie Cantrell, the 17 year old daughter of Jeff and Renea Cantrell

Junior Attendant-Zoe Elaine Whaley, the 15 year old daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville.

Sophomore Attendant-Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty, the 15 year old daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards..

Freshman Attendant-Haley Marie Hale, 14 year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville.

Spirit week activities will be held September 6 -9 at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. September 9 against White County. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

(Bottom photo: top row left to right: Haley Hale, Zoe Whaley, Sarah Edwards; Bottom Row left to right: Taylor Cantrell, Kidman Puckett, and Johnna Roller)

Some Students Not Compliant with Immunization Law Could be Denied Admission to School

September 3, 2011
Dwayne Page
Dee Anna Reynolds

DeKalb County school officials are reminding parents of children in kindergarten and seventh grade whose shot records are not up to date that those students will not be allowed to attend class after a specified date unless they have the correct immunizations.

Under state law, "No children shall be permitted to attend any public school...until proof of immunization is given the admissions officer of the school". The new Tennessee Department of Health immunization rule went into effect July 1, 2010

School Health Coordinator Dee Anna Reynolds told WJLE Friday that letters are being sent to parents of students who have not yet complied with this law. "Right now we're in the process of notifying parents via letter, if their child's immunization record is not up to date. That is for seventh graders and kindergarten students at DeKalb West, DeKalb Middle, and Smithville Elementary School," said Reynolds.

"The bulk of those immunizations that aren't current and up to date are at the middle school. This comes in with the new Tennessee Department of Health immunization rule that went into effect July 1. That is for children entering seventh grade to have a second varicella shot, which is the chicken pox shot, unless they can show that they have had the chicken pox and they have immunity to the chicken pox, then they don't need to have that second shot. Students also need to have a booster shot called the TDAP immunization (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine)," said Reynolds

"Students who are not compliant and are receiving their first letter of notification have until September 16 to get compliant to get those immunizations. If not, then those students will not be allowed to come back to school after September 16. A few students have received a first or second letter and those students will have until September 9 to get compliant or they will not be allowed to come back to school after September 9. If you have questions, call the board of education at 597-4084," said Reynolds.

For those who have received a notification letter from the school system of non-compliance, you may obtain the required immunizations free of charge at the DeKalb County Health Department on Thursday, September 8 or Tuesday, September 13 from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

County Beer Board Delays Action on Potentially Controversial Permit Application

September 2, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jewel Redmon Addressing Beer Board (seated Dick Knowles and Mack Harney)
Beer Board members Jim Stagi, Frank Thomas, Harrell Tolbert
Beer Board members Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, Edward Frazier

Jewel Redmon will have to wait another month before he knows whether he will be able to sell beer at the old Pop's Market location on Cookeville Highway, a vacant store building he bought several weeks ago and has been refurbishing.

The DeKalb County Beer Board met Thursday night to consider the beer application, filed in the name of Viva Gail Johnson for the business to be known as Jewel's Market and Pizza, but the board deferred action until October 6th after discovering an error in the public notice published in a local newspaper. The address of the store building is 600 North Congress Boulevard. The address published in the notice was 7592 McMinnville Highway. A new public notice will be published giving the accurate address and the date, time and place of the next meeting.

DeKalb County has a rule forbidding the sale, storage and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 2,000 feet (or some lesser distance) of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering.

The problem in this case is that Redmon's store may be too close to the new First Assembly of God Church which was recently constructed on Highway 56 north.

According to Redmon, the store building is seventy feet short of meeting the distance requirements, measuring "as the crow flies" but he said it is in compliance if the measurement is taken by way of the highway.

Redmon said he believes the property ought to be grand fathered since the store building had long been there before the church and because of the fact that the former owner of the store had a beer license. The business, however, has been closed for several months and the license of the former owner has since expired. Redmon claims the board should take into consideration that the store property was tied up in bank foreclosure proceedings involving the former owner and no one could have bought the store and sold beer during that time. Redmon believes he should not be penalized because of that situation.

Redmon further claims that he has improved the value of the property and that even his closest neighbors to the store location don't object to his selling beer

And as for the distance requirement, Redmon pointed out that another store across the road (Village Market) is licensed to sell beer and that business is even closer to the church than his establishment. Beer board members explained that Village Market is in the city and Smithville has different distance regulations than the county.

Board members voted to ask county attorney Hilton Conger to render a legal opinion on this license application at the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Harrell Tolbert, Frank Thomas, Dick Knowles, Jim Stagi, Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, and Edward Frazier.


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