Local News Articles

Time to Get Your Flu Shot

November 5, 2015
Dwayne Page

It's time to roll up your sleeve for your annual flu shot.

Governor Bill Haslam said he hopes more Tennesseans will be vaccinated soon so they can reduce their risks of getting the flu themselves or possibly transmitting it to others. “It only takes a few minutes to get the vaccine through an injection or nasal spray and it is available in every county of Tennessee,” Governor Haslam said. “When a person gets immunized, he or she helps create a flu barrier that can help stop the spread of influenza to others.” Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, said it appears the flu season may be starting earlier this year and getting the vaccine as soon as possible will improve a person’s chances for avoiding or preventing the spread of the illness. “When we receive the flu vaccine, by either injection or nasal spray, protection doesn’t start immediately; it takes about two weeks for most,” Dreyzehner said. “Getting the flu shot early gives our bodies time to create that barrier that protects us and people around us.” Flu vaccine is now widely available across Tennessee in primary care offices, pharmacies, county health departments and other locations. The low-cost vaccine is covered by many health insurance plans and is available via injections and, if eligible, nasal spray.

The DeKalb County Health Department will be doing walk in flu clinics on November 9 & 30 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The DeKalb County Health Department accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Community Health Alliance, all forms of TennCare, Medicare, and individuals without insurance.

After getting your flu vaccination, it’s still important to practice good health habits to protect yourself from the flu and other winter viruses, and to prevent spreading them to others if you do get sick. Good health habits include frequent hand washing with soapy water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue. People who are sick should stay home to recover and to prevent spreading illness to co-workers, friends and others.

Veterans to be Honored during Upcoming Events

November 5, 2015
Dwayne Page
Veterans who attended last year's program at Smithville Elementary School
Local veterans to place wreath at memorial monument on Veterans Day

A Veterans Appreciation assembly program is set for Friday morning, November 6 at Smithville Elementary School in recognition of Veteran's Day.

Students from pre-K to the second grade will join in a program of patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.

All veterans and their families are urged to attend to be recognized. Please arrive at 9:15 a.m. to register. For more information call 615-597-4415.

Meanwhile, a Veteran's Day Program will be held at the County Complex on Wednesday, November 11. Music will begin at 9:00 a.m. featuring Susan Hinton. The flag will be presented by Pack 035 which includes Bear Den, Cub Scouts, and Weblos. The Guest speakers are Darrell Day, and Ben Franklin. Ben and his wife, Linda will recognize all veterans with a star from an American flag. Special recognition will be given to the WWII veterans. Afterwards, the veterans will enjoy a bus ride to the courthouse compliments of the School Board and the school bus garage for a laying of a wreath by American Legion Post 122 Commander William Edmonds and the veterans. Taps will be played.

Liberty State Bank will be having their 10th Annual Veterans Breakfast Tuesday November 10th. The breakfast will be held at the West Main Baptist Church Fellowship Building in Alexandria. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. They look forward to seeing all Veterans. Please call 615-529-2375 for more information.

City Expected to Enter Into Lease Agreement with DeKalb Animal Coalition

November 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Future Home of DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter

The City of Smithville is expected to enter into a lease agreement next month with the DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

The issue was discussed during Monday night's city council meeting. Although the aldermen favor an agreement they decided to postpone action until they have more time to study the contract.

Under the plan, the Coalition proposes to build a new animal shelter on a four acre site near the solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of Highway 70 east. The property, owned by the Smithville Industrial Development Board, has been deeded to the city, which will enter into a 99 year lease with the Coalition, a 501 (c) 3 charity organization.

The goal of the coalition is for the county to have a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.

The City of Smithville and DeKalb County have each pledged to appropriate $75,000 for the erection of a facility. The new shelter will take the place of a smaller one which has been in existence for years on county property but operated by the city behind the DeKalb County Highway Department Headquarters off Smith Road.

The city currently employs one full time person and one other person half time and also provides an animal control vehicle for the purpose of running the existing animal pound. Under the proposed agreement, the city will continue to provide the personnel and vehicle to assist in the day to day operation of the animal shelter to be erected by the Coalition.

The proposed lease/contract between the City of Smithville and the Animal Coalition specifies the following terms and conditions:

* The City is to lease to the Coalition the property for a term of 99 years beginning September 1, 2015 and ending August 31, 2114.

*The City shall pay to the Coalition the sum of $75,000 that has been appropriated for one-half of the anticipated cost for the erection of the animal shelter upon the land leased by the City to the Coalition.

*The Coalition shall be responsible for the erection of the building

*The City agrees to pay all utility bills connected with or which may accumulate directly or indirectly to Coalition's term of occupancy.

*The City agrees that it shall be liable for and make all maintenance and structural repairs for the outside of the building, including roof and the heating and air conditioning units, except if caused by the negligence of the Coalition. The Coalition shall be responsible for maintenance of the inside of the building.

*The City shall not be responsible for any personal property placed on the premises by the Coalition, its agents, servants or employees, and it is understood and agreed that it is the Coalition's responsibility to secure appropriate insurance to cover its personal property from any losses. Any personal property remaining on the premises 30 days after termination of this lease shall be and become the property of the City.

*The City shall insure the building with a reputable insurance company in a sufficient amount to replace the building if destroyed by natural disaster, fire, or other means.

*The City shall continue to provide to the Coalition the full time employee, as well as the part time employee and the animal control vehicle, to assist in the day-to day operation of the animal shelter and will budget funds for this purpose from year to year, subject to approval of the Coalition.

*The Coalition will maintain proper shelter and care for all domestic and wild animals and fowl that come into its custody.

*The Coalition will maintain suitable office hours at the animal shelter for the convenience of the public and for the purpose of transacting business in connection with the duties under this lease and for the purpose of receiving animals or for accepting applications for the redemption of impounded animals.

*The Coalition will, through duly appointed and legally qualified agents and officers, diligently enforce all animal regulation laws and ordinances and will capture and impound animals found running at large in the City in violation of those certain ordinances relating to stray animals and to the restraint of dogs running at large.

*The Coalition will provide proper food, water, shelter, and other humane treatment for such animals and fowl while they are in the Coalition's possession and until placed or otherwise humanely disposed of by the Coalition.

*The Coalition will cooperate with the Health Department by following procedures required by the ordinance concerning persons or animals bitten by an animal in the City.

*The Coalition will investigate all reports of violations of City ordinances relating to animal control and regulation and, when warranted by the facts, shall cause to be prosecuted all persons charged with violation of said ordinances.

*The Coalition will be responsible for scheduling and overseeing all volunteers and staff.

*The Coalition will be responsible for providing foster homes and the adoption of the animals.

*The Coalition agrees to indemnify and keep harmless the City from all losses, damages, liabilities and expenses which may arise or be claimed against the City and be in favor of any person arising from the use or occupancy of said premises by the Coalition or arising from any acts, omissions, neglect or fault of Coalition, Coalition's agent, employees or invitees.

*The Coalition agrees to take out and maintains public liability insurance with a reputable insurance company against property damage, personal injury, or death arising out of the use or occupation of the leased premises. The City shall be named as co-insured on all such policies, and Coalition shall furnish the City with a certificate of said coverage. Such coverage shall not be decreased or canceled without 30 days' written notice to the City. All such policies shall be written as primary policies. This section shall not affect the indemnity or hold harmless provision in Section 17.

*The Coalition will collect all board, adoption, and impoundment fees and shall keep proper financial records to account for same. The Coalition will permit the City, at all reasonable times, to inspect and audit such records and shall make such reports of monies received as shall be required.

*The Coalition shall keep full and accurate records of all animals taken into custody and impounded, showing the date, place, reason, and manner whereby animals were brought into custody with a description of the animal and a record of its final disposition.

*The Coalition shall, in addition to the other duties outlined herein, be subject to call to rescue any injured animal or any animal or creature which is trapped, or is other unnaturally restrained and shall be responsible for providing humane treatment for same.

*The City hereby reserves the right to inspect the premises occupied by Coalition at any reasonable time.

*In the event the property is destroyed by fire or other acts of God or perils, the City is obligated to rebuild the building with the insurance proceeds, and, when rebuilt, this lease shall continue. Upon destruction or condemnation of all or a portion of the demised premises, the Coalition shall have the right, at its sole discretion, to stay at the premises or to cancel this agreement, on 30 days' written notice without any further liability.

*In the event of failure of the Coalition to perform the terms and provisions of this lease, same shall constitute a breach of this lease and shall give the City, at option, the right to declare this lease forfeited, without notice or demand, and to take possession of said property and to recover any damages sustained as a result thereof, and, likewise, a failure on the part of the City to perform the terms and provisions of this lease shall give the Coalition the right to declare this lease forfeited and vacate said property without liability resulting from such breach.

*The property herein leased and the contract herein is not to be subleased, sold, mortgaged, or assigned by the Coalition, except with the written consent of the City. However, the City shall not unreasonably withhold or delay such consent.

*This agreement is to be governed by the laws of the State of Tennessee, and it is mutually understood and agreed to by the parties hereto that the City will defend this contract with all due and proper diligence should it be challenged by any action in law.

*City covenants and agrees with the Coalition that upon Coalition observing and performing all the terms, covenants, and conditions herein that the Coalition may peaceably and quietly enjoy the premises hereby demised.

*All covenants, promises, and agreements herein contained shall be binding upon, apply, and inure to the benefit of the devisees and successors of the parties hereto.

*This agreement contains the entire contract and agreement of the parties hereto and is signed in duplicate by the authorized officials of each party, with each party holding an executed copy hereof.

Man Who Eluded Authorities for a Month Apprehended

November 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Warren Brandon Glasby
Trooper Adam Cothron and Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Investigating Crash on September 15 at Liberty Involving Warren Glasby
Hillary Elizabeth Knowles
Christopher Alan Medlin
Heather Alice Luffman
Jess Christopher Zaderiko
 Winston Morelock
Dustin Allen Sullivan
Ernest Willard Dodd, Jr.
Gracie Colwell
Frank Ervin Morris

A Liberty man who eluded authorities for several weeks, having been involved in two separate law enforcement pursuits and crashes before escaping on foot, has finally been arrested.

32 year old Warren Brandon Glasby of Clear Creek Road, Liberty was taken into custody on Wednesday, October 28. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has him charged with felony evading. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has him charged and cited for various offenses including leaving the scene of an accident (2 counts), failure to exercise due care, failure to give information and render aid (2 counts), and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). 30 year old Juanita Young of Smithville, alleged in the warrant to be his wife, also has him charged with assault.

Glasby made an appearance in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on Thursday, October 29 but his cases were continued until Thursday, November 5. He is to be represented by the district public defender's office. His bond totals $33,500.

In the assault case, the warrant states that "Glasby and Juanita Young, who are married got into an argument on Friday, September 11. Glasby did have a knife and held her down on the bed and started punching her and then he pushed her through the door. He then hit her in the head with an amplifier and fan".

Four days later, a county deputy spotted Glasby in a pickup truck and tried to stop him. Young was a passenger with Glasby.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the incident began to unfold at 12:37 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15 when the Sheriff's Department received a call from central dispatch in reference to a wanted person. "Dispatch stated that Warren Glasby of Clear Creek Road, Liberty had an assault warrant out of DeKalb County and that he had just picked up the victim from the complainant's home in White County enroute to DeKalb County in a green 2004 Ford Explorer," he said.

"A DeKalb County deputy made contact with the vehicle on Highway 53 in Liberty and observed it pass several cars and take off at a high rate of speed. The officer activated his blue lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the automobile and pursued it onto highway 70 heading west. The suspect then attempted to turn onto Old Highway 96 but due to his high rate of speed, he lost control of the vehicle and it flipped several times, ejecting the female occupant (Young). Glasby then fled on foot toward Highway 96. Officials of the Tennessee Highway Patrol came to the scene to work the accident," said Sheriff Ray.

The wreck was investigated by Trooper Adam Cothron and Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Young, the passenger of Glasby's vehicle was airlifted from near the scene and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The September 15 incident resulted in the felony evading charge against Glasby. The THP also charged him with leaving the scene of an accident. The warrant states that " Glasby was being pursued by a DeKalb County Sheriff's Department deputy when he turned onto Old State Route 96 from Highway 70 and lost control. Glasby's vehicle overturned and went off an embankment and rolled into a field. During the crash, Glasby's front seat passenger was thrown out of the vehicle through the front windshield causing injuries. Glasby fled on foot. He did not remain with the wrecked vehicle and injured passenger."

Another THP warrant against Glasby alleges that "he failed to give any of his information and he did not render any aid to her (passenger involved in the wreck) though she received critical injuries".

Almost a month later, Glasby was involved in a separate pursuit and crash near Alexandria.

According to the warrants, a Smith County deputy got in pursuit of Glasby on Saturday, October 10 at 12:20 a.m. The pursuit continued into DeKalb County to Goose Creek Road where Glasby drove off the right side of the road into a fence causing damage to both the vehicle and fence. He and a passenger of the automobile both fled the scene.

As a result of the Goose Creek crash, Glasby is charged or cited for failure to exercise due care, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, failure to give information and render aid, and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).

In other cases, 24 year old Hillary Elizabeth Knowles and 25 year old Christopher Alan Medlin both of Oak Place Drive, Smithville have been charged with burglary, theft, and violation of probation. They were arrested on Tuesday, October 27. Bond for each is $11,000 and they will appear in court on January 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on September 13 Knowles and Medlin allegedly broke into an outbuilding at a residence on Oak Place Drive and took property valued at $550 including a Troybilt pressure washer and a tool box full of various tools. Medlin allegedly admitted to selling the stolen property. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

28 year old Heather Alice Luffman of Johnson Chapel Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. She is under a $2,500 bond and she will make a court appearance on November 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday October 27 a deputy responded to a domestic disturbance call at a residence on Johnson Chapel Road. Upon arrival the officer spoke to Luffman and her husband who had gotten into an argument over supper. The deputy learned that Luffman allegedly grabbed a pot of boiling water and threw it at her husband burning his stomach. She was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was charged in the case.

41 year old Jess Christopher Zaderiko of Green Acres Drive, Smithville is charged with theft of property. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on September 4 Zaderiko allegedly broke into a residence and took a wedding band set and pawned it for $200 at a pawn shop in Warren County. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

69 year old Winston Morelock of Nashville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court November 19. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 29 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Medlin Drive in answer to a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who said that her stepfather, Morelock had assaulted her. After asking him several times to leave, the woman claims Morelock grabbed her by the arm and tried to pull her out the door. The officer observed blood on her arm and blood on Morelock's fingernails.

20 year old Dustin Allen Sullivan of Jackson Street, Smithville and 20 year old Ernest Willard Dodd, Jr. of Highland Drive, Smithville are each charged with burglary and theft over $10,000. Each is under a $10,000 bond and they will make a court appearance November 5.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 22 Sullivan allegedly broke into a building on Sink Creek Road and took several mechanics tools including wrenches, rachets, sockets, and pliers valued at more than $12,000. Tools from the victim's property were later found in the homes of both Sullivan and Dodd.

67 year old Gracie Colwell of Petty Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. Her bond is $15,000 and she will be in court November 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 31 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Petty Road in response to a complaint of someone shooting at another person. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Colwell who said she allowed her son to drive her car and became upset after learning he was going to Nashville in it. Colwell's son told the officer that he and his mother began arguing at the residence and that as he was leaving she came out of a bedroom with a 22 caliber pistol. After going outside toward the car, the man said Colwell followed after him and began firing rounds toward him. As he jumped in the vehicle and drove away toward a neighbor's house, Colwell continued firing shots at him and in the direction of other homes in the area. Colwell was placed under arrest.

48 year old Frank Ervin Morris of Gene Vaughn Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance December 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 31 a deputy responded to a residence on Gene Vaughn Road in reference to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who said that her boyfriend, Morris grabbed her hair and began jerking her around after she denied him sex. As she fought to get away Morris allegedly punched her in the back of the head causing a large lump on the top of her head. Morris was placed under arrest.

Alexandria Fire Department Preparing to Survey Response Area

November 3, 2015
Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge

Members of the Alexandria Fire Department are preparing to conduct a survey of residents in the city limits of Alexandria and five miles into DeKalb County. The purpose of this survey is to satisfy the requirements of a Community Development Block Grant from the State of Tennessee. If awarded the grant, funds would be used to purchase a new fire engine for the Alexandria Fire Department which will replace a nearly forty year old truck.

Surveys will be completed by phone and door-to-door by members of the Alexandria Fire Department. Households are chosen at random to accurately represent the entire service area of the department. The survey will only take a few minutes and it asks questions about demographics as well as what range your total annual household income falls into.

Surveys will begin November 1st and last until the end of the year. If any residents have questions or concerns about the survey contact Fire Chief Brian Partridge at 615-308-1615 or Assistant Chief John Partridge at 615-587-3940 or email PartridgeJ@Alexandria-Fire.com.

Tigers to Host Chattanooga Christian in State Play-Offs

November 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Tigers to Host Chattanooga Christian in State Play-Offs

The DeKalb County Tigers closed out the regular season Friday night with a 69-3 win over the visiting Cannon County Lions on Senior Night in Smithville.

The victory gives DeKalb County a 7-3 record and they finished the region in second place with a 5-1 mark.

DeKalb County will host Chattanooga Christian in the first round of the Class 3A state play-offs Friday night, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville.

The Chargers are 7-3 overall and 3-2 in their region. Under TSSAA rules, admission for the game will be $8.00 per person.

Mark Collins Named Smithville Police Chief

November 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mayor Jimmy Poss congratulates Mark Collins on being named Smithville Police Chief.

The City of Smithville has a new Police Chief.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting the Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to hire Mark Collins as chief. He will assume the duties within the next two weeks. Collins has served as the Alexandria Police Chief since 2006.

"I look forward to serving the people of Smithville and working with the Smithville Police Department. I think there is a fine group of young officers here and I am honored and blessed to have this opportunity. I look forward to getting in here and doing the citizens of Smithville some good," said Collins after the meeting.

Collins was one of three applicants for the job. Patrolman Matt Farmer of the Smithville Police Department had also applied along with Algood Police Chief Gary Harris.

The mayor and aldermen held a 90 minute forum Saturday at city hall to interview each applicant. Collins, Harris, and Farmer were brought in separately and given about 30 minutes each to answer questions.

Collins, a resident of McMinnville Highway, Smithville, worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department from 1995 through 2006, where over the years he served as deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Collins was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1988-90. He graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1983 and attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville from 1983-85.

Collins said while he is looking forward to this career move, he will miss the people of Alexandria. "The residents of Alexandria have been a blessing to me. I have enjoyed working there. They have been good to me and hopefully I have been good for them. I have made friends there I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will hate to leave Alexandria but this is a lot closer to home. It's a bigger challenge and I think it was the thing for me to do," said Collins.

In other business, the aldermen authorized Fire Chief Charlie Parker to apply for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase up to $50,000 in equipment for the fire department. If approved, the city would have to pay a five percent match or up to $2,500. Funds are allocated in the fire department budget to cover the costs.

Chief Parker also announced that Robin Summers and Kim Johnson have begun their 90 day probationary period in becoming members of the volunteer fire department.

The aldermen voted to hire Tyler Patterson as a patrol officer in the police department.

The aldermen voted to accept a bid from King's Firearms and More Law Enforcement Division in Columbia to purchase thirteen fully stocked semi-automatic Smith & Wesson assault rifles for the police department. The total cost is $18,223. This was the only bid received.

Local Minister to Retire

November 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Bill and wife Joyce Robertson
Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Held Retirement Reception Sunday for Minister Bill Robertson. Pictured with his wife Joyce
Bible-Shaped Cake

After ministering there for almost 30 years, Bill Robertson will preach his last sermon as pastor next Sunday, November 8 at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The church honored Robertson Sunday, November 1 with a retirement reception.

While he has enjoyed his years at Elizabeth Chapel, Robertson told WJLE that retirement time has come. "I never thought I would get to it (retirement). I have some solemn thoughts about the day. I've thought about Monday, November 9 which will be my first day after my actual retirement. I won't have anywhere to go. I won't have an office to go to. I won't have anything to do. On the other hand I have to admit that I look forward to maybe not having anything to do for a while. Maybe I'll be able to use an old fishing boat that I just bought. I intend to continue to preach as people will allow me or invite me. I won't be completely useless but I am looking forward to the day. It's time. I am 72 years old now and the time has come for me to slow down a little bit. I preached my first sermon on March 23, 1963. I have been pastoring churches for 50 years. I've been here more than half of that time in Tennessee," he said.

Robertson shared how he came to be pastor of the church. "It's a good story. My son, Bill had met a fellow from here in Smithville when he was at Belmont College in those days. He came to Smithville to visit in this fellow's home over the weekend on a few occasions and the father of the guy he came home with knew about Elizabeth Chapel and told Bill about it. He (Bill) wrote a letter to the Director of Missions here in DeKalb County and that's how it all started," said Robertson.

After almost 30 years, Robertson now holds the distinction of being the second longest tenured minister of Elizabeth Chapel. "I'm number 2 on the list. A fellow by the name of Whitlock pastored Elizabeth Chapel for 33 years as I am told back when they were down on Holmes Creek. Those were the days of maybe meeting once or twice a month. I really don't know. But it's quite a bit different living right here and being here all day long everyday with three regular services a week. But yeah, I'm number 2. I thought I might try to hang on til 30 years. That would be in July. But I don't want to be just a hanger on. I don't want to just be picking up a paycheck and so forth. If I'm tired and not doing everything I think I need to do it was time to leave so that's what I'll do," he said

A native of Florida, Robertson said he and his wife plan to continue living in Smithville. "We live here. We own a house here. My wife taught school here in DeKalb County for 19 years after we married. All but two of my children live in Tennessee now and one of the two (not here) is moving back here as soon as they can. This is kind of a central location. I like it here so we plan to stay in Smithville as long as you will have us," Robertson continued.

Robertson said he and his family love the people here and the community has been supportive through good times and sad times. "Smithville has been extremely gracious to me. In times of great happiness and in some pretty sad times that we have had since we've been here, Smithville has stepped up and really been our friends. You have supported, prayed for, and ministered to us when we had needs. I've enjoyed getting to know so many people. My dad would come to town and we would ride around town together and people would wave at us and I'd wave back. He asked me one day "do you really know all those people or is that just the way it's done in Smithville?" I said dad that is the way it's done in Smithville but on the other hand I know a lot of them. I have enjoyed being a part of the community. Smithville has been a very enjoyable place for me to live and you all have welcomed my wife. After my first wife died and Joyce and I married you welcomed her and I appreciate that so much," he said.

Robertson said he has been honored to have witnessed the growth of Elizabeth Chapel in the last three decades. "Elizabeth Chapel has grown. No doubt about it. We've got a good group. A good fellowship of people at Elizabeth Chapel and between them and what the Lord has done I've had the privilege to pastor a growing church for almost 30 years." he said

"I'd just like to thank you for loving me and my family. I'm just thankful for God putting me here. I'll never forget all the experiences I've had. Thanks for letting me just say to Smithville thank you. Continue to pray for us. We'll be here and help you anyway we can. It's been a really good time," Robertson concluded.

(UPDATED) New Police Chief to be Named Monday Night

October 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen held Interviews for Police Chief Saturday
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins
Algood Police Chief Gary Harris
Patrolman Matt Farmer of Smithville Police Department

The City of Smithville may soon have a new Police Chief.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Mayor Jimmy Poss is to make a recommendation on the hiring of a new chief from the three applicants who have applied. The aldermen are then expected to take a vote.

The applicants are Mark Collins, Gary Harris, and Matt Farmer. Collins is currently the Alexandria Police Chief. Harris , a former member of the Smithville Police Department, serves as the Algood Police Chief. Farmer is a patrolman for the Smithville Police Department.

The mayor and aldermen held a 90 minute forum Saturday at city hall to interview each applicant. Collins, Harris, and Farmer were brought in separately and given about 30 minutes each to answer questions.

Collins, a resident of McMinnville Highway, Smithville, has served as Police Chief for the City of Alexandria since 2006. Prior to that he worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department from 1995 through 2006, where over the years he served as deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Collins was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1988-90. He graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1983 and attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville from 1983-85.

"I'm a person who likes to be seen in the community not just in the police department," Collins told the mayor and aldermen during his interview. " I want people to know that they can come up and say "Hey Chief Collins, can you help me out?" Where I'm at now (Alexandria) people call me all the time and say things like "Hey, we're going to be out of town next week can you do an extra patrol?". You know it's the little things like that. And I'm sure that happens here but I believe once you gain the trust of the community as a leader, they expect that to go down to the police officers and over a period of time when that does, once you gain the trust of the community you can do just about anything as a police department," Collins continued.

"There are a whole lot of people in Smithville and there are only a few of us (officers) and when all of those eyes and ears get information to us we can get a lot done. The investigative side of any department is very important because your patrol officers are answering calls and writing reports. But the detective or investigation side of any department has to be your go-getters. They are the ones who have to get out and scratch and claw, go talk, and put the pieces of the puzzle together. There may be pieces of that puzzle missing so they are the ones who has to find them. That's what I enjoy doing. I enjoy the drug (investigation) work. I enjoy the detective work. I like to work closely with them (detectives). I know as a Chief you have other obligations and you have an entire city to manage but staying in good communication with your detectives and prioritizing what cases we need to work on is important and then when drugs arise after you gain the trust of the community and people feel like they can tell us (police) something then we can work on the drugs (problem) because we're going to be getting information. We know it already. I mean if you do your homework, you're going to know who is doing what (drug activity) but that little bit on intel (intelligence) from the public might give us the piece of the puzzle we need to make a bust or to get a buy and go from there," said Collins

Harris has worked for the Algood Police Department since 2004 where he has risen in the ranks from patrolman to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and now chief of police. Harris worked for the Smithville Police Department from 2001 to 2004 where he served as patrolman, detective, and sergeant. Harris began his law enforcement career in 1987 as a patrolman for the Cookeville Police Department. From there he went to work for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department as a deputy in 1994. The following year Harris became owner and private investigator of Investigations Unlimited. Four years later the Monterey Police Department hired him as a patrolman. He was later promoted to detective and sergeant. Harris served in the United States Navy as a Personnelman 3rd Class from 1983 to 1986. He graduated from Putnam County Senior High School in 1983 and attended the City College of Texas and City College of Chicago in 1985. Harris is a resident of Cookeville.

"I have dedicated my life to law enforcement," said Harris during his interview. " I worked in Smithville from 2001 to 2004. I loved it here. I love the people. I love the community. I love the police department. When I saw that you had an opening I thought I'd like to come back. I am a strong believer in community oriented policing. We do several programs now in Algood for the community. We work around the schools quite a bit. We work with the churches. We're just out there all the time trying to make a difference. I'd like to do that here. I did some detective work when I was here in Smithville. I worked well with the TBI drug task force guys and I still have an active program now dealing with a lot of prescription drugs in Algood. We do the best we can with it. I'd like to see it (drugs) all gone. When I was here before drugs were a big issue. We can work with the TBI drug task force guys and they will bring us up to speed on all the new and latest, greatest stuff to do everything we can to get rid of it," said Harris.

Farmer has been a member of the Smithville Police Department since February, 2008. In addition to patrolman, Officer Farmer serves as General Department Instructor and is responsible for the training of all officers. Farmer began his law enforcement career with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department in Cookeville in August 1993 where over the years he served as correctional officer, assistant jail administrator, patrol officer, school resource officer, lieutenant/jail administrator, and criminal investigator. From October 2006 until February 2008 Farmer worked for the White County Sheriff's Department in Sparta where he served as patrol officer and narcotics investigator. Farmer graduated from Lookout Valley High School at Chattanooga in 1986 and attended Tennessee Tech in Cookeville from 1986-88. He resides in Cookeville.

"I love what I do. I love helping people," Officer Farmer told the mayor and aldermen during his interview. " I fully believe in protecting and serving. I think we've lost some of the serving part over time. I think there is a grand opportunity in Smithville. We have a lot of trust in the community already. I'm not afraid to go out and talk to people and get answers that we need to make this a better community. This is what I was prepared to do was be a police officer. And I have learned a lot and studied hard. I am at a point in my career where I can take these young men that we have in the department now and guide them in a direction that you want to see in your community. A police department you want to see and a relationship with the people in the community. When you (mayor and aldermen) look back at the end of your tenure I want you to be able to say we made a good decision (hiring new chief). To be able to say this is a place that my grandkids, my kids, and my parents feel safe. That's what I'd like to bring to Smithville," said Officer Farmer.

All three applicants pledged to have better communication within the police department, to work well with other local and state law enforcement agencies, and to have more involvement with the schools and community.

The new police chief will succeed former chief Randy Caplinger who was ousted earlier this year by the mayor and majority of the aldermen and who lost a court battle for reinstatement or back pay last Thursday. Captain Steven Leffew has been acting as Officer in Charge of the Police Department in the absence of a chief.

Center Hill Historical Marker Dedicated (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 31, 2015
Lee Roberts,Nashville District Public Affairs
Center Hill Historical Marker Dedicated (Photo by Mark Rankin)

Local community leaders and Corps officials dedicated a new Tennessee state historical marker Tuesday that highlights the technical significance of Center Hill Dam and Powerhouse and the project’s authorized purposes, which include recreation, hydropower, and flood risk reduction.

During the unveiling ceremony at the Center Hill Dam Maintenance Facility, Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, recognized that the dam and powerhouse are historically representative of the federal flood control power development of the early post World War II era.

“Center Hill is historically significant because the structure makes it eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and the historical marker we’re putting up will be the first one put up on any Nashville District dam in Tennessee,” Murphy said.

Murphy noted that the Corps used state-of-the-art structural design materials and state-of-the-art power generation equipment of the period to build this historically significant dam.

“The engineering that was done without computers, with slide rules and hand-drawn drawings is truly phenomenal to me,” Murphy said.

On a rainy day that demonstrated the value of the dam capturing water runoff in its reservoir, local officials talked about the many benefits of the project.

Tennessee State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, District 40, said it’s important to preserve the history of the dam and to be knowledgeable of how the dam still provides important resources to local citizens and tourists.

“Since 1951 Center Hill Power Plant has produced hydroelectric power that is marketed by the Southwestern Power Administration and sold to utility companies,” Weaver said. “So not only is it a historical marker, it provides juice and electricity for many, many Tennesseans most efficiently, and it also preserves a beautiful lake and a landmark for people to come (recreate).”

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling said that since the dam’s impoundment 65 years ago, the lake has provided tremendous economic and recreational impact to regional communities.

“Center Hill Lake now has over three million visitors per year,” Stribling said. “These visitors provide an economic impact of over $70 million to our local economy, and that says so much for the lake and for the Corps.”

Stribling added that whether someone is fishing, swimming or boating on the lake, or trout fishing on the Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam, Center Hill provides many recreational opportunities to visitors. He also mentioned that there are nine marinas that provide first-class amenities to the public.

“Many people have moved here because of the recreational opportunities at Center Hill Lake,” Stribling said. “And I can directly say that without Center Hill Lake, DeKalb County, wouldn’t be the same county that it is. But with Center Hill Lake it makes DeKalb County a great place of which to live, work and play.”

Construction of Center Hill Dam began in 1942, but World War II delayed its completion until 1951. The 246-foot-high and 2,160-foot-long dam impounds 64 miles of the Caney Fork River and is one of 10 dams the Nashville District operates and maintains within the Cumberland River Basin.

“This one in particular is one of the district’s largest water storage projects… the impact this on has just in flood control is pretty phenomenal,” Murphy said. “It holds back millions of acre feet of water… that we can use in times of heavy rain to prevent flooding downstream.”

Olga Beddingfield, operations manager for the Nashville District’s Mid-Cumberland Area, said Congress authorized the project in the Flood Control Act of 1938 to regulate river flows to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Beddingfield said since the Corps built Center Hill Dam it has played an integral role in transforming the social and economic conditions in the region, reduced major flooding events along the Cumberland River, saved countless lives, and protected industrial and agricultural areas downstream.

“Center Hill Lake and Dam provide a great resource to the local community and provide a way of life for those who choose to call this area home,” Beddingfield said.

The Nashville District operates nine hydropower plants and 28 hydropower units in the Cumberland River Basin, which produce about 3.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Sales of this electricity yield about $40 million each year in revenue for the U.S. treasury.

Center Hill Powerhouse contains three main turbine generators with a combined rated capacity of 135,000 kilowatts, enough to power 12,000 homes, which reduces the cost of electricity during peak periods of the daytime. The three units can supply the needs of an average city of 125,000.

The Corps awarded a $47.25 million contract to Voith Hydro in June 2014 to rehabilitate the hydropower units at Center Hill Dam and recently disassembled the first unit in the early stages of the project.

The historical marker will now be placed at the Center Hill Dam overlook next along Tennessee Highway 96/141, which is located beside a parking lot before crossing the dam.

(PICTURED ABOVE: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District dedicates a Tennessee State Historical Marker at Center Hill Dam Oct. 27, 2015. Left to right are David Nixon; Olga Beddingfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mid-Cumberland Area Operations manager; Jodie Craig, Center Hill Power Plant superintendent; Tennessee State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, District 40; Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Tim Stribling, Dekalb County mayor; and Center Hill Lake Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla. (Photo by Mark Rankin)


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