DeKalb County High School’s Project Graduation Committee is hosting the First Annual DeKalb County Talent Show, “DeKalb’s Got Talent”, on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 7:00pm at the County Complex Community Theater. One lucky winner will receive a $250 Cash Prize as well as an additional People’s Choice Award Winner. All proceeds will support Project Graduation for graduating seniors of DCHS.
“We are hoping for the community to come out and support the show and have a great time helping Project Graduation. The program (Project Graduation) was designed to keep students off of the road and safe from harm as they celebrate their graduation together. Project Graduation's mission is to provide a free-of-charge, safe, supervised, alcohol and drug free, all night event for each graduating class,” Volunteer Judith Hale commented, “It takes lots of business and community support to raise the money needed to make this a success for our seniors. We appreciate every dollar that is given.”
Businesses such as DeKalb Community Hospital have stepped up to the plate to do their part. “It was a no-brainer when we heard that the high school needed our help with this event”, Marketing Director, Shan Burklow commented, “It is important that our seniors have safe activities available to them on a night that symbolizes their future. We are proud to sponsor ‘DeKalb’s Got Talent’ and ask that our friends and neighbors come out to support such a worthy cause.”
Ages 6 to adult are encouraged to participate in the talent show as individuals or as a team to win the $250 Cash Prize or the People’s Choice Award based on audience response. Any family-friendly talent is permitted. Contestants are asked to sign-up at the door starting at 6:00pm. Tickets are available at the door only ($3 Adults $2 Children 12 and under). For more information, contact Judith Hale at (615) 464-7810 or Shan Burklow at (615) 594-2792.
A fire early Tuesday morning destroyed a vacant brick home at 1081 Hurricane Ridge Road, belonging to the Federal Mortgage Home Loan company.
County Fire Chief Donny Green said a neighbor saw the flames and reported it just before 3:00 a.m.
Members of the Cookeville Highway, Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and tanker truck responded but could not save the structure. The sheriff's department and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene but no one was injured.
No one lived at the residence. The cause of the fire is undetermined.
With the swimming season about to begin, the City of Smithville is working to get the pool ready to open.
During Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Jimmy Poss said the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville has been asked to come back and fix cracks that have developed in the pool since their repair work during the spring of 2011. The city has a three year warranty and the company is apparently liable for work called for under the contract which was warrantied but not done properly. "The pool guy came up today (Monday). We had a real good meeting with him. He will call before he comes back. We told him we wanted the work done just as quick as possible. He said it would take a day and a half and he would be out of there. But we have to pressure wash it first. The pool is empty. We drained it and we'll pressure wash it,' said Mayor Poss.
Meanwhile the new restrooms and showers will soon be completed at the pool. The building will have two commodes and a sink in both the men and women's side and two showers will be installed on the outside of the structure. Most of the work on the restrooms is being done by city public works employees. "The bathrooms at the pool, we've got them dried in. We've got them basically plumbed. We've done all the work except the plumbing part. We got a certified contractor to do the plumbing. It hasn't cost us a whole lot of money," said Mayor Poss.
Pool operator Tony Poss said he is hoping the pool can be ready to open by May 11.
Having been in office for almost forty two years, Liberty Mayor J. Edward Hale holds the distinction of being the current longest serving elected public official in DeKalb County.
It was his love for the town he was born and raised in that inspired him to seek the office in 1971 and with the help of many townspeople who have served on the city council down through the years, Hale has worked to improve streets and sidewalks, restore local landmarks, and preserve history for future generations
Even before his time as mayor, Hale found other ways of serving the public. Hale spent many years as an educator in the school system and he once held a rural carrier position in the postal service. Though he is not one to brag on himself, Hale is proud of his accomplishments. It was for his years of leadership and devotion to his community and county that Hale was presented the Leadership DeKalb "Legacy Award" last week during the annual membership banquet of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.
While he doesn't mind talking about his life, Hale would rather not mention his age. He did, however just celebrate his birthday on April 3. The son of John Hale and Sadie Bratten Hale, he was born in what is known as the old Bratten House near Salem Baptist Church. The home still stands today. When he was six months old, Hale said his parents moved to another house in town, a home that was built around 1820 and remains one of the oldest houses in Liberty.
A graduate of Liberty High School, Hale furthered his education at Cumberland College, where he received an education degree. Hale later earned his Masters Degree at MTSU.
Shortly after completing his studies at Cumberland College, Hale got his first teaching job at Pisgah, where he served for one year before joining the U.S. Air Force on his birthday in 1942. After being honorably discharged from the service in December 1945, Hale spent two years in the fruit tree business in Danville Virginia before settling down back home in Liberty where he married Gloria Hobson in 1950 and resumed his teaching career.
Hale taught at the Dismal school and then moved to Liberty High School where he became teacher and later principal. After consolidation of the high schools in the county, Hale taught at the Liberty Elementary School. During those years at Liberty, Hale even tried his hand at coaching basketball. "We won the county tournament one year. It was the first time Liberty had ever done that," he said. While he enjoyed teaching, Hale found there was more money to be made in other occupations. "I was just carried away with teaching. It got in my blood. I taught school for a pretty good while and then a rural route came available here. The pay was so low in the school business. It was so much better in the rural route. I just had to try it. So I got that job and served as a rural carrier for ten years. But I would pass a school house and see the kids playing. I felt I ought to be there with them," he said. Hale eventually returned to the school system and retired as attendance supervisor in 1992.
In the years after the high schools were consolidated, the old Liberty High School began to deteriorate to the point where it became unuseable. Concerned about restoring the building, Hale made that a priority when he ran for and was elected mayor in 1971. "The city bought it after the consolidation. But up until we started (renovating) it wasn't useable. You'd get wet in here if it rained. This building would have been gone in a little while,' said Hale. " That's really what motivated me to come in as mayor. I thought it would be terrible for that old building to just go down. When I first came in, the town didn't have any money. So I got the council to borrow some money. Everybody cooperated on it. I got a grant and got started on the building. We finally got a roof on it. One wall was gone from the leaks. Through the grants, I got a company from Nashville to come in to do restucco work. Later on, we finally got the windows put in. Eventually, we got it in pretty good shape," said Hale.
Today, the building houses the town's senior center, library, meeting room for the mayor and aldermen, and a History room which contains old photographs, newspapers, and other historical artifacts pertaining to the city and county. Hung along the walls in the main hallway of the building are old Liberty High School class pictures dating as far back as the 1920's.
Improving streets and sidewalks also ranked high on Hale's to do list when he first became mayor. "At that time, the town hadn't had any repairs in a long time. The sidewalks were all broken up. Streets were in bad shape. With the help of the council, we did great things with the little town in building it back up. It was going down pretty bad. We got the sidewalks built on both sides all the way up main street. We did our roads and we've kept the streets up in pretty good shape. Now, they're pushing babies on strollers and walking in pretty weather up and down the streets here. Meeting each other. Its really made it nice," he said.
Through his association with UCHRA, UCDD, and other entities, Mayor Hale has taken advantage of many grant opportunities for funding city projects over the years. "I got interested in the UCDD and UCHRA. Every program that came along, I was there trying," said Hale. "We got a program way back called the Green Thumb. A man (who worked in the program) would come around town and see to the needs of several people who were shut in and a few were blind. He would check on them everyday or take them to the store or wherever they needed to go. That was his job. It was a great help to the community," said Hale.
"At one time the people didn't have any place much to meet. We got the idea of a community center. It was probably the first one in the county. I got with my council. We called a community meeting and designed the community center. Its turned out real well. People come here from outside of the area now and rent it a lot. We've kept it up in pretty good shape," said Hale.
Liberty also has its own fire engine and fire hall thanks to the leadership of Mayor Hale.
While he and the council have agreed on most projects over the years, there have been times when Mayor Hale has resorted to a little friendly persuasion to make things happen. "We had a retired preacher on the council one time. He didn't want to spend any money. I got the money to build this tennis court down here through a grant. When I brought it up, he said no I'm not going to vote to waste money on a tennis court. I said okay, Alexandria will get that money and they will have a nice tennis court. He said well go ahead and get it then," he said.
The city has also established zoning in recent years, which doesn't always sit well with some town folk. "We've set up a zoning board. That's tough in a little town," said Mayor Hale.
Some may consider Mayor Hale himself to be a little conservative when it comes to spending local funds, but he doesn't necessarily mind that brand. "I guess they've tried to tack onto me that I'm slow to spend money. But I want to spend on things that will be worth something and when I go out as mayor I want there to be money to use because there wasn't when I came in," he said.
Mayor Hale said while much has been accomplished in his four decades as mayor, he would like to have seen more services provided. "We don't have sewage. We tried to get it during the days of Model Cities. We had a survey run but it was too expensive. That just killed our chances of getting it. We do share a water system with Dowelltown. We had one well furnishing all the water we needed but the state wanted us to dig another one so we have two now," he said.
"We were never able to get the financing it takes to develop the upstairs (of the Liberty High School building)," said Mayor Hale. "The seats up there are in good shape. It seats a hundred people or more. I had an idea of trying to develop that and I had a committee to work with me to have a community meeting place but we had to have an elevator so I gave up on that part of it," he said.
Even with all the improvements that have been achieved over the years, Mayor Hale is perhaps most proud that Liberty remains a quiet, peaceful town of good neighbors. "We have these old houses up and down main street. A lady visited here from Oklahoma one time and we took her around over town. She said you know, this main street is a Norman Rockwell picture," he said.
"Its been a good little place to live. If you live here, you can't imagine the turmoil going on in the rest of the world," said Mayor Hale.
As city officials ponder whether to appeal the Utility Management Review Board's recent dismissal of a DUD ratepayers petition over a proposed water treatment plant, two concerned city residents addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night inquiring why the city desires to continue selling water to the DUD at below cost.
The DUD has a water purchase agreement with the city that went into effect almost ten years ago and is set to expire in January 2014. Under the contract, the city agrees to sell water to the DUD at a rate to increase by five cents per thousand gallons each year. The rate is currently at $2.05 per thousand gallons.
A recent study by Warren and Associates, paid for by the city, revealed that the actual cost for Smithville to produce water is $2.67 per thousand gallons. During the last meeting of the mayor and aldermen two weeks ago, city officials discussed offering DUD a new ten year deal which would include selling them water at $2.20 per thousand gallons for the first five years of the contract and raising it to $2.40 per thousand gallons for the last five years.
Waniford Cantrell, concerned citizen and former Smithville Mayor, asked why the city would not want to charge the DUD new water rates based on the water cost study. "I am thoroughly confused over our water operation. At a public hearing in 2010 over the city budget, water rates went up 43% for Smithville and they went up nine percent for the utility district. I made a comment at the time that we were possibly selling water cheaper than what it was costing to produce. At the time I recommended that we hire a cost accountant to determine the cost to produce a gallon of water. At the time (former) Mayor (Taft) Hendrixson relayed a comment to me from our financial consultant that I flat didn't know what I was talking about. Now, some three years later we find that we were in fact selling water cheaper than what it was costing us to produce it. In fact, according to the Warren study we were selling water 67 cents cheaper than what it costs to produce. That's 62% since January. Since we raised them a nickel. But using the Warren study figures, we were roughly losing $200,000 a year. How can we sell water to the utility district at below cost and profit from them? I don't understand the big problem in losing them (DUD) as a customer. I think somebody (with the city) doesn't know the difference probably between a profit/loss and cash flow," said Cantrell
Faye Sandosky appealed to the mayor and aldermen to adjust the current contract with DUD to bring the rate in line with the actual water cost to the city. "As a citizen in the city, now that we know what the cost of producing our water is and that we citizens are subsidizing DUD's rate, which is below what we are paying to produce the water and its my understanding that the contract we have with DUD is that they will continue to pay this underproduction cost until the new contract is renegotiated or in place in January. So that leaves us from April to January that this current underpayment contract is in place. Again, we the citizens are the ones that are absorbing that cost. I suggest that this board (city council) consider amending DUD's contract so that they at least paying as much as it costs us, the city to produce the water. I believe the citizens should not be subsidizing DUD's water costs. I would like to see that addressed and I would like to know your decision on it. Either yes you can. No you can't. Yes we will. No we won't. And if you won't then I think we citizens deserve to know why," said Sandosky.
Alderman Gayla Hendrix assured Cantrell and Sandosky that the city would give a proper response to their concerns at the appropriate time. "I don't think I have enough information to answer you tonight but I would like for us to get together and come up with an answer and be able to present something to you at the next meeting. I don't know enough about water costs to know the answers to that but I know there is a lot more factored into it. That's why we probably need to discuss it and come back with a collaborative response. Just so that you're aware that we're not just sticking our heads in the sand, we (mayor and aldermen) have had an attorney/client meeting regarding the (recent UMRB) hearing. Obviously we can't discuss those issues at this time but we will try to come up with some resolutions for you" said Alderman Hendrix.
Smithville Police investigated a traffic accident Monday afternoon near Star Manufacturing on Hobson Street between a Jeep and a motorcycle.
The operator of the motorcycle, Randy Pedigo was injured and taken by DeKalb EMS to the airport where he was picked up by a helicopter ambulance. The driver of the Jeep, Karen Stanfield, was apparently not injured.
The two were apparently leaving the parking lot of the industry at the same time when they crossed paths.
The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was also on the scene to render assistance.
Meanwhile, a 28 year old McMinnville man was seriously injured when his motorcycle rear ended a pickup truck Monday night on Highway 56 near the DeKalb/Warren county line.
Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Daniel Byars was traveling south at a high rate of speed on a 2005 Suzuki GSXR motorcycle when he struck the rear of a 1992 Ford Ranger, driven by 22 year old Christopher McCoy, Jr. of Smithville.
According to Trooper Johnson, McCoy had just pulled onto Highway 56 from Meridian Drive heading south. Byars, unable to avoid the collision, was thrown from the bike upon impact. He was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance from a field on Ferrell Road and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Byars reportedly suffered broken bones and internal injuries. McCoy was not injured.
In his latest report on crime news, Sheriff Patrick Ray said 49 year old Trina Rose Mathews of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a suspended license. She was also issued a citation for driving with no headlights on, failure to maintain lane of travel, violation of the implied consent law, and possession of drug paraphernalia (a marijuana pipe). Her bond is $6,500 and she will be in court on May 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 13 a deputy was on routine patrol on Highway 70 east when he met a truck at Sligo bridge with no headlights on. The truck was traveling eastbound in the middle of the roadway, crossing double yellow lines. The officer pulled over the vehicle at Hillcrest Market. While speaking with the driver, Mathews, the deputy noticed that her speech was slurred and very slow. He asked to see her license but she laughingly replied that she had no license. Instead, she produced an ID from another state. Mathews had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. She told the officer that she had consumed some beer. Mathews submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She did not consent to a voluntary blood withdrawal so a forced blood draw was taken as per state law. A marijuana pipe was also found in her possession. A computer check of her license revealed that they were suspended on February 18, 2007.
28 year old Carly Chaundra Jones of Coconut Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. She was also issued a citation for failure to maintain her lane of travel and violation of the financial responsibility law. Jones will be in court on April 25. Her bond is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 6 a deputy responded to a one vehicle accident on Highway 56 north in the area of Jewel's Market. The deputy talked with the driver, Jones who had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. Jones was very unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. Jones told the officer that she had taken xanax and consumed some beer. Jones submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood alcohol/drug test.
29 year old Carl Edward Schwartz of East Main Street, Dowelltown is cited for driving on a revoked license. He will be in court April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 4 a drug detective of the sheriff's department saw Schwartz pull out of the DeKalb Market parking lot. The officer had prior knowledge that Schwartz's license were revoked for a DUI from a previous arrest about a month ago. A computer check confirmed it.
24 year old Juliann Marie Clark of Foster Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She will be in court on April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, April 8 a sheriff's department drug detective conducted a search of Clark's residence and found a small baggie of marijuana on a television stand. Clark allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana when the detective pulled up. The officer found a marijuana pipe in Clark's purse, a used hypodermic needle in a bedroom, and a pill crusher in a small bag.
A 32 year old Rock Island man lost his life when his mini-van collided with a tractor trailer rig hauling nursery trees Sunday morning on Highway 70 south in Warren County near the Van Buren County line.
Dead is Daniel Luke Caldwell.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Caldwell was driving a 2005 Chrysler mini-van north on Highway 136 when he allegedly failed to yield to a stop sign at the intersection and struck a 2013 Kenworth tractor trailer going east on Highway 70, driven by 29 year old Jorge Moreira of McMinnville. The collision occurred in the eastbound outside lane on highway 70. After impact, both vehicles overturned and then came to a final rest in the eastbound ditch on Highway 70. Moreira was not injured in the crash.
The accident, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning was investigated by Sergeant Jimmy Jones and Troopers Gary Myers and Bruce Pryor of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
32 year old Daniel Luke Caldwell of Rock Island died early Sunday morning from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Warren County. The funeral will be Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Banks Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. until the service at 2:00 p.m. He was a born again Christian and was formerly employed at Federal Mogul. Caldwell was preceded in death by a brother, Jacob Lee Caldwell; his maternal grandfather, Austin Scurlock; his paternal grandparents, Wade and Pearline Caldwell; and an uncle, Larry Scurlock. Survivors include his parents, Terry and wife Donna Scurlock Caldwell of Rock Island. Maternal grandmother, Ruth Vanatta Scurlock of Smithville. Five aunts, Diana Thomas and Jannie Gordon both of Michigan, Janice Johnson and Pam Miller both of Smithville and Peggy Scurlock of Kentucky. Three uncles, Gordon Caldwell of Michigan, Danny and wife Teresa Scurlock and Jeff and wife Debbie Scurlock all of Smithville. One nephew, Andrew Caldwell of Smithville and several cousins and friends. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
DeKalb County Mayor, Mike Foster, and Cannon County Mayor, Mike Gannon, are putting their fair counties on the line in a “battle of the bulge”, or as they laughingly like to call it --- the “say goodbye to coconut pie” challenge. The 90 day Weight Loss Challenge Celebration is kicking off on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 at the County Complex from 5:30-7:30pm. Any DeKalb or Cannon County Resident can participate for $10 as an individual or $35 for a team of 4 or 5. Each participant will receive a five dollar discount to the County Complex Gym, exercise tips from personal trainers, healthy recipes, coupons, discounts for healthy fare and more. Weekly emails of encouragement will be sent to participants to encourage their efforts of healthy choices and keep them informed of local exercise and support group opportunities. The individual or team with the highest overall weight loss percentage will receive cash awards and prizes for their age categories. After 90 days, the highest overall DeKalb County winner will go “head to head” with the Cannon County Champion to reveal the winning county and claim their trophy.
“It is our hope that the community will come out and take the 90 day challenge to be fit, healthy and support each other. The weather is warming up and it is the perfect time to get active and fit as a county. Obesity is bad for our health and our attitude. Let’s all lose those extra pounds and feel great together,” stated Sue Conley – Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb Community Hospital.
“I am so very grateful for everyone who has helped to pull this challenge together,” Shan Burklow – Marketing Director of DeKalb Community Hospital smiles, “The County Mayors have been such good sports throughout this whole process. We appreciate the local businesses that have partnered with the Weight Loss Challenge to offer discounts and prizes for the participants. We are very optimistic for the community support and hope that anyone who has weight to lose will come out and lose it together. Although scales will be used to monitor everyone’s progress monthly, your weight will be confidential and unseen by the public. Percentages will be the method we use to communicate your overall loss as an individual or team. We are happy to have several churches and civic organizations interested in signing up as a team. Come one…come all…the more the merrier!”
Both counties have 90 days to lose all the collective weight they can. Cash prizes will be awarded to the highest percentage of body weight in each age category – male and female. So, put down that doughnut and grab a Yoplait! It’s time for the Weight Loss Challenge…do it for yourself…or do it for Mike….either way, it’s a WIN!
Sign-up sheets are available at the County Complex, Subway, Smithville-DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, and DeKalb Community Hospital. For more information on the weight loss challenge, go to www.dekalbcommunityhospital.com
or contact Shan Burklow (615) 215-5448 or email@example.com.
The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been in existence for fifty years and members gathered to celebrate this milestone during the annual banquet held Thursday night at the county complex auditorium
Ralph Vaughn, former manager of WJLE was the keynote speaker for the evening.
The program began with a silent auction, welcoming remarks by Chamber President Janna Gillard, presentation of the flags and pledge by members of Boy Scout Troop 347, and a performance of the National Anthem and Invocation by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver with entertainment by singer Josh Melton.
The winners of the annual Leadership DeKalb Alumni awards were honored
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Chief Donny Green received the Community Leader of the Year Award and Liberty Mayor Edward Hale was presented the Legacy Award.
The Community Leader of the Year award goes to someone who has made a significant and positive impact on the county, specifically during 2012 and in a capacity beyond commitment to his or her profession. Green has led the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department as chief for several years. He also serves as Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency and is a member of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree Board of Directors.
The Legacy Award goes to the person or persons who have made a significant and positive impact on DeKalb County over a considerable period of time and in multiple or lasting ways. Hale has served as mayor of Liberty for 42 years, currently the longest serving elected public official in DeKalb County.
Special awards were presented to Suzanne Williams, who has served as Executive Director of the local Chamber of Commerce for ten years and to Jen Sherwood, director of Leadership DeKalb for fifteen years.
Director Williams gave an annual Chamber recap and a video was presented showcasing highlights of many activities and events held during the year.
Meanwhile, the retiring members of the Chamber board were recognized including Keith Blair, attorney; Mike Williams of the DeKalb County Fair Board; George Oliver of the Smithville Rotary Club; Jason Ray of the Leadership Alumni Class of 2009; and Rhonda Caplinger of Liberty State Bank.
New members are Kathy Hendrixson, Director of the DeKalb County Library System; Sherry Harris, owner of D & S Specialtees; Sue Conley, CEO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital; Jeff Crips, Branch Manager of Regions Bank in Smithville; Raul Ramirez, Human Resources Manager at Federal Mogul; Shea Hays Colwell, Assistant Director of Nursing at NHC Healthcare in Smithville; and Stein Prichard, Manager of Prichard Foods in Alexandria.
The 2013 officers are President Janna Gillard, Vice President; Julia Cantrell, Secretary Valerie House, and Treasurer Jeff Crips.