Local News Articles

Two Caught Sending Drugs in Greeting Card to Prisoners

March 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Rebecca Marie Dickens
Tammy Elizabeth Burton
Lonnie Lynn Wheeler
Dale Allen Golden
 John Thomas Mason

Two Smithville women are charged with introduction of contraband into the jail after sending a greeting card containing suboxone strips to family members incarcerated there.

27 year old Rebecca Marie Dickens of Forest Avenue and 53 year old Tammy Elizabeth Burton of Restview Avenue are each under a $2,500 bond and they will be in court April 3. They were arrested on Tuesday, March 11.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Dickens and Burton mailed a greeting card to prisoners Corey Dickens and Travis Davenport on Friday March 7. The card arrived at the jail on Monday, March 10. Corey Dickens is Rebecca's husband and Davenport is Burton's son.

Correctional officers found the subxone strips concealed inside the card "They (Dickens and Burton) tore loose one of the double backings in the card and inserted the suboxone strips," said Sheriff Ray

Meanwhile, in another case a prisoner at the jail is charged with assault for hitting another inmate in the cell with him.

38 year old Lonnie Lynn Wheeler of Bright Hill Road, Smithville is under a $2,500 bond and he will be in court on March 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 13 a correctional officer saw on a monitor that a cell surveillance camera had been covered. He went to the cell to investigate but saw nothing amiss. After the covering over the camera was removed, the officer returned to the front office and reviewed the video recording from the camera. On the monitor, he saw the victim walking to his bunk and Wheeler coming up behind him. Wheeler then started hitting the inmate.

25 year old Callie Mae Keys of McMinnville is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court March 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, March 12 while sitting at the end of Adcock Cemetery Road, a deputy saw Keys driving a motor vehicle. Having prior knowledge that she did not have a license, the officer conducted a traffic stop. A computer check confirmed that Keys' license were revoked. Her previous driving on revoked charge was on June 11, 2012.

58 year old Dale Allen Golden of North Congress Boulevard is charged with violation of an order of protection. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court March 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 13 an officer was dispatched to a residence on North Congress Boulevard where a woman told the deputy that her husband, Golden was trying to get her into the house. The woman has an active order of protection against Golden. Upon arrival, the deputy saw Golden on the front sidewalk. He told the officer that he was trying to get into the house so he could get some clothes. Golden was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

19 year old John Thomas Mason of Roy Womack Road, Smithville has been charged by a sheriff's department drug detective with evading arrest and by a state trooper for leaving the scene of an accident. His bond is $4,000 and he will be in court on March 20.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, March 14 the drug detective tried to stop a 2008 Nissan Altima for a traffic violation. The car crossed over several times into the detective's lane of travel and into the turning lane. As the detective attempted to pull over the automobile on Tiger Drive, it fled traveling at a high rate of speed. The officer initiated a pursuit onto Dry Creek Road, but then terminated the chase. Shortly thereafter, the detective came upon the car which had rolled over on its top in the middle of Dry Creek Road. The driver had run off on foot. After an investigation, the detective learned that Mason had been driving the car. Mason later wrote a statement admitting to these actions, according to Sheriff Ray.

The state trooper that investigated the crash charged Mason with leaving the scene of an accident. According to the warrant, Mason was operating a vehicle on Dry Creek Road, Smithville which was involved in a rollover crash with property damage. Mason left the scene without notifying law enforcement.

42 year old Matthew Lee Spence of Bridgeway Motel, Smithville was cited on March 8 for driving while revoked and for a violation of the light law. Sheriff Ray said that a deputy conducted a traffic stop of Spence on Highway 70 for having a headlight out. A computer check revealed Spence's license was revoked for a prior DUI. One week later on March 15, Spence was charged with driving on a revoked license after he was stopped again. A deputy saw Spence driving a truck on West Broad Street, Smithville. Having prior knowledge that Spence's license was revoked, the officer stopped the truck and placed Spence under arrest. Bond for Spence is $1,500 and he will be in court April 2.

DeKalb West School Science Fair Winners

March 17, 2014
Eighth grade winners
Seventh grader Grayson Redmon won first place for his Science Fair project, "Can Humans Create Earthquakes?")
Alley Reeder, Lexy Gammons ,Dylan Denson ,Braedon Jett, and Noah Roberts,
 Christian Trail, David Garner, Erica Coleman, Haley Dies, and Cody Antoniak.

DeKalb West School held its Science Fair Thursday and Friday, March 13 & 14.

The following are the winners:

Kindergarten

1st Caitlin Shoemake: Ring!: It’s a Telephone Made From String
2nd Hudson Moss: From Seeds to Food

First Grade
1st Grant Butterbaugh: Which Melted First?
2nd 1st Grade : Goop

3rd Wesley Kent: Density
Honorable Mention: Jordyn Turbeville- Speed Sound On a String

Second Grade

Model/Research
1st Shelby Starnes:The Phases of the Moon

Experiments
1st Alex Antoniak: Best Bouncer
2nd Marshall Farler: Earthworms and Light
3rd Riley Fuson: Elephant Toothpaste

Honorable Mention: Kenson Moss- A Battery That Makes Cents
Third Grade
Model/Research

1st Noah Evans:Solar System
2nd Faith Tripp:Volcano

Experiments
1st Jeanine Boody: Flowers (How Does Your Garden Grow)
1st Ally Griffith :Blown Away
2nd Aniston Farler: Examples of Chemical Reactions
3rd Madison Martin: Mega Foam
Honorable Mention: Alex Tarango- The Miracle Berry
Ellie Vaughn: Germs

Fourth Grade
Model/Research
1st Becca Lawrence: Animals in Tennessee & Their Habitats
2nd Victoria Rodano: Animal Adaptations
3rd Makayla Cook: How to Make a Lava Lamp
Honorable Mention: Allen Curtis-Tornado
Lucas Hale: Crazy Putty

Experiments
1st Jaden Baines: Fantastic Foamy Fountain
2nd Dawson Bandy: Electromagnet Induction
3rd Brayden Antoniak: Who Tops the Pop?
Honorable Mention: William Butterbaugh -All About the Fold
Iris Farley : Will Borax Crystals Form Fasters in Refrigerator?

Fifth Grade
Model/Research
1st Ciara Young: Ceramic Engineering
2nd Jason Richards: Alligator
3rd Lily Martin: Carnivorous Plants

Experiments
1st Garrett Hayes: Swimming Raisins
2nd Jaden Johnson: Expanding Soap
3rd Isabella Haugh & Kyndal Cox: Plants
Honorable Mention: Lynsey Ellis & Grace Griffin- Homemade Lava Lamp
Vanessa Harn: Fantastic Plastic

Sixth Grade
Model/Research
1st Haley Dies: Cold and Warm Fronts
2nd Erica Coleman: What Would Happen?
3rd Christian Trail: Magnetism
Honorable Mention:Alley Reeder-The Moon Phases
Dylan Denson: Space

Experiments
1st Cody Antoniak: Does Heat Make the Hit?
2nd Braedon Jett: Is My Water Safe to Drink?
3rd David Garner: Lunar Eclipse
Honorable Mention: Lexy Gammons-Making Rain
Noah Roberts-Solar Eclipse

Seventh Grade
Model
1st Grayson Redmon: Can Humans Create Earthquakes?
(There were no other 7th grade entries.)

Eighth Grade
Model/Research
1st Jessie Smith: How Do Landfills Work?
2nd Noelle Driver: Earth & Mars
3rd Carrigan Chapman &Savannah Belcher: Neptune

Experiments
1st Breanna Gibson:Corrosion
2nd Dusten Sutherland & Jose Beckman: Galvanometer

(TOP PHOTO: Eighth grade winners from left to right are Caitlyn Nickel, Jaimie Alexander, Savannah Belcher, Carrigan Chapman, Jose Beckham, Dusten Sutherland, Jesse Smith, Paxton Butler, Breanna Gibson, and Noelle Driver)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP: Seventh grader Grayson Redmon won first place for his Science Fair project, "Can Humans Create Earthquakes?")

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP) Pictured left to right are Alley Reeder, Lexy Gammons ,Dylan Denson ,Braedon Jett, and Noah Roberts,

(BOTTOM PHOTO) Pictured left to right are Christian Trail, David Garner, Erica Coleman, Haley Dies, and Cody Antoniak.

WJLE receives Radio Station of the Year Award

March 17, 2014
Reed Vanderpool, Chris Tramel, and Steve Quick of WJLE's Old Time Country Community Radio Show

WJLE Radio was honored with the award for Radio Station of the Year by the North America Country Music Association International for the Old Time Country Community Radio Show program. The award was presented on Mar. 15, during NACMAIs 17th Annual Hall of Fame show at the Country Tonight Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN.

It was an honor, said the shows host Chris Tramel. We met some really nice people over the weekend, and heard some good performances. The award was presented to the shows hosts Tramel, Reed Vanderpool, Steve Quick, and the shows producer Ben Herman. Among the performers on hand at the event, were country music singer/songwriter Kelly Lang, and legendary performer and songwriter Tom T. Hall.

The Old Time Country Community Radio Show airs at 8:00 A.M. each Friday morning on WJLE 101.7/1480 AM and features classic country and bluegrass music, as well as performances by local and up-and-coming artist from around the region. The show also includes interviews and comedy sketches, which feature local people from around DeKalb County.

Pictured Reed Vanderpool, Chris Tramel, and Steve Quick pose with the NACMAI Award. Not pictured is Ben Herman

Chamber Presents Milestone Award to Blood Assurance

March 17, 2014
Chamber Presents Milestone Award to Blood Assurance

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently presented a Milestone Award to Blood Assurance Foundation for 15 years of giving back to the community.

A 501 (c)(3) non-profit chartered in 1999, the Blood Assurance Foundation supports programs in the 5 state region served by Blood Assurance. Linda Hisey, Blood Assurance Executive Director of Public Relations and Development along with Bonnie M. Phillips, Blood Assurance Public Relations and Development Associate accepted the award.

For more information about this organization, visit their website at BloodAssurance.org/contribute.

Pictured left to right

Front row:Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Chamber President Julia
Cantrell, Blood Assurance Reps Linda Hisey & Bonnie Phillips, Chamber Board Member Sherry Harris

Middle row:Chamber Board Members Jason Murphy & Charlotte Parsley,
Chamber Board Sec. Joan Barrett, Chamber Treasurer Susan Young

Back row: Chamber V.P. Jeff Crips, Chamber Board Members Elaine
Swicker & Gail Looper

Outdoor Burning Permits Still Required

March 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brush Fire Scorches Property in Keltonburg Area Saturday

A brush fire Saturday scorched property off Creek Road in the Keltonburg area keeping members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Forestry Division busy for several hours.

Saturday's wildland fire was one of several reported within the last few weeks locally.

With Spring drawing near, DeKalb County residents will begin to take advantage of the mild weather to do some outdoor work around the home or farm. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry wants to remind citizens that if they are considering doing outdoor burning, a burn permit is required.

To obtain a permit in the City of Smithville, call 215-3000. If you live outside Smithville in DeKalb County call (615) 597-4015 west of the Caney Fork River or (931) 839-2328 east of the Caney Fork River.

In 2013, the Division of Forestry recorded the lowest number of wildland fires since 1927. There were a total of 639 wildfires that burned 9,033 acres (lowest burned acreage was 7,110 in 2003). Increased efforts in fire prevention and suppression contributed to this record low, and landowners getting burn permits to conduct safe debris burning played a major role in that effort.

“We’re hoping to see a continuation of that trend this year and need our citizens’ help,” said state forester Jere Jeter. “Burning leaves and brush that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient way to get rid of such vegetation. However, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of outdoor burning is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where, and how it is safe to burn.”

The free burn permits are required in all areas of the state by law until May 15 unless otherwise covered by local ordinances. Residents should check with their city and county government for any local restrictions.

Permits can be obtained online for small scale burning of leaf and brush piles measuring less than 8 feet by 8 feet in area. The online system provides permit access through the weekend and after-work hours for landowners. These permits can be obtained on days and in counties where burn permits are allowed by visiting www.burnsafetn.org. The website is also a good source of information for safe debris burning practices and fire prevention tips including how to protect your home in the event of a wildfire.

The permits can also be obtained by calling your local Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Permits are generally good for 24 hours and can be issued for weekend burning. Phone numbers for each office can be found in the state government section of your local phone book, or by visiting www.burnsafetn.org.

More than 377,000 permits were issued last year for outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste, and burning to clear land. The volume of requests on any given day can be high and callers may experience a delay. The online burn permit system is an alternative for small debris piles.

Once a burn permit is obtained, debris burners should practice common sense while conducting a burn. This includes:

• Establish a control line around the fire, down to bare soil before conducting the burn.
• Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance as a courtesy.
• Have tools on hand such as a leaf rake and garden hose or bucket of water to help control the fire.
• Watch for changing weather conditions as winds can blow the fire in the wrong direction.
• Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. It is not only the smart thing to do, but it is also illegal to leave an open fire unattended.

Despite the low number of fires in 2013, escaped debris burns were still the leading cause of wildfires in Tennessee last year accounting for 243 fires that burned nearly 1,600 acres. The Division’s burn permit system has dramatically helped reduce the numbers of escaped burns since the program began in 1995. Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50.

Wildfires caused by arson were the second leading cause last year, but accounted for the largest acreage, burning nearly 5,400 acres. Wildland arson is a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.

For more information on the TDA’s Division of Forestry, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forestry. For more information on safe debris burning, visit www.burnsafetn.org.

Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry
The Division, which is celebrating their 100th anniversary as a state agency this year, works to conserve, protect and enhance forests that cover half the state and provide jobs, timber, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation.
www.TN.gov/agriculture/forestry

Obtaining a Burning Permit by Phone

Permits are free of charge and may be obtained by calling the phone numbers provided. Burning permits are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays. Permits may be obtained in advance for weekends and holidays.

Soles4Souls fights global poverty

March 16, 2014
Soles4Souls Recycling Bin Located at County Complex

Attention anyone with a closet and spring-cleaning plans: Those shoes you no longer want are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

That’s the message being delivered by Soles4Souls Inc., which has launched an ongoing recycling initiative in Smithville to collect shoes to help the poor. The shoes can be dropped off at their signature metal recycling bins placed strategically at the following locations:

620 W Broad Street

107 East Bryant Street

712 South Congress

The bins will be monitored and emptied by Soles4Souls, an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including the distribution of new shoes and clothing. Founded in 2007, the Nashville-based organization has distributed more than 21 million shoes in well over 100 countries.

“Smithville is supporting Soles4Souls because it is the definition of a social enterprise where solid business practices are used to create positive change in people’s lives,” said Community Manager Tracy Swack. “Smithville has always been a strong supporter of Soles4Souls’ anti-poverty mission, and we hope this year to take an even bigger step in providing the organization with the used shoes they need to keep making a difference for people in need.”

Soles4Souls – which holds the highest rating from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator - will convert every used pair of shoes collected from the Smithville community into a value-added social currency to achieve positive change, both humanitarian and economic. Most of the reusable shoes will be sold as inventory for microenterprise programs that create jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue will be used to acquire, transport and give away new shoes provided to Soles4Souls by Skechers and many other well-known brands. Among its many relief programs, the organization is currently raising funds to ship 30,000 new pairs of shoes to Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

The connection between poverty and shoes is well-documented. Experts estimate that approximately 400 million children worldwide – almost as many as the entire U.S. population – live without shoes on their feet. Millions of these children will grow up never having had a pair of shoes, resulting in significant ramifications for their health and well-being. Lacking proper footwear, countless children will not be able or permitted to attend school. And tens of millions of these poverty-stricken, barefoot boys and girls will be infected with soil-transmitted parasitic diseases like hookworm, causing lasting suffering and lifelong debilitation.

“The simple truth is that almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t wear, or an old pair that will just end up in a landfill,” said Tracy. “Give those to us, and know that you are taking a step to making the world a better place for all of us.”

About Soles4Souls
Soles4Souls, Inc. is a nonprofit social enterprise that advances the fight against global poverty by monetizing used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts around the world. The organization collects new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributes those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and through qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Please visit www.giveshoes.org for more information.

Drug Defendants Sentenced in Criminal Court

March 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

Several drug defendants were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday, February 21 after entering pleas under negotiated settlements.

Judge David Patterson presided.

47 year old Patricia Lynn Durham pled guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence, suspended to time served. She will be on probation for the balance of the sentence. She was also fined $2,000 and given 64 days of jail credit. Durham was one of five people arrested by the Sheriff's Department on drug charges after a detective found a meth lab at Durham's Smithville residence last summer.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 a drug detective went to Durham's residence for a knock and talk. After receiving consent from Durham to do a search, the detective found a one liter cook bottle, a 20 ounce bottle containing a bi-layered liquid, two lithium batteries, a bag of white powder believed to be Pseudoephedrine weighing 29 grams, 12 hypodermic needles, a visine bottle containing acid, and several other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

According to Sheriff Ray, a co-defendant with Durham, Sherry K. Malone admitted to the detective that the meth making components found belonged to her. The others were charged because they were in the same room where the items were located. Malone pled guilty on February 21 to attempted initiation of a process to manufacture meth. She received a six year sentence but was released with time served. She was fined $2,000. Malone will be on probation for the balance of her sentence. She was given jail credit of almost six months from August 7, 2013 to February 21, 2014.

45 year old Jason Ervin pled guilty to manufacturing marijuana and received a three year suspended sentence . He will be on two years of supervised probation and one year of good behavior probation. Ervin was fined $2,000. Named in a grand jury sealed indictment last year, Ervin was alleged to have knowingly manufactured a Schedule VI controlled substance by cultivating not less than ten nor more than nineteen marijuana plants on or about July 2, 2013 constituting the offense of Manufacturing Marijuana.

38 year old Stephen Jason Moore pled guilty to the manufacture of a schedule VI drug (growing marijuana). He received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. Moore was fined $2,000. His sentence is to run concurrently with another case against him in which he received probation.

28 year old William Carl Fredrick, indicted for manufacture of a schedule VI drug (growing marijuana), was approved for Judicial Diversion and given a one year suspended sentence. He was fined $2,000.

21 year old Natalie Gail Barrett pled guilty to attempted sale of a schedule I drug (Mushrooms). She was approved for Judicial Diversion and received a six year sentence, suspended to probation. Barrett was fined $2,000.

Moore, Fredrick, and Barrett were among thirty three persons named in sealed indictments handed down by a special called session of the Grand Jury in August 2013 as the result of a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Department into the illegal sale of narcotics and other crimes committed in DeKalb County.

34 year old Paul Allen Willingham pled guilty to attempted possession of a schedule IV drug with intent to deliver. He received a two year sentence, all suspended but he must complete the drug court program. He was fined $2,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 10, 2012 Willingham came to the jail to serve a weekend sentence. Upon a search of the crotch area of his underwear, officers found three cellophane wrappers with pieces of xanax and twelve whole xanax pills, which is a schedule IV drug. The case was investigated by drug detectives of the sheriff's department.

26 year old Justin Cantrell pled guilty to delivery of a schedule II drug. He received a four year sentence to run consecutively with a violation of probation against him in another case but instead of jail, Judge Patterson furloughed Cantrell to Mission Teens. Cantrell will be placed on supervised probation upon successfully completing the program and following the recommendations. He was fined $2,000. Cantrell was given 143 days of jail credit.

46 year old Tammy Lynn Caldwell pled guilty to two counts of delivery of a schedule II drug and received a ten year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other to serve at 45% before parole eligibility.

48 year old Ralph Pease, Jr. pled guilty to simple possession of a schedule II drug and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days but he will be on six months of supervised probation and six months of good behavior probation. He was fined $750.

39 year old Autumn White pled guilty to two counts of possession of a schedule II drug for resale. She received a four year sentence in each case all suspended to supervised probation. The two sentences are to run concurrently with each other. White was fined $2,000. She was given jail credit from February 13, 2013 to December 9, 2013.

In one of the cases, Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said that White was charged on Friday, February 1, 2013 with simple possession and possession with intent to resell a schedule II controlled substance after drugs were found on her person. According to the warrant, White was placed under arrest at the police department after she was found with marijuana at Wal-Mart. After being placed in custody, White was searched by a female correctional officer at the police department and a baggie was found on her person. Authorities later noticed that Ms. White, while still in custody, appeared to be trying to recover something from her body. As officers approached her, she attempted to swallow a plastic baggie containing pills and eight small bags containing less than one gram of methamphetamine with a total weight of three grams.

37 year old Joe Nathan Jones, Jr. of Clarksville pled guilty to one count of criminal attempt to sell over .5 grams of a schedule II drug (crack cocaine) and sale of under .5 grams of a schedule II drug (crack cocaine). He received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other to serve at 30% before parole eligibility. The sentence is to run consecutively with another sentence against him. Jones was fined $4,000.

61 year old Danny Reeder, indicted for sale of a schedule IV drug, was approved for Judicial Diversion and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000. Reeder was among twelve people named in sealed indictments on drug charges following a year long undercover investigation by the Smithville Police Department. The indictment against Reeder alleged that "On or about August 6th, 2012, Reeder did sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance (Lorazepam)." Lieutenant Matt Holmes said Reeder sold ten pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

Peace Named Corps Nashville District Employee of the Month

March 15, 2014
by: 
By Lee Roberts, Nashville District Public Affairs
Park Ranger Sarah Peace

Park Ranger Sarah Peace, a natural resource specialist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Center Hill Lake in Lancaster, Tenn., is the Employee of the Month for January 2014.

Peace is being lauded for serving as project lead for water safety and environmental education programs at the lake and taking the initiative to form a Junior Ranger Program in partnership with DeKalb West Elementary School.

At the school, Peace shares her expertise about water safety, natural resources, hydropower, wildlife, Corps history and other topics with the second-grade students. She spends time in the classroom and the kids occasionally take field trips to locations around the lake to learn about the Corps of Engineers’ missions.

“Sarah’s superb commitment to water safety and involvement with the local community reflect positively on her,” said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander.
Hudson said Peace’s dedication goes beyond this new program, noting that she recently coordinated the Caring Adults Touching Children’s Hearts (CATCH) fishing event and an Environmental Awareness Day and scheduled weekly water safety programs at Lighthouse Christian Camp.

Peace has been a park ranger with the Corps for five years and at Center Hill Lake for almost a year. Before that she served two years at Cordell Hull Lake, which is just down the road in Carthage, Tenn., and previously worked at Lake Cumberland in eastern Kentucky.

During the recreation season, Peace said she embraces her responsibility to look after the safety of people who come to recreate and play in the water.

“I enjoy meeting people and having influence on their lives while they’re out there – I want them to have fun while they’re at the lake and I also want to make sure they are safe and just enjoy everything that we have to offer,” Peace said. “I like seeing happy people and knowing I helped with that.”

She said being a park ranger has transformed her into a “people person.” That makes her happy and, according to her supervisor, well suited to working with kids and the public in general.
Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake natural resource manager, said Peace has formed strong relationships with community civic organizations and received great support from the entire staff.

“In terms of educating the public on the benefits of Nashville District’s multipurpose lake projects, Ranger Sarah Peace is one of the most dedicated and creative individuals I know,” Salvilla said.

Salvilla added that the staff at Center Hill Lake is proud to work alongside Peace and often compliment her initiative and can-do attitude.

“Center Hill Lake is lucky to have Sarah as a member of the team and we are looking forward to her initiating many great water safety and environmental education programs in the future,” Salvilla said.

Peace said her selection as employee of the month came as a surprise, but noted that it is nice being recognized for her work with kids, which is the activity where she gets the most reward.

“I just love seeing them, like how excited they get to learn about something that’s not just sitting in the classroom writing on the board,” Peace said. “And they get to learn a bit more about the Corps and the rangers and see what we’re doing.”

Peace also gives credit to her coworkers and supervision that often help her with the community initiatives.

DeKalb January Jobless Rate Drops to 6.9%

March 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for January was 6.9%, down from 7% in December and below the 9.1% rate in January, 2013.

The local labor force for January was 9,160. A total of 8,530 were employed and 630 were without work.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for January was fourth lowest in the Upper Cumberland Region. Here is how the fourteen counties ranked from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 13.2%
Van Buren: 11.5%
Clay: 10.5%
White: 9.4%
Jackson: 9.3%
Overton: 9.3%
Cumberland:9.2%
Fentress: 8%
Warren: 7.9%
Smith: 7.5%
DeKalb: 6.9%
Macon: 6.6%
Putnam: 6.4%
Cannon: 5.1%

County unemployment rates for January 2014 show the rate decreased in 34 counties, increased in 49 counties, and remained the same in 12.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.3 percent in January, down from 5.6 percent in December. Knox County’s January rate was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7. Hamilton County was 7.1 percent, down from 7.2. Shelby County was 8.6 percent, down from 9.1.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January was 7.2 percent, which is five tenths of one percentage point lower than the December revised rate. The national unemployment rate for January 2014 was 6.6 percent, down one tenth of one percentage point from December.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

City and County Seek THDA Grant Funding to Upgrade Housing

March 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is applying for a grant that will rehabilitate dilapidated homes at no cost to the homeowner.

During a special meeting Thursday the Smithville Aldermen authorized city officials to submit an application for $500,000 in funding through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Home Grant program, which will help bring dilapidated homes up to code.

The county commission passed a resolution last month to apply to the program as well.

Homeowners who have at least one codes violation will be able to submit an application. Once received, the applications will be ranked based on a number of criteria, such as household income and the home’s location. Approved houses will be upgraded at no expense to the homeowner, with a maximum amount that can be applied toward each house.

Funding restrictions apply, such as the home must be owner occupied (not a rental) and funds must be limited to existing structures.

Funding can only go toward homes that can be rehabilitated to meet housing codes using up to the limited amount.

Cities and counties who apply will learn if they are approved for the grant this May after a THDA board meeting.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on second and final reading an ordinance changing the title of Hunter Hendrixson from Secretary-Treasurer to City Administrator. An ordinance was also adopted on second and final reading to require paper ballot voting for city property right's voters in the Smithville Municipal Election in August.

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