Local News Articles

Police Ask For Help in Identifying Suspect Caught on Camera Breaking into Car (VIEW VIDEO)

September 2, 2015
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department is turning to the public for help in solving a rash of recent automobile burglaries.

One of the crimes was captured on a surveillance video Sunday morning, August 30 at a residence on Golf Club Lane.

Captain Steven Leffew is asking for the public's help in identifying this man (shown in the video below)

If you have information that could lead to the arrest of this individual call the Smithville Police Department's Crime Stoppers number at 615-464-6046 or contact Lieutenant Matt Holmes at 615- 597- 8210. You may also visit the department's facebook page.

While only one man is shown in the video, Captain Leffew said police believe there is a second suspect in both this crime and others which occurred Saturday night, August 29 and Sunday morning, August 30 in the area of Golf Club Lane, Riley Avenue, and Love Lane.

According to Captain Leffew, the burglars primarily target unlocked vehicles. After gaining entry, the thieves grab up whatever they can get their hands on, keep any valuables, and then discard what they don't want.

After the burglaries last weekend, some of the victim's belongings were found in wooded areas near their homes.

Although the latest crimes occurred in the Golf Club Lane area, Captain Leffew said similar crimes have been taking place throughout the city.

Captain Leffew is renewing his plea for residents to be vigilant; to keep all car doors locked; and not to leave valuables inside your automobile in plain sight. "It appears that unlocked vehicles are being targeted. We would encourage citizens not to leave valuables such as purses, wallets or purchases in plain sight as this may encourage thefts," he said.

12th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Coming October 2

September 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
12th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Coming October 2

It’ll soon be chili time and time for you to again support a great cause and decide who makes the best chili in DeKalb County! Come out and cast your vote on Friday, October 2 on the Courthouse Square when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 12th Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the north side of the Courthouse on the Smithville Town Square. In case of rain, the Chili Cook-off will be held at the County Complex.

Make a donation to Habitat and eat all the chili you want from all the teams and vote for your favorite. A limited supply of handmade pottery bowls will be available for $ 20.00. Enjoy delicious baked goods too!

Take out available.

All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization.

Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Puckett Pryor at 615- 597-7370.

Tennessee Offers Free High School Equivalency Testing

September 2, 2015

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is now giving students who left high school before graduating the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency diploma at no cost.

“This is a real game changer for those who need this credential to get a job,” said Jason Beard, Administrator of the Adult Education Program. “Our target is to have diplomas in the hands of 5,000 graduates by the end of the year, and we know removing the test fee is a great incentive to meet our goal.”

The state of Tennessee offers two test options to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The HiSet is managed by the nonprofit organization Educational Testing Service, and the GED is administered by Pearson Education. The HiSet’s original cost is $75 compared with $125 for the GED.

In order to reach as many potential graduates as possible, the HiSet will be the only test offered at no cost by the Adult Education program. Once a student passes either the HiSet or GED, an official state high school equivalency diploma is issued that does not make reference to which test was taken.

According to the American Community Survey, approximately 700,000 Tennesseans have less than a high school diploma. National figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (graphic below) show employment opportunity and income increase significantly with educational achievements.

Anyone interested in earning their Tennessee High School Equivalency Diploma should contact their local Adult Education office to get started. Free preparatory classes are available throughout the state of Tennessee and online resources are also available.

For more general information on eligibility and testing, visit Adult Education’s website at http://www.tn.gov/workforce/topic/high-school-testing or call 800-531-1515 for assistance in finding a local program.

DTC Communications to Host Annual Meeting

September 1, 2015

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 19, 2015, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Smithville exchanges. The Nominating Committee has qualified the following candidates by nomination: Bennie “Buck” Curtis - Alexandria, Randy Campbell – Liberty, and Ronnie Garrison – Smithville. Those candidates who qualified by petition are: Mark Willoughby – Alexandria, Danny Lynn Hale – Liberty, and Paul Cantrell – Smithville.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 19 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 14-16. The last day to make changes to your membership for the 2015 election is Thursday, Sept. 10.

Hours and locations for early voting include:

Early Voting Hours
Mon., Sept. 14 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 15 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 16 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Early Voting Held at DTC Store Locations
111 High Street – ALEXANDRIA
200 Walmart Drive – SMITHVILLE
106 West High Street - WOODBURY

On Saturday, Sept. 19, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

County Must Store Amendment 1 Election Data

September 1, 2015

The DeKalb County Election Commission will extract and store the November 14 election results because of a pending legal challenge to the passage of amendment 1

The State Election Commission has ordered all of Tennessee's County Election Commissions to extract all the November 14 election data from voting machines, and store in an external device.

DeKalb County Voting machine technicians, County Election Commissioners representing both parties and a technician from the voting machine company, Microvote, will be present for the extraction, which is set for 4 p.m. September 10 at the election office.

“The extraction became necessary because the lawsuit has yet to be resolved, and at some point, those machines will have to be loaded with the March 1 Presidential Preference and DeKalb Democratic Party Primary candidates," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "Because we have no concrete date on when the litigation will be resolved, we have no choice but to extract that data, preserve it should it be needed as evidence in the lawsuit, and make plans for the March elections."

The lawsuit is challenging how the state calculated the votes for Amendment 1- a Constitutional Amendment giving the Tennessee General Assembly more leeway in enacting abortion regulations.

It is argued that the state's constitution says for an amendment to pass, voters of the state have to "approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all citizens voting for Governor, voting in their favor."

The lawsuit, filed on November 7, 2014, claims because of how the State Constitution is worded, the state should have only counted the votes of those who case a ballot in both the Governor's race as well as Amendment 1.

However, State Election officials maintain Tennesseans have a right to vote or not vote for Governor and any other way "would not make sense."

According to the final election totals from November, about 30,000 more people cast ballots for Amendment 1 than cast ballots in the Governor's race. However, the Amendment won by approximately 70,000 votes.

TABC Approves Liquor License for Center Hill Wine & Spirits

August 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
TABC Approves Liquor License for Center Hill Wine & Spirits

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has granted approval for Smithville's second liquor store.

During a meeting last Tuesday, August 25, the TABC acted on James E. Bradshaw's request for licensing of a retail store to be located at 725 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville called "Center Hill Wine & Spirits" near Food Lion.

According to the TABC, Bradshaw is investing $200,000 of personal funds into the business, as verified by TABC staff. Mr. Bradshaw is leasing the premises from Bayview Holdings, LLC for an initial term of four years. The TABC staff recommended conditional approval of this request for licensing, subject to receipt of a TABC inspection and acknowledgement of TABC rules and regulations.

The Smithville Board of Aldermen in July voted to issue Bradshaw a certificate of compliance, which signified that he met all the city's ordinance requirements to make application to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency which has the sole authority to grant a liquor license.

The city's first liquor store, Smithville Discount Wine & Spirits at 413 East Broad Street, opened several weeks ago after also receiving a license by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

DeKalb Democratic Party to Host "Insure Tennessee" Meeting

August 31, 2015

The DeKalb County Democratic Party will host a meeting on "Insure Tennessee" on Saturday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the county complex.

Jackie Shrago, Special Project Coordinator, Tennessee Health Care Campaign and participating in management of GetCovered Nashville, will discuss Insure Tennessee, a plan by Governor Haslam to make health insurance options available for 280,000 people.

Insure TN is a state proposal to cover people who are now in a Gap excluding them from many of subsidies for health insurance premiums under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, also often called Obamacare). The Gap is the product of legislative committee obstacles that prevented the Tennessee legislature from passing Governor Haslam’s Plan. The Plan would be fully funded through the ACA and a commitment of the Tennessee hospitals to make up any shortfall.

The Tennessee Health Care Campaign has worked for affordable accessible health care for all Tennessee residents for 26 years.

Walter Davis, Executive Director of THCC, says, “We welcome the opportunity to speak to any organizations wishing to understand the Governor’s Plan and the impact of so many people not having insurance. We welcome questions and criticisms hopefully in a mutually respectful discussion. We want to learn from one another and to hear the stories of Tennesseans including those in the Gap.”

THCC and its colleagues at the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) have been traveling throughout the state listening (TJC’s Counting the Costtour), speaking (THCC in Town Halls) and advocating (in conversations with elected leaders of both parties). THCC is a non-partisan non-profit that does not endorse parties or candidates. It does, however, present an opportunity for those in the Gap to tell their story. We also gather the stories of those who unnecessarily face high costs and deteriorating health conditions due to exclusion from the ACA.

THCC believes it is important to hear one another. We believe if people talk about Insure Tennessee and bring forward their concerns, they will find the Plan to be a good step in the right direction.

THCC provides hundreds of volunteers working thousands of hours to enroll those eligible under the Affordable Care Act. Our volunteers have also reached out to legislators to consider the needs of constituents.

DCHS Football Cheerleaders to Host "Spirit Day"

August 31, 2015

The DCHS Football Cheerleaders will host "Spirit Day" on September 17 for ages 4-13. This session will be from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the DCHS gym. The cost is $25.00 per participant. (T-shirt included). Participants will also be allowed to perform during the DCHS pre-game on September 18 against Smith County.(Game admission is not included, and must be paid at the gate).

"Spirit Day" is designed to promote "team spirit" during National Team Spirit Month. DCHS Football Cheerleaders proudly promotes National Spirit, as well as physical fitness and team unity. This session will include cheer conditioning, motion drills, jumps, a side line chant, and a "spirit" dance. Participants will be divided into age groups. Please, no spectators in the gym during the "spirit" session. Participants should bring a blank cd if they desire a copy of the "Spirit" music.


football.pdf (387.85 KB)

Complete and return the information with payment by September 4 to: Cindy Webb, 260 Hendrix Road, Dowelltown TN 37095. Late registration will be accepted, but not guaranteed a shirt. Late registration at the door will be $30.00 per participant.

Alexandria Municipal Election Set for Thursday

August 31, 2015
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Municipal Election will be held Thursday, September 3.

Voting will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds' Kenneth Sandlin Center.

Early voting ended Saturday with only nine people having cast ballots during the two week period

The election is being held to elect three aldermen to four year terms and to fill the remaining two years of vacant or unexpired terms of mayor and two aldermen positions.

Candidates for Mayor are Tony Tarpley and Bennett Armstrong.

Those running unopposed for the two year aldermen positions are Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss.

Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs are each running unopposed for the four year alderman terms.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

August 30, 2015
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling Signs Proclamation
Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss Signs Proclamation

In the United States alone, someone dies by suicide once every 13 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. But because suicide has been considered such a “taboo” subject to think or to talk about, there are a lot of misconceptions about which individuals may be at risk, about when, how and why people might consider killing themselves, and about how best to help yourself or someone else who’s contemplating suicide.

The annual Light to Hope ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, at Cookeville Higher Education Campus (formerly the Cookeville campus of Nashville State Community College) at 1000 Neal Street in Cookeville.

The event will give friends and families the chance to honor the memory of loved ones lost to suicide, give support to the loved ones left behind, and education and awareness about a topic that is often kept in the shadows.

On Thursday, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signed proclamations designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in DeKalb County and Smithville.

In 2013, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.7 per 100,000 people, translating into three reported suicide deaths. Two of them were female. This number of suicides in DeKalb County for 2013 is the same as the previous year and the local rate is identical to the state average of 15.7 per 100,000 population for 2013 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Pickett County had the state's highest suicide rate among the state's ninety five counties at 59.1 per 100,000 with three deaths while Haywood, Trousdale, and Van Buren County reported none for 2013.

DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. DeKalb's suicide rate for 2011 was 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and 15.9 per 100,000 in 2012 with three suicides.

Again Pickett County recorded the highest suicide rate among the fourteen Upper Cumberland Counties for 2013. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest.

Pickett: 59.1 per 100,000 (3 deaths)
Overton: 45.3 (10 deaths)
White: 38.1 (10 deaths)
Smith: 26.2 (5 deaths)
Macon: 22.0 (5 deaths)
Putnam: 17.7(13 deaths)
Warren: 17.5 (7 deaths)
DeKalb: 15.7 (3 deaths)
Clay: 12.9 (1 death)
Fentress: 11.2 (2 deaths)
Cumberland: 10.4 (6 deaths)
Jackson: 8.7 (1 death)
Cannon: 7.3 (1 death)
Van Buren: 0

The proclamation is as follows:

WHEREAS, suicide is one of the most disruptive and tragic events a family and a community can
experience, with more than 900 lives lost in Tennessee each year and an estimated 8-25 attempted
suicides for each suicide death; and

WHEREAS, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of all deaths in Tennessee and the second-leading cause of
death among people from the age of 15 to 24 (source: Tennessee Department of Health); and

WHEREAS, public awareness of this terrifying problem is the key to preventing further suffering and loss
of life; and the risk for human self-destruction can be reduced through awareness, education and
treatment; and as the highest risk for suicide is among the survivors of those who died by suicide or
those who have attempted suicide; and

WHEREAS, suicide prevention has been declared a national priority by the President and Congress; and
Tennessee declares suicide prevention as a state priority and the legislature, in partnership with TSPN,
implements the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention based on the National Strategy for Suicide
Prevention; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee is a national leader in the effort to prevent suicide, being one of the first states to
develop a suicide prevention and evaluation plan covering the lifespan; and

WHEREAS, the Governor of Tennessee has appointed a Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council to
coordinate the implementation of the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention; and

WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is a grassroots collaboration of Tennesseans and
organizations working to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning
signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in our state; and

WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is also committed to excellence in suicide prevention, and postvention.

Now, Therefore, I, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss do hereby proclaim September, 2015 as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in DeKalb County and Smithville, and do urge all citizens to work to prevent suicide and to raise awareness and tolerance around all people affected by this tragedy"


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