Alderman Tony Tarpley was appointed mayor by his fellow aldermen in a special meeting held Thursday morning at city hall.
Tarpley was sworn into office by city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.
Alderman Addie Farley was named Vice Mayor.
Other members of the city council are Pat Jackson and Bennett Armstrong.
Jim H. York, Jr. was elected mayor last month but he resigned three days after taking office in a dispute with the Aldermen.
According to Alexandria's City Charter "the board shall fill vacancies"....but any portion of an unexpired four (4) year term for Alderman or Mayor that remains beyond the next municipal election shall be filled by the voters at such election..."
In other words..in this case, the mayor can't serve beyond the next election, unless he is elected mayor.
Therefore, in 2015, Alexandria will be electing three aldermen for four year terms and now a mayor to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term.
The city government in Alexandria is made up of a mayor and six aldermen. Three of the aldermen seats are now vacant. The remaining members of the council are hoping to appoint persons to fill those seats soon.
The body of a man found floating in Center Hill Lake last Friday has been positively identified by the state medical examiner as Joseph Loupe of Rutherford County.
"The pathologist was able to take xrays to make a positive identification," Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Thursday afternoon. "The autopsy revealed that Loupe was the victim of a drowning. No foul play is suspected, according to Sheriff Ray.
Loupe's badly decomposed body was spotted by a fisherman last Friday morning, October 11 on what would have been the victim's 45th birthday. The remains surfaced in the area of Edgar Evins State Park and Center Hill Marina, near where his boat was found on the day of his disappearance nearly three years ago.
Loupe rented a pontoon boat from Center Hill Marina on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and set out on the lake. Later that day, the boat was found unoccupied but still in gear and traveling in a circle, about three quarters of a mile from the marina.
" In my career as a law enforcement officer, I never heard of any body surfacing after being in the lake for that long," said Sheriff Ray.
"We believe he either fell or jumped into the water from the boat. A fanny pack was on the body that contained his identification but since the remains were so badly decomposed, we couldn't tell who he was. After his body was sent to Nashville for an autopsy, the state medical examiner asked us to see if we could find Xrays to help confirm his identity," said Sheriff Ray.
At the time of Loupe's disappearance, the incident was initially treated as a possible boating accident. " He rented the boat around midday from Center Hill Marina," said TWRA Officer Tony Cross on the day Loupe went missing. "Approximately 50 minutes to an hour later, the boat was discovered unoccupied out on the lake, still moving, in gear. Several different agencies are working on it. We're working side by side with the sheriff's department in DeKalb and Rutherford county," said Officer Cross.
After getting the boat stopped, an Edgar Evins Marina employee and park ranger began a visual search, scanning the banks and shoreline in the area, before contacting the TWRA.
Officer Cross said there was one sighting of the man on the lake prior to his disappearance. "We had a witness (an employee of Edgar Evins Marina) who saw the rental pontoon and saw that there was a person on board, but he was quite a distance away. He just happened to take notice of it since there is very little boat traffic on the lake right now. He noticed it was a rental pontoon from Center Hill Marina and it looked like one person was on the boat but nothing appeared to be amiss."
TWRA officers scanned the banks by boat throughout the afternoon and dragging operations by the rescue squad continued until dark, but to no avail.
"As soon as he went missing, we did a missing person report on him," Sheriff Ray told WJLE Thursday. "We entered him into the National Crime Information Center as missing and over the last three years we did some investigation and checked tips we received but nothing ever came from it," he said.
A Smithville man is charged with breaking into his neighbor's apartment and assaulting another neighbor with a knife.
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 37 year old Russell Blackwell of City Walk Apartments on East Bryant Street is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. His bond totals $20,000 and he will be in court on October 31.
According to Detective Brandon Donnell, who investigated the case, Smithville Police received a call of a stabbing on Tuesday at City Walk Apartments. "Sergeant Andy Snow contacted me and I initiated an investigation. It was determined that Blackwell forced his way into an apartment, causing damage to the front door, and started fighting with the resident there. As another neighbor got between the two to try and break up the fight, Blackwell allegedly pulled a large kitchen knife and cut the neighbor several times who was trying to stop the fight. After the assault, Blackwell ran out of the apartment and allegedly threw the knife on top of the building before returning to his own residence in the apartment complex," said Detective Donnell.
After witnesses identified Blackwell as the man responsible for the assault, police went to his apartment where they found Blackwell and placed him under arrest. The knife was also retrieved from the top of the apartment building.
The wounded man in the knife attack was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.
Anyone interested in being appointed to the positions of constable in the first, second, or third district may soon apply.
The county commission Tuesday night voted to advertise seeking applicants for the open seats.
Respondents will be interviewed by members of the county commission in an informal meeting. A vote will later be taken on filling the vacant seats at a regular meeting of the commission.
Constable terms are for four years. The last election for constables was in 2012. Five of the seven district seats were filled including Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, Carl Lee Webb in the sixth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district. No one ran for the positions in the first and second districts. However in recent months persons in those districts have expressed an interest.
Vanderpool has since passed away, creating a vacancy in the third district.
If the commission appoints persons to fill these three positions, the appointees would serve until August 31, 2014. Elections will be held in 2014 to fill the remaining two years of the terms.
Surrounded by friends and family, Ethel Keith Ashford celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday at the Webb House Retirement Center, where she is now a resident.
"I'm older than good", she replied as Ms. Ashford's son, Randall Keith asked her to tell WJLE how old she is. Later when she was asked by Lora Webb, Ms Ashford proudly boasted "Yeah, I'm a hundred today."
Donning a birthday party hat, Ms. Ashford was treated to a birthday cake, punch, flowers and balloons in observance of the happy occasion.
She was even asked to recite a poem for WJLE which she first learned as a child in 1925 called " January Brings The Snow"
January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.
February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.
March brings breezes sharp and shrill,
Shakes the dancing daffodil.
April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.
May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.
June brings tulips, lillies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.
Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.
August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.
Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.
Brown October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.
Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves go whirling past.
Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.
"Mama was always active in the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club," said Ms Ashford's daughter Jean Parkerson. "She is also a member of the Eastern Star. She has also been active in the senior citizens programs. She loves dancing. She used to love to play cards. She is just a sociable person," said Parkerson.
In addition to son and daughter Randall Keith and Jean Parkerson, Ms. Ashford has another son, Wayne Keith who lives in Florida. Ms. Ashford is a grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother.
"She was one of thirteen children," added Ms. Ashford's son Randall Keith. "Her daddy was Dennis Tramel. They were farm folks. As of this date, she has lived longer than any of her siblings or parents. She has a brother and sister left out of the thirteen and they are age 85 and 92. Most of her siblings died in their 80's or 90's. They all have enjoyed a long life. We're really thankful we've had her this long," said Keith.
The freedom of 66 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville, who has been behind bars for 32 years in a 1981 DeKalb County murder, remains in question.
Two members of the Tennessee Board of Parole took opposite views Wednesday morning with one, Tim Gobble voting to deny parole for another year and the other, Patsy Bruce voting to parole him. As a result, more board members will have to vote in the coming weeks and whichever decision reaches 4 votes first will be the final verdict. Bruce and Gobble were the only parole board members present at the prison for Bounds' hearing Wednesday.
Bounds is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting 27 year old Sherman Wright of DeKalb County.
Wednesday's hearing was held at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated. WJLE was the only media present covering the hearing.
Bounds was convicted of first degree murder in the killing of Wright, who was shot once in the head just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981, allegedly over a gambling debt. The game room no longer exists. The building now serves as the location for the Discount Tobacco Outlet.
Bounds was tried by a DeKalb County Circuit Court Jury in October 1981 and he has been in prison since. He has been up for parole four times, in September 2002, August 2005, October 2010, and October 2011. This was his fifth parole hearing.
"It was a dispute over money," Bounds told the parole board members Wednesday. " It became confrontational and I shot him. I didn't intend to but I did. I'm responsible no matter what the circumstances are. I am the one who did it," he said.
Parole board members Bruce and Gobble heard Wednesday from Bounds’ daughter, Jessica Greer; a niece, Lisa Childress; and a life long friend Bobby Rigsby. Katherine Pack, a cousin of the victim spoke on behalf of the Sherman Wright family.
"I do not know my father as well as I want to," said Bounds' daughter Jessica Greer. " My children are missing out on him being their grandfather. I understand the other family has lost a lot. But so have we. I didn't have a father growing up. I'm just afraid that if he don't get out something may happen to him and I may never have that relationship with him. Keeping him here is not bringing Mr. Wright back. Sometimes we have to learn to forgive. Because when we stand before the Lord we have to have forgiveness in our hearts. I wasn't with my father for a very long time because he wasn't there for me. But I've learned to forgive. I've learned to accept him in my life. I love my father. He has been great in my life so far. I would love to be able to walk with him in the yard with my kids or when my son graduates high school, he would be able to watch him cross the stage. I really do think he has served his time," said Greer.
"I feel like he has paid his debt to society," said Bounds' niece, Lisa Childress. "The man that I've grown to know, I don't feel like he would have done anything like that on purpose. I feel like he should be given a chance to live outside of these walls. He (Bounds) has two grandchildren now and he is not getting to participate in raising them. They don't have a male figure in their lives. He would be an awesome role model for them I feel like," said Childress.
"I've known J.B all my life," said Ronnie Rigsby, a friend of Bounds. "We grew up together. We played ball together. I've been here just about every time (parole hearings). There is no way on earth they will ever make me believe that this guy did that (shooting) on purpose. He has always been a good friend. I just think that he has paid his dues. I think he should be given consideration at this time," said Rigsby.
Katherine Pack, a first cousin of the victim, spoke on behalf of the Wright family in opposition to Bounds' release. "Today I'm speaking for Sherman's mother, Mrs. Louise Wright and the rest of the Wright family," said Pack. It's kinda hard, especially for my aunt Louise to say the things she would like to say and I can't even express it because I know what an impact it's had on her life. But I can't even go there in my mind to losing a child. We understand that Mr. Bounds has been here for a long time. But we also understand that there are consequences to all our actions and that our actions sometimes don't just affect us. It affects everyone we love. All the people around us. He (Sherman Wright) was just 27 years old when his life was taken. He never knew some of his nieces and nephews. He didn't have children but he was a fun loving guy. He loved to fish. Loved to hunt. Loved to play sports That was cut short at a very early age. We, as a family are in opposition to Mr. Bounds' being released," said Pack.
Bounds admitted to shooting Wright but he insisted that it was unintentional. In fact, Bounds said he did not expect to see Wright that day, but ran into him while at the game room where he had stopped to see someone else.
Bounds said when he saw Wright he asked to speak with him and they got into an argument. "He owed me some money. We had several discussions about it over a period of time. I had seen him on Friday night. He had come to my place of business and told me that he was working on some things and that he would have some money in a day or two. On Monday, the day it happened, I was going to DeKalb County and I saw a friend of mine's vehicle at this business (Odyssey Arcade). I didn't know what kind of business it was. I pulled in behind this vehicle and stopped. I walked in. It just so happened it was a game room. Mr. Wright was there. He was playing a game. I asked to speak to him. He said just a second. I said okay. I was talking to my friend there. I was just going to talk to him there (inside the building) but he started out the door. As we were going out the door there was a girl there that he knew (Mary Mabe). She said something to him and he stopped. I just went on outside the door and I waited for him. He came out and we started talking about this. I guess we lost our tempers or whatever and I took a swing at him. When I did he stepped back. I missed and he put his hands in his pockets. I knew he had carried a gun. I had a gun so I pulled my gun and he pulled his hands out (of his pocket). Of course, I was mad so I was going to hit him with my pistol and when I did he grabbed it. Whether he hit my hand or I pulled the trigger or whatever, anyway it discharged and it shot him and killed him," said Bounds.
After leaving the scene, Bounds drove back to McMinnville, contacted his attorney and turned himself in at the Warren County Jail.
"Mr. Bounds, my vote today is to parole you," said Board member Bruce. " I will ask that you be tested for substance abuse and that you be referred to a social worker for transitional needs or for any referrals or treatment needed (as part of his parole conditions).
Board member Gobble took a different view. "Mr. Bounds, I've got some mixed feelings on this. I think you've got a good institutional record and I commend you on that. You have served a long time. I do agree with a previous board member (at the last parole hearing two years ago) who said at some point you probably will be paroled but I'm not prepared to do that today. I think you are probably a relatively low risk to re-offend due to your age but this was a very serious offense. A man lost his life at a very young age. That whole life before him was taken senselessly and needlessly because of your actions. I'm not prepared to vote to release you today. I am going to decline you and rehear your case in a year in October, 2014 and to consider it possibly then," said Gobble.
Bounds' file will now go to the other members of the Tennessee Board of Parole. They will review the case and cast their votes. The voting continues until there are four concurring votes (either to parole or to deny parole), which is what the law requires for a decision on this offense.
The factors board members consider in making parole decisions include the seriousness of the offense, the amount of time served, support and/or opposition to the parole, victim impact, any disciplinary issues the offender might have had while incarcerated, any programs the offender might have completed while incarcerated, etc.
It generally takes 2-4 weeks to get a final decision
The DeKalb County Commission has taken another step toward developing a solid waste transfer station and recycling center.
During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the commission adopted resolutions authorizing the filing of applications to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for a Hub and Spoke Recycling Grant in an amount up to $300,000; a Recycling Equipment Grant up to $25,000 for an automatic baler; and two Used Oil Grants worth up to $16,300 each. Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning & Consulting will be the grant administrator for the project.
In order to beat the Monday, October 21 grant filing deadline, the county commission moved its regular meeting date up from Monday, October 28 to Tuesday night, October 15 to take this action.
According to County Mayor Mike Foster, the cost to the county of developing a solid waste transfer station and recycling center, closing the existing Class I landfill, and starting a new Class III/IV landfill cell for non-household garbage, is estimated to be about $2.4 million. These grants, if approved, would help absorb some of the costs. "We're filing a grant for $300,000 toward the cost of a transfer recycling center. Our costs would be about $700,000. We're filing a grant for $25,000 toward the cost of a baler for the recycling/transfer station. Our costs comes to around $85,000. We're also filing grants for two sites for $16,300 each for waste oil. We feel those two grants will be fully funded," said Foster.
Although the county has enough money to cover the anticipated costs of the entire project, Foster said the county's financial advisor Steve Bates has recommended another funding option in case of cost overruns. "Funds for the county's part are there (in the solid waste budget)," said Foster. "We have saved it up over the last ten years in the solid waste fund. But in case the costs run more than we're thinking they will or in case we don't want to spend down all of our cash we could either do a bond or note up to $1.5 million. I don't think that will happen. I think our estimates are high, according to our engineer. So I think we're okay. But in order to apply for the grant, we need to be certain everything is right," he continued.
Foster said while developing a transfer station is costly, it is not as expensive as building another new Class I landfill. "We have two options. We can either build another Class I cell at a cost of about $4.5 million which would last five years. Or we could build the transfer station for about $900,000 to last from now on," he said.
While county officials would like to build the transfer station/recycling center behind Tenneco in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east, the city's industrial development board has not yet given its approval. If the industrial board does not approve, the county would most likely find another location and build the transfer station/recycling center anyway.
The proposed transfer station/recycling center would be similar to Cumberland Waste Disposal in Crossville. But unlike Cumberland, where the transfer station is at one location and the recycling center is at another, the DeKalb County transfer/recycling operation would be at the same location. WJLE accompanied Foster to Crossville Tuesday to see the Cumberland Waste Disposal and Recycling operation first hand. (PHOTOS OF THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY OPERATION ARE SHOWN HERE)
"Ours would be combined at one site," said Foster. "We would put cans at each one of the (major convenience) sites. People could bring cardboard, plastic, and paper and separate them (at the convenience sites). We would then bring the recyclables to the recycling center to be baled. Our transfer station would be almost identical to the one in Crossville. It's about a 50' x 80' building which is open on one side. The garbage is brought in by trucks and dumped. It is then immediately loaded on a semi truck with a backhoe. It doesn't take five minutes to do it. The semi truck is prepared with a net pulled over it to keep things from blowing out and then its hauled to a site in another county," said Foster.
The Cumberland transfer station is located downtown Crossville within sight of the Cumberland County Courthouse. Homes, churches, and businesses are also close by.
With a baler, Foster said DeKalb County could recycle cardboard, plastics, paper, and aluminum cans. Other scrap metals might also be accepted for recycling. The county already accepts used oil at some of the convenience sites and is preparing to take used anti-freeze. Over time, Foster said an active recycling program could be profitable for DeKalb County. "Cumberland County has brought in approximately $500,000 in revenue from recyclables. That's a major amount of money. DeKalb County is much smaller but we might could bring in a third of that. We might be looking at $150,000 to $200,000," said Foster.
If the application for the Hub and Spoke Recycling Grant is approved, the county would serve as a Recycling Hub for other cities and counties in the area who want to bring in their recyclables . "Cannon County is doing a sponsor letter. DeKalb County is. Smithville is. We hope Liberty, Dowelltown, and Alexandria will. It (local recycling center) would be a Hub for this area. It could also be a Hub for parts of White County. They could bring in their recyclables here. I know Cannon County officials have said they would especially like to have help with plastics. They could bring their plastics here and we would bale it for them and we would get the money out of it. But anybody from other counties could bring in recyclables. Not garbage. Just recyclables. We would bale them and get paid for them" said Foster.
If DeKalb County develops a transfer station/recycling center, it will have to contract with another county to accept the local household garbage.
The county may know from TDEC by December whether its grant applications will be funded.
The City of Smithville is applying for another airport grant. If approved, this grant would help fund clearing the runway approaches of obstructions.
This basically amounts to cutting trees on private property to keep the glide paths clear according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Airport Manager Wesley Nokes said the city's cost to match the grant is $2,500. "It's been several years since the approaches at the airport have been cleared from obstructions. You are required by the FAA to maintain your approaches. An approach is an imaginary trapazoid that extends off each end of the runway. It's basically like a square ice cream cone and the farther you go out the higher up it gets. It starts at the ground on the runway. Right off the end of the runway, you have to keep that pretty well free and clear of trees and other obstacles. We have some trees that have grown up and according to the FAA survey these trees are penetrating our approaches now. We're going to have to remove them. TDOT has advised us to apply for a grant for $50,000 to clear all these obstacles. It will be a 95/5% matching grant. A five percent cost to the city, which is $2,500. We may not use all of it or we may end up going over that. It's hard to tell until you get in on it and start doing it. I would like permission from the board to go ahead and apply for this so we can get started. It's very important. The FAA can shut down our approaches. They actually have shut down our night time GPS approaches at the airport. No one was aware of that until about a week ago. This is something we need to get taken care of pretty quickly. You can land at night in VFR which is good weather. When the weather is marginal, that's when your GPS approaches are not valid," said Nokes.
The aldermen last week voted to authorize the filing of the grant application.
Meanwhile, the recent runway overlay resurfacing project at the airport has been completed. Runway lights, which have reportedly not been working of late, are being repaired.
The City of Smithville is looking to renovate the headworks and replace the aeration system at the waste water treatment plant.
Grants will be sought to help cover the costs.
Greg Davenport of the J.R. Wauford company, the city's consulting engineer addressed the mayor and aldermen on the proposed project last week. "The existing wastewater treatment plant was designed in 1991 and it went into operation in 1992. It has functioned very well. The operation of that plant is top notch. The operators have done a fantastic job of preserving your infrastructure. Even so there are things that wear out with time and equipment is one of those things. After about twenty years at a wastewater treatment facility, it just gets to a point where it's time to renew it. There are really two components to the plant. The first component is the headworks which is the primary treatment. That's the screening and grit removal. Obviously the most aggressive environment is at the front end of the wastewater treatment plant. The second component is the aeration and controls. The aeration system itself is not in a failing mode but there are more energy efficient systems out there nowadays that we feel like you ought to take a look at. This would be a more pro active project. You could let things go if you so choose but it would probably escalate the cost of remediation. What we're proposing is a project that would renovate the headworks, which is the primary treatment device and then install a more efficient aeration system. My preliminary calculations on the aeration system show that it could save about $30,000 to $35,000 a year in electricity by switching over. That is certainly something you should take a look at. We're proposing that most of the project be paid for with grant funds so the project timeline will be extended. The plant is twenty one years old. It's time to take an assessment of it and see what needs to be done. If you're fortunate enough to get the grant funds it would save the city quite a bit of money," said Davenport.
Barbara Pearman of the MP3 Community Development Services in Kingston will be assisting the city in searching for available grants. "I have been in this business about twenty five years. I have worked with just about every funding agency there is out there. I've done state grants, federal grants, industrial grants, water and sewer grants, recreation grants. I am really very experienced and knowledgeable of the grant programs that are available and out there," she said.
Pearman said the city might be eligible for an Appalachian Regional Commission Grant, a Community Development Grant, USDA Rural Development Grants or Loans, or an Economic Development Administration Grant. The city would have to fund the local match of any grant approved.
Sheriff Patrick Ray says if you receive any phone calls, text messages, or emails indicating you have won a prize and need to send money ... don't do it!
A few persons in DeKalb County have already fallen victim to the scams. "We've had reports here of some people losing a few hundred dollars. Others here have lost thousands of dollars. We're asking everyone to beware of it," said Sheriff Ray.
According to Sheriff Ray, the scammer will call and tell the victims that they have won the lottery or the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. "The scammer tells them the only thing they have to do to receive their winnings is to pay taxes on it. The scammer tells how much the taxes are and then asks the victims to go to Walmart or some other place to purchase a green dot money pack card, to put the amount of the taxes owed on that card, return home, telephone the scammer and to give him the number on the back of that card. But by doing so, Sheriff Ray said the scammer is able to go on line and access cash from the victims' card. The scammer tells the victims that he will process their order to get them their winnings but after a few hours or days, the scammer usually calls again to tell the victims that the order can't be processed because more money is owed the IRS for taxes. The scammer instructs the victims to go back to Walmart and get another green dot money pack card, put on the card the amount still owed, and then call the scammer again to give him the number off the card. Sheriff Ray said the scammer will continue calling the victims to repeat this process until the victims no longer send money. After the money stops coming, the scammer will then become rude, profane, and threatening to the victims over the phone. The scammer often threatens to obtain warrants against the victims for not paying the taxes. Sheriff Ray said the threats are meant to make the victims feel obligated to put more money on the card.