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City Rejects Rezoning Request After Public Opposition (View Video Here)

November 2, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

After hearing from a dozen residents and property owners in the neighborhood who oppose it, the Smithville Aldermen Monday night rejected a request to rezone 42 acres near Walmart from residential to commercial.

Citizens Speak Out Against Rezoning Proposal from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Jada Cantrell, the owner of the property, came before the mayor and aldermen last month to formally make the request after getting a favorable recommendation for rezoning from the planning commission. But before taking action, Mayor Josh Miller and the aldermen said they wanted to hear from the public since this site, which might one day all be used for commercial purposes, is located in the heart of a large residential area and could potentially affect home values. The property is located off Broad Street beside and to the rear of Walmart extending to the O’Conner Street, Cooper Street, and Oak Glen Drive neighborhoods.

Cantrell said last month that she wanted to build a cosmetology school on the property with dreams of one day expanding the facility into something like a Motlow College learning center for persons hoping to enter the medical field.

“I want to put a beauty school there on this property,” said Cantrell during last month’s meeting. “I want to help our community bring in revenue. I know each one of you (mayor and aldermen) have children and grandchildren and I would like to see them have a job in the coming future. Its not all about a beauty (school). It’s also got to do with medical. The state of Tennessee has passed it that the cosmetology program can help them (students) get a nursing degree, doctor’s degree, medical assistant, and accepted when it comes to anything medical. I think it is wonderful that our state has passed it so that we can bring in more jobs for our state. I would like to help our community and the surrounding counties. I’m starting small but eventually it’s going to be like Motlow. I pray that you pass this (rezoning) for me to put this (property) in commercial,” said Cantrell.

During Monday night’s meeting a large number of people turned out for the public hearing on the issue and 12 of them addressed the mayor and aldermen in opposition.

Most of them expressed concerns that future commercial development there might adversely affect property values and disturb the peaceful neighborhood they have come to enjoy.

“The biggest concern I have with this is the back 30 acres is surrounded on all four sides by houses and if this does not make it into a Motlow type facility what is to stop them from putting any kind of factory in there?. When you turn it commercial anything commercial can go in there. How would you feel if someone decided to put a metal fabricating plant back there and its rattling your house with the noise factor these factories can put out? Or what if it puts out a smell like Ferodo,” asked Bruce Curtis, a resident of Foster Road.

“We have been there about two years. We used to live in the county but we wanted to find some place closer to the city that was peaceful and quiet. If its zoned commercial at the back of these commercial buildings will be all these HVAC units making loud noise all night long not to mention the street lights. There are only a couple of places that have road access into this property and the main road access would come right behind our house. And if they build this thing up, what will happen to that water. It will come right back on us and create a problem,” said Colton Rhody of Oak Glen Drive.

“I am retired and I moved here because we needed to have a nice peaceful place to live. I have gone through two bouts of cancer and I want it to be peaceful. I don’t want to live in a place where I am going to be afraid. I did that in Nashville. I was afraid every day. I don’t want that. I want people to have whatever business opportunity they want to have but to take away our quality of life I think is really something that needs to be talked about,” said Niki Yarbrough of Oak Glen Drive.

“My biggest concern is that it will not be quiet and peaceful anymore. That is one of the reasons why I bought that property there in town. I’d rather it stay as residential and have homes than to have all the lights and noise when it turns into commercial and all the people that will be coming in and out of that,” said Lisa Puckett of Cooper Avenue.

“All of us moved there and most of us paid quite a bit of money for our property and we moved there to raise a family. We didn’t move there to be in the middle of commercial property. We just don’t want it,” added Bobby Anderson of Oak Glenn Drive.

Following the public hearing, Alderman Danny Washer made a motion to deny the rezoning request and to keep the 42 acre Cantrell property residential. Alderman Shawn Jacobs offered a second and the motion was approved with Aldermen Jessica Higgins and Beth Chandler voting with Washer and Jacobs. Alderman Brandon Cox was absent and so was Alderman Chandler but she (Chandler) participated in the meeting via a conference call.

Meanwhile two annexation ordinances were adopted on second and final reading without opposition following public hearings.

The properties are at the corner of Miller and Foster Road and at Highway 70 east and Colvert’s Lake Road.

The property at Foster and Miller Roads belongs to Tracy Foutch and most of it is already in the city zoned for industrial use. Foutch wants the remaining 17 acres of the parcel annexed in the city.

Meanwhile the property at Highway 70 east and Colvert’s Lake Road belongs to Greg Dugdale who bought it at auction. Dugdale wants the 8 acre site to be annexed and later zoned commercial fronting Highway 70 and residential on the back side.

Kennedy Agee: A Faithful Follower Rebounds

November 2, 2020
By: Bill Conger

DeKalb County High School basketball player Kennedy Agee is fighting to come back to the court after a third debilitating injury.

The junior Tiger basketball standout was playing in a travel ball tournament in Alabama on August 16 when she hurt one of the major ligaments in her right knee.

“I went around a girl and went to shoot a lay-up, and when I pushed off, my knee gave out and buckled and snapped my right ACL this time,” Kennedy remembers.

“When it happened the third time, Josh and I were standing out on the court with her, and he said, ‘Why us?’” her mom January Agee said. “We don’t know. We’ve been through a lot of emotions.”

“As a father, you try to give the answers of why in life, and I don’t have any answers for her right now,” DMS Basketball Coach Josh Agee adds.

Growing up the daughter of a coach, the 17-year-old girl had always been around basketball, but her interest took off in third grade.

“In middle school I realized it was time to start pushing harder,” Kennedy says. “My dreams have always been to play at Tennessee Tech.”

“Her dreams may not be done yet,” her dad said. “You always want your kid’s dreams to come true, and that’s probably been the hardest thing for me.”

Over the last nine years Kennedy has played year round for a travel league, the DeKalb Middle School Saints, and now D.C.H.S. Two years ago, she had her first ACL injury on the left side in the 4th period of a game against Warren County. She worked her way back in seven months instead of the nine doctors expected, but when she returned for a scrimmage game on October 30 of last year, the ACL on her left knee gave out again. Still, she never even thought of quitting.

“Basketball is too big a part of my life to give it up. I just kept pushing.”

Kennedy went through her second surgery on her left ACL, completed her therapy rehabilitation, and started lifting weights and running sprints.

“My expectations were to get back out there and play the game I love. I know that a lot of people in the county have been rooting for me, and they’ve always kind of been waiting around waiting to see me play. I still wanted to make my journey of playing college basketball come true. There were always the doubts, but you push through it. You suck it up and go.”

“Being a coach’s kid, you have to earn it more just to show I don’t play favoritism,” Josh says.

“She’s very inspiring to me the way she’s handled the adversity and come back twice and now has to deal with it again.”

“In that instant of the third time, it was like all the hard work and the hopes and goals and dreams crashed, said January, a teacher at DMS. “When you’re a basketball family, like we are, it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

“When I first went down on the floor, I really couldn’t believe what was happening again,” Kennedy says.

In that moment the Christian youth, who is a member of Smithville First Assembly of God, knew God had this.

“I just felt a peace from Jesus come over me that everything was going to be alright. The Bible verse that kept running through my head was in Daniel 3: 18: ‘If not, he is still good.’ I knew that no matter what happened whether I stepped back out on the floor again that my life was going to be okay.”

“When our daughter says that she still praises God through all of this, basketball takes a back burner, and we figure we’ve done something right,” says her mother. “She has handled it phenomenally. She was pretty down the first day. The second day she started making jokes about it. We even brought her orthopedist a punch card that I had made that said, ‘Buy two, get one free; ACL reconstructions’,” she says with a laugh.

“She has been inspiring to be honest,” her dad says. “She is mentally stronger than anybody I’ve ever seen. She’s handling it like a champ.”

The day after the latest injury, Kennedy was mowing the yard for her neighbor who had recently experienced a stroke.

“I have been raised by two wonderful Christian parents and a wonderful Christian family,” Kennedy says. “I’ve always had that foundation to stand on. Once you start going through trials, you learn to pray about it and dig deeper in your Bible about it and find ways to show that it’s going to be okay. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord has shown no matter what you face, no matter what valley you’re in the Lord is standing with you and it’s all going to be okay in the end. He always has a purpose for your life whether it’s what you want or not. He has a greater plan that sometimes we don’t see.

What happened happened, but I need to use that to glorify God because without Him I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I did. Basketball has also given me the opportunity to share His love to others.”

“We have to keep trusting that something good is going to come out of this,” her mother says. “We don’t know what it’s going to be. There’s got to be a reason for it.”

The trials for dad remind him not to take anything for granted.

“We don’t know when our last days on this earth are going to be,” Josh says. “Live every moment like it’s your last, and enjoy the ride. If I could go back and do it over again, that’s the one thing I would do more. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed her playing like I should. I’ve never got to sit back, watch and just be dad.”

Recovering now from her third surgery, Kennedy is striving to rebuild her body with the hopes of playing her senior year with her cousin Averly Agee, who will be a freshman.

“She’s got that determination of she’s not going to let something keep her down,” Mom January says. “We may go through a fourth one [ACL injury] She has too much love for it.”

Kennedy continues to hold tight to her desire to play college basketball. Just this past week Kentucky Christian University checked up on her again and invited her to the campus for a visit. Who knows where her faith and determination will take Kennedy next?

Haven of Hope’s Executive Director Steps Down

November 2, 2020
By: Bill Conger

After 16 years as one of the pivotal figures with the Haven of Hope, John Quintero has handed over the business reigns at the agency to mental health counselor Samanthia Curtis, LPC-MHSP. While he has stepped down as Executive Director, he will remain intricately involved on the mission side.

“John has always been the ‘level head’ in leading the organization and keeping the organization moving forward,” says Kay Quintero, who founded the Haven with her husband in 2004.

John Quintero was working a demanding 24/7 job at a plant when he felt the Lord leading him to leave the company, and in short order he and his wife joined the Mission Services Corps starting in the basement of Smithville First Baptist Church.

“I didn’t have a grand plan,” Quintero said. “Somebody else had to have a grand plan.”

His wife, Kay, had been providing counseling through the chapel at the Tennessee Prison for Women.

“Our thoughts were to do the same thing here,” he says. “but down there we didn’t realize we had a captive audience in more ways than one where up here we didn’t have that.”

“Our goal to start off was to help hurting ladies,” Quintero remembers. “It soon became very apparent that there were people hurting besides the ladies. We modified that to help hurting people.”

Over the years the Quintero’s have ministered to the DeKalb County area in a variety of ways including offering support groups, classes, and visits to the Housing Authority communities to give away cool pops.

“John has been a wonderful role model both personally and professionally, says new Haven of Hope Executive Director Samanthia Curtis. “John has a huge heart for helping hurting people and always doing the right thing. He is very genuine with people and doesn’t make them feel like he is looking down on them. I have watched him share God’s love with sincerity through the years. I think that is what Jesus would do. It is what He asks us to do and John does it. He is willing to go the extra mile and really serve people. I feel like this is a God given gift, and I have enjoyed learning from him.”

“Looking at John shows the true meaning of what it is to be a servant of Christ,” says Rita Bell, a friend and former Haven employee. “He and Kay would go out of their way to take people to Nashville for rehabilitation or for recovery. There is no selfishness in them. They are wonderful at glorifying God and furthering his mission.”

Located at 301 West Main Street, the Haven grew from a ministry to also encompass the town’s first ever professional counseling center. Half of the not-for-profit organization serves the community with professional counseling while the other section is devoted to ministerial needs such as connecting people to resources and offering a variety of support groups and classes in anger management and parenting just to name a few.

“I’m proud of the ministry portion that we’ve done,” Quintero says. “We’ve helped people in a lot of different ways get back on their feet.”

A large part of the ministry has also assisted people striving to live a drug free life. Quintero is a team member of the Recovery Court in Smithville and leads a weekly class called “Hurts, Habits, and Hang-ups.”

“His heart is so warm for the drug community that’s recovering,” says longtime Haven volunteer Anne Huebner. “He understands their hopelessness. He understands they’re afraid. He understands they’re taking a step forward, and he encourages.”

“A lot of times people come in that won’t look us in the eye. They sort of have their heads down, and they don’t say very much. To see that head come up, to see their involvement increase, to see smiles on their faces, to have a conversations with them that they start or respond to you is very meaningful to me.”

Quintero says overall it has been a very good journey.

“Maybe the thing I think of the most is being able to see people grow spiritually, grow responsibly and allowing God to change them.”

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