November 3, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Election day has arrived.
Voters across the state and nation will be making their choices today (Tuesday, November 3) for various state and federal offices including President of the United States.
Voting at all 15 precincts in DeKalb County will be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage when the polls close at 7 p.m. Listen for local returns along with updates from the state and national radio networks.
Safeguards will be in place at the polling locations to help protect both workers and voters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeKalb County hit a record high for early voting/absentee turnout at 5,089, up by 1,097 over the early voting/absentee turnout for the 2016 Presidential election. DeKalb County has 12,509 registered voters. In the Presidential election four years ago, 7,065 people cast ballots in DeKalb County including 3,073 on election day and 3,992 early votes/absentee.
“Our office, in conjunction with the local election commission and state office, has worked to make the voting process as ‘No Touch’ as possible, just as it was in August” said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.
“Voters will have access to a disposable pen when they arrive to vote which will minimize contact with shared surfaces and voting machines. Voters may also use their own pen or may use disposable gloves.”
Hand sanitizer will be available at the polling locations and poll workers have been equipped with face masks and/or face shields and some will be stationed behind plexiglass sneeze guards. Social distancing signs will be displayed either on the floor or walls throughout the entrance and voting area.
“We encourage all voters to do their part in making the voting experience a safe and efficient process,” said Stanley.
The following candidates have qualified to appear on the November 3 General Election ballot:
Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States:
*Republican Party Donald J. Trump for President and Michael R. Pence for Vice President
*Democratic Party Joseph R. Biden for President and Kamala D. Harris for Vice President
* Independent Don Blankenship for President and William Mohr for Vice President
*Independent Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente for President and Darcy G. Richardson for Vice President
*Independent Howie Hawkins for President and Angela Walker for Vice President
*Independent Jo Jorgensen for President and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen for Vice President
*Independent Alyson Kennedy for President and Malcolm Jarrett for Vice President
*Independent Gloria La Riva for President and Sunil Freeman for Vice President
*Independent Kanye West for President and Michelle Tidball for Vice President
Candidates for the United States Senate
*Republican- Bill Hagerty
*Independent- Yomi “Fapas” Faparusi Sr.
*Independent- Jeffrey Alan Grunau
*Independent- Ronnie Henley
*Independent- G. Dean Hill
*Independent- Steven J. Hooper
*Independent- Elizabeth McLeod
*Independent-Eric William Stansberry
Candidates for the United States House of Representatives-6th District
*Republican- John Rose
*Democrat-Christopher Martin Finley
*Independent-Christopher B. Monday
Tennessee House of Representatives-40th District
*Republican-Terri Lynn Weaver
Tennessee House of Representatives-46th District
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installed in Smithville
November 2, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Imagine owning an automobile that you don’t fill up, but charge up.
Smithville’s first ever electric vehicle charging station was installed Monday located at the city parking lot across from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home.
Lead project infrastructure partner Seven States Power Corporation managed the installation in cooperation with Smithville Electric System and Tennessee Tech University.
Plans are to install a total of nine such electric car stations throughout the Upper Cumberland Region. Cookeville, Lafayette, Carthage, Livingston, and Spencer already have one in addition to Smithville and Sparta, Jamestown, and Byrdstown are due to get one within days.
TTU Mechanical Engineer Assistant Professor Pingen Chen said the project is part of a three-year Tennessee Tech study to research how electric vehicles could be the new future of transportation in rural communities. “Electric vehicles can bring a lot of benefits over conventional automobiles including the low fuel cost and low operational cost”.
This project is one of the first of its kind. Chen said this is an important study because 97 percent of the United States consists of rural areas but contains 20 percent of the population. He said the main drawbacks why electric vehicles have not become more practical is due to a lack of knowledge, awareness, and charging station availability.
Brad Rains, Director of DER Deployments with the Chattanooga based Seven States Power Corporation, expects EV drivers to embrace the charging station’s convenience. “Most EV drivers will charge the battery overnight at home,” said Rains. “This station is used for getting a little bit of power over a shorter period. Every hour you charge at the Chargepoint, you’ll add 25 to 30 miles of range to your car. It’s like topping off your tank.”
Eight of the charging stations in the Upper Cumberland Region, including the one in Smithville, are Level 2.
“This particular charger is a 7 kilowatt charger so that means you get 7 kilowatt hours each hour you use it and how long it takes to recharge depends on the size of the battery in your car and how empty or full that battery is. For example, if you have a 60 kilowatt hour battery and you are half way depleted that means you need 30 kilowatt hours so it will take you a little over 4 hours to put 30 kilowatt hours back into the vehicle,” Rains said.
“If you own an electric vehicle it has a display very similar to a gas gauge with which we are all familiar and it will tell you whether you are 75, 50, or 25 % full of charge. When you get down to that 25% in a gasoline fueled car you get a little nervous. You start looking for a gas station. The same thing applies with electricity. You’ll see that 25% mark on your gauge and you will know its time to refuel just like with your gas tank. If you have a 20 gallon gas tank and you are at 25% you need 15 gallons to fill up. The same thing with electricity. If your battery is 60 kilowatt hours at 25% you need 45 kilowatt hours”.
To activate the charge station, Rains said EV owners download the Chargepoint app and set up an account with their credit card on a mobile phone or computer. They scan the app at the station, and once the car is plugged into the machine, the cost is one dollar per hour and that money locally flows back to Smithville Electric System for those charges and revenues. While the vehicle is charging, EV drivers have time to spend downtown shopping or enjoying a meal at a restaurant.
Chen said after all stations are installed, three electric vehicles will be given to UCHRA to test transportation practicality: a Nissan Leaf, an EV pickup truck, and a EV shuttle bus.
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.
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.
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