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County Firefighters Snuff Out Chimney Fire

November 30, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Quick action by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Thursday night prevented a chimney fire from spreading.

Firefighters were called to the home of Jeff Poteete at 701 Henley Hollow Road.

According to Fire Chief Donny Green, Poteete heard a popping sound from behind the fireplace and saw flames coming out of the chimney. He then called 911.

Upon arrival firefighters used a chemical fire suppressant called Chimnex to put out the blaze which apparently began from creosote build up in the chimney. There was no damage to the home and no one was injured.

Members of the Liberty and Main Stations responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

“If you heat with wood, it’s important to have your chimney inspected and your flue cleaned at the start of the heating season,” said Chief Donny Green. “Professional chimney sweeps can check for cracked or broken mortar that can let the heat escape the chimney and start a fire, as well as remove accumulated creosote which is the cause of most chimney fires.”

DeKalb Health Department Offering Free Flu Shots December 5th

November 30, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Get a flu shot! Tennessee’s county health departments are holding special “FightFluTN” events December 5 to provide flu shots at no charge to increase the number of people vaccinated in Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health urges all Tennesseans who have not yet received a flu shot this flu season to get one as soon as possible, as seasonal influenza is spreading across the state.

DeKalb County Health Department/Community Health Center will be hosting a completely free flu clinic December 5 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at 254 Tiger Drive, Smithville.

“Flu kills, and we expect many more weeks of the annual seasonal flu epidemic ahead in Tennessee, so everyone who hasn’t yet had a flu vaccine should get one now, and you can do so for free December 5,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Flu vaccination is still the best protection we have against this serious and deadly illness. The vaccine that can help prevent illness in you can also save another from illness or death if they were to get your flu, a kindness to others that just might save your own life.” All Tennessee county health departments are holding flu shot events Dec. 5 during observances of National Influenza Vaccination Week. This includes all rural county health departments and health department clinics in Chattanooga-Hamilton County, Jackson-Madison County, Knox County, Nashville-Davidson County, Shelby County and Sullivan County. No appointments are needed to get a flu shot during these events.

The Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six months and older. Learn more about fighting seasonal flu at

Brad Halfacre Named Park Manager at Edgar Evins State Park

November 29, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Ranger Brad Halfacre has been named as the new Park Manager at Edgar Evins State Park following the recent promotion of former Park Manager, Kenny Gragg, to Middle Tennessee Parks Area 3 Manager. Gragg, a resident of Baxter, had been at Edgar Evins State Park for approximately one and a half years. Halfacre has been at the park about 3 years.

Gragg assumed his new position as area manager on September 16th. He will be responsible for the oversight of nine parks including Edgar Evins, Cummins Falls, Burgess Falls, Rock Island, Cumberland Trail, Booker T. Washington, Harrison Bay, Red Clay, and Hiwassee/Ocoee. Reflecting on his time at Edgar Evins he said, “It had always been a dream of mine to work at Edgar Evins State Park. Growing up in the Cookeville area, I had frequented Edgar Evins throughout my youth. It was a pleasure serving as park manager and having the opportunity to help direct Edgar Evins into a more sustainable place. We accomplished a lot in my short tenure through the hard work of park team members and volunteers. I am proud to have been a small part of the Edgar Evins team.”

“Brad Halfacre was an easy pick for Park Manager of Edgar Evins,” continued Gragg. “His passion for Edgar Evins will drive his decisions and guide him through his tenure. I have no doubt Brad will be successful as park manager. Brad is the son of prior park manager, Carl Halfacre, and grew up at Edgar Evins. Now he has the opportunity to raise his own children at Edgar Evins. I am happy for Brad and look forward to continued work with him in his new role.”

Brad Halfacre is a 1995 graduate of Upperman High School in Baxter, and a 2004 graduate of Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where he majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Science with a concentration in Fisheries Biology. Currently he is enrolled in the Master’s program at Tennessee Tech in Public Safety. He is a graduate of the National Association of State Park Directors –State Park Leadership School, Green Leadership and the Park Managers Technical Institute, as well as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician. Halfacre started with Tennessee State Parks in 2006 at Henry Horton, and transferred to Edgar Evins in October 2015. When asked about his beginning plans as the new park manager he said, “One of my first projects will be to open the view shed behind the cabins. We will begin cutting trees very soon. This project will enhance our customer’s experience by providing a stunning view. Also, I am very excited about the six mile mountain bike and multi-use trail that is currently being constructed. When completed it will be a great addition to the trail system at Edgar Evins.”

Fount Bertram, President of the all-volunteer Friends of Edgar Evins State Park says, “Although we are happy Kenny Gragg has been promoted it is something of a shock after his being with the park a relatively short time. We have enjoyed working with Kenny and wish him well, but it’s not like we will never see him again as he will still be part of the overall Edgar Evins team. Certainly we agree with his choice of Brad Halfacre as his successor as Park Manager. We have known Brad a long time and look forward to continuing to work for the park under his management.”

There will be an official Meet the (New) Manager reception and farewell party for Kenny Gragg after the holidays.

Edgar Evins State Park is located in DeKalb and Putnam Counties on Center Hill Lake. It is approximately 20 miles north of Smithville and 30 miles west of Cookeville and 60 miles east of Nashville. The physical address is 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point TN 38582. For more information about the park visit the website at For more information about the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park you may visit their website at

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