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DeKalb July Jobless Rate Drops to 5.9%

August 28, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s jobless rate for July was 5.9%, down from the rate of 6.1% for June and well below the 7.7% rate for July, 2015.

The local labor force for July was 7,580. A total of 7,140 were employed and 450 were without work.

Jobless rates for July among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:

Jackson:7.7%
Clay: 6.9%
Fentress: 6.6%
Van Buren: 6.4%
Pickett:6%
DeKalb: 5.9%
Cumberland: 5.9%
Overton: 5.9%
White: 5.3%
Putnam: 5.2%
Warren: 5.1%
Cannon: 4.9%
Macon:4.7%
Smith:4.7%

County unemployment rates for July 2016 show the rates decreased in 73 counties, increased in 11, and remained the same in 11 counties.

For the month of July, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.7 percent, decreasing from 3.8 percent the previous month. Knox County was 4.2 percent in July, decreasing from 4.3 percent the previous month. The Hamilton County rate was 4.9 percent, unchanged from the previous month. Shelby County was 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent the previous month.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July was 4.3 percent, increasing two tenths of a percentage point from the previous month’s revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for July was 4.9 percent, remaining unchanged from the previous month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Cross and Fuson Named Mr and Miss DCHS

August 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Rachel Fuson and Eli Cross

Eli Cross and Rachel Fuson have been named Mr. and Miss DCHS.

Cross, son of Tony and Shelly Cross, and Fuson, daughter of Joe and Missy Fuson, were recently nominated by the faculty and elected by the student body. Both are seniors.

Cross was among seven nominees for Mr. DCHS while four were in the running for Miss DCHS.

Public Square Repaving Project to Begin Next Week

August 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Anyone who has plans to be downtown Smithville for any reason over the next couple of weeks may have to find a place to park outside the public square starting next week.

The City of Smithville has contracted with a company to begin a milling and repaving project on the public square and surrounding streets.

City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson told WJLE Thursday that the equipment is expected to be brought in Monday and the milling should get underway on Tuesday. Milling is a process of removing at least part of the surface of a paved street in preparation for repaving. The project is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

In June, the Aldermen voted to award the bid to Tinsley Asphalt Company of Tullahoma for $203,460, which was the lowest of the three bids submitted.

In addition to the public square around the courthouse, streets to be milled and repaved are Don Cantrell Street by City Hall, West Walnut Street, East Main Street, West Main Street, and West Market Street.The work will be done in sections and only the sections being worked on will be closed. The remainder of the square and streets will remain open

The courthouse and all businesses in the area will remain open during this period and persons may park in the City of Smithville parking lot located on the north side of the square across from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home.

The city’s 2016-17 State Street Aid budget has $350,000 for paving including $250,000 for the streets around the public square and $100,000 for other city streets.

Shannon Cantrell Takes Oath as New Assessor of Property (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

August 25, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Although their terms of office won’t start until September 1, the newly elected Assessor of Property, Constables, School Board members, and First District County Commissioner took their oaths of office in a brief ceremony Thursday evening at the courthouse.

County Mayor Tim Stribling administered the oaths.

Family and friends of some public officials were in attendance for the occasion.

Those taking the oath were Assessor of Property-Elect Shannon Cantrell; Constables Jason Taylor in the 1st district, Thomas Theriaque in the 2nd district, Travis Bryant in the 3rd district, Paul Cantrell in the 4th district, Mark Milam in the 5th district, Carl Lee Webb in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district.

School board members Kate Miller in the 4th district and Doug Stephens in the 6th district were sworn in. Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III was unable to attend.

Julie Williams Young took the oath as a new County Commissioner in the 1st district.

All terms are for four years except for Miller and Young who are filling the remaining two years of unexpired terms.

Voters Urged to Prepare Now for November Election

August 24, 2016
Dennis Stanley

With a large turnout expected for the presidential election, voters are reminded to avoid potentially long lines and take advantage of early voting and to keep their addresses up to date.

“Early voting will be held October 19 through November 3,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “The exact hours will be announced later, but voters should go ahead and mark their calendars now and set reminders in their smartphones,” he said. “Voting early lets people cast ballots when it is convenient for them. The flexibility means everyone doesn’t have to vote on Election Day.”

The hours will be announced later on WJLE, wjle.com and dekalbelections.com.

“Two important things to keep in mind at this point are the registration deadline and the updating of addresses,” Stanley said.

“If you are not registered but want to participate in the November 8 election, October 11 is the last day you can register in person at the election office,” he said.

Voter registration forms are available at the election office on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse; on line at www.dekalbelections.com (and clicking on the voter registration tab at the top left of the page) and sos.tn.gov/elections.

As far as address changes go, Stanley said keeping your address up to date could prevent a delay in voting on Election Day.

“If you have moved since you last voted, you may have to vote at a different location on November 8,” he said. “Keep in mind, if you have moved and did not notify our office, you will have paperwork to fill out on Election Day and you may have to go to a different place to vote.”

Voters who want to check their status can call the election office at 615-597-4146 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Another tool for voters is the GoVoteTN app for smartphones and computer desktops. The app can be downloaded at the iTunes store or Google Play.

The app provides a variety of information about the upcoming election, including a way for voters to check their current status.

Manning Ordered to Remove Gate from Sunset Drive

August 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chancellor Ronald Thurman
Manning Ordered to Remove Gate from Sunset Drive

The gate across Sunset Drive will have to be removed for now.

Following a two and a half hour hearing Wednesday in DeKalb County Chancery Court, Chancellor Ronald Thurman granted the county's petition and issued a temporary injunction to enjoin Robert Grant Manning from obstructing Sunset Drive with a gate.

The temporary injunction will remain in effect until a final hearing in the case but Chancellor Thurman has ordered a judicial settlement conference be held between the parties to give them an opportunity to resolve their differences.

The county claims Sunset Drive has been on the county road map and county road list since the late 1990’s and that Manning cannot legally keep a gate across it but Manning denies the county’s claim asserting that Sunset Drive, a nine foot wide gravel road, is a private drive which runs through his property and belongs to him.

Chancellor Thurman sided with County Attorney Hilton Conger who contended that Sunset Drive is a county road based in part on a subdivision plat signed by Manning on July 21, 2004 dedicating all streets and alleys on his property to the county. In 2006 Manning also signed a deed of transfer conveying a portion of the subdivided property to his ex-wife which references Sunset Drive as being a county road. She sold her property to Bart Lay in October, 2015.

When asked by Conger Wednesday what he thought he was dedicating on July 21, 2004, Manning responded "the subdivision".

Attorneys for Manning, Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox disputed Conger’s claim stating that Manning had made no public dedication to the county of Sunset Drive nor any right of way dedication and that the DeKalb County Regional Planning Commission approved Manning’s subdivision plat on July 12, 2004 with full knowledge that Sunset Drive was nothing more than a private gravel driveway.

Cripps and Cox asserted that deeds also reveal that Manning reserved an easement unto himself so he could have access to the rear of his property after it was subdivided. They claim no easement would have been necessary if Sunset Drive were already a county road. They also point to the fact that Sunset Drive serves no other property owners, other than Lay, and that there are no school bus or mail routes on the driveway, which consists largely of two strips of gravel with grass growing in between.

Manning testified Wednesday that he and his former wife purchased the 120 acre site in the Belk community in 1990 and that he later developed the driveways now known as Sunset Drive and Hidden Hollow Way but has never sought making them county roads. Manning said he named the driveways himself at the request of the DeKalb County E-911 Board in 1992 and erected road signs as a joke since the driveways only traverse a cow pasture. Manning said he has always maintained the driveways himself and has never asked the county highway department for any gravel or road work on them.

On Monday, the first day of the hearing, Road Supervisor Wallace Butch Agee and his employees Charlie Mai Maxwell, who works in the office and Billy Eudean Pack, a truck driver, testified. Agee and Maxwell said that someone identifying himself as Grant Manning called in March to ask that a truck load of gravel be brought to Sunset Drive. Pack said the gate was there but open and he delivered the load of gravel and spread it as far as it would go down Sunset Drive. Manning testified Wednesday that he never made that call asking for the gravel and after it was delivered thought the road department had merely done that as a favor to him.

Manning said he erected the gate on Sunset Drive in May, 2011 to keep drunks and ATV’s off his property and had not before been challenged by the county to remove the gate. When the county commission became aware of it last fall, they voted to instruct Road Supervisor Agee to take the necessary action to have the gate removed. It was taken down in January, 2016 but Manning later erected it again and locked it with a log chain. The gate was again removed earlier this month (August) but Manning has since put it back.

Although Cripps and Cox insist he is not landlocked, Bart Lay, the adjoining property owner testified Monday and again Wednesday that the gate has forced him to access his land through a field off Allen Bend Road and that it has hampered his efforts to rent a trailer on the property and farm land.

In making his ruling on the temporary injunction, Chancellor Thurman referenced documents signed by Manning apparently either dedicating or acknowledging Sunset Drive as a county road. “Whether he intended to or not he is calling it that,” said Chancellor Thurman.

Public Hearing to be held on Status Change of Two County Roads

August 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Attorney Hilton Conger and County Mayor Tim Stribling (Older Photo)

The DeKalb County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed status change concerning two county roads. The hearing will be held on Monday, September 12 at 6:00 p.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

County Mayor Tim Stribling informed the county commission Monday night that the purpose of the hearing is to receive public input regarding a status change of the end section of Taylor Lane (Andy Redus property) from a county road to a private road in the Wolf Creek Community. Also regarding a status change of approximately 1,600 feet of the end section of Wright Bend Road (Ronnie and Elaine Cantrell property) from a county road to a private road in the Belk community. The September meeting of the DeKalb County Planning Commission will be held following the public hearing.

In other business Monday night, the county commission voted to have County Mayor Stribling assign office space in the courthouse for the judicial commissioners, who have been meeting for the last year in a room at the county complex. The vote was 9-3. Commissioner Wayne Cantrell made the motion and suggested that accordion doors might need to be installed in the hallways to keep the public from accessing other areas of the courthouse after business hours.

Cantrell also asked that copies of county officials’ personnel policies be made available to the county commission. Cantrell first made the request in June but the commission hasn’t yet received copies of the policies. According to Cantrell, each county should have a written personnel policy on file and made available to the county commission. “If they (county officials) don’t adopt one (personnel policy) then the county legislative body adopts the policies. This covers every elected official. But department heads who are not elected officials are not included in this. They have to fall under the general policies of the county,” said Cantrell.

“The county has a personnel policy as a whole and I have a copy of three or four of the (county officials) personnel policies. Nobody has adopted them. They are still in my office. I spoke to the state auditor last week and told him each office was looking to adopt their own personnel policy but you (county commission) will have a copy of them by the next meeting,” said County Mayor Stribling.

According to CTAS, the County Technical Assistance Service, If a county official chooses to prepare separate policies, the policies are required to be reviewed for compliance with the law by an attorney appointed by the county mayor with the approval of the county legislative body, and then the approved policies must be presented to the county legislative body to be included in the minutes and filed in the office of the county clerk. These policies are not subject to approval by the county legislative body. The procedure is set out in T.C.A. § 5-23-103.

If a county official chooses not to adopt separate policies for his or her office, that official’s office will be covered by the policies adopted by the county legislative body and the county mayor for all other county employees.

Meanwhile Commissioner Jerry Adcock made a motion that the budget committee begin another review of the pay scale and salaries of employees of county elected officials starting in January in preparation for next year’s budget to determine if any adjustments need to be made. Commissioner Joe Johnson amended Adcock’s motion to include a review of all county employee salaries, not just the elected officials employees. The motion and amendment were approved.

Red Cross and Sport Clips Haircuts offer free haircut coupon to blood and platelet donors in September

August 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The American Red Cross and Sport Clips Haircuts are teaming up to offer a free haircut coupon to those who come out to donate blood or platelets during September.

The next blood drive in Smithville will be at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 201 South College Street on Tuesday, September 6 from 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

“The Red Cross and Sport Clips have partnered for several years to help ensure blood is available for patients in need leading into fall,” said Donna M. Morrissey, director of national partnerships, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We are excited to partner once again for this year’s Saving Lives Never Looked So Good campaign and offer a coupon for a free haircut to volunteer blood and platelet donors in appreciation for their lifesaving gift.”

Those who come out to give blood or platelets Sept. 1-30 will receive a coupon for a free haircut via email several days after their donation. The coupon is valid through Nov. 6, 2016, at participating Sport Clips locations, and donors must have a valid email address on record to receive the coupon.

“The need for blood touches so many lives – not just those who need blood, but their family members and loved ones too. This is one way Sport Clips can thank those who give the gift of life to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross. They donate blood and we give them a free haircut,” said Amanda Palm, corporate communications manager of Sport Clips.

Donors of all blood types are urged to give. To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Sport Clips Haircuts
Sport Clips Haircuts is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas. It was established in 1993 and began franchising in 1995. The sports-themed haircutting franchise, which specializes in haircuts for men and boys, is ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Fastest-Growing Franchises” and in the top 20 in its “Franchise 500.” There are more than 1,500 Sport Clips stores open in the U.S. and Canada. Sport Clips is the “Official Haircutter” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), offers veterans preferential pricing on haircuts and franchises, and was named a “2016 Best for Vets: Franchises” by Military Times. Sport Clips provides “haircuts with heart” through its annual Help A Hero fundraiser that has given almost $4 million to the VFW; national partnership with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants; and other national and local philanthropic outreach. Sport Clips is a proud sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, and partners with numerous NCAA and professional sports teams. To learn more about Sport Clips, visit sportclips.com.

Newly Elected Officials to Take Oath of Office Thursday

August 23, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Assessor of Property-Elect Shannon Cantrell

The new Assessor of Property, Constables, and School Board members elected earlier this month will take the oath of office on Thursday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

County Mayor Tim Stribling made the announcement Monday night during the monthly county commission meeting.

The new terms begin September 1.

Those to be sworn in are Assessor of Property-elect Shannon Cantrell; Constables Jason Taylor, Thomas Theriaque, Travis Bryant, Paul Cantrell, Mark Milam, Carl Lee Webb, and Johnny King; First District County Commissioner Julie Williams Young; and School Board members Kate Miller, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Doug Stephens.

County Commission Honors Three for Earning Eagle Scout Award

August 23, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling with Eagle Scouts James Mathis (left) and James Sherwood (right)

Three members of Boy Scout Troop 347 were honored by the County Commission Monday night for earning the Eagle Scout Award.

The commission adopted resolutions paying tribute to Nate and James Sherwood and to James Mathis.

Nate and James’ parents are Scout Masters Will and Jen Sherwood, and Mathis is the son of Richard and Mary Mathis.

For his Eagle project, Nate Sherwood cleared overgrowth and cleaned directional signs around Center Hill Lake. Working with the Corps of Engineers for approval, Nate was able to help 4 million visitors have better visibility of creeks and landmarks from the water when they are enjoying the lake.

James Sherwood planted a tree at DeKalb West School, added four welcoming benches at the entrance of the building, and created a paved walkway from the concrete to the flagpole as his Eagle Scout project. The tree was planted in memory of three individuals to replace other trees which had been removed with the expansion of the West School building and the flagpole was dedicated as a tribute to former DeKalb West School Principal Danny Parkerson.

For James Mathis’ Eagle Scout project, he planted shrubs around the stage at the park next to the Smithville Fire Department adding beauty to the area.

County Mayor Tim Stribling presented copies of the resolutions to the Eagle Scouts. Nate Sherwood was unable to attend the meeting. His parents accepted for him.

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