Performers picked, sang, and danced all day Friday until just past midnight Saturday morning during the first day of the 44th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.
State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody presented flags flown over the state capitol to persons who traveled the greatest distances from inside and outside the state and the country to get here. Herbert Staggs and Sid Long, both of Memphis received a Tennessee State flag. Donda Kreatschman of Alaska and Copeland Elena Muralla of the Phillipines and Svetlana Suleymeneva of UST' Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan were each presented a United States flag
Prior to the Jamboree welcome Friday evening from Fiddler's Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton and an introduction of local public officials, the Smithville-DeKalb County Community Chorus entertained the crowd with a patriotic program.
Preliminaries were held in sixteen categories of music and dance competition followed by the finals featuring the top three acts in each event.
The following are the winners in each category:
*Old Time Appalachian Folk Singing (Solo):
First Place- Amanda McKenney of Cullman, Alabama
Second Place-Kelcy Tomlin of Springfield
Third Place-Josiah Tyree of Carthage
*Junior Clogging (Ages 13-39):
First Place-Chris Stewart of Lebanon
Second Place-Shelby Dunn of Fairview
Third Place-Jamie Hash of Walland
*Junior Buck Dancing (Ages 13-39):
First Place- Jason Wade of Paris, Tennessee
Second Place-Chris Stewart of Lebanon
Third Place-Sierra Tomlin of Springfield
*Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (Duet, Trio, Quartet)
First Place- Sierra and Kelcy Tomlin of Springfield
Second Place- The McKenneys of Cullman, Alabama
Third Place-Short Mountain Strangers of Smithville
First Place-Joey Gipson of Manchester
Second Place-Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro
Third Place-Robbie Harris of Rockvale
First Place-Rob Pearcy of Smyrna
Second Place-Tyler Andal of White House
Third Place-Daniel Amick of Centerville
First Place-Pamela Sanders of Sparta
Second Place- Mac Garner of Maryville
First Place- Kurt and Joey of Manchester
Second Place-Haint Hollow Hootenanny of Unionville
Third Place-Hillary Klug of Shelbyville
First Place- Austin Derryberry of Shelbyville
Second Place-Pamela Sanders of Sparta
Third Place-Bettye Kash of Cookeville
*Gospel Singing (Solo):
First Place-Amanda McKenney of Cullman, Alabama
Second Place- Elizabeth Koegler of Smithville
Third Place-Kurt Stephenson of Dyersburg
First Place-Rob Pearcy of Smyrna
Second Place- Daniel Amick of Centerville
Third Place- Tyler Martelli of Chattanooga
*Old Time Banjo:
First Place- Josiah Tyree of Carthage
Second Place- Tyler Andal of White House
Third Place- Austin Derryberry of Shelbyville
*Youth Square Dancing:
First Place-Jackson Hollow of Franklin
Second Place- Main Stage Revolution of Springfield
Third Place- Main Stage Explosion of Springfield
*Gospel Singing (Duet, Trio, & Quartet):
First Place- The Jenkins Family of Wilder, Tennessee
Second Place- Sandi Kay's New Hickory of Lebanon
Third Place- Kurt and Andrea of Dyersburg
First Place-Daniel Amick of Carthage
Second Place- Tyler Andal of White House
Third Place- Kurt Stephenson of Dyersburg
*Old Time Fiddle Band:
First Place-Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny of Unionville
Second Place- Flat Rock String Band of Manchester
Third Place- The P&J String Band of Nashville
The Fiddler's Jamboree resumes at 9:00 a.m. today with preliminaries in the following categories:
*Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39)
*Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over)
*Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over)
*Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over)
*Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39)
*Flat Top Guitar
*Contest Fiddle for the Neil Dudney Award
*Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over)
*Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers).
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back tonight to compete for first, second, and third place.
The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.
The Jamboree Blue Blaze Award will be presented at 3:00 p.m. to recognize a musician that is actively cultivating a love of bluegrass music. Sierra Hull is this year's recipient. Her journey began on the stage of the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree at the young age of 9 years old. By age 11, Alison Krauss had called with an invitation to the Opry stage; by 12, Rounder Records was expressing interest (she signed a record deal with Rounder at 13, with her first album released at 16.) She’s also played the White House, Carnegie Hall (twice), the Kennedy Center, traveled around the world sharing her music, and released three albums. Then there’s the fact that Berklee gave her the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship, a first for a bluegrass musician.
Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held this afternoon during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.
WJLE will broadcast the on-stage entertainment LIVE on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.
In addition to music and dancing competitions onstage, the Fiddlers Jamboree also features dozens of crafts displayed along the downtown streets, plenty of delicious foods for sale at local food booths, and lots of shade tree picking under tents around the town square.
The DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners are recommending that Joe Foutch be reappointed to a new four year term.
Foutch's current term expires August 31.
By law, the DUD board must certify a list of three names in order of preference to the county mayor, who has the sole authority to make the appointment.
During its regular monthly meeting Thursday, July 2, the DUD board voted to certify a list of nominees to the county mayor to fill the position. Foutch's name was listed first followed by the names of Joe Johnson and Jimmy Herndon.
While a DUD customer may submit a name to Jon Foutch, the District General Manager for consideration on the nominee list, Foutch said no names were submitted to him.
DUD attorney Keith Blair said he would send a letter to County Mayor Tim Stribling certifying that the board is presenting a list in order of preference. "I will present an order so he can complete that and hopefully we will hear back with something by the next board meeting," said Blair.
The DUD Board is made up of five members, three from DeKalb County (Jimmy Womack, Joe Foutch, and Hugh Washer), one from Cannon (Roger Turney), and one from Smith County (Danny Bass). The terms are staggered. All terms are for four years.
A fire destroyed a barn and claimed three horses Thursday morning on Game Ridge Road.
Lieutenant Brian Williams of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department told WJLE that firefighters were called to the scene at 7:51 a.m. The owner of the barn is Billy Hendrixson but Jeffery Carter had it rented.
According to Lieutenant Williams, the cause of the fire is undetermined but it swept through the barn quickly and was well underway by the time firefighters arrived.
Three of the four horses inside the barn perished in the fire. The other horse was saved but suffered burns.
The barn and all other contents including hay and farm machinery were destroyed in the blaze.
Members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway Station, Blue Springs Station, and Tanker 1 responded along with DeKalb EMS and the deputies of the Sheriff's Department.
After years of planning and months of legal battles with opponents including the City of Smithville who tried to stop the project, the DeKalb Utility District has begun construction on its own water treatment plant.
The DUD Board of Commissioners held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday at the site of the water plant on Yulanda Hills Road off Holmes Creek Road near Center Hill Lake. The event was covered exclusively by WJLE.
"The purpose of this project is to provide a long term solution to providing the DUD customers with a safe, economical source of drinking water. A second purpose is to provide the region with a backup source of drinking water," said Roger Turney, Chairman of the DUD Board of Commissioners in remarks during the brief groundbreaking ceremony.
Turney expressed his appreciation to fellow board members for their vision and to others who have helped to bring this project about including agencies providing funding. "This project would not have happened without the commitment and vision by the District’s Board. We understood the importance and impact to the District’s customers in the future. We also had the willingness to see this project through in spite of some obstacles," said Turney
"This project received low interest loans and grants from three federal and state agencies. Their participation made the project economically feasible. We would like to recognize the representatives from these agencies, USDA Rural Utilities Service, State of Tennessee, State Revolving Fund Loan, and the Appalachian Regional Council," Turney added.
The $16 million project provides for the construction of a new raw water intake structure and raw water pump station on the Holmes Creek Embayment of Center Hill Reservoir (Caney Fork River); an 18-inch diameter raw water transmission line from the raw water pump station to the new 2.0 million gallon per day water treatment plant; an 18-inch diameter finished water transmission line along Holmes Creek Road, Allen’s Ferry Road, and U.S. Highway 70; and new 8-inch diameter water distribution lines along Big Rock Road, Dry Creek Road, Game Ridge Road, Turner Road, and Walker Lane. A finished water pumping station will also be constructed to deliver water from the Snow’s Hill Water Tank to the Short Mountain Water Tank. The new water treatment plant will include clarification, mixed media filtration and backwash systems, and a 250,000 gallon clear well.
To fund this project, the DUD is receiving $5 million in loans at 2.75% interest over 38 years and $1.25 million in grants from USDA Rural Development. The utility has also been approved for $500,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission; three loans through the State Revolving Fund Loan programs in amounts of $2 million, $2.75 million, and $4 million at .6% interest over 20 years; and a $500,000 forgiveness (grant) from the State Revolving Fund Program.
"Every scenario we looked at it was going to be beneficial to DUD customers for us to build our own treatment plant. In the long run, we will save our customers money. Interest rates are also at an all time low and grants have been available to us. So we felt the time was right for us to proceed on with a treatment plant," Jon Foutch, DUD Manager told WJLE.
In October, 2014 the DUD awarded bids on the project. W&O Construction Company, Inc. of Livingston got the bid to build the water plant at $6.9 million. Judy Construction Company of Cynthiana, Kentucky is to perform construction on the raw water intake at $4.1 million and Hawkins and Price, LLC of Wartrace, Tennessee was awarded the bid for construction of the 18 inch Raw and Finished Water Transmission Lines at $1.8 million.
The original project cost was estimated to be $12,000,000 but it is now expected to be $16,000,000 due to a bid overrun. To cover the additional costs, the DUD requested and was approved for a $4,000,000 loan increase to the Drinking Water Fund loan. (part of the funding package as referred to above)
When the DUD asked for the loan increase, the State Revolving Fund Loan Program performed a financial review and decided a rate increase was necessary in order for the request to be approved. The DUD satisfied the requirement by making an adjustment in the minimum usage rate in February, 2015.
In January, 2015, the DUD completed a facilities plan amendment which included a new cost-effective analysis to prove that the chosen alternative of the original facilities plan (to build a water plant) was still the most cost-effective. The analysis concluded that the DUD could produce drinking water for its customers at a cost of $2.32 per 1,000 or less and is still cost-effective.
The new water plant is expected to be completed by late fall or early winter next year.
Since its beginning, the DUD has been a wholesale water customer of the City of Smithville but in 2012 the Board of Commissioners decided to pursue plans for building a water treatment plant. By producing its own supply, the DUD would not have to rely on the city for water. But plans for the project came to an abrupt halt in July of 2012 when a petition brought by the "Ratepayers of the DUD" and City of Smithville was filed before the Tennessee Utility Management Review Board (UMRB) to stop the construction of the facility. The UMRB later held a hearing in Smithville and denied the petitioners' request for relief, meaning the City lost. The petitioners then filed a petition for Judicial Review in the Chancery Court of Davidson County but lost again as the Chancellor later ruled against them, essentially clearing the way for DUD to proceed with plans for building the water plant. But the legal battle didn't end there.
In December, 2013 the Smithville Board of Aldermen and Mayor held a special board meeting to decide on a new water rate for the DUD beginning January 1, 2014 upon the expiration of the DUD's 10 year water purchase agreement with the city. At that meeting, the rate was increased from $2.05 to $5.00 per thousand gallons forcing the DUD to temporarily increase rates to its customers. The DUD then filed a Chancery Court lawsuit to contest the city's new rate and following a February 2014 hearing in Cookeville, Chancellor Ronald Thurman ordered Smithville to reduce the rate it assesses the DUD from $5.00 to $2.67 per thousand gallons, which a water study at the time found to be the city's actual cost to produce water. The $2.67 rate still remains in place today. But in April, 2014 attorneys for the city filed a counter claim in Chancery Court alleging that the DUD underpaid for water purchases from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013 and owes the city more than one million dollars. The case remains pending in court.
The DeKalb Utility District serves a portion of DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson Counties.
(TOP PHOTO: DUD Manager Jon Foutch, DUD Board members Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, Chairman Roger Turney, Danny Bass, Hugh Washer, and Buddy Kooce Jr. of Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood, the DUD's utility engineer)
(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP:Chris Hampton, USDA Rural Development Program Specialist; Paula Lovett, Director of Community Development-Grants and Loans for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, Roger Turney, Danny Bass, Hugh Washer, Rick Hogshead of the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, and Booxie Carlton, Appalachian Regional Commission State Program Manager)
A new Director of Schools is expected to be named in a couple of weeks.
During a workshop Tuesday evening, the Board of Education discussed procedures in selecting a new director.
According to Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III the school board will have another workshop on Thursday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. to establish the length of the contract and other terms including the starting base salary of $85,000.
In the meantime, input will be sought from school faculty and staff and the public on questions to be asked of the three finalists during a board workshop on Tuesday, July 14. All three applicants are to be interviewed individually in one hour sessions starting at five p.m.
The School Board then plans to meet in a special session on Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. to name a new director.
The three finalists are DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps, Supervisor of Special Education Gina Arnold , and Michael James Steele, Executive Principal for Statford STEM High School. He is from Spring Hill, Tennessee
Members of the Smithville Police and Smithville Fire Departments recently attended explosive device training at New Mexico Tech. The program is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The training is designed for first responders who may respond to or become involved in incidents that involve explosive devices or improvised explosive devices. The training, all travel arrangements, lodging and meals were funded through FEMA and were at no cost to the City of Smithville. Members of the Algood Police Department also attended the training.
Pictured: Sgt. Brad Tatrow, Detective Brandon Donnell, Capt. Steven Leffew, Smithville fire Chief Charlie Parker and EMRTC instructors.
Your property taxes will be going up this fall if the county commission adopts a recommendation by the budget committee.
In a meeting Tuesday night, members of the budget committee voted to recommend passage of a new $40.9 million budget for the 2015-16 year and a tax rate of $1.78 cents per $100 of assessed value. That's a sixteen cent increase from the current rate of $1.62.
The proposed new rate breaks down as follows:
County General Fund: 94 cents (a 12 cent increase)
General Purpose Schools: 57 cents ( a 2 cent increase)
Debt Service: 12 cents
County Highway Department: 4 cents ( a 1 cent increase)
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents ( a 1 cent increase)
The last time the county commission raised taxes was in 2011 when a ten cent hike was imposed with five cents of the increase going to schools and the other nickel to help fund the county general budget.
Steve Bates, the county's financial advisor, said the increase is needed because county revenues in recent years have not kept pace with inflation. "There's not really any expenditures that are above last year. It's just inflation. It's just that the cost of government has increased and revenues haven't been able to keep up. We have been budgeting on a budgetary basis going into cash (fund balance) and although we haven't been expecting to go into cash that deep, we have been going into cash (using reserves). All we want to try to do is head that off so we can maintain our good fund balances that we have now," Bates told WJLE
"During 2009 and 2010 property assessments did not grow because of this housing and financial crisis so while the cost of government was growing, assessments were declining. We were actually going backwards. And to further that, we were earning 2% and 3% on fund balances. Now we're earning .2% so that's another tax cut. As recent as three years ago, the county earned $360,000. This year we have budgeted $150,000 and I just hope we get that, "Bates added.
All five members of the budget committee voted to recommend the new budget and tax rate for approval to the county commission. Members of the committee are Chairman Wayne Cantrell and Larry Summers, Jack Barton, Jimmy Midgett, and Jerry Adcock.
County Mayor Tim Stribling said copies of the proposed budget will be made available to all members of the county commission during an all-committees meeting on Tuesday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse. As required by law, a public notice will be published on Wednesday, July 15 in the newspaper. A public hearing will then be scheduled on Monday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular monthly meeting of the county commission at which time the new budget and tax rate will be considered for passage. The meeting and public hearing will be held in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.
Two other issues were addressed during Tuesday night's meeting. The committee voted to use $25,000 from the capital projects fund as "seed" money for future development of a new fire station in the Four Seasons community.
Meanwhile, whether the county will match the city's $75,000 allocation of funds for the development of a new animal shelter will be left up to the entire 14 member county commission. Budget committee member Jack Barton initially made a motion to include the money in the budget, but only as a one time contribution. The committee sided with Barton on a vote of 3-1-1. But later during the meeting, committee members had a change of heart and the action was rescinded. While funds for the animal shelter will not be included in the proposed budget, Barton said he will ask that the county commission give it an up or down vote as only a one time contribution after the new budget is adopted. "I feel they (DeKalb Animal Coalition) are due an answer. Since the city has put it out there on the table, I want us as a body to give them an answer up or down," said Barton. Chairman Cantrell moved that the budget and tax rate of $1.78 be adopted and to address the animal shelter issue after the budget is passed. Cantrell's motion was approved unanimously.
A DeKalb County man is expected to be sent back to Michigan where he is wanted for being a fugitive from justice.
46 year old David Duane Brewer of Corinth Church Road, Smithville is under a $200,000 bond. He made his first court appearance on Thursday, June 25 where he signed his waiver of extradition and he will be in court July 16 if Michigan authorities have not picked him up. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, a detective ran an NCIC computer check on Brewer Wednesday, June 24 which revealed he is wanted in Livingston, Michigan where he is facing charges of larceny over $20,000 and two counts of unlawful driving away.
21 year old Dusty Ray Mathis of Lanis Road, Baxter is charged with two counts of vandalism and one count of criminal trespassing. His bond is $4,500 and he will make a court appearance on July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 20 in order to gain entry to property on Austin Bottom Road, Mathis knowingly drove through a field, garden and two galvanized gates in his 1997 Dodge pickup truck causing a total of $300 in damage. Mathis did not have the owner's consent to be on the property. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.
37 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas and 32 year old Terra Elaine Locklear both of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown are each charged with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. Thomas is also charged with vandalism. Bond for Thomas is $11,500. Locklear's bond is $10,000. They will make a court appearance on July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 23 Thomas and Locklear broke into a residence on Dale Ridge Road and took several tools and building materials with a total value of $1,190. During the burglary, Thomas also broke out a window valued at $425. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective. Thomas and Locklear were arrested on Friday, June 26.
35 year old Roger Curtis Gregory of South Main Street, Carthage is charged with leaving the scene of an accident. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on April 28, Gregory was operating a 2004 Nissan Maxima east on Hickman Road at Temperance Hall when the car went off the left side of the roadway, hitting a fence and trees causing damage. After the crash, Gregory drove away from the scene without notifying the owner of the fence or the sheriff's department about the wreck. When confronted by a deputy later, Gregory admitted to being involved in an accident and that he failed to stop. Gregory was arrested on June 27.
23 year old Nathaniel Dylan Tippens of Redman Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 26 Tippens, an inmate at the jail, took forty six Ranitidine (stomach) pills and nineteen Ibuprofen pills from an office in the annex. "Tippens was an inmate in the jail annex. Due to a plumbing problem all the annex inmates were moved into a hallway. While in the hallway, Tippens gained entry to an office by way of a pass through door. He pried open the door, got into the office and took the pills. He later admitted to taking the pills and they were returned to the correctional officers," said Sheriff Ray. In an effort to keep such a thing from happening again, extra locks and hasps have been added to the door.
32 year old Henry Burt Turner, Jr. of Liberty is charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property under $500, and violation of an order of protection. He is under a $10,000 bond and will be in court July 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 11 a sheriff's department deputy observed Turner and a woman together in her car on the public square in Smithville. Knowing that the woman has an order of protection against Turner, the officer approached the vehicle and spoke with the woman. After confirming that the order of protection was still active, the deputy obtained a warrant for Turner's arrest. Meanwhile, according to Sheriff Ray Turner broke into a residence on Old Sligo Road May 19 causing $900 in damage to the home and took a blue Rhino propane tank and a Stanley fubar tool valued at $100. Turner was arrested for the burglary and theft on June 28 after being in custody in Rutherford County for a separate offense. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.
26 year old Matthew Tyler Hale of Upper Helton Road, Alexandria is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 28 a deputy spotted Hale operating a motor vehicle traveling north on Main Street in Liberty. He also observed Hale swap seats with a passenger while the vehicle was still in motion. Knowing that Hale had a suspended license, the officer made a traffic stop. Hale was previously cited for driving on a suspended license on June 21, 2015. His license were suspended on February 12, 2015 for failure to provide insurance.
41 year old John Allen (J.J.) Judkins is charged with burglary and theft over $500. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on May 27 Judkins entered a barn on the Old Keltonburg Road and took several 2 x 10 sheets of tin off the side of the barn and took an area of fence valued at more than $500. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.
One day after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states cannot ban gay marriages, the DeKalb County Clerk's Office issued the first license to a local same sex female couple.
"On Saturday morning the first couple came into the office and filled out the application. They completed the application process and obtained the marriage license. They were married over the weekend and returned their marriage license to us on Monday," County Clerk James L (Jimmy) Poss told WJLE Tuesday.
Although only one license has been issued so far to a same sex couple, Poss said there have been other inquiries about the process for obtaining a license. "Once the ruling came down on Friday morning we got our first call and by the end of the day we had a total of three calls inquiring about same sex marriage. They were checking to see if our office was actually issuing the marriage license to same sex couples," Poss said.
While the female couple did not request his office perform the marriage ceremony, Poss said he was asked on Saturday by another individual if he performed marriages for couples. "She was inquiring about how she could actually obtain a license and get married at the same place," he said.
Poss announced upon taking office as county clerk last September that he would not perform marriage ceremonies. While state law gives county clerks the authority to marry couples, it is not mandated that they do so.
After Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Tennessee Attorney General advised county clerks across the state that they may begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The University of Tennessee County Technical Advisory Service Institute for Public Service sent an email to all 95 county clerks Friday morning in the wake of the court’s historic ruling. “We have been advised by the Tennessee Attorney General that county clerks may begin issuing marriage licenses immediately under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling,” the CTAS message said.
Poss felt he had no choice but to comply with the ruling based upon the advice he was given since the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say in determining the laws of the land. "Both CTAS and Jay West, Executive Director of the County Officials Association sent emails and told us very early on after the ruling on Friday to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately, to not hold off for any reason," said Poss.