Local News Articles

Mayor and Aldermen Schedule Workshop on Liquor Ordinance

December 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Alderman Jason Murphy and Mayor Jimmy Poss(Older Photo)
Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller(Older Photo)
Aldermen Danny Washer and Gayla Hendrix (Older Photo)

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen have scheduled a workshop to begin developing an ordinance regulating retail package stores for the sale of liquor in the city.

The workshop will be held after adjournment of a special meeting set for Monday, December 15 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall to adopt other unrelated ordinances on second and final reading.

The liquor store issue was briefly discussed during Monday night's regular monthly meeting. City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson passed out ordinances from other towns where liquor stores are already operating. These "sample" ordinances may serve as a guide for the aldermen to consider in establishing regulations for the City of Smithville. "This is about five or six different cities and their ordinances that regulate package stores. This is just something to study. We need to do a lot more research before we start issuing any regulations. We need to sit down and talk about it because we've got to meet all the state regulations. They (state) have more say so on this than we do. We need to do a little more homework before passing these laws because I'm not comfortable enough with giving you information on everything," said Hendrixson.

City Attorney Vester Parsley suggested inviting a representative of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to join the mayor and aldermen at the workshop to provide more information. " This is something that when we finish, we want to have it compliant with state law and to meet the needs of Smithville. I think it would be good to have someone from the ABC to appear. Hunter and I both, and the mayor has had several calls regarding making applications. We're not to that point yet. I feel we're at least a month or two away or possibly longer before we get a workable ordinance and get it approved and get the procedure in place. I think it's important that we work on this and remember we're setting an ordinance that will be used in the foreseeable future for any application for packaged liquor stores in the City of Smithville. If someone asks you, just tell them that we are working on it. We haven't forgotten about it and it's going to take some time to get that in compliance with Tennessee ABC rules and other state statutes we have to comply with," said Parsley.

While the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission actually issues liquor licenses, the city can adopt some restrictions. " Usually municipalities from what I can tell, regulate what zoning they (liquor stores) go in, the number of stores, and the distance from government buildings, churches, and schools. Some (cities) base them (number of stores allowed) on population. Some like Cookeville are wide open based on the free market. There are all sorts of ways to go," said Hendrixson.

Once an ordinance is in place and a store owner makes application, he or she is subject to background checks. " The application starts here and then the chief of police or city attorney does a background check and then we send it to Nashville and they (ABC) give final approval," Hendrixson said.

"Even though they (applicants) may meet our requirements, it's up to ABC to go forward," Parsley added.

DeKalb Hospital donates presents for babies

December 2, 2014
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital donates presents for babies

DeKalb Community Hospital held a toy and diaper drive for needy babies as part of the Healthy Beginnings program of DeKalb County. Hospital staff, along with the Chamber of Commerce, and the local community, donated hundreds of diapers along with clothes, blankets and necessary care items. These babies come from low to zero income homes.

"We were so very happy to help these babies and their mothers have a merry Christmas. Our staff immediately responded to the need and we had all the babies sponsored in less than 24 hours. Each sponsored baby received diapers, new clothing, a toy and other requested items," said Shan Burklow-Marketing Director for DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals, "We literally ran out of babies to sponsor and asked that the community donate diapers instead. In this fragile economy, it warms my heart to see that people still have such a heart for giving."

Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospital agrees, "Our staff are some of the finest people around. They are caring and empathetic with our patients and that carries over in how they serve our community. We are pleased to help meet this important need in DeKalb County and hope that these families have a little brighter holiday due to everyone's combined generosity."

"Our program (Healthy Beginnings) was so very grateful to partner with the hospital this year. It will be such a blessing for these babies and their moms," said Essie Tucker of Healthy Beginnings, "We'd like to personally thank everyone that has helped us provide for these babies for the holidays including our donations for a Christmas party. Kilgore's Restaurant helped us with the food, the staff at DeKalb Community Hospital donated the gifts, and so many in the community helped out wherever they could. We just can't thank everyone enough."

For more information, or to request help for a new mother or baby, please contact Healthy Beginnings at (931) 265-7424. DeKalb Community Hospital will be holding another diaper drive in the spring, but Healthy Beginnings will accept donations for babies 0-24 months anytime throughout the coming year.


Pictured: Shan Burklow of DeKalb Community Hospital and Essie Tucker of Healthy Beginnings stand with a portion of donated Christmas items for needy babies and their families located across DeKalb County. Hundreds of diapers, clothing, blankets and toys were donated to local babies from low to zero income homes.

Twenty Defendants Named in Roundup

December 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Sheriff's Deputy Michael Trusty brings in Sara Patterson
Lt Detective Matt Holmes of Smithville Police Dept brings in John Deck
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins brings in Gary Ray Ashford

Twenty persons were rounded up Monday after being named in Grand Jury sealed indictments following undercover drug investigations by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Alexandria Police Department, and the Smithville Police Department.



The names of those arrested and their charges are as follows:

37 year old Gary Ray Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. His bond is $20,000.

37 year old Stacey Doreen Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III & IV drug. Her bond is $40,000

22 year old Marv Richardson Cash of Lavergne Street, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $10,000.

52 year old Richard A. Chapman of Oakley Hollow Road, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

35 year old Amy Beth Craig of Potts Camp Road, Smithville is indicted for child endangerment, two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, and two counts of violation of a drug free zone. Her bond is $105,000.

John Charles Deck of Toad Road, Dowelltown is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $90,000.

71 year old Billy Robert Eaton of Sparta Pike, Watertown is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. His bond is $30,000.

43 year old Felicia Anne Fullilove of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II & III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

56 year old Judy Ann Johnson of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is indicted for TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. Her bond is $70,000.

Terry Lynn Johnson of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is indicted for TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. His bond is $70,000.

Jermaine Derperise McCoy of Smith Road, Smithville is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

33 year old Shane Nerod Miller of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II & III drug. His bond is $60,000.

31 year old Christopher Newsom of Trousdale Ferry Road is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

19 year old Thomas Braxton Nix of Highway 96, Liberty is indicted for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. His bond is $15,000.

40 year old Sara Elaine Patterson of Gin Alley, Alexandria is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

43 year old Peggy Jean Peoples of Lavergne Street, Alexandria is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

55 year old Janice Darlene Strange of Potts Camp Road, Smithville is indicted for child endangerment, two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, and two counts of violation of the drug free zone. Her bond is $105,000.

34 year old Heather Starr Trapp of South College Street, Smithville is indicted for theft of property. Her bond is $20,000.

41 year old Cynthia Selane Vaughn of Kendra Drive, Smithville is indicted for two counts of TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $80,000.

64 year old Jackie Daniel Wilkerson of James Court, Gordonsville is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. His bond is $20,000.

These defendants will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 8.

Indicted Drug Defendants Arrested in Round Up Monday

December 1, 2014
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray and Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins
K9 Officer James Cornelius, Detective Brandon Donnell, Lt Detective Matt Holmes, and Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police, and Alexandria Police Departments conducted a roundup of defendants Monday who were named in Grand Jury Sealed indictments last week as a result of undercover drug investigations.

The arrests stemmed from two separate year long undercover operations, including one by the Smithville Police Department, and a joint investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Alexandria Police Department.

Those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 8 at 9:00 a.m.

In each case, the defendants were indicted for allegedly selling illegal drugs to undercover operatives. "The drugs bought in our investigation were marijuana, cocaine, hydrocodone, xanax, suboxone strips, percocets, roxycontin, subutex, and valium. They were bought in the city limits of Alexandria, Liberty, Dowelltown, and Smithville," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.

"We started (our investigation) about a year ago, I guess. There's a lot of time involved in doing it right. The sheriff has always been good to come in help us out and I sure do appreciate it because I am limited in manpower and assets, "said Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins.

The Sheriff's Department/Alexandria Police Department probe resulted in indictments against twelve persons for selling drugs, two for theft, and three for either manufacturing marijuana or possession of marijuana with intent to resell.

Eleven persons were indicted in the Smithville Police Department's investigation. One of those was also indicted on two counts of TennCare Fraud.
"Our investigation began in January 2014. They (officers) did a good job. It went well and the round up went smoothly" said Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger.

According to Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes, Detective Brandon Donnell, and K-9 Officer James Cornelius, the Smithville Police Department's investigation netted indictments against persons who had sold drugs including hydrocodone, suboxone, xanax, dilaudid, and morphine.

Although the Smithville Police Department's operation was conducted separately from the Sheriff's Department /Alexandria Police Department investigation, Sheriff Ray said all cases were presented to the grand jury on the same day last Monday, November 24 and all departments worked together in rounding up the defendants Monday, December 1. Constable Mark Milam also helped in the roundup.

Those arrested were brought to the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department to be processed and booked. Sheriff Ray said he wishes to thank the fire department for allowing officers to use the building for this purpose on Monday.

Alexandria Celebrates Christmas (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 1, 2014
Dwayne Page
Santa Arrives in Alexandria

High school bands playing Christmas music, a waving Santa Claus, and a parade of floats, vintage automobiles and other vehicles, along with horseback riders were all it took for the folks of Alexandria to get into the holiday mood Sunday. It was the annual Alexandria Christmas Parade.

Led by Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins and Sheriff Patrick Ray, this year's parade also featured the DCHS and Watertown high school bands, Grand Marshals Billy and Sue Corley, local veterans, Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley, State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, members of the Alexandria, Watertown, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments, DeKalb EMS, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squads, Cub Scouts, floats , entries from various businesses, horseback riders, horse and mule drawn wagons, vintage automobiles, tractors, motorcycle and ATV riders, Smoky the Bear, and of course Santa Claus. Carolers at the West Main Baptist Church performed prior to the event.

The Memorial Baptist Church won first place among church floats. The Malone's Chapel Baptist Church Youth received second place. Randy's Heat and Air took first place in the another float category. Bob McComb received second place. Lee Wilkerson received first place for his team of mules.

Prizes were given away after the parade donated by local businesses.

DWS Students Compete at Junior Beta Convention

November 30, 2014
Bill Conger
Students from the DeKalb West Junior Beta Club reenact a scene from the pages of "Alice in Wonderland" for the Living Literature event at the Junior Beta Club Tennessee Convention.

Twenty-five DeKalb West School students rocked the Tennessee Junior Beta Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. With the theme, “Betas, Rocking The Country,” the DWS students joined thousands of others at the annual event Nov. 23-25.

Students competed in a variety of academic events. Trenten Shores participated in the Math contest. Riley Overstreet tapped into her creative muse for the Poetry contest. Holly Evans put her wits to the test for the Spelling competition. Jordan Crook, Jaden Johnson, Garrett Hayes, and Noah Roberts combined their thinking skills for the Quiz Bowl. Addison Oakley, Lydia Brown, and Shelby Clayborn created a snapshot of a year in the Beta Club for the Scrapbooking contest. Dallas Cook, T.J. Alexander, Michael Martin, and Ashley Reynolds were voracious readers for the Book Battle event. Cody Antoniak, Lydia Davenport, Parker Vantrease, Christian Trail, and Peyton Lemons engineered and constructed a project for the Tower of Power. This event provides students with 200 straws and a roll of masking tape. They have 15 minutes to build the tallest free-standing tower that can hold the weight of a tennis ball at its pinnacle. Katie Bain, Kyndal Cox, Haley Dies, Zoe Maynard, Callie Mulloy, and Alanna Woodham took on the roles from “Alice in Wonderland” for the Living Literature contest. Students recreated a scene from the Lewis Carroll book.

Board Adds Another Full Time School Nurse

November 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby and members of school board at September meeting

The DeKalb County School System now has a full time nurse at each school.

The Board of Education, on Thursday November 20 voted to add a full time school nurse at DCHS to meet the nursing needs of a student who enrolled earlier this semester. Funds for this position will come from the Special Education General Purpose budget. While the nurse, Wade Ferrell will be serving this particular student, he will also be available to attend to other DCHS students with medical issues. Should this student move away, transfer out of the school system, or no longer need this nursing care on the advice of a physician, the school system would no longer be able to fund this nurse from Special Education. School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said if this were to occur the board at that time would revisit the issue of keeping a school nurse at the high school. "We need to make a stipulation (in the board minutes) that if those (nursing) services stop (for this student) then we re-evaluate the nursing position," said Evins.

The budget request for the new full time nurse position was made in writing by Gina Arnold, Supervisor of Special Education. Director Willoughby read Arnold's letter to the school board. "On November 19, 2014 we had an Individualized Education Plan developed on a student who enrolled at DeKalb County High School earlier this semester. This student is in need of nursing services for the entire school day. Due to the seriousness of this student's health condition, the provision of a full time school nurse would be warranted and could be paid for from Special Education General Purpose funds. I am not at liberty to discuss details in a public manner due to HIPPA and FERPA regulations. I have worked jointly with the nursing department and with Dee Anna Reynolds from Coordinated School Health to verify the student's needs in regards to our state laws and TCA regulations and guidance. I've also consulted other school systems for their advice on how they regulate such nursing care. I would like to request my general purpose special education budget to be amended to include one FTE school nurse funded under 141-71200-189 which is the direct services funding code for special education. Should this student move away, transfer out of our school system, or no longer need this nursing care at advice of the physician, I would no longer be able to fund this nurse. However, at the present time my budget will accommodate and can justify this provision. I respectfully ask that this position be added to my budget in the general purpose special education services and that you allow us to pursue employment for this position immediately in order to meet this need," wrote Arnold.

In addition to Ferrell, the school system employs four other school nurses, Chandra Adcock, Kim Turner, Christie Driver, and Joanie Williams. All are registered nurses. Prior to adding a full time school nurse at DCHS, each school had its own nurse except for DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb County High School which had to share a nurse. Director Willoughby said the state provides funding for one school nurse per three thousand students. Any other nurses must be funded locally.

Because of the growing student population and children with chronic conditions including diabetes, Dee Anna Reynolds, Coordinated School Health Coordinator said during the September school board meeting that another nurse is needed. Three parents, Darlene Evans, Ashley Bryant, and Glenda Davis, who all have children with diabetes also addressed the board that month asking the board to find the funds to hire another school nurse to help meet the medical needs of their children and others in the school system.

Since this year's general purpose school budget does not provide funding for a new school nurse position, Director Willoughby said he would assign a substitute nurse at the high school to meet the needs until the board could reach a resolution on how to fund a full time position. The substitute nurse, Ferrell, has been working there since.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Unchanged at 6.1% in October

November 27, 2014
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for October was 6.1%, unchanged from the September rate but down from 8.1% in October, 2013.

The local labor force for October was 9,090. A total of 8,540 were employed and 550 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for October was fifth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 10.9%
Van Buren: 9%
White: 7.5%
Clay: 7.5%
Jackson: 6.9%
DeKalb: 6.1%

County unemployment rates for October show the rate decreased in 80 counties, increased in 10 counties, and remained the same in five counties.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in October at 5.1 percent, down from 5.4 in September. Davidson County was 5.2 percent in October, down from 5.5 in September. The Hamilton County October rate was 6.2 percent, down from 6.6 in September. Shelby County was 7.9 percent in October, down from 8.3 in September. Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October was 7.1 percent, two tenths of one percentage point lower than the 7.3 September revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for October was 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in September.

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.

"Love Lights a Tree" Campaign Underway

November 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
"Love Lights a Tree" Campaign Underway

The American Cancer Society invites you to make a special donation in honor or in memory of a loved one during the holiday season through "Love Lights a Tree". A special memory board is being erected on the south side of the courthouse that will list the names of loved ones being honored and remembered.

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree" fundraising campaign to raise money for research to find a cure as well as cancer education and patient services. Donations may be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names are in "honor of" and in "memory of" for a donation of five-dollars per name. Forms may be obtained at the local banks. For more information, contact Barbara Ashford at 417-6563, Ivadell Randolph at 597-5296, Lynda Luna at 597-5837, Renee Cantrell at 597-4551, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Patsy Judkins at 597-4213.

County to Apply for CDBG Water Line Extension Grant

November 26, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution to apply for a $525,000 Community Development Block Grant on behalf of the DeKalb Utility District.

If approved by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the grant would help fund the extension of water lines to unserved parts of the county identified as Tramel Branch, Oakley Road, Carter Lane, Old Givens Hollow, and Dismal to Alexandria Road.

The maximum amount of the grant is $525,000 and if approved the DUD would fund the local matching portion of 16% or $96,000 plus any additional funds required to complete the project.

This is the county's second try for the grant involving the same project.

The first application filed earlier this year was denied because it did not score high enough to be awarded a grant.

Brooxie Carlton, Director of federal programs for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said the cutoff on the scoring was 194. DeKalb County's scoring was 191, three points below the cutoff. In order to improve the county's scoring, Carlton recommended testing 35% of the wells rather than the required 10% to try and get the project impact (scores) up.

Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning and Consulting will prepare all the necessary documents for the completion of the application for the proposed project.


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