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DCHS Band Earns Top Honors at Festival

March 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Band Members at Twin Lakes Small Band Clinic
Members of Band at Twin Lakes Small Band Clinic

The DCHS Band traveled to Cookeville on Saturday, March 5 to perform in the Upper Cumberland Concert Festival held at Prescott South Middle School.

The band received top honors of a I (Superior Rating) for their performance of Concert Literature.

Bands are rated based on a number of factors and receive either a I, II, III, or IV.

The following weekend, the band took 22 select middle and high school members to the Twin Lakes Small Band Clinic. The students were mentored by expert conductors in their field in the areas of performance. Culminating their three day experience, the students performed two separate concerts(one high school and one middle school) each with nearly one hundred members.

Burn Permits Required Through May15

March 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

With spring drawing near, Tennesseans are taking advantage of the mild weather to work around the home or farm. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry wants to remind citizens that if they plan to burn outdoors, a burn permit is required.

“With two of the past three years experiencing record low fire numbers, we hope to see a continuation of that trend,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “But we need our citizens’ help. Burning leaves and brush that have accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field is an efficient way to get rid of vegetation. However, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning. Requiring a burn permit is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where, and how to safely burn.”

The free burn permits are required by law until May 15, unless otherwise covered by local ordinances. Residents should check with their city and county government for any local requirements or restrictions.

Permits can be obtained online for burning of leaf and brush piles measuring less than 8 feet by 8 feet in area. The online system also provides permit access during weekend and evening hours. Access the system by visiting www.burnsafetn.org. The website is a good source of information for safe debris burning practices and fire prevention tips, including how to protect your home in the event of a wildfire.

Burning permits can be obtained from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday by calling the DeKalb County office of the Division of Forestry at 615-765-7373. In Smithville phone 615-215-3000. Burning permits can be obtained after hours and on weekends by visiting www.burnsafetn.org.

More than 387,000 permits were issued last year for outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste, and burning to clear land. The volume of requests on any given day can be high, so the Division asks residents to exercise patience if they experience delay in reaching a permit writer. The online system is most effective obtaining a permit for a small debris burn.

Once a burn permit is obtained, debris burners should practice common sense.

•Establish a control line around the fire, down to bare soil before conducting the burn.
•Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance as a courtesy.
•Have tools on hand such as a leaf rake and garden hose or bucket of water to help control fire that escapes.
•Watch for changing weather conditions as winds can blow the fire in the wrong direction.
•Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. It is illegal to leave an open fire unattended.

Despite the low number of fires in 2015, escaped debris burns were still the leading cause of wildfires in Tennessee, accounting for 251 fires that burned more than 1,900 acres. The Division’s burn permit system has dramatically helped reduce the number of escaped burns since the program began in 1995. Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50.

Wildfires caused by arson were the second leading cause of wildfires last year, but damaged the most acreage, burning nearly 5,600 acres. Wildland arson is a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.

For more information on the TDA’s Division of Forestry, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forestry. For more information on safe debris burning, visit www.burnsafetn.org.

Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry
The Division works to conserve, protect and enhance Tennessee’s forests that cover half the state and provide jobs, timber, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation.
www.TN.gov/agriculture/forestry

DCHS Names Science Fair Winners

March 18, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School has named the winners of the 2016 Science Fair

Grand prize winners – Hannah Evans & Olivia Winter

Physical Science Division:
1st place – Maggie Robinson
2nd place – Griffin Goldstein & Daniel Munoz
3rd place – Seth Pack
Honorable mention – Kelsie Merriman, Ethan C. Cantrell, Bradley Miller, Kayla Belk, Savannah Belcher

Biology/Math Division:
1st place – Andrew Fuson & Dosson Medlin
2nd place – Ethan Jenkins & Shalin Patel
3rd place – Sarah Ann Colwell
Honorable mention – Joni Robinson, Callie Mulloy, Sophie Cripps, Macy Hedge, Madison Judkins, Madi Cantrell, Lydia Brown, Addison Oakley, Chloe Sykes, Isaac Walker, Maddison Parsley, Zack Day, Luke Oliver, Luke Bryant, Will Stephens

Parsley, Bolding, and White Receive DCHS Basketball's Highest Honors

March 18, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
MVC Chloe White and MVPs Noah Parsley and Jailyn Bolding
Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Colter Norris, Gentry Harpole, Tanner Poss, Noah Parsley, Trey Jones, Austin Johnson, and Marshal Evins
Lady Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Macy Hedge, Joni Robinson, Morgan Pedigo, Jailyn Bolding, Ashli Chew, Maddison Parsley, and Hannah Panter
DCHS Basketball Cheerleader Award Winners: Brooklynn Estes, Jennifer Caplinger, Azya McCoy, Chloe White, Kaitlin Rhea, Aspen Flarity, Zoe Maynard

Senior Noah Parsley was named the DCHS Tiger basketball Most Valuable Player Thursday night at the annual team banquet, while Senior Jailyn Bolding received the Lady Tiger MVP honor. Senior Chloe White is the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were sponsored by Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory of Allen D. Hooper.

In addition to being named MVP, Parsley received the team's Hustle Award, Best Defender, and Best Passer Awards. Bolding,along with the MVP award, was honored for being the team's Best Ball Handler, Hustle Award, and Best Defensive Player. Bolding received All District Honorable Mention and was chosen to the All District Defensive Team

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers ended with a loss to Cannon County in overtime in the District Tournament at Cookeville last month. The Tigers finished the season at 13-20 overall.

The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Sequatchie County in the Region Tournament. They closed out the campaign with an overall record of 24-14.

Other individual cheerleading awards included:
MVC: Chloe White
Most Spirit: Chloe White
Most Improved: Olivia Winter
Best Jumps: Zoe Maynard
Best Dance: Kaitlin Rhea
Best Flier: Brooklynn Estes
Best Attitude: Azya McCoy
Best Base: Jennifer Caplinger
Best Backspot: Aspen Flarity
STAR Award (Spirit, Team, Attitude, Respect): Amelia Patterson

Other Lady Tiger basketball awards were as follows:
MVP: Jailyn Bolding
Defensive MVP: Jailyn Bolding
Best Free Throw Award: Ashli Chew
Coaches Award: Joni Robinson
Lady Tiger Award: Macy Hedge
Best Rebounder: Ashli Chew
Most Improved: Maddison Parsley
Offensive MVP: Ashli Chew
Best Passer: Morgan Pedigo
Most Athletic: Hannah Panter
Best Three Point Shooter: Morgan Pedigo
Best Ball Handler: Jailyn Bolding
Hustle Award:Jailyn Bolding
1000 points in high school career: Ashli Chew
1000 points in high school career: Morgan Pedigo
1st Team All District: Ashli Chew
All District Honorable Mention: Jailyn Bolding
All District Defensive Team: Jailyn Bolding
All District Freshman Team: Joni Robinson
All District Freshman Team: Macy Hedge

For the Tigers,
MVP: Noah Parsley
Best Defender: Noah Parsley
Best Athlete: Tanner Poss
Best Rebounder: Gentry Harpole
Best Offensive Player: Marshal Evins
Best Free Throw Shooter: Marshal Evins
Best Ball Handler: Marshal Evins
Best Practice Player: Tanner Poss
Best Passer: Noah Parsley
Best Sixth Man: Colter Norris
Smartest Player: Marshal Evins
Most Improved Player: Austin Johnson
Best Attitude: Trey Jones
Hustle Award: Noah Parsley
All District Freshman Team: Tanner Poss
All District Honorable Mention: Marshal Evins
All District Honorable Mention: Gentry Harpole

Rabies Confirmed in DeKalb County Dog

March 16, 2016

The Tennessee Department of Health has recently confirmed a diagnosis of rabies in two dogs in middle Tennessee. One puppy died in Wilson County in February and was submitted for rabies testing. A second dog was submitted for testing in February from DeKalb County. Both dogs had a strain of rabies found in skunks, meaning they were likely infected by being bitten by skunks.

“The deaths of these animals serve as a somber reminder of the importance of rabies vaccination,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our pets are more likely to come into contact with wild animals than people are. Keeping our pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date is an effective and important way to protect both them and our human loved ones.”

Rabies vaccination is the best protection against rabies in household pets. Vaccination of dogs and cats is required by Tennessee law. Having pets vaccinated against rabies helps protect people from rabies, too.

Many Tennessee health departments work with local veterinarians to provide low-cost rabies vaccination clinics at this time of year. Contact your local health department to learn if a clinic is scheduled in your area. A list of Tennessee’s health department locations and their contact information is available online at http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.

In addition to vaccination of pets, people can protect themselves and their loved ones from rabies by staying away from wild animals. Do not try to help, feed or handle wild animals. If a wild or stray domestic animal seems sick or acts strangely, report it to your local animal control agency. Bats in particular should not be handled. If a bat is found inside, in a swimming pool or brought home by your pets, use precautions and contact your local health department.

“People, especially young children and teenagers, are curious about nature and animals, but wild animals and unfamiliar pets may pose a danger to their health,” said TDH Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “It’s important that parents and other adults teach children to observe wildlife from a safe distance and not to touch any wild animals or unfamiliar domestic animals.”

Rabies is a virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Nationwide, 89 dogs were diagnosed with rabies in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. In Tennessee in 2015, rabies was diagnosed in 33 animals including one dog, 24 skunks, five bats and three raccoons. Rabies infection occurs primarily in wildlife in Tennessee, but can be transmitted to any mammal. Bites are the most common means of transmission; contact with saliva from an infected animal can also be a concern. Rabies is nearly always fatal, but illness can be prevented in humans by prompt vaccination before symptoms develop.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of rabies:
•Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs and cats and consider vaccinating horses against rabies. Talk with your veterinarian for details.
•Supervise pets to reduce contact with wild animals.
•Keep children away from any wild or dead animals, including bats.
•Never touch a bat with bare hands. Use precautions and contact your local health department.
•Contact your medical provider and local health department if you’re concerned about any potential rabies exposures to your family or your pets.

For more information or help with a potential human rabies exposure, call your local health department or the Tennessee Department of Health emergency line at 615-741-7247. For questions about animal health, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5120 or animal.health@tn.gov.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.
- See more at: http://tn.gov/health/news/38258#sthash.akCiVzdh.dpuf

Cookeville Police Charge Smithville Man with Marijuana Offenses

March 16, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man who labeled an item of drug paraphernalia with his name was arrested in Cookeville Saturday evening for selling and distributing marijuana.

Evan Brady Cripps, of Pine Grove Road in Smithville, was charged in connection with the incident.

Cookeville Police Officer Kyle Farley stopped the vehicle Cripps was in because of a tail light violation and an expired registration. The driver of the vehicle, Braxton Atnip was cited for Motor Vehicle Lighting Requirements, No Insurance, and Expired Registration.

Officer Farley's report states as follows:

"On March 12 at 7:47 p.m. I initiated a traffic stop on a black Honda Civic at the Breadbox at 850 West Jackson Street for a tail light violation and for an expired registration. I made contact with the driver, Braxton Atnip, and I immediately noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from about the vehicle. I asked Mr. Atnip to exit the vehicle and I asked him if there was marijuana in the car and he said yes. I asked if he would give me the marijuana and he said yes and got a backpack from between the right rear passenger, Evan Cripps, legs," the report states

"Mr. Atnip pulled a Mason jar out of the backpack that had a bag of marijuana inside it and I asked whose it was and he said it was Mr. Cripps. I asked Mr Cripps to exit the vehicle and I asked if it was his and he said yes. I asked for consent to search his backpack and he did give me consent. Inside the backpack I located a set of digital scales that had “property of Evan Cripps” written on it. I also located a roll of plastic bags inside the backpack that he said he used to put marijuana in. The plastic bag of marijuana weighed approximately 25.5 grams," the report continued.

"I placed Mr. Cripps under arrest for Manufacture, Deliver, Sale of a Controlled Substance, placed hand restraints on him and double locked them behind his back. I placed him in the right rear seat of my patrol vehicle".

"I issued Mr. Atnip city citations for Motor Vehicle Lighting Requirements, No Insurance, and Expired Registration," the report stated.

"I transported Mr. Cripps to the Putnam County Jail where on arrival I met with the Judicial Commissioner, obtained and executed a warrant for Manufacture, Deliver, Sale of a Controlled Substance on him".

"I had initially made visual contact with this vehicle as it was passing Cane Creek School on West Jackson Street. The vehicle also stopped close to the Busy Bee Preschool at 749 Buffalo Valley Road".

"The charge for Drug-Free School Zone is pending".

"I placed the plastic bag of green leafy substance in evidence along with a TBI Crime Lab request for examination sheet for substance identification and quantity. I also placed the Mason Jar, digital scales, and roll of plastic bags in evidence," the report concluded.

Smithville Voters to Decide Another Liquor by the Drink Referendum

March 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville voters will decide in November whether they want to give restaurants in the city the opportunity to sell liquor by the drink.

According to Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley, Randy Paris has submitted to the election commission office a petition with the required number of valid signatures to get the referendum on the ballot in conjunction with the Tennessee General and US Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 8 subject to action by the county election commission.

The wording of the referendum would ask voters to either vote "For the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in Smithville" or "Against the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in Smithville"

The same issue has failed at the polls twice before.

In 2012 a referendum to get liquor in Smithville restaurants failed by a vote of 402 to 333. Two years later, a similar referendum failed by just 15 votes, 412 to 397. In the same election November 2014, Smithville voters narrowly approved another referendum to allow retail package stores to sell liquor within the city. The vote was 406 to 401.

Smithville now has two liquor stores.

If approved by the voters, the City of Smithville would have to establish an ordinance regarding city regulations but the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission would have the sole authority over the issuance of liquor licenses to eligible Smithville businesses for consumption on the premises.

Neighbors Raise Objections to Proposed SES Substation

March 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Proposed location of new Smithville Electric System Substation at 1233 South College Street

Property owners near the site of a proposed new Smithville Electric System substation came before the City Planning Commission Monday evening to express concerns about the project.

The facility is to be located on just over five acres at 1233 South College Street.

While SES would continue to share the existing substation on West Main Street with TVA and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, the new one would be solely for the use of Smithville Electric System in order to provide a secondary source of power especially in times of emergencies and to ensure continued reliability for current and future demands.

Joe Rice, one of the concerned property owners, questioned whether this site, in a residential neighborhood, is a suitable location for a substation. "Substations are permitted upon review as I read the ordinance. The review would be by the zoning board. The question I think in this case is not whether it can be done but whether it should be done. This piece of property is located immediately between two existing homes and there are a lot of other homes in the area. There are a lot of reasons not to do it. Safety being a primary, more personal concern. That's a reason for the backup station. They explode occasionally," he said.

According to Rice, SES had an opportunity to possibly acquire property in an industrial zone for the substation. "I'm sure there is a need for a station. The electric board, in their last meeting, was asked why they chose this location. We were told that it was for sale and it was cheap as opposed to an industrial location. They had found an industrial location apparently for half a million dollars. They told us they had plenty of money so that is not the issue. They chose this piece of property at the expense of the property owners in this residential area to save money for the power company. To me that doesn't seem right," said Rice.

Gordon Murphy, another property owner in the area, said he has environmental concerns particularly with a substation being located near wetlands. "I made a call to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). I haven't heard back but I did see a consultant out there looking at the property. You are not supposed to build substations or power plants near wetlands or on wetlands. That is something that is highly discouraged. You are not supposed to do that because there is all kinds of water runoff. All kinds of chemical pollution that goes into the wetlands. Its not a good idea. It may also be an Army Corps of Engineers (issue). I haven't gotten through to that process. It may also be against several other agencies as well. I haven't gotten to the bottom of that. Basically wetlands is a bad idea. End of story. Chemical pollution. Bad idea. It's not just the fact that it's where we live. We'll be hearing in excess of 60db (decibel) which is equivalent to a freight train at 50 feet. Those kinds of issues need to be known," said Murphy.

Staff Planner Tommy Lee said the city's zoning ordinance allows substations as a permitted use without review in a residential zone. "I analyzed the request. I looked at the zoning ordinance and recommended it to be an approved and permitted use as it clearly states in the zoning ordinance. There are certain non-residential uses that are strictly permitted uses. They don't have to have a review. Those uses are auditoriums, arenas, exhibit halls, art galleries, parks, substations, etc. That's why I made the recommendation. It would be like if somebody didn't like the fact that their neighbor was building a single family home in an R-1 district. Can they appeal that to the Board of Zoning Appeals? I don't think they can. I think a permitted use is a permitted use. But you have a right to challenge. If not at the Board of Zoning Appeals, then in the appellate courts," said Lee.

Planning Commission member Norris Colvert recommended that the city withhold approval of the project until the building codes inspector conducts a proper review of the proposed site plan. If the inspector signs off on the plan, Colvert said the concerned landowners may then file an appeal with the city's board of zoning appeals. "Our course of action is that our building inspector is going to be instructed to review the site plan to see if it meets all the setbacks and all the other criteria and that he makes some kind of decision then these folks have a right to appeal it. We have concerned citizens here that need to be respected and we need to do whatever we can do to help them get their point across. We don't have anybody from Smithville Electric sitting here telling us what they are wanting to do. Let's make sure if it is going to be done that it's going to be done properly," said Colvert

In an interview with WJLE last August, Richie Knowles, Interim Manager of Smithville Electric System said TVA has already approved plans for the new substation, which will be approximately 105 feet x 192 feet in size. "TVA has approved the site. We got that approval before we purchased the property. We now have to get the substation designed, engineered, and do the grade work. Of course, we'll have to order all the materials and start assembling it. We hope to have it up and operational by late 2016 or early 2017," said Knowles.

According to Knowles, a second substation would provide the city an alternate power source. "This way we will be able to supply power to the entire city from either substation. We can do maintenance work on the West Main Street substation without shutting off the power to the entire city. Initially, we will transfer part of the supplied load from the West Main substation to the new one, " said Knowles.

A secondary substation could also serve as a means of new industrial recruitment. " It will provide us a secondary feed for industries that might be looking at possibly coming to Smithville. That is usually their first question " do you have a dual feed"? At the moment we have to say no but we're working on that so in the future when they call we'll be able to say "yes we do". Hopefully that will help attract new industry and help us keep the industry we have," said Knowles.

According to Knowles, this location is ideal because it is directly beneath an existing transmission line route. Efforts will be made to keep it hidden from public view as much as possible. "It's going to be just one transformer. A small compact substation. It will set back off the road. Hopefully, it won't be unsightly to the neighborhood. We'll make it as clean as possible with fencing and landscaping. We'll try to make it as nice to the neighborhood as we possibly can," said Knowles.

The new facility is to be called the John Robert Nixon substation, named in tribute to the man who has served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Smithville Electric since the utility was established 46 years ago.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 6% in January

March 15, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for January was 6%, down from 6.5% in December and below the 8% rate for January, 2015.

The local labor force for January was 7,380. A total of 6,930 were employed and 450 were without work.

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

Clay: 7.9%
Pickett:7.8%
Van Buren: 7.2%
Cumberland: 7.1%
Fentress: 6.9%
Jackson: 6.8%
Overton: 6.3%
DeKalb: 6%
White: 5%
Putnam: 5%
Cannon: 4.8%
Warren: 4.6%
Smith: 4.4%
Macon:4.3%

County unemployment rates for January 2016 show the rates decreased in 82 counties, increased in 12, and remained the same in one county.
For the month of January, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.6 percent, down from December’s rate of 4.0 percent. Knox County was 3.9 percent in January, down from 4.3 the previous month. The Hamilton County rate was 4.6 percent, down from 5.0 in December. Shelby County was 5.5 percent, down from 6.1 percent the previous month.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for January was 5.4 percent, down two tenths of a percentage point from the previous month’s revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for December was 4.9 percent, down one tenth of a percentage point 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.

Truck Goes off Bridge in Alexandria After Heavy Rains

March 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Truck Goes off Bridge in Alexandria After Heavy Rains (Chris Russell Photo)

Two people escaped injury Monday after their truck and utility trailer went off the side of a bridge in Alexandria after driving through standing water from heavy rains

Neither the driver, 61 year old Joseph Dayton of Carthage nor his passenger, 46 year old Robert Wade of Brush Creek were hurt in the accident.
Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell said DeKalb Central Dispatch received a call at 11:48 am of a motor vehicle which had crashed on Edgewood Street. According to Chief Russell, Dayton was traveling north on Edgewood Street in a 2008 Ford F350 pulling a utility trailer when he ran through standing water from heavy rains. The truck ran off the right side of the roadway, off a bridge, and came to rest on it's right side .

Members of the Alexandria Police Department , Alexandria Fire Department, DeKalb Fire and Rescue and DeKalb EMS responded to the scene. Extrication team members stabilized the vehicle utilizing a winch and then removed the two occupants.

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