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Reservations Open for History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park

September 5, 2016
The secrets and perils of running moonshine are explained by Brad Halface, Park Ranger at Edgar Evins State Park, as he plays “Milton the Moonshiner”, a real person whose name is withheld by request.
Long before white settlers began arriving in the area the land was occupied by the Paleo People; Holly Taylor, Silverpoint, tells the story of a Paleo woman
Crystal Young, Silver Point, portrays the essential Mrs. Ida Hale, a real midwife from bygone years

Don't miss the wagon! It's time to make reservations for the 11th Annual History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park, Sat., Oct. 8th. Ride wagons back into the past where costumed characters from the history of the park and surrounding area will tell their stories. Between stops there will be narrators who will give additional historical details. The price is still $15 per person for the approximately 2 hour circuit.

Reservations are required and may be made at https://www.tnvacation.com/events/8740 If you need help making on-line reservations call the park office for contact information for Fount Bertram, President of Friends of Edgar Evins State Park. He or Mrs. Bertram will be happy to assist you. The park office phone numbers are (931) 858-2114 or toll free at 1-800-250-8619

Ten loads are scheduled at 30 minute intervals with report times running from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the park office. Reservations will be for a specific wagon load. This is not a Halloween themed event and is not suitable for small children or anyone unable to sit quietly for about 2 hours.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on in DeKalb County on Center Hill Lake. The physical address for GPS users is 1630 Edgar Evins Park Rd., Silverpoint, TN 38582 It is approximately 20 miles north of Smithville, 20 miles west of Cookeville and 60 miles east of Nashville. From I-40 take exit 268 at State Hwy. 96 and Center Hill Lake. The park entrance is located across the highway from the Big Rock Market and Caney Fork Outdoors.

The History Hayride is a fundraiser for the all-volunteer non-profit Friends of Edgar Evins State Park with the help of park employees. The Friends will provide complimentary hot beverages in the office with homemade cookies for sale in individual portions. Profits from this and other fundraisers by the Friends go toward improvement of park facilities. You may find out more about the group by visiting friendsofeesp on Facebook or on their website at www.foeesp.alturl.com

For those who wish to make this an overnight or weekend outing there are cabins and camping at the park. On-line reservations for cabins and camping may be made at http://tnstateparks.com/parks.about/edgar-evins or call the park office.

Many DeKalb Homeowners Now Eligible for Lower Insurance Premiums

September 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Fire Chief Donny Green

Many DeKalb County homeowners are now eligible for lower insurance premiums.

Effective Thursday, September 1, DeKalb County’s Property Protection Classification or PPC rating of 6 by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) applies to all homes or properties in the service area of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department which are located within five road miles of any of the eleven DeKalb County Fire Department Stations, regardless of whether or not these homes are near a fire hydrant or credited alternative water source. This rating does not affect the current rating for residents in the cities of Smithville and Alexandria, which have their own fire departments.

“We want all of our residents and property owners in the county to know they are now eligible for better insurance ratings on their property. If you have a current policy, it is your obligation to contact your insurance company and make sure they are aware of the new property protection classification and that it took effect September 1. While not all insurance companies use the ISO tool, the majority do,” said DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green.

Prior to September 1, homes or properties in the DeKalb County Fire Department’s service area had to be located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or credited alternative water supply to qualify for the PPC 6 rating. Otherwise, they had a PPC rating of 9.

“None of our surrounding counties have a county wide classification of 6 or better. We do have cities within our county (Smithville and Alexandria) and surrounding counties that have city fire departments with better ratings within those towns but as far as a county wide property protection classification, we’re the only one in this area or in any of our surrounding counties that has a county wide property protection classification of 6 or better,” Chief Green continued.

In March, the DeKalb County Fire Department was evaluated by ISO for its capabilities to supply water using the “hauling water” method. According to Chief Green, the department had to demonstrate that it could supply a minimum of 250 gallons of water per minute for two hours to all areas in the county-wide jurisdiction (264 square miles) in order to meet ISO Water supply requirements.

“It’s a stringent testing procedure and we had to prove that we can do this. Although we don’t have a lot of fire hydrants in the county, we do have some alternative water supply sources. We got those (water supply sources) credited about five years ago. We had to go through a series of testing with those which included boat ramps where we can access the lake, creeks and ponds, and even swimming pools can count for that. We got those credited and that helped. Then we did a hauling water evaluation where we haul the water to the scene using tankers along with portable drop tanks at the scene. We then shuttle the water from hydrants or alternative water supply sources so that we can provide a minimum of 250 gallons per minute for two consecutive hours. Once we demonstrated that we can do that in 85% of our coverage area in our jurisdiction, we were able to earn the county wide property protection classification improvement to a Class 6. We did our evaluation in March and got our new classification notice in June. The effective date was September 1,” Chief Green said.

Green is appreciative of the hard work of the fellow firefighters in achieving this accomplishment along with the support of County Mayor Tim Stribling, County Commission, the DeKalb County 911 Communications Center, and the water utility districts that serve DeKalb County.

“We worked on this fervently for over six months just getting the documentation and doing the testing. I had a lot of men and women in our fire department that worked extremely hard to help us do this testing. I also credit the County Commission and County Mayor. A lot of the equipment additions, training, and improvements we’ve seen in the last several years is because the County Commission has helped us. We’ve got a lot of this through grants but the County Commission and County Mayor have been very supportive by approving the matching funds for the grants in helping us improve our equipment to get to this point,” said Chief Green.

County Mayor Tim Stribling said he is proud of the County Fire Department and the work done on behalf of the citizens here. “This is evidence of how hard our fire department has worked to improve the ISO rating for the citizens of our county to provide them a better service,” he said.

Landowner Seeks Court Injunction to Stop Construction of New SES Substation (VIEW ACTUAL COMPLAINT HERE)

September 3, 2016
Dwayne Page
Proposed site of New Smithville Electric System Substation on South College Street
Proposed New Smithville Electric System Substation location on South College Street

The developer of a residential subdivision has been trying unsuccessfully for months to keep Smithville Electric System from building a new substation or electric supply and service industrial use on South College Street near his property. He is now taking his case to court.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW ACTUAL COMPLAINT. After saving this document, you can go to "View" -> "Rotate View" -> "Clockwise" to make it easier to read)

JOE RICE FILING_001.pdf (3.25 MB)

Joe Rice, developer of the Meadowview Subdivision, is seeking action in DeKalb County Chancery Court to block construction of the facility.

Attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox filed a complaint Friday, September 2 on behalf of Rice against the Smithville Electric System (SES) and the City of Smithville seeking a declaratory judgment to construe and apply TCA (the law) to the issue. They are also asking for a temporary injunction and a permanent injunction to enjoin and prohibit SES from erecting this industrial use facility in an R-1 low density residential district, and for any further relief. Cripps and Cox want a hearing on the request for an injunction Thursday, September 8 at 9:00 a.m. or as soon thereafter as counsel may be heard in DeKalb County Chancery Court.

Cripps and Cox assert that Smithville Electric System defied state law by forging ahead with excavation of the site for the new substation after the Smithville Planning Commission rejected the plans during a meeting on June 14 based on the grounds that the proposed location by SES is inconsistent with the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan. The attorneys for Rice contend that the SES board was required to appeal the planning commission’s decision to the chief legislative body for the city, the mayor and board of aldermen, which has the power to ratify or overrule the planning commission by a simple majority vote, but that the SES board did not file an appeal and instead voted to proceed with the project.

However, City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said at the June 14 Smithville Planning Commission meeting that the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors has the authority to overrule the decision of the planning commission and proceed with its plans without having to make an appeal to the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

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

Richie Knowles, Manager of Smithville Electric System, told the planning commission at the June 14 meeting that the new substation is needed to keep the utility from having to conduct city wide power outages when work is required on the existing substation. “ We are in the middle of a project. An upgrade at our current substation and we’re going to have to take three or four city wide power outages to do that. And that is very costly to our industries. I don’t have a number for that but I know it’s a lot. And they have asked us not to take anymore city wide power outages. That’s the reason for building a second substation. So we can feed everything out of this substation for the whole city and upgrade the other substation without having to take those outages,” said Knowles.

Rice’s attorneys claim that his (Rice’s) rights are currently and will continue to be violated as a direct result of SES’s actions in constructing an electrical service and supply substation on real property near Rice’s residential development. They further assert that the proposed construction of an industrial use structure (electrical service and supply substation) in an R-1 low density residential district has an adverse impact on the residential subdivision and real property owned by Rice and will result in continued and marked depreciation of the value of Rice’s real property and to persons who reside directly adjacent to the location of the proposed construction, unless a temporary and permanent injunction is issued by the court.

Cripps and Cox allege that an electrical service and supply substation at the proposed location will create both auditory and visual pollution to residents closeby and that approximately two acres of the SES property for this facility is located within a protected wetlands area which will cause serious, permanent, and irreparable harm and damage to the ecosystem and environment of such a protected wetlands area if the substation is built there.

Smithville Electric System apparently asserts that it is an entity wholly separate from the municipality, City of Smithville in that its budget is separate from the city’s budget. But Cripps and Cox claim that SES’s contention that it is independent from the city is unsupported by the utility’s own by-laws and other proof. They say SES has the status of a governmental department authorized by and subject to the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

According to Cripps and Cox, Smithville Electric System is a public utility, wholly owned by the City of Smithville as a governmental department of the municipality and that the authorization or financing of SES falls directly within the scope and ambit of the chief legislative body of the city, the board of mayor and aldermen. They further reference the by-laws of Smithville Electric System which show a relationship between the city and the utility in that the members of SES must be appointed by the mayor and approved by the aldermen; that a member of the board of mayor and aldermen shall serve as an ex officio SES board member with full voting privileges; that SES is required to prepare and file a complete annual report with the board of mayor and aldermen each year; and that under state law, the city conducts an annual or causes to be made an annual audit of the accounts and records of all departments including SES. As further proof that the city considers SES a governmental entity, Smithville Electric System obtained a building permit for this proposed substation without having to pay a fee.

In the complaint filed Friday, Cripps and Cox state that the Smithville Electric Power Board voted unanimously on June 24, 2015 to authorize the purchase of a home and approximately 5.54 acres of real property situated at 1223 South College Street in Smithville for the sum of $150,000 for the purpose of erecting an industrial use, to wit: an electrical service and supply substation being 20,160 square feet in size and being capricious enough unilaterally to supply electric power to all industries, businesses, and residences within the City of Smithville. At all times material to this cause of action, the aforementioned 5.54 acres has been located within an R-1 low density residential district within the City of Smithville”.

“On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 the Smithville Planning Commission voted to disapprove the South College Street location for the proposed electrical service and supply substation pursuant to the provisions of TCA (state law) on the grounds that the location of the proposed construction of an electrical service and supply substation at this location is inconsistent with and contrary to the City of Smithville’s Land Use and Transportation Plan recently adopted by the Smithville Planning Commission”.

“Subsequently, the Smithville Electric Power Board voted unanimously to defy the June 14 decision of the Smithville Planning Commission and determined to proceed with construction of the electrical service and supply substation upon the real property situated at 1233 South College Street in Smithville, all without first obtaining a final decision from the City of Smithville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen either ratifying or overruling the June 14 action of the Smithville Planning Commission”.

“Indeed, SES has, in short, determined that it is a law unto itself and, hence, subject to the authority of neither the Smithville Planning Commission nor the chief legislative body of the City of Smithville, i.e., the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen”.

“Plaintiff, Joe Rice, is the developer of the Meadowview Subdivision, a residential development located within an R-1 low density residential district and situated in close proximity to the location put forward by the SES for construction of its electrical service and supply substation. Plaintiff Rice is the fee simple owner of 39 lots or parcels of unimproved real property within the Meadowview Subdivision.”

“Plaintiff Rice commences this declaratory judgment action seeking to have this Court construe and apply the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated to the facts of the case. Specifically, Plaintiff Rice asserts: (1) SES is a public utility and governmental department of the municipality, City of Smithville; (2) that Smithville Electric System is wholly owned by the City; and (3) that the City has authorized SES to sell, furnish, and disseminate hydroelectric power within the corporate limits of the City. Moreover, Plaintiff Rice will demonstrate that the authorization or financing of the SES falls directly within the scope and ambit of the chief legislative body of the municipality, i.e., the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.”

“Additionally, Plaintiff Rice respectfully urges this Court to find and conclude that TCA (state law) as applied to the facts of the instant case, requires that the location and the extent of the electrical service and supply substation proposed to be constructed by the SES be submitted for final decision by a simple majority vote of the members of the chief legislative body of the municipality, the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.”

“In addition, the Plaintiff Rice respectfully asks this Honorable Court for entry and filing of an order declaring that Smithville Electric System violated the provisions of TCA (state law) by acting in complete defiance and utter disregard of the June 14 ruling of the Smithville Planning Commission and instead, proceeded to excavate and prepare the site for construction of an electrical service and supply substation without first appealing the ruling of the Smithville Planning Commission to the chief legislative body of the City of Smithville, i.e. the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.”

"Finally, Plaintiff Rice will demonstrate that he has suffered and will continue to suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss, damage, and harm if Smithville Electric System and the City are not temporarily and permanently enjoined and prohibited from constructing an electrical service and supply substation proximal to Rice’s residential subdivision.”

4-H Members Participate in Summer Livestock Shows

September 3, 2016
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Caitlyn Lawrence exhibiting her market goat at the DeKalb County Fair
Paul Oliver shows off his ribbon from the regional sheep show in Lebanon
Colby Barnes with his goats at the regional 4-H show in Shelbyville

Three DeKalb County 4-H members had a busy summer preparing for and exhibiting at local, regional, and state livestock shows. Paul Oliver, a 5th grader at Northside, showed sheep. Caitlyn Lawrence, senior at DCHS, and Colby Barnes, 6th grader at DMS, both exhibited goats.

Paul’s sheep all placed in the top 5 at both the regional and state level. He had two breeding ewes that placed 2nd in their class as a bred by exhibitor. Exhibitors get extra credit for raising their own animals. Caitlyn and Colby also placed in the top 5 with all of their goats at the regional 4-H show, with Colby having a 2nd and 3rd place. They also participated in local fairs around the area and have more goat shows coming this fall.

All three members also competed in skillathon and showmanship. The skillathon is an exam that tests knowledge of breeds, nutrition, health, and other parts of the respective livestock industry. Paul placed 3rd in his age group in the regional skillathon. During showmanship, the exhibitor is judged on how well they handle and show their animal for the judge.

Showing livestock takes time, hard work, perseverance, and responsibility but is fun and rewarding in the end. Paul, Colby, and Caitlyn all did an excellent job representing DeKalb County on all show levels. For more information about DeKalb County 4-H activities, please call 615-597-4945.

UT/TSU Extension is a proud part of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension.
UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments.

Smithville Police Find Convicted Felon with Illegal Weapons and Drugs

September 2, 2016
Dwayne Page
Michael George Rowland
Jasmin Renae Rowland

Smithville Police found two people including a convicted felon in possession of illegal weapons and drugs after being called to investigate a possible physical domestic at a local residence last week.

30 year old Michael George Rowland and 22 year old Jasmin Renae Rowland are each charged with Possession of a Schedule II drug with intent to sell. Michael Rowland is also charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm. He is a convicted felon out of Ohio.

On Friday, August 26 police were called to a residence to investigate a possible physical domestic. Upon arrival, they spoke with the Rowlands and asked Michael to step outside. During a safety pat down, an unloaded 38 Smith & Wesson hand gun was found on Michael and he removed four live rounds and one spent round from his pocket and turned them over to the officer.

After receiving consent from Jasmin to search, other officers inside the home noticed a small box wrapped in duct tape lying on the kitchen floor. They pulled back the tape and discovered it was a Marlboro cigarette box. Inside the box was a plastic bag containing approximately 1.6 ounces of a crystal like substance that tested positive for Methamphetamine. Also on the living room floor were two more handguns.

Michael Rowland’s bond is $20,000. Bond for Jasmin is $10,000. Both will make a court appearance on September 15.

34 year old Wayne Lattimore, 43 year old Gerald Kier, and 29 year old Brenda Lattimore were arrested for theft over $1,000 on Tuesday, August 16. According to police, these three individuals entered Wal-Mart on Sunday, August 14 at approximately 1:00 a.m. and could be seen on video surveillance taking an estimated $3,794.12 in merchandise. They were arrested and found to be in possession of several stolen items from Wal-Mart. Bond for each is $5,000.

59 year old James Walter Stone was arrested on Wednesday, August 17 for DUI and cited for simple possession. Stone was found passed out in his vehicle at Hardees. The engine was running and the gear in drive. Upon approaching the automobile, the officer spotted a syringe in plain sight. Stone was asked to submit to sobriety tasks to ensure he was not intoxicated. He agreed but performed poorly. During Stone's arrest, a white pill bottle with no markings was found in his vehicle. Inside the bottle was a round yellow pill believed to be Suboxone. Stone’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is October 6.

33 year old David Matthew Hill was cited for theft of property from a local business on Thursday, August 18. He was spotted on video surveillance concealing merchandise before leaving the store.

32 year old Andrew A. Dillon was arrested for domestic assault on Monday, August 29. Police responded to a possible domestic and upon arrival found the victim outside on the porch crying and grabbing her arms in pain. After an investigation, police determined that Dillon assaulted the victim by striking her on or about the area of her face and upper body. Bruising was visible and she did seek treatment for her injuries at the emergency room of the hospital. Dillon sustained scratches inflicted by the victim while trying to get away from him. Police determined that Dillon was the primary aggressor and he was arrested without incident. His bond is $30,000 and his court date is September 15.

25 year old Ashley M Singleton was arrested for criminal trespass on Monday, August 29. Police received a call of a possible shoplifter at Wal-Mart. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Singleton and after interviewing her discovered that while she didn't possess any items from the store she had received two previous trespass warnings from Wal-Mart in Coffee and Warren Counties. Her bond is $2,500 and her court date is September 15.

32 year old Veronica Lucille St. Hilaire was arrested on Tuesday, August 30 for disorderly conduct. St. Hilaire was at a residence on Dry Creek Road when she began yelling and using profane language toward another person there. At approximately 12:45 a.m. she was asked several times to leave and return to her own home but she refused and continued yelling and cursing. This incident occurred in a residential area where she could be heard by others in the immediate vicinity. St. Hilaire was placed under arrest and her bond is $1,500. Her court date is September 15.

TDOT Announces Temporary Road Closure For Pavement Repairs

September 2, 2016
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that a contractor will be doing some repair work on State Route 141 in DeKalb County after Labor Day.

To correct issues with some cracking of the asphalt that has occurred in the pavement of the super elevated curve, the contractor must close the roadway to make the necessary repairs. This is scheduled to begin on September 6 after the Labor Day Holiday. It is expected to be closed for 2-3 weeks maximum during this time. The contractor has notified the school boards, local officials and 911 of the expected closure and signs will be reinstalled alerting motorists of the expected closure.

The work is apparently part of a slide repair between log mile 0.93 and log mile 1.10 which included grading, drainage, and paving.

The contractor is Jones Brothers, Inc.

Animal Coalition Extends Bidding Period for New Shelter

September 2, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Animal Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals is taking another step toward construction of a new shelter for the county.

The Coalition’s board members are expected to open bids next Friday, September 9 during a meeting set for 5:30 p.m. at the Smithville City Hall building.

Plans were to award a bid Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Coalition but only one sealed bid was received. In order to give others more time who had earlier expressed an interest in submitting a bid, the board voted to extend the period to receive bids until next Friday.

“Two weeks ago we had five or six people here that thought were going to bid. Tonight we only had one sealed bid. They (coalition board) put it off until next Friday to give these other people time to get their bids in. The bids must be in by Friday, September 9 at 5:30 p.m. and then they (board) will have a meeting at that time to open the bids,” said Mike Foster, who meets with the Coalition.

According to Foster, the Coalition also hopes to be able to take advantage of its non-profit status to make tax exempt purchases of materials. “They want to take a look at their 501 c 3 status where they can buy the materials to save the sales tax and let somebody build it (shelter) to make this project as cost effective as we can so we can hurry up and get it going," said Foster.

Once a bid is awarded, Foster said the Coalition expects construction to begin soon after. “We’d like to break ground right away. The water, sewer, electricity, and road are all there and Road Supervisor Butch Agee helped get the site prep done. It’s (shelter) going to be close to 3,000 square feet but part of that is dog runs so it’s really a 2,400 square foot building plus the runs on it. They are hoping they can get it in the dry and maybe get half of it open as soon as possible to get the (public) interest back in it to where people see something happening out there. They also hope to get some grant money to help operate it with feed and those kinds of things,” Foster told WJLE.

The Coalition Board also voted Thursday night to hire grant writer Amanda Mainord of Grasroots Planning & Consulting to search out grants. She is to be paid on a percentage basis if grants are awarded to the Coalition.

Last December, the City of Smithville entered into a 99 year lease agreement with the Coalition.

Under the plan, the Coalition proposes to build a new animal shelter on a four acre site near the solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of Highway 70 east. The property, owned by the Smithville Industrial Development Board, was deeded to the city, which has entered into the lease with the Coalition, a 501 (c) 3 charity organization.

The goal of the coalition is for the county to have a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.

The City of Smithville and DeKalb County have each donated $75,000 for the erection of a facility. The new shelter will take the place of a smaller one which has been in existence for years on county property but operated by the city behind the DeKalb County Highway Department Headquarters off Smith Road.

The city currently employs one full time person and one other person half time and also provides an animal control vehicle for the purpose of running the existing animal pound. Under the agreement, the city will continue to provide the personnel and vehicle to assist in the day to day operation of the animal shelter to be erected by the Coalition.

The Coalition operates a yard sale store and holds regular activities and events to raise funds in support of the new shelter.

Marsha Darrah, President of the Coalition, said more support and volunteers are needed. “We need people to give money and we need people to help with our yard sale store. We are very much in need of volunteers now to help operate the store and to help raise money. If you would like to help, you may stop by the store on Walnut Street or call me at 615-417- 2473 or Jim Wood 615-464-8561,” she said.

“We are very sorry that we are not yet able to take care of animals but we do have a program that we are joined with in McMinnville called “Paws”. We have a grant for our county and you can get your cats or dogs spayed or neutered at a very nominal fee or if you are on some kind of assistance you can get it done free,” Darrah told WJLE.

Former UCDD Director Wendy Askins Pleads Guilty to Theft

September 1, 2016
Wendy Askins

Wendy Askins, 55, of Red Boiling Springs, Tenn., pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger, to two counts of theft from a federally-funded entity, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. At the time of the offenses, Askins was the Executive Director for the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD), and also oversaw the daily operations of the Cumberland Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) and the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation (CAIC). UCDD and its related organizations received thousands of dollars annually in federal funds during the time Askins led UCDD.

During the plea hearing, Askins admitted that she used UCDD and CRDC funds to purchase a property she named Living the Dream. Living the Dream was supposed to serve as an assisted living facility for senior citizens. Shortly after purchasing the home, Askins and UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb set up a company called L.A. Management to operate the senior facility. Askins subsequently converted a portion of the property that was owned by the public agency into a home for her daughter and herself. Her upgrades to the property included adding elaborate, luxury showers in the bathrooms used by the Askins; wiring another bedroom to service a tanning bed, and spending an additional $25,000 to erect a double-winding staircase.

Askins admitted she moved money belonging to UCDD and its components to Living the Dream bank accounts, without the approval of the boards of directors. Askins attempted to hide the unauthorized transfer of other UCDD funds by directing an employee to falsify the minutes of a board of director’s meeting, in order to conceal the fact that she had spent a total of $233,000 without board approval. She also admitted that she lied to the media, board directors, and UCDD attorneys about why the meeting minutes were incorrect.

Askins will be sentenced by Judge Trauger on October 28, 2016. Federal program fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release following a term of imprisonment.

Larry Webb, a co-defendant, pleaded guilty to bank fraud on August 17, 2015, and is currently scheduled to be sentenced on September 19, 2016.

The investigation was led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation; the Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie N. Toussaint and William F. Abely.

Smithville Man Airlifted After Rollover Crash on Keltonburg Road

August 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
Gary Cantrell Airlifted After Rollover Crash

55 year old Gary Cantrell of Smithville was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital Wednesday morning after he lost control of his 1993 Jeep Wrangler and overturned on Keltonburg Road.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Cantrell was east on State Highway 288 (Keltonburg Road) when the Wrangler went off the right side of road, came back across the highway and overturned, before going off the left side of the road. The Wrangler came to rest on its side.

Cantrell was partially penned underneath the roll bar of the Wrangler. Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, a County Fire Fighter, and another passerby came upon the wreck and stopped to assist. They were able to lift the vehicle enough to free Cantrell.

DeKalb EMS treated Cantrell at the scene and transported him to the Keltonburg Community Center grounds where he was airlifted by helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s extrication and rescue team were summoned and enroute to the scene but were not needed after Cantrell was freed from underneath the vehicle.

The Keltonburg Station of the County Fire Department established the helicopter landing zone.

DTC Communications to Host Annual Meeting

August 31, 2016
DTC Directors Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, Roy N. Pugh of Auburntown, David Parker of Woodland, and James H. Dillard Jr. of Gordonsville Running Unopposed in September DTC Election

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, Inc. d/b/a DTC Communications will host its annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in the Auburntown, Gordonsville, Temperance Hall, and Woodland exchanges.

Incumbents Roy N. Pugh, James H. Dillard, Jr., Jimmy Oakley, and David Parker are running unopposed in the Auburntown, Gordonsville, Temperance Hall, and Woodland exchanges, respectively.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 17. Gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 3 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 3 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present proper photo identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

The last day to make changes to your membership or to be eligible to vote in the 2016 election will be Thursday, September 8.

For questions regarding membership and voting, call DTC at (615) 529-2955.


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