Local News Articles

Sheriff Releases 2014 Activity Report

January 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Sheriff Patrick Ray has released the "Activity Report" from his department for the calendar year January 1, 2014-December 31, 2014.

The report shows a total of 8,397 incident calls for the year. These statistics are from the 911 center. According to Sheriff Ray "These are dispatched calls, not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

The report breaks down as follows:

Calls Reported :

Wrecks- 671
4 wheeler calls- 50
911 calls- 420
Abandoned Vehicles- 15
Animal calls- 424
Assaults- 59
Armed Suspects- 15
Fires and Fire Alarms- 287
Boating Accident- 4
Bomb Threats- 2
Break-ins- 227
Burglar Alarms- 600
Child Custody Exchanges- 26
Children in roadway- 13
Civil Matters- 58
Debris in roadway- 38
Deliver Messages- 37
Disturbing the peace- 75
Deaths- 51
Domestic violence- 524
Drownings- 1
Drug trafficking- 77
Escorts-36
Funeral Property Escorts- 215
Extra Patrols- 375
Fights- 89
Gas drive-offs- 10
Harassments- 54
Indecent exposure- 1
Investigations- 623
Kidnapping- 2
Medical Alarms- 15
Medical Assists- 288
Mental Patient Transports- 48
Missing Person- 90
Mutual Aid to another Agency- 53
Possible D.U.I. - 175
Public Intoxication calls- 32
Rape- 8
Reckless Drivers- 417
Recover Property- 45
Robbery- 4
Seizures- 18
Shots fired- 72
Shop lifter- 7
Stranded motorists- 108 -
Attempt Suicide and Suicide calls- 90
Suspicious noises, persons and vehicles- 565
Traffic Hazards- 247
Trespassing- 26
Unruly juveniles- 24
Unwanted guests- 166
Vandalism- 109
Vehicle lockouts- 305
Wanted Persons- 109
Welfare checks- 297

Total 8397 incident calls

Weather Related Conditions Cause Widespread Power Outage

January 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

Caney Fork Electric Cooperative experienced a widespread power outage overnight in DeKalb County due to the weather. Power has now been restored for CFEC customers

"The power outage was due to the extremely cold weather conditions. At approximately 1:30 a.m., we had a conductor to break and fall. This knocked out the Smithville substation, which includes 4,365 members. Due to the cold temperature, we had to restore power slowly, working through one section at a time. The majority of power was restored by 2:30 a.m. with all members having power by 7 a.m. Caney Fork Electric Cooperative apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused," said Angel Wood, Communications Coordinator for Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

Meanwhile, Wood said the TVA power supply alert has been lifted. "The electrical grid is stable at this time. But as the temperature lowers tonight, we are asking that everyone please try to follow the guidelines as requested during the power supply alert to save energy consumption," said Wood.

Made in USA – Omega Apparel to Hold Monthly Job Fair

January 8, 2015
Made in USA – Omega Apparel to Hold Monthly Job Fair

Made in USA is alive in the apparel industry and Omega Apparel will be holding a monthly job fair as a result. Omega is planning to hire 40+ new teammates in January and up to 100 new teammates in the next 6-months. “We could not be more excited to be hiring again” shared Dean Wegner, President and CEO. “2014 was disheartening as we lost jobs as a result of a ~50% reduction in our military contract business.” Added Russ Brue, CFO, “What is more important to us than making money at Omega is to be in a position to create jobs, provide for families, and have a positive impact on their lives.”

As a result of the reduction in their military uniform business, Omega had to change their business model and expand their customer focus. “At the start of 2014, we had one customer” stated Bethany Colwell, Customer Service Manager. “We now have 25+ customers. This is a daunting challenge, but one that all of us at Omega are eager to embrace.”

Omega’s new customers range from well-established companies to entrepreneurial startups that want their production to be in the US. “We have two distinctly different production models; one focused on our larger customers and one focused on our smaller customers” commented Todd McCloud, Plant Manager. “Regardless of a customer’s size” added Connie Jolley, Quality and Operations Manager, “we stand for the highest level of quality, timely delivery, and customer service in the industry.”

HR Manager Michelle Brawley is leading the efforts for Omega’s job fair. “Given the growth we are projecting over the next year, finding strong new teammates will be our greatest challenge. We can teach a new teammate to sew. We are seeking individuals who have a have great attitude, strong work ethic, and are willing to embrace our values and 5 Foundations at Omega. We will hold our first monthly job fair on Friday, January 16th.” Details on the monthly job fair are included below.

Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Over a 20-year partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Omega Apparel earned a reputation as one of the most consistent, dependable, and high quality producing manufacturers for the US Military. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega’s production facility is located in Smithville, TN, and includes a highly trained workforce of skilled operators and supporting staff. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. In 2013, Omega leveraged their depth of knowledge and expertise in the military apparel industry to enter the commercial market and provide a full range of cut and sew manufacturing capabilities to service multiple industries. In 2014, Omega established a Dress Shirt Production Line and an Assembly Division. Omega will continue to be 100% Made in the USA.

DeKalb Hospital Leads the Region in Molecular Testing

January 8, 2015
by: 
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital Leads the Region in Molecular Testing

DeKalb Community Hospital Laboratory was acknowledged this past month as being the first Capella Hospital facility to perform genetic testing for Clostridium difficle. Molecular testing will now replace traditional EIA toxin testing at their facility.

“We are proud to be the first Capella facility in the region to perform genetic testing. We always want to offer our patients the best possible care, and our laboratory department is honored to be the leader in molecular sciences of this kind across our region,” said Sue Conley-CEO of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals, “In addition, we are in alignment with the latest ASM guidelines for C-diff testing to deliver the highest quality results and faster diagnosis for our patients.”

Lab Director, Kevin Adcock, of DeKalb Community Hospital said, “This is a major improvement in diagnosing a condition that can cause severe symptoms and dehydration, especially in the elderly. The technology behind this test is amazing. It gives us an opportunity to provide our physicians a definitive result with near 100% accuracy. We’re proud to be one of the only hospitals in the area to offer testing on the genetic level”. He went on to say that the laboratory plans to expand its genetic testing menu for 2015.

In accordance with the American Society of Microbiology guidelines, DeKalb Community Hospital Laboratory has updated it’s testing guidance and sample rejection criteria to offer the best available results for C-diff testing. Although C. diff occasionally causes problems in healthy people, it is most likely to affect patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Most have conditions that require long-term treatment with antibiotics, which kill off other intestinal bacteria that keep C. diff in check. While use of any antibiotic can potentially lead to C. diff overgrowth, it most commonly occurs with the use of an antibiotic that is broad-spectrum, or able to kill a wide variety of bacteria. It also happens more often when multiple antibiotics are needed to fight infection and when the antibiotics need to be taken for a long period of time.

It’s also important to note that only one test has to be performed to definitively diagnosis C. difficle, not the previous three tests as before. The sensitivity of this method exceeds 96%. The DCH laboratory will perform the illumigene C. diff test for all C. diff diagnosis, thereby providing the most superior method for detection offered for this type of testing.

Pictured: DeKalb Community Hospital is one of the first hospital laboratories in the Upper Cumberland to perform genetic testing for Clostridium difficle. Molecular testing has now replaced the traditional EIA toxin testing at their facility.

Sheriff Reports Rash of Garage Break-Ins

January 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jimmy "J.J." Tolbert Hendrixson, Jr.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has been investigating a rash of break-ins and thefts since Thanksgiving weekend and an arrest has been made in one of them.

42 year old Jimmy "J.J." Tolbert Hendrixson, Jr. of Old Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court January 8. He was arrested Monday, January 5.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on December 8, 2014 Hendrixson allegedly went to a residence on Old Snow Hill Road and took a Husqvarna and Stihl chainsaw with a total value of $1,100.

According to Sheriff Ray, most of the break-ins occurred in the southern portion of the county between Friday, November 28 and Sunday, January 4th on properties with detached garages in which the perpetrators made a forced entry into the garages. Items taken in these thefts include Craftsman hand tools, Shindaiwa chainsaws, DeWalt grinder, Cordless drill bit set, Echo hedge trimmers, Shindaiwa leaf blower, Model 026 Stihl chainsaw , Stihl weedeaters, 15 foot log chain with hooks on each end, a Miller model 1700 welder, DeWalt air compressor, Porter cable pancake compressor, Stihl chop saw, Makita gas powered cut off saw, Bosch hammer drill with bits, 20 volt DeWalt impact driver, 20 volt DeWalt hammer drill, Hitachi miter box, DeWalt laser level, Crown nailer, framing gun, 10 inch table saw, DeWalt 18 volt circular saw, 450 Husqvarna chainsaw, 395 XP Husqvarna chainsaw, Model 251 Stihl chainsaw in orange carrying case, Model 029 Stihl chainsaw, Stihl weedeater, Craftsman tool kit (case) containing a 19.2 volt reciprocating saw, circular saw, 2 speed drill, a battery charger, and a work light.

Sheriff Ray is asking for your help in solving these crimes by reporting tips to the Sheriff's Department. "We ask that if you have purchased these type items from Hendrixson or anyone else to contact the Sheriff's Department and let us take a look at them and check the serial numbers to make sure they are not stolen. Call 615-597-4935 and talk to me or one of the detectives. You may also call the Sheriff's Department's crime tip line at 615-464-6400. You may remain anonymous," he said.

New Sligo Bridge Continues to Take Shape

January 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
The new Sligo bridge continues to take shape
Excavation on Sparta side of the new Sligo Bridge with new road alignment being formed

The new Sligo bridge continues to take shape.

"There has been great progress made on the project," said Jennifer Flynn, Regional Community Relations Officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation in a statement to WJLE Wednesday.

"The contractor has set the last of the 56 steel bridge beams and they will be performing work throughout the next several months in anticipation of having the first concrete bridge deck pour in April," she said.

"On the west side of the project, the contractor continues to excavate and haul rock, which should be complete by January 31. Sometime in February, they plan to begin construction on a retaining wall," Flynn said.

In April 2013, TDOT awarded the construction contract on Sligo bridge to the Massman Construction Company based in Kansas City, Missouri at $38,903, 917. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2016.

Local Electric Companies Urge Customers to Conserve Energy

January 7, 2015

An Arctic cold front has moved through Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and Smithville Electric System service areas bringing the coldest temperatures and highest demands for electricity so far this winter. Temperatures continue to fall into the single digits for much of these service territories, causing a tight power supply situation.

TVA and your local power companies are asking that all electrical power consumption be reduced as much as possible as this arctic cold front moves through. The voluntary reduction is needed to help ensure a continued supply of power to essential services throughout the service areas and to help avoid interruption of service.

Caney Fork Electric and Smithville Electric have also cut back at their facilities by lowering or adjusting thermostats, reducing lighting, and have taken other measures to reduce electric consumption. Caney Fork Electric and Smithville Electric are asking all electric power consumers … residential, commercial, and industrial … to help cooperate in reducing power usage during this crucial situation, especially during the following times 5:00 p.m. Wednesday to 5:00 p.m. Thursday.

Members/customers should

•Postpone using electrical appliances, such as dryers and cooking equipment.
•Reduce the use of heating by adjusting thermostats to 68 degrees or lower.
•Turn off all lights, appliances, and other electrical equipment not needed.

Caney Fork Electric Cooperative and Smithville Electric System would like to thank you for your cooperation during this time.

Bids Awarded for New Airport Fuel Farm and Airfield Lighting

January 7, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

Work is expected soon on the installation of a new fuel farm and airfield lighting system at the Smithville Municipal Airport.

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night approved bids for both projects, which will mostly be funded by aeronautics grants from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). The bid for the fuel farm project was awarded to the TPM Group upon the recommendation of the city's airport engineer Craig Clairmont. TPM's base bid amount is $544,920. The original grant amount for the fuel farm was for $330,000 but the state has approved an amendment to the grant for an additional $220,000 to cover the costs. The city, which had already paid a five percent local match of $16,500 for the grant, will have to fund an additional $12,250 for the local match of the grant amendment.

In a previous interview with WJLE, Airport Manager Wesley Nokes said that the new fuel farm will make available for the first time jet fuel. "We currently do not sell jet fuel at the airport so this will be a huge increase in traffic and revenue for us as we have not been able to provide that service before. But after this, we will. Even some of our current customers, businesses, and factories in the area that have corporate aircraft, when they come in they have no way of refueling here. They have to go somewhere else for fuel before they come in or after they leave so it will be a huge convenience factor for them and help us on the revenue aspect of it as well. There will be two above ground tanks. They will be twelve thousand gallon tanks. They will be operated on a self serve basis twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They will be accessible by a debit or credit card," he said.

Meanwhile, the aldermen also approved a bid for an airport lighting rehabilitation project for $456,000 from G&M Associates upon Clairmont's recommendation. Again, because the cost of the project exceeds the original grant amount, the state has approved a grant amendment of $25,000. The city will have to come up with an additional $1,250 in local matching funds for the grant amendment.

"This grant is to replace all the airfield lighting with new LED's, a new beacon, beacon tower, and a new electrical vault which will be outside and will house all of our airfield lighting electronics. That will get it out of the big hangar which will free up some more space for the maintenance operation," said Nokes.

Sewer Project Gets Underway

January 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mayor Jimmy Poss and City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson Survey work being done near Kilgore's Restaurant and Foutch Eye Care Office

Boring services have begun in preparation for the extension of sewer lines to an area annexed into the city limits last year.

The Smithville Aldermen recently awarded the contract to Flo-Line Contracting, LLC of Monticello, Kentucky for $141,600. The sewer project will serve six parcels of property and a portion of another parcel annexed on the west side of the city on Highway 70 and the Old Nashville Highway

Property owners in the area who wish to connect to the new sewer lines must bear the expense of taps and the pump system on their properties.

City Officials to Consult ABC Commission on Liquor Ordinance

January 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Attorney Vester Parsley

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night continued discussions on developing an ordinance regulating the sale of liquor from retail package stores in Smithville. No ordinance has yet been prepared but city officials are using the Mount Juliet and Madisonville ordinances as a model for Smithville.

City attorney Vester Parsley had hoped to have provided the aldermen a couple of sample ordinances for their review by now, but he said Monday night that he doesn't want to rush into it and prefers consulting with officials of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to clarify some issues before proceeding further. "One of the reasons we're not getting in a big hurry is because we want to make sure that we get things right and we have it (ordinance) so that the Alcohol Beverage folks don't reject our "Notice of Compliance". But we haven't been able to talk to them (ABC officials). Hopefully, I'll have a rough draft (ordinance) at the next meeting which would set out how we're going to have liquor stores established in the city" said Parsley.

While liquor licenses can only be issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the city has the authority to develop local guidelines for applicants. For example, the city may establish minimum distance requirements between liquor stores and churches, schools, etc. The aldermen may also regulate the size of stores in terms of square footage; impose residency requirements for applicants; and limit the number of licensed liquor stores that may operate within the city.

Aldermen have said they would like the minimum distance requirement between liquor stores and churches, schools, etc. to be the same as the city's beer ordinance requirement of 400 feet. During Monday night's meeting, aldermen expressed a desire to establish a residency requirement for applicants of five years as a city resident or five years as a county resident. The proposed ordinance will also most likely require that applicants be U.S. citizens.

Parsley said while the city can establish minimum store size square footage requirements, he wants to find out if ABC officials have their own rules on that issue. "Some (cities) don't have a square footage (requirement) while others do. Mount Juliet has a 3,000 square foot requirement. We felt like 1,500 square feet was adequate. I don't see anything in the statute (state law) that is required by the state for the size but we want a clarification on that because sometimes these regulatory boards approve things that are not actually in the statute," said Parsley.

Aldermen also want to know from ABC whether there are minimum store inventory requirements.

Where the aldermen seem to differ is on whether the city should limit the number of liquor stores that are allowed to operate in the City of Smithville. Both Aldermen Josh Miller and Shawn Jacobs want limits. The other three aldermen, Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy have indicated they don't favor establishing limits so as to allow the free market of supply and demand to dictate.

"One thing that was said in the workshop (last month) was that it would work itself out. It might and it might not. Of course, I've got my opinion and ya'll have ya'lls. But I would love to see a limit. I'm going to be in the minority. That's fine," said Alderman Miller.

"Some places do have a limit and some don't. I think probably the public will determine how many we have (free market). Finances will have a lot to do with that too. You're talking about a pretty large initial investment especially if you have to build a building or even renovating a building," Parsley responded.

"Like Josh said I believe we are in the minority but I do agree (with him) and would personally like to see a limit. We don't limit other businesses but this is a unique business. It has a lot of restrictions on it already imposed by the state and the ABC and there is a reason those restrictions are there because of the uniqueness of this kind of business. It's just like driving. It's not a right, it's a privilege. I think that we should be very circumspect in the way we handle this and I do applaud you guys because I know you're trying to do that," said Alderman Jacobs.

"Most places who have restrictions, it puts a big burden on them to make sure their application process is not flawed by some sort of favoritism given to one person over another. Mount Juliet (which has a limit) does it sort of on a first person filed who is in compliance gets it. We don't know how many people are going to apply (here) because it is going to be an expensive proposition," Parsley replied.

"I would certainly agree that it should be first come, first served. I think that's the only way to do it if you're in compliance. That is the way to handle it," added Alderman Jacobs.

Parsley said he and Mayor Jimmy Poss and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson plan to have discussions with ABC officials soon and that he expects to draft a proposed ordinance for the Aldermen to review by the next meeting in February.

Once an ordinance is adopted, persons may apply. Even if there is a limit on the number of stores that may operate, there would be no limit on applications. Applicants would be subject to criminal background checks by the city attorney and police chief, which could take up to 30 days. After background checks are completed, applications would be reviewed by the Board of Aldermen, which would be the city's liquor board. Certificates of compliance would be issued by the city to those who qualify, a process which could take up to sixty days. The certificates of compliance would then be forwarded by the applicants to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has its own requirements for applicants to meet.

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