Local News Articles

Sheriff Reports Rash of Garage Break-Ins

January 7, 2015
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
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
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
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
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.

Happy New Year from FCE

January 6, 2015
Happy New Year from FCE

The Family, Community, and Education Club of Smithville would like to wish the community a Happy New Year and invite women who are interested in home and garden matters, educational and community activities, and arts and crafts to come to our first meeting of the 2015. It has been rescheduled to Thursday, January 15 at 10:00am in the UT Extension meeting room of the County Complex. The program will be provided by a representative of the Chamber of Commerce.

This last year, the club had interesting programs in which to learn about ways to serve our community, such as Habitat for Humanity. We would like to thank Food Lion for providing bags and books which the club stuffed with helpful items for the kindergarten teachers at Smithville Elementary. Other businesses that contributed to the club and deserve a thank you are Caney Fork Electric, Dekalb Telephone, Middle Tennessee Gas, and the Rogers Group; each gave items for our FCE County Rally and visiting guests.

This spring the club will have its annual yard sale to raise monies for the needs of local community organizations. Trips that benefit home and garden interests are also planned.

The new year will again feature fun and fellowship along with learning about our community.

Senator Beavers Opposes Raising State Gas Tax

January 5, 2015
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

State lawmakers may consider raising Tennessee's gas tax this year.

The push is coming from more than forty Middle Tennessee mayors who are calling on the Governor to find additional revenue for transportation projects across the state.

Tennessee imposes 21.4 cents in taxes per gallon of fuel. That hasn't been increased since 1989. The federal gas tax, which hasn't changed since 1993, is 18.4 cents per gallon, meaning drivers in Tennessee pay a total of 39.8 cents on each gallon of gas purchased.

In an interview with WJLE Wednesday, State Senator Mae Beavers said she opposes any higher taxes. "I'm not for any more new taxes. I think we need to manage with what we have right now and get rid of the waste. One of the things we've been doing in the legislature is trying to get rid of all the boards and commissions that we could under the Government Operations Committees. There's a lot of things we can do to streamline state government rather than pass a new tax," she said.

"If they do pass a new tax (raise gas tax), it should all go to roads and bridges. I think we need to cut out what I consider some of the waste and that's money going to greenways and walking trails and projects like the Amp that was being considered in Nashville (Bus rapid transit project). I would not be for any of that money going to those kinds of projects. I think there's a lot we could do right now. We need to be calling on our Congressmen in Washington to cut out all of that waste and quit designating money. We have money that has to go to the Governor's Highway Traffic Safety Office simply because we haven't adopted the "Pass the Bottle" bill in Tennessee to affect our DUI's. We've got Washington telling us what we have to do with our own money. We send money to Washington. They send it back and tell us what we have to spend it on. We have a Republican majority in Washington now and I'd be for calling on our Congressmen to stop some of the mandates coming out of Washington on our state government," said Senator Beavers.

Governor Bill Haslam said gas tax revenue goes exclusively to help fund roads, and in no way helps the state general revenue fund. Although he hasn't explicitly started pushing for an increase, he's framed the issue as something that must be addressed.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he could favor an increase as long as it's part of a larger comprehensive measure. House Speaker Beth Harwell reportedly hasn't revealed a position.

“Reeling in the Years” Returns Saturday Night

January 5, 2015
Shawn Jacobs and Dennis Stanley

Many of us have often had a longing for the past, a yearning for yesterday.

With nostalgia in mind, another edition of “Reeling in the Years” will air on WJLE the night of January 10.

Former WJLE announcers Dennis Stanley and Shawn Jacobs host the program that will feature the pop/rock music and artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

“We’ll be playing many of the songs that today’s 50 to 65 year old residents remember as teens and young adults,” said both Jacobs and Stanley. “The music you will hear on our show will bring back many fond memories. We’ve made sure our playlist includes a few songs that were popular during 1975, which was 40 years ago. It’s those little details we want to incorporate into our show to make it even more enjoyable.”

The program will also showcase the diversity of the pop/rock music scene during a time of transition in the lives of our listeners and in the world.

“During the days we were ‘disc jockeys,’ WJLE and radio stations throughout the country were playing music that ranged from soul, rock, southern rock to disco music. All of those genres were mixed within the same program, and ironically, it worked,” said Jacobs and Stanley.

The January 10 program will air from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WJLE FM and will be the first of four shows planned for 2015.

Man Arrested for Repeat Offenses of DSL

January 5, 2015
Dwayne Page
Kevin Donald Bogle
Spencer Montgomery Wallace
Steven Jeffery Lohr
Nathan Charles Cantrell

A DeKalb County man was caught driving on a suspended license two days in a row last week, Monday and Tuesday, December 29 & 30.

44 year old Kevin Donald Bogle of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville already had two prior charges against him for the same offense. Bogle is charged with two counts of driving on a suspended license (3rd offense). His bond is $14,000 and he will be in court January 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 29 a deputy spotted Bogle operating a motor vehicle on Duncan Street pulling onto West Broad Street. The officer had prior knowledge that Bogle's license were suspended and obtained a warrant for Bogle's arrest. The next day, Tuesday December 30, an officer saw Bogle driving on West Broad Street, turning onto Walmart Drive. Bogle was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Meanwhile, 24 year old Spencer Montgomery Wallace of South College Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law, driving on roadways laned for travel, and violation of the seatbelt law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 31 a deputy was dispatched to Bright Hill Road due to a vehicle that had run off the roadway. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Wallace who reported that he had been driving the truck which went off the road into a ditch. Wallace had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Wallace submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Wallace admitted that he had not been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. He also refused to give blood for testing. He was placed under arrest.

41 year old Steven Jeffery Lohr of Martin Street, Alexandria is charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. His bond $1,500 and he will be in court January 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 1 an officer went to a residence on Martin Lane in Alexandria to serve a Rutherford County warrant on Lohr. Upon arrival the officer spotted Lohr in the window of the home and motioned for Lohr to come outside. Lohr came outside but when the officer identified himself and explained why he was there, Lohr turned his back to the deputy and appeared to be doing something with his waist band. The officer asked Lohr to show his hands but he refused. When the deputy tried to grab Lohr to see what he was doing with his hands, Lohr aggressively pulled away from the officer and resisted being handcuffed. He was subsequently placed under arrest.

38 year old Nathan Charles Cantrell of Puckett Point Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for driving on the wrong side of the roadway and for simple possession. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 2 a deputy was traveling in the southbound lane of Highway 56 when he saw a white Chevrolet Caprice leave its northbound lane of travel. The oncoming car almost struck the deputy's cruiser head-on. The officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Cantrell. He detected a strong odor of alcohol on Cantrell's person. Cantrell's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Cantrell submitted to and performed unsatisfactory on field sobriety tasks. He also took a blood test and was placed under arrest. While conducting an inventory of the car, the deputy found a small round orange pill believed to be Adderall, a schedule II drug.


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