Local News Articles

DCHS Baseball Game Postponed until Friday

May 15, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers will compete in the Region baseball tournament at Central Magnet in Murfreesboro Friday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m.

The DCHS Tigerettes' game at Sequatchie County was suspended with no score in the first inning Wednesday and will be completed today (Thursday, May 15) in the Region Softball Tournament at 3:00 p.m.

Terms of Two DUD Board Members To Expire

May 14, 2014
Dwayne Page
Roger Turney
Jimmy Womack

The terms of two members of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners are expiring this year and the DUD will meet next month to begin the process of either reappointing those members or selecting new ones.

According to a published legal notice for Commissioner Appointment, the term of Roger Turney, serving Cannon County on the DUD's board will expire on August 31, 2014. Jimmy Womack's term will expire on October 31, 2014. Womack is one of three members on the board who serve DeKalb County.

The DUD board of commissioners will meet on Thursday, June 5 to certify a list of three nominees to the Cannon County Mayor and DeKalb County Mayor to fill these vacancies. A customer may also submit a name for consideration by the DUD board for the list of nominees. Any names to be considered should be provided to the District's General Manager at least one week before the June 5 meeting. State law provides for qualifications for nominees.

The general provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated (State Law) TCA § 7-82-307 provide that the utility board members must submit three nominees, listed in order of preference, to the county mayor (where the vacancy exists). The county mayor has the authority to appoint one of the nominees to the vacant position on the board or reject all of the nominees. If the county mayor rejects all three nominees, then the board of (utility) commissioners has to submit three additional nominees to the county mayor for consideration. If the county mayor rejects these nominees, then the process would continue until the position is filled. There are, however, exceptions to these general provisions in the statute. Any order either appointing or rejecting a list of nominees shall be entered of record on the minutes of the county legislative body and a certified copy of the order shall be furnished to the board of (utility) commissioners and to the appointee; provided, that upon the rejection of any entire list of nominees by the county mayor, the board of (utility) commissioners shall continue to submit new nonidentical lists of three (3) nominees to the county mayor within sixty (60) days after each such rejection until such procedure shall result in the vacancy being filled for the remainder of the term or for the new term, as provided in this section.

The DUD Board is made up of five members, three from DeKalb County, one from Cannon, and one from Smith County. The terms are staggered.

Smithville Electric System Plans Power Outage

May 14, 2014
Dwayne Page

Smithville Electric System will have a planned city-wide power outage starting at midnight Saturday, May 17 for two to four hours to do some work at the sub-station. Service will be restored either by 2:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning, May 18. This will affect only Smithville Electric System customers

It's Official! Turnbill Granted Parole with Conditions

May 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
Melvin Eugene Turnbill at Parole Hearing (Dwayne Page Photo)

It's now official

A man serving a twenty five year prison sentence in a 2002 DeKalb County murder case could be a free man within a year.

Members of the Tennessee Board of Parole have voted to release 42 year old Melvin Eugene Turnbill to parole supervision. However, prior to release, Turnbill will have to complete a nine to twelve month substance abuse program called "Therapeutic Community", and get a release plan approved. The board also voted that Turnbill receive a substance abuse after-care referral upon leaving prison, and that he be assessed for substance abuse treatment once he is under parole supervision. The assessment will be completed by TDOC staff.

As WJLE first reported almost two weeks ago, parole board member Tim Gobble, after a hearing on Thursday morning May 1, voted to parole Turnbill with the aforementioned conditions. The hearing was held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, where Turnbill is incarcerated. Gobble was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from another location. After the hearing, the file was sent to other parole board members, who reviewed it and cast their votes. Three matching votes were required for a final decision in the case.

In September 2003, Turnbill received a twenty five year sentence after pleading guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court to facilitating the first degree murder of Joshua Murphy, who was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Turnbill and a co-defendant, Christopher Nicholas Orlando suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando, the triggerman in the killing, was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004. Orlando, serving a 45 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder, is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. Orlando was denied parole following a hearing in March, 2013. He will be up for parole again in 2016.

Turnbill's sentence is due to expire on October 15, 2022. He has served eleven years and seven months of the term. This was Turnbill's second parole hearing. He was denied release two years ago following his last hearing due to the seriousness of the offense.

In making his plea for parole, Turnbill told Gobble that he has a new outlook on life. "I believe I have changed. I believe my attitude has changed. I know for sure that I'm not going back in any kind of drug activity. I know I can honestly say that. I just wish I could be given a second chance," said Turnbill.

DUD Approved for $5.25 Million in Low Interest Loans For Water Plant

May 13, 2014
Dwayne Page
DUD Board of Directors

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced that DeKalb Utility District has been approved to receive $5.25 million in low interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

“It’s great to see local governments using this important program to help address critical drinking water and wastewater needs. Making these infrastructure improvements will benefit the health of the communities and economic growth,” Haslam said.

The funding paves the way for DeKalb Utility District to complete a proposed water treatment plant. In a letter to DUD Chairman Roger Turney dated May 5, 2014, Sherwin N. Smith, Director of the State Revolving Fund Loan Program wrote that the DUD’s Facilities Plan for the project has been approved.

The facilities plan provides recommendations to construct a new 2.0 million gallon per day water treatment plant and upgrade the existing water treatment system serving the DeKalb Utility District (DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson Counties). The total estimated project cost is $12,000,000. The DeKalb Utility District will receive two Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans totaling $5,250,000 to fund this project. The first loan is for $2,500,000 with a $2,000,000 loan and $500,000 in principle forgiveness that will not have to be repaid by the DeKalb Utility District. The second DWSRF loan is for $2,750,000. Additional funding includes a Rural Utilities Service loan for $5,000,000, a Rural Utilities Service grant for $1,250,000, and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for $500,000".

“With the two loans from the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, the savings for DUD customers has improved dramatically. The $12 million project will be funded with a $2.25 million grant including a forgivable loan, $4.75 million with a 20 year loan at .60% and the final $5 million with a 40 year loan from Rural Utilities Services at 2.75%. Because of the low interest rate on this completed financial package, issuing bonds with a higher interest rate will not be necessary” stated DUD manager Jon Foutch.

The project provides for the construction of a new raw water intake structure and raw water pump station on the Holmes Creek Embayment of Center Hill Reservoir (Caney Fork River); an 18-inch diameter raw water transmission line from the raw water pump station to the new 2.0 million gallon per day water treatment plant located along Holmes Creek Road; an 18-inch diameter finished water transmission line along Holmes Creek Road, Allen’s Ferry Road, and U.S. Highway 70; and new 8-inch diameter water distribution lines along Big Rock Road, Dry Creek Road, Game Ridge Road, Turner Road, Tittsworth Road, and Walker Lane. A finished water pumping station will be constructed to deliver water from the Snow’s Hill Water Tank to the Short Mountain Water Tank. The new water treatment plant will also include clarification, mixed media filtration and backwash systems, and a 250,000 gallon clear well.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in March found that the proposed DUD water treatment plant would not significantly affect the environment but the public had until April 28 to make comments before a final decision was reached on whether the project should go forward. There were no significant public responses posing objections.

In the letter to Turney, Smith wrote that "The documents associated with the Facilities Plan have been reviewed in accordance with appropriate state rules, policies, regional guidance, and technical publications. Based on our review, a Finding of No Significant Impact was issued on March 28, 2014. The 30 day comment period for the FNSI has expired, and no significant public objections have been received. Therefore, full approval of this Facilities Plan is now granted."

Vance Sentenced in Warren County Theft

May 13, 2014
Comer T. Vance

A Smithville man, who stole a car from the parking lot of a factory in Warren County, was sentenced recently on a Grand Theft charge.

43 year old Comer T. Vance pleaded guilty to a charge of grand theft in Warren County Circuit Court. Judge Bart Stanley sentenced Vance to serve one year of a ten year sentence. Part of his time may be served under in house drug treatment. Vance has reportedly been accepted in the Adult Recovery Program, which is an intensive 18 month rehabilitation under the supervision of the court.

According to the Southern Standard, Vance took a 2000 Dodge Stratus from the parking lot of Yorozu. After the vehicle turned up missing, authorities were notified.

A Sheriff's Department Investigator viewed a surveillance tape from the factory and saw the car leaving the parking lot. A security guard told the investigator that she had seen Vance looking into vehicles on the lot prior to the theft. When she approached , Vance told her that he was waiting for a ride. Later, she saw the car leaving the parking area.

Upon being questioned about the theft, Vance denied it, but then confessed after being told about the surveillance video and the security guard's account of what happened.

Vance claimed to have sold the car to someone in White County for $250. He said he was desperate for money because of his hydrocodone addiction.

Family Dollar to Close Smithville Store

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Family Dollar in Smithville to Close by end of June

The Family Dollar Store in Smithville will be closing next month.

The local store, which has been in operation since 1986, will be among 370 underperforming Family Dollar stores across the country that will be closing as the company looks for ways to improve its financial performance. Prices are being reduced on about 1,000 basic items.

According to reports, the company reported a drop in second-quarter earnings and also revised their outlook for the year. The closings will affect 4.6 percent of the company's 8,100 locations in 46 states and will generate as much as $45 million in savings, beginning in the third quarter.

The Matthews, North Carolina based retail chain will look to reduce corporate overhead and slow the pace of new store openings. The company will open 350 to 400 new stores in fiscal 2015, down from about 525 new stores in fiscal 2014.

According to a store employee, the Smithville Family Dollar is expected to close by the last week in June.

County Firefighters Snuff Out Sunday Fire

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smoking coming from home of Tony Davis (Photo by Kim Johnson)
Firefighters Snuff Out Sunday Fire at Home of Tony Davis

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters put out a small fire Sunday at the residence of Tony Davis at 3770 Seven Springs Road.

David Agee, Assistant County Fire Chief, told WJLE that Davis discovered the fire in a master bedroom after returning home from church. "After he and his wife came home from church, they went in the house to get the dogs to go walking when they heard a smoke detector start beeping. At first Davis did not see or smell smoke and thought a weak battery might have caused the smoke alarm to start beeping. After taking down the smoke detector, he and his wife went outside to walk the dogs and when they returned some fifteen to twenty minutes later they discovered smoke in the home. Davis found the small fire coming from the bedroom and initially tried to put it out himself," said Agee. Central dispatch was then notified and county firefighters got enroute. They were able to contain the small blaze to the bedroom but smoke spread to other parts of the house. The cause of the fire is undetermined. No one was injured

Members of the County Fire Department's Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs Stations responded along with Tanker 1, and the equipment truck.

Voters Head Back to the Polls in August (Early Voting in July)

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page

Voters will head back to the polls on Thursday, August 7th for the DeKalb County General Election, the Smithville and Dowelltown Municipal Elections, and the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries.

Locally, voters will be electing a Sheriff, Road Supervisor, General Sessions Judge, County Mayor, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, and Trustee along with all fourteen county commissioners, five school board members, and three persons to fill vacant constable positions.

In the 13th Judicial District, voters will elect five judges, a District Attorney General, and a District Public Defender.

Across the state, Democrats and Republicans will be choosing party nominees for Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative (Congressman), State Senate, and State Representative, along with State Executive Committeemen and women. Primary winners will face off in the November Tennessee General Election.

Voters in August also will be asked whether or not to retain several state judges

Early Voting will be July 18 through August 2 at the courthouse.

Offices to be on the ballot and the candidates running for those positions in no particular order are as follows:

County Mayor: Chris Bratcher, II (Independent), Chris Smithson (Republican), and Tim Stribling (Democrat)

Sheriff: Larry Flair (Democrat) and Patrick Ray (Republican)

General Sessions Judge: Mingy Colwell Bryant (Republican) and Bratten Hale (Butch) Cook, II (Democrat)

Road Supervisor: Wallace (Butch) Agee (Republican) and James D. (Jimmy) Sprague (Democrat)

County Clerk: James L. (Jimmy) Poss (Democrat)

Circuit Court Clerk: Katherine Pack (Democrat)

Register of Deeds: Jeff McMillen (Democrat)

Trustee: Sean Driver (Republican)

County Commission (Two to be Elected)
First District: Bennett Armstrong (Democrat), Mason Carter (Republican), and Elmer Ellis, Jr. (Democrat).

Second District: Joe N. Johnson (Democrat), Bobby Joines (Republican), James "Jimmy" E. Midgett (Independent) and Clarence Trapp (Democrat)

Third District: Jack Barton (Democrat), Bradley Hendrix (Democrat), and Wesley Nokes (Independent)

Fourth District: Wayne Cantrell (Democrat) and Jonathan Norris (Democrat)

Fifth District: Jerry Adcock (Republican), Rick Cantrell (Democrat), and Anita Puckett (Democrat)

Sixth District: Betty Jean Atnip (Democrat), Jeff Barnes (Democrat), and Danny McGinnis (Independent)

Seventh District: Kevin Robinson (Democrat) and Larry Summers (Democrat)

First District: Chad Curtis (Democrat) and Lee Plummer (Republican)

Second District: Tony D. Lawson (Independent), Jonathan Low (Independent), and Chris Tramel (Republican)

Third District: Travis Bryant (Independent) and Lou Ann Sanders (Independent)

Board of Education (Non-Partisan)
First District: Matt Boss and Danny Parkerson

Second District: Jerry Wayne Johnson and Charles Robinson

Third District: Jim Beshearse, Kenny Rhody, and Jonathan Willoughby

Fourth District: Billy Miller

Seventh District: Brandon Cox, Johnny Lattimore, and Emitt Shaun Tubbs

13th Judicial District:
Criminal Court Judge, Part I: Gary McKenzie (Republican) and William Fred Roberson, Jr. (Democrat)

Criminal Court Judge, Part II: David A. Patterson(Republican)

Circuit Court Judge, Part I: Amy Hollars (Democrat)

Circuit Court Judge, Part II: Randall A. York (Democrat) and Jonathan Young (Republican)

Chancellor: J. Lee Burgess (Republican) and Ronald Thurman (Democrat)

District Attorney General: Tony Craighead (Democrat) and Bryant Dunaway (Republican)

District Public Defender: David N. Brady (Democrat) and Craig Fickling (Republican)

Smithville Municipal Election:
Mayor: Wallace Caldwell and Jimmy W. Poss
Alderman: Gayla Hendrix and Jason Murphy (Two to be Elected)

Dowelltown Municipal Election:
Alderman: Brad Driver, Keith Farler, and Ronald Griffith (Three to be Elected)

2014 Judicial Retention Questions (Should the following judges be retained "yes" or "no"?)
Cornelia A. (Connie) Clark: Supreme Court At Large
Sharon Gail Lee: Supreme Court At Large
Gary R. Wade: Supreme Court At Large
Thomas "Skip" Frierson: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
John W. McClarty: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Charles Susano: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Michael Swiney: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Andy D. Bennett: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Frank Clement: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Richard Dinkins: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Neal McBrayer: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Holly Kirby: Court of Appeals Western Division
Steve Stafford: Court of Appeals Western Division
Norma McGee Ogle: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
James C. Witt, Jr.: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
Jeffrey S. Bivins: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Robert W. Wedemeyer: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Thomas T. Woodall: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Alan Glenn: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
Camille R. McMullen: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
Roger A. Page: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
John Everett Williams: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division

All three of DeKalb County's representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly will face a challenge for re-election this year.

Clark Boyd of Lebanon will try to unseat State Senator Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet in the August 7th Tennessee Republican Primary in the 17th District. The winner will be unopposed in November.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster will be unopposed in the August Tennessee Republican Primary in the 40th District but she will face Sarah Marie Smith of Carthage in the November Tennessee General Election. Smith is unopposed in the August Tennessee Democratic Primary.

Smith challenged Representative Weaver in the November General Election two years ago.

Meanwhile, Candace Reed of Lebanon will be looking to defeat Republican State Representative Mark Pody of Lebanon in the November General Election in the 46th District. Neither Reed nor Representative Pody face a primary challenge in August.

Other candidates in the August Tennessee Primaries:

Republican State Executive Committeeman-District 17: Albert McCall of Lebanon and Dwayne Craighead of Celina.

Republican State Executive Committeewoman-District 17: Jennifer Winfree of Lancaster, Yvonne G. Hunter of Lebanon, and Pat Fields of Old Hickory.

Democratic State Executive Committee Woman-District 17: Rachel Givens of Lebanon

Democratic State Executive Committee Man-District 17: Aubrey Givens of Lebanon and Bob Black of Lebanon

U.S. House of Representatives (6th District):
Republicans: Diane Black of Gallatin and Jerry Lowery of Sparta

Democrat: Amos Scott Powers of Doyle


Republicans: Bill Haslam of Knoxville, Donald Ray McFolin of Nashville, Mark Coonrippy Brown of Gallatin, and Basil Marceaux, Sr. of Soddy Daisy.

Democrats: Charles V. "Charlie" Brown of Oakdale, Kennedy Spellman Johnson of Murfreesboro, Ron Noonan of Sparta, and William H. "John" McKamey of Piney Flats.

U.S. Senator:
Republicans: Lamar Alexander of Walland, John D. King of Knoxville, Joe Carr of Lascassas, George Shea Flinn of Memphis, Fred R. Anderson of Maryville, Erin Kent Magee of Knoxville, Christian Agnew of Mt. Juliet, and Brenda S. Lenard of Sweetwater.

Democrats: Gary Gene Davis of Nashville, Gordon Ball of Knoxville, Larry Crim of Antioch, and Terry Adams of Knoxville.

Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

The Smithville Elementary School's Community Field Trip was held recently on the Smithville Public Square.

Eleven classes with over 200 students visited the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Justin Potter Library, Smithville Fire Hall, and the DeKalb County Courthouse including offices of the County Mayor, Election Commission, Circuit Court Clerk, General Sessions Courtroom, and the Chamber of Commerce. County Mayor Mike Foster handed out "Go Green" backpacks sponsored by the TDOT Litter Grant and spoke to the children about the importance of not littering.

The DeKalb County Clean Up Day will be held on Saturday, May 24th. To sign-up, stop by the County Complex on May 24th from 9 AM to 10 AM to pick up trash bags, rubber gloves, and water. Everyone is encouraged to participate. For more info, call the Chamber at 597-4163.


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