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Alexandria Man Charged with Stealing Batteries from Same Location Three Times

August 15, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Shane Nerod Miller
Terry Rayborn Collins
Monty Lee Slatten, Jr
Sarah Rachelle Bumbalough

A 29 year old Alexandria man has been arrested for allegedly stealing batteries from the same residence on three different occasions and selling them at a local recycling center.

Shane Nerod Miller of Lower Helton Road is charged with three counts of theft of property under $500. His bond totals $3,000 and he will be in court on October 13.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Miller went to the same residence on Hales Lane on three different occasions, August 2, 4, and 8 and allegedly stole several batteries valued at less than $500 on each trip. Miller then allegedly took the batteries to a local recycling center where he sold them. The total weight of the batteries taken to the recycling center were 816 pounds on the first trip, 503 pounds on the second visit, and 405 pounds on the last occasion. Miller was arrested after an investigation by a Sheriff's Department detective assigned to the case.

Meanwhile, in a separate investigation, 29 year old Terry Rayborn Collins is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on August 18.

According to Sheriff Ray, Collins allegedly took a 1990 Dodge pickup valued at over $1,000 from a location on Holmes Creek Road and sold it to a local recycling center. He was arrested on Monday, August 8 after an investigation by a Sheriff's Department detective assigned to the case.

24 year old Monty Lee Slatten, Jr. and 22 year old Sarah Rachelle Bumbalough are each charged with vandalism under $500 and burglary. Bumbalough's bond is $6,000 while bond for Slatten totals $12,500 and they will be in court on August 18.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, August 8 Slatten and Bumbalough allegedly entered a vehicle in the Sligo parking lot on Highway 70 east, took a cd player out of the dashboard, and dropped it causing less than $500 in damage to the cd player. They were arrested after an investigation by a Sheriff's department detective assigned to the case.

49 year old Lisa Gail Caldwell was charged with driving on a revoked license on Tuesday, August 9. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court October 5.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, August 9, Caldwell was stopped by a deputy who had prior knowledge that her drivers license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that her license were revoked for failure to satisfy insurance after an accident on June 7, 2010 in Warren County. She already had a pending citation for driving on a revoked license on July 20, 2011.

Five days later, on Sunday August 14, Caldwell was stopped by an officer on Dry Creek Road for failure to maintain proper lane of travel. She was again charged with driving on a revoked license and issued a citation for failure to maintain lane of travel and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). Her bond in that case is $5,000 and she will be in court on August 25.

50 year old Tammy Elizabeth Burton is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on August 25.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, August 10, a deputy responded to a domestic argument on Eagle Creek Road. While there, Burton came up to the officer. She had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. Burton was arrested for her own safety.

28 year old Tommy Lynn Parsley of Mount Juliet is charged with a sixth offense of driving on a suspended license, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest by a motor vehicle. His bond totals $15,000 and he will be in court on August 18.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, August 6, a deputy was behind a vehicle on Highway 56 north traveling south when he noticed the right tail light out. The officer initiated a traffic stop after crossing Hurricane bridge. The vehicle in front of the officer slowed down and started to pull over but then began to speed up, refusing to stop. The deputy activated his emergency lights and sirens and began a pursuit with speeds exceeding 75 miles an hour. After traveling some six to seven miles, the officer terminated the pursuit due to public safety. Upon further investigation, it was learned that Parsley was the driver of the fleeing vehicle.

In addition to evading arrest, Parsley was charged with reckless endangerment because his actions placed the public in danger of serious bodily injury due his high rates of speed and meeting on-coming traffic on the roadway.

A computer check of his license later confirmed that they were suspended for failure to satisfy citations in Wilson County.

Four days later on August 10 at around 5:00 a.m., an officer was called to check out a suspicious person on Lonnie Cantrell Road. When the man, Parsley, saw the officer he started running. The deputy ordered him several times to halt but he never slowed down. He was later arrested.

Parsley was charged with evading arrest in that incident and his bond was set at $2,500. Other charges are pending against him.

51 year old Glenis Vickers Brown of Crossville is charged with driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was further issued a citation for failure to maintain proper lane of travel. Her bond totals $3,000 and she will be in court on August 18.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, August 12 Brown was stopped on Highway 70 for failing to drive in her lane of travel. Her speech was very rapid and she was unsteady on her feet. Brown submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. During the investigation, Brown gave the officer consent to search and he found four hypodermic needles, a spoon with a powdery residue, half pill, and a tourniquet.

20 year old Travis Arron Joiner of Lebanon is charged with evading arrest and issued citations for failing to maintain proper lane of travel, underage consumption, and driving on a suspended license. His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court on August 25. A 17 year old juvenile was also arrested in the case.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, August 14. Joiner was stopped at a residence on New Home Road for failing to maintain proper lane of travel and speeding. The officer told the driver to stay in the vehicle while he chased down a passenger who had fled. When the officer returned to the vehicle, Joiner was not there. The officer knocked on the door of the residence where the vehicle was parked but no one answered. A couple of hours later, the officer returned to the home and found Joiner there. Joiner was taken into custody.

Two Local Bridge Projects Soon to be Completed

August 15, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bridge on Pea Ridge Road over Dry Creek
Bridge on Tramel Branch Road over Helton Creek

Work on bridge projects at Dry Creek and Tramel Branch Road will soon be completed.

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE Monday that "the Dry Creek Bridge is basically built. All the sub-structure. All of the deck has been built and the rebar is all in place. It's ready for the concrete and that should be poured one day this week," said Edge.

"The Tramel Branch Bridge is already complete, except for the guardrails on the ends and some minor work. Some of them (motorists) have been moving the (Road Closed) sign and crossing it (the bridge). But really, it hasn't been completed and opened to the public yet," said Edge

"None of the roads (at either location) are blocked. Really everybody can get through there," concluded Edge

In February, the Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded a bid to Mountain States Contractors, LLC of Mount Juliet in the amount of $505,991 to build a new concrete box beam bridge on Tramel Branch Road over Helton Creek near Alexandria. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving.

TDOT also awarded a bid to Roads, LLC of Brentwood in the amount of $623, 963 to build a concrete I-Beam bridge on Pea Ridge Road over Dry Creek. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving. Once the new bridge is completed at Dry Creek, the old one next to it will be removed.

Both projects are being funded with 80% federal funds and 20% local matching money, including 14% from the DeKalb County Highway Department budget (state aid) and 6% from the county general fund.

Nashville Woman Dies from Injuries in Saturday Morning Car Crash

August 13, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Scene of Fatal Traffic Accident (Photo by Callie Matthews)
Nashville Woman Dies After Car Crashes into Pole on Highway 70 East
Tow trucks used to stabilize car during extrication and investigation
Another view of car after extrication and investigation

An elderly Nashville woman died from injuries in a one car crash Saturday morning on Highway 70 east near the Gentleman's Club location.

Dead is 75 year old Gale Link of Nashville.

Link was a passenger of a 1997 Mazda Miata convertible, driven by 56 year old Eddie Doss also of Nashville. The top was down on the car at the time of the crash.

Central dispatch received the call at 10:31 a.m.

Sergeant Mark Dial of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Doss was traveling east on Highway 70 and lost control while negotiating a curve. The car skidded off the north side of the highway and rolled over crashing top first into a utility pole. Morning rains had made the pavement wet which could have contributed to the crash.

In addition to DeKalb EMS, members of the Midway, Short Mountain Highway, and the Extrication and Rescue Team of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to the scene along with wrecker services from DeKalb Tire and Service, JR Motors, and Tim's Truck Service and Towing. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was also on the scene to help with traffic control.

Doss did not have to be extricated from the vehicle but Link was pinned in between the car and the pole. Tow trucks from all three local wrecker services were used to stabilize the car and then to pull it away from the pole so members of the extrication team could get to her. Link was removed from the car and taken by DeKalb EMS to the Midway fire station where a Life Force helicopter ambulance had landed to pick her up. However because her injuries were so serious, Link was instead taken on to DeKalb Community Hospital by ground ambulance. After being stabilized, Link was then airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital, where she later died. Doss was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS but he wasn't believed to have been seriously hurt.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department wish to thank DeKalb Tire and Service, JR Motors, and Tim's Truck Service and Towing for their valuable assistance in the extrication of Ms Link from the car.

Although the investigation continues, Sergeant Dial reports no evidence of drugs or alcohol. Link's death marks the second traffic fatality of the year on DeKalb County roads.

School Board Adopts Consolidated Budget

August 11, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted the 2011-12 consolidated budget for schools as approved by the county commission Monday night.

The budget includes a 3.2% pay raise for support staff or non-certified personnel and a 1.6% local increase to match the state's 1.6% pay hike for certified personnel (teachers).

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby asked for the school board's input on which new positions should be funded in this budget.

The board voted in favor of funding three assistant principals, including one each at DeKalb West, Northside Elementary, and Smithville Elementary School; a new fifth grade teaching position at Northside Elementary School; a special education teacher at DCHS; and a support staff site coordinator at DCHS.

Proposed new positions which will not be funded for now include an additional math teacher at DeKalb County High School, an assistant band teacher, and assistant soccer coaches.

Director Willoughby explained that these new positions would have to be funded from the school system's state basic education (BEP) reserve account, " When we approve this consolidated budget we will be doing basically the same thing that we have done in the past. Last year we used $640,000 of our BEP reserve funds (to balance the budget). We ended the year $780,000 (to the good). This year, if we did employ everyone we had on the list that we sent to the county commission on the second go around (revised budget), we would be using $990,521 out of BEP reserves. It is our hope that we do not use all of our reserves," said Willoughby

The board voted to authorize funding for the three assistant principal positions, one each at DeKalb West, Smithville Elementary, and at Northside Elementary, on a ten month, two week contract each. The new assistant principals will help perform teacher evaluations, as required by the state. A total of $225,000 is figured into the budget to fund those positions which Director Willoughby said are needed. " It is my thoughts that we cannot complete the requirements that are made on us by the state department of education without having these three assistant principals. These assistant principals will be at DeKalb West, Smithville Elementary, and Northside Elementary. One person has expressed an interest, who is already an assistant principal at one of our secondary schools, of applying at one of our elementary schools. So if that goes through, that may be sort of a flip flop and we would be filling that secondary position. It wouldn't be any more money. We're still just talking about three new positions at $225,000. What we did to come up with that $225,000 figure, we took the assistant principals that we have. We took the highest paid assistant principal and the number of years that this person has and multiplied that times three. We're going to save some money though because more than likely when we hire a teacher to be an assistant principal, the person that we're hiring will not be getting paid to teach. What I want to do with the three assistant principals, all of our present assistant principals are paid on eleven months. Our new assistant principals would be at ten months and two weeks. So therefore, we would be saving two weeks pay there also, " said Willoughby.

Fifth district board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III added that based on the state requirements increasing the number of teacher evaluations each year, the school system has little choice but to add these new assistant principal positions. "In regards to the budget, my major concern is, when it comes to a point where the state hands down a mandate that the county commission has to add another cell to the landfill, they have to do it. When the state tells the board of education that we have three buses we have to retire and put three new buses on the road, we have to do it. The unfortunate part about these assistant principals is, the state says we have to go from evaluating teachers two times in ten years to four times each year which is forty times in ten years, unless you're tenured and then its six times a year in five years so you're going to be evaluated thirty times. The state has said we have to do this but the state didn't say we have to hire assistant principals. They just want us to get the job done. They lay out these guidelines and then drop the ball in our lap. For those reasons, I would like for the board to consider looking into our reserve account to fund these positions. If it comes about next year, that they're (state) not going to fund it and we can't afford to fund it, the county commission can't afford to look into it for us, then we may have to re-think the issue and back up. But we need those assistant principals," said Evins

Seventh district member Johnny Lattimore added " We're not trying to avert the county commission but this is something this board feels we must do because if we don't do the evaluations, we stand in danger of losing $13 million in funding from the state so we don't have any other option in my opinion," said Lattimore.

The school board voted unanimously to adopt the consolidated budget, as approved by the county commission, and to authorize funding from BEP reserves for the three new assistant principal positions. All members were present except for First district member John David Foutch.

Although third district member Kenny Rhody made a motion to add an assistant band teacher position, the motion failed to receive a second as the board has chosen not to provide the monies right now. The board, however, is expected to revisit the issue again next month.

Board member Lattimore said although all new positions sought by the board of education in this budget are needed, including a new assistant band teacher, he fears the school board cannot to afford to fund them all this year. "There's no way that I can see that we can fund all these things. If we fund everything that we've discussed in the workshop before this meeting and then next year we have to go back to the county commission and ask them to pay for these three assistant principal positions, and then we have to go back (to county commission) and ask for $667,000 to replace the job's grant funds (which will not be available next year), and then ask (county commission) for whatever other needs that arise, then that's going to be a big tax increase," said Lattimore.

Rhody responded "I was a band student. I've watched the band. There's twenty six new members this year. The numbers are up. There's no band program at the west school. I feel like we've got to get our younger students a feeder program built back that we've lost. We dropped the ball a few years ago when we (cut funding) for an assistant band director we had. Our band really suffered on account of it. The band got down to twenty members. I feel this is very important," said Rhody.

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley inquired about whether adding a part-time assistant band position is an option. Director Willoughby said he had not considered it. Board members suggested that a part-time position might not have to be a new hire, but a supplement for someone already in the school system.

The board voted 5 to 1 to authorize $24,000 in funding for a site coordinator who will be employed on a 200 day contract. Board member Lattimore said he wanted to vote yes but he cast a no vote based on funding concerns next year. Director Willoughby said by adding this new position, the school system will be saving money in the long run. "We have had an increase in the number of students wanting to take the on-line, distance learning, dual credit type courses and the number of courses that are offered has also increased. This, in a way, is saving us money rather than hiring teachers to teach these extra courses. For the program to be as successful as it needs to be, we need a site coordinator who could be there with the students and monitor what is going on and make phone calls at home if needed," said Willoughby

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby said a new teaching position at Northside Elementary school has already been filled based on the need due to the state mandated pupil/teacher ratio. "Numbers (of students) came in and we did not have a choice. I might add if we get very many more students at DeKalb West, the numbers will force us to hire another teacher there," he said.

Willougby added that the new special education teacher at the high school has also been hired. That too, he said, was not an option for the school system based on state and federal law requirements for meeting needs of special education students.

Fourth district member Billy Miller asked that the issue of funding assistant soccer coaches be re-visited possibly at the next meeting. "I don't think right now is the time, but I do think we need to look into it to see what we can do to resolve the situation. I've had several individuals to come to me personally and want us to look into this and see if there is any kind of way to get them (soccer program) some help or relief. There may not be anything that we can do but I don't think we should turn a deaf ear and act like we're not doing anything about it," said Miller.

Attendance Supervisor Clay Farler gave a report on student enrollment as of the eighth day of school, Thursday August 11. Farler said a total of 3,062 students are currently enrolled system-wide from pre-K to high school students including the adult high school. That's up from 2,994 students enrolled as of the eighth day of school last year. Current student enrollment at each school is as follows: DCHS 850, DeKalb Middle School 535, Northside Elementary 623, Smithville Elementary 605, and DeKalb West 449.

In other business, Director of Schools Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the Board of Education.

Those employed since last month include the following:

Carl Ray Cantrell, custodian at Smithville Elementary School
January Agee, teacher at Northside Elementary School (new)
Jamie Trebing, teacher at DCHS (replaces Michelle Fontanez)
Sherree Macemon, teacher at DCHS (new special education teacher)
Nallely Ortega-Prater, teacher at DCHS (replaces Brittany Willoughby)
Jennifer Lewis, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Northside Elementary (federal funds)
Lindsey Barrett, teacher at Smithville Elementary School (replaces Jane Parsley)
Amanda Vaughn, teacher at Smithville Elementary School (replaces Fay Turner)
Joshua Gulley, teacher at DCHS (replaces Rebecca Purdue)
Jared West, teacher at DeKalb Middle School (replaces Ben Johnson in special education)
Justin Nokes, teacher at DeKalb Middle School (replaces Lisa Cripps)

Transfers:
Rebecca Hawkins, transferred from substitute to full time bus assistant
Lisa Cripps, transferred from teacher at DeKalb Middle School to Secondary Instructional Supervisor

Leave of Absence
Margaret Nichols, teacher at Smithville Elementary School, leave as requested

Resignations:
Heather Blankenship, special education assistant at Northside Elementary
Jean Neal, bus assistant
Michelle Hoyle, Pre-K educational assistant at Smithville Elementary
Frederick Sanders, special education teacher at DCHS
Clay Bumbalough, custodian at Smithville Elementary School.

Teen Challenge of Upper Cumberland Offers Hope to Those Suffering from Addiction

August 11, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tim McLauchlin

If you know of a teenager or adult battling drug or alcohol addiction, Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland could be the answer for that person.

Teen Challenge is a 12 to 15 month faith-based program which helps those with addictions by ministering to them.

In order to help support the program, the Buckner's Chapel United Methodist Church in Smithville is hosting a benefit yard sale on Saturday, August 13 from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and you're invited to participate.

Tim McLauchlin, Executive Director of Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, said Teen Challenge has been helping change lives since 1958. "Teen Challenge is a fifty four year old ministry. It was started by David Wilkerson in Brooklyn New York in 1958 to help those who were struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. After about five or six years, they realized that if this program has this much success with teenagers then why can't it help adults? So now there are over 230 Teen Challenge Centers in the United States. Most of those centers also help adults and that's what we do. We help adults in the Upper Cumberland area who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. We are a long term faith based program that ministers to these individuals and helps them to learn to live a life free from drugs and alcohol and a life that is pleasing to God," said McLauchlin.

"We get a lot of people who come to us right off the street who have heard about us. They want help. They understand that its only through Christ that they can get true deliverance. We also get a lot of referrals through the courts and legal system. I visit a lot of individuals in jail who have written us letters saying they need long term help from more than just a thirty or sixty day program", according to McLauchlin.

"Teen Challenge is a discipleship program. It's a ministry. It's not outpatient. It's long term residential. Most Teen Challenge programs are twelve to fifteen months long. The people actually live there and go through a Bible school process where they learn to transform their minds to the things of God instead of the things of this world", said McLauchlin

"Teen Challenge is not a medication treatment program. For those who are looking for medication to get off medication, Teen Challenge is not for them. Teen Challenge is strictly faith based. We teach them that if you will rely on God and trust in him, He will deliver you from your addictions. As a former addict myself several years ago, there were several ways I tried to get off (substances) but it was only through Christ that I truly got deliverance," he added.

"Teen Challenge has an 87% success rate for those who are willing to commit to it. A lot of the courts work with us. They can order people to go to Teen Challenge but really you have to be willing to do it for twelve to fifteen months and if you do, 87% of those who go through the program never go back to a life of drugs and alcohol," said McLauchlin

"You live at the Teen Challenge program. They take care of your food and your clothing. Your whole day is filled with Bible studies and chapel worship time. There are chores you have to do during the day but your whole time is filled with studying the word in some form or fashion," he said.

"Because it is a faith based program, insurance companies will not cover it so we do try to get grants but most people do have to pay for it. But if you look at some of the standard programs out there, they run from $8,000 to $15,000 for a 90 to a 120 day program. Most Teen Challenge Centers can help people for less than $1,500 for a full twelve month program," according to McLauchlin.

"We have a lot of churches that support us monthly. We also do a lot of fund raising. This Saturday, August 13 we're going to be having a fund raiser yard sale at the Buckner's Chapel United Methodist Church on Highway 56 in Smithville from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and all proceeds from this yard sale will go directly to helping us fund the Teen Challenge Program in this area," said Mclauchlin.

If you have any questions about Teen Challenge you can find us on the web at www.teenchallengeuc.org or you can call toll free at 1-888-688-0470.

Former Employee of Potters Home Center Charged with Forgery and Theft

August 10, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jason Brian Jones
Kimberly Patterson
Wanda Carol Mathis

A former store employee of Potters Home Center on East Broad Street has been charged with forgery and felony theft over $1,000 in a scheme to allegedly steal money from the business by taking advantage of the store's policy on returning merchandise.

32 year old Jason Brian Jones is under a $20,000 bond and he will be in court on August 18.

According to Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, on several occasions from June 7th through July 30th, Jones allegedly forged the names of people on return slips, then made out a check from the store for the returns to the names on those slips. He then allegedly forged their names on the backs of those checks, cashed them in-store, and kept the money. The total amount of money taken in the scheme amounts to several thousands of dollars. All of the return slips were bogus, meaning that no merchandise from anyone named on the slips was actually brought to the store for a return.

During the investigation, Police questioned Jones who allegedly confessed to the crimes. He is also no longer an employee of the store. Chief Caplinger said the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, the Smithville Police Department has arrested two local women on drug charges after they allegedly sold dilaudid to a confidential source in a recent controlled drug buy operation.

Chief Caplinger said 43 year old Kimberly Patterson and 39 year old Wanda Carol Mathis are each charged with one count of unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery. The women allegedly made the sale from the car they were in at the time. .
Patterson and Mathis were not immediately arrested after making the sale but instead were taken into custody on another day, Monday August 8 after police pulled over their vehicle at the BP convenience market on West Broad Street. Police also seized the car.

Bond for each is $25,000 and they will appear in court August 18.

Two people were picked up by the police department on Sunday, August 7 after being found with drugs in their vehicle in the parking lot of a local business.

Chief Caplinger said 31 year old Russell Shannon Estes is charged with public intoxication and simple possession of a schedule II, IV, and VI controlled substance. He was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond totals $7,000. 36 year old Lisa Marie Arnold was issued citations for simple possession of a schedule II, IV, and VI controlled substance. Both Estes and Arnold will appear in court on August 18.

According to Chief Caplinger, police were notified that two people had been seen in their automobile parked at Neo's restaurant on West Broad Street. He said it appeared as though they were snorting drugs. Police arrived and saw Estes and Arnold in the vehicle preparing to roll a green leafy substance, believed to be marijuana, into a cigarette. They were also found in possession of a container with twenty six pills, believed to be percocet, two pills thought to be hydrocodone, and twelve pills suspected to be xanax. A white powdery substance could be seen on the car seat. Estes was charged with public intoxication after he was found to be unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. A citation was issued against him for possession of drug paraphernalia after police found a pill organizer, pill bottle, metal container, and a straw.

24 year old Serena Lattimore of 114 Juniper Lane has been charged with child neglect after police found her seven year old daughter walking alone down the street near DeKalb Community Bank on Friday, August 5th.

A passerby spotted the child and called police. The youngster told the officer that she was walking to school after she found her mother asleep at home and could not wake her. The Department of Children Services was notified and began an investigation. Lattimore's bond is $3,500.

43 year old David Dixon was picked up for violation of probation on Wednesday, August 10. During a search incident to his arrest, police found a pill on him. He was charged with simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on August 25.

27 year old Roxanna Landis was arrested recently after being found slumped over while sitting on the sidewalk in front of Rite Aid Pharmacy on South Congress Boulevard. Police were called and found that Landis had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Landis allegedly told police that she had taken hydrocodone. A syringe was found in her wallet. Landis was charged with public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $3,500.

22 year old Thomas Owens was cited for theft on August 4 after a shoplifting incident at Walmart. He is accused of trying to steal $112 worth of merchandise from the store. He will be in court on August 18.

29 year old David Hollingsworth has been charged with domestic assault. Police were recently called to a residence on Dearman Street to check out a domestic complaint in which a man and his wife were arguing. Police found signs of an assault on the woman's left arm and determined that Hollingsworth was the aggressor. His bond is $3,500.

THP Names First Female Major

August 10, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Major Betty Blair
Captain Vic Donoho

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott on Wednesday announced the appointment of the first female Major of the Highway Patrol. This is the highest rank held by a woman in the history of the Highway Patrol.

Betty Blair, who has served as Captain over the Inspectional Services Bureau (formerly the Office of Professional Responsibility) has been named Major and will be assigned as the Executive Officer to the Colonel. Major Blair has been part of the Inspectional Services Bureau (ISB) since 1999, first as a trooper assigned to the Accreditation Team. She rose through the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant of the Staff Inspection and Accreditation Team, becoming Captain over the entire ISB in 2009. Blair started her career with the THP 1994 as a Road Trooper assigned to the Cookeville District. Prior to her service in the THP, Blair worked for the Department from 1983-1993 as a Driver License Examiner, Training Coordinator, and Issuance Manager. Blair is a graduate of the Northwestern Police Staff and Command School and was nominated by her classmates and instructors to receive the Kremel Leadership Award. She completed the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation and Advanced Reid Technique Interviewing and Interrogation courses.

“Betty Blair has been instrumental in the THP’s accreditation process. She has helped us raise the bar as a law enforcement agency, and I am proud to promote her to Major,” Col. Trott said. “With her administrative knowledge and experience, I know Major Blair will further be an asset to me and the entire command staff,” he added.

Commissioner Gibbons and Colonel Trott also announced the appointment of Captain Vic Donoho to the Inspectional Services Bureau, a position he previously held from 2007-2009 before being named Captain of the THP’s Nashville District headquarters. Donoho has held various other positions throughout his career as a state trooper, including a year in Washington, DC, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He also served as Administrative Lieutenant in the Cookeville District, a Road Lieutenant in Robertson, Davidson, Macon, Trousdale, Smith, and DeKalb Counties, and as a Lieutenant in the Planning and Research Division. Donoho spent four years assigned to Executive Security Detail at the Governor’s Residence, where he was promoted to Sergeant. Donoho began his career with the THP in 1989 as Road Trooper in Van Buren and White Counties. He is a graduate of the NHTSA Officer Leadership program, a graduate of the Northwestern Police School Staff and Command and attended Volunteer State Community College. Donoho also completed 40 hours of Internal Affairs training conducted by the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), and the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation and Advanced Reid Technique Interviewing and Interrogation courses.

“Leading the Inspectional Services Bureau is one of our most important assignments. With the promotion of Major Blair, I believe Captain Donoho’s leadership and investigative skills are needed to fill this vacancy and maintain the level of professionalism the Department has earned over the past several years,” said Commissioner Gibbons.

Voters Need to Update Information at Election Office

August 10, 2011

Over 2,000 voters will have to fill out a special form in order to vote next year if they do not make contact with the election commission office in advance of election day.

Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, said his office recently completed the state-mandated Address Confirmation Program and over 2,000 voters were mailed letters asking them to confirm or update
their residential and mailing addresses. "If a voter has not voted since November 4, 2008 or had any kind of
contact with the election office, they were mailed the letter asking for address confirmation or an update of their address," Stanley said. "Contact" means voting or filing a duplicate voter registration form, or notifying the election commission of an address, or name change.

Voters were provided with a form and a postage-paid envelope to send back a confirmation or change of address to the election commission "Once they were sent the letter, their voting status was changed to inactive, meaning unless they return the form provided or make other kinds of contact with the election office before they wish to vote again, they
will have to fill out a 'Fail-Safe' form on election day," Stanley said. "That will result in a delay at the polls and could even mean the voter will be sent to another voting precinct, depending on where they now live. It will be much more convenient for the voter to return the Address Confirmation letter mailed recently than to go through a possible inconvenience on election day," he added.

Nearly 200 voters have taken the time to return the letters with either a confirmation or address change, Stanley said.
"The real concern is that over 600 (or about 25%) of the letters have been returned by the Post Office with insufficient addresses or with a notation the voter moved and either did not leave a forwarding address or the forwarding time has expired," he continued. "All voters really need to let us know if they have moved and give us their current address or they could experience some delay and inconvenience when going to vote next year."

If you think you have moved from the address used for your voter registration or changed the mailing address given to the election commission, please call us as soon as possible and we'll check it out," Stanley said.

The Election Commission office can be reached by calling 597-4146. You can mail them at P.O. Box 543 Smithville, TN 37166.

DeKalb County Fire Department Receives Elite Award for 2010-11 Training Efforts

August 9, 2011
Roy Merriman and James Pennington

For the third consecutive year, DeKalb County Fire Department has been recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for outstanding training achievement.

Last year, the department was awarded the Gold Level Award and was the #1 volunteer fire department in Tennessee for training hours. This year, the department logged 1,393 training hours and was recognized as a Silver Level fire department in Tennessee for its 2010-11 training efforts. Additionally, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranks #33 overall considering all 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both paid and volunteer.

DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster commended the department’s members and leaders for making DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s training program such a huge success. “It is amazing to see the level of commitment that we are getting from our volunteer firefighters who work hard and train hard to make sure our citizens have good fire protection here in DeKalb County. These rankings make it very clear that we have an excellent group of men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes to be ready to respond to the emergency needs of our citizens,” says Mayor Foster.

Chief Donny Green says he wants to personally commend Assistant Chief/Training Coordinator Roy Merriman and Lieutenant/Training Officer James Pennington for their determination in making our training program one of the best. “Properly trained firefighters are the best tools a fire department has. Without training, good equipment is useless,” says Chief Green. The Department’s training was a core element in the recent Insurance Services Office (ISO) evaluation that resulted in a dramatic improvement to DeKalb County’s Public Protection Classification Rating of Class 6. This translates in significant savings to DeKalb County homeowners’ insurance premiums.

If you are interested in learning more about the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, or would like information on how to be on our team and become a volunteer firefighter, you can visit the Department’s website at: www.dekalbfire.com or call the Main Station at 615-597-2609 and leave a message. You can also visit the Department’s FaceBook group page.

County Commission Adopts New Budgets and Tax Increase, Rejects School Board Plan

August 8, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County property owners will have to ante up a little more when their tax bill comes due this fall.

The county commission Monday night, by a vote of 12-2, increased the overall property tax rate to $1.62 cents per $100 of assessed value, as recommended by the budget committee. That's almost a ten cent increase above the new certified tax rate of $1.5214 set by the state after reappraisal this year. A nickel of the tax hike will go to schools and the other five cents will be for the county general fund. County commissioners Jimmy Poss and Jerry Adcock voted against the ten cent tax increase.

Supporters, including a large group of educators, showed up during a public hearing prior to the special meeting to back the school board's request for a bigger tax hike for schools. Several members of the audience addressed the county mayor and commissioners asking them to do more for education. But their pleas failed to win over any support for the plan as the commission unanimously rejected the school board's proposal and instead adopted a plan put forth by the budget committee, which gives schools more money, but not as much as the board of education had sought.

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By a vote of 14 to 0, the county commission turned thumbs down on the school board's request for passage of a revised budget which County Mayor Mike Foster said included an 11.54 cent tax hike for schools and an additional $169,000 in funding from the sales tax/sinking fund. Four members of the commission, Marshall Ferrell, Bradley Hendrix, Jimmy Poss, and Jack Barton declared that while they had a conflict, they were representing their constituents and voting their conscience on the school budget. Ferrell, Hendrix, and Poss work for the school system and Barton's wife is a teacher. The school board wanted the extra money from the proposed tax increase to fund some new positions in the school system without having to dip deeper in reserve funds to pay for them..

Instead, the county commission voted 13-1 to adopt the consolidated budget, as recommended by the budget committee which includes an overall ten cent tax increase. Seventh district commissioner Jimmy Poss voted against it. The five cent increase for schools equates to about $210,000 which is expected to be enough to cover pay raises for school personnel.

Among those speaking in support of the school board's request for more money during the public hearing was Mandy Dakas, a teacher at Northside Elementary School. "As a teacher and mother, I definitely have a vested interest in the welfare of our school system. We are and have always been a county that cares about our children. But we only care as far as giving the minimum amount to get by. My whole life I have heard of how proud we are to have such low property taxes, but I can tell you that mentality has made the children and youth of our county suffer over and over again, decade after decade. I hear of statements such as, "I've never had a child in this school system. Why should I have to pay for it?". And all I can think is...You may have never needed the service of the fire department or police department, but your taxes pay those services. And I'll bet you will be praying that they are certified and know what they're doing if and when you need their service. The fact is...the education of our children will directly impact the future workforce and economy of DeKalb County," said Dakas

"So whether it's a property tax increase or a wheel tax or something else, we need to work together as a county and put education at the forefront of everything we do. There is no project more important! So please know that this is not a "we versus them" type of statement. Everyone knows that these are hard times for many people and that tough decisions have to be made. Just please understand that when there are state and federal mandates that require each local education agency to enforce certain teaching methods or observations, and we are not funded in such a way to meet those needs, then we are defeated before we even begin,' said Dakas

In addition to Dakas, others addressing the county commission and county mayor in support of schools during the public hearing were Lindy Jenkins, John Pryor, Beth Gill, Leah Ingram, Jordan Wilkins, David Graham, Danny Parkerson, Luke Willoughby, James Hale, George Sperry, and Jamie Cantrell. Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also made one last request for approval of the school board's revised budget.

Former sixth district county commissioner Danny McGinnis, who claimed he was speaking for the concerned taxpayers, said now is not the time to be raising taxes. "I'm here tonight for the concerned taxpayers of the county. Look at your town. Our town. How many businesses has left?. All your ideas (school board) are very good. But this is not the time for a tax raise. With people losing their homes, losing jobs, losing businesses, the county commission does not have the taxes coming in to give you all what you want. I'm speaking for the concerned taxpayers, the ones who are on a fixed income. When you raise their taxes, what are they going to do? They might lose their homes because they can't pay the taxes. Their social security is not going up. Look how many homes around DeKalb County are for sale. What's that the cause of? Economic slowdown," said McGinnis.

Under its revised budget plan, the school board had proposed to add a new fifth grade teaching position at Northside Elementary School (which will be funded); an additional math teacher at DeKalb County High School; an assistant band teacher; a support staff site coordinator at DCHS; a special education teacher at DCHS; and three new assistant principals (one at each DeKalb West, Northside Elementary, and Smithville Elementary School. The budget also sought to add local funding back to the general fund for three teaching positions and an educational assistant, which for the last two years have been paid for with federal stimulus or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds that have now been exhausted. Positions which were originally proposed but later dropped from the budget were a new physical education teacher at Northside Elementary School; an instructional coach; and two assistant soccer coaches.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE Monday night that even though the school board's proposed revised budget was rejected by the county commission, some of these positions may still be filled using reserve funds this year.

Under the consolidated budget adopted by the county commission, certified and non-certified school employees will get a pay raise. The spending plan includes a 3.2% increase for support staff or non-certified personnel and a 1.6% local increase to match the state's 1.6% pay hike for certified personnel (teachers).

Prior to the vote, Chuck Cagle of the Tennessee School Boards Association, who represents the DeKalb County Board of Education as legal counsel, asked the county commission to fully fund the school board's request. "We are now facing in education things that we've never had to face before and things about which we have very little control like the state diploma project which was adopted by the state board of education about two years ago but there was no state appropriation to go with it. The cost of that is significant. That proposal added a requirement for math and science and we now find ourselves trying to meet that requirement in order that the high school seniors in this county can meet the minimum graduation requirements of schools," said Cagle.

"Next I want to get to the evaluation system that's been adopted by the state. Every school principal in your district has just watched the evaluations that he or she must perform increase by ten times. Prior to this evaluation system we evaluated tenured teachers twice in ten years and we evaluated probationary teachers for the first three years until they were eligible for tenure. Now, every teacher in DeKalb County schools will be evaluated annually, tenured teachers four times a year and probationary teachers six times a year. There is absolutely no way to accomplish that with the current staff that you have. This proposal (school board budget) calls for the appointment of assistant principals and those folks are vital to accomplishing the rules and regulations along with the goals that the state has sent down in it's evaluation plan. It's not optional, you have to get it done," said Cagle

"The cost of fuel has gone up significantly and the cost of utilities and textbooks is going up as we speak. We're also faced with testing requirements and graduation requirements under No Child Left Behind and training students who don't have proficiency in the English Language. Our drop out rate is always a concern. None of this gets any cheaper from year to year," according to Cagle

"As a percentage of the budget over the past ten years or so, DeKalb County schools takes less and less in property taxes. It may take half the sales tax but that's by statute. The Tennessee Code says that 50% of all sales tax collected has to go to the education enterprise. But their share of the county property tax continues to decline. Yet we are faced with a continuing escalation in all of our charges. For many years and several years in a row, we've balanced the school system's budget using their reserve account. Balancing their budget using the savings account. The budget you have before you is not a Christmas tree. It's not filled full of ornaments. They have asked for the basics. The budget that the DeKalb County Board of Education has presented to you is reasonable. Yes, it restores some of that property tax funding that they have lost over the years. It pays for some things the state has mandated and it gives children in this district an educational opportunity to which they deserve," said Cagle.

County Mayor Mike Foster, prior to the vote on the consolidated budget, explained to the county commission why the budget committee felt a need to recommend a tax increase, yet not go along with the school board's request."With much discussion, the budget committee found it necessary and advisable to call for an increase in the property tax levy. The tax levy resolution and the consolidated budget document increases the property tax levy to $1.62 per $100 of assessed value and reflects a 9.86 cent increase from the equalized rate of $1.5214 cents and was only considered after making projections and considering long term financial stability. The driving force behind the increase was anticipated future requirements in meeting the school maintenance of effort as well as meeting the local match portion for the state's BEP funding formula," said Foster.

"The consolidated 2012 budget document changes the school board's approved general purpose school funds budget only by lowering the amount of local revenues requested by the school board, which was above what the budget committee deemed necessary. Although the budget committee submitted a tax rate resolution which increases the tax levy for the general purpose school fund by five cents on an equalized basis of seven cents when compared to the prior year. The budget committee believes that expenditures in the general purpose school fund budget which has been approved by the school board cannot be sustained over a long term basis unless the board of education takes immediate steps to correct deficiencies. The budget committee made no effort in trying to identify expenditure cuts which should be the responsibility of the school board and believe that non recurring revenues are being used for recurring expenses," continued Foster.

In addition to addressing the school spending plan, County Mayor Foster said the consolidated budget also includes a five cent increase for the county general fund. "The consolidated budget document also increases the levy for the general fund by five cents. A pay scale system was presented by the sheriff and implemented into the budget in order to maintain qualified law enforcement personnel with longevity pay for the sheriff's department being cut out. Pay raises for county employees are budgeted at $1,000 per year with spending cuts being made by office holders in order to offset some of the additional expenses. Increases in utilities, worker comp, liability insurance are included with particular emphasis on utilities which is a best estimate due to the anticipated occupation of the new county administration building. Although the budget projects a decline in cash fund balances for the general fund, the budget committee does not believe the decline will be as steep as presented. The largest outlays are unknown such as ambulance service revenues and expenditures as well as declines in revenues due to the recession but the budget committee is confident that actions taken in prior budget years have been successful and will carry the county through the current economic downturn and projects fund stability within two budget cycles. The budget committee recommends approval of the consolidated budget and rejection of the school budget as approved for the general purpose school fund," said Foster

The new property tax rate as adopted by the county commission breaks down as follows:
County General: 83 cents
Highway/Public Works: 3 cents
General Capital Projects- 9 cents
Debt Service-12 cents
General Purpose Schools- 55 cents

The solid waste fund does not receive any property tax money. The fund is supported by revenues derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax, etc. Up until two years ago, the solid waste fund was supported by a portion of the property tax rate. Since then the tax rate previously designated for solid waste, 20 cents, has been added to the general fund.

One cent of the tax rate generates $42,389 in local money with a 5.85% delinquency rate figured into the equation.

The new budget includes a new four tiered salary pay scale for employees of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to bring their salaries more in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area. All other full time county employees are budgeted a $1,000 pay raise for the year, which equates to about a 50 cent per hour increase.

Last year, the county budgeted money to fund an animal control officer but that position was not filled. This year funds for that position, $25,000, will be re-allocated to fund a director position at the new county administrative office complex still under construction on South Congress Boulevard. Four county officials from the courthouse, the Register of Deeds, Assessor of Property, Trustee, and County Clerk and their staffs are scheduled to move to their new offices in the old Town and Country Shopping Center location on Thursday, August 18.

The costs to the county for the new administrative building including purchase price and renovation expense is expected to be $3.2 million unless other change orders or add-ons are required before the entire project is finished. The re-payment schedule on the five million dollars borrowed to pay off previous obligations and to purchase and renovate this building is for fifteen years at a locked in rate of three percent. Yearly payments are to be $409,000 compared to $469,000 under the previous six year debt repayment schedule at 5.8%. The county is scheduled to receive $50,000 a year in rental payments from tenants in a portion of the building, including UCHRA. General fund utilities expense for county buildings combined is budgeted to go from $75,000 last year to $150,000 in the new budget. County Mayor Foster said about $50,000 of the increase for utilities is due to the new administrative building.

Three cents of the property tax rate, $127,169 helps support the county highway department along with a mineral severance tax, $25,000, Other than that, Foster said all of the county road department's budget is funded by state allocations, mostly state gas tax revenues

The budget again provides local property tax relief of up to $50 for those who qualify for the state property tax relief program.

Capital projects fund expenses include:

"Motor Vehicles" Ambulance-$80,000 (to re-do an existing ambulance, placing a new chassis with an old box remount)

"Furniture and fixtures" (shopping center building)-$150,000 (carry-over expense from last year)

"Motor vehicles" category for patrol cars and or fire truck- $80,000 (money allocated for any emergency vehicle needed during the year)

"Law enforcement equipment" fire department- $31,000 (carry-over expense from last year to be used to purchase an older model equipment truck for the county fire department)

County Fire Chief Donny Green's request for $180,000 to purchase a new fire pumper to replace the Midway engine which is a 1979 model will not be met for now. The truck has not been included in the budget. But in addition to an older model equipment truck, the department may also get to fund replacement of a portion of turnout gear and breathing cylinders.

"Other construction" is caution lights- $30,000 (to purchase and install caution lights at the intersection of State Highway 83 and U.S. 70 near Kilgore's Restaurant)

"Building Construction" Administration Building- $1,300,000 (carry over-expense from last year- About $700,000 to $800,000 left to be spent from remaining borrowed funds to finish rehab construction work on county administrative building)

"Solid Waste Equipment"- $145,000 (to purchase roll back garbage truck)

"Other construction" for various projects-$18,000 (for roof repairs to Omega Apparel building and for work to be done to 911 building)
Total: $1,834,000

A total of $183,053 in gifts and contributions to local libraries, which have been previously kept in a bank account, must now be accounted for as a line item in the county general budget for libraries by recommendation of state auditors.

The county commission also Monday night adopted a resolution making appropriations of $133,243 to the following non-profit organizations:

DeKalb Sparks Softball- $150
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $11,500
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$26,325
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$29,281
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$15,000
Imagination Library- $7,200
Genesis House- $1,500
DeKalb County Fair- $1,500
WCTE-TV- $5,000
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$9,245

Dues and memberships:
Upper Cumberland Tourism Association- $300
Tennessee County Services Association- $1,223
Tennessee County Officials Association- $1,985
Tennessee County Sheriff's Association- $1,500
Tennessee County Commissioners Association- $1,350
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,000
Association of Tennessee Valley Governments- $400
Total dues and memberships- $9,758

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