Local News Articles

Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps Wins Autumn Princess Pageant (VIEW VIDEOS)

November 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps
Autumn Princess and Runners-Up
Korrin Michelle Therrien was named Miss Manners

Ten year old Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps is the 2013 Autumn Princess

Cripps, daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Autumn Princess, Addison Jean Puckett, the nine year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville.

The pageant, featuring fifteen girls ages seven to ten, was sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club and held Saturday at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium.

First runner-up was Madison Rae Rackley, the ten year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville.

Second runner-up was ten year old Alexis Grace Atnip, the daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville.

Eight year old Allyson Roxanne Fuller, daughter of Anthony and Amanda Fuller of Baxter was named third runner-up.

Natalie Morgan Snipes was fourth runner-up. She is the nine year old daughter of Tim and Michelle Snipes of Smithville.

Korrin Michelle Therrien was named Miss Manners. She is the nine year old daughter of Terese Therrien Pena and Oscar Pena of Smithville

Rounding out the top ten were Alexis Danyelle Rigsby, the eight year old daughter of April Rigsby of Smithville; Haidyn Renee Hale, the nine year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville; Madison Dawson, the seven year old daughter of Jarred and Jamie Dawson of Smithville; Kenlee Renae Taylor, the eight year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville; and Zoi Hale, the seven year old daughter of Becky Harris and Justin Hale of Watertown.

Others participating in the pageant were: Malayna Nichole Nokes, the ten year old daughter of Brandy and Jeff Nokes of Old Temperance Hall Road; Allie Joy Wilbur, the nine year old daughter of Andrew and Caitlin Wilber of Smithville; Savanna Murphy, the seven year old daughter of Brian and Stephanie Leist of Smithville; and Sayla Yvonne Cantrell, the eight year old daughter of Stefan Cantrell and Heather White of Smithville.

(Group Picture: left to right- Natalie Morgan Snipes (4th runner-up), Alexis Grace Atnip (2nd runner-up), Queen Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps, Madison Rae Rackley (1st runner-up), and Allyson Roxanne Fuller ( 3rd runner-up)

City Planning Commission Takes Annexation Proposal Under Advisement

November 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
Proposed City Annexation Map

The Smithville Planning Commission Thursday night voted to take under advisement a proposal to annex several properties into the city along Highway 70 just outside the western city limits. However, the commission stopped short of making a formal recommendation for annexation to the mayor and aldermen until up to date cost estimates are provided for implementing the required plan of services to the annexed area, specifically sewer.

City planner Shannon Copas gave a general overview of the plan of services during the meeting and city public works director Kevin Robinson provided 2008 sewer cost figures.

"The staff's recommendation after going out there and looking at it (properties) is to zone it B-2. That way it would not be a spot zone. It would be an extenuation of the current zoning district," said Copas.

"There is an example plan of services here. It basically outlines when services are going to be provided. We have to do this under Tennessee Code Annotated (state law). It outlines when (city) police and fire protection will be provided to this area. It also outlines the water situation. Sanitary sewer. I think in this one (plan) we put five to seven years. We can always change it. This is just an example. It (plan) contains some information about street construction and repair. It addresses solid waste collection and disposal and recreation facilities. All the planning commission does is make a recommendation on a draft to the city and make sure everything looks good," said Copas.

Commission Chairman Wallace Caldwell and member Norris Colvert said they wanted to see more specifics on costs. "Don't anyone think I'm against annexation but I think before I would be willing to make a request to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to annex this property I think we need to have a little bit more figures as to what it's going to cost. That's strictly my opinion," said Caldwell.

"I agree with you Mr. Chairman," said Colvert. "I don't think we're in any position to do anything but to take it under advisement and get our arms around some of the answers to these questions. At least we can get some ball park costs associated with these kinds of services if we're going to be recommending the support of the mayor and aldermen to approve this," he added

Colvert made a motion to take the matter under advisement until the next meeting. Glen Nichols seconded the motion. All members voted in favor of Colvert's motion including Mayor Jimmy Poss, Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Jason Murphy, and members Wade Smith, Dwain Snow, and Hoyte Barrett along with Chairman Caldwell. If the city comes up with new cost estimates before next month's regular meeting, a special meeting might be scheduled to take up the issue.

The planning commission cannot approve annexation. It can only recommend it to the mayor and board of aldermen.

If approved, the properties Ed Young, Mike Foster, Dr. David Foutch, Pat Walls, John Kilgore, and Jim Beshearse would be annexed. The area includes almost seventeen acres on the south side of Highway 70 from the existing city limits to near the intersection of Highway 83 (New Home Road). It would take in the Kilgore's restaurant property, which belongs to Foster; Dr. Foutch's Eye Care office; and parcels of land belonging to Kilgore and Beshearse. Facing the Old Snow Hill Road, the residential properties of Beshearse, Walls, and Foster would be annexed. On the northside of Highway 70, another fourteen acres of undeveloped land belonging to Ed Young would be annexed along with the old Beshearse grocery store building. Young's property is located across the highway from Kilgore's Restaurant.

Due to a state moratorium on annexation, the city cannot take the initiative on its own without a request. The property owners have to petition the city for annexation.

State law also requires that all annexations include a Plan of Services (POS). The POS outlines those services, such as sewer, that will be made available to the land being annexed and the timeframe within which services and/or amenities will be provided.

Ready for a Tennessee Road Trip?

November 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams
Promised Land self-guided driving tour brochure

A Tennessee Road Trip! Get away to it all. Get off the beaten path on the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways driving trail. Sixteen driving trails all across the state feature Tennessee history, hospitality, flavor, and adventure. DeKalb County is part of the Promised Land trail - scenic routes through the gorgeous countryside, small towns, and amazing stories.

In the Promised Land self-guided driving tour brochure, DeKalb County Points of Interest can be found on pages 24 to 26 and include Center Hill Lake, Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival, City of Smithville, Webb’s Pharmacy & Gift, Historic Downtown Smithville, Appalachian Center for Craft, Griffin’s Fruit Market, The Town of Liberty, and Edgar Evins State Park. Watch for the brown signs along the Promised Land Trail Route.

Chamber Director Suzanne Williams submitted the information for DeKalb County. “The Smithville Jamboree picture made the front cover of the Promised Land brochure. We were so excited about that! There were several places I submitted that didn’t make the brochure, but hopefully we will get to add more at the next printing. We are so grateful to the Department of Tourist Development for the TN Trails and Byways Initiative. I believe the driving trails will encourage visitors and locals alike to explore more places around our beautiful State and this wonderful place we call home,” says Williams.

Promised Land brochures and maps can be found at the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce located in the DeKalb Courthouse, Room 201 and soon to be at numerous points across the county. You can also download a copy of any of the trails at TnTrailsAndByways.com. See you on the road!

Information provided by Discover Tennessee Trail & Byway Dept.

SES Students Sing for Veterans

November 8, 2013
Dwayne Page
SES Honors Veterans

A Veterans Appreciation assembly program was held Friday morning at Smithville Elementary School in recognition of Veteran's Day.

Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing "God Bless the USA" and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.

Veterans attending the assembly program pictured above are:

Bottom Row (left to right): William Dyer of Crossville who served in the U.S. Marines as 1st Sergeant during the Vietnam War. He was founder of the National Vietnam Veterans Day; Garry Davis of Smithville who served as a Specialist 4 in the Army during the Vietnam War; Jimmy Sprague of Smithville who served in the Army as an E5 3rd & 75th Ranger in Operation Just Cause; and Dale Pedigo of Buffalo Valley who served in the National Guard as an E6 Staff Sergeant. He served 27 years in the military.

Middle Row: (left to right): J.R. Redmon of Smithville who served in the Navy and Air Force and was a 2nd Class Petty Officer; James Cantrell of Smithville who served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict as a 1st Lieutenant; Ricky Rafferty of Sebring, Florida who served as a Marine Corporal during the Vietnam War; Alan Stengel of Smithville who served in the Navy at the rank of A-5 during the Vietnam War; Joe Goodwin of Smithville who served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant. He was a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II; and Guy Mathis of Liberty who served in the Army as a PFC Machine Gunner during World War II. He received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, plus six other medals.

Top Row: Douglas Bonner of Smithville who served in the Army as a Specialist 3; George Steinbach of Smithville who served in the Army as an E-6 during the Vietnam War; Ray Vaughn of Smithville who served as an E-4 in the Army; Brent Arnold of Smithville who served in the Air Force as an Airman 1st Class; Chad Polk of Smithville who served in the Army as an E-6 Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan and Iraq; Jake Merriman of McMinnville who served in the Marine Corps as a Lance Corporal; Walter Johnson of Smithville who served in the Army as a Corporal during the Korean Conflict; James Dunn of Smithville who served in the Army as a Corporal during the Korean Conflict; Richard Widener who served in the Marine Corps as a Sergeant during the Vietnam War; John Hummer of Smithville who served in the Marine Corps as a Corporal during the Vietnam War; Ronnie Redmon of Dowelltown who served in the Air Force as an E-3 during the Vietnam War; and Paul Cantrell of Smithville who served in the Navy as a BM3 during the Korean Conflict.

Two Charged with Kidnapping Elderly Warren County Man

November 7, 2013
Dwayne Page
Amanda Maxwell
Charles Wayne Reagan

An elderly man was kidnapped at knifepoint Tuesday in Smithville and then forced to withdraw funds from his bank account at an ATM machine. The man's abductors later drove him to McMinnville where he made his escape and called police.

29 year old Amanda Maxwell of 717 Fisher Avenue is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, and aggravated assault. Her bond is $85,000.

31 year old Charles Wayne Reagan of Smithville is charged with aggravated kidnapping and theft over $1,000.

Both are to appear in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on November 21.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell of the Smithville Police Department.

According to Lieutenant Holmes, Maxwell telephoned the 81 year old victim, an acquaintance, and asked him to come to her Smithville home to talk with her. The victim, who lives in Warren County, drove to Maxwell's home on Fisher Avenue. As he arrived and entered the residence, Maxwell allegedly attacked the man from behind and forced him at knifepoint (boxcutter) back into his car, a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix. As the victim sat on the front passenger seat, Maxwell drove to ATM machines at two local banks where the man was forced to withdraw cash from his account. Maxwell allegedly got $300 as a result of the crime.

In an attempt to get more money from the victim at another bank ATM, police believe Maxwell picked up Reagan at her home and the two of them drove the elderly man at knifepoint to McMinnville, according to Detective Donnell. But as they got to McMinnville and stopped at a traffic light, the victim bailed out of the car and escaped. Maxwell, the driver, got out and ran after him but the victim managed to get to a phone and called 911. McMinnville Police were first alerted but they then contacted the Smithville Police Department. Reagan, who was in the back seat of the victim's car, got into the front seat and drove away. Police believe he abandoned the vehicle somewhere. At last report the car had not been located.

Maxwell and Reagan later made it back to Smithville and stayed the night at a local motel, apparently in an attempt to hide from police. They returned to Maxwell's home on Wednesday where police found the two and brought them in for questioning.

The victim, who was hurt as he jumped from the car in making his escape, was not believed to have suffered any life threatening injuries in the encounter with his abductors.

DeKalb GOP to Call Primary for 13th District Judicial Offices

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jennifer Winfree

The DeKalb County Republican Party plans to call for a primary to be held in May for all judicial positions up for election on the ballot in the 13th judicial district according to local party chairperson Jennifer Winfree.

Political parties in other counties of the 13th district apparently plan to do the same.

The DeKalb GOP primary would only be for the offices of Chancellor, Circuit Judge Part I, Circuit Judge Part II, Criminal Judge Part I, Criminal Judge Part II, District Public Defender, and District Attorney General.

According to Winfree, the DeKalb County Republican Party will continue to select nominees for county offices by caucus as it has in the past.

Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, said he has not yet received notification from either the local Republican or Democratic Party calling for a primary. November 22 is the deadline to call for any primary, local or judicial.

The 13th Judicial District is made up of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

Political parties in counties of the 13th district that do not call for a primary for judicial offices will apparently have no voice in selecting nominees to run for those positions in the August General Election, if judicial primaries are held in other counties of the district.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, announces that the 2013 FSA county committee elections are underway as ballots were mailed to eligible voters in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3 of DeKalb County and Local Administrative Areas # 4 and # 5 on November 4th. December 2, 2013 is the deadline for eligible voters to return ballots, either post marked in the mail or delivered in person, to their local FSA offices.

"The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs," said Green. "I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections."

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.

Eligible voters in DeKalb County LAA # 1 or Cannon County LAA’s # 4 or # 5 who do not receive a ballot can obtain a ballot at their local USDA Service Center. December 2, 2013 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than December 2, 2013. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office January 1st, 2014.

Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the new 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website atwww.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.

State Representative Mark Pody to Speak at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

November 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Pody

Everyone is invited to attend the Chamber Prayer Breakfast to be held on Tuesday, November 26th at 7 AM at the DeKalb County Complex Community Theatre, 718 South Congress Drive, Smithville. State Representative Mark Pody will be the keynote speaker.

Representative Pody and his wife of 38 years, Barbara, are blessed with two daughters and eight grandchildren all of whom still live in the area. He and his family are very active in their local church. When Mark and Barbara are not cheering on their grandchildren at basketball games, you’ll find them enjoying square dancing in the community. Mark, an owner of a small business which specializes in financial planning and insurance solutions, has multiple business locations throughout Tennessee.

Special music will be performed by Dessa Ray and by keyboardist Tomomi McDowell. State Representative Terrie Lynn Weaver will perform the National Anthem while local Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience.

A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2014 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office, from the Chamber Board of Directors, or by calling the Chamber office. We’ll be glad to hold your tickets at the door.

Chamber Executive Director, Suzanne Williams says, “I would like to invite everyone to join us at this special event in giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings He has given us in our county. The Prayer Breakfast is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season.” For tickets or additional information, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Mayor and Aldermen Schedule Workshop on New DUD Water Rate

November 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen

DeKalb Utility District's ten year water contract with the City of Smithville is set to expire within two months and no new agreement has yet been reached.

The parties have apparently not even been in any serious discussions on a new contract for several months.

Plans for a new DUD water treatment plant are still in the making but have apparently been put on hold because of a legal challenge in Davidson County Chancery Court by the City of Smithville and DUD ratepayers. But even if the legal hurdles are cleared and the DUD proceeds with its plan to build a water plant, it will apparently need a new water contract with the City of Smithville until the facility is completed.

The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.05 per thousand gallons. Under terms of the contract, the rate has increased by five cents per thousand in each of the last ten years beginning in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires December 31, 2013.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Alderman Tim Stribling called for a workshop to discuss new rates for the DUD. The workshop will be Monday, November 11 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall. DUD board members and officials are invited to attend. "Mr. Mayor, the DUD contract as we all know expires December 31. I would like for this board to maybe set up a workshop where we can discuss some things concerning the contract. We all know there is going to be a new rate so I would like to set up a board workshop," said Stribling.

"We'll just have some numbers together and look at some facts and figures. Of course we can't come to a conclusion or vote on it (because it's a workshop) but we can at least get the ball rolling," said City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson.

"Would you like me to send an invitation to DUD to be present," asked Hendrixson?. "Or course, it's an open meeting. If they want to be here they can be here," he added.

The aldermen agreed that since the workshop is open to all, DUD officials are welcome to attend and no formal invitation was necessary.

A recent study by Warren and Associates, paid for by the city, revealed that the actual cost for Smithville to produce water is $2.67 per thousand gallons. In April city officials discussed offering DUD a new ten year deal which would include selling them water at $2.20 per thousand gallons for the first five years of the contract and raising it to $2.40 per thousand gallons for the last five years. No official vote was taken but city officials sent the offer in writing to DUD officials a couple of days prior to the Tennessee Utility Management Review Board hearing which was held in Smithville to review DUD's water rates. DUD officials later responded agreeing to accept the offer but without the minimum volume purchase requirement the city wanted as part of the proposal.

City Attorney Updates Board on Appeal in DUD Case

November 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Vester Parsley, Jr. (older photo)
Darden Copeland (older photo)

The City of Smithville's legal fight to keep the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant remains pending in Davidson County Chancery Court.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. informed the mayor and aldermen Monday night that the transcript from April's Tennessee Utility Management Review Board (UMRB) hearing has been filed and that a brief for the city is forthcoming. "I talked to Jason Holleman today. His firm as you know is representing the city with the appeal. The transcript of the hearing that was held here in April has been filed with the Chancery Court in Nashville. It was filed on October 28. Jason and Bill Purcell have until November 27 to file our brief for the city. Thereafter, DUD will have up to 30 days to file their brief which will basically put it at December 27. Of course, they can file that brief early. If they do then Jason and Bill will have an additional fourteen days to reply to that. It looks like the earliest that we probably will have any real hearing before the Chancellor in Nashville will be somewhere in January. Probably toward the middle (January) but those dates are not certain because the time for filing briefs has just gotten started. That's where we're at right now," said Parsley.

In July, the aldermen voted 4-0 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file an appeal of the UMRB's dismissal of a petition brought by a group of DUD ratepayers and the city who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the water plant.

Following a hearing held April 4th in Smithville with an administrative law judge presiding, UMRB members voted to dismiss the petition saying they (petitioners) had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The UMRB entered its final order on June 5.

Calling the UMRB's ruling "arbitrary and capricious", attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville filed an appeal in August asking the Davidson County Chancery Court for a judicial review of the case.

The attorneys for the city and DUD ratepayers allege that "the UMRB acted in violation of statutory provisions and followed an unlawful procedure by failing to apply the appropriate scope of review in its deliberations and otherwise acted illegally, arbitrarily, and capriciously in the case. Further, the UMRB’s decision was unsupported by substantial and material evidence in light of the entire record."

The court is being asked to reverse the decision of the UMRB and decree that its action was illegal, arbitrary, and/or capricious and that any such further general relief be granted as the equities of this case may require and as the Court deems necessary and appropriate."

During Monday night's city council meeting, Darden Copeland of Calvert Street Group said it appears that because of the city's appeal, the DUD has not yet moved forward with it plans to build the water plant. He added that public opposition to the proposed facility remains strong. "We still continue to monitor whether or not the bonding authority has put the bonds out for bid. As of right now, everything is completely on hold pending the outcome of the (court) hearing. We continue to monitor DUD meetings. We are also in touch with some of our key members of the DUD committee that were anti the bonds. We still continue to collect petition signatures here and there that still trickle in both on line and through paper. We still have a great database of folks who are as still fired up today as they were a year ago despite the delays," said Copeland. Calvert Street Group is a Nashville public relations company, hired by the City of Smithville to lead opposition efforts to the proposed DUD water treatment plant.

Parsley said it's not yet known when there will be a ruling on the city's appeal. "There is no date set for the hearing. The Chancellor could give a ruling from the bench. Most likely the Chancellor will study it and give us a written opinion after the hearing. It most likely will not be, although it can be on the day they have a hearing. The Chancellor has that discretion in deciding whether she will rule from the bench or whether she will give a written opinion later. It's impossible to tell right now," said Parsley.


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