Local News Articles

Nashville Attorney Hired to Help Represent DUD at UMRB Rate Review Hearing

November 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dewey Branstetter, Jr.
Keith Blair

A Nashville attorney has been hired by the DeKalb Utility District Board of Directors to assist their lawyer in representing them before the state's Utility Management Review Board in a rate review hearing.

The DUD board met Thursday in regular monthly session and retained the services of C. Dewey Branstetter, Jr. of Branstetter, Stranch, and Jennings PLLC of Nashville. He will be joining DUD attorney Keith Blair in handling legal issues pertaining to the matter.

The Utility Management Review Board, citing the lack of jurisdiction, decided in October that it would not consider a petition filed by concerned citizens and ratepayers on whether or not the DeKalb Utility District should build a water treatment plant. But the UMRB decided that it would act on the petitioners request for a DUD rate review.

A petition, signed by more than 1,000 persons was submitted to the Tennessee Comptroller and Utility Management Review Board in July asking for a state review of rates charged by the DUD and its plan of services including the proposed water treatment plant.

The UMRB met last month in Nashville and the issue regarding the petition and the DUD was tops on the agenda. During that meeting, the UMRB ruled that it had no jurisdiction to consider the petition as to the proposed water treatment plant. "On the jurisdictional issue only with regard to whether the UMRB has jurisdiction to consider the petition before it, the UMRB essentially approved a motion setting forth that they did not have jurisdiction on the question of whether or not DUD should be building a water treatment plant," said DUD attorney Keith Blair during the DeKalb Utility District's monthly board meeting in October.

But while the UMRB chose not to weigh in on the water plant issue itself, it did agreed to conduct a rate review. That hearing could be held in Smithville but no date has yet been set.

Meanwhile, in other business Thursday DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney asked whether the City of Smithville had submitted a new water contract proposal. DUD Manager Jon Foutch said none has yet been received.

Alexandria Post Office to Remain Open But at Reduced Hours

November 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Postal Official David Underwood conducts meeting in Alexandria
Concerned Alexandria Postal Customers Learn About Plans for their Post Office
Several Alexandria Postal Customers Gather for Community Meeting

The Alexandria Post Office will not close but its daily operating hours will likely be reduced starting in January in an effort by the U.S. Postal Service to save money. The carriers will continue delivering mail to Alexandria postal customers but will begin working out of the Watertown Post Office beginning Saturday, November 3.

David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations, held a community meeting at the Alexandria city hall building Thursday afternoon to explain the changes. About fifty concerned postal customers in the area showed up to learn more about the plan.
(PLAY SHORT VIDEO BELOW OF DAVID UNDERWOOD EXPLAINING CHANGES AT ALEXANDRIA)

M2U00876 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
"The Alexandria Post Office is going from a full time eight hour a day post office to a six hour a day post office," said Underwood. "Your address won't change. Nothing will change with your delivery. Your carriers are being shifted. They are going to come out of Watertown. But your delivery is not changing. Your address is not changing. Where you go to pick up packages when you're not home and get a notice, you still come here (Alexandria). Our intent is to make it as invisible as possible to you with the major changes being we are no longer going to have a full time benefit getting post master in Alexandria. There will be a part time post master working six hours a day. Your Saturday hours won't change from what they are now. Your collection box time at the post office is not changing. The mail will go out at the same time every night it always has. There's not much going to change but by shaving that two hours off which is how many hours this office earns with its revenue and volume, making it a lower level post master that gets less money, taking the processing out of this office from the carriers and consolidating it in with no more work hours at another post office, over time the return on investment is huge for us. It saves us a lot of money," said Underwood.

Alexandria postal customers began receiving surveys in September outlining four different options for the Alexandria Post Office. A total of 1,110 customer surveys were mailed and 437 of them were returned. Ninety two percent of the respondents (404 customers) said given the options they preferred a realignment of the hours.

(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW ENTIRE MEETING THURSDAY IN ALEXANDRIA)

M2U00873 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Based on the results of the survey, Underwood said the Postal Service will likely set the hours for the Alexandria Post Office for 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with lunch from noon until 1:00 p.m. and Saturday hours will be from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The Postal Service will make its final decision on the change soon and a notice will be posted at the Alexandria Post Office as to what the new daily hours will be and when they will take effect. Underwood said the new hours will most likely become effective around the third week of January.

Total Saturday window service hours will not be reduced and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours, according to Underwood. Access to delivery receptacles will not be reduced from the current hours.

Alexandria postal customers were not surveyed about reassigning the carriers. Underwood said the postal service made that decision itself. "Its internal. That's something we decide. We call it Delivery Unit Optimization where we make the decision because its not affecting customers whatsoever. Its where we decide to consolidate carriers in a hub location because we have the same amount of clerks who can do that distribution work there. Rather than have them do it remotely and having a whole bunch of clerks doing a little bit of work (in different post offices) I've got the same clerks doing the same amount of work (at one location). Its a pure business decision. We're doing this everywhere," said Underwood.

The Alexandria Post Office is among 260 post offices in Tennessee which will have their hours changed or downsized within the next couple of years, according to Underwood.

Budget Committee Hears from County Officials and Employees on Wage Scale

November 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Budget Committee Members
Mike Clayborn, Katherine Pack, and Jeff McMillen
Trustee Sean Driver and other county officials and employees

Members of the budget committee heard from public officials and their staffs Tuesday night concerning establishing a wage scale for county employees.

All seemed to like the idea of setting up a pay scale for workers based on their years of service and while some said they were undecided, most are still opposed to giving employees job titles and basing their pay somewhat on their classification.

Some suggested implementing a step increase this year based on years of service, if it can be done without a property tax increase, and wait on job classification until an independent study could be done to formulate a plan, but the budget committee members took no action. It will be up to the budget committee to make some recommendation to the full county commission board.

County Mayor Mike Foster, an advocate of job classification, cited a long list of duties his staff has to perform and added that it isn't fair that they are paid much less than employees of the board of education central office and other counties who perform similar jobs and are classified by job titles. "Since I've been here the job has grown and grown and I still have two people (employees). When they (employees) look around across the street (board of education) and see somebody doing exactly the same job and who is not dealing with the landfill, the fire department, the billing, the grants and all the things we do and who is making twelve thousand dollars a year more than they are and they look at other counties who are making more then it becomes a little problem. If I lose one (employee) it'll take me six months to a year to get anybody doing that job. That's where I am. I don't think I'm better or that my girls are better than anybody, but if I'm going to keep them I've got to pay them. There's a law that says I can pay my secretaries at whatever they (county commission) will approve. But that's not what I want to do. I have never wanted mine to get a raise and no one else to get one," said Foster.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn said his employees also perform a variety of duties in the office. "We do seven different things and I could make it look like a hundred. But those seven things are just to do with license plates. They do twelve things that have nothing to do with license plates. People may say anyone can sell license plates. If that's all they did that would be alright. But that's not all they do. I'm for the step raises but I'm against the classifications. I don't want classifications in my office. I don't want classifications in the other offices. I think they should all be the same," said Clayborn.

Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen said he does not like the notion of having to classify one courthouse employee over another because they basically perform the same tasks and are equally important."I do think that we need to put a step increase in. I think it's a great idea. The way I look at it is if you're coming in that front door (to register of deeds office) and you've got a deed in your hand, the most important person to the public is that person in the register's office. If you've got car tags in your hand, the most important person is the people in the (county) clerk's office. If I put a classification on my girls they might look at each other and say ‘you're supposed to take care of this'. In the register's office, when you come in I want you taken care of as quick as possible and in the best manner that can be done. Again, I am not against the step increases. I think its great. I just don't want to have to put classifications on my employees. But what they do at the ambulance service or the landfill is none of my business," he said

Trustee Sean Driver said he opposes job classification of county employees at the courthouse and county complex fearing that morale might suffer. "I am for the step raise program out of fairness. But at this point, I am not for classification because of morale breakdown. The only way I'd be for classification at this point is that if they were classified all the same in these government offices," said Driver.

"I'm against the classifications at this time", said Clerk and Master Deborah Malone. "But I am for step raises," she said.

"I am for raises. I'm not for sure about classifications. I am not sure what I feel or what I think on classifications," said Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell.

"What I would really love to do is implement the step raises and have the independent consultant do a survey or whatever they do and then get back and meet back together and see where we are then. But I am definitely for step raises," said Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack.

Budget committee member John Green said he would like for the county to do more for employees, many of whom are making just barely above being eligible to qualify for food stamps." I've worked in a lot of factories and there has always been classifications, job titles, and certified people. There are many different jobs. And we've got important jobs in this county. But the bottom line is we need to try to help. There's people paying insurance right now. There's people who are making barely above being able to qualify for food stamps. That's bad. Maybe we ought to start people out a little bit better. I still think the step raises and a step pay scale needs to be in there because when you work thirty years at a place you shouldn't have somebody who has just started yesterday (earning the same pay)," he said.

No pay raises were included in this year's budget, other than for employees due a raise in a four tiered salary pay scale for the Sheriff's Department which was implemented last year to bring their salaries in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area.

Each courthouse or county complex employee working for a public official is budgeted to receive the same amount of pay $23,024 per year except for one of the employees in the assessor of property's office who receives $28,579 under an agreement reached years ago. This employee uses his own personal vehicle for making on-site reviews of property and is responsible for his own expense associated with that vehicle other than a county reimbursement rate for mileage which is currently 47 cents per mile for travel within the county.

Employees in the county mayor's office receive pay for extra duties in working with grants.

New York Man Inline Skating Across Country for Autism Awareness

November 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brian Patrick Inline Skating West on Highway 70 at Foot of Snow Hill
Brian Patrick

Brian Patrick of New York is inline skating across the country to raise money and awareness for autismspeaks.org. His journey brought him through DeKalb County Tuesday.

Patrick's journey began in Montauk Point, New York on September 20 and it has taken him through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and now through Tennessee.. He is traveling by himself with a 22 lb. backpack "I am working my way to California. I'm on my own, I don't have an entourage. I don't have a travel companion in a car that can go up ahead of me and check out the road conditions. I am limited on my resources. I don't have the privilege of spending every night in a hotel. Its probably every three days. There are sacrifices that I am making but this is not about me. Its about helping people that are part of the Autistic Spectrum," said Patrick.

"On my journey, I've been speaking to parents and others, some of whom have children on the Autistic Spectrum to give them some insight into my experience. I have a child, Riley and he was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was about three years old. Up until fifteen years ago, Autism was something that was never really discussed until AustimSpeaks came along and really pushed it to the forefront. Austim is no longer an issue. Its an epidemic. Even though you may not have anyone in your life that is on the spectrum and you may be thinking everything is okay, at some point it could affect you or someone you know because of the amount of kids that are being diagnosed," he said.

Patrick, who is also on the Autistic Spectrum with Aspergers, encourages you to learn more about autism by visiting AutismSpeaks.org or checking out his website at at li2lb.com.

Almost 3,200 Vote Early

November 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Last Chance to Vote Early

A total of 3,196 DeKalb County voters cast ballots during the two week period for early voting, October 17 through November 1.

Thursday, on the last day for early voting, 414 voted including 400 in person and 14 by absentee.

The early voting turnout for this year's November election is down from four years ago. For the November 2008 election, a total of 4008 voted either early or by absentee. On election day, 3,182 voted for a total turnout of 7,190.

Election day voting Tuesday, November 6 will be from 8:00 am. until 7:00 p.m. at all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County. WJLE will have LIVE local election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

DeKalb County voters may cast ballots for President of the United States, a U.S. Senator of Tennessee, U.S. Representative of the Sixth Congressional District, and State Representatives of the 40th & 46th districts. City of Smithville voters will also decide the outcome of a liquor referendum.

Habitat Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday!

October 31, 2012
2011 Winners “Wild West Gang” from DeKalb County Board of Education

Who makes the best chili in DeKalb County? Find out on Friday, November 2, when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 9th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the 303 Building on the town square. You can purchase your bowl for $5.00, eat all the chili you want, and vote for your favorite chili and the best decorated booth. Handmade pottery bowls will be available for $10.00. Delicious baked goods prepared by members of local churches will also be for sale. Take out is also available.

“We are looking forward to another great day of good food and fellowship at the chili cook-off,” said Nolan Turner, president of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. “We are building with a partner family on Hayes Street right now. The proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used to purchase the building materials, so we hope everyone will come out and eat lots of chili for a great cause!”

At press time, the teams competing in the Chili Cook-off are “The Bean Counters” from Janney & Associates; “Chili Flappers” from the DeKalb County Board of Education; “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank; “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials; “Smokin’ Hot” from the City of Smithville; “‘Lei’ Me Out Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; “Chili with Electability” from the Inn at Evins Mill; “Indian Summer Chili” from Indian Creek Baptist Church; “Blessed and Highly Flavored” from Allen’s Chapel & Buckner’s Chapel Methodist Churches; “‘No Liability’ Chili” from the DeKalb County Bar Association and “Dog Woman of The Woods” from K. Daly-McEver.

At last year’s chili cook-off, the “Wild West Gang” from DeKalb County Board of Education had a clean sweep, taking both the “Best Chili” award and first place honors in the decorating contest. “Blessed and Highly Flavored” from Allen’s Chapel and Buckner’s Chapel Methodist Churches received second place in the “Best Chili” category. The 2011 event raised approximately $3,100.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Pryor at 597-7370. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, call 215-8181.

Court Approves Settlement in Lawsuit over School Bus Wreck

October 30, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Court Approves Settlement in Lawsuit over School Bus Wreck
Ashley Spivey

A final settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against the DeKalb County Board of Education over a school bus accident in April, 2010 on Highway 56 in front of Northside Elementary School at the close of school.

Judge Amy Hollars approved the minor settlement for $20,000 on Thursday, October 25 in DeKalb County Circuit Court in the case of Ashley Spivey and her daughter, who was two years old at the time of the accident. Claims on behalf of Spivey's one year old son were dismissed from the final settlement. Although the boy was involved in the crash he was not seriously injured and his medical bills were only approximately $200.

A total of $13,333 of the settlement will be retained by the clerk of the court in an interest bearing account on behalf of Spivey's daughter until the child reaches eighteen years of age on March 4, 2026. The remaining $6,666 will be paid to Spivey's attorneys plus discretionary costs in the amount of $677, which will be paid directly to Spivey's lawyers by a separate draft.

Spivey, as the mother of the child, had asked that she be paid $2,000 for the use and benefit of her daughter, but the court denied Spivey's request given her history of involvement with the Department of Children Services and the existence of an open case against her in the Juvenile Court.

The $20,000 judgement is in addition to a $25,000 settlement, approved in August, 2010 stemming from a lawsuit against Sammy Spivey, the owner of the car in which Ashley Spivey and her children were passengers at the time of the crash. In that settlement, a total of $18,864 was distributed to the health providers of Spivey's child, and to the insurance company, and to Spivey's attorneys for fees and expenses. The remaining balance of $6,135 was to be directed to Spivey as parent and guardian for her daughter's use and benefit.

In her case against the DeKalb County Board of Education, Spivey also had originally named DeKalb County and the bus driver, Walter Phillips, as defendants but the county and Phillips were later dropped from the case. The dismissal order stated that the alleged negligent operation of the school bus by the school bus driver was within the scope of his employment with the DeKalb County Board of Education, and that DeKalb County, a separate governmental entity, is not a proper party to this action, nor is Walter Phillips, individually, a proper party to this action under the Governmental Tort Liability Act insofar as the DeKalb County Board of Education has admitted that he was acting within the scope and course of his employment.

Spivey was represented by Nashville attorneys Blair Durham and Ben Winters of Durham and Dread, PLC. The counsel for the school board was John D. Schwalb of Williams & Schwalb, PLLC in Franklin.

The court's order approving the minor settlement states as follows:

"On April 26, 2010, at approximately 2:53 p.m., a collision occurred on North Congress Boulevard and Smith Road, in Smithville between a 1992 Chevy Blazer operated by Kenny Waymon Dyal and owned by Sammy Spivey and a 2003 public school bus, operated by Walter Cecil Phillips, owned by the DeKalb County Board of Education. Ashley Spivey was a front seat passenger and her daughter and son, both minors, were rear seat passengers in the Dyal driven vehicle. Ashley Spivey is the natural mother and the legal custodian of the two minor children.

Mr. Dyal was traveling north on Highway 56. The bus, driven by Mr. Phillips was turning left from Smith Road onto Highway 56. As Mr. Phillips made his left turn, he was struck by the vehicle driven by Mr. Dyal.

The plaintiff (Ashley Spivey) in this case alleges that Phillips was negligent in the operation of the school bus thereby causing personal injuries to the occupants of the Dyal driven vehicle. The DeKalb County Board of Education, as an affirmative defense, allege that the accident and injuries were caused by Kenneth Dyal.

As a result of this crash, the two year old female minor child was injured (two broken legs). Immediately following the accident, the child was admitted to the emergency room at DeKalb Community Hospital and transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The medical expenses incurred on behalf of the child totaled $45,745 all of which were substantially reduced to recognize payment by TennCare. In addition, the one year old male child was evaluated at DeKalb Community Hospital where medical bills in the amount of approximately $200 were incurred, but also substantially reduced as a result of TennCare. As a result of a prior settlement involving the plaintiff (Spivey) and others alleged to be responsible for the injuries, the medical bills have all been paid by or on behalf of the plaintiff (Spivey). No future medical expenses are anticipated. No permanent injuries resulted from this motor vehicle accident.

On August 10, 2010, a decree approving a minor settlement was accepted and signed for a settlement in the amount of $25,000 on behalf of the two year old child from defendant, Sammy Spivey, and Progressive Insurance Company. The parties agreed in this matter that $18,864 be distributed to the child's health providers, insurance company, and attorney for fees and expenses. The remaining balance of $6,135 to be directed to Ashley Spivey as parent and guardian of the child for the minor's use and benefit.

The parties to this settlement have agreed, subject to the court's approval, to compromise and settle the two year old child's claims for the amount of $20,000. The one year old child's claims, related solely to medical expenses previously satisfied by a prior settlement will be dismissed as there exists no injuries to him. For this amount, $6,666 is to be paid to the law office of Blair Durham for fees and expenses rendered on behalf of the minor petitioner. There are certain discretionary costs that the defendant has agreed to pay that will be paid directly to counsel in the amount of $677 for depositions and medical deposition fees. This leaves for the minor petitioner an amount of $13,333. Said settlement amount constitutes payment for the child's compensatory damages on account of her physical personal injuries and it does not include payment for any punitive or exemplary damages, none of which are recoverable under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, nor does it involve any type of interest.

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement between the parties, the plaintiff parent, Ashley Spivey, individually, and as parent of the two year old minor child, has asked that the court authorize one settlement check in the amount of $2,000 to be paid directly to Ashley Spivey as parent and legal guardian for the use and benefit of the minor child. To the extent that the provisions of the relief sought do not comply with Title 34, Chapters 1, 2, and 3, the parties have requested that the court waive those requirements pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 34-1-121, if the court finds it is in the best interest of the minor to waive such requirements based on the facts and circumstances of this case. The parties request that the balance be payable to the DeKalb County Circuit Court to be deposited and held in an interest bearing fund with the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk's office until the minor child attains the age of 18 years old, and thereupon, to pay over to the minor child the balance with accumulated interest.

The parties to this litigation have further agreed that the petitioners Ashley Spivey and her minor child, agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless respondents, the DeKalb County Board of Education and its insurer, Tennessee Risk Management Trust, for any subrogation claims which may be made for any and all medical expenses relating to both minor children arising out of the accident and injuries referenced herein, including, but not limited to, those expenses for which a third party (or parties) retain a subrogation lien (or liens) or hospital lien (or liens) against the DeKalb County Board of Education and the Tennessee Risk Management Trust Company.

As a result of the prior settlement there are no TennCare liens or recovery asserted or available to the State of Tennessee pursuant to the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated 71-5-117 nor is there any entity acting or participating in this matter pursuant to the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated 71-5-116. Neither the plaintiff, Ashley Spivey, nor the defendant, named or unnamed have been placed upon notice of nor are there any hospital liens of record pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 29-22-101 which remain unsatisfied.

There are no liens asserted or available under the terms of any Employee Welfare Benefit or similar plan which assert a lien against the proceeds of any settlement under the terms of a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended.

In accordance with the above-findings and the Petition to Approve Minor Settlement, it is therefore Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed as follows:

The minor plaintiffs settlements are hereby and in all respects approved by this court as being in the best interests of the minor children.

The court finds that the sum of $20,000 when considered in connection with the previous payments made and approved in the related minor settlement is fair and reasonable under the facts and circumstances of this case and the defenses and assignment of legal fault that was asserted or potentially implicated and the potential for recovery from the defendant.

Upon the payment of $20,000 to or for the benefit of Spivey's two year old minor child and her attorney the defendant DeKalb County Board of Education and its insurer, Tennessee Risk Management Trust their employees, agents, representatives and officers shall be forever released and discharged from any and all further liability and indemnity for any and all claims known or unknown, either presently or hereafter as a result of or in any way connected with the aforesaid incident occurring on April 26, 2010, as it may relate to the two minor children, including any claims related to health insurance benefits paid under by TennCare the claims of the minors against all defendants is dismissed.

The court further orders that counsel for the plaintiff be entitled to a fee of one third of recovery in the amount of $6,666 plus discretionary costs in the amount of $677, the later of which will be paid directly to counsel for the plaintiff by a separate draft.

The court declines at this time to approve payment to Ashley Spivey as the natural mother for the use and benefit of the two year old minor child the sum of $2,000 given the past history of involvement of the Department of Children Services and the existence of an open case in the Juvenile Court of DeKalb County.

Accordingly, after deducting the fee and payment to Ashley Spivey the remaining balance of $13,333 shall pay to the Clerk of the Circuit Court within five days.

The Clerk of the Court shall retain the said fund in an interest bearing account or accounts pursuant to Rule 67.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and the minor will be subject to distribution pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 34-1-104 until the minor attains the age of majority on March 4, 2026.

Upon the minor child attaining the age of majority, the Circuit Court Clerk shall distribute to her the remaining sum of $13,333 (less any distributions pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 34-1-104 plus any interest earned thereon directly to the child.

This court shall retain jurisdiction over this matter in the event that any distribution of said funds prior to the attainment of majority becomes necessary either at the properly documented request of Ms. Spivey, the State Tennessee Department of Children's services or the Juvenile Court of DeKalb County or any guardian or custodian, if any appointed by the Juvenile Court.

The costs of this cause are assessed to the defendant DeKalb County Board of Education. The Circuit Court Clerk is directed to prepare a bill of costs and forward the same to John D. Schwalb".

F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts to Host Booksigning Saturday

October 30, 2012
The Story of Christmas by Patricia Pingry

The Story of Christmas tells the nativity story in 200 words that are simple enough for a toddler to understand. From the Annunciation by the angel through Jesus' birth, the appearance of the shepherds, and the journey of the wise men, the Christmas story is presented in its most traditional form and paired with vibrant illustrations children will love.

Author Patricia Pingry has written dozens of children's books and edited hundreds more. She was the editor for Ideals Publications, which included Ideals Magazine, for many years. Among her best-known titles are the previous edition of this book and its companion, The Story of Easter. Together these two titles have sold over 2 million copies. Patricia lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she continues to write and develop children's projects.

Patricia Pingry will be signing books at F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts in Smithville on Saturday, November 3 from 11:00am to 1:00 pm.

Missouri Fugitive Arrested After Incident at Midnight Express

October 29, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tim Melvin Hickman
Craig Lamar Waters

A Missouri fugitive, who allegedly hit his girlfriend with a vehicle at the Midnight Express before running away on foot Saturday night, was later found and arrested in his room at the Bridgeway Motel

35 year old Tim Melvin Hickman is charged with evading arrest and being a fugitive from justice from the state of Missouri. He is wanted by the St. Francis County, Missouri sheriff's office for driving on a revoked/suspended license. Hickman has an active warrant against him there and he will be extradited. His bond is $55,000 and he will be in court on November 1.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday night a deputy was called to the Midnight Express to break up a fight in progress. Upon arrival, the deputy was told that a man had hit his girlfriend with a vehicle and was heading toward the woods on foot. The deputy spotted the man and ordered him to stop, announcing himself as an officer. But the man took off running down a hill. Several hours later officers learned that Hickman was at the Bridgeway Motel. They arrested him there in his room.

Sheriff Ray said the Tennessee Highway Patrol has also filed charges against Hickman.

38 year old Misty Dawn Bush of Smithville was cited on Monday, October 22 for driving on a revoked license and failure to drive within a lane of travel. She will be in court on November 14. Bush was stopped by a sheriff's department drug detective for failure to maintain a lane of travel. A check revealed that her drivers license were revoked.

34 year old Aron Dewayne Ponder was cited on Monday, October 22 for driving on a suspended license. He will be in court on November 28. Ponder, driving a Honda Accord, was stopped by a sheriff's department drug detective on Charity Lane. The detective knew that Ponder's license were suspended because he had issued him a ticket less than two weeks before this incident. A computer check confirmed that Ponder's license were suspended.

34 year old Tara Jane Atnip Summers of Allen Ferrell Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court November 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, October 23 a deputy responded to a possible domestic between Summers and a family member at a residence on Allen's Ferry Road. According to Sheriff Ray a family member ordered Summers to leave the home. After the officer's arrival, Summers came out of the home. She was very belligerent and refused to obey any of the deputy's commands. The officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and her speech was slurred. Summers admitted to consuming alcohol. She was asked to calm down several times but she refused. Due to her actions, her level of intoxication, and being an unwanted person at the residence, Summers was placed under arrest. As the deputy was trying to place handcuffs on her, Summers began pulling away, telling the officer that she was not going to jail. Because of her belligerence and attempts to resist arrest, the officer had to use force to handcuff Summers and place her in the patrol car.

32 year old Cindy Armstrong Lemons of Smithville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on November 1. She was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 25 a court officer, while at the courthouse working General Sessions Court, noticed a woman who was very unsteady on her feet. The woman, Lemons had slurred speech and she could not keep still. Due to her level of intoxication, Lemons was placed under arrest for her safety and the safety of the public. During a search of her person, Lemons was found to be in possession of a hypodermic needle and a pill bottle wrapped in black tape.

29 year old Craig Lamar Waters of Gordonsville is charged with the unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on November 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 26, a sheriff's department drug detective made a traffic stop on New Home Road. He saw metal beams, protruding approximately five to six feet from the rear of a truck. The detective asked the driver, Waters if he had any drugs or weapons in the vehicle. Waters said that he had a pistol under the seat. The drug detective then asked Waters if he had a permit. Waters replied no. The detective found a holster strapped to the seat where Waters was sitting along with a highpoint nine millimeter pistol. Also beside Waters in the seat was a clip, loaded with nine millimeter ammo. Waters told the detective that he had previously been charged with a felony. A criminal history check confirmed that Waters had been arrested for a felony and was on probation.

34 year old Phillip Edward Miranda of Liberty was cited on Friday, October 26 for driving on a revoked license. He will be in court on November 14. Sheriff Ray said a drug detective saw a vehicle, being operated by Miranda, on Highway 70 west. Knowing that Miranda's license were revoked, the detective stopped the automobile. A computer check revealed that Miranda had two violation of probation warrants against him and that his license were revoked for a second offense of driving under the influence on December 16, 2010.

38 year old Susan Lynnette Carter of Dowelltown was cited on Friday, October 26 for driving on a revoked license, a violation of the child restraint law, and simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. She will be in court December 5. Meanwhile a passenger of Carter's vehicle, 32 year old Cynthia Diane Carter of Alexandria was cited for simple possession of a schedule II and III controlled substance. Her court date is November 15

Sheriff Ray said that a drug detective stopped Susan Carter's vehicle on Highway 70 west in Dowelltown after a 16 year old passenger was observed not wearing a seatbelt. A computer check revealed that Carter's license were revoked for driving under the influence on April 19, 2011. After receiving consent to search, the detective found in the drivers seat three hydrocodone pills. The search further turned up three pills, believed to be ADHD medicine, in Cynthia Carter's purse. Neither woman claimed responsibility for the pills found in the drivers seat.

Applications Now Available for Angel Tree Project

October 29, 2012

Applications are now available for the 17th Annual Angel Tree Project through Friday, November 2nd.

Spokesperson Laura Stone said that the application turn in date has been set for one day only. "Applications can be picked up October 29th through November 2nd. You will continue to pick up your applications at the Department of Human Services, but the application must be returned in person the following week to the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center."

"Completed applications will have to be returned to the First Baptist Church LEC Building in downtown Smithville (on the corner across from First Baptist) on Monday, November 5th from 7am to 8pm. Applications not returned to the Church LEC Building on this day WILL NOT be accepted. There are no exceptions to the requirements of the application process", said Stone. It is very important that you understand we will only accept applications this one day only.

"Applications can only be picked up at the Department of Human Services on October 29th through November 2nd and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 5th. In addition to bringing the completed application, applicants must provide photo identification of the person applying and social security cards and birth certificates for ALL children listed on the application. We will only be keeping the application; all other documents will be returned to the applicant. If an applicant cannot appear in person, their application can be submitted by a family member as long as all of the required information is presented."

"Eligible children must live in DeKalb County and be no older than age 12 by December 25, 2012. The Department of Human Services will only be passing out the applications. Nothing will be returned to them and any questions should be directed to Laura Stone at 615.597.5060"

Stone adds that "the Angel Tree has been such a tremendous success in the past and with economic times extremely tough for many in our area, we want this years Angel Tree to be no exception. The Angel Tree helps so many families who are struggling to make ends meet. It is sad to think about, but many of these children would not otherwise have a single present for Christmas. With the economy still struggling, we are expecting demand to be high."

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