Local News Articles

More than 13,000 People Registered to Vote in DeKalb County

October 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

If voter registration is any indication, there could be a good turnout for the November 4th election in DeKalb County.

Lisa Peterson, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections says several new voters have come by to register or made changes to their registrations.

As of Monday, the election commission recorded 13,303 registered voters in DeKalb County.

According to Peterson, "We have processed 399 new registrations and made changes to 266 registrations (address or name changes) since the August 8th elections.

On the ballot in November, besides the seat for president and vice president, will be a seat in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House 6th Congressional District and the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District.

City Fire Department Gets to Keep Old Fire Hall

October 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will get to keep both the old and new fire halls.

The Aldermen Monday night voted 5 to 0 to make it official.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings, during the September 15th meeting, asked the city council for permission to expand the police department into the old fire hall.

Chief Jennings said the police department needs extra space to store records, house equipment and the K-9 dog, and to more securely bring in prisoners for processing.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker, at that meeting, said even though the fire department is now in the new addition, the old fire hall is still being used by the fire department and he asked that the council take no action until a meeting is held to give his fellow firefighters, who are opposed to the request, an opportunity to be heard.

Since that meeting last month, Police Chief Jennings has decided to withdraw his request, but he is asking for the city to consider constructing a new police department building

During Monday night's meeting, Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson read a letter from Chief Jennings which states that "During the last regular meeting of the city council, I requested that the old fire department office and bays be given to the police department. I was unaware that the previous city council had agreed to let the fire department keep them. I regret that my request has caused controversy. I am withdrawing my request."

"I will ask you to consider the possibility of building a new building for the police department across the street (from city hall) in place of the old block storage building that is owned by the City of Smithville."

Prior to the reading of Chief Jennings' letter, Fire Chief Parker once again addressed the aldermen, asking them to "recognize or acknowledge that we (fire fighters) are currently using the building (old fire hall) as we have always planned and would like to continue doing so."

In his statement Chief Parker said " It seems several people think that we have completely abandoned the old fire hall. This is not true. We are currently using it just as we planned from the start to keep from moving our hose racks and hose dryer which is attached inside one of the rooms, providing space for exercise equipment, and to house our fourth vehicle, which was setting outside. We did, however, give up our training room, and an office upstairs."

"So from the start this has been a construction and renovation project. As part of the new project, we figured in new doors for the old building so everything would match. To save dollars, our firefighters did most of the work on the old building by repainting, stripping, buffing, waxing floors, and moving equipment and cabinets."

"When we started looking at designs, we were looking for a building with 5 or 6 bays to house our vehicles, and to allow for expansion. We explored several options before we ended up with the current design. During workshops and meetings, we discussed with the mayor and aldermen about utilizing the old fire hall to cut down the new building size.'

"At the last meeting, an idea was brought to the board about taking away the old fire hall so the Police Department could use it. This is very upsetting to us because we chose the floor plan of the new building based on the promise of using the old building."

" The ladies and gentlemen of the Smithville Fire Department worked hard on renovating the old building and they work hard year around, by maintaining both buildings by sweeping, mopping, buffing, waxing the floors, cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing toilets, washing fire trucks, and maintaining equipment."

"We are a progressive fire department and it is our desire to continue. I hope to come before the board in the future with a proposal to hire some full time firefighters. Hopefully, this plan will provide better fire protection, attract new industry, and hopefully lower insurance costs for all our citizens of Smithville."

Aldermen Stephen White made a motion that "we designate all of the old and the new fire halls for the fire department and if we do have to expand the police department in the future we'll just have to do that elsewhere."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan offered a second to the motion and Aldermen Cecil Burger, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins, Sr. voted with White and Sullivan to make it unanimous.

In other business, Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson reported that eight city owned vehicles, seventeen seized or abandoned vehicles and other equipment were sold in the recent sale of surplus property bringing in over $16,000 to the city.

Janie Knowles was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Paul Hardeman on the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals.

The aldermen adopted an ordinance on first reading, officially setting the certified tax rate at .6194 cents per $100 of assessed value. The new rate is lower than last year's rate of 68 cents but it is expected to generate the same amount of local revenue, because of appraisal.

Alderman Jerry Hutchins, Sr. is asking that the city consider doing some striping of certain streets in the city that are more heavily traveled such as Foster Road, Miller Road, Anthony Avenue, and South College Street. More information on prices will be obtained and presented to the board at the next meeting.

Alaska Sex Offender Found Living in DeKalb County.

October 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
George Micheaux

An Alaska sex offender has been found living in DeKalb County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies arrested 51 year old George Leo Micheaux Thursday for violation of the sex offender law for failure to register.

Sheriff Ray says officers found Micheaux living at a motel on Highway 70 East in Smithville. He had been living in DeKalb County since September 23rd.

Micheaux is a sex offender in the State of Alaska, where he was convicted for second degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Micheaux had last registered in Canyon County Idaho on June 9th. The State of Idaho has been notified of Micheaux's arrest and charges will be sought against him there. Micheaux's bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on October 9th.

In another case, 25 year old Bradley Lloyd Kelley of Neil Drive, Smithville and 36 year old Sherry Jared of Edgewood Drive, Cookeville were charged September 29th with theft of property over $500. Sheriff Ray says the two were arrested after they took a 1984 Buick from a farm on Nashville Highway without the owner's consent. Bond for both Kelley and Neil was set at $5,000 and they will appear in court on October 23rd.

Also on September 29th, deputies responded to a call on Hurricane Ridge in Smithville and stopped a vehicle for a traffic offense. Sheriff Ray says 32 year old Brian Keith Mitchell of Philadelphia Road Lebanon was arrested for driving on a suspended license after deputies ran a check and found that Mitchell's license was suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on July 30th, 2007 in Wilson County. Mitchell's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on October 15th.

Meanwhile, deputies stopped 26 year old William Travis Malone for a traffic offense on September 29th. Sheriff Ray says upon a check of Malone's license, officers discovered that it had been suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on May 5th, 2008 in Smith County. Malone's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on October 15th.

In another case, deputies arrested 27 year old Nestro Daniel Suastegui of Old West Point Road Smithville on Saturday for driving without a license. Sheriff Ray says officers had stopped Suastegui for a traffic violation. When asked by the Deputy for his license, Suastegui could not produce it. A computer check further revealed that Suastegui never had a valid Tennessee driver's license. Suastegui's bond was set at $1000 and will appear in court on October 23rd.

DeKalb Band’s Great Weekend in Lebanon

October 6, 2008
by: 
Band Boosters
DCHS Band Awarded at Lebanon Contest
DCHS Band Drum Major Hunter Tramel

On Saturday, October 4th, the DeKalb County Fighting Tiger Marching Band traveled to Lebanon High School to compete in the Blue Devil Marching Invitational. This was the third of five scheduled competitions on the band’s itinerary and the results were great.

The Band met at the high school band room at 1PM to begin an intense rehearsal on the practice field in preparation for the day’s performance. This rehearsal was mainly focused on the use of five new props that were added to the show just last week; however, additional musical elements were rehearsed throughout the practice session.

At 3:15, the students were dismissed from rehearsal to eat a quick lunch before departing to Lebanon. Paparoni pizza and drinks were provided by the band directors, Jonathon Wright and Kelly Jo Birmingham. Special thanks go out to Paparoni’s for helping feed approximately forty band students and staff. Mr. Wright said, “The band has worked very hard this week to add new things to the show. They deserved the pizza break.”

The band arrived in Lebanon at 5:15 p.m. and prepared for their 6:45 p.m. warm-up. While the students were busy putting on their uniforms, the boosters and pit crew unloaded the instruments and assembled the props. Mrs. Birmingham said, “I am so very thankful for our parents and other boosters for working to take care of our students and our program.” Hours and hours of work go in to the Band’s seven and a half minute show.

When the 7:15 p.m. performance time arrived, the band took the field for competition with their new props for the first time. The show came off very well with huge applause from the “home” side of the stadium, which consisted of the parents and boosters of the competing bands. Although it is unusual for competitors to “cheer for the opposing team,” the DeKalb County Band also received support from the “visitor’s” side, where all the competing bands were seated.

The awards ceremony revealed DeKalb County Band had won first place in every category in Class 1A, including the areas of Drum Major, Color Guard, and Percussion, and Band. The recap sheet of ALL the scores of ALL the competing bands revealed the following information, although it was not publicly recognized at the awards ceremony: DeKalb County Band had placed 3rd in the Small Division, which is Classes 1A and 2A combined. In addition, the Color Guard placed 4th and the Percussion placed 2nd in the Small Division. Drum Major, Hunter Tramel, placed 1st in the Small and Large Divisions, making him the highest scored Drum Major of all the competing bands of the day. Mr. Wright said, “The band performed very well at Lebanon and I was glad to see them rewarded for their hard work. It is rewarding as a Director to see the students continue to grow as musicians and performers. I am very excited about the remainder of the season and I look forward to seeing the band perform even better as we work towards our final competitions.”

There was only a difference of one point between DeKalb County’s third place Small Division score and the “Sweepstakes” winner, the highest scoring band in the division. This close-range scoring indicates the contest was very close and intense.

The band, staff, and boosters would like to send out special thanks to Mike Campbell, Tammy Owens, Amanda Scott, Hunter Tramel and everyone else involved in the construction and painting of the new props. Josh Gunter loaned the band the use of his truck to get the equipment tractor, trailer and new props to the competition. Thanks also go to the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department for the escort around town which helps make the students feel proud of their achievements. Mrs. Birmingham said, “Getting a police escort back to the band room helps make the students feel like rock stars, and in my book, they really DO rock!”

The Band would also like to say congratulations the DCHS Tiger Football Team for the big win against Pearl Cohn High School. Mr. Wright said, “We wish we could have been there with you; however, if we’re at the games or not, we are always cheering for you! We are really proud of our football team.”

Next week, the band travels to Vanderbilt University for the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational. For more information about the Band, sponsors, schedule, pictures and video, log onto www.DekalbBand.com.

Operation Head To Toe Solicits Support To Clothe Needy Children

October 4, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

If you would like to help needy children in this community then you're encouraged to support "Operation Head to Toe", a faith-based initiative to assist families who struggle financially.

"Operation Head To Toe" uses donated funds to purchase new school clothes for children.

The mission is to work in conjunction with the educators of the DeKalb County School System to identify children and youth who have almost nothing in the way of clothing. Once these children and youth are selected, volunteers work with the families to purchase $150 worth of clothes per child.

In 2004, Jeanni Watson, the founder, had this idea to help these children. She received a gift of one hundred dollars in seed money, and Operation Head to Toe began.

That first year, Operation Head to Toe distributed $9,000 of new clothing to children in DeKalb County. In 2007, with the help of over 400 volunteers, donors and educators, Operation Head to Toe received over $15,000 and clothed 118 children. Operation Head to Toe is now part of the DeKalb County Foundation for Education, with a board of directors to help give guidance. Betty Turner is the director of Operation Head to Toe.

The 2008 fall distribution campaign is underway and your help is needed. Operation Head to Toe's connection with the DeKalb County Foundation for Education allows your contributions to be tax-deductible. Donations by check should be made payable to Operation Head to Toe, P.O. Box 372, Smithville, 37166.

For more information, call 597-1220 or 597-5920.

5th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off Set for October 24th

October 4, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Habitat for Humanity's Fifth Annual Chili Cook-off and bake sale will be held on the courthouse lawn on Friday, October 24th from 10:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

According to Tecia Puckett Pryor, eight teams have already committed to participate including State Farm Insurance Agent Jackie Smith, Bradley Printing, the Board of Education, DeKalb Community Bank, the Courthouse Crew, Edgar Evins State Park, Tom Janney and Associates, and the Chamber of Commerce. Organizers hope to have at least fifteen teams.

Teams will be honored for having the "Best Chili" and the "Best Decorated" booth.

To enter a team, pick up an application from Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen at the courthouse, at the law office of Sue Puckett-Jernigan next to Griffin's Fruit Market, or at Bradley Printing.

You may purchase a bowl for $5.00 and enjoy all the chili you care to eat. Take out will also be available.

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. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

Two houses have been built in DeKalb County. The second house has just been completed and a dedication will be scheduled this fall. Funds raised from the chili cook-off will go toward construction of a third Habitat house.

DeKalb Community Hospital Earns Accreditation

October 3, 2008

DeKalb Community Hospital has received accreditation from the Joint Commission following an unannounced on-site evaluation.

The Joint Commission found the hospital compliant at all levels within the Hospital Accreditation Program and granted accreditation for the next 39 months.

"Our hospital’s accreditation highlights the fact that DeKalb Community Hospital is committed to continuously meeting rigorous national standards of excellence" states Cindy Foster, Chief Clinical Officer of the hospital. "The Joint Commissions' findings affirm how dedicated our physicians, clinical staff and associates are to providing the very best care for patients. We are proud to provide high quality care and services for the residents of the counties we serve."

The hospital accreditation process evaluates quality and safety through the application of over 400 quality measures.

DeKalb Community Hospital has been serving the community for nearly 40 years by providing high-quality, patient-centered healthcare.

Tigers Defeat Pearl Cohn 28-6 in Nashville

October 3, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers defeated the Pearl Cohn Firebirds 28-6 Friday night in Nashville.

The Tigers scored their first touchdown with 5:18 left in the first quarter on a pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards that covered 76 yards. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good and DeKalb led 7-0.

The black and gold scored their second TD with 11:10 to go in the second quarter on a 20 yard touchdown pass play from Poteete to Hunter Stewart. Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good and the Tigers led 14-0.

DeKalb County added another touchdown with 1:24 left in the second quarter on a 4 yard touchdown pass play from Poteete to Nick Lester. Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good and the Tigers led 21-0. That was the half time score.

Pearl Cohn got on the scoreboard with 6:22 left in the third quarter on a Nick Hill 4 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Jestin Williams. The 2 point conversion attempt failed. DeKalb's lead was trimmed to 21 to 6.

DeKalb County's Matthew Lawrence scored on a one yard touchdown run with 4:09 left in the fourth quarter and Taylor's P.A.T. kick gave the Tigers a 28-6 lead. That was the final score.

DeKalb County is now 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in region play.

The Tigers will host the Upperman Bees next Friday night in Smithville.

Smithville Police Make Arrests for DUI, Public Intoxication, and Other Traffic Offenses

October 2, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made several arrests within the last week on public intoxication, DUI and other traffic related offenses.

Among them were a man and woman who were charged Sunday, September 28th.

43 year old Ricky Estes was arrested for being a habitual offender, a third offense of driving under the influence, and a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond totals $11,500 and he will be in court October 16th.

29 year old Cindy Armstrong Estes is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court October 16th.

Officer Brad Tatrow, in his report, states that Ricky Estes was arrested for DUI when a computer check of his license showed that it was revoked for being a habitual offender .

According to Officer Tatrow, he observed a vehicle on Short Mountain Street in Smithville weaving into the curb from the right hand lanes. Officer Tatrow stopped the vehicle on Gentry Avenue. The driver, Estes, got out of the vehicle and Officer Tatrow noticed him to be very unsteady on his feet. Upon speaking with Estes, Officer Tatrow noticed that he had very slurred speech. He was asked to perform field sobriety tasks and he performed poorly on all tasks. Estes did submit to a blood alcohol or drug test.

Meanwhile, Officer Nathan Estes, in his report, states that Cindy Armstrong Estes was a passenger of a vehicle in which the driver, Ricky Estes, was arrested for DUI. Cindy Estes got out of the vehicle and was very unsteady on her feet, with slow slurred speech. She performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. It was determined that she was a danger to herself and to the public, therefore she was arrested.

In another case, 56 year old French Junior Mullins of McMinnville was charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on October 14th.

According to Officer Nathan Estes, Mullins was operating a motor vehicle on Walker Drive on Friday, September 26th and was involved in an accident. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. He did take a blood test.

36 year old Thomas Dewight Vickers was charged with driving on a revoked license on Saturday, September 27th. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on October 9th.

Police say they received three calls on Saturday that Vickers had been driving and that the passengers in the vehicle with him were passed out. He was arrested in the area of Miller Road and he did admit to driving the vehicle. Vickers' license was revoked for DUI on March 30th, 2008 in Smith County. Officers had knowledge of his license being revoked.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police arrested three people after answering a fight call at 398 South College Street on Friday, September 26th.

43 year old Willivaido Larragoltia, 22 year old Rablo Juan Larragoltia, and 31 year old Juan Lucio Galvan were all charged with public intoxication. Bond for each was set at $1,000 and they will appear in court on October 16th.

The police reports state that the Smithville Police Department was answering a fight call and upon arrival, officers found these three men on the porch of the residence at 398 South College Street with a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on them. They were unsteady on their feet and were arrested for their own safety and the safety of the public.

Sample Ballot Released for November 4th Election

October 2, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has released the sample ballot for the November 4th election.

Voters will be casting ballots in the Presidential, U.S. Senate, 6th District U.S. House of Representative, and the 40th District Tennessee State Representative race.

In the Presidential race, the choices are;

Electors for Barack Obama for President and Joe Biden for Vice President- Democrat nominee Electors for John McCain for President and Sarah Palin for Vice President-Republican nominee
Electors for Chuck Baldwin for President and Darrell Castle for Vice President- Independent
Electors for Bob Barr for President and Wayne Root for Vice President- Independent
Electors for Charles Jay for President and Thomas L. Knapp for Vice President-Independent Electors for Cynthia McKinney for President and Rosa Clemente for Vice President- Independent Electors for Brian Moore for President and Stewart Alexander for Vice President- Independent Electors for Ralph Nader for President and Matt Gonzalez for Vice President- Independent

Candidates for the United States Senate are;

Robert D. Tuke-Democratic nominee
Lamar Alexander- Republican nominee
Edward L. Buck- Independent candidate
Christopher G. Fenner-Independent candidate
David Gatchell-Independent candidate
Ed Lawhorn- Independent candidate
Daniel Towers Lewis- Independent candidate
Chris Lugo-Independent candidate

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives (6th District)
Bart Gordon- Democratic nominee
Chris Baker- Independent candidate

Candidates for Tennessee House of Representatives (40th District)
Cleveland Derrick Bain- Democratic nominee
Terri Lynn Weaver- Republican nominee
Ray Amalfitano- Independent candidate

October 6th is the deadline for new voter registrations in Dekalb County.

October 30th is the deadline for voters who are already registered in Dekalb County to change their address on their voter registration if they have moved.

People who have moved are encouraged to keep their address current on their voter registration. Polling places are assigned according to a person's residence.

If you have moved and fail to change it on your voter registration, you will be required to fill out the form on election day and vote at the correct polling place.

Please call 597-4146 if you have any questions.

Early Voting will be October 15th through October 30th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

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