Local News Articles

Burn Permits Required Through May 15

March 17, 2010
Dwayne Page

Visible signs of spring are beginning to emerge as warm temperatures and sunny skies push back the doldrums from what has been one of the coldest winters on record. As Tennesseans begin to take advantage of this weather to do some yard work around the home or farm, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry wants to remind folks that if they are considering conducting an open burn, a burn permit is required in advance of such activity.

“Burning vegetative material that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient tool to get rid of such debris,” said State Forester Steven Scott. “However, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning recommendations. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of debris burning is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where and how it is safe to burn.”

The free burn permits are required in all areas of the state by law from now until May 15 unless otherwise covered by local ordinances, so residents should check with their local government for other restrictions. The permits can be obtained by calling your local Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Phone numbers for each office can be found in the state government section of your local phone book, or by visiting www.BurnSafeTN.org and clicking on the ‘Burn Permits’ button for a list of phone numbers by county. Permits are generally good for 24 hours and can be issued for weekend burns.

More than 415,000 permits were issued last year for activities that included unconfined, outdoor burning of brush and leaves, untreated wood waste and burning to clear land. The volume of requests on any given day can be high, so the Division asks residents to exercise patience if they experience any delay in getting through to an operator.

Once a burn permit is obtained, debris burners should practice common sense while conducting a burn. This includes:

Establish a control line around the fire, down to bare soil before conducting the burn.
Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance as a courtesy.

Have tools on hand such as a leaf rake and garden hose or bucket of water to help control the fire.

Watch for changing weather conditions as winds can blow the fire in the wrong direction.

Always stay with your fire until it is completely out. It is not only the smart thing to do, but it is also illegal to leave an open fire unattended.

Escaped debris burns are the leading cause of wildfires in Tennessee. The Division’s burn permit system has dramatically helped reduce the numbers of escaped burns since the program began in 1995. Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.

Burning permits can be obtained from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling the DeKalb County office of the Division of Forestry at 597-4015. Permits for the weekend can be obtained on Friday. For residents in the City of Smithville, you must call Central Dispatch at 215-3000 to obtain a burning permit.

For more information on the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/forestry. For more information on safe debris burning, visit www.BurnSafeTN.org

Children in Smithville Day School Visit WJLE

March 16, 2010
Dwayne Page

Several children in the Smithville Day School at the Smithville Church of Christ visited WJLE on a field trip Tuesday morning.

The children were interviewed on the radio and sang "Jesus Loves Me"

The Smithville Day School is a pre-school program that meets every Tuesday and Thursday. There are five classes and children from eighteen months to pre-kindergarten are served. During this time, the primary objective is to provide an exciting and rewarding environment for your child. Some of the goals are to increase your child's language development, improve physical development, increase intellectual development, master hand/eye coordination activities, enhance fine and gross motor skills, increase awareness in interpersonal relationships, stimulate by exposure in the areas of arts and crafts, teach moral and cultural values concerning honesty, obedience, friendship, and trust.

A Bible lesson is taught every day. During this time, your child is taught the difference between right and wrong, the feelings experienced when they have done something wrong, and the values of trust, honesty, obedience, and respect for their parents. Children are taught about the many Bible characters in the Old and New Testaments and how these stories are applied to each child's life. Above all, the children are taught they we should love God.

For more information, call 615-597-6308 or Frances Hedge at 597-4975.

Smithville Water Plant Renovation to Begin by August

March 15, 2010
Dwayne Page

It may be August before any significant work begins on the renovation of the Smithville Water Treatment Plant.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson updated the aldermen on the project during Monday night's city council meeting. "We had a pre-construction conference with W & O Construction last Tuesday. Of course they were awarded the bid on the water plant and they have been given notice to proceed. They will be doing some things down there in the electrical work, probably maybe pouring a concrete pad for a generator, but the majority of the work is probably not going to start until August. They have ordered all the pumps and there's about a ten or twelve week lead time on all this equipment. They will be doing some things down there but the major part won't start until about August. It was stressed to them highly that the water producing had to go on so there won't be any foreseen interruptions in water producing. The engineer is confident they will do a good job. The engineering firm works with them good and they were the low bidder. So like I said they will be doing some things down there but the majority of the work probably won't start until around August."

The Smithville Board of Aldermen, on February 1st, approved a resolution awarding the construction bid to W&O Construction Company of Livingston in the amount of $2,542,000. The actual costs will be more when taking into consideration fees for engineering and other related services. The city will receive a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 will have to be appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund.

Mayor Hendrixson said last month that the city would not have to borrow the money. There are sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.
The project entails modernizing the water treatment plant and making improvements to the raw water intake. Mayor Hendrixson says W &O Construction has 365 days to complete the project and service to customers will not be interrupted while the renovation is underway.

In other business, the aldermen voted to accept bids for the airport hay contract. The current two year contract expires in April.

Mayor Hendrixson said the city has been asked to make a donation to Project Graduation. The aldermen voted to contribute $500. This is the same amount that the city has donated in the past.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs mentioned that some citizens have raised safety concerns about an intersection near the public square. "It has been brought to my attention by some citizens that the intersection of Webb Street and South Third Street by the dentist office and across from the Foutch residence. I understand that there have been quite a number of accidents at that location. It was suggested by the people who brought it up to me that a four way stop be put there. Personally, I hate four way stops. I think they probably cause more accidents than they solve but I thought we might want to discuss it and ask Lieutenant Leffew or his department to maybe take a look at the statistics of the number of wrecks we've had there and get a recommendation as far as public safety goes. I'm not sure what to do but I've heard discussions about that being a dangerous location because of the hill there, you can't see and some cars pull out too far trying to see if anybody is coming up the hill.'

Lieutenant Leffew said he would gather some information and report back to the board.

Qualifying Deadline for Smithville Election is Noon Thursday

March 15, 2010
Dwayne Page

Candidates interested in running for mayor or alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election have until noon on Thursday, March 18th to qualify with the DeKalb County Election Commission Office in the courthouse.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 15th. The positions are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger. Each term is two years.

Mayor Hendrixson has qualified to seek re-election. He will be challenged by former Smithville Mayor Bruce Medley, who has qualified to run for mayor. Debbie DePriest has qualified to run for Mayor.

Meanwhile Aldermen White and Burger will be seeking re-election. Shawn Beckham has also qualified to run for alderman.

Givens Makes Campaign Stop in DeKalb County- Files Papers to Run for State Senate

March 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Senate Candidate Aubrey Givens
Jordan Wilkins, Aubrey Givens, Alesha Stephens, and Delaney Johnson

Aubrey Givens of Lebanon, candidate for the State Senate in the 17th district, formally filed a certified duplicate copy of his qualifying petition with the DeKalb County Election Commission Monday.

Givens, who is seeking his party's nomination for the office in the August 5th Tennessee Democratic primary, says he is looking forward to the campaign. "Today was the day when we turned in our paper work. Everybody now has a name you can go out and vote for on the ballot and have confidence that you'll have good representation."

"I am originally from Lebanon, although interestingly enough, we were able to trace our roots back to DeKalb County to 1812 on my mom's side of the family. I went to public schools and graduated from Lebanon High School and then went to MTSU. Back then we didn't have the HOPE scholarship, you just kinda hoped you had a scholarship. Thank God I was able to be blessed and got a scholarship and a college degree. I went to the Nashville School of Law. Since that time, I have focused my practice on helping working families, helping people who need assistance and making sure they are entitled to justice and a fair shake in life. I'm proud of what I do and now I'm ready to take it to the next level to help not only the people I've served in the past but to be able to spread it now among all the people of this district and to give our working families a fair shake."

"The number one issue in the state of Tennessee for this district and all the others is jobs. We've got to get some programs in place to get Tennesseans back to work so they can provide for their families, raise their families here in this state, and have a good standard of living, give them a good education, and make sure they have good health care. That's what we intend to carry all the way to Nashville to represent our people of this district."

"I want to be the first candidate, and I feel I'm the only candidate that will make this commitment. The bridges, not only in DeKalb County, but in Smith County are in disrepair. The problem with that is it's a danger to our children crossing them in school buses, but it's also keeping our job opportunities down. My number one commitment for DeKalb and Smith County is to get the bridges fixed so they'll be safe, so we can encourage industry to come into our communities and put people in these counties back to work."

"In order to be a good candidate you have to bring first and foremost good common sense and then you have to look at the issues. You have to be able to talk to the people in the communities to find out exactly what it is that concerns them. So if you have some common sense and you're willing to listen, then if you take that to Nashville and you don't compromise your principles or your ethics, go down there and do the right thing, you're going to be successful."

"I'm a little disappointed in the way things have been going over the last few years and that's the reason for a lot of my motivation and the reason I'm taking this step. I believe we can do things better. I believe what we need to do in the state legislature is to get focused on the issues that are really important, jobs, education, and health care for our seniors. Those are the type things we need to be focused on. We need to get these programs in place. We don't need to be focused on things that are really not important to Tennesseans. But we've got to stay focused on these major issues."

"I am totally opposed to a state income tax and I won't support that at all. I believe that our tax system can work, but we have to spend our money wisely. First, we need to get Tennesseans back to work so they can go out and buy the goods and products that generate the sales taxes and then take those sales taxes and put them in the places where they need to be. At the same time, it's important to eliminate the waste and the fraud in our budget, the pork projects, so we can concentrate on our roads, bridges, and schools, and to keep our priorities straight."

The 17th State Senatorial District is made up of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, Wilson, and part of Sumner County.

(Pictured second from top: left to right- Jordan Wilkins, President of the Junior High Democrats in DeKalb County, Aubrey Givens, and Alesha Stephens and Delaney Johnson, members of the Junior High Democrats)

Miller Charged with Domestic Assault

March 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
David D. Miller

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a 55 year old man with domestic assault.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says David D. Miller of Kings Court, Smithville is under a $1,000 bond and he will be in court on March 25th.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy was dispatched to a domestic call at King's Court off Adcock Cemetery Road on Saturday. After arrival, the officer found a male victim with three red marks on his left side. Through an investigation, officers determined that Miller had struck the victim with a baseball bat several times leaving the red marks on the victim's side. He will appear in court on March 25th.

38 year old Wayne A. Stock of City Walk Apartments, Highway 70 East was charged Thursday, March 11th with driving on a revoked license and criminal impersonation. His bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on April 22nd

Sheriff Ray says a deputy stopped Stock on Thursday. When asked to see his drivers license, Stock told the officer that he did not have his license with him. He also said his name was Wayne Reynolds. Through an investigation into the man's identity, authorities were able to determine Stock's real name. A background check revealed that Stock's drivers license was revoked.

Meanwhile, during the traffic stop, 30 year old Aubrey Glenn Rigsby of Bethel Road, Smithville pulled up at the scene where he was arrested for a second offense of driving on a suspended license and a violation of probation warrant. Rigsby's bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on the driving charge April 21st.

30 year old Bradley Shane Sanders of Dry Creek Road Smithville was charged Friday, March 12th
with driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop on Short Mountain Highway. He was also arrested for a failure to pay child support warrant that was issued against him.

Meanwhile, a passenger in Sanders' vehicle was asked to give her name and she replied that she was Krista Caldwell. The officer knew her by the name of Krista Mahaney of Sparta Highway, Smithville. Mahaney was arrested for criminal impersonation. She also had a failure to appear warrant against her for not appearing in court on another charge.

Bond for Sanders was set at $1,000 on the driving charge and he will appear in court on April 21st. Mahaney's bond was set at $1,000 on the criminal impersonation charge and she will appear in court on the charge April 22nd

35 year old Christopher Allan Scruggs of Big Hurricane Road Smithville was charged Saturday, March 13th with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on March 24th. Sheriff Ray says a deputy was dispatched to a two vehicle accident on Highway 70 west on Saturday and found Scruggs to be the driver of one of the automobiles. The officer ran a background check on Scruggs' license and discovered them to be suspended.

Smithville Police Department Crime News

March 12, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has released it's crime report for the week.

37 year old Sara R Grizzle of 406 Todd Road, Woodbury was arrested on Sunday, March 7th for an eighth offense of driving on a revoked license and criminal impersonation. Corporal Travis Bryant saw a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign on Hayes Street and Short Mountain Highway. He initiated a traffic stop at Green Brook Park and requested personal information for a citation. As he was writing the citation Ms. Grizzle informed him that she had lied and given him someone else's name because she knew that he would have arrested her for driving on a revoked license. A driver's license check of her real name revealed her license to be suspended. Ms. Grizzle was placed under arrest. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in General Sessions Court on March 18th

47 year old Edward Lee Judkins of 4762 Jefferson Road was cited on Tuesday, March 9th for possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Matt Farmer received a call of drug traffic at Advanced Auto. As he was speaking to the complainant, Officer Farmer was informed that the vehicle in question was seen on West Bryant Street traveling east at the intersection with South Congress Boulevard.. The vehicle pulled into the parking lot of the Dollar General store. The man in the automobile got out. Officer Farmer recognized him as Edward Judkins. He also had knowledge that Judkins was on probation. After speaking with Judkins and confirming he was on probation, Officer Farmer asked for and received consent to search his person. Judkins asked if he could put on his jacket, which was in the car. Judkins told Farmer that he could look at it first. Officer Farmer found a hypodermic needle in the pocket. The court date for Judkins is April 8th.

47 year old Ricky Lynn Cantrell of 120 B Eckel Heights, Liberty was arrested on Thursday, March 11th for public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call in regard to a possible intoxicated person at the courthouse. Corporal Bryant made contact with Ricky Cantrell who was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Cantrell said that he had taken Xanax which was prescribed by his doctor. Bond for Cantrell was set at $1,000 and his court date is April 1st.

Meanwhile anyone having information on the following offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Saturday, March 6th Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 1008 South College Street in reference to a suspicious person. Richard Lasser stated that he received a call from his mother who lives on South College Street. She informed him that she saw an unknown person looking around his house. Upon inspecting his home he discovered that someone had attempted to kick in his side door and basement door causing damage to the door and weather stripping. No entry was made and nothing was missing from his home.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

March 12, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! The General Assembly is in full swing and bills are being heard left and right. One such bill, House Bill 2789 was debated at length Tuesday evening in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill, the Juvenile Sexual Offender Registry, would strengthen the state’s sexual offender laws and ensure that we as a state are completely in compliance with the federal government’s Adam Walsh Act. It would require violent juvenile sexual offenders age 14 years or older to register on a sexual offender registry.

An amendment was added to the bill due to concerns raised regarding juveniles who may not reoffend. Currently, juveniles are assessed by mental health professionals after being adjudicated for a violent sexual crime. The Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations agreed to assess the juveniles as “high-risk” and “low-risk,” with only those assessed as “high-risk” being required to register.

In addition, the bill states that a person must stay on the registry for 25 years before applying for removal. However, if the person is convicted of an additional offense, they must stay on the registry for life. These are the minimum requirements that keep the legislation in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

The federal government signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law in 2006. The state’s fiscal analysts say that Tennessee is eligible to receive over $50 million in grant funding, but that 10 percent of that is in jeopardy unless House Bill 2789 passes. State compliance with the Adam Walsh Act is tied to the grant money.

Thirty-two states have some form of a violent juvenile sexual offender registry. Offenses that would qualify a violent juvenile sexual offender for the registry are: aggravated rape, rape, aggravated sexual battery when coercion is involved, rape of a child with a victim at least four years younger, and aggravated rape of a child or the attempt of any of these.

After four and a half hours of discussion, the bill was deferred for one week. The legislation will be heard again in the Judiciary Committee next week and is expected to be voted on at that time.

House Bill 262 will require the written portion of the driver’s license exam to be administered strictly in English passed out the House Public Safety Subcommittee this week. The legislation was last run in 2007, and the Senate was successful in passing it with an overwhelming 22-5 vote. However, some House members blocked the measure in a House subcommittee, and the bill died on a tie vote.

I believe, along with some of my colleagues, that the law is needed for safety. Drivers who cannot read highway warning signs, traffic signs, hazard signs on other vehicles, or who cannot communicate with police or public safety personnel in the event of a serious accident or emergency are a danger to themselves and others. The bill passed out of the House Public Safety Subcommittee for the first time and will next be heard in the full House Transportation Committee.

House Bill 3221 was approved by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees this week to attack a major source of illegal drug activity in Tennessee. The bill would stiffen penalties against those who get prescriptions in another state and return to illegally distribute drugs in Tennessee.

Action on the bill follows a 96.6 percent increase in drug-related deaths, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some Tennessee law enforcement officers attribute that increase to the misuse of prescription drugs by those who obtain them legally from out-of-state “pill mills.”

The most common drugs found are: OxyContin, Darvon, and Vicodin. However, drug busts in Tennessee have also included Xanax and Roxicodones. The legislation would increase the penalties for the illegal trafficking of out-of-state drugs from a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a 30-day jail term and up to $50 in fines, to a Class D felony, with 2 to 12 years in prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

As we all know, every ten years the federal government takes the census. The government counts every resident in the United States as required by the Constitution. This data is then used for identifying certain communities to receive funding and to redistrict legislative and congressional seats based on population. Every household in the United States and Puerto Rico will receive a census form that residents are asked to fill out and return. If a household does not return the form, a census worker is then dispatched to the household to gather the needed information.

The Census Bureau recently sent out information regarding the types of questions that will be asked, and warning citizens to be on alert for people posing as census workers. When a census worker visits a home, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Citizens can refuse to take part, but the most important question is simply regarding the number of people who live at the address. The federal government has advised the census forms will be mailed mid-March, and ask that the forms be returned by April 1, 2010.

In Brief
House Bill 3105 passed out of the House Education Committee this week and would require local boards of education to give preference to a parent’s request in classroom placement of multiple birth siblings.

House Bill 3063 which would prohibit physicians who are on the sexual offender registry from treating children under the age of 18 years old passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week. It will now be heard in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 2768 which would require certain DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle moved out of the House Judiciary Committee and will be heard in the House Budget Subcommittee.

The Appalachian Center for Crafts visited us up here at the capitol this week for “Arts Advocacy Day on the Hill”. It is always wonderful to see groups from my district take an active interest in the politics that affects our daily life. As I am a big believer of the arts I was especially happy to speak to these fine folks and discuss the importance art plays in the lives of our children specifically and culture in general. We also discussed plans to bring more art awareness to the capitol by making “Arts Day on the Hill” larger in the future.

In closing, it was a delight having teachers from Northside Elementary, in Dekalb County, attend both full and sub Education Committees. I am truly impressed at the dedication these teachers have demonstrated to educating our children and find myself both grateful and honored to serve them as a Representative. Please feel free to come by my office as well. It is an honor to work for the 40th District.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver has announced that the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has distributed $5,100 in Arts Build Communities grants and $1,500 in Student Ticket Subsidy grants to DeKalb County institutions to nurture artists and help students experience arts and cultural events.

In partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission and funded by the Tennessee General Assembly, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee facilitates the Arts Build Communities (ABC) and Student Ticket Subsidy grant programs.

The ABC grant program aims to strengthen communities by funding projects that nurture artists and arts organizations. The following DeKalb County organizations were awarded ABC grants: Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of Tennessee to provide seventh-grade students eight intensive, hands-on craft activities at the Craft Center; and the Smithville Fidders’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival to design and produce a promotional packet for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree.

“This grant program is designed to ensure that Tennessee’s public school students have access to live performances and arts and cultural events, and I think the students of DeKalb County will really enjoy these events,” said Representative Weaver.

The Student Ticket Subsidy grant program is designed to ensure that Tennessee's public school students have access to live performances and arts and cultural events, and reimburses ticket costs for students in 35 counties The Community Foundation serves.

In DeKalb County, 600 students are participating in arts and cultural events with the help of Student Ticket Subsidy grants. The following schools received grants: DeKalb West School has received a Student Ticket Subsidy grant for students to attend Tennessee Theater Company. Smithville Elementary School has received a Student Ticket Subsidy grant for students to attend Arts Center of Cannon County.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 720 charitable funds. In the past 18 years, The Community Foundation has distributed $460 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Walk Across Tennessee Contest to Kick-Off March 27

March 12, 2010

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends or your family by participating in Walk across Tennessee, which is an eight-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in DeKalb County. Beginning Saturday, March 27, teams of eight will compete to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of exercise in their community. Biking or jogging teams can have a team of four. The miles walked are not literally across the state, but reported on a map posted at Greenbrook Park under shelter #1, on the Walk across Tennessee website, and other community areas.

Since everyone participates in a variety of sports, the Walk across Tennessee program also has an exercise conversion chart so that participants can count aerobics, swimming, weight lifting, etc. For example, 16 minutes of high intensity aerobics would equal one mile. According to Extension Agent April Martin, “The exercise must be intentional. For fairness, exercise cannot be counted while at work.”

There is a $3 fee per person to participate in Walk Across Tennessee. The money will be put into a “kitty” fund and the winning team will get to share the prize money.
The Walk Across Tennessee kickoff for DeKalb County is set for Saturday, March 27 at Greenbrook Park at 9:00. “Teams will keep track of their miles, which will be posted at the park under shelter #1, at other places around the community, and on the website which is http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty. Teams can be composed of coworkers, teachers, students, neighbors, etc.” Teams composed of primarily runners and/or bicyclists are limited to four team members. The eight week competition will end on Saturday, May 22.

Many people are unaware of the positive benefits of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 problem in the United States. The risk of heart disease could be significantly reduced by regular exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control, the positive effects of physical activity are not limited to lowering the risk of heart disease. Not only does regular exercise help relieve stress and anxiety,” physically active people outlive inactive people. Participating in Walk Across Tennessee DeKalb County is not only a great way to get involved with our community, it’s a healthy habit,” Martin stated.

To participate in Walk Across Tennessee, first get a team together. Biking and jogging teams are limited to four people. Choose a team captain and name your team. Team captains need to download a captain’s packet, available at the DeKalb County Walk Across Tennessee website which is http://eteamz.active.com/WalkAcrossTennesseeDeKalbCounty/ in the handout section or stop by the DeKalb County U.T. Extension Office, 115 West Market St. Smithville, located right off the courthouse square. Each team member will need to complete a registration form which is included in the team captain’s packet or at the Walk Across Tennessee website. Individual as well as team forms should be returned to the Extension office.

“Competition kicks off on March 27, 9:00 A.M. at Greenbrook Park under pavilion one, but if people are unable to make it, they can still participate” Martin said. For more information, call the Extension office at 597-4945 or visit the website.

All of the programs of the University of Tennessee are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.

SHIP Program Seeking Eligible Participants Needing Help with Medicare Costs

March 12, 2010
Meghian Moore, SHIP Coordinator

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) has recently received information from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding 515 people who reside in DeKalb County who may qualify for additional help with their Medicare costs. This is the number of residents who may not currently be paying low co-pays at the pharmacy as well as get assistance paying their Part B premiums. The Extra Help Program (also called Low-Income Subsidy) is a program that is processed by Social Security Administration which helps certain low-income beneficiaries by paying zero dollar monthly premiums, no deductibles and very low cost share at the pharmacy. This program also eliminates the coverage gap, or as most calls it, the “donut hole.” The extra help program is valued up to $3,900.00 per year per beneficiary as well as the possibility of getting back the Part B premium which is $96.40 (for most individuals) and deducted out of SSA checks automatically.

The SHIP program can assist any beneficiary with Medicare by helping with the application process electronically. Many people in DeKalb County already qualify for the “extra help” due to the fact that they already receive TennCare or SSI benefits and therefore do not need to apply each year. For others who meet certain income and asset guidelines, the application process is easy and submitted to Social Security electronically through www.ssa.gov. The great thing about applying online is that once the application is reviewed by SSA, it is then sent to the state Medicaid office with the individual’s permission to see if they qualify to get assistance paying the Part B Premium which is called a “Medicare Savings Program.”

Many people who debate applying should do so anyway. Most people automatically assume they do not qualify because they have always been denied for other programs for making a little too much and have become tired of being told no for the smallest benefits. There are no estate recovery or recapture penalties to this benefit. An individual must have a monthly income of $1,354 or less (1,821 for a married couple) to qualify for the extra help. Having additional family members may make this amount higher. Resource (asset) limits are below $12,510 for single and $25,010 for a couple. Please note that a person’s home, car and personal possessions are not looked at. Resources, or assets, can include other properties, savings or checking accounts, certificates of deposits and cash value of any IRA’s or annuities. Due to new MIPPA laws, (Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008), the application can no longer ask for cash value of life insurance policies nor ask for value of any help provided by others to help pay monthly expenses.

If you think you may qualify for the extra help paying Part B or Part D costs, or, you know someone who may, please call SHIP for free assistance in applying at toll free 1-877-801-0044. SHIP is a non-profit program which is administered locally at Upper Cumberland Development District in Cookeville. SHIP provides free, non-biased information on all Medicare topics to beneficiaries and their caregivers throughout the Upper Cumberland fourteen counties. We are currently seeking volunteers to help us with the challenge of helping find the 310 individuals in DeKalb County. Please call (931) 432-4111 ext. 247 if you are interested in volunteering with the SHIP Program.


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