Local News Articles

School Board Modifies Fuel Reimbursement Policy

September 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Monday night met in special session and voted to amend a policy giving some relief to groups who have to reimburse the school system for the cost of bus transportation to and from extracurricular activities.

The school board adopted this policy earlier this year, making it apply to all groups.

Under the policy, sponsors of field trips, athletic programs, the high school band, clubs, and other extra curricular activities are required to pay the bus driver, reimburse the school system for the cost of fuel, and pay for the cost of wear and tear on the bus.

The calculation was originally figured on the cost of fuel per gallon based on the last delivery costs, divided by average bus mileage of 6.5 miles per gallon, rounded to the nearest whole cent, and then doubled for the wear and tear of the bus, multiplied by the number of miles traveled.

Transportation employee Peggy Pursell said Monday night that actual mileage of one bus on a recent trip to and from a football game was checked and it came to eight miles per gallon. "We used a bus with a full tank of gas and when we got back, we filled it up again and we checked our mileage. We got between eight and eight and a half miles per gallon. So we're figuring at eight miles now. I bought fuel Friday from Harris Oil in Cookeville. I got 7,000 gallons and I only needed 5,000. Mr (Kenny) Edge took the overage. We bought the fuel for $3.08 and they delivered it today (Monday)."

Sixth District School Board member Bruce Parsley said Monday night, he believed assessing a cost for wear and tear was unfair. "My thinking is we've already paid for the buses. We shouldn't be charging kids again for wear and tear."

Seventh District Board member Johnny Lattimore responded that other school systems make a charge for wear and tear and that " looking at what other counties are charging, we are well under them."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby added that the policy is written so that the costs fluctuates as the price of fuel changes."The proposal that we passed made everything sort of on a sliding scale. If things cost more then the fuel per mileage and depreciation was going to cost more. Now it's less. In the beginning, when we were talking about this, it was going to cost over a dollar a mile and now we're down to 77 cents per mile so that part has gone down. Our policy for extracurricular activities for field trips is less expensive than the majority of school systems in our area. I know we're DeKalb County and we make our policies for DeKalb County but we do look at other places too to find out what's in line."

However, Third District member Kenny Rhody said the charge for depreciation of the buses is creating a financial hardship on some groups like the high school band program. "Some parents have talked to me and they have really been bothered by the costs. They said they would be doing good if they could pay for the fuel. Some of the parents expressed the same thing Mr. Parsley said that we bought these buses when they were new for the children and when they wear out we'll buy more new buses, but we bought them for our kids to use. They don't mind paying for the fuel, but the buses, they feel like they've paid for once, and are now being hit with another charge. It's enough on them to have to pay for the fuel. That's a big burden for them. If we just do the surcharge on the fuel and not have the additional fee for the usage and wear and tear, then if it goes over $4.00 a gallon, we could look at this policy again."

Board member Parsley made a motion that these groups pay only for the cost of the fuel and the bus driver on these trips to extracurricular activities, but that the charge for wear and tear be eliminated. Board member Kenny Rhody seconded the motion, but they were the only members voting for it.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson and members W.J. (Dub) Evins III, Johnny Lattimore, Joan Draper, and John David Foutch voted no.

Lattimore then made a motion that the cost for wear and tear be cut in half, which would currently make it 19 cents instead of 38 cents, and that the board take another look at the policy in January.

All voted in favor, except Parsley.

So the new formula will be as follows:
Divide the cost of fuel based on the last delivery, currently $3.08, by 8 miles per gallon and the cost is figured at 38 cents per gallon. Then add another 19 cents for the cost of wear and tear and the total cost per mile is 57 cents.

Rotary Fish Fry Raises Thousands of Dollars for the Community

September 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lowell Robinson, Alan Webb, Dot Estes, Brenda Cantrell, Stephanie Wyss, Katherine Pack, Dewain Hendrixson and Dr. Cliff Duke at Rotary Fish Fry
Clark Lance, Brenice Wright and Boyd Cantrell cooking at Rotary Fish Fry
Chad and Lynn Colwell and Kenny Wright help with cooking at Rotary Fish Fry

The Smithville Rotary Club raised thousands of dollars during their annual fish fry Saturday at Greenbrook Park and the money generated will go back to the community to help meet various needs.

Many prizes were also awarded to ticket holders including $1,000 in cash which went to Brett and Sherree Curtis of Smithville. Bruce Medley was the winner of $500.

Stephanie Wyss, President of the Smithville Rotary Club, says all available tickets were sold this year and she wishes to thank everyone for their support. "We raised somewhere between five and six thousand dollars this year. That's normally what we do every year. We sold all our tickets. We were just thrilled, especially with all the businesses that came out and supported us this year."

"What we normally do is return the profits to the community. We give away scholarships. For the high school seniors, we're giving three, $750 scholarships. We also put the money to use in various other ways as far as supporting kids sports teams, soccer teams, tee ball teams, and more. We just like to make sure that we give back to the kids. One of the big events that we do every Christmas is that we give food baskets to a lot of the elderly people that receive meals on wheels. We just enjoy those kinds of programs. We look for different ways to make sure those monies go 100% back to the community. We just like to stay available for needs that present themselves".

"One of the things we're going to be spending a lot of energy with this year is starting our Interact Club at the high school. We want to make sure that whatever resources they need, those kids have it. Interact is a high school version of a Rotary Club. It is for the kids and it's completely done by the kids. They choose their own community service projects and fundraisers. We're going to be there to support them to make sure that gets off the ground this year."

Wyss says the Rotary Club is always in search of good, active members. "We have eleven strong and faithful members and we are looking for anyone who has any interest in knowing a little more about Rotary. We meet every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Feel free to come out and join us. Our location is on Golf Club Drive. We're right next to the tennis courts and across the street from the city pool."

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.

Man Charged In Assault of Estranged Wife and Another Person

September 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A woman visiting friends was assaulted by her estranged husband, who showed up at the residence last Tuesday. The man also attacked the owner of the home, who had come to the woman's aid.

James Edward Pack II of Agee Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault, domestic assault, especially aggravated burglary, simple assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond totals $27,500.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. of the Smithville Police Department says the man went to 167 Village Place where his estranged wife was visiting friends. He says the man tried to burst through the front door, but the people inside the house kept him from entering. The woman tried to flee through the garage, but her husband went around the house and through an open door to the garage where he caught up with the woman and began assaulting her.

The owner of the residence, who was outside, witnessed the attack and went to the woman's assistance, but he suffered a serious cut to his arm after Pack allegedly attacked him with a razored device.

Though seriously wounded, the man was able to restrain Pack until police officers arrived.

Pack was taken into custody.

Station Camp Defeats Tigers 51 to 27

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Station Camp Bison Spoiled Homecoming for the sixth-ranked DeKalb County High School Tiger football team, Friday night. The Tigers scored the first 13 points of the game, but Station Camp answered with 30 unanswered points and rolled to a 51-27 win over the Black and Gold.

DeKalb County struck first on a six yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Travon Johnson. John Curtis added the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. DC came back on the very next drive and scored on a 26-yard pass from Poteete to Abram Edwards. The extra point attempt failed, but the Tigers had a 13-0 advantage with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

Station Camp took over from there, however, as Corey Alexander took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a score. Christian Reed missed the extra point, but the Bison was on the board with 3:04 left in the opening quarter. Hunter Tope scored on the next Bison possession on a 16-yard touchdown run. Jacob Hamblen added another touchdown on a six-yard run, with 8:09 left in the second quarter, which gave Station Camp a 20-13 lead. Reed booted a 26-yard field goal with 2:14 left in the half, which gave the Bison a 23-13 lead at the half.

Station Camp struck first in the second half, as Tope scored on a 61-yard run with 3:59 left in the third quarter, which gave the Bison a 30-13 lead after Reed's PAT kick. The Tiger offense answered on the next possession, as Poteete found Edwards on a 38-yard scoring pass, which shaved the Bison lead to 30-20, with 3:40 to go in the third. The Bison struck again on the following possession, as Top found the end zone again on a two-yard run, but DeKalb fought back on the ensuing drive, with Poteete and Edwards hooking up on a 63-yard pass play. Station Camp held a 37-27 lead that point, with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bison took over from there, as Tope scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run with 2:17 to go in regulation. Brandon Porch finished off the rout, as he picked off a Poteete pass, with 1:36 to go on the clock, and returned it 29 yards for another Bison touchdown. That gave Station Camp the final 51-27 advantage.

DeKalb County loses for the first time this season, and falls to 3-1 overall, while Station Camp improves to 3-2. The Tigers will travel to Woodbury to take on Cannon County, next Friday night, at 7:00 p.m.

Intoxicated Woman Found with Xanax and Valium

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 41 year old Liberty area woman was arrested by Smithville Police on drug charges Friday after she allegedly showed up intoxicated at a local business.

Patsy Darlene Fults of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with public intoxication and unlawful possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for resale.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says Officer Travis Bryant was called to the business and encountered Fults, who had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Upon a search incident to arrest, Officer Bryant found a pill bottle containing 32 and a half pills believed to be Xanax and 12 pills thought to be valium.

Fults, who had no prescription, told Officer Bryant that a friend had given her the pills.

School Spirit on Display during DCHS Homecoming Parade

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Junior Class Float Wins First Place
Shiroki North America- First Place Business Decoration
DCHS Homecoming Court

School spirit was on display Friday afternoon as students from DeKalb County High School celebrated the last day of Homecoming Week with a parade from the school to downtown.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night was the Station Camp Bison and each float in the parade had a Tiger versus Bison theme.

The parade featured the Homecoming Queen and her court, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, the Tiger Football Team, DCHS Cheerleaders, among others including many students who decorated their automobiles and drove them in the parade.

The Junior Class took first place for their float entry called "Tigers Barbeque the Bison" featuring a large smoking barbeque pit with a huge bottle of mustard, ketchup, and a picnic table.

Second Place went to the Senior Class for their float called " Tigers Bulldoze the Bison" featuring a big yellow bulldozer on a construction site.

The Freshman Class received third place for their float called "Tigers Bury the Bison" depicting a Bison bone field and a casket with tombstones representing the three teams the Tigers have already beaten this season.

The Sophomore Class float called " Go Tigers Sizzle Bison" won fourth place featuring a fire pit with a rotating Bison, large marshmellows, football field, and a goal post.

The FCCLA Club took fifth place for their float called "Tigers Tackle Bison's Camp.

Ashley Owen won first place in the best decorated automobile category. Brittany Cleveland took second place, and Nikita Young received third place.

Winners of the best decorated classroom doors at DCHS were: First place- Daniel Seber (Tiger Chef); Second Place- Lori Page (Barbeque the Bison); and Third Place- Larry Steffee (Bison Wings- All You Can Eat Buffet)

Winners of the best decorated business category were: First place- Shiroki North America; Second Place- Home Health Concepts; and Third Place- the law office of Sue Puckett Jernigan.

Federal Court Lawsuit Against City and Former Police Chief Dismissed

September 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Federal Court lawsuit, filed by Roy Ray, against former Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano and the City of Smithville has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Echols has granted Stufano and the City's motion for summary judgment to which Ray, who was represented by Adam Parrish of Lebanon, failed to file responses.

According to court documents, "a party may obtain summary judgment if the evidence establishes there is not a genuine issue of material fact for trial and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If the non-moving party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if appropriate."

Ray filed the lawsuit last year claiming he suffered injuries and that his civil and constitutional rights were violated during a misdemeanor traffic stop in February, 2007.

Ray had originally sought a jury trial and asked for compensatory and punitive damages along with his attorney's fees.

According to the memorandum, Ray filed this action claiming that Stufano used excessive force against him during an arrest on February 23rd, 2007 and the city failed to train and discipline Stufano and other police officers adequately in the prevention of excessive use of force. Ray also brought claims under state law for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution."

Concerning his claims of excessive force, the court stated that "Ray bore the burden to prove that Stufano's use of force against him was unreasonable under the circumstances."

According to the court's finding, "Stufano pulled Ray over for tailgating his police car. While the crime Ray allegedly committed is not a particularly serious one, Ray's conduct upon being pulled over escalated an ordinary traffic stop into a more volatile situation. After stopping his truck, Ray got out and started walking towards Stufano's police car. Stufano observed a bulge in Ray's pants pocket, and Stufano believed the bulge was a gun. It turned out that Ray was, in fact, carrying a pistol in his pants pocket without a concealed weapons permit. Stufano believed Ray to be a threat to his safety and the safety of others in the vicinity, so he called for backup."

"According to Ray, when he got as far as the tailgate of his truck, he realized Stufano was angry and Stufano violently ordered him to go back to his truck and get in it. Stufano issued this order possibly twice before Ray retreated as far as the tailgate of his truck, where he leaned up against the tailgate looking at Stufano. Ray did not obey Stufano's direct order to return to his vehicle, but rather stood at the tailgate in defiance of Stufano's lawful authority. Stufano's order to Ray to return to the cab of the truck was reasonable considering Stufano had observed a bulge in Ray's pants that he thought to be a firearm. Concerned that his own safety and that of others was in danger, Stufano was forced to make a split-second decision about a proper course of action in light of Ray's resistance to a direct order and the lack of police backup to insure security at the scene."

"Stufano ran up to Ray, told him to put his hands on the tailgate of the truck, and swung Ray around so that Ray grabbed the tailgate. Stufano kicked Ray's feet apart, while Ray continued to talk to Stufano, asking what he had done. Ray says he was placed in an uncomfortable physical position and he felt his pacemaker wires pulling. Stufano then put Ray's left hand behind his back and pulled up on it in an effort to control Ray while he was waiting for police backup to arrive with handcuffs. When Ray continued to struggle, Stufano pulled Ray's arm higher. Stufano patted Ray down for weapons, which included a search of Ray's groin area, which Ray says caused him pain. Two officers arrived on the scene within two minutes of Stufano's call for assistance and Ray was handcuffed and taken into custody."

Ray was never charged with any crimes as a result of this traffic stop.

According to the court's findings, " Ray has not created a genuine issue of material fact for trial on his excessive force claim. Accepting that Ray experienced some pain and injury, not every push or shove at the scene of an arrest amounts to a constitutional violation and even an allegedly rough, intrusive, and hostile pat down search of the groin area does not amount to a constitutional violation if it was objectively reasonable for the officer to examine that part of the body for a concealed weapon in connection with a frisk."

"Having failed to respond to Stufano's summary judgment motion, Ray has not presented any evidence to contradict the defense expert's opinion that Stufano acted in an objectively reasonable manner in accordance with standard police procedure in light of the facts and circumstances facing him at the time. Thus, Stufano is entitled to summary judgment on the excessive force claim."

"The City is also entitled to summary judgment. Ray cannot hold the city liable on theories of failure to train, observing that he must first establish that the officer committed a constitutional violation before the municipality may be held liable for failure to train. There is no evidence in this record that the city failed to train Stufano."

"Having determined that Stufano and the City are entitled to summary judgment on Ray's federal claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Ray's state-law claims for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution. Those claims will be dismissed without prejudice."

"For all the reasons stated, Ray failed to respond to the motions for summary judgment and both defendants have established that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, Ray's claims will be dismissed with prejudice and his state-law claims will be dismissed without prejudice in light of the court's decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction."

The city was represented by the attorney firm for the Tennessee Municipal League, L. Dean Moore, Daniel M. Rader III, Michael E. Clift, Walter E. Fitzpatrick III, Richard Lane Moore, and Daniel H. Rader IV.

Star Manufacturing Announces Plans to Create 200 New Jobs Here

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Star Manufacturing Executives, County Mayor, & County Commissioners

Star Manufacturing, a division of the Middleby Corporation, is expanding it's Smithville operation with plans to create another 200 jobs.

A new building for the expansion will be constructed on a 50 plus acre site on Coconut Ridge Road, just a short distance from the present location on Hobson Street.

Frank Ricchio, President of Star Manufacturing, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Smithville Municipal Airport surrounded by other representatives of the company along with County Mayor Mike Foster and several members of the county commission.

In his announcement, Ricchio says "Star is purchasing 58 acres just up the street from our current plant here and we're looking forward over the next couple of years to start expanding manufacturing. We hope to add another 100 to 200 thousand square feet over the next several years. I think we have about 235 employees here in Smithville and there's a potential over the next 12 to 24 months for (adding) a couple of hundred jobs or maybe a little more than that."

"We manufacture commercial cooking equipment for restaurants including a variety of cooking appliances, griddles, charbroilers, conveyorized ovens, convection ovens, as well as products for concession stands, snack bars, and arenas, like the Titan's Stadium, like hotdog equipment, and popcorn machines. We distribute and sell worldwide.'

"Star is a privately held company since 1989, about six years after we first built the plant. But last December, we sold the business to the Middleby Corporation, which is a publicly owned corporation headquartered in Chicago. Middleby has some 19 different divisions manufacturing food service equipment and food processing equipment. We're one of their larger divisions, one of their more profitable divisions and that's why this opportunity really came along, although we've expanded from 50,000 square feet to almost 200,000 square feet on our own. Middelby enables us to utilize the great resources we have here in Smithville, the people, and the talent we have working for us. They (Middleby) have businesses that aren't performing as well as we are or don't have the skills we do in manufacturing, so we're very fortunate that they supported us in acquiring this land and are supporting us in our plans to eventually start building, expanding, and bringing more jobs here so I'd like to thank Middleby for supporting us in what we're doing.'

"I've been with the company since 1982. I joined one year before we actually opened in Smithville. I came up through the sales and marketing part of the business until I became president in 1999. I've been very impressed with the people of Smithville, the work ethic, and the fact that we've grown a lot. We've always been able to attract good people, even with the other industries in the surrounding area. I think we're very fortunate. This has been a great expansion for us and we want to continue it."

"We're (Star) is headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri but we have (Middleby) companies in North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, Michigan, and other places in the country along with a manuacfuring facility in the Philippines."

County Mayor Mike Foster says the new jobs being created by Star will be a big boost to the local econony. "The state is going to help them with infrastructure and some of the fast track programs such as site drainage permits, etc. They (state) will assist with some of the initiatives like tax incentives for each job they create, which they would do for any factory that comes in with 25 people or more and expends at least $500,000. They (Star) will probably construct a building in the neighborhood of $8 and $20 million dollars. Hopefully, it (additional jobs) will contribute around $8 million dollars a year to the economy here once they get up to full speed. The county is helping them (Star). We put up the earnest money on the property. We did the topo mapping for the property back when we were trying to decide if it was suitable. We are going to help them with the surface to water run-off permit, which we already have done. We'll also do some other things, infrastructure wise and drainage wise to help them get their program going. But the big contribution was through Economic and Community Development of the State of Tennessee. Don Rigsby helped us with that as well as other people."

"Star bought the land from an individual. It was put in their name. They will transfer it to the DeKalb County Industrial Development Board in order to take advantage of the way the government sets up their programs. The first two years will be tax free (to Star) because they don't have any building or anything there yet (on the new property). The third year, it will be 20% of what it's appraised at. The following year, it will be 40%, then 60%, then 80% of the appraised value. That is being done to stimulate them in their early years. They've been here 25 years and this new expansion is hopefully going to create a minimum of 210 jobs. Work on the site, as far as clearing and site prep will begin just as soon as we can get the permit back from the state."

According to the company website, Star Manufacturing International, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, has been making durable, reliable, quality products since 1921. That year, Star introduced it's first product, a popcorn machine. Since then, the company has grown and expanded into one of the world's most respected and valued manufacturers of products in six major categories: Counter Top Gas and Electric Commercial Cooking Appliances, Hot Dog Cooking and Preparation Equipment, Popcorn Machines, Specialty Food Warmers ,Display Merchandisers, Toasters & Waffle Bakers

Star products are used in a broad range of applications that include fast food, leisure, concessions and traditional restaurant operations. Star manufactured equipment is used in little league, big league ball parks, arenas, stadiums, restaurants and convenience stores.

(Pictured left to right: Star Plant Manager Fred Edington, County Commissioner Randy Caplinger, Star President Frank Ricchio, County Mayor Mike Foster, County Commissioners Jerry Scott, Bobby Joines, and Jack Barton, and Tommy Martin of Star Manufacturing)

Barn and Ski Boat Destroyed in Tuesday Afternoon Fire

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Fire Fighters Battle  Blaze at Donnie Agee Barn (photo provided by Callie Matthews)
Donnie Agee Barn Gutted by Fire (Photo provided by Callie Matthews)

A fire Tuesday afternoon destroyed a barn and a ski boat belonging to Donnie Agee at 8375 Holmes Creek Road.

Agee told firefighters that he was winterizing a ski boat housed inside the barn when a backfire from the boat sparked the blaze.

Agee called 911 around 4:00 p.m. and members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and Tanker Truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded but found the barn fully engulfed in flames upon their arrival. The boat, barn, and other personal belongings in the barn were destroyed.

Fire fighters were able to contain the blaze to keep it from spreading to other structures in the area.

No one was injured.

(Photos by Callie Matthews)

Bain and Weaver Scheduled to Debate

September 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cleveland Derrick Bain
Terri Lynn Weaver

The first debate between the candidates for State Representative will be held later this month.

Democrat Cleveland Derrick Bain and Republican Terri Lynn Weaver will participate in this public forum on Monday, September 29th at the Temperance Hall Community Center.

Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. The debate will begin at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available before and after the debate.

The candidates will each answer questions posed to them by representatives of WJLE, the Smithville Review, and the Middle Tennessee Times.

The public is invited to attend to learn where the candidates stand on the issues.

WJLE will broadcast the forum LIVE.

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