Local News Articles

Enoch says Natural Gas Rates to be Lower this Winter

October 23, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Leslie B. Enoch, II

Good news for natural gas customers.

Leslie B Enoch,II CEO of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas says rates are expected to be lower this winter, and by practicing energy conservation, natural gas customers could save even more."We have good news to provide our customers this year and we're excited about it. Natural gas rates will be significantly lower this winter. At the national level, natural gas prices have declined and last summer prices reached their lowest level in years. These savings are passed along to our customers. The district has pre-purchased and stored a significant portion of it's winter supply at these lower prices and that will stabilize rates for our customers. If the weather is the same as last winter, gas bills should be about 20% lower. There is also an abundant supply of clean burning, reliable natural gas available."

"With winter fast approaching, customers can help conserve energy and lower bills as well. If customers will winterize their homes by improving insulation, applying weather stripping, and changing filters, that will help lower bills as will lowering the thermostat. Every degree a customer lowers his thermostat will result in a 3% savings on the heating bill. We're committed to providing quality service and we encourage our customers to take advantage of our free safety inspections and pilot lighting. The number locally is 597-4388."

DeKalb Jobless Rate Still Over 10%

October 23, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for September was 10.2%, down slightly from 10.7% in August, but still quite higher than the 6.8% rate recorded in September, 2008.

The local labor force for September was at 9,740. A total of 8,750 were employed and 1,000 were without work.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2009 was at 10.5 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the August rate of 10.7 percent. The United States' unemployment rate for the month of September was 9.8 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September 2009, show that the rate increased in 11 counties, decreased in 83 counties and remained the same in one county.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent in August. Lauderdale County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 18.9 percent, down from 19.7 in August, followed by Scott County at 18.4 percent, down from 19.1 percent in August.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.1 percent, down 0.6 percentage point from the August rate. Hamilton County was at 8.7 percent, down 0.7 percentage point from the August rate. Davidson County was 9.2 percent, down 0.4 from the previous month, and Shelby County was 10.2 percent, down 0.4 from the August rate.

Habitat Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday, October 30th

October 23, 2009

Who makes the best chili in DeKalb County? Find out on Friday, October 30th when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 6th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale on the square. The rainout location for the Chili Cook-off is the 303 Building on the square (next to the Chamber of Commerce).

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the west lawn of the courthouse. 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.

“We are looking forward to another great day of good food and fellowship at the chili cook-off,” said Tom Janney, president of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. “We are preparing the building site for our third home, and hope to begin construction as soon as possible,” said Janney. “The proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used towards building our next house and give us momentum to continue building in DeKalb County. A strong turn out for the chili cook-off will help get us there faster!”

At press time, those competing in the Chili Cook-off are: the “Sligo Canvas Shop Chili Toppers” from Sligo Canvas Shop, “Liberty Bell Peppers” from Liberty State Bank, “BTU Chili – Best Tasting Utility Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, the “Red Hot Chili Papers” from The Smithville Review, “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials, “Monster Mash” from the DeKalb County Board of Education; “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank; “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park; “The Bean Counters” from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates; “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance and The Inn at Evins Mill. The Allen's Chapel United Methodist Church will also have a team.

Last year, “Chili Fever” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took the top honors for both Best Chili and best decorated booth. Second place was awarded to The Courthouse Gang’s chili and Bradley Printing’s decorations. The 2008 event raised approximately $3,200.

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.

DTC TV Continues to Expand

October 23, 2009

DTC TV is pleased to announce the addition of five (5) additional channels to their Value Plan beginning October 23, 2009 at no additional charge.

The following channels will be added to the current DTC TV line-up:

Channel 18 – WKRN WX – Nashville Channel 2 Weather
Channel 23 – WTVF 5+ - NewsChannel 5 Plus is a local 24-hour news and talk station
Channel 29 – THIS-TV – THIS-TV has access to a library of more than 4000 movies and 10,000 episodes of TV programming.

THIS-TV features theme weeks or days such as an Elvis Marathon, a romance week near Valentine’s Day, horror films around Halloween, etc. Complimenting the movies are classic TV shows including “The Addams Family”, “Mr. Ed”, “Green Acres” and “The Patty Duke Show” to name a few.

Channel 194 – Rutherford County Access Channel – RCTV offers quality and informative government access programming for all residents of Rutherford County. Programming includes LIVE broadcast of all Rutherford County Commission meetings and their sub-committee meetings, Planning Commission meetings and their sub-committee meetings, Board of Zoning Appeals and delayed broadcast of all Rutherford County School Board meetings. These meetings are then rebroadcast at a later date to allow all residents the opportunity to view them in their entirety. Programming outside of governmental meetings is provided to or produced by RCTV. RCTV strives to produce programming that is both educational and of the highest quality possible. These programs supply useful information about the community and inform us about programs and services that are available through the Rutherford County Government.

Channel 195 – MTSU Access Channel - The Education Resource Channel at Middle Tennessee
State University provides to K-12 schools and DTC TV subscribers informative, educational, and dramatic programs that are not generally available through commercial or public television stations. Using a bulletin format, the channel also provides information about University services, classes, and events, and events in the surrounding communities. The channel shares the programs it produces with other access channels in Tennessee and across the United States.

“As always, DTC is dedicated to providing the best possible services and the addition of these channels to the DTC TV line-up further demonstrates our commitment”, said Les Greer, CEO for DTC.

About DTC Communications
DTC Communications is a member owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The
cooperative supplies communication and entertainment products and services to residential and
business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

A complete list of channels can be viewed on www.DTCcom.net. For more information about how to become a DTC TV customer, please call 529-2955

Gordon Encourages DeKalb Students to Apply to U.S. Service Academies

October 22, 2009
 Bart Gordon

Congressman Bart Gordon is accepting applications from DeKalb County students for nomination to the United States service academies through December 1.

“Attending a service academy and then joining our armed forces is one of the most admirable ways to serve our great country,” said Congressman Gordon. “I learned this lesson from my grandfather, father and uncle, and I followed in their footsteps by volunteering for the Army Reserves. I encourage all students to consider this path.”

High school seniors interested in attending the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; or, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, must receive a nomination from their member of Congress. The nomination places the student in a nationwide pool of applicants from which the academy may select to fill its class.

To be eligible, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 17 and 23. While at the academy, the student will receive a free education, room and board, and a monthly stipend. Upon graduation from the academy, a five-year military commitment is required. Admission to a service academy is valued as a $300,000 scholarship.

“Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate outstanding young men and women from Middle Tennessee to attend these distinguished service academies. The competition is tough, but I encourage anyone who is interested to apply,” explained Gordon.

Eligible DeKalb County students can contact Gordon’s Murfreesboro office at 615-896-1896 for more information or download an application through his website at www.bart.house.gov/services. Applications must be received by Dec. 1 and should be mailed to: Congressman Bart Gordon, P.O. Box 1986, Murfreesboro, TN 37133.

Health Department Schedules H1N1 Flu Clinic for Children

October 22, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Health Department will have an H1N1 flu clinic on Tuesday, October 27th for children six months to four years old ONLY.

The clinic will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. Doses are very limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

There will be no charge for this vaccine.

Both the DeKalb County Health Department and the Family Medical Center are currently out of the seasonal flu vaccine. More shipments are anticipated soon. The Family Medical Center also currently has no H1N1 vaccine.

City Auditor Tells Mayor and Aldermen that Water and or Sewer Rate Adjustment May be Needed Soon

October 21, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

It's been a few years since the City of Smithville has increased water and sewer rates but an adjustment could be coming in the near future, if the aldermen take the advice of the city auditor, John Poole.

Poole, who is currently working on the city audit for the 2008-09 budget year, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night and explained why a rate increase may be needed. "The state recently changed the law regarding utilities. In the past, the utility system had to make at least a dollar of profit every three years. Now you (utilities) have to make a profit every other year and sometimes with utility systems that can be very difficult to do."

"In the water and sewer fund, there's a category called "change in net assets". It's a big number $1-million 897-thousand dollars, which says the city actually showed an increase in it's net assets by that amount. We (city) were donated $1.9 million worth of sewer lines. That's very common these days. You can get developers to build your sewer lines and it can save you (city) the cost of having to do that. We, the city accepted those (sewer lines), and we have to record those as revenues and put them on our books. The state says we have to do that. But if you back that out (remove donated sewer lines from consideration) the utility system in real dollars would have shown a loss of almost $22,000 (for 2008-09), For a district this size, that $22,000 loss is really insignificant other than you have a state law that says you have to show a profit."

"When we accepted those lines, which is obviously the thing you want to do, we set them on our books, almost $2 million dollars, and we have to start depreciating that. You can figure these lines will last about forty years so we're going to be adding an extra $50,000 worth of that depreciation expense (next year). So assuming everything happened just like it did last year, next year we're going to show a $70,000 loss simply because we added these lines and the state wants you to set aside monies to make sure you can replace and repair those lines in future years."

"We're going to have to comply with the law, maybe as soon as June 2010, the fiscal year we're in now. I know it has been several years since there has been a rate increase and I know in difficult times it's hard to do those things, but you're going to have to look at doing something. I don't have the answer but that is something the board needs to start considering."

Poole added that while the water and sewer fund might need shoring up, the city's general fund is financially sound. "Even in this tough economy, the city saw surpluses in it's general fund. That's very unusual, a lot of cities are really struggling from the economy, the city of Smithville hasn't gone down as much as others. We did show a surplus in the general fund."

A more detailed report will be made available to the Mayor and Aldermen on the city audit for 2008-09 when it's completed.

Alexander, Corker Announce Funding for Safety Repairs at Center Hill Dam

October 20, 2009

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today that the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate today, includes funding to aggressively continue the safety repairs at Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams. The bill also provides funding for several other water infrastructure projects in middle Tennessee.

Both Center Hill and Wolf Creek Dams were designated “high risk” for failure in January of 2007. The senators said that currently ratepayers in Middle Tennessee have to pay an additional $100 million a year in replacement power while water levels at the dams are down for the repairs.

“This funding will support several important projects in our state, including repairs to two dams that have been designated as ‘high risk’ since 2007,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m glad to see these federal dollars coming to Tennessee to help ensure that Tennesseans are kept safe from flooding and have continuous access to safe drinking water.”

“These funds for ongoing maintenance of essential water-related infrastructure along Tennessee's waterways will help ensure public safety, preserve quality of life for Tennesseans, and promote economic development,” said Corker. “This legislation also supports the important mission of Oak Ridge National Lab, which is one of our nation’s most valuable resources for advanced scientific research and innovation.”

Key Tennessee projects funded in the Conference Report of the FY10 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act include:

$116.2 million for repairs to Wolf Creek Dam. Seepage has caused zones of high water pressure in the embankment next to the dam, posing a significant risk of dam failure and threatening the surrounding communities with flooding. Funding would be used to continue to build a cutoff wall to prevent seepage into the embankment. The bill also includes $8.5 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$52.9 million for repairs to Center Hill Dam. Since its construction in 1951, seepage problems have cost millions of dollars for constant upkeep. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Dam Safety Portfolio Risk Assessment ranked Center Hill Dam as a Class I dam safety project -- the highest priority of all Corps dams. The bill also includes $5.84 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$45,000 for the Mill Creek Watershed to complete a feasibility study to address flooding problems. Mill Creek is a major tributary of the Cumberland River in southeastern Davidson County and northwestern Williamson County.

$6.1 million for Cheatham Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.5 million for Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$4.6 million for J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$11.7 million for Old Hickory Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.1 million for Dale Hollow Lake Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

The bill must now be signed by the president before becoming law.

Senator Mae Beavers Joins Efforts to Uphold 10th Amendment Legislation

October 20, 2009

Senator Mae Beavers recently supplied a letter describing the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act passed earlier this year to the lead plaintiffs in a suit filed against the federal government, who in September claimed that both the Tennessee and Montana Firearms Freedom Acts were null and void. In the letter, Senator Beavers discussed the overwhelming support for this bill amongst the Tennessee General Assembly, with a total of only eight Senators and Representatives voting against the bill during session.

"In all my years as a legislator, I have never witnessed such staunch reproach of the federal government overstepping its constitutional authority and encroaching on my state's ability to govern itself," said Beavers. "Tennesseans and Americans are fed up, and I am proud to have passed an actual bill that directly challenges the federal government's overregulation of intra-state matters. Enough resolutions have been filed...its time for the Supreme Court to re-address this issue and what better place to do it than with the 10th Amendment legislation that has recently been passed in Montana and Tennessee."

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act and it became law in late June. The law asserts that if a firearm and/or ammunition is made totally within the state of Tennessee, and stamped "Made in Tennessee," then the federal government has no jurisdiction over that item in any fashion so long as it remains in state and outside of interstate commerce. All state regulations applying to the possession of firearms in Tennessee would still be applicable and must be complied with. This legislation was proposed to prevent a federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress.

The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. The amendment was adopted after the Constitutional ratification process to emphasize the fact that the states remained individual and unique sovereignties. Unfortunately, some courts' interpretation of Congress' power implied by the commerce clause has been misconstrued to suggest its unlimited application to state regulation.

In addition to its passage in Montana, this law will be considered by at least thirty other states in upcoming legislative sessions. A link to the suit filed against the federal government by Montana organizations and citizens, as well as other information on the Firearms Freedom Act can be found at www.firearmsfreedomact.com.

DeKalb West Junior Beta Club Students Help with Second Harvest Food Bank Distribution

October 19, 2009
Morgan Vickers and Katie Hall Help Distribute Food

Thirteen students from the DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club gave of their time during Fall Break on Saturday, October 17, to help with the Second Harvest Food Bank distribution at Smithville First Methodist Church CFC.

Students helping from D.W.S. were Beta Club President Cassie Cain, Secretary Crystal Vickers, Katie Hall, McKenzie Gann, Morgan Vickers, Casey Vickers, Destinie Edge, Alexis Nokes, Keely Mckay, Ashley Grater, Lane Davenport, Lydia Trail, and William Cain.

Students do service projects in the Junior Beta Club, which has as its national motto, "Let Us Lead By Serving Others." These students gave a club total of 44 1/4 hours for this community service project.

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