Local News Articles

Smithville Fire Department to Re-Apply for FEMA SAFER Grant

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Fire Chief Charlie Parker

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night gave their blessing for the fire department to re-apply for a FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which if approved, would fully fund the hiring of two firefighters for up to two years at no costs to the city.

The city applied for the grant last year but did not receive approval for funding.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker said he is hoping for better fortunes this time. If approved, the grant would fund salaries and benefits for two firefighters. The city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "We are eligible to apply for a SAFER Grant. This is for hiring of full time firefighters. That is what we are applying for. We are applying for the grant. It is a non matching grant so it doesn't cost any money to do that (apply). It's for an award period of two years. After the two years, the city is not obligated to continue on with the personnel that is hired. We'll be applying for two 40 hour firefighter positions which is basically what we requested in our budget this year. Its roughly going to be, with administrative costs, up to $84,000 for the two positions. That's for salaries, benefits, and administrative costs. The deadline to apply is August 30. They will probably starting reviewing (applications) in the fall. Last year we got our turn down notice in October or November. It could be anywhere from October on before we know (if funding is approved)," said Chief Parker.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.

Eligible departments or organizations are limited to one application for Recruitment and Retention and/or one application for Hiring per application period. Volunteer fire departments are eligible to apply for Hiring of Firefighters (Hiring/Rehiring of New Firefighters) and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. Ten percent of available funds are set aside for grants awarded to volunteer or majority volunteer departments for hiring of firefighters.

Meanwhile, the aldermen approved the addition of Becky Stubbe and Patrick Edge to the staff of city volunteer firefighters at the request of Chief Parker.

Both Stubbe and Edge have successfully completed their ninety day probationary period and have met the requirements of the department's recruitment committee.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on first reading a zoning ordinance amendment that would no longer require plans for off-street parking in developments with six or more parking spaces to be approved directly by the planning commission. Instead, all plans for off-street parking shall be shown on site plans, under this ordinance amendment.

City Honors the Late William "Bill" Golden

August 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mayor with Family of William Bill Golden

It's been a long time coming, but the City of Smithville recognized the services of the late William "Bill" Golden during Monday night's city council meeting.

Golden, who began his service with the city in the 1950's, worked in the sanitation department as a street cleaner. He retired in the 1980's. Golden passed away in 1996.

Members of Golden's family were presented a plaque by Mayor Jimmy Poss. The plaque reads " In appreciation. William "Bill" Golden for many years of loyal service and dedication shown to the City of Smithville during employment"

Family members in attendance were Anita Chapman, Claude Chapman, Debbie Young, Tara Young, Billy Golden, Christine Golden, Jordan Golden, Bethel Golden, and Linda Golden.

Veterans Outreach Event Set for Tuesday

August 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sarah Tinch and DeKalb Veterans Service Representative Paul Cantrell

The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the Warren County Veterans Service Office, is sponsoring a Veterans Outreach Event in McMinnville.

It will be held on Tuesday, August 6 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Warren County Administration Building, Magnolia Room, 201 Locust Street.

Sarah Tinch, TDVA Veterans Benefit Representative, said the purpose of this event is to provide assistance to veterans of the Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserves, and their Dependents and survivors of deceased veterans.

Refreshments will be available.

Fifteen organizations will be there to provide assistance:

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs
Warren County Veterans Service Office
V.A. Nashville Vet Center
V.A. Outpatient Clinic of McMinnville
V.A. Medical Center Women Veterans Program Manager
Tennessee Medical Center Women Veterans Program Manager
Tennessee Department of Labor
Motlow College
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of McMinnville
Tennessee National Guard J9 Military and Family Readiness
Upper Cumberland Development District
Wounded Warrior Project
Project Healing Waters
American Legion POST 173
Marine Corps League Bobby Ray Detachment 1377

For more information, call Sarah Tinch at 931-526-6929 or the Warren County Veterans Service Officer Chuck Mayfield at 931-473-6920.

Area Chambers form Alliance for a prosperous Upper Cumberland

August 5, 2013
Area Chambers form Alliance

People working together are greater than they could ever be working apart. That principle was the driving factor for the area’s Chamber of Commerce Executives to formalize the group, the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA). There are 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland region including Macon, Clay, Pickett, Jackson, Smith, Putnam, Overton, Fentress, Putnam, DeKalb, White, Cumberland, Cannon, Warren, and Van Buren.

Approximately a year and a half ago, TTU had gathered the Chamber executives from across the region for some informal and educational meetings to discuss best practices, available resources and to share pertinent information and challenges. These meetings demonstrated the value of this alliance as the Chamber executives gathered and continued their education.

“The birth of the Upper Cumberland Chamber Executive Association (UCCEA) will assist every county in the Upper Cumberland region to develop and share information on critical issues that will benefit all,” said Ray Norris, newly elected Chairman of the UCCEA. “Further, we all appreciate the fact that Tennessee Tech has played a pivotal role in the formation of UCCEA and we hope they will continue to play a valuable role going forward as the UCCEA matures. The UCCEA will support the region’s economic development as well as providing the ability to speak as one united regional entity as this can benefit each and every county to some extent. I am personally thankful to my peers for their support in starting this organization.”
Dennis Tennant, Associate Director of Extended Programs and Regional Development at Tennessee Technological University, had a vision for organizing this group as other professionals such as the Upper Cumberland Directors of Schools have aligned forces to benefit the community.

It was time to formally organize the group said Tennant, and TTU is looking forward to continuing the partnership with the UCCEA.

Bylaws were approved and officers elected at the June meeting. Norris, Clay County Chamber, was elected as Chairman; Walter Page, Fentress County Chamber was elected as Vice Chair; and Jody Sliger, Sparta - White County Chamber was elected Secretary of the UCCEA.

“We are looking forward to working together for the purpose of improving not only our individual communities, but the Upper Cumberland as a whole,” said Suzanne Williams, Smithville - DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Plans include having educational sessions with other partners across the state including the TN Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA, TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation, TN Dept. of Tourist Development, and more. For more information, you can contact Norris at (931) 243-3338.

Photo cutline:
Working together. Chamber executives from across the Upper Cumberland in partnership with TTU have united in an alliance to further the improvements of our region. L-R: Walt Page, Billy Robbins, Jody Sliger, Ray Norris, Shirley Hitchcock, Dennis Tennant, Alicea Weddington, John Dennis, Marilyn Baker, Suzanne Williams, Lori Jones, Janie Robbins, and Doug Young.

Community Gathers to Pray for Our Schools

August 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Prayer for Our Schools
Larry Green serves as Moderator

A large group turned out Sunday afternoon to join in a special "Prayer Service for Schools" observance at DeKalb County High School.

The prayer service has become an annual event conducted by local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the students, teachers, transportation staff, and other employees. "It started out a long time ago with a group of teachers who got together on the Sunday before school started and prayed. Each year they invited more and more people. Somewhere along the line someone said we need to keep this thing going so we started organizing and getting the ministers involved. We try to get ministers from all across the county from different denominations because it's great when different denominations come together to praise God and pray. I truly believe God blesses those efforts," said Larry Green, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church who moderated the program Sunday.

Among the local ministers participating were Dan Gulley of the Smithville Church of Christ, Ben Simpson of the Alexandria West Main Baptist Church, Cleo Sanders of the Bible Grace Church in Dowelltown, Donnie Kelly of the First Assembly of God in Smithville, B.J. Thomason of the Calvary Baptist Church in Smithville, Bernard Houk of the Smithville First Free Will Baptist Church, and Bill Robertson of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made some remarks. Retired teacher Linda Franklin also spoke about the importance of prayer and how she started each school day with a moment of prayer during the last fifteen years of her teaching career. Franklin further mentioned how that her class once gathered to pray for her during Franklin's absence from school due to the loss of her father.

Woman Killed in Truck Crash Near Dowelltown and Liberty

August 4, 2013
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Rescue Work to Remove Woman from Truck (WJLE PHOTO)
DeKalb Fire Rescue Stabilize Truck During Extrication (WJLE PHOTO)
DeKalb Fire Rescue Work to Extricate Woman from Truck (WJLE PHOTO)

A 53 year old woman lost her life in a pickup truck crash Saturday on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty.

Dead is Lisa Fineis of Alexandria.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:56 p.m. on Saturday.

Trooper Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Fineis was driving west on Highway 70 in a 2011 GMC Sierra when the truck went off the right shoulder of the highway. After hitting a berm near an access road off the highway, the truck went airborne and flipped as it hit the ground, coming to rest on its side. Fineis, trapped inside, was initially reported to be unresponsive. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

DeKalb EMS quickly arrived on the scene along with members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Rescue Team who were called to perform extrication.

Fineis was removed from the truck and taken by ambulance to meet a Life Force helicopter ambulance which had landed in the grass near the intersection of Highway 70 and East Main Street in Liberty. But instead of airlifting her, the woman was taken by ground ambulance to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where she died.

Trooper Wilkerson was assisted in the investigation by Troopers Tommy Cooper and Kyle Herron of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Deputies of the Sheriff's Department and Constable Mark Milam were also on the scene along with the Liberty and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Twelve Indicted in Smithville Police Department Drug Investigation

August 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr.
Vickie Cantrell
Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell
Danny Reeder
Althea Bailey
Kenny Herman
William Cory Dickens

Twelve people have been named in sealed indictments on drug charges following a year long undercover investigation by the Smithville Police Department.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that Indictments have been served on seven of the defendants.

The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. K-9 Officer James Cornelius and Sergeant Brad Tatrow assisted in some of the cases. The actual drug buys were made by confidential sources.

Those arrested and their charges are:

Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr., indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana) in a drug free zone.

Vickie Cantrell, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid).

40 year old Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)

60 year old Danny Reeder, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule IV (Lorazepam)

59 year old Althea Bailey, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone) in a drug free zone.

52 year old Kenny Herman, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Methadone) (2 counts).

28 year old William Cory Dickens, indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)

Indictments (now unsealed in each case) state the following:

Donald (D.J.) Perry, Jr.: "On or about February 26th, 2013 Perry did sell and deliver a Schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana) within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, childcare agency, or public library, recreational center, or park." Lieutenant Holmes said Perry sold marijuana to a confidential source from his home.

Vickie Cantrell: "On or about December 5th, 2012, Cantrell did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). Lieutenant Holmes said Cantrell sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

Melisha (Buttons) Cantrell: "On or about December 6th, 2012, Cantrell did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). Lieutenant Holmes said Cantrell sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from a parking lot.

Danny Reeder: "On or about August 6th, 2012, Reeder did sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance (Lorazepam)." Lieutenant Holmes said Reeder sold ten pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

Althea Bailey: "On or about July 26th, 2012, Bailey did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone) within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, secondary school, preschool, childcare agency, or public library, recreational center, or park." Lieutenant Holmes said Bailey sold four pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business."

Kenny Herman: "On or about August 6th & 7th, 2012 Herman did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Methadone)". Lieutenant Holmes said Herman sold from his home to a confidential source four methadone pills on August 6th and three pills on August 7th.

William Cory Dickens: "On or about December 13th, 2012 Dickens did sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid)". Lieutenant Holmes said Dickens sold two Dilaudid pills to a confidential source from the parking lot of a local business.

The names of the other five defendants will be released once they are served with the indictments.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Encourages Back to School Safety

August 3, 2013

Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott is reminding motorists to exercise an abundance of caution in neighborhoods and around school zones during the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. State Troopers will target speeders, distracted drivers and those who disregard stopped school buses that are loading and unloading children.

State Troopers issued 5,247 citations in school zones during the 2012-2013 school year. That’s up from 3,856 citations issued in 2011-12. Last year’s citations included 759 speeding violations and two citations for passing a stopped school bus.

“Our priority is to educate motorists on the importance of safe driving practices around school zones and buses and in high pedestrian traffic areas,” Colonel Trott said. “We are also urging motorists who are transporting children to and from school to ensure they are safely restrained in seat belts, booster seats and child restraint devices. This effort stretches far beyond school zones,” he added.

Between 2008 and 2012, there has been a 7.0 percent decrease in the number of crashes occurring in school zones between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There was also a 73.5 percent decline in the total number of school bus-related crashes between those same hours.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that 123 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have been killed in school-transportation-related crashes since 2001. Over two-thirds (69%) were struck by school buses and 26 percent by other vehicles involved in the crashes. There were 49 (40 %) school age pedestrians killed in school transportation-related crashes between the ages of five and seven, according to NHTSA.

“We have seen a 31.4 percent increase in the number of overall pedestrian fatalities across the state, compared to this same time period in 2012,” Trott said. “It’s imperative for drivers to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists, and to comply with pedestrian yield laws. We all have a responsibility to make sure pedestrians are safe.”

In Tennessee, there have been 46 pedestrians killed on state roadways in 2013. That’s 11 more than at this time in 2012. Nationwide, there were a total of 4,432 pedestrian fatalities in 2011 (the latest figure available), the 14-and-younger age group accounted for 230 (5%) of those fatalities.

The Pupil Transportation section of the Tennessee Highway Patrol also oversees all school bus inspections in the state and determines whether public school bus systems are in compliance with the safety requirements by state law. During fiscal year 2012-13, 11,401 school buses were inspected with 1,367 being placed out of service.

Each day, 26 million children in the United States ride school buses, including 600,000 in Tennessee, according to NHTSA.

The speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour and the fine for speeding in a school zone is up to $500. It is also against the law to pass a school bus when it is stopped and loading or unloading passengers. The driver can be fined no less than $250 and up to $1,000.



• All school bus drivers in Tennessee must attend an annual training course in order to receive and maintain the school bus endorsement on their Driver Licenses.

• School buses are nearly nine times safer than passenger vehicles. But children must take care when boarding or leaving buses.

• Young children are most likely to be injured around school buses because they:
o Hurry to get on or off the bus
o Act before they think
o Have little experience with traffic
o Assume motorists will see them and will wait for them to cross
o Don’t always stay within the bus driver’s line of sight
o Drop something as they are getting off the bus and run into the path of the bus to pick it up.


o Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver;
o Get to the bus stop in plenty of time;
o Take 10 giant steps back from the curb while waiting for the bus and 10 steps when exiting the bus;
o Never try to get anything left on the bus after exiting;
o Never reach underneath the bus;
o Always follow the driver’s directions for how to cross the street;
o Be alert to traffic and look both ways;
o Always cross in front of the bus, but only when the bus driver signals it is safe to do so.
o Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
o Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
o Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
o When exiting, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road). Move away from the bus.
o Before crossing the street, take 10 "giant steps" out from the front of the bus, or until the driver's face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal that it's safe to cross.
o Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
o Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses. However, not all do. Protect yourself and watch out!

o Supervise children to make sure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road and avoid rough play.
o Teach your child to ask the driver for help if he/she drops something near the bus. If a child bends down to pick up something, the driver cannot see him/her and the child may be hit by the bus. Have your child use a backpack or book bag to keep loose items together.
o Make sure clothing and backpacks have no loose drawstrings or long straps that could get caught in the handrail or bus door.
o Encourage safe school bus loading and unloading.
o If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, talk with your school office or transportation director about changing the location.

o Yellow flashing lights on the bus indicate that it is preparing to stop and load or unload children. This means cars need to slow down and prepare to stop.
o It is illegal to pass a school bus with its red flashing lights and stop signal arm activated. Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off or when the bus driver motions them through.
o Vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus are always required to stop.
o Vehicles moving in the opposite direction as the bus are also required to stop unless they are on a divided highway.
o Never pass on the right side of the bus where children are entering and exiting. This is illegal and can have tragic results!

o You might have heard before that most traffic crashes occur close to home...they do.
o Safety belts are the best form of protection passengers have in the event of a crash. They can lower the risk of injury by 45%.
o You are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if ejected from the vehicle in a crash.
o Everyone needs to be buckled up properly. That means older kids in seat belts, younger kids in booster seats and little kids in child safety seats.

o Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard -- never cross the street against a light, even if you don't see any traffic coming.
o Walk your bike through intersections.
o Walk with a buddy.
o Wear reflective material...it makes you more visible to street traffic.

Weight Loss Challenge Champions Revealed

August 2, 2013
Shan Burklow
Weight Loss Challenge Champions Revealed

DeKalb and Cannon County participated in The Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge recently where teams and individuals lost all the weight they could over a three month deadline. Winners were revealed on Friday, July 26th at the DeKalb County Fair where DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster and Cannon County Mayor Mike Gannon showed up to hopefully claim the title of County Champion Overall. The 90 day challenge was sponsored by DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital to encourage both counties to eat wise and exercise their way to better health.

“We are very proud of all of the participants of the challenge. A combined total of 943.2 pounds were lost. To celebrate this success, DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital are donating 943 pounds of food to our local food banks,” said Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital, “We appreciate both county mayors supporting the event as well as allowing us to use the DeKalb County Complex. Additional thanks to Manager Pat Ford of Smithville Subway for sponsoring the challenge and providing coupons and gift cards throughout the event.”

Top winners revealed during the Friday evening finale’ included:

•DeKalb County Champion Daniel Seber lost a total of 17.04% total body weight making him the Ultimate Weight Loss Champion receiving a trophy and $500 cash prize as well as awarding DeKalb County the title of County Ultimate Weight Loss Champion Overall for 2013.

•Cannon County Champion Billy Moulder lost a total of 11.07% body weight receiving a trophy and $500 grand cash prize.

• Additional DeKalb County top scores for cash and prizes included second place winner Linda Fowler, Amy Seber, Jimmy Crawford, Kevin Manning, County Mayor Mike Foster, Beth Chandler and The Happy Booker Team from Justin Potter Library / Kathy Hendrixson and Rochelle Turner Captains.

• Additional Cannon County top scores for cash and prizes included second place winner Teresa Bouldin, Mary Duncan, James Bogle, Pam Hoskins and the Junk in the Trunks Team / Faith Bogle Captain

When asked about DeKalb’s victory, County Mayor Mike Foster replied, “I am proud to accept this trophy on behalf of DeKalb County. We are proud of Daniel Seber for a job well done and hope everyone continues to make healthy choices throughout the year.”

Concerning Cannon County’s defeat, County Mayor Mike Gannon smiles, “This was all in good fun and we are proud of both counties for their efforts. Mike Foster and I had a good time during the challenge. I am proud of Cannon County’s hard work and congratulate Billy Moulder for representing us well.”

“I was personally excited over the first year success of the challenge,” said Director Shan Burklow of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital , “People are already coming up to me and asking if we will start another challenge for this fall. Although there are no immediate plans to start a fall challenge, we are scheduled for April 2014 and plan to make it even more interactive with more classes, workout groups, online recipes and continued support. Now that we know that both counties support the event and have given great feedback, we know what to plan for to make it even better than ever.”

For information on how you can participate in the next Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge, join the Challenge facebook page: WeightLossChallenge.

PICTURED: The two Ultimate Weight Loss County Champions receive their awards presented by both county mayors along with DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital. (from left to right) Cannon County Mayor Mike Gannon, DeKalb / Stones River Hospital CNO Kim Frazier and CEO Sue Conley, DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster, Champion Overall Daniel Seber, Champion Billy Moulder, and Director Shan Burklow of DeKalb / Stones River Hospital.

Dwight Mathis Elected Mayor of Liberty

August 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dwight Mathis

Dwight Mathis was elected Mayor of Liberty Thursday.

Mathis received 32 votes in the municipal election. He was unopposed.

Meanwhile Incumbent Alderman Howard Reynolds, Jr. was also re-elected unopposed. He received 30 votes. The terms of office become effective with the next council meeting, Monday August 5.

Since the election was uncontested, voting was done by paper ballot. "The law states any municipality with a population of five thousand (5,000) or less may elect to use paper ballots instead of voting machines for municipal elections when there is no opposition for any of the offices involved (on the ballot)," said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley. "Liberty did choose to use paper ballots, rather than voting machines, which will save the town approximately $1,200," he said.

The city government is now made up of Mayor Dwight Mathis and Aldermen Howard Reynolds, Jr. Paul M. Neal, and Jason H. Ray.

Mathis and Jarrett Pistole have held the other two aldermen seats. Those positions will remain vacant until the remaining aldermen appoint persons to fill them.


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