Local News Articles

Liberty Mayor and Two Aldermen Re-elected

August 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Liberty voters re-elected Mayor J. Edward Hale and Aldermen Jarrett Pistole and William H. Reynolds, Jr. to new two year terms Thursday.

This year's Liberty Municipal Election was uncontested.

Reynolds received 32 votes while Pistole and Hale each had 30 votes.

A total of 34 people voted in the election.

The Liberty Mayor and Board of Aldermen is made up of Mayor Hale and Aldermen Pistole, Reynolds, Paul M. Neal, Dwight Mathis, and Todd Dodd.

Former Circuit Court Clerk Employee Indicted for Theft

August 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Tonya Page
Jamie Dean Murphy
Tonya Gay Silcox
Joseph Edward Mantz, Jr.
Mary Lee Mantz

A former bookkeeper at the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk's Office has been charged in a Grand Jury sealed indictment with theft over $1,000.

36 year old Tonya D. Page of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville will appear in DeKalb County Criminal Court for arraignment on August 17th. Her bond is $25,000

The charges stem from a TBI investigation into a cash shortage of $8,501 in General Sessions Court funds, which was discovered during an annual state audit

At the time of the discovery, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack said she made the District Attorney General's Office aware of the shortage and the D.A. requested the TBI investigation. Ms. Pack says the shortage occurred during the period of time when she was out of the office undergoing surgery.

Page was initially hired as a clerk in the office three years ago and later became a bookkeeper. She was recently terminated from her employment there.

The case against Page was presented to the Grand Jury by the TBI.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Patrick Ray says his department investigated two cases that were presented to the grand jury for sealed indictments this week.

34 year old Jamie Dean Murphy of Evins Mill Road Smithville is charged with criminal responsibility for aggravated statutory rape. His bond is $25,000. Sheriff Ray says while investigating an aggravated statutory rape case earlier this year, county detectives learned that a 31 year old woman, Brandy Egerton of Page Drive, Smithville allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 17 year old male juvenile and was charged with the crime in March of this year. Detectives allege that Murphy participated in this crime.

37 year old Tonya Gay Silcox of West Main Street Liberty is charged with two counts of forgery, two counts of passing a forged instrument, and theft of property over $500. Her bond is $25,000. Sheriff Ray says last month, county detectives received a theft report alleging that four checks along with a solid gold college ring were stolen from a residence on Fourth Street in Smithville. Detectives discovered that Silcox had sold a ring fitting the description of the stolen ring at a jewelry store in Smithville. Detectives retrieved the ring and the victim identified it. Detectives also learned that Silcox had forged two of the victim’s checks which were passed at a business in DeKalb County.

The Grand Jury also returned a sealed indictment in a case presented by the Smithville Police Department.

50 year old Joseph Edward Mantz Jr. and 47 year old Mary Lee Mantz of Dogwood Point Road McMinnville are charged with three counts of sale of a schedule II drug, three counts of delivery of a schedule II drug, two counts of sale of a schedule III drug, and two counts of delivery of a schedule III drug. Bond for both was set at $50,000 each.

All defendants will appear for arraignment in criminal court on Monday, August 17th at 9:00 a.m.

DeKalb Sheriff's Department Employee Resigns Amid Allegations in Warren County Investigation

August 5, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

An employee at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has resigned after his name surfaced along with three other Warren County/McMinnville Police officers in an investigation into illegal distribution of prescription drugs and TennCare fraud at the Ameri-Care Urgent Care Clinic in McMinnville.

In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray states that "on August 3rd, I was formally advised of an active investigation involving one of my employees. On August 4th, I placed the employee on paid administrative leave pending outcome of the investigation. Then on August 5th, the employee resigned their employment from the Sheriff's Department."

"The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office is conducting an internal investigation and is fully cooperating with all investigating agencies in this matter. The nature of my department's internal investigation centers around a probe being conducted in Warren County and the investigation will seek to determine if the former employee's conduct was criminal in nature."

"At this time the former employee's name is being withheld until the investigation is completed."

According to the Southern Standard, a raid was conducted Monday morning by state and Warren County law enforcement agencies at the Ameri-Care Urgent Care Clinic on South Chancery Street in McMinnville amid allegations of TennCare fraud, other insurance fraud, and illegal distribution of drugs.

A Warren County Sheriff's deputy has been placed on unpaid suspension and an internal personnel probe is being conducted at the McMinnville Police Department where two officers there have been implicated in the case.

The DeKalb County employee is a former patrolman with the McMinnville Police Department

Since the Monday raid, investigators have been going through paperwork trying to figure out whether prescription drugs and narcotics were really being sold illegally.
Officials said so far no charges have been filed.

Vance Among More than Sixty Indicted by Grand Jury

August 4, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Comer Vance

A 39 year old man has been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury in connection with a recent burglary and theft at K & M Jewelry on West Broad Street.

Comer Thomas Vance is indicted on charges of burglary, theft over $60,000, felony vandalism, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Vance was among more than sixty defendants indicted by the Grand Jury Monday and Tuesday. Six sealed indictments were returned naming seven defendants. There were two "No" true bills. All will appear in criminal court for arraignment on Monday, August 17th at 9:00 a.m.

In the Vance case, Smithville Police Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says sometime during the early morning hours of Thursday, June 25th, Vance allegedly entered the business by removing plywood covering a window. Once inside, a safe, containing jewelry, was taken from the store. The intruder also busted out glass in the display cases and removed more jewelry. The total value of the stolen jewelry was estimated at $100,000.

The owner of the business, Mark Violet, discovered the burglary and theft when he arrived to open up the store later that morning.

As a result of the investigation and with assistance from an informant, Vance was identified as a suspect in the crime. Police spotted Vance, who was as a passenger in a Ford Thunderbird, on West Broad Street Saturday, June 27th. The car was pulled over and Vance, also charged in warrants unrelated to the burglary case, was taken into custody. Police confiscated a stolen nine millimeter handgun, which was loaded. Most of the jewelry taken in the break-in at K & M. Jewelry has also been recovered.

Sergeant Joey Jones assisted in the traffic stop that led to Vance's arrest.

Meanwhile, Reed Davis Edge, who is a constable in the second district, was indicted by the Grand Jury on a charge of simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana). His wife, Sonya Kaye Edge was indicted for driving under the influence.

On Sunday, February 15th deputies stopped Mrs Edge for weaving from the center line to the shoulder of the roadway several times. The vehicle was pulled over on Old Mill Hill Road. Upon talking to Mrs. Edge, officers detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from within the vehicle. Edge had red watery eyes and a smell of alcohol on her person. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. She was charged with driving under the influence.

Mr. Edge was a passenger in the vehicle. During a search, the officer found a pouch under Edge's seat containing several bags, one of which had a small amount of marijuana.

Others indicted and their charges are as follows:

Ashley M. Anderson- filing a false report, tampering with evidence, and no drivers license

Lisa Marie Arnold- simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia

Jimmy R. Baker- violation of the sex offender registry (failure to report) and violation of the sex offender law (residing where a minor lives)

Ernest Paul Barnwell- possession of a schedule II & III controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of prohibited weapons, driving on a revoked license, and driving on a revoked licensed enhanced to a third offense.

Robert Paul Brawley- aggravated burglary, theft over $500, and theft over $1,000

Jeremy A. Bilbrey- driving under the influence, DUI per se, and DUI enhanced to a second offense

Brandy Bone- worthless checks (2 counts)

Jessica Brett and Oliver Eiland- filing a false report

Christopher E. Bush- aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000 (2 counts), theft under $500 (2 counts), theft over $500 (2 counts)

Brandon Byford- theft of property over $1,000, theft of property under $500, and resisting arrest

William Andrew Cantrell- evading arrest, driving on a revoked license, and driving on a revoked license enhanced to a third offense

Christopher Joseph Cantrell- driving under the influence

Jose Gerarvo Carrillo- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced to second offense, driving on a revoked license, and violation of the open container law.

Joshua Cripps- reckless endangerment, possession of prohibited weapons, following too closely, a light law violation, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia

Billy W. Crook, Jr.- simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and resisting arrest.

Johnny L. Devault and Ashley J. Ferrell- criminal responsibility for facilitation of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, and assault.

Tony L. Edge- driving on a revoked license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked license enhanced to a third offense

Brandy M. Egerton- aggravated statutory rape

Jackie Darrell Ervin- driving on a suspended license

Michael E. Evans- driving under the influence and possession of a handgun while under the influence

Michael Eugene Evans- child neglect (under 18 years of age) 2 counts

Nathan D. Farris- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, reckless driving, and violation of the open container law

Mistey D. Goff- forgery (2 counts) and passing a forged instrument (2 counts)

Tiffany C. Gora- aggravated robbery and theft under $500

Lorenzo A. Hernandez- driving on a revoked license and driving on a revoked license enhanced to a fifth offense.

James A. Hesson- violation of the sex offender registry

Craig A. Hill- theft over $1,000 and vandalism under $500

Howard R. Holmes and Anna Holmes- assault

Jill Kennedy- worthless check

Vanessa Louise Lance- possession of drug paraphernalia

Michael Francis Lawlor, Jr.- driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, DUI enhanced to a fifth offense, driving on a revoked license enhanced, and violation of the implied consent law.

Brandon N. Loader- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and DUI enhanced to the fourth offense

Jimmy Brown Martin- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and DUI enhanced to a third offense.

Gary Edward Matthews- speeding, violation of the financial responsibility law, simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a revoked license, and introduction of a controlled substance into a penal institution.

Patsy L. McCoy- aggravated burglary and theft under $500

Scotty Wayne Neisz- aggravated statutory rape and violation of the sex offender registry and monitoring act

Timothy Patrick- worthless check and reckless driving

Kimberly A. Patterson- forgery, passing a forged instrument, and theft under $500

Timothy E. Peden- aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000

Stephen Hunter Pugh- possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, and theft under $500

Joshua Keith Ramsey- simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance(marijuana) and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (xanax)

Bradley Shane Redmon-theft of property under $500 (2 counts), aggravated burglary (2 counts), theft over $10,000, and theft over $1,000

Carlos Reyes- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced to a second offense, driving on a revoked license, and violation of the implied consent law.

Jo Ann Rutland- theft of property under $500

Jeffrey L.Sanders- driving under the influence

Sharon K. Skinner- theft over $500

Sharon K. Skinner and Eddie LeRoy Taylor- forgery (5 counts) and passing a forged instrument (5 counts)

Danny L. Smithson, Jr.- driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, DUI enhanced to a fourth offense, driving on a revoked license enhanced to a fifth offense, and possession of prohibited weapons

Alfonso A. Soto- driving under the influence, failure to carry a drivers license, and criminal impersonation

Paul E. Stanley- driving under the influence

Tina Keith Stephens- driving under the influence, driving on a revoked license, violation of the implied consent law, and DUI enhanced to the fourth offense.

Eddie LeRoy Taylor-simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance

Ricardo A. Vega-driving on a revoked license (2 counts)

Napoleon B. Wainwright- driving under the influence

Dennis Allan Wright- driving under the influence and simple possession of marijuana

Christopher E. Young- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced to a fourth offense, driving on a revoked license, driving on a revoked license enhanced to a fourth offense, violation of the implied consent law, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, burglary, and theft of property under $500

Jonathon R. Young- forgery (2 counts) and passing a forged instrument (2 counts)

Tina Beth Young- driving under the influence

DeKalb Community Hospital Welcomes New CEO

August 4, 2009
 Bill Little

DeKalb Community Hospital welcomes new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bill Little to its administrative team.

Most recently he has served as the Chief Operating Officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. According to Hugh Don Cripps, MD, the Medical Chief of Staff for DeKalb Community Hospital Little transitioned into his new position effective July 20, 2009.

Prior to his return to the Upper-Cumberland region, Little had spent 5 years serving as Vice President of Financial Operations at Vanguard Health Systems in Arizona. While there, he also served as the Chief Financial Officer for Arrowhead Hospital and Medical Center in Glendale, AZ. Little was awarded the Western Region CFO of the Year during that time.

Little is a native of Smithville. He obtained his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Bill and his wife, Kelly, are the proud parents of three daughters, Marcey, Madalyn, and Meridith.

Incident at Federal Mogul Forces Evacuation

August 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to Federal Mogul off Cookeville Highway Sunday night after Central Dispatch received a call of a hydrogen peroxide spill at the plant.

The call came in at 5:08 p.m.

Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene to find the building had been evacuated. They donned air packs and breathing masks, entered the factory, and worked to help ventilate the building. Sources say there was actually no chemical spill, but firefighters did seal and remove a barrel to the outside, which may have been the source of the problem.

Efforts continued to ventilate the facility, even after firefighters left, and later employees apparently returned to work.

But at 8:18 p.m. Central dispatch received a call of people becoming sick at the plant. DeKalb EMS transported three people to the hospital and others reportedly went by private vehicle.

The fire department returned to the plant to assist EMS.

Officials of Federal Mogul have had no comment but have said a statement from the company will be released today (Monday)

Smithson Charged with Arson

August 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeffery Smithson
Michael Glen Thomas
Nancy Felts Brown
Misty Shehane
 William Howell

46 year old Jeffery Smithson of Viola Road Trailer Park is charged with arson.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives had been investigating Smithson for theft from a mobile home on Stoner Road near the Rollertown Road in the southern part of the county and through that investigation Smithson became a suspect in the arson case. He was charged on July 28th. Smithson allegedly went to the mobile home on June 28th, broke into the residence, and stole items from there. Smithson then allegedly set fire to the residence and fled. The fire caused extensive damage to the home. Bond for Smithson was set at $75,000 and he will appear in court on August 13th.

Also on July 28th, deputies went to the residence of 34 year old Misty Shehane , who lives on Carter Street in Smithville to execute a state violation of probation warrant on 38 year old Michael Glen Thomas of West Main Street Dowelltown. While there, officers spotted components of a methamphetamine lab and summoned county detectives to the scene. Found in the home were items such as tubing, used coffee filters, turkey basters, lye, charcoal starter fluid, red phosphorus, muratic acid, and other components used in the methamphetamine process. After obtaining consent to search, authorities found a fully operational methamphetamine lab in a box in the bed room that Thomas was occupying. Thomas was charged with manufacture of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine). His bond is $50,000 and he will appear in court on August 6th.

Detectives also charged 31 year old Nancy Felts Brown also of West Main Street Dowelltown with manufacture of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Brown allegedly purchased or supplied items that were used in the Methamphetamine production process. Brown's pocket book contained a cut straw and a pill crusher and straws were found on a chest of drawers in the bedroom where she slept. Brown's bond was set at $26,000 and she will appear in court on August 6th.

After an investigation into Misty Shehane's involvement, detectives charged her on July 30th with manufacture of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) by having knowledge that Methamphetamine was being produced and for supplying a place for the illegal drug to be produced. Shehane was also charged with child neglect for allowing her two children, ages 23 months and 4 years of age, to be in the home or to live in a home where she had knowledge that Methamphetamine had been manufactured. Shehane's bond was set at $30,000 and she will appear in court on August 6th. The Department of Children's Services was contacted and the two children have been placed with family members. More charges are pending.

34 year old William Howell of Fairview Circle, Sparta was charged with theft of property over $10,000 on July 29th. Detectives received a report on July 25th that two jet skis and a double jet ski trailer were stolen from a boat ramp near the River Watch Golf Course in the eastern part of the county. Detectives were able to obtain a tag number by viewing video surveillance tapes from the River Watch area. Through their investigation, detectives learned that Howell was the person who allegedly stole the items. Bond for Howell was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on August 6th.. The two jet skis and trailer have been recovered by the detectives. Sheriff Ray says Howell has since admitted his involvement in the crime.

On July 31st, deputies stopped 35 year old Carlos Garcia of Bradyville Pike Apartments, Murfreesboro for a traffic offense on Highway 70. After speaking with Garcia, officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol on his person and Garcia's speech was slurred. Garcia submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. A computer check of Garcia's driver's license showed them to be revoked on May 19th, 2008 for not having insurance. Garcia was charged with driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. Garcia's bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on August 20th.

Deputies arrested two people after a traffic stop on Big Rock Road on August 1st. The officers initially spotted the vehicle sitting in the middle of Evins Mill Road. It then pulled away but stopped again on Big Rock Road where the driver swapped seats with the passenger. Arrested was 24 year old Michael Frederick Teachout of Students Home Road Smithville. He was charged with driving on a revoked license. Teachout's license had been revoked due to a driving under the influence conviction on February 25th in DeKalb County. The officer making the arrest saw Teachout swap from the driver's seat to the passenger side seat.

The passenger who swapped to the driver's seat was 29 year old Kym Denise Curtis of Judge Warren Road McMinnville. Curtis was found to have an odor of alcohol on her person and she was unsteady on her feet. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. Curtis was charged with driving under the influence and her bond was set at $1,000. Her court date is September 3rd. This is the second time Curtis has had a run in with the law in the last few days.

U.S Senate Approves Funding for Continued Safety Repairs at Center Hill Dam

August 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced Friday that the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which passed the full Senate Thursday night, 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 bill includes several projects important to Tennesseans like repairing two dams that have been designated ‘high risk’ since 2007,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The funding in this bill will help ensure that Tennesseans across our state have safe, reliable water.”

“Maintaining Tennessee’s water-related infrastructure is particularly important given the tough economic conditions facing our citizens and our state government. Funds provided in this bill will help support the continued safe operation of major dams and locks for the communities that depend upon them,” Corker said.

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

$123 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 $7.8 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$56 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 $6.1 million for operations and maintenance of the dam.

$50,000 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.

$6.5 million for Cheatham Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.8 million for Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$4.8 million for J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance.

$12.3 million for Old Hickory Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

$6.4 million for Dale Hollow Lake Dam for continued operations and maintenance.

Funds for Sligo Bridge Included in Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill

August 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Federal funds for Sligo Bridge are included in a federal appropriations bill making it's way to the United States Senate.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced Friday that the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, includes significant funding for a number of mass transit, roadway, and airport improvements across Tennessee. The bill must now be considered by the full Senate.

In a prepared news release, Senator Alexander says the bill includes" $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake.

"This legislation funds important initiatives to improve transportation and economic development in Tennessee," Alexander said. "As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to ensure that Tennessee's federal tax dollars are used wisely to create jobs, upgrade our state's roadways and enhance the quality of life in our communities."

The FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes funding for the following projects:

· $6 million for the Tennessee Public Transportation Association for statewide mass transportation programs. Funding will be used to purchase and improve mass transit systems across the state of Tennessee – including busing and light rail. Improved mass transit will reduce congestion in Tennessee's cities as well as help provide hospital transportation for rural Tennesseans.

· $1.5 million for Nashville International Airport for runway reconstruction. Funding will be used to upgrade a runway at Nashville International Airport so it can better accommodate larger freight and passenger aircraft to meet the air transport demands for Nashville, one of the South's fastest growing cities.

· $200,000 for Cocke County for improvements to Waterville Road. Funding will help repair the Waterville Road in Cocke County which is heavily impacted by tourists visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is partly within county limits.

· $1 million for the City of Gallatin for improvements to Airport Road. Funding will be used to redirect the airport road to make additional space for an expanded runway to accommodate increasing commercial aircraft traffic.

· $785,000 for the City of Jackson for improvements to East Chester Street. Funding will be used to improve East Chester Street and help spur redevelopment of East Jackson. East Chester Street was devastated by a tornado in May 2003.

· $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake.

Bredesen Announces Recovery Act Funds to UCHRA

July 31, 2009

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency will receive $1.7 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for rural transportation services. UCHRA provides public transportation services for Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White Counties.

“Many Tennesseans, particularly those with limited mobility, already rely on public transportation for their daily needs and many others would like to see expanded transit options,” said Bredesen. “The Recovery Act funds announced today will help rural transit providers in Tennessee improve service and replace aging fleets with safer, more reliable vehicles.”

A total of $17.9 million in Recovery Act funds will be provided to 12 rural transit agencies in Tennessee.

“Coming from the fourth most rural congressional district in the country I understand the importance of providing rural residents, particularly those with limited economic means and mobility, with accessible and reliable transportation,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis. “These Recovery Act funds will allow Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency to improve service by upgrading and expanding an aging fleet and provide thousands of Tennesseans with the mobility to continue being or becoming active members of their community.”

“Public transportation is a key component to attracting new businesses and spurring economic development,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “As the economy recovers from this recession, improving public transit in our state’s rural communities will help make these areas more desirable for businesses to set up shop and create new jobs.”

UCHRA plans to use the Recovery Act dollars to add approximately 18 new ADA accessible minivans, 13 ADA accessible vans, eight new demand response vehicles, communications and GPS devices for the new vehicles to assist in locating service calls and one service vehicle. UCHRA also plans to utilize approximately $177,797 for operational costs.

“Many of the vans and buses in the rural transportation fleets have accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles over the years and have outlasted their useful life,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Replacing these vehicles will allow transit agencies to provide safer, more dependable service to their customers and will generate manufacturing work for the companies providing the vehicles.”

Federal Recovery Act Transit funds are administered by TDOT’s Division of Multimodal Transportation Resources. Tennessee received a total of $72 million in Recovery Act transit funds. Of those funds, $42.2 million was directed by the federal government to the state’s four large urban areas, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

For more information on TDOT’s Division of Multimodal Transportation Resources visit www.tn.gov/tdot. For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, visit www.recovery.gov. For TDOT specific information on the Recovery Act visit www.tn.gov/tdot/recovery.

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