Local News Articles

Chamber Urges Local Businesses to Participate in "Project Welcome Mat"

June 20, 2013
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all local businesses to help welcome visitors to the 42nd annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival by participating in the 12th annual "Project Welcome Mat"

Businesses having changeable signs or marquees are asked to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors. The wording may be only a simple "Welcome to the Jamboree" or as elaborate as you choose. Executive Director of the Chamber, Suzanne Williams, says, "With thousands of visitors coming into town, every effort should be made by the local merchants to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business. The program has been successful over the past years with many businesses participating. Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the DeKalb County / Smithville area can be!"

All businesses may participate in "Project Welcome Mat." There will be recognition awards in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award." Plaques will be presented to winners along with media recognition.

If your business would like to participate in the contest, email the Chamber at dekalbtn@dtccom.net or call 597-4163. Wording should be in place no later than Thursday, June 27th.

Alexander: Removal of Buoys Below Cumberland River Dams “the Right Way to End the Fishing Controversy

June 20, 2013
Lamar Alexander

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to remove buoys restricting access to fishing areas below dams on the Cumberland River – in compliance with legislation he sponsored that became law on June 3 – is “the right way to end the fishing controversy.”

“This preserves the freedom to fish for generations of Americans who enjoy fishing below the dams on the Cumberland River, and does so in a way that gives the appropriate state wildlife agencies authority for boating safety,” Alexander said.

The Corps announced today the decision to remove buoys it previously put in place as part of its plan to restrict access beneath 10 dams on the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The announcement follows the June 3 enactment of a law Alexander sponsored in the Senate that prohibits the Corps from implementing restrictions for two years, while also delegating enforcement below the dams to appropriate state agencies.

In addition to the two-year ban that became law June 3, the U.S. Senate also passed on May 15 Alexander’s permanent solution as part of the Water Resources Development Act. That permanent solution would prevent the Corps from establishing physical barriers, require that any further action be based on actual operating conditions – as opposed to 24 hours per day – and give sole responsibility for enforcement of restricted areas below dams to the states.

The U.S. House of Representatives has not yet taken up its version of the Water Resources Development Act, which Alexander said made it necessary to pass the two-year ban.

Alexander’s legislation, known as the “Freedom to Fish Act,” was cosponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). A similar version was sponsored in the house by U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.).

Two Submit Qualifying Petitions for Alexandria Election

June 19, 2013
Dwayne Page

The names of two people will appear on the ballot in the Alexandria Municipal Election on September 5.

A mayor and three aldermen are to be elected

Jim H. York, Jr. will be running for mayor.

Pat Jackson was the only candidate to qualify to run for alderman.

Noon Thursday, June 20 was the qualifying deadline for the election.

Miller Wins Alderman Seat, Jacobs and Washer Re-elected

June 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Danny Washer, Shawn Jacobs, and Josh Miller

The Smithville city council will have a new member next month.

Josh Miller, who is employed in the construction and real estate business, led the ticket with 311 votes (20.94%) in his race for one of three alderman seats in the Smithville Municipal Election Tuesday. "I'm excited. I've been a little nervous all day. I definitely want to thank my family and all the ones who came out and voted for me. I thank you so much. I promise not to take this office lightly. I'll do the best job I know how to do. Thank you so much," said Miller.

Incumbent aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Danny Washer were re-elected. Jacobs, who won a third term, received 278 votes (18.72%). Washer had 261 votes (17.58%) to win a second term.


"I am both honored and humbled by the results of the election and the sentiment of the people of Smithville," said Jacobs. "It has certainly been a great four years that I have served. We have made some progress and I certainly do hope that we can all work together and keep it up. I don't see any reason why we can't do that. We are going to miss Gayla. She has been quite an asset to the council but I also want to congratulate Josh who has run a good race and will be joining us on the council. All of the candidates conducted themselves very appropriately as ladies and gentlemen. Being a candidate, you always appreciate that. I want to thank, not only those who voted for me, but everybody who turned out to vote. I just wish more people had voted," said Jacobs.

Washer also thanked his wife and supporters. "First, I'd like to thank my wife. I don't know of anybody who worked any harder. I worked pretty hard but she worked a lot harder than I did. I want to thank everybody who voted for me and all my friends that supported me and worked hard for me. Congratulations to Josh. I'm going to miss Gayla. I hope we can move forward. I appreciate everybody who voted for me. Thank you very much," said Washer.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix lost her bid for re-election to a second term. She came in fourth place with 237 votes (15.96%). Anthony Scott and Aaron Meeks were also unsuccessful in their bid for alderman. Scott received 222 votes (14.95%) and Meeks garnered 172 votes (11.58%).

"I would like to say thank you to everyone who supported me and to let the citizens of Smithville know that I've thoroughly enjoyed serving on the city council," said Hendrix. "I think we've gotten a lot of good things started. I want to congratulate the ones who are in and I wish them well. We'll be supporting them behind the scenes. Let's just keep the city moving forward," she said.

"I would like to thank the Good Lord for giving me the strength and courage to step out and run for office," said Scott. "I'd like to also sincerely thank my family and my friends for the support and encouragement they have shown me through this process. Having them by my side has been a humbling experience and I cannot thank each of them enough from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank each of you who came out and voted. Whether or not I received your vote, you came out to vote and make a difference and that is the most important thing. I would like to congratulate the three winners. I'd like to encourage them to always ask questions, listen to the people, and always do the right thing the first time, every time," said Scott.

"I would like to say thank you to everybody who took the time out to either vote in early voting or election day," said Meeks. "Our total voters were 615. That's less than one third of the qualified voters in the city. I certainly would have liked to have seen twice that many or even more but I do appreciate everybody who came out and I want to thank everybody for their support," said Meeks.

A total of 615 people voted in the election including 431 early votes/absentees combined and 184 on election day. There were 33 absentees (included in the early voting total).

There are 2,948 registered voters in the City of Smithville.

The new make-up of the aldermen are: Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, Danny Washer, Tim Stribling, and Jason Murphy. Jimmy Poss is the mayor.

Miller, Jacobs, and Washer will be sworn into office July 1st. They will each serve a three year term. The terms of Mayor Poss and Aldermen Stribling and Murphy will be up next year.

Starting in 2014, the Smithville Municipal Elections will be held on the first Thursday in August instead of the third Tuesday in June. The terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will be four years instead of two years, beginning with next year's elections.


Two Involved in Pickup Truck Wreck

June 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Two Involved in Pickup Truck Wreck

Two people were involved in a pickup truck accident Monday afternoon on Highway 146.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 37 year old Larry Murphy was driving north in a 1988 Chevy S-10 pickup when he came up on traffic in front of him which had stopped. Trying to avoid a collision, Murphy swerved to the right but went off the road and struck and split a utility pole. The truck came to rest off the road near a nursery.

According to Trooper Tisdale, Murphy was not injured but a passenger, 41 year old Patsy McCoy was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Murphy was charged with driving on a suspended license.

Metro Police Charge Man for Allegedly Pulling Knife on National Guard Recruiter

June 19, 2013
Patrick Counts

Metro Nashville police arrested a man from DeKalb County for aggravated assault after he allegedly pulled a knife on a military recruiter.

24 year old Patrick Counts, was arrested after an incident at the National Guard Recruiting Office at Edge O Lake Drive in Antioch last Tuesday.

Police said he walked into the office around 1 p.m. and inquired about enlisting. A Sergeant, who told police he had prior knowledge of Counts, asked him to leave.

At that point, police said Counts pulled out a pocketknife, unfolded the blade and approached the Sgt. in a "threatening manner." The Sgt. said because of his history with him, he was in fear for his safety.
No one was hurt.

There was another person inside the office at the time, so police arrested him on two counts of aggravated assault.


City Awards Bid for Airport Runway Paving and Apron Expansion

June 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Cracks in Airport Runway
Airport Runway Crack
Airport Runway to be Resurfaced

Highways Incorporated has been awarded a bid to perform the runway overlay and apron expansion at the Smithville Municipal Airport along with the design and construction of the new infrastructure for the Papi (runway) lights.

The aldermen Monday night approved the bid of Highway's Incorporated at $1,633,738 which was the lowest of the two bids submitted. "We did bid openings for airport bids for the overlay and apron expansion of the runway and also for the Papi lights," said Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson. These are two different grants but they are being bid under one project through our engineer R.W. Armstrong. We only had two bids turned in. Highways Incorporated turned in a bid for the paving of $1,561,653 and $72,130 for the runway lights for a total of $1,633,738. LoJac was the only other bidder for the paving of the runway and apron expansion at $1.9 million and $102,000 for the runway lights for a total of $2,072,000. Obviously Highways Inc. was the low bidder by roughly $400,000. Our engineering firm R.W. Armstrong made the recommendation to go with Highways Incorporated," said Hendrixson.

Last year, the city was approved for a $1.5 million grant to do runway overlay and apron expansion. State grant funding totaled $1,350,000 and the local matching obligation was $150,000. The grant for the design and construction of the Papi infrastructure was $96,300. The city's portion is $4,815. Since the grant does not cover the cost of the paving project, the city has applied for up to $190,000 in additional grant funds. If approved the city would be responsible for a 5% local match.The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division.

The airport runway may be closed while the paving project is in progress. The work is expected to begin next month.

Wesley Nokes, Manager of the Smithville Municipal Airport recently told WJLE how the grant funds will be spent. "We're having the runway resurfaced and we are expanding the ramp and our parking area at the airport. We're repairing a spot of existing asphalt that has deteriorated probably due to an underground spring. The design for all that, the engineering portion of it, we got a grant for that and then we got a separate grant for the actual construction, the asphalt for the runway, the asphalt for the apron extension and to repair the older asphalt," said Nokes.

"Another grant is for our PAPI lights, which are lights at the end of the runway that let the pilots know if they are on the right guide slope and if they are too high or too low coming in for approach for landing," said Nokes. "The wiring that supplies the electricity for these lights is extremely old. It was probably put in during the early 1970s. Its now dilapidated and corroded. This grant will replace all that wiring from the main hangar building out to each end of the runway, "he said.

In other business, the aldermen voted 4-1 Monday night to approve the new $7.8 million budget on second and final reading following a public hearing in which there was no public comment. Alderman Shawn Jacobs voted against the budget apparently because it does not include funding for at least one additional paid full time firefighter position.

The budget includes a 1.5% pay raise for all city employees including salaried personnel. Some employees will also get step increases depending upon where they fall in the wage scale for their department.

The city property tax rate will remain the same at .6490 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value and there will be no increases in water or sewer rates.

Water customers will continue to pay $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates are $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage.

The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to be $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter. In addition, all sewer customers will continue to pay the $3.62 cent per month flat rate usage fee.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $2.05 per thousand gallons but will increase beginning with January 1, 2014 sales. The rate will be determined in a new contract between the city and the DUD, which has not yet been negotiated.

The new city budget takes effect July 1.

Third Annual Tiger and Lady Tiger Camp of Champions Starts Monday

June 18, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tiger and Lady Tiger Basketball 3rd Annual Camp of Champions will be June 24-27 from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the DCHS Gymnasium. It's for ages 5-14.


Camp Goals are to provide each camper with a positive, fun-filled learning experience. The camp is designed to teach the fundamentals of basketball and give campers added game experience, while emphasizing teamwork and competition in a fun environment.

Enrollment Instructions: A fee of $60 covers the entire cost of all instruction. Each additional child from a family will cost $30. Each camper will receive a camp T-shirt. Competitive contests will be held each day to allow campers to earn prizes and awards. Campers will have the opportunity to compete against other players in game situations and shooting competitions. Camp will be divided into age groups and ability groups.

Cost of Camp is $60. There are two ways to register. LIVE registration will be held at the DCHS gymnasium on June 23 from 2-4 p.m. or you can mail the camp fee to: DeKalb County Basketball in care of Debra Magness at 1130 West Broad Street, Smithville, TN 37166. The $60 must be paid at the time of registration.

Camp Staff are Directors Lynus Martin and Joe Pat Cope. Staffed by county and area coaches.

Include with the fee the camper's name, age, grade next year, address, phone number, and t-shirt size: YS, YM,YL, S, M, L, XL, and the parent's signature.

Woman Charged With Burglaries, Thefts, and Vandalism at Sligo Marina

June 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Stephanie Lee Vanatta
Willard Darrell Brown
William Joseph Kitchen
Luis Enrique Hernandez
Jose Maria Sanchez
Billy Joe Davis, II

Accusations of vandalism, burglaries, and thefts at a local marina has landed a local woman in trouble with the law.

36 year old Stephanie Lee Vanatta of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with four counts of burglary, four counts of theft under $500, and one count of vandalism over $500. Her bond totals $60,000 and she will be in court on June 20.

Vanatta is accused of breaking into and taking items from two pontoon boats, committing vandalism of an automobile, and breaking into and stealing items from two other vehicles at Sligo Marina on Thursday, May 23.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, May 23 Vanatta allegedly entered a pontoon boat at Sligo Marina and took two fish locators, a tool bag containing miscellaneous tools, a solar battery charger, and an electric fish cleaner all valued at less than $500.

Vanatta allegedly entered another pontoon boat and took two flashlights, a can of WD 40, a set of tools, two quarts of oil, and miscellaneous tools all valued at less than $500.

Vanatta further allegedly entered a Ford pickup truck by breaking out the glass on the driver's side and taking a gas can, extra car keys, and a boat latch lock.

The same day, Vanatta allegedly entered a Toyota by breaking out the back glass and taking a bag containing several keys, a first aid kit, a thirty one bag, flip flops, a cleaning kit, and two Sam's cooler bags all valued at less than $500.

She also allegedly damaged a 2006 Chevy HHR vehicle by leaving marks on both of the driver side and passenger side doors causing over $500 in damage.

41 year old Willard Darrell Brown of Earl Avenue, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs in a penal institution. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court June 20.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 14 Brown was at the jail to serve a court ordered weekend sentence. When he entered the jail, correctional officers asked Brown if he had anything on him they should know about. Brown replied no. After observing Brown on camera at the jail, officers suspected he may have had contraband on his person. When the correctional officers went to his cell, they noticed that Brown had something in his fist. When told to open his fist, Brown refused. The correctional officers had to take Brown to the floor. Brown then put a bag in his mouth. The correctional officers had to forcibly remove the bag from Brown's mouth. The bag contained Xanax, a schedule IV drug and Lortab, a schedule III drug.

William Joseph Kitchen of Amherst, Ohio is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, June 10 Kitchen allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on Potts Camp Road by putting his hands on her throat, strangling her and leaving marks on her neck and throat. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

20 year old Luis Enrique Hernandez of McMinnville and Jose Maria Sanchez are each charged with public intoxication. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court July 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, June 16 the sheriff's department received a call about noise on Adcock Cemetery Road. Upon arrival, the deputy spoke to both Hernandez and Sanchez who each had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on their persons and were unsteady on their feet. For their safety, both Hernandez and Sanchez were arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

51 year old Billy Joe Davis, II of Heritage, Tennessee is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 15 Davis was operating a motorcycle on Dale Ridge Road that was involved in a crash. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Davis had two containers. One of the containers was full of wine and the other was empty but had an odor of wine. Davis performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test. Davis was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Aldermen Ratify New City Charter

June 17, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen held a brief special meeting Tuesday morning, June 18 at 7:30 a.m. at city hall to formally ratify the new charter before election day voting began at 8:00 a.m. The vote was 5-0 to adopt the new charter.


HB1363.pdf (117.79 KB)

The aldermen wanted to enact the charter before the election because it extends the length of terms of the newly elected aldermen from two years to three years. Beginning with those elected next year and with all future elections, terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will be four years.

A resolution, seeking these and other changes in the charter, was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the Tennessee General Assembly.

Legislation amending Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make these changes in the charter was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly on Friday, April 19. However, by law the aldermen had to wait at least sixty days before taking action to ratify it. Tuesday, June 18 marks the 60th day.

According to the legislation, "This act shall have no effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of the City of Smithville, with such vote to be taken not fewer than sixty (60) nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days following the passage of the act by the General Assembly".

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. recently sought an opinion from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) on whether the aldermen could meet election day, which is the 60th day, to ratify the new charter.

In reply, Josh Jones of MTAS wrote that " I do not think it violates Tennessee law to have the ratification vote of the governing body and the election for aldermen on the same day."

Jones based his judgment on a State Attorney General's opinion in a Springfield charter change which was decided by a public referendum. "In the (AG) opinion, the private act charter of the City of Springfield was amended by private act of the general assembly. The amendment increased the length of aldermanic terms from two to four years. However, to be ratified the private act had to be approved by referendum. That referendum was occurring during the same election as the vote to elect new aldermen. Hence, the term length of these aldermen was dependent upon the outcome of the referendum," wrote Jones.

"This parallels the situation in Smithville. The only difference being a 2/3 vote of the governing body as opposed to a referendum is required to ratify."

"In the opinion, the Attorney General stated that both elections could be held simultaneously and the fact that one affected the other was not fatal."

"Based on my reading of this opinion, I do not think it violates Tennessee law to have the ratification vote of the governing body and the election for aldermen on the same day," wrote Jones.

Under the new Smithville city charter the terms of office will be extended for the mayor and aldermen. It extends voting rights to county residents that own commercial property in the city (two persons per deed), allows property rights voting to county residents who own at least 3,500 square feet of property in the city, and allows by ordinance regular city council meetings to be held only once per month.

The new charter calls for city elections every two years, on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general election and state primaries. Terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will go from two to four years.
The three aldermen elected Tuesday, June 18 will serve a three year term until after the August election in 2016. From then on three aldermen will be elected to serve four year terms.

Next year under the new charter, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected on the first Thursday in August. Those elected will serve for four years.

Because the voter registration deadline has already passed, no new voters including property rights voters can register in time for Tuesday's election.


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