Local News Articles

Weather Related Cancellations

by: 
Dwayne Page

Weather related closings and cancellations for Wednesday include:

Church Services at:
Keltonburg United Methodist Church
Webb's Chapel United Methodist Church
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Awana Program

DeKalb County Schools are closed Wednesday, but no word yet on Thursday.

Alexandria Police Arrest Two Men in Burglary Investigation

February 27, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has made two arrests in a burglary last week at the old Prichard's Grocery store location.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says 42 year old Wendell Lee Gibbs and 32 year old James Steven Leduc both of Alexandria are charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft over $10,000. Bond for each is $30,000.

On Thursday, February 21st , Chief Collins and Sergeant Chris Russell of the Alexandria Police Department responded to a reported burglary at the old Prichard's Grocery Store located at 33812 Nashville Highway where someone entered the building and stole a substantial amount of copper wiring and piping and causing extensive damage to the electrical system of the building and to the coolers and freezers .

The investigation led to the arrests of both Gibbs and Leduc.

Chief Collins says the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department assisted Alexandria Police in the investigation and Leduc was also charged by the Sheriff's Department on unrelated charges.

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

New Garbage Collection Convenience Site Set to Open Soon

February 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The new garbage collection convenience site on Highway 56 south may open in a few days.

County Mayor Mike Foster addressed this issue during Monday night's county commission meeting. "The site is ready to inspect. It should be inspected Tuesday and if everything goes well we will have it open by Monday or maybe if we get everything going, we might get it open Sunday. But it will be open either Sunday or Monday. All we're waiting on is the electrical inspection. One of the compactors won't be there but the other one will and we'll have open cans. It will take us a while to get everything else back in place and they will still have to issue the permit but they have given us the okay to go ahead."

The new convenience site is near the Smithville Nursery location.

Foster also talked about an auction set for Saturday at 10:00 a.m. on North Congress Boulevard in which surplus county property will be sold including the old ambulance service building on the Cookeville Highway. The county is connecting city sewer service to the building to help attract potential buyers to the sale."We will be selling some of the Sheriff's confiscated and used property and equipment from other departments. We bought the grinder pump today (Monday) to hook it up to the city (sewer) and they're supposed to hook it up Wednesday. So if everything goes well, it will be in place on Wednesday. The grinder pump was $2,100. The tap fee is $550 and then there's the installation costs so it's going to be about what we thought, somewhere close to $4,000 probably, but that will have the septic problem solved which is one of the main drawn backs about it selling. Even if they do not have it operating by Saturday, we will announce out there Saturday that the county will finish installation and will have paid for everything by then."

The issue of alerting people in the event of tornado warnings for DeKalb County was also discussed. Foster says the best alternative is possibly urging people to obtain Noaa Weather Radios.. "With the storms that hit Trousdale, Sumner, and Macon Counties, we've had a lot of questions about alarm systems. I've had Brad (Mullinax) get some stuff together for us. We thought we could do this through the reverse 911 system but I think we've pretty well decided that if we do this, it will have to be modified because it will only notify 48 people per minute and we thought it would be 200. When you start trying to contact 8,000 homes, it would tie the phone lines up. We probably would want a system where we could notify maybe a thousand homes, then maybe have them call some neighbors. From everything they have told me, the alarm system is probably cost prohibitive. Each one of the alarms is about $20,000 and they say we'd probably need one every mile and there are 307 square miles in DeKalb County. The absolute affect of it is there's a lot of people who wouldn't hear the sirens anyway. They would be too far away. The thing that everybody seems to suggest is the Noaa weather radio. They are about $20 each and you plug it in and it works on batteries as well. If there is an alarm, it will turn the radio on and notify the homeowner. That probably is the best solution for everybody along with these dial up numbers too. I think anything we can do to help in the way of notification is the thing we really need to look at because if you go down to Macon County and look at the devastation it's pretty unbelievable."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says the school system's Connect-Ed could also be used to help alert many people in the county.

High School Seniors Urged to Submit Scholarship Applications

February 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County High School Guidance Department urges parents to encourage their high school seniors to submit scholarship applications by the deadlines.

All local scholarship applications are due at the DCHS Guidance Office by March 20th.

Applications for the DTC Scholarship in memory of McAllen Foutch are due at the DTC office by the close of business on March 14th.

Applications for the Middle Tennessee Times Scholarship are due at the Middle Tennessee Times office by the close of business on March 15th.

The following scholarships are available:

Smithville Women's Club Scholarship- for female students only

DeKalb Community Hospital- for students going into the healthcare field

DeKalb Retired Teachers Award for students who will major in education.

Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club Award for female students only.

The Elzie and Nell McBride Memorial Scholarship for future MTSU students only

The DeKalb Farmers Coop Award for students going into an agriculture or related field.

The Kyle and Kenny Robinson Memorial Scholarship for student athletes

The Matthew McAfee Memorial Scholarship for students who are members of both FBLA and FCA

DeKalb Foundation for Education Award

The Lucille Stewart Memorial Scholarship Award for basketball players or basketball cheerleaders going into teaching.

DeKalb County Republican Women's scholarship

Beecher and Wilma Moss Scholarship

AmVets Scholarship and AmVets Auxiliary Scholarship for students who are children or grandchildren of a veteran.

The DeKalb County Soil Conservation District Scholarship is for students majoring in agriculture.

The DeKalb Firefighters Association Scholarship is for students who have an immediate family member or grandparent who is a firefighter, EMS, or on the rescue squad. Also for students who are in the Explorer Program.

And the Liberty State Bank, DeKalb County Scottish Rite, Studio Six, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Alan Hooper Memorial Scholarship, Eddie Crips Memorial Scholarship, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Smithville Rotary Club, First Bank, Class of 1966, Class of 1969, the DTC McAllen Foutch Memorial Scholarship, the Jeff Garrett Memorial Scholarship, the Middle Tennessee Times Scholarship, the Jolly Angels Scholarship, and the Agee Oil Company Scholarship.

Gordon Announces Corps Plans for Reducing Lake Elevation

February 26, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced lake elevations will drop even more while rehabilitation work is performed on Center Hill Dam, said U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon.

According to the Corps, levels at Center Hill Lake will vary from 618 feet in the fall and winter to 630 feet in the summer. The lower elevations will make some boat ramps unusable, even during the lake's busy summer months.

The end result will ensure the safety of those who live downstream of Center Hill Dam, but there's no question the work will cause headaches and inconvenience for those who use the lake for recreation," said Gordon.

At a lake level of 630 feet above sea level, 11 boat ramps will be unusable. While the Corps says all marinas will be able to operate at the newly announced levels, access to some may be affected.

Information on specific boat ramps is available on the Corps' Web site at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill.

The Corps also has announced the awarding of an $87.4 million construction contract for foundation grouting at the dam. The work will include construction of work surfaces along the dam and installation of grout into the main embankment and left rim of the dam.

The $240 million, five-year rehabilitation project at Center Hill Dam will involve the addition of grouting to voids where seepage is occurring in the earthen dam. Installation of a concrete cut-off wall into the rock foundation of the dam will provide another level of
defense against future seepage.

Problems with seepage have plagued the dam since its completion in 1951. Prior to the current rehabilitation project, grouting was most recently added in 1992 to combat seepage.

"While Corps officials tell me there is no immediate danger of the dam failing, this work is necessary to ensure Center Hill Lake will remain a safe place for residence and recreation," said Gordon.

Center Hill Lake Elevations to be Lower during Remediation Work

February 25, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, announced today that Center Hill Lake elevations will be lower during remediation work on Center Hill Dam. The Corps plans to target Center Hill Lake levels between elevation 630 feet above mean sea level (msl) in the summer and no lower than elevation 618 msl during the late fall and early winter.

These elevations are approximately five to ten feet lower than recent pool operating levels, and as much as eighteen feet lower than normal operating levels. Since early 2007, the Corps has targeted the lake levels at the lower boundary of the operating guide curve, which is elevation 640, summer pool, and elevation 623.5, winter pool.

At the new lowered levels, all marinas will be operable. However, access to the marinas may be affected and in some cases, restricted, particularly during the fall, winter and early spring months. At elevation 630, 24 of the 35 boat ramps will be usable. At elevation 618, all 35 launching ramps will be unusable. Information on each specific ramp is available on the website.

The lowering of Center Hill Lake is intended to decrease pressure on the foundation, reducing the progression of seepage, as well as lessening downstream damages in the unlikely event of a dam failure. The chosen levels are the result of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) developed over the past year. The EIS evaluated potential impacts caused by each of nine lake level alternatives.

The process included consideration of safety concerns, potential impact to project purposes, and the views of the State of Tennessee, other federal agencies, affected stakeholders, and the public. The goal of the EIS was to identify an alternative that balanced the safety of the downstream human and natural environment against the reduction of project benefits from water supply, water quality, recreation, navigation, and hydropower.

During the five year repair period, this interim pool operation will be periodically re-evaluated to determine if Center Hill Lake can be safely raised, maintained, or if further lowering is necessary to ensure safety. Completion of the dam repairs will extend the project life well into this century, resulting in continued long-term project benefits.

The lake restriction at Center Hill reservoir coupled with ongoing lake restrictions at Wolf Creek reservoir upstream significantly reduce the amount of water in storage in the Cumberland River Basin reservoir system. The impacts of reduced water availability are most likely to be experienced in the summer and fall.

The Corps has developed an Interim Operating Plan (IOP) for management of the reservoir system during the time these pool restrictions are in place. The IOP establishes priorities that water managers will follow during this period of limited water resources. The priorities are: 1) water supply; 2) water quality; 3) navigation; 4) hydropower; and 5) recreation. The Corps operated according to these guidelines in 2007 when severe drought and excessive summer heat accompanied less restrictive pool restrictions.

Further information regarding the seepage problems, remediation, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Cumberland River Reservoir Interim Operating Plan (IOP) may be found on the Nashville District website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill/.

Woman Charged with Felony Child Abuse by Sheriff's Department

February 25, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 26 year old woman was charged with felony child abuse last week after she was found passed out in her vehicle with a 23 month old child in the back seat wearing no coat, socks, or shoes.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Lori Ann Lewis of Sparta Highway, Sparta was charged on Wednesday, February 20th with a felony count of Child Abuse and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says a deputy was attempting to serve a warrant at Lewis' home when he noticed Lewis passed out in a vehicle in the driveway. The officer also heard a small child crying. Lewis was passed out in the vehicle with the driver's side window down and the child, 23 months old, was sitting in the back seat with no coat, socks or shoes on. The temperature outside was 40 degrees. Also in the passenger side seat was a Ziploc bag containing a hypodermic syringe and a straw. Lewis' bond was set at $30,000 and her court date is February 28th.

Meanwhile, 39 year old Mark A Stults of South York Street Grimsly, Tennessee was arrested Sunday, February 17th for Theft of Property over $500 and Aggravated Burglary. Sheriff Ray says York entered a home on Vickers Ridge Road, which is located in the Austin Bottom Area, and took numerous items such as a guitar, assorted tools, and knives. Most of the property has been recovered. Stults' bond was set at $40,000 and he will appear in General Sessions Court February 28th.

32 year old James Steven Leduc was charged on Thursday, February 21st with one count of Aggravated Burglary and two counts of Theft of Property over $500. Sheriff Ray says Leduc broke into a home on Nashville Highway in Alexandria and while inside, stripped the copper wiring from the home. Leduc also went to Old Casey's Cove Road, Smithville, where a residence had burned, and stole copper wiring from the remains of that home. Leduc's bond was set at $35,000 and his court date is March 13th. The Alexandria Police Department assisted in the case.

50 year old Marc Jenkins of Shady Lane, Smithville was charged on Saturday, February 23rd with driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law. Jenkins was the driver of an automobile which was involved in an accident on Highway 70. Sheriff Ray says Jenkins was found to be under the influence of alcohol after county deputies had him perform field sobriety tasks, which he failed. Jenkins also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Bond for Jenkins was set at $1,000 and his court date is March 27th.

Call In For Coverage To Help Uninsured Adults and Children Enroll in Cover TN

February 23, 2008

Cover Tennessee will hold a live call-in event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 1, to provide information about or enroll qualifying, uninsured Tennesseans in its family of programs: CoverTN, CoverKids, CoverRx and AccessTN.

During Cover Tennessee’s Call In For Coverage, callers will simply dial 1-866-576-0028 to speak one-on-one with program representatives who can answer questions about the programs and help uninsured adults or children enroll.

“I hope every uninsured Tennessean will take a few minutes on March 1 to call Cover Tennessee and find out if they qualify for one of the programs,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “It will be an easy way for those struggling to obtain health insurance to get coverage for themselves, their employees or their children.”

Those interested in enrolling should have basic information available when they call, such as Social Security numbers and income information to enroll CoverKids, CoverRx and AccessTN, and federal employer identification numbers and Tennessee employer account numbers to enroll
in CoverTN.

Cover Tennessee is Governor Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to uninsured children and adults in Tennessee.

CoverTN offers basic, affordable health coverage for employees of Tennessee’s small businesses, the self-employed and individuals working at companies that do not provide employer-sponsored health insurance.

CoverKids allows qualifying children 18 and under to get free, comprehensive health insurance for preventive health care services such as vaccinations, doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital visits.

CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program, provides Tennesseans access to affordable prescription medications.

AccessTN offers health insurance to Tennesseans with uninsurable or catastrophic health care conditions.

For more information on any of the Cover Tennessee programs, visit www.CoverTN.gov or call 1-866-COVERTN.

Cell Phone Numbers May Now Be Included On Do Not Call Registry

February 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers soon.

You may place your cell phone number (as well as your home number) on the National Do Not Call Registry.

To do so, visit the Do Not Call Registry Web Site at: https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx

You may register up to three phone numbers at a time. You simply put in the phone numbers you want placed on the registry and enter your e-mail address. You will receive an e-mail with a verification link for each of the phone numbers you register. Click on the link or copy and paste the link into your browser address bar and the registration is complete. You MUST click on the link within 72 hours to complete the registration.

Or you may register by calling 1-888-382-1222. You must call on the phone you are registering.

You may verify a registration at: https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/conf.aspx

The Federal Trade Commission launched its national "Do Not Call" registry five years ago prohibiting telemarketers from calling consumers who have placed their telephone numbers on the list.

Congressman Bart Gordon says "Middle Tennesseans are harassed daily with annoying telephone calls from telemarketers,". "I cannot count the times I have tried to sit down with my family to enjoy a meal only to be disturbed by a call from a telemarketer. That's frustrating."

Tennessee has a "Do Not Call" registry enforced by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

"The national registry is not intended to preempt Tennessee's registry, or any state's registry," Gordon said. "In fact, the federal government is working with states that have such registries to coordinate efforts."

To be included on both the federal and state lists, Tennessee residents must contact both the FTC and the TRA. To get on the state's "Do Not Call" list, contact the TRA by mail at 460 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee 37243; the Internet at the TRA's Web site or by calling toll free at 1-877-872-7030.

The state of Tennessee is also enforcing its "Do Not Fax" program. It is designed to prohibit organizations and people from sending unsolicited faxes to any Tennessee resident.

The law requires the organization from which unsolicited faxes originate to establish and print on each faxed page a toll-free fax number that consumers may use to inform the fax-sending organization of their desire to be removed from the organization's fax-solicitation database.

Those Tennessee residents who are interested in the "Do Not Fax" program may visit the TRA Web site or e-mail the agency at Tennessee.Do-Not-Fax@state.tn.us.

"These rules should give all of us relief from this kind of intrusion into our homes," Gordon said. "And they should help protect us from abusive and deceptive telemarketing practices."

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