Local News Articles

City Okays Residential Uses in Central Business District

September 20, 2011
Dwayne Page

Residential apartments have shared space with commercial establishments in the central business district of Smithville for several years, but the Smithville zoning ordinance has apparently never been amended to legally provide for it.

To make the update, the Smithville aldermen Monday night approved an amendment on first reading updating a section of the zoning ordinance to provide for residential uses within the B-3 Commercial Zoning District.

Second and final reading passage will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said "there is quite a bit of interest in some of the vacant buildings downtown being turned into residential units. Our zoning ordinance does not address that so we need an amendment to that. It has been passed by the planning commission".

The proposed ordinance reads as follows: "Now therefore, be it ordained by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Smithville, that the following sections shall be amended in the Smithville Zoning Ordinance:

Section 106.10.1
"After public notice and hearing, subject to appropriate safeguards and conditions, the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) may permit construction of a new building or rehabilitation of an existing building in the Central Business District for Residential or Mixed Commercial-Residential Use. In reviewing applications for such uses or conversions of buildings, the Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the overall effect of the proposal to the area and surrounding properties so that there will not be a detrimental effect to the stability and viability of the Central Business District. In making this determination, this board must evaluate the availability of utilities, number of units proposed, city's capacity to respond effectively to emergencies, and availability of off-street parking".

Section 106.10.2
" The following conditions must also be met:
A. Submit site plan and floor plans for BZA review.

B. Provision of some off-street parking spaces for new residential construction that meets the parking requirements for the R-3 Residential Zoning District. Parking for existing structures being rehabilitated/converted to a residence shall be provided on public lots if none are available on site

C. Landscaping of the property if new residential construction

D. Minimum square footage of dwelling units of 650 square feet for one-bedroom unit, 900 square feet for a two-bedroom unit, 1100 square feet for a three-bedroom unit.

E. All new residential construction shall meet R-3 requirements on number of units and setbacks

F. Adherence to requirement of the 2006 International Residential Code and later amendments/updates."

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson said the city has been awarded an airport grant from the state in the amount of $61,000. The city's matching portion is $15,000. The funds have been used to purchase an 83 horsepower John Deere tractor, a 15 foot John Deere bushhog, a front end loader, and a zero turn commercial mower. He added that about seven thousand dollars will be left from the grant to purchase another commercial mower.

Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson reported that city officials may know by next month whether an application filed last year for a one million dollar sewer rehab disaster grant will be approved. "I went to an Upper Cumberland Development District meeting last week. We applied for the grant last year and we should hear from that by next month. We were able to show where (groundwater) infiltration into our (sewer) lines has caused an overrun in our sewer plant. Hopefully we'll get the grant or at least a portion of it," said Mayor Hendrixson

The city is seeking up to one million dollars in Disaster Recovery CDBG Funds from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to ensure that much needed rehabilitation of the sewer system is met to avoid any problems that may arise in the event of severe flooding. The UCDD filed the application on behalf of the city.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs asked again for city officials look into putting in a sidewalk on at least one side of Anthony Avenue near Walmart to keep people from walking in the street, going to and from the store. Jacobs said it is a safety concern, especially at night if pedestrians are wearing dark colored clothing, making it more difficult for motorists to see them. Mayor Hendrixson said constructing sidewalks there will be a challenge because of deep ditches on either side of the street but he will check this week to see what can be done. Walmart officials may also be contacted to see if they want to support the endeavor in some manner.

Smithville Rotary Club Fish Fry October 1

September 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
George Oliver

The 38th annual Smithville Rotary Club fish fry is set for Saturday, October 1 starting at 5:00 p.m. at Greenbrook Park.

George Oliver, President of the Smithville Rotary Club, invites you join in. "We'll have fish for the adults and hot dogs for the kids. Our tickets are $35.00 each for the family. But you can feed the family on one ticket. We look forward to people coming out and supporting us because we use funds that we generate from our fish fry for the scholarships and lots of other community projects that we do," said Oliver

In addition to the food and fellowship, Oliver said you have a chance to win prizes. "After the meal, we'll have a drawing. We'll draw all 250 tickets. The next to the grand prize is $500 and the grand prize is $1,000."

To purchase a ticket, contact George Oliver, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Alan Webb at F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy, Brenda Cantrell at First Bank, Chad Colwell of DeKalb Community Bank, Julia Cantrell at My Team Insurance or any other Smithville Rotarian

DeKalb Board of Education Represented at TSBA Fall District Meeting

September 20, 2011
Kenny Rhody, Johnny Lattimore, Charles Robinson, John D.Foutch, Mark Willoughby

Local boards of education heard updates on education reform in Tennessee, earned honors for their professional development activities, and recognized a dedicated school volunteer and an outstanding student at the Tennessee School Boards Association's (TSBA) Upper Cumberland Fall District Meeting, held Sept. 15 at Livingston Academy in the Overton County School District.

Members of the DeKalb County Board of Education attended including Board Chairman Charles Robinson, Kenny Rhody, Johnny Lattimore, and John David Foutch. Director of Schools Mark Willoughby was also present.

The Upper Cumberland District meeting was one of nine similar sessions held
annually in each of TSBA's development districts. The evening's program included an update on this year's session of the Tennessee General Assembly, a discussion of moving from collective bargaining to collaborative conferencing, a review of the new teacher and principal evaluations and an update on tenure reform. The meeting also included recognition of school board members who have achieved honors over the past year, a school volunteer who is a finalist for a grant to their school of choice and a local student who is a finalist for a college scholarship.

Each year TSBA honors one student from each of its nine districts who has achieved distinction in the areas of academics, community leadership, and engagement as part of its Student Recognition Award program. One of those nine students will win the statewide Student Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention in November, which will include a $2,000 scholarship. The 2011 Upper Cumberland Student Recognition Award
Winner is Abigayle Claflin of Cumberland County.

This year TSBA will honor one school volunteer from each of its nine districts who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating exceptional commitment to volunteerism in a local school district. The district winner has exhibited exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in their service to a school. One of those nine volunteers will win the statewide School Volunteer Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention in November, which will include a $1,000 grant to the school of their choice. The 2011 Upper Cumberland School Volunteer Recognition Award winner is Guy Pinckley of Allardt, TN.

Several Upper Cumberland District school board members earned TSBA Boardsmanship Awards in 2011. The awards are presented to individual board members who have achieved one of five levels of boardsmanship standards over the past year. The program is designed to recognize school board members for participation in board activities beyond the local level through a commitment to training, willingness to participate in workshops and a volunteer spirit. The Boardsmanship Award honors not only the quantity, but also the quality of participation. Levels I-IV are given at Fall District Meetings, while Level V Boardsmanship is awarded at the association's annual convention in November.

A statewide, nonprofit organization, the Tennessee School Boards Association is a federation of all the state's school boards. TSBA's mission is to assist school boards in effectively governing school districts. Through the years,TSBA has helped school boards and their members reach their highest potential through Association programs, meetings and services. TSBA also provides school board members a collective voice in matters of legislation and public education concerns. For more information about TSBA, visit our website at: www.tsba.net.

DTC Names Craig Gates Chief Executive Officer

September 19, 2011
Craig Gates

The DTC Board of Directors introduced their new Chief Executive Officer, Craig Gates, at their Annual Meeting held on Saturday, September 17th. Gates is a 27-year veteran of the telecommunications industry.

Gates started his career in 1984 and served most recently as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Project Mutual; a cooperative located in Rupert, Idaho.

“Craig distinguished himself with his industry experience and expertise. We are fortunate to have him join us, and welcome him and his family to Tennessee,” said Dwight Vinson, President of DTC.

Gates holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his wife, Suzette, will be relocating to the area. They have three grown children.

"I’m proud to be at DTC. I look forward to working in the community and ensuring that DTC maintains its commitment to our members,” Gates said. “With the technological and economic challenges that face our industry today, DTC must present itself to be the premier service provider for our members.”

In a telephone interview with WJLE Monday, Gates said his grandfather was from Smithville so he knows the area well " I was born in Ohio. My grandfather was actually from Smithville. He was born in Smithville. His name is Howard Snow. During the depression he left the area and met my grandmother. He worked all over the country. My first time here was in 1976. I was at the Fiddlers Jamboree. I really enjoyed it. He came back here for a short while after he (grandfather) retired so I got to spend some time down here. I went to some of our family reunions and really liked the area. I've been all over the country as an employee. I've worked for the former GTE and Verizon. Of late I was at the Project Mutual Telephone up in Idaho. When this opportunity came up I thought it would be a great chance for me to get back here to the great folks of this area," said Gates.

"DTC has some great opportunities. This valley has always taken care of its own. I think the heritage that DTC has with its members is great. I think that we need to continue that heritage. I believe that the technology we offer at DTC can help this community economically as well as bring everybody broadband who would like it. DTC has done a great job of ensuring that everybody gets what they need and we need to continue that. We also need to make sure that we try to help bring economic development into the valley. I guarantee you that I will try my darnedest to make sure that happens whenever we can.," said Gates.

"From the company's standpoint, I think we're on the right track. We've become highly competitive. The industry has become highly competitive. You can get the Internet several ways now. I'm sure DTC was one of the first to bring Internet to this valley. Now we've got everybody trying to bring it in. We've got conglomerates that compete against us which makes it hard because they have a lot of money behind them but we're hoping that we can continue to offer the best service, not just service, to our members and allow our members to realize that. We will always try to be the most economical but if we can't I hope that they (members) remember that unlike some of the conglomerate companies, we're actually feeding your neighbors and are highly involved in the community. We hope to continue that support," he said.

"I am very glad to be here. I think it's a great community. I can see why my grandfather loved the area so much and the people have been so warm and nice. Its been very good. I can't wait to get settled.," added Gates.

The National Telephone Cooperative Association worked with DTC in conducting the search, in which local, regional, and national candidates were considered.

Woodbury Man Charged with Three Local Thefts

September 19, 2011
Dwayne Page
Perry Alton Stembridge
Nena Renea Chapman
Jamaal Ahmad League
Joshua Edward Hammonds
Kevin D. Young

A 50 year old Woodbury man is in trouble with the law for allegedly stealing property from three different locations and selling most of those items at a local scrap yard.

Perry Alton Stembridge of Good Ridge Road, Woodbury is charged with one count of theft of property under $500 and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. He was also issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. He was arrested on September 14. His bond totals $30,000 and he will be in court October 13.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Monday, August 29 Perry allegedly entered property on Luna Mill Road and took a three point hitch plow, four circular saw blades, a metal stove, winch parts for a dozier, and parts from a 535 John Deere baler, all valued at $1,200.

Two days later on Wednesday August 31 Stembridge allegedly went to a barn on Indian Creek Road and took one thousand square feet of metal roofing, two chest freezers, and two wood burning stoves, valued at $4,110.

Almost two weeks later on Tuesday, September 13 Stembridge allegedly went to a location on Antioch Road and took a fireplace insert and a hot water heater, valued at $150.

Stembridge allegedly sold most of those stolen items to a local scrap yard.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Nena Renea Chapman of Church Street, Liberty is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $500. Her bond is $7,500 and she will be in court on October 13.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, September 13, Chapman allegedly entered a residence on Church Street in Liberty and took an xbox console, three xbox 360 game controllers, and eight xbox games, valued at $570.

24 year old Jamaal Ahmad League of Smith Road, is charged with burglary. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court September 29.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, September 14 League allegedly entered a vehicle on North Congress Boulevard without the owner's consent with the intent to commit a felony. He allegedly removed cigarette butts inside the vehicle. Upon his arrest, League had five cigarette butts of the same brand as those from the vehicle in his pocket.

19 year old Joshua Edward Hammonds has been charged with a first offense of driving under the influence and issued citations for underage drinking and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court September 29.

According to Sheriff Ray, on Wednesday September 14 a deputy was called to a club on Sparta Highway, where someone had reportedly become violent. Before the deputy arrived, the man left the club in a blue Chevy truck. While enroute, the officer spotted the truck and saw it go off in a ditch, almost hitting a mailbox. The deputy stopped the truck and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Hammonds, the driver, submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Hammonds was very unsteady on his feet. He also allegedly admitted to drinking liquor and smoking "fake weed".

47 year old Kevin D. Young of Alex Lane, Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for violation of the light law, failure to maintain his lane of travel, and violation of the implied consent law. His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court on October 13.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, September 18 a deputy saw a vehicle with a headlight out on Highway 70. Upon turning around to follow, the deputy saw the automobile swerve from lane to lane and then make a sharp turn back into his lane. After stopping the vehicle, the officer had the driver, Young, get out of the automobile. Young was very unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Young performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Young allegedly admitted to drinking four or five beers. He also had a flask on him containing whiskey.

The Fighting Tiger Band is Golden

September 19, 2011
by DC Band Boosters
DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band Wins

For the third straight year, the DeKalb Co Fighting Tiger Band won first place at the Hendersonville Golden Invitational Marching Band Contest. Additionally, the band also picked up first place trophies in the areas of Best Color Guard, Best Percussion, and Best Horn Line in their class.

Hendersonville Golden Invitational was the first of four contests this season. The students have been working hard to prepare to take on other bands around the state in addition to their normal duties as “students” and as “band members.” Band Director Jonathan Wright said, “we had a great rehearsal on Thursday. We then represented and supported our football team very well at the game on Friday.”

It was around 11:30 Friday night when the band returned to the High School from the football game in Smith County, only to have to return at 8:00am for a mini-rehearsal on Saturday morning before boarding their bus to Hendersonville. “Our band is very young this year. We only have four seniors,” Mr. Wright pointed out, “but they are very hard workers.”

The DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band invites you to attend their three remaining contests this season. They will be competing in the Blue Devil Marching Band Invitational located in Lebanon on October 1st. Then, on October 8th, they will travel to Chapel Hill to compete in the Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship. For their final competition of the season on October 29th, they will be in Alcoa for the Alcoa Marching Band Competition.

The band also invites you to come to DeKalb County’s home football games to show your support to our Tigers and to watch the band in action during the halftime show. Home games are scheduled on October 14 against Upperman, and on October 28 against Livingston Academy. Both games will begin at 7PM.

For more information, find the band on Facebook or check out their website at www.DekalbBand.com.

Three Incumbent DTC Directors Re-Elected

September 18, 2011
Dwayne Page
Terry McPeak, Charles Dwight Vinson, Greg Rogers

Three members of the DTC Communications Board of Directors were re-elected Saturday during the annual meeting in Alexandria.

Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton, Terry McPeak of Norene, and Greg Rogers of Woodbury ran unopposed.

Vinson received 159 votes, McPeak 152, and 151 for Rogers. A total of 175 members voted in the election. Each term is for three years.

Members of the Board of Directors, in addition to Vinson, McPeak, and Rogers are Roy N. Pugh of Auburntown, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, James H. Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville, Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, and David Parker of Woodland.

Three DCHS Golfers Earn Trip to State Tournament

September 17, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan, Coach Joe Pat Cope, Ethan Roller, Callie Mitchell

Three DeKalb County High School golfers earned a trip to the state tournament later this month after a regional tournament appearance Friday in Cookeville

Ethan Roller shot an even par 70, fourth best in the tournament in the boys competition.

Meanwhile for the girls, Mallory Sullivan shot a 76, second best score in the tournament. She will be making her second consecutive appearance in the state tournament.

Callie Mitchell earned her first trip to the state with a score of 79 in the region tournament.

As a team, the DCHS boys shot a 312 for the day. Notre Dame won the tournament with a score of 288

On the girls side, the DCHS team lost by three stokes to Signal Mountain, the defending state champion.

The state tournament will be held September 26 through 28 at Willow Brook Golf Course in Coffee County

DeKalb Farmers Coop to Become Branch of Rutherford Farmers Coop

September 16, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gilbert Martin, Mack Wilhite, and John Henderson

DeKalb Farmers Coop will be under new management soon.

Effective October 1, the coop will become a branch of Rutherford Farmers Coop.

The local board of directors of DeKalb Farmers Coop recently voted to enter into a five year lease agreement with Rutherford to run the day to day operations of the business. The local coop will retain ownership and receive lease payments from Rutherford. The local board will continue to exist and manage the property and assets.

Representatives of the co-op made the announcement Thursday night during a public meeting held at the Whorton Springs Baptist Church annex building

Gilbert Martin, who has been the local manager for several years, will be taking on another position with the coop, but many of the store employees are expected to remain.

Martin told WJLE that while demand remains strong for products and services offered by the co-op, agriculture practices in this area have changed drastically in recent years. He said the decision by the board to enter into this lease with Rutherford will strengthen the local operation financially and expand services for the people of this community. "We're doing this to basically preserve our coop in DeKalb County where farmers can get their supplies at a reliable place. If we had not done this, we really felt that we would be chewing into our equity and eventually wouldn't be a viable entity anymore. That is the driving force behind this. But there is still over three million dollars worth of demand for the products that we sell," said Martin.

DeKalb Farmers Coop has a membership of approximately 800 members who elect a board of directors to oversee the operation, according to Martin. "We have an annual meeting every year, just like the telephone coop, and we elect directors to the board. Those directors give direction on the policy and overall management of the coop. DeKalb Farmers Coop will still exist. DeKalb Farmers Coop will own the building and the property that the coop sets on. We'll receive lease payments from Rutherford and Rutherford will run the operation of the store. The local board will still exist and it will manage the assets that the coop has, "said Martin.

John Henderson, General Manager of the Rutherford Farmers Coop, said his operation maintains two coop locations in Rutherford County and one in Cannon County. "We're in Woodbury and Eagleville. Of course our Murfreesboro store is our main store. Actually in Murfreesboro, we're located on both sides of the street. We have a farm and home location. We've got a tire shop. We've got a farm equipment location and we have what we call our pro-ag division which is mainly services for the professional farmer," said Henderson

While this lease arrangement is a new venture for Rutherford Farmers Coop, Henderson said it is a concept that has already been tried elsewhere. "Its definitely not the first. I know of two or three other coops that have had ventures like this. It is something we're all looking at with today's economic climate. As tough as it is, we're all looking at ways to be more efficient," said Henderson

According to Henderson this arrangement is expected to be a win-win for both Rutherford and DeKalb Farmers Coop, offering an opportunity to expand services and increase sales. "Its clearly an opportunity for us to increase our sales. Its an opportunity for us to spread out our overhead. We have a certain amount of fixed costs with this instant growth in business. We can spread our overhead costs to another location and it should help us be a little more efficient. That's one of the advantages of a larger coop. With our balance sheet and what we can do with our operating money, we have access to more funds to be able to do that. One of the most asked questions is are we going to handle diesel in Smithville? We are. We're going to put in a farm diesel tank. We hope to have that in before the end of the year. We plan to put some more farm equipment up here. We offer custom application spraying. We have a farm tire service truck., we'll do farm delivery fuel, grain handling and grain hauling services. This lease takes effect October 1, which falls on a Saturday. It looks like we'll be closed October 1. We'll re-open on Monday, October 3. We'll be open six days a week , Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until twelve noon. We'll have a soft opening and get some more inventory in here but somewhere down the road, hopefully before Christmas we're planning on having a customer appreciation grand opening. We're going to put on a pretty big shindig and hope everybody will come out and see us," said Henderson.

Henderson said coop members will continue to benefit and the role of the local board will remain important to the operation."As far as membership, if you're a farmer and trading with your coop and its profitable, then those profits will come back to the customer. In the last few years its been tough to pay back what we call patronage but I think this is one step closer to making us more efficient and more profitable so hopefully we can pay back some of our profits. The local board will strictly manage the property and the dividends they receive back from Tennessee Farmers and the lease with us so the DeKalb board will still have its place," said Henderson.

Mack Wilhite, the new manager of the coop, said he is looking forward to serving the people of DeKalb and surrounding counties. ‘I've had a lot of experience with the coop. I've worked at White County, Woodbury, and Warren County so this will be the fourth coop that I've worked at. I started with the coop in 1984 so I've been around coops quite a bit. Everyone that is employed here now had the opportunity to stay. We had a couple of employees who decided they wanted to look at other opportunities. Of course we've left the door open for them but basically its going to be the same group of employees," said Wilhite.

Henderson added that "Gilbert (Martin) is going to work in outside sales for us. We're going to get him a pickup truck and he's going to ride the roads, beat the bushes and try to sell something for us and service our customers."

DeKalb Farmers Coop has been in operation for 50 years, since 1961.

County Firefighters Save Mobile Home

September 16, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called out Sunday morning to the residence of Edward Rollins at 1504 Old Highway 53 near Liberty.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:01 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green reports that as firefighters arrived they could see smoke coming out around the eaves of the home, a single wide trailer. Neighbors believed a disabled individual might be inside, but firefighters checked and found no one there.

Chief Green said the fire apparently started in the utility room, possibly from some sort of electrical problem. The blaze was contained to that room although heat and smoke spread throughout the residence.

Members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, and Tanker of the county fire department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. No one was injured.


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