Local News Articles

Smithville Police Department to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints

May 22, 2013
Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer Steven Barrett

The Smithville Police Department will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrol on Friday, May 24 thru Monday, May 27, 2013 in an ongoing effort to provide safer roadways for the public. Sobriety checkpoints will be conducted Monday in the area of S. Congress and Short Mountain Hwy. Saturation patrol will be conducted throughout the weekend. The Smithville Police Department will continue to work with the Governors Highway Safety Office in an effort to keep our roadways safe.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) is Tennessee’s advocate for highway safety. This office works with law enforcement, judicial personnel and community advocates to coordinate activities and initiatives relating to the human behavioral aspects of highway safety.

The GHSO’s mission is to develop, execute and evaluate programs to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and related economic losses resulting from traffic crashes on Tennessee’s roadways. The office works in tandem with the National Highway Safety Administration to implement programs focusing on occupant protection, impaired driving, speed enforcement, truck and school bus safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety and crash data collection and analysis. Programs administered by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office are 100% federally funded.

DeKalb Middle School Recognizes Students During Award's Day

May 22, 2013
DMS Teacher of the Year Suzette Barnes with Amanda Dakas
DMS Student Austin Johnson with Mrs. Dakas
DMS Student Madison Cantrell with Mrs. Dakas
DMS Student Marshall Evins with Mrs. Dakas
DMS Student Alec Reynolds with Mrs. Dakas

DeKalb Middle School held their annual Award’s Day ceremony for 6th and 7th grade students on Tuesday, May 21st 2013. Mr. Randy Jennings opened the event and introduced Mrs. Lori Hendrix. Mrs. Hendrix recognized Junior Beta Club members with a certificate. Mrs. Tonya Sullivan then spoke about Student Council’s achievements throughout the year and honored those students by asking them to stand.

Miss Courtney Davis then presented the TTU Math Competition award to 6th grade student Madison Cantrell. Mrs. Ashley Barnes recognized the Yearbook Staff members, Kayla Belk, Alec Reynolds, and Eleonore Atnip with a certificate and pin. Mr. Tom Hill then presented the Computer awards to Molly Hall, Braya Murphy, Grace Godowns, Dailen Brown, and Hannah Brown. They received certificates and pins.

Art Awards were presented by Mrs. Amanda Dakas to 1st place- Autumn Summers, 2nd place- Brilee Neal, and 3rd place- Shaunta Koegler. Mrs. Dakas also presented Perfect Attendance certificates to Shaylah Dowell, Trey Fuston, Ethan Jenkins, Joni Robinson, Tesla Tapp, Ana Amaya, Courtney Ambrose, Faedra Burns, and Taylor Reeder. Mrs. Dakas then presented Citizenship award plaques to Dulce Maciel, Chance Mabe, Rebecca Gray, Dosson Medlin, Kyle Justice, and Kaitlyn Cantrell.

Special Recognition awards for citizenship and for helping with landscaping around the school were given to leaders- Cristobal Flores, Brandon Romo, and Cory Bennett. Awards were also given to students who served as the helpers- Brianna McDonald, Brayden Miller, Gage Myers, Nick Young, Emily Romo, Hailey Redmon, Justin Ferrell, and Madison Kemper.

All students who achieved Honor Roll were asked to stand and be recognized. Subject awards were then given out by Mr. Jennings. In the 6th grade (rotation A), the following received awards: English- Corina Mata, Social Studies- Braya Murphy, Math- Ealy Gassaway, Reading- Parker Gassaway, Science- Jacob Freeman, Most Improved- Richard Brown. In the 6th grade (rotation B) awards were given to: English- Chloe Sykes, Social Studies- Macy Hedge, Math- Derek Young, Reading- Megan Redmon, Science- Andrew Fuson, and Most Improved- Noah Martin.

The following 7th grade students received subject awards: Social Studies- Shauna Pedroza and Abby Evans, Reading- Austin Johnson and Makayla C. Bain, Math- Santanna Ferrell and Bradley Miller, Science- Thomas Webb and Allison Maynard, Language Arts- Marshal Evins and Annissa Hall, and Most Improved- Brittany Pinkard.

Highest GPA plaques were then given to 6th graders: 1st- Madison Cantrell and 2nd- Alec Reynolds, and to 7th graders: 1st- Marshall Evins and 2nd- Austin Johnson. Mr. Jennings and Mrs. Dakas then presented a plaque to the DMS Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Suzette Barnes.

SES Briefly Locked Down Wednesday Morning

May 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Julie Vincent

Smithville Elementary School was placed on lock down for a few minutes this morning (Wednesday) after a student reported seeing someone near the school wearing dark clothing possibly with a weapon.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:42 a.m.

Smithville Police responded. A search of the school turned up nothing.

"This morning we had a student that reported to teachers that she had seen someone dressed in dark clothing that she thought had some type of weapon out on the side of the building by the car line (near Walker Drive)," said Principal Julie Vincent. "When we received that information we immediately called the police and we went into our lock down. We searched the entire perimeter of the school inside and out and everything was fine. All the students were safe. We followed all of the precautions that we have in place in such an event as this," she said.

"The students, staff, and faculty did an outstanding job of being where they were supposed to be and staying where they were supposed to stay until we gave the all clear for them to be able to move about the building again," said Vincent.

Eighth Graders Graduate from DeKalb Middle School

May 21, 2013
Allison Rogers with Amanda Dakas for highest GPA
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby
DCHS Valedictorian Taylor Leach
DMS graduates
Perfect attendance students
Wanda Poss presenting Clay Hoyle with the Woodmen of the World award

DeKalb Middle School held their eighth grade graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 21st, at 9:00 a.m. The event began with 8th grader Steven Jennings giving the invocation. Fellow 8th grade student, Erica Birmingham, then sang a song that she had written for the event entitled “High School Doesn’t Know What’s Coming”. Principal Randy Jennings welcomed everyone and introduced Superintendent of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Mr. Willoughby gave an inspiring speech to the students and encouraged them to live their dreams. Mrs. Lori Hendrix then recognized all Jr. Beta members with a certificate, and the officers were given a plague. Mrs. Tonya Sullivan asked for all Student Council members to stand and be recognized. She also gave 8th grader Susan Webb a plague for leading Student Council.

Mr. Bryan Jones gave the special FCA award to student Jordan Richmond for his dedication and participation with the club. Mrs. Ashley Barnes awarded the yearbook staff with a certificate. Mrs. Karen Pelham then recognized all students who had received a nine week award by asking them to stand.

Assistant Principal Mrs. Amanda Dakas handed out the Computer, Perfect Attendance, and Citizenship awards. Computer awards were given to Kallie Petty, Lexi Bates, and Jayrah Trapp. Those students who received the Perfect Attendance awards were Luke Green, Kallie Petty, Taylor Spare, Adam Ferrell, Diamond McClanahan, and Clay Hoyle. Mrs. Dakas then introduced Mrs. Wanda Poss who presented the Woodmen of the World award to student Clay Hoyle.

Mrs. Dakas then presented the subject area awards which were given to the following students: English- Kallie Petty and Hali Huang, Math- Rachel Fuson and Luke Green, Reading- Taylor Spare, Maddie Dickens, Katherine Parsley, Baylee Phillips, Kristen Parsley, and Lexi Bates, Science- Allison Rogers and Adam Ferrell, and Social Studies- Jayrah Trapp, Sahara Lafever, and Samantha Jarvis.

A Special Recognition Award was presented by Mr. Jennings to Simon Ngure for the integrity and character that he displayed this school year. Top 10 GPA awards were then given by Mr. Jennings. The following students had the highest GPA (in order): 1. Allison Rogers, 2. Jayrah Trapp, 3. Rachel Fuson, 4. Kristen Parsley, 5. Baylee Phillips, 6. Lane Poss, 7. Katherine Parsley, 8. Callie Cripps, 9. Adam Ferrell, 10. Gentry Harpole.

DCHS Valedictorian Taylor Leach gave an encouraging and humorous speech. Diplomas were then presented to all 8th graders, and Mr. Jennings gave the closing remarks.

(Pictured above are are: Allison Rogers with Amanda Dakas for highest GPA
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby giving a speech,
DCHS Valedictorian Taylor Leach giving his speech,
DMS graduates
Perfect attendance students- Luke Green, Adam Ferrell, Clay Hoyle, Diamond McClanahan, Kallie Petty, and Taylor Spare
Wanda Poss presenting Clay Hoyle with the Woodmen of the World award)

County Commission Tables Motion to Approve SROs Until Further Study

May 21, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jack Barton (Older Photo)
Mike Foster (Older Photo)

A member of the county commission Monday night wanted the full body to vote on the hiring of four School Resource Officers in the DeKalb County School System but the move was blocked for now.

Second District Commissioner Jack Barton made the motion, saying the county commission should do everything it can to protect our children and secure our schools. Fourth district member David McDowell seconded the motion.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, in a previous county budget committee meeting, had requested that funds be budgeted next year for the School Resource Officers. If approved, the new SRO's would be assigned to the four schools that don't already have them.

Normally, the county budget committee, in formulating a new spending plan each year, considers all funding requests first and then decides whether they be included in a proposed budget for the entire county commission to consider. In this case, Barton wanted the county commission to approve the hiring of the SRO's and to direct the budget committee to come up with a way to pay for them. "I would like to make a motion tonight to address the need for the school resource officers of the four schools that do not have them. About two months ago Billy Miller, who is a TBI agent, school board member, and parent came and gave us a pretty informed presentation. At that time, he and the sheriff addressed what SRO's do within the structure of our schools and how much of an impact, even beyond an armed guard, that they could be. Since that time, we have discussed and begun to gather figures for our budget process and we are underway with our deliberations. It will be a very tight year. This subject matter is a very grave one because I know as a parent, I want to make sure we as a legislative body have done everything we can to protect our children, secure our schools, and develop a bond of trust between our children and law enforcement officials who would serve as their resource officers," said Barton.

"As a member of the budget committee I feel pretty strongly that this matter deserves to be heard and voted on before our full body and not just within the budget committee. At our present estimation, sheriff Ray said the first year will cost around $249,209 or around five and a half to six cents of property tax. In the second year, that cost would drop to $143,669 or about 3.2 to four cents on the property tax, given our present collection rates and what we set a penny at last year. The schools are doing a lot to improve their security infrastructure by installing cameras, doors, and more secure methods of access. We can and should help in these efforts. No community should have to endure the loss of life that other communities have experienced when we have the ability to buy this kind of insurance to potentially safeguard against violence in schools. My motion would be to vote on the hiring of these four additional officers so that each school has one and advise the budget committee to plan for that expense in the coming deliberations," said Barton.

Some members of the commission along with County Mayor Mike Foster, apparently caught offguard by Barton's motion, felt that it was too early in the budget deliberations to be making a decision on this without first considering the costs and the impact on next year's budget.

"If you approve the hiring of them (SROs) you've got to fund them. How do you propose to fund them?," asked Foster.

" We know how much SRO's are going to cost. I propose for us to have the $249,000 allocated in the budget," replied Barton.

"But from where does it come?. We've got to have a (funding) source," said Foster

"The source may very well be, even without the resource officers, that we would have to have some tax increase. We're facing that with the Affordable Health Care Act," answered Barton.

"I think if we're going to vote to do it, you've got to have a funding mechanism. I don't think you can just say we're going to hire them and not have some way to fund it," said Foster.

"My motion is to advise the budget committee to plan for that. The budget committee is who sets the funding source and approves that to the full commission," added Barton.

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers made a motion that Barton's motion be tabled for now to give the commission more time to consider it. " I make a motion that we table this for further discussion. We haven't really discussed it thoroughly enough. Everybody knows where our hearts are. We just have to see how we can pay for these things," said Summers.

First district Commissioner Mason Carter seconded the motion to table.

The vote was 9-2 to table Barton's motion. Those voting to table were Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr., Bobby Joines, Jeff Barnes, Jerry Scott, Wayne Cantrell, Jerry Adcock, Larry Summers, and Marshall Ferrell. Commissioners Jack Barton and David McDowell voted against tabling the motion. Commissioners Jimmy Poss and Bradley Hendrix were absent when this issue was addressed.

County Mayor Foster said the issue would likely be brought up again at the next meeting in June. Of course, members of the county budget committee could still address it themselves at their own meetings.

DUD Ready to Deal with City on New Water Purchase Agreement

May 21, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Utility District is apparently ready to accept the City of Smithville's latest offer on a new water purchase agreement with some conditions.

In April, city officials offered to sell water to the DeKalb Utility District in a new ten year contract at the rate of $2.20 per thousand for the first five years and $2.40 per thousand for the last five years of the agreement. The proposal, subject to approval by the aldermen, would take affect at the end of the city's current contract with the DUD which expires in early 2014. The terms of the deal apparently call for the DUD to purchase a minimum amount of water (approximately 22 million gallons) per month.

While the DUD still plans to build its own water treatment plant, it will apparently have to continue buying water from the city, at least until the plant is completed. With the current agreement between the city and DUD set to expire in seven months, a new contract must be in place by the first of the year.

The DUD is apparently prepared to pay the new rate as proposed by the city under a new contract, but doesn't want to be held to purchasing a minimum quantity. City Attorney Vester Parsley, during Monday night's city council meeting advised that the city stick to its minimum purchase requirement. "We had a requirement in that contract that they (DUD) had to purchase a minimum amount of water from us. They want to obviously not do that. Those rates were strictly contingent upon them purchasing that minimum quantity of water. It's up to the board (Aldermen), but under their (DUD) revision, if you went with that, they (DUD) would not have to purchase a certain amount of water which would not be in the best interest of the City of Smithville," said Parsley.

During Monday night's meeting, Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson read a letter from Jon Foutch, manager of the DeKalb Utility dated May 8.

In the letter, Foutch wrote that "The Board of Commissioners of DUD has asked me to respond to your letter of April 2, 2013, and the proposed Water Purchase Agreement provided with your letter. I write to advise that DUD is agreeable with the rates referenced in the proposed agreement which specifically are $2.20 per 1,000 gallons for the first five years of the contract and then $2.40 per 1,000 gallons for the next five years of the contract. However, this agreement on the rates is contingent upon their being no minimum purchase requirements of DUD," wrote Foutch.

"As for the remaining issues of your proposed agreement, DUD believes that paragraph 9 should remain the same as was included in our proposed agreement which provides that DUD will be provided a chemical analysis from Smithville upon reasonable request. Also, DUD would recommend that paragraph 12 as included in our proposed agreement remain which would provide the basis for payment by the city should there ever be a need for the city to purchase water from DUD in an emergency situation. We believe that it would be prudent to include a provision that would specifically set forth the rate to be charged by DUD to Smithville in the event of an emergency," wrote Foutch

"Otherwise, the terms appear reasonable and, in fact, were as earlier proposed by DUD in their original proposed agreement. If you could please advise as to whether the Board of Aldermen have ever agreed to the proposed rates as mentioned, it would be most appreciated," wrote Foutch.

"I will ask Keith Blair (DUD attorney) to forward a copy of this letter to Vester Parsley (city attorney) and will await further communication on whether this is agreeable," concluded Foutch.

"Is this something we're going to need to have a workshop on to discuss?," asked Alderman Gayla Hendrix

"That depends on what the board (aldermen) decides to do at some future date," responded Parsley.

The city still has the option of appealing to the Davidson County Chancery Court the Utility Management Review board's recent dismissal of a DUD ratepayers petition once an order dismissing the petition has been entered. "I talked to the Nashville attorneys last week. The order has never been presented to the (UMRB) board. Until that order is submitted to the (UMRB) board and signed, we (City) have got up to sixty days after that to decide what we want to do," said Parsley.

After a day long hearing last month, the state's Utility Management Review Board dismissed a petition filed by a group of DeKalb Utility District ratepayers who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the proposed water treatment plant. Board members said the petitioners had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The hearing was held in Smithville at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium.

"Are you saying then that we should wait until we get the order before we make a decision?," asked Alderman Hendrix.

"I think it (order)will be forthcoming in June," said Parsley. "They (UMRB) meet again in June. As I understand it, the attorney for the comptroller's office requested the entire proceedings (from the April hearing) be transcribed before she drafted the order. In checking with them last week, that had not been completed but they anticipate it being done within a week or so. My guess is they will probably try to have that ready for the June meeting and submitted to their board for approval. Then our sixty days (within which to appeal) starts," said Parsley.

"At that time then we can decide whether to appeal the order and if we want to renegotiate a contract," added Hendrix.

Secretary-Treasurer Hendrixson said he would send a letter to Foutch letting him know that the city won't be making any decisions on a new water purchase agreement while it awaits the order from the April UMRB proceeding.

2012 Boating Season Reports Lowest Fatality Accidents on Record

May 20, 2013
2012 Boating Season Reports Lowest Fatality Accidents on Record

The 2013 boating season is upon us as we near Memorial Day weekend.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials stress the importance of safety this weekend on local waters. “We want all our boaters to enjoy this holiday weekend and have a great time, but we also want them to boat responsible and stay safe,” stated TWRA Officer Nick Luper. “Each year we have boating accidents and fatalities on this first big weekend of the season and our officers will be out day and night in hopes we can help keep them from happening.” Last season the United States Coast Guard reported boating-related fatalities decreased from 758 to 651 which is the lowest number on record. “I believe the decrease is due to the overall increase in education and enforcement efforts nationwide. State and federal agencies as well as the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators are working like never before to bring these numbers down,” Luper said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be patrolling local waterways checking that vessels have the proper safety equipment needed. Those items include sufficient lifejackets for all passengers, a Type IV throwable device, and a fire extinguisher are the most important. Officers will also be checking for proper registration. TWRA reports that locally there has been an increase in Boating Under the Influence arrests in the last two years and efforts will continue to identify impaired boat operators during the 2013 season. “Some boaters have a false sense of security when they drink and boat. They think that just because they are not operating a vehicle that they will be ok,” stated Luper. “In fact on the water, boat operators who consume alcohol are also affected by stressors such as the sun, noise, vibration, and heat which actually intensifies the effects of their impairment.” TWRA says that the best away to avoid a BUI is to have a sober operator.

If you see anyone on the water that you believe is creating an unsafe environment for themselves or other boaters, TWRA asks that you report it to the Region III Office at (931) 484-9571.

Moore Gets Eight Years and Six Months for Aggravated Sexual Battery of Child

May 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Kenneth Moore

A Smithville man, convicted in April of the aggravated sexual battery of a child, appeared for sentencing Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced 44 year old Kenneth Lee Moore to eight years and six months in the state penitentiary.

A motion for a new trial will be heard on July 22nd in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

The range of punishment for the crime is eight to twelve years.

Moore stood trial last month on a charge of rape of a child but after deliberating for more than four hours, the jury of eight women and four men hearing the case returned a verdict of the lesser included offense of aggravated sexual battery.

"This will require an eight year and six month service in the penitentiary at 85% before release eligibility. It is really considered a 100% sentence but he can qualify for up to a 15% sentence reduction," said Deputy District Attorney General Greg Strong in an interview with WJLE. Moore will be on community supervision for life as a sex offender.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Moore allegedly raped his twelve year old niece on November 15th, 2010. The child, who was living with Moore at the time, awoke from sleep to find Moore allegedly making sexual contact with her.

"The basic facts of the case were that Moore accomplished oral sex with his twelve year old niece who was living with him at the time due to a hardship that her mother had, "said Strong. "She (victim's mother) had lost her job and she had to move in with the defendant (Moore). He took advantage of this young girl," said Strong.

Moore's attorney, Jason Hicks of Cookeville, in an interview with WJLE after the verdict said this was a case of "he said", "she said" without any corroborating evidence.

Instruments Stolen from DCHS Band Room

May 18, 2013
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School Band Director Jonathan Wright is asking for your help in solving a burglary and theft at the band room around midnight or after early Saturday morning.

According to Wright, person or persons broke into the high school band room and took a white Fender Jazz bass guitar with a black pick guard in a soft black nylon case. Also taken was a dark brown Pearl philharmonic snare drum in natural wood color.

Entry to the band room was made by prying open a window. An office door inside the band room was also pried open. Some petty cash was stolen.

If you have information that could help solve the crime or lead to the return of these instruments, please call Band Director Wright at 615-597-7213 or call the Smithville Police Department.

DCHS Building Trades Home For Sale

May 18, 2013
DCHS Building Trades Home For Sale

Students in the DeKalb County High School Construction Technology (building trades) program have completed construction on the latest home and its now for sale.

The board of education Tuesday night voted to accept sealed bids on the purchase of the house. The minimum bid is $17,100. Bids will be opened at the school board meeting in July.

The home, built on campus at DCHS, is described as a 26' x 56' or 1456 square foot (dried-in) house with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms with shower units, living room, kitchen, utility room, three walk-in closets, and a 25 year three tab shingled roof. The house has no plumbing or electric. The purchaser must move the home off the school property within thirty days or be subject to a $100 a day penalty.

The house expenditures totaled $14,829.

Meanwhile, in his monthly report on personnel, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced the following retirees or resignations:

Elizabeth White, cafeteria worker, resigned
Brittany Lockard, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School, resigned
Sue Driver, teacher at Smithville Elementary School retiring at the end of the 2012-13 year
Pam Miller, teacher at Northside Elementary School retiring at the end of the 2012-13 year
Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor retiring at the end of the 2012-13 year
Mary Pugh, teacher at Smithville Elementary School retiring at the end of the 2012-13 year

In other business, the board approved the following teachers for a professional license, as recommended by Director Willoughby: Jennifer Barnes, Jason Farley, Tanya Howard, Angela Johnson, Adrienne McCormick, Shea Wiegele, Jenny Cantrell, Melissa Hale, Cathleen Humphrey, Jennifer Judkins, John Pryor, Andrew Dixon, Lisa Hull, Ana Jarvis, Kristen Malone, and Allison Rigsby.

Meanwhile, DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps announced a new Interactive Multimedia Presentations Course for the 2013-14 school year at DCHS. "We are doing away with keyboarding at the high school level. Kids are getting it in the second and fifth grade now. They are already coming to us able to type. We are really wanting to boost up our FBLA program. We are kind of behind the times in our program right now. We're basically doing keyboarding, document designs, doing excel spreadsheets and things like that. Kids already know that. With this class (Multimedia Presentations Course), they will be able to make movies, cartoons. We're hoping to broadcast in this class as well. When I took this job (DCHS Principal) I told Mr. Willoughby that one of the things I wanted us to improve in is our FBLA program to get more student interest and be able to better compete at the state level," said Cripps

The school board approved the implementation of this course.

Cripps also mentioned events scheduled during the last week of school. "On May 22 we will have our underclassmen awards at 8:30 a.m. We will be giving our finals during the second and fourth block on May 20 and during the first and third block on May 21. Our graduation day will be May 24 at 7:00 p.m.


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