Local News Articles

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.

DCHS General Metals Class Assists County Fire Department with Tanker Project

June 17, 2013
DCHS General Metals Class Assists County Fire Department with Tanker Project

Over the course of the last few months of the 2012-13 school year, the DeKalb County High School's General Metals Class has partnered with the DeKalb County Fire Department to complete a very important project that increases the capabilities of three of the department's tanker trucks. The project entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on our tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. "In order to maintain and improve our county's fire protection rating, we have to demonstrate that we can provide water supplies that can allow us to flow at least 250 gallons per minute for a constant 2-hour period. This equipment will greatly enhance our ability to do that," says Chief Donny Green.

Todd Cantrell, General Metals Class Instructor, and Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter, planned and directed the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. According to Cantrell, the class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks.

Chief Green says he wants to personally express the department's thanks to the following individuals for making significant contributions:

Todd Cantrell and DCHS General Metals Class (fabrication and labor)
Steve Repasy, DeKalb County Firefighter (Project Director)
Tracy Foutch, Foutch Industries (painting)
Phil Boner (painting)
Brian Williams, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Captain Michael Lawrence, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Jeremy Neal, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Lieutenant David Agee, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)
Stan Morris, DeKalb County Firefighter (labor)

In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total; solely for materials. Green says that purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000.

Staging Area Being Set up for Construction of New Sligo Bridge

June 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Staging Area atHighland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch
Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer
Highland Ramp Closed

Construction on the new Sligo bridge should begin within a few weeks.

The contractor who was awarded the bid on the project, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri is starting to set up the staging area at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch to gain access to the lake in getting barges to work from down to the bridge. The boat ramp is now closed to the public until construction is completed.

Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, told WJLE Wednesday that Massman has until June 2016 to get the new bridge completed. "A lot of people don't realize that work has started on this project but you are not seeing anything yet. We had a pre-construction conference on May 22 and after that the contractor, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri began staging their equipment. What that will consist of is getting their equipment to where they can be able to work in the water and get their barges in the water to begin construction in earnest on the brand new bridge. To do this, they are utilizing the Riverwatch community and the Mountain Harbor community to move their equipment. That's where the staging area is. They'll have to go through those neighborhoods. I would caution anyone in those neighborhoods to watch out for some large trucks, probably the next month or so. We did have a meeting with the neighborhood leaders after the pre-construction meeting to inform them of the plans. Once they get things in place, the extra traffic should calm down. They will see some traffic go through their neighborhood occasionally but it won't be anything like it probably is right now," said Flynn.

"This is a $38.9 million dollar project and it's slated for completion in June 2016. But the contractor has a very aggressive schedule and they hope to have things completed before then. We look forward to it. People will soon see barges in the water and that is when they will really get started in earnest on the actual construction of the brand new bridge. I look forward to that bridge being finished and I know the people of DeKalb County also do because they have been waiting a long time for a brand new bridge. It certainly will be a refreshing change for them to be able to fish and look up and not see nets hanging down from a bridge," said Flynn.

Massman Construction, at $38,903,917 had the lowest of the six bids submitted for the project.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one. Once the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge will be removed. "We will maintain traffic on the existing bridge and once the new bridge is constructed we'll move traffic to the new bridge and then they will demolish the old bridge," said Flynn.

Two Injured in Thursday Night Wreck

June 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Two Injured in Thursday Night Wreck
Crash on Highway 96 (Toward Center Hill Dam)

Two people were injured after their vehicle plunged off an embankment Thursday night on Highway 96 (road to Center Hill Dam)

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 42 year old Richard Clyde Clemmons of Lebanon was traveling east on Highway 96 in the direction toward Center Hill Dam in a 1996 Jeep Cherokee when he failed to negotiate a curve to the left. The vehicle left the road to the right, went down an embankment, and ran into a tree. The impact with the tree kept the vehicle from going further down the hill.

Clemmons suffered minor injuries. A passenger, 41 year old Joel Bruce Barry of Lebanon was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Clemmons was cited for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for a registration violation for having the wrong tag displayed on his vehicle.

Leadership DeKalb Seeks Support to "Feed the Need" of Hungry Children

June 15, 2013
Dwayne Page
Darrell Gill

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2013 is asking for your help to "Feed the Need" of hungry children in DeKalb County this summer.

Darrell Gill, President of the Leadership DeKalb Class, said the outreach effort began last week and proved quite successful. "Last Thursday (June 6) we had a community night where we served hot dogs, chips, and drinks to children around the community. We visited over near the Joe L. Evins ballpark. We were in the Bell Street area and also at Short Mountain Village," said Gill.

"We knew there was a need for food for hungry children this summer while they were out of school. Of course, our class picked that as our project for the summer. We ended up reaching twenty four families, a total of seventy six children. The need is definitely there. We are committed to giving these families food once a week on Thursday or Friday. It's really humbling to see that we have kids right here in our hometown that lay down at night and may be hungry," he said.

You may partner with Leadership DeKalb by making a donation of non-perishable foods or cash to help "Feed the Need" this summer. "I'm asking for people to partner with Leadership DeKalb 2013 and either bring non-perishable foods or monetary donations that we can use to continue to provide this service throughout the summer until school starts back," said Gill. "Those donations can be dropped off at DeKalb Tire and Service, Smithville Computer, and we'll also have some food drop boxes at a couple of other locations in town. Donations may be sent to 200 East Broad Street, Smithville TN. Attention Darrell Gill, made out to Leadership DeKalb 2013," he said.


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