Local News Articles

Wilson County Mayor to Speak at DCHS Graduation

April 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto will be the guest speaker for the 2013 graduation program at DeKalb County High School on Friday, May 24.

Hutto is a life long resident of Wilson County. Growing up in Watertown, he attended Watertown Elementary and graduated from Watertown High School. Randall earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1984, and would continue his education with a Master's plus 30 degree in Education from Trevecaa Nazarene College.

He began his career in education at Lebanon High School in1984, teaching U. S. History, Math, and Physical Education. During his tenure at Lebanon High, he utilized his passion for both young people and athletics as an assistant varsity football coach for 16 years, and led the Blue Devils Boys' Varsity Basketball team as head coach for 12 years.

After an 18 year career at Lebanon High School, Randall accepted the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of Schools for the Lebanon Special School District in 2003.

Randall began a new and challenging career in September of 2010, when the citizens of Wilson County elected him to serve as Wilson County Mayor.

He and his wife, Paula, have been married for over 24 years, and have three children, Alex, a student at Tennessee Tech, Megan, a student at Lebanon High School and Brett, a student at Winfree Bryant Middle School. Randall and his family are members of Immanuel Baptist Church, where he teaches Sunday School and serves as a deacon. He is a member of the Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, and Watertown Chambers of Commerce, and an active member of the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club.

The graduation program starts at 7:00 p.m. on the DCHS football field.

Two Charged with Domestic Assault; Another for being Fugitive from Justice

April 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Michael Napier Rose
Ricky Lynn Devault
David Michael Cook
Dylan Kirt Cunningham
John Owen Moberly
Alfredo Guerro Gonzales

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department charged two men recently in separate incidents of domestic assault.

28 year old Michael Napier Rose of Kings Court, Smithville is charged with domestic assault, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. His bond is $12,500 and he will be in court on May 2. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, April 20 deputies responded to Kings Court on a domestic violence call. Upon arrival, the officers saw Rose chasing his girlfriend and then go into the home. The woman had a cut on her hand and a bruise on the right side of her face. Rose allegedly had broken her cell phone which prevented her from calling 911. While the officers were investigating, Rose ran out the back door of the residence and jumped off the deck. The officers grabbed Rose and took him to the ground in order to handcuff him. Rose had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very belligerent. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. On the way to the jail, Rose used his head to try and break a window out of the patrol car and spat throughout the back of the vehicle.

54 year old Ricky Lynn Devault of Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on May 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18 Devault allegedly assaulted a female family member at his home of Talpha Drive. He allegedly punched her in the mouth with his fist and grabbed her throat, leaving red scratch marks. The woman's thirteen year old daughter allegedly witnessed the assault. Devault was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

40 year old David Michael Cook of Bell Street, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 19 Cook ran his vehicle in a ditch on Hurricane Ridge Road. The investigating officer ran a computer check through the National Crime Information Center and learned that Cook was wanted in Lyon County, Kentucky for a first degree drug offense and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Cook was arrested and taken to the jail for booking.

42 year old Comer Thomas Vance of Meadowbrook Drive, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia (three hypodermic needles), failure to maintain lane of travel, and driving on a revoked license. He will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 16 a sheriff's department drug detective observed a light colored van traveling on the Old Snow Hill Road in the center of the roadway. A computer check revealed that Vance's license were revoked. A search of his vehicle revealed three needles.

22 year old Daniel Trey Hamilton of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (klonopin). He will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 16, as a sheriff's department drug detective was walking toward Hamilton, he saw Hamilton pass something to a female friend. The woman handed over to the detective a red pill container which held three klonopin pills, a schedule IV drug.

19 year old Alxis Nandez of Smith Road, Smithville is cited for driving with no license, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and leaving the scene of an accident. He will be in court on June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18, an officer was dispatched to Vaughn Lane regarding a wreck with property damage. The deputy made contact with Nandez, who had left the scene of the accident. Nandez had no drivers license and no insurance on his vehicle.

21 year old Dylan Kirt Cunningham of Manchester is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), failure to maintain his lane of travel, simple possession of a schedule III drug (Suboxone), and violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $8,000 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 18 a deputy saw Cunningham operating a Honda Civic on Highway 53 and Highway 70 west, crossing the double yellow line. The officer stopped the car for failure to maintain lane of travel. Cunningham, the driver, had an ID only license. A computer check revealed that his drivers license were revoked in Franklin County for a DUI on August 13, 2012. Cunningham had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. Cunningham submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He refused to consent to a blood test so a forced blood draw was taken as per state law. Cunnigham told the officer that he had consumed three beers. A partially filled bottle of Crown Royal alcohol was found in his vehicle. Cunningham told the officer that he was "messed up" and that he was taking medication. He was arrested and taken to the jail for booking. Upon inventory of his vehicle, a schedule III drug (Suboxone) was found.

65 year old John Owen Moberly of Crossville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 4 a deputy stopped to do a welfare check on a man in a vehicle in the parking lot of Center Hill Marine on Highway 70. The man, Moberly, was slumped over the seat, semi conscious with an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. The vehicle was still running. The deputy said the man was confused and did not know where he was. Moberly was sent to the emergency room of the hospital for evaluation. While at hospital, he was treated and showed signs of being intoxicated.

37 year old Alfredo Guerro Gonzales of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 20 Gonzales was operating a motor vehicle on College Street when he was stopped by an officer because his automobile was smoking. Gonzales told the officer that he was drunk. Gonzales had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Gonzales was arrested and taken to the jail for booking.

42 year old Vickie Lenae Alvis of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on April 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 21, Alvis was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when a deputy stopped her having prior knowledge that Alvis' drivers license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that her license were revoked for driving under the influence. Alvis was arrested and taken to the jail for booking. She had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person.


April 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Valedictorian Taylor Leach

A total of 187 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.



The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian Taylor Leach, Class President Matt Boss, guest speaker Randall Hutto, Wilson County Mayor, and Principal Patrick Cripps. The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus is also expected to perform.

The honor students will also be recognized:

Those earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are: Valedictorian Taylor C. Leach (4.0), Salutatorian Phillip J. Carroll (4.0), Daniela J. Acuna (4.0), Casey J. Alderman, Kristen R. Campbell (4.0), Caleb B. Cantrell (4.0), Sarah E. Cantrell, Erin Cantrell-Pryor, Hunter T. Collins (4.0), Lauren E. Craig (4.0), Emily R. Davidson, Savannah P. Dexter, Benjamin G. Driver, Hayden R. Ervin, Christina Ferguson, Makayla S. Funk, Callie A. Gash, William G. Graham, Kayley B. Green, Katie S. Haggard (4.0), Jessica L. Harbaugh, Amy L. Hastings, Alexander D. Hayes (4.0), Haley Keck(4.0), Elizabeth A. Koegler, Mandee R. Lattimore, Samantha R. Leiser (4.0), Cassandra L. Lester (4.0), Chelsea A. Lewis (4.0), Cecilia Maciel Ortega, Martha L. Martin (4.0), Zachary R. Martin (4.0), William M. Molander, Annieka M. Norton (4.0), Benjamin P. Pafford (4.0), Johnathon K. Page, Haley D. Parchman, Jacob E. Parsley (4.0), Taylor B. Poston (4.0), Martelia L. Tallent, and Rebekah G. Webb (4.0)

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Kaylee S. Cantrell, Mykaela O Duke, Alyssa K. England, Marissa E. Garmer, Cory A. Kijanski, Spencer B. Maynard, Taylor B. Monette, Lucas D. Phillips, Skyar J. Ritchie, and Dalton H. Vaughn.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Connor N. Apple, Emily K. Blackwell, Matthew W. Boss, Matthew C. Bouldin, Brittany N. Brakeall, Ashley S. Brandt, Benjamin F. Brandt, Cohen W. Brown, Downing E. Burke, Abbey L. Caldwell, Paige L. Cantrell, Austin L. Certain, Evan M. Curtis, Rachel L. Edge, Fantasia M. Erdman, Cain A. Evans, Krestin M. Evans, Lydia M. Foutch, Ashlee M. Gunter, Kelsey R. Hale, Alex C. Hall, Laddie B. Jerrells, Jason A. Judkins, Harley D. Lawrence, Walter L. Lewis, Quenton P. McSparren, Derek C. Parsley, Bindiya R. Patel, Elijah C. Poss, Nathan A. Sexton, Ethan D. Shaw, Spencer E. Stanfield, Cheyenne L. Stanley, Lindsey M. Taylor, Elijah G. Turner, Zachary D. Vincent, Emily J. Webb, and Zoe E. Whaley.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2013 are as follows:

Jessica Acuna, Matthew Adcox, Casey Alderman, Jose Daniel Alvarez, Connor Apple, Braxton Atnip,

Jacob Daniel Bandy, Timothy Bandy, Randy Beechler, Emily Blackwell, Matthew Boss, Matthew Bouldin, Brittany Brakeall, Ashley Brandt, Benjamin Brandt, Megan Brooks, Cohen Brown, Gage Brown, Halea Brown, Downing Burke,

Abbey Caldwell, Destiny Caldwell, Kristen Campbell, Brittany Campbell, Paige Cantrell, Caleb Cantrell, Kaylee Cantrell, Sarah Cantrell, Erin Cantrell-Pryor, Zackary Caplinger, Phillip Jacob (P.J.) Carroll, Alissya Coronado, Cortney Cawthorn, Austin Certain, Christopher Chapman, Justin Coats, Hunter Collins, Matthew Colwell, Quentin Cook, Christopher Crabtree, Lauren Elisabeth Craig, Evan Brady Cripps, Taylor Cudney, Evan Curtis,

Emily Davidson, Leif Robert Davis, William Day, Savanah Dexter, Kyra Dickens, Ernest Dodd, Marly Driver, Aleisha Driver, Benjamin Driver, Mykaela Duke,

Rachel Edge, Kelsey Eller, Alyssa England, Fantasia Marie Erdman, Hayden Ross Ervin, Krestin Evans, Cain Evans,

Christina Ferguson, Lydia Foutch, Casey France, Sonni Fullilove, Makayla Funk,

Marissa Garmer, Callie Gash, Samuel Giles, Elizabeth Schonstatt Garcia- Godinez, Nathan Gohs, Hunter Graham, Will Graham, Kayley Green, Lisa Elaine Greer, Cody Griffith, Sheldon Blake Grisham, Ashlee Gunter,

Sierra Danielle Haggard, Katie Haggard, Kelsey Hale, Katie Hale, Austin Hale, Alex Hall, Jessica Harbaugh, Amy Hastings, Alex Hayes, Joshua Heady, Devon Hickey, Abigail Holden, Joey Howell, Jordan Huling, Bridget Hutchens, George Junior Hyde,

Veronica Ingram, Laddie Jerrells, Brandon Jones, Ilse Lorena Ramirez, Jason Judkins, Brandy Julien,

Haley Keck, Cory Kijanski, Gabriel Knowles, Elizabeth Koegler, Lucas Kurzendoerfer,

Mandee Lattimore, Harley Lawrence, Andrew Lawrence, Nathan Lawson, Taylor Leach, Joshua Thomas Lee, Samantha Leiser, Andrew Neil Lemons, Cassi Lester, Lucian Lewis, Chelsea Lewis, Elyse Litteer, Jacob Tyler Long,

Cecilia Maciel, Austin Malone, Laura Martin, Martha Martin, Zachary Martin, Shelton Martin, Spencer Maynard, Caleb McBride, Quenton McSparren, Will Molander, Taylor Monette, Jonathan Michael Morris, Brittany Murphy,

Annieka Norton,

Ashley O'Conner,

Benjamin Pafford, Jonathon Page, Haley Parchman, Derek Parsley, Jacob Parsley, Bindiya Patel, Hannah Marie Pease, Drew Pedigo, Lucas Phillips, Elijah Poss, Taylor Poston, Amanda Nicole Puckett, Cody Puckett, Shawna Puckett, Eric Christopher Redmon, Dillan Reeder, Tiffany Riley, Skylar Ritchie, Roxana Rodriguez, Sarah Roysden, Jared Brendon Russell, Kieran Benjamin Russell,

Javier Sanchez, Margarita Sanchez, Nathan Sexton, Ethan Shaw, Tyler Joseph (T.J.) Slezak, Spencer Stanfield, Seth Stanley, Kayla Stanley, Cheyenne Stanley, Carlie Sullivan, Martelia Tallent, Lindsey Morgan Taylor, Christian Tyler Terry, Brandon Thaxton, Juan Carlos Torres, Eli Turner, Jacob Turner, Kristina Tyree,

Derek Vanatta, Daniel Vandergriff, Tyler Vanhoose, Dalton Vaughn, Brent Vickers, Zachary Vincent,

Ashton Waggoner, Zackery Walker, Kelley Walker, Emily Webb, Grace Webb, Zoe Whaley, Joel Wilkerson, and Matthew Wright.

TCAP Testing Begins Tuesday

April 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

DeKalb County students will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, Achievement Tests starting April 23.

Students in grades 3-8 take the Achievement Test, and high school students take End of Course exams for various subjects. In addition, some school systems, including DeKalb County will administer the Achievement Test to students in Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 in the areas of reading/language arts, and math. TCAP is a set of statewide assessments given in Tennessee to measure students' skills and progress.

The Achievement Test is a timed, multiple choice assessment that measures skills in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. "April 23 is the first day of testing. It will be our Reading, Language Arts test," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade. "On April 24 it will be Math. April 25th will be Science and April 26th will be social studies. That is the 3-8 grade schedule. This year we are also testing kindergarten and first grade. Last year we tested second grade. But for kindergarten, first and second grade, the main focus of their testing will be the Reading, Language Arts, and Math. Those are very important subjects and we want to make sure that they have those foundational skills and that they are ready for third grade. April 29-30 will be two days that we have for make ups," said Burklow.

School officials urge parents to make sure their children are well rested and have had breakfast before they get to school. "Parents make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the tests," said Burklow. "We do not want anyone to oversleep because we are going to start testing at 8:15 a.m. so we do not want children to come into school feeling rushed and under pressure. We want them to come in relaxed. So make sure students get plenty of sleep and that they get up in time and be ready to go to school. Also be sure that the child eats a healthy breakfast. I know Stephanie Dyer, our school nutrition supervisor will be serving breakfast on the main days of testing, TCAP as well as End of Course. She is very supportive of supplying breakfasts for the children because it is a pretty long testing session in the mornings and she knows the importance of the children eating breakfast. If your child does not eat breakfast at home, they have a great breakfast at the schools so parents help your students start the morning off right. Make sure they have a full stomach and are ready to learn," said Burklow.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also asks parents to try and avoid any conflicts that would keep your children out of school this week. "During this week that we are giving TCAP tests, we would ask that parents don't schedule any kind of appointments, such as dental visits. Please reschedule those to another time. Because if you come to school at 9:00 a.m. and want to check your child out of school, if the test is underway we cannot go in and disturb that classroom. We have to monitor that classroom and make sure that everyone in that classroom has a great opportunity to do well on the test," said Willoughby.

State House of Representatives Rejects Judicial Redistricting

April 22, 2013

A proposal to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts for the first time since 1984 was killed on Friday when House members voted against it.

Even if the measure had passed the current makeup of the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, would have remain unchanged. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

The State House of Representatives voted 66-28 to defeat the measure sponsored by Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Bristol. The companion bill in the Senate was approved 27-4 earlier this month. The plan from Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, would have affected 22 counties in eight districts. The number of judicial districts would have been reduced from 31 to 29.

Most of the House members against the measure said they felt they were being dictated to by the Senate, particularly Ramsey.

The proposal would have created separate judicial districts for Rutherford and Williamson counties because of population growth in the Nashville suburbs over the last three decades.

Two judicial districts in northwestern Tennessee made up of Lake, Dyer, Obion and Weakley counties would have been merged into a single district. Meanwhile, Coffee County would have ceased to have its own district and instead be folded into one with Cannon, Warren and Van Buren counties.

Ramsey has said the changes were not expected to affect the positions of existing judges, but that the elimination of two judicial districts would reduce the positions of two prosecutors and public defenders.

He estimated the cost savings of eliminating those four positions would be more than $600,000.

State Legislature Approves New City Charter for Smithville

April 22, 2013
Dwayne Page

Both the State House and Senate Friday adopted a rewrite of the Smithville charter, subject to final approval by the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen.

The legislation amends Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make changes in the city charter, as sought by the mayor and aldermen.

The measure passed in the State House of Representatives 87-0 and in the State Senate 29-0.

The resolution was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the legislature. It will now return to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a second reading where it must receive a vote of not less than two thirds of the entire membership of the board before it can take effect.

Under the new city charter the terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will go from two to four years (beginning with the elections in June this year and in August next year). 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.

There will be no change in the date of the city election this year. The election will be held on Tuesday, June 18. The three aldermen elected this year will serve for 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 proposed new charter, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected on the first Thursday in August. Those elected will serve for four years.

Relay for Life Set for May 10

April 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Relay for Life May 10

Everyone's reason to Relay is as unique as their own personal story. At Relay for Life, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease. You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime. No matter why you take part in Relay, however, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives.

Come share the Relay experience at Green Brook Park on Friday, May 10 and take pride in knowing that you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone's life.

The 16th annual Relay for Life begins with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

As participants walk the track lined with Luminaria bags in reflection, a caregiver who has lost a loved one may find comfort from a fellow caregiver who has faced a similar loss. Meanwhile, a survivor gains hope and strength from others who have followed the same journey and survived. All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more Luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.

Teams take turns doing laps, but there must be one member from each team on the track at any given time during the 12-hour relay event. While team members off the field can sleep in the tents, most don't. There is a lot of fundraising at the event as well, through concessions, games, and other activities.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations

DeKalb County to Participate to in the Great American Clean up

April 19, 2013
Ronda Butler and Suzanne Williams

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Executive’s office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up campaign on Saturday, May 18th. This event will be held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful initiative going on across the country. This organization’s mission revolves around a core belief that beauty is a silent but powerful force that makes communities safer, healthier and more livable.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the County Complex parking lot.

County Executive Mike Foster says, “We would like for people to come out and help clean our communities and roadways. Folks are welcome to pick their own locations to clean, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for each person to participate.”

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to come to the County Complex, 732 So. Congress Blvd., Smithville on May 18th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags, rubber gloves, and bottles of water. For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber, located in the Courthouse, Room 201, anytime during regular office hours by May 17th to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together!

John Green Resigns from County Commission

April 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
John Green (Second from Right) Resigns from Commission

Having moved his permanent residence to White County, long time fifth district county commissioner John Green has submitted his resignation.

During the county commission's all-committees meeting Thursday evening, County Mayor Mike Foster informed the commissioners that Green turned in his resignation letter on Monday, April 8.

"I am writing to inform the DeKalb County mayor and county commission that I, John D. Green as of April 8, 2013, am resigning from my current position as fifth district county commissioner, " wrote Green. "As of March 30, 2013 my permanent address has changed to White County," he concluded in the letter.

Green has served on the county commission for eleven years. He was first elected in 2002 and then re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

Foster said the county will advertise for applications from persons in the fifth district interested in filling the unexpired term. The commissioners will interview the applicants and later vote to name a successor. Green's term expires August 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, Foster announced Thursday evening that Chip Cook, the director of the local ambulance service is resigning by May 15. Assistant director Hoyte Hale will be the acting director. The county will advertise the opening, accept applications, and then name a new director.

The county budget committee will begin work on the new 2013-14 spending plan for the county in a meeting on April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse. Foster said its hard to plan for the budget right now because officials are still learning about the federal Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) which will have to be implemented by next year and its effect on the county's budget. The county may have to find new money to cover possible increases in county employee health insurance costs which could rise by several hundred thousand dollars.

Still bothered by skeptics among the public opposed to adding more equipment to the fitness center at the county complex, County Mayor Foster Thursday night updated the county commission on the number of people taking advantage of the center and the money it has generated for the county. Foster said that the center has had as many as 1,041 members but that there are currently 979 active members. Since July, 2012, a total of $54,185 has been brought in through the facility at the complex. The monthly expense is about $4,200 so the county is coming out about $12,000 to the good, which would go a long way toward adding more exercise equipment.

The county commission will meet in regular monthly session on Monday night, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse. The agenda is as follows:

Budget amendments/quarterly reports

Discuss DeKalb County Complex

Discuss Ambulance Service

Discuss Commission Vacancy in the 5th District

Discuss Budget and set meetings-Insurance questions for budget

Discuss DeKalb County Cleanup Day/Groups

Any old business properly presented (Folk Dance June 13, 2013)


Chamber to Apply for CDBG Downtown Revitalization Grant

April 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

In a continuing effort to revitalize the downtown commercial district, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is applying for a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $25,000.

If approved, funds from the grant will go toward façade improvements to eligible downtown buildings, specifically on the north and west blocks of the Smithville Public Square. Store owners in those areas who wish to participate will be responsible for funding the grant's 25% local match. There would be no cost to the City of Smithville.

(Play video below to see results from work done through previous projects)

Its all part of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's Tennessee Downtowns program, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts.

As part of the grant application process, the Smithville aldermen Monday night adopted a resolution designating the area eligible for the program. Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams addressed the mayor and aldermen making the request for passage of the resolution. "We're here on behalf of the Tennessee Downtowns program. The chamber is going to be applying for a CDBG block grant for downtown. Its for $25,000. Its for improvements. Its not a sure thing like the last $15,000 grant we got. There's going to be eight communities that receive this grant. I think we have a really good chance. The state says we are their poster child because we took $15,000 and did such a large amount of improvements with that. We posted our video presentation on youtube at their (state officials) request and they have been showing it to everybody. They are very excited. They think we have a good chance and they called and told me to apply. The grant does have a 25% matching fund. One of the qualifications is that we have to designate that area. It sounds terrible but its called "slum blight". The city will have to pass a resolution declaring that determined area to be blighted and that will be part of the application. It's a real broad definition. It could mean a beautiful building that is vacant. It could mean a building that's got something in there but it needs improvements on the outside," said Williams.

Smithville was one of 12 communities selected to participate in the first phase of the program several months ago. Chamber Director Williams made application on behalf of the city of Smithville and later for the $15,000 grant made available.

In the first phase, eligible downtown store owners who chose to participate received $500 for investing a minimum of $1,000 in exterior improvements of their buildings through the grant program. All sixteen mini-grant recipients were funded including The Flower Box, Cantrell's Men Store, Cantrell's Ladies Clothing, Attorney Keith W. Blair, Attorney Frank Buck, Thomas G. Janney, Henrietta Hale, Attorney Jeremy Trapp, Granny's Goldmine, Alan Webb, Attorney Gayla C. Hendrix, Richard Williams, Attorney Vester Parsley Jr., Annette Greek, Attorney J. Hilton Conger, and Gail H. Webb.

If anyone is interested in obtaining more information about this phase of the program and the CDBG grant, contact the Chamber office at 597-4163. Letters of support for this project are also requested to help in obtaining the grant.


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