Local News Articles

Judge Hands Down Sentences in Meth, Burglary, and other Drug Cases

March 20, 2013
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

Judge David Patterson sentenced seven people on drug charges and two others for burglaries in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, March 18

20 year old James Dillon Mitchell and 19 year old Amy Elizabeth Mullican pleaded guilty to attempted initiation of the manufacture of methamphetamine. Each received a six year sentence, all suspended to judicial diversion supervised probation and were fined $2,000. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 20, 2012 a drug detective stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 east for having a headlight out. Mitchell, the driver, had very slurred speech and he kept dropping things in the car. The detective noticed a strong chemical odor coming from the automobile. Mitchell was asked to get out of the vehicle. He submitted to a search and the detective found in Mitchell's coat pocket, rubber tubing taped to the lid of a bottle. In Mitchell's pants pocket, the detective found a sock which contained a scale, glass pipe, and aluminum foil. Mullican, the owner of the vehicle and a passenger, gave consent to search the automobile and the detective found a plastic bottle, a one pot lab, in the front floor board along with two small plastic containers that held lye, three cut hoses, and empty blister packs. Mitchell said that the one pot lab belonged to him. Mullican admitted to knowing the one pot lab was in the car. A female correctional officer was called to the scene to search Mullican. Found in Mullican's bra was a small plastic baggie with a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine.

25 year old Amanda Brooke Washer pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a sentence she is now serving in Warren County. She must also make restitution if applicable. Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Saturday, June 9, 2012 Washer allegedly broke into the residence of Eulain Poley Shelton on Gentry Avenue and took several items from the house including pieces of jewelry, cash, and other items, all valued at over $1,000

33 year old Jamie Edward Carroll pleaded guilty to promotion of methamphetamine. He received a five year sentence, suspended to 243 days of time served with the balance on TDOC supervised probation. Carroll must complete a long term residential drug rehab program. He was also fined $2,000. He was given jail credit of 243 days. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 19, 2012 officers went to Carroll's residence at 834 Gentry Avenue due to high traffic volume there. After receiving consent to search, officers found four hypodermic needles and several items used to manufacture methamphetamine including Aleve D Cold tablet boxes (in a kitchen garbage can); a 20 ounce plastic bottle, partially filled with a solid substance; a cold pack, partially burned in the back yard; and another cold pack which was found cut on the carport area of the home.

40 year old Scott Lynn Sykes pleaded guilty to attempted initiation of methamphetamine. He received a six year sentence to serve at 30% before his release eligibility date. His probation in another case was also revoked and he must serve the balance of a four year sentence in that case. The two sentences are to run concurrently with each other. Sykes was given jail credit from November 11, 2011 to November 24, 2012 and from January 1, 2013 to March 18, 2013. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on New Year's Day a sheriff's department drug detective came to Sykes' home on Alexander Street to do a welfare check on a small child. Sykes gave the detective consent to search the residence. In Sykes' bedroom, the detective found rubber tubing, a 20 ounce Pepsi bottle, acid, ice compresses (cold packs) that had been cut open, a plastic baggie with a white substance believed to be lye, and pliers and cutters. In the kitchen, the detective found a two liter bottle partially filled with lighter fluid, an empty quart Kingsford fluid container, and a sixteen ounce bottle partially filled with acid. These components are used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sykes admitted that these items belonged to him. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. The house was placed under quarantine.

34 year old James Frederick Summers pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule VI drug for resale and possession of a prohibited weapon. He received a two year sentence on the drug charge, all suspended to probation except for 180 days to serve. He was also fined $2,000. Summers received a one year sentence on the prohibited weapon charge, all suspended to supervised probation. The two sentences are to run consecutively for a total of three years. He was given jail credit of 158 days. Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Thursday, September 20, 2012 as he was driving north in his patrol car on Tramel Street going toward West Main Street, a 2000 model Hyundai, driven by Summers, was approaching him, coming south on Tramel Street. He said the car almost hit him head-on. Summers pulled into the parking lot of DeKalb Community Bank. Chief Caplinger stopped the vehicle and detained Summers. A passenger of the car, 28 year old Joshua Cripps, got out and fled on foot. He was picked up later at another location in the county and was charged with evading arrest. Officer Chip Avera and Corporal Travis Bryant arrived to assist Chief Caplinger at the scene. Found in Summers' car were 40 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana wrapped in paper along with some drug paraphernalia. A check of Summers' driving record revealed that he was driving on a revoked license. His license had previously been revoked for driving under the influence in Warren County and for two DUI's in DeKalb County. Summers was taken into custody and his car was seized by police. Summers had in his possession a prohibited weapon (brass knuckles).

29 year old Daniel Ray Wilson pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other and with General Sessions cases against him. The sentence was suspended to supervised probation except for 120 days to serve and he must make restitution if applicable. Wilson was given jail credit of 115 days. Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at Taco Bell, Wilson allegedly broke the passenger side window of the victim's vehicle with a brick and then reached inside and took her purse. Wilson was arrested again on Thanksgiving Day after allegedly breaking into a vehicle at NHC. Entry was made by breaking the back side glass out and taking items from the automobile.

35 year old Gary Ashford pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule IV controlled substance and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000. He also pleaded guilty to a violation of probation in another case and received a sentence of 120 days to serve. The sentences are to run consecutively. Ashford was given jail credit from November 27, 2012 to March 18, 2013 along with 21 days of previous jail credit.

37 year old Greg Patton pleaded guilty to attempted initiation of the manufacture of methamphetamine and evading arrest. He received a four year sentence to serve at 30% in the meth case and 11 months and 29 days to serve for evading arrest. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other. Patton was fined $2,000.

City Property Owners Admonished to Keep their Lots Free of Junk and Clutter

March 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Weeds and Brush Up Around Vacant Home on Gentry Avenue
Dilapidated House on Hayes Street

City officials are admonishing property owners to keep their lots maintained free of junk and clutter and to remove any dilapidated and unsafe structures.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Jimmy Poss said there are clear violations of the city's property maintenance ordinance across town. "There is property in town that has got a lot of junk in the yard. We've looked at it. It's not only one spot. Its more than one spot. It entails a lot of property. I can take you to houses that has been abandoned. Its grown up. The houses need to be torn down. I want to give the property owners a chance to clean it up," said Mayor Poss.

Those who don't clean up their properties could risk civil penalties. "I just want to make everybody aware that sooner or later we're going to have to send out some citations, "said Mayor Poss.

The city's "Minimum Property Maintenance Requirements" states that "no person owning, leasing, renting, occupying, including vacant lots, shall maintain or allow to be maintained on such property, except as may be permitted by any other city ordinance, any of the following conditions visible from any public street or alley:

Junk, litter and trash;

Outdoor nuisances dangerous to children, including but not limited to abandoned, broken or neglected equipment, machinery, or any appliance with a latching door;

Shopping carts in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot of any property;

Dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous trees, or any other vegetation a majority of which (excluding vegetation located in flowerbeds, or trees, or shrubbery or existing hayfields) exceeds twelve (12) inches in height, or which is dangerous to public health, safety, and welfare, located in any front yard, side yard, rear yard, or upon any vacant lot".

"Has the city notified them (property owners in violation) by letter?," asked Alderman Tim Stribling.

"No we haven't done it. I have talked to family members of one house and they're okay with it," answered Mayor Poss.

"I talked with Mr. (Eugene) O'Neil (city building codes inspector) over a year ago and there are a few (unkept properties) over by you (mayor) that we looked at," said Alderman Danny Washer.

"We did send out notices on those," responded Mayor Poss.

Alderman Washer said the problem with some is that the owners of abandoned properties are difficult to locate. "You send them (notices) out to the last known property owner and get no response. That's what he (O'Neil) told me," said Alderman Washer.

Alderman Stribling asked about sending out more notices. "Mayor, on these houses that you're saying you can't find them (property owners), can the city send out the letter that they're supposed to send out and within so many days if they (property owners) don't do it (respond), can the city clean it up and then put a lien on the property?"

"I'm not sure," replied Mayor Poss.

Alderman Washer said according to Mr. O'Neil, if the property owners don't respond to the notices, the city could clean up the properties and charge them for the cost. "I might be wrong but I think what Mr O'Neil told me was that all we can do is add it (city's cost of cleanup) on to their taxes if they don't do nothing," said Alderman Washer.

"I think we need to start by sending out notices to all the city property owners that's not meeting the ordinance requirements," said Alderman Gayla Hendrix. " We could possibly put a fine and a lien on it. I'm not saying fine them up front. You could give them notice that they have so much time to get the property in order to meet the requirements of whatever the ordinance states and let them know that its punishable by a fine if its not cleaned up in a certain amount of time. But we definitely need to give people notice especially if they own property here and maybe live away from here and might not realize the condition (their property) is in. So give them notice. Give them an opportunity to fix it and if they don't then impose a fine," she said.

Alderman Washer said the problem is not just with abandoned houses. " Its also people that do live there and they still junk it up. It ridiculous. We have a lot of people coming into our city that goes right by (some of these properties). It's shameful. I can point you out cars that have set there and not been touched in probably fifteen years. They're just setting there. They do nothing with them. Its not just one (vehicle). They keep adding to it. Next year you'll have another one, and then another one. It just keeps multiplying. It an eyesore. And tires. We're fixing to come into hot weather. That needs to be cleaned up," said Alderman Washer.

Concerned citizen Faye Fuqua suggested having a city cleanup day and to encourage residents throughout town to participate. "I know some people are going to have to be forced (to clean up their properties) but maybe the whole city could have a clean up day and encourage everyone on each street and in each community to do that," said Fuqua.

Alderman Hendrix also encouraged anyone knowing of unkept property to contact city hall or the mayor. "If you have a problem in your neighborhood with property that's not kept notify city hall because sometimes we can't get around to every area," she said.

Mayor Poss said he liked Fuqua's idea of a city cleanup day and may explore that possibility. "Maybe we need to have a city cleanup, like the county has a cleanup. Maybe we need to set a date. We'll see what the people think and try to go with it," he said.

The city's property maintenance ordinance provides for enforcement stating that "It shall be the duty of the Building Inspector of the City of Smithville to serve notice upon the property owner of record in violation. The property owner shall be notified in writing specifying the nature of the violation, specifying the corrective measures to be taken, and require compliance within not more than 30 days. The notice may be served upon the owners of the premises where the violation is located by:

Posting notice in plain view on the property in violation, or sending notice by mail

The date the notice is posted or received by the offender shall serve as the beginning of the specified time period allowing for corrective action."

The ordinance further states that "Failure by the property owner to take corrective action to bring the property within compliance shall constitute a violation and be a civil offense."

"Any person violating this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for each separate violation of this chapter. Each day the violation of this chapter continues shall be considered a separate violation," according to the ordinance

Smithville Releases Results of Water Cost Study

March 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Smithville Water Treatment Plant

How much does it cost the City of Smithville to treat and supply water?

$2.67 per 1,000 gallons according to the results of a water cost study by Warren and Associates Engineering, PLLC of Lebanon.


Smithville Cost Study March 2013.pdf (327.54 KB)

According to the report, Based on the data reviewed provided by the City of Smithville, and based upon documented revenues, calculated expenses, and calculated capital expenditure
allowances, the average cost to treat and supply 1,000 gallons for the City is:

• Average Cost to Treat and Supply 1,000 Gallons: $2.67

The current rates charged by the City of Smithville to their customers are as follows:

• City of Smithville Customers: $5.00/1,000 gallons
• DeKalb Utility District: $2.05/1,000 gallons

The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.05 per thousand gallons and under terms of the contract, the rate increases by five cents per thousand gallons in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires in 2014. Even if the DUD builds its own water plant, it will apparently still need a new water agreement with the city to serve certain areas.

As a comparison, rates charged by other selected utilities in the Middle Tennessee area were
checked, according to the study. Following is a summary of the amount per 1,000 gallons charged.

Comparative Rates from Other Utilities as follows:
District/Utility Providing
District/Utility Purchasing
Price/1,000 Gallons

Town of Carthage Cordell Hull UD/25 UD $4.01
Smith Utility District Town of Alexandria $2.88
Smith Utility District Southside UD $3.75
Hartsville/Trousdale Water Cordell Hull UD $2.75
Hartsville/Trousdale Water City of Lafayette $2.75
Hartsville/Trousdale Water Castalian Springs UD $2.75
Hartsville/Trousdale Water Southside UD $2.75
Lafayette UD Red Boiling Springs $4.32
Cookeville UD Jackson County UD $3.71
Gainesboro UD Jackson County UD $2.82
Livingston UD Jackson County UD $2.99
Red Boiling Springs UD Jackson County UD $4.22

The city paid $7,500 to have the study done.

The City of Smithville and DeKalb Utility District were expected to share in a cost of service study as the two sides looked toward possibly making a deal on a new water contract. But the DUD opposed the city's selection of Warren and Associates.

In a recent letter to city officials, signed by Board Chairman Roger Turney and manager Jon Foutch, DUD officials wrote that the city and DUD were to have agreed on the selection of an unbiased entity to perform the study. DUD officials claim that Warren and Associates is not unbiased in that it has been hired by the city and officials of the company will be presenting evidence against the DUD on behalf of the City of Smithville at the April 4 Utility Management Review Board (DUD rate review) proceeding in Smithville.

Smithville Cost Study March 2013.pdf (327.54 KB)

Mayor Concerned About Dogs Running Loose

March 19, 2013
Dwayne Page

City officials are asking residents to keep their dogs from running loose

Mayor Jimmy Poss, during Monday night's city council meeting, said dogs are running wild in the city and some people have been bitten. "We've been trying to catch one dog that's done bit two people," he said.

Mayor Poss is urging city residents to abide by the leash laws. "I know everybody has probably seen dogs running in the communities. There is a law in the city. There is a leash law on dogs. Its the owner's responsibility to keep them in a pen or on a chain. A lot of people don't like to do that but I just want everybody to know we're trying (to solve the problem) and if anybody has dogs, I would ask them to tie that dog up. Any (dog) we catch out here running loose, we're going to take to the pound. If they (dog owners) come over there (to the pound) then they will have to (pay the fee) to adopt them back. I believe its $10 or $20. Its something we've got to do as a community. I know it's a touchy subject but we have people who are being bit. We don't need biting dogs in the community," said Mayor Poss.

"I know its in our ordinance but its also state law," said Alderman Gayla Hendrix. "There's a leash law in the state of Tennessee and people can take a warrant out if someone's dog is running at large and bothering them. Of course the best thing to do if you're in a neighborhood, if someone's dog is bothering you and you know who it belongs to is to ask them first to keep the dog put up and if they continue to let the dog run and it becomes a nuisance then you can go to the sheriff's office," she said.

"If you're going to be a pet owner then you need to be a responsible pet owner," added Alderman Jason Murphy.

"You've basically got two types of dogs. You've got those dogs that are not trained that are just running wild and then you have those dogs that are pets," said Alderman Tim Stribling. " People need to keep them (pets) confined, on a leash, or in their homes because the weather is warming up, people are walking and running. If somebody runs by somebody's house and a dog is out in the yard, it's kind of protective of that area. Sometimes it (dog) goes after those people that are exercising," said Alderman Stribling.

"At least if they (owners) put collars on them (dogs) we would know whose they are," said Mayor Poss.

"Still, they shouldn't be running loose," responded Alderman Stribling

"If they don't have a collar on we can assume that they're wild. That would help us determine if they are somebody's dog," concluded Mayor Poss.

Alderman Danny Washer said if the city plans to enforce the laws on dogs, then city residents should be made aware of the laws they are expected to abide by.

Fire Destroys Unoccupied Mobile Home

March 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Unoccupied Mobile Home
Mobile Home on Walkers Creek Destroyed by Fire

An early morning fire destroyed a single wide mobile home at 5850 Walker Creek Road today

Central dispatch received the call at 12:42 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said firefighters of the Liberty, Main Station, and Temperance Hall stations responded but could not save the structure. Although the home contained some furnishings which were also destroyed, no one lived there. The residents, who had rented the home, recently moved out.

No one was injured. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

DeKalb EMS and officers of the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Sheriff's Department Makes Four Arrests After Discovery of Two Meth Labs

March 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Joseph Huff Ray
Melissa Darlene Woods
Jeffery Lynn Sanders
Anthony Lynn Colwell
Michael Andrew Snyders
Carl Edward Schwartz
Kasey Lee Frazier
Robert Lee Ried

The discovery of two meth labs at a Smithville residence has led to the arrests of four people by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

30 year old Joseph Huff Ray of Snow Street; 44 year old Melissa Darlene Woods of Florence, Alabama; 39 year old Jeffery Lynn Sanders of Lincoln Street; and 42 year old Anthony Lynn Colwell of McMinnville are all charged with initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine. All are under a $50,000 bond and they will be in court on different dates in March, April, and May

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, March 12, a drug detective of the sheriff's department saw Colwell and his girlfriend Woods outside a residence where Ray was staying at 719 Snow Street. Colwell and Woods got a bag out of her Jeep and Colwell took it across the street and placed it behind a block wall. Inside the bag was a plastic bottle, also known as a one pot, along with other components used in the manufacture of meth. Both Colwell and Woods were placed under arrest and Woods' jeep was seized by the sheriff's department.

As the drug detective was attempting to make contact with the owner of the residence, he saw Sanders in the kitchen holding a yellow bag. After obtaining consent to search the premises, the drug detective found the yellow bag Sanders had held. It was hidden in the couch. The bag contained several pseudoephedrine pills. The detective conducted a pat down search of Sanders and found on him several coffee filters.

A search of the room where Ray had been staying turned up a black leather bag that contained a glass pyrex dish, lighter fluid, turkey baster, ph strips, and assorted tools. Also in the room was a plastic bottle, known as a one pot that is used to cook meth. Ray admitted that the components in the room belonged to him.

32 year old Joseph Robert Loff of Sparta is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on March 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 14 a sheriff's department drug detective made a traffic stop on Highway 70 in Dowelltown. The driver, Loff told the officer that his name was Robert James Loff and that his birth date was December 16, 1981. He did not have any identification on his person. The drug detective noticed a Region's bank card in the name of Joseph R. Loff. After a further investigation, it was determined that Loff had given the detective his brother's name. Loff's actual birth date is September, 16 1980. Loff said the reason he didn't give his real name is because he did not have a drivers license.

27 year old Michael Andrew Snyders of Smithville is charged with domestic assault and aggravated assault. He was also issued a citation for simple possession of a schedule III drug (subutex) and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (xanax). His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court March 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, March 15, a deputy responded to a residence on Dry Creek Road to investigate a possible physical domestic. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to a woman who said that Snyders became very angry and began assaulting her because she was on the phone. The officer saw that the woman had bruising and redness around her face and neck. She said Snyders had put her in a headlock and punched her. He broke her phone and porch light and he stomped on her right foot causing it to swell. It was determined that Snyders was the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest. During the assault, the woman's children, an eight year old and four year old were also assaulted. The eight year old told the deputy that Snyders grabbed her around the neck with his arm and squeezed it. She had redness around her throat area. Snyders also alleged fell on the four year old child. While talking to the officers, Snyders dropped a small bronze container, which held a blue oblong pill believed to be xanax and a quarter of a white pill believed to be subutex.

29 year old Carl Edward Schwartz is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court April 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 16, a drug detective of the sheriff's department saw a truck behind Eastside Citgo with its lights on and the engine running. The store was closed. The detective stopped to check the vehicle and made contact with a man behind the wheel, Schwartz. The officer noticed a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was very slurred. Schwartz submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood test. Schwartz had a prior DUI February 5, 2010 in Michigan.

26 year old Juan Pablo Serrano of Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court March 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 16 a deputy was called to King Ridge Road to check on a man who was going to homes knocking on doors causing an alarm. The deputy made contact with the man, Serrano, who was very unsteady on his feet. He had slurred speech. Serrano had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Several attempts were made to have someone come and get him but no one came. Due to his actions, his level of intoxication and for the safety of the public, Serrano was placed under arrest.

33 year old Kasey Lee Frazier of Baxter is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on April 3. Frazier was also issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia (syringe). Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 16, a deputy was called to a residence on Sunny Point Road to investigate a physical domestic. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with all parties involved. It was determined that Frazier was the primary aggressor. A woman said that Frazier began arguing with someone else at the residence and that she tried to stop it. Frazier got mad, shoved her down, and began hitting her. The assault continued outside. She said Frazier held her down with his knee on her throat and hit her in the face with his fist. She had a red mark on her neck and on her left cheek around an eye. Frazier was arrested. A pat down search was performed and found in his pocket was a used hypodermic needle.

43 year old Robert Lee Ried is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court March 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, March 17, Ried was picked up in DeKalb County as a fugitive from justice out of the state of Missouri where he is wanted by the Phelps County Sheriff's Department for a felony bad check charge. Missouri authorities plan to seek extradition of Ried

Two Teens Airlifted After Three Vehicle Crash

March 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
EMS and Fire Dept Volunteers Remove Teenage Wreck Victim from Car
Wreck Scene Shows All Three Vehicles
Two 16 year old girls injured in this car

Two sixteen year old girls were airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital after a three vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on Highway 56 south near the Mystik Market at Shiney Rock. Two others were also involved in the accident.

Central dispatch received the call at 2:11 p.m.

The names of the two girls were not released by the Tennessee Highway Patrol because they are juveniles. WJLE has learned that the girls are Taneah Cantrell and Keri Sanders.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 57 year old Kenneth Lattimore of Smithville, driving a white 2005 Nissan car north on Highway 56, had stopped to make a left turn onto Old Blue Springs Road. Behind him was a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, driven by 42 year old Christopher Barrett of Rock Island, which had also stopped. A black 2012 Toyota Corolla, driven by a 16 year old girl, traveling north, came up behind and struck the back of the pickup truck. According to Trooper Wilhite, the truck spun around and hit the Lattimore car in front of it. The car driven by the teenager, went off the right side of the road and came to a stop ahead of the other two vehicles.

Lattimore was not hurt but Barrett went by a private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital. The teen driver and her teenage passenger were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were airlifted by a helicopter ambulance.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Blue Springs Station and extrication and rescue unit also responded.

TDOT to Let Bids for New Sligo Bridge, Flashing Beacon Light, Resurfacing Projects in DeKalb County

March 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sligo Bridge
Accident in June 2011, one of many at intersection of HWY 70 & 83

The Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to open bids Friday, April 5 on a construction contract for the new Sligo bridge, the installation of a flashing beacon at U.S. 70 and State Route 83, and several highway resurfacing projects in DeKalb County.

The Sligo project calls for the construction of a welded steel plate girder bridge and three retaining walls on US. 70 (state route 26) over the Caney Fork River and Sligo Road. The completion date is on or before June 30, 2016.

TDOT will open bids for the installation of a flashing beacon on U.S. 70 (State Route 26) at the intersection of State Route 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant. The completion date is on or before July 31, 2013. Many serious traffic accidents have occurred at this intersection in recent years.

Bids will be let for:

The resurfacing (either micro-surface or thin mix overlay) on State Route 96 beginning at Center Hill Dam and extending to the Putnam County line. Project length- 2.970 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013

The resurfacing (either micro-surface or thin mix overlay) of State Route 141 beginning at State Route 96 and extending to the Putnam County line. Project length- 3.330 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013

The resurfacing (either micro-surface or thin mix overlay) of State Route 264 beginning at State Route 96 and extending to the Smith County line including bridge deck repair. Project length- 5.480 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013.

The resurfacing (micro-surfacing) of State Route 56 beginning at Church Street and extending to the Putnam County line. Project length- 11.760 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013

The resurfacing (micro-surfacing) on State Route 56 beginning at the DeKalb County line and extending to the I-40 overpass. Project length- 0.540 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013

The resurfacing (micro-surfacing) of State Route 141 beginning at the DeKalb County line and extending to State Route 56. Project length- 3.410 miles. Completion time on or before September 30, 2013.

DeKalb Suicide Rate Declines in 2011 But Still Higher Than State and National Average

March 16, 2013
Dwayne Page

In 2011, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 26.5 per 100,000 people, translating into five reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from the previous year but still above the state and national average as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hancock County had the state's highest suicide rate among the state's ninety five counties at 74.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and Johnson County had the lowest rate at 5.5 per 100,000 with one death.

DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. The year 2012 numbers are not available.

Jackson County recorded the highest suicide rate among the fourteen Upper Cumberland Counties for 2011. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest.

Jackson 52.8 per 100,000 (6 deaths)
White 42.1 (11)
Clay 38.6 (3)
Van Buren 36.6 (2)
Fentress 33.3 (6)
Macon 26.7 (6)
DeKalb 26.5 (5)
Pickett 19.6 (1)
Cannon 14.6 (2)
Putnam 13.7 (10)
Cumberland 10.6 (6)
Smith 10.4 (2)
Warren 10 (4)
Overton 9 (2)

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) has published its Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report, detailing suicide trends and prevention efforts in Tennessee. The current report includes a summary of suicide trends within Tennessee, both overall and for various subgroups.

Tennessee's age-adjusted suicide rate for 2011 was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000 as reported for the year 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rates among teens and older adults, both groups traditionally at high suicide risk, remain stable. White males aged 35-64 account for the largest share of suicide deaths, and suicide rates are higher for white males across the lifespan.

Attention is also given to the nature of non-fatal versus fatal attempts and common suicide methods-almost two-thirds of all suicides in Tennessee involve a firearm.

"At least 150 Tennesseans who deeply care about the suicide prevention are meeting monthly to raise their own suicide awareness and to implement activities that educate their communities about suicide. They are also working together to apply the Tennessee Strategies for Suicide Prevention," observes TSPN Advisory Council Chair Jennifer Harris. "The maintenance and growth of the regional and county efforts should inspire all of us."

The document also includes a summary of common suicide risk factors and an account of TSPN's suicide prevention projects. The report concludes with a listing of suicide numbers and rates for all 95 Tennessee counties for the years 2006 through 2011.

All over the state, TSPN offers presentations and training sessions for schools, churches, and civic groups and partnerships with state departments and other non-profits. TSPN also networks with and faith-based groups to implement suicide prevention strategies; debriefs schools and other institutions affected by suicide death; and promotes awareness and educational events across the state of Tennessee.

"Of course, our work here is hardly finished," adds TSPN Executive Director Scott Ridgway. "Our goal is not merely fewer suicides, it is zero suicides. Suicide remains a major and tragic threat to middle-aged adults in our state. The ebb of the Middle East conflicts means more soldiers will be trying to reconcile their wartime experiences with civilian life. We hope to ensure that those who have served their country will get the help they need.

"We hope that the Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 report will inspire everyone to join us in the ongoing effort to make zero suicides not just an objective, but a reality for the people of our state."

Status of Suicide in Tennessee 2013 will be published online via the TSPN website (www.tspn.org

Bid Approval Delayed for DeKalb West Construction Project

March 15, 2013
Dwayne Page

Bid approval for the DeKalb West School construction project has been delayed by a month


David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet, updated the school board on the project Thursday night. Brown said bidding will be delayed a month but that won't affect the projected completion date. "We are hard at work wrapping up DeKalb West," said Brown. "We have a couple of loose ends we're tying up this week. One is your low voltage and technology package where the budget came in way, way not where we wanted it to be so we have been working with Systems Integration to repackage that and get it back down where it needs to be budget wise. We're also wrapping up the kitchen design. We've got a few improvements to make there. We're going to meet one last time on Monday and wrap that up. I am going to slide the schedule. Not your move in schedule. You're still going to have everything done and move in by August 2014 but I need to slide the date that you approve the bids. Instead of approving bids at your April school board meeting, I need you to approve bids at your May school board meeting. That affects when we get started a little bit but not when you move in. On bid day we'll have different packages for the contractors to submit pricing on. One is the storm shelter itself. The next is the traditional construction which would be any miscellaneous renovation, the kitchen and all the work that goes along with that. Number three is the roof which we can evaluate. Number four is what Johnson Controls is doing as apart of the new construction where they are guaranteeing the (energy) savings that you're going to see. We have been working with Johnson and their folks. Their engineers evaluate and recommend but its actually our engineers that do the drawings, stamp them and have them in the plans. We're having to work with them very closely to make sure we have everything just right. So basically we're in the home stretch and we'll have an update next month. By May we'll have numbers you folks can evaluate and act on hopefully and then get mobilized and be ready to go by the time school gets out. We're not going to get done in August. We'll get done over the summer to give us time to do a punch list and give you folks time to move in and then open for business in August 2014. But the construction will be done before then," said Brown

The proposed addition will be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area. A cafeteria and kitchen renovation is also included for the school.


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