Local News Articles

Governor Bredesen Announces Grant for Smithville Municipal Airport

June 27, 2008

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that $75,000 in aeronautics grant funds have been approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport.

“As our communities continue to grow and thrive, it becomes increasingly important that our airports stay competitive and efficient at meeting the needs of the travelers who use them,” said Bredesen. “The Smithville Municipal Airport is vital to this region’s economy and travel system, and I’m pleased to support its continued growth.”

Funds from this aeronautics grant will be used for installation of a fuel farm.

“It’s important to keep our airports up to date in order to remain competitive in the aeronautics industry,” said Representative Frank Buck. “I’m pleased to see the Governor and TDOT pledging these funds for improvements at the Smithville Municipal Airport.”

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.

“This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system,” reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.”

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

TAC Chair Belinda Anderson explained, “Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be put to good use.”

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

Senator Mae Beavers also helped secure these funds for the Smithville Municipal Airport.

One Man Seriously Injured in Thursday Night Crash

June 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

One person, an Hispanic male, was seriously injured in a one vehicle crash Thursday night on Highway 70 near the high school.

The man, Baltasar Hernandez-Cruz of 1780 Old West Point, Smithville, was driving west in a 2001 Ford Explorer SUV when he crossed over all lanes, jumped a curb, went off the highway, and struck a tree in the yard of the Doston Caplinger residence at 1125 West Broad Street.

A passerby discovered the wreck and reported it around 11 p.m.

The man was airlifted from the high school/middle school parking lot and flown to Erlanger Hospital by a Life Force helicopter ambulance.

The accident was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene included DeKalb EMS, the Smithville Police Department, and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and extrication team.

(Click on picture to see a larger image)

DeKalb Jobless Rate Climbs to 5.6% in May

June 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May was 5.6%, up from 4.9% in April and 4% in May, 2007

The local labor force for May was 10,440. A total of 9,860 were employed and 590 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May is at 6.4 percent, 1.0 percentage point higher than the April revised rate of 5.4 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of May was 5.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for May show that 94 counties increased. Trousdale County had the only decrease in unemployment, down 0.1 percentage point from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, up 0.8 from the April rate of 3.4 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 13.1 percent, up 0.8 from the April rate of 12.3 percent, followed by Lauderdale County at 10.8 percent, up from 9.2 percent in April.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 4.6 percent, up 0.8 from the April rate of 3.8 percent. Davidson County was 5.0 percent, up from 4.1 in April. Hamilton County was at 5.0 percent, up 0.7 from the April rate of 4.3 percent, and Shelby County was 6.3 percent, up from the April rate of 5.5.

Leadership DeKalb's Class of 2008 Conducts Graduation

June 26, 2008

Leadership DeKalb's Class of 2008 Conducts Graduation

Leadership DeKalb celebrated the completion of its tenth class with a dinner and graduation ceremony on June 17th. The event was held at Barbara’s Cedar House Restaurant.

Members of the Class of 2008 are: Larry Briggs; Unipres USA; Michelle Burklow DeKalb Co. Board of Education; Brian Craven, SHIROKI North America/Sunbelt Realty; Chase Ferrell, DCHS student/Rotary Scholar; Michelle Fowler, Stones River/DeKalb Community Hospital; Lisa Garrison, Liberty State Bank; Tim Hintz, owner, Fresh Chairs/Off Beaten Path Studio Tour; Shawn Jacobs, WMOT-FM/MTSU; June Keith, DeKalb Community Bank; Terry McPeak, DTC/MTEMC; Kate Miller, Family Medical Center Pharmacy; Jane Ramsey, Smithville Elementary School; Tara Jane Atnip-Summers, Atnip Chiropractic Clinic; Tyler Woods, DCHS student.

The graduation opened with a welcome from Kerry Davis, President Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. An invocation was led by class member Tyler Woods. Key-note speaker Tecia Puckett Pryor, local attorney and Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association Community Leader of 2007, entertained and inspired with the amazing story of bringing Habitat for Humanity to DeKalb County. All fourteen members of the Class of 2008 participated in the graduation. They began their presentation with a song from class member Chase Ferrell, followed by a Year-In-Review in a “time capsule” format. Members of the class spoke on each of the nine sessions from the year and placed a memento of that session in a box for the Class of 2028. The overview also included an inventive and fun PowerPoint presentation, assembled by Brian Craven, honoring the class members and highlighting favorite speakers and activities throughout the year. Alumnae and chamber board member, Sandy Brown, brought many laughs to the group with some comments celebrating 10 years of Leadership DeKalb. Plaques of completion were awarded to each graduate by Jen Sherwood, Leadership DeKalb program director, and Suzanne Williams, chamber of commerce executive director.

The Leadership DeKalb program consisted of nine sessions over nine months. It covered local and state current issues in government affairs and economic development, challenges in education and health care, and an exploration of resources and opportunities for DeKalb County and its citizens. Discussions with current local leaders and leadership skill-building topics such as team-building, leadership styles, group dynamics, problem solving, and community service were also fundamental training elements for the class. Leadership DeKalb will begin a new class in September of 2008.

For more information on becoming a member of the upcoming class, please contact Jen Sherwood at 597-4851 or the chamber of commerce at 597-4163.

County Commission Honors Jimmy Walls

June 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission is honoring a long time local civic leader for his service to the community.

County Mayor Mike Foster recognized Jimmy Walls during Monday night's county commission meeting.

A plaque will be presented to Walls on stage of the Fiddler's Jamboree next week.

Reading from a resolution, Foster said " Whereas, from time to time, it is appropriate for DeKalb County to recognize people who unselfishly serve our County. It is therefore fitting that the DeKalb County Commission and County Mayor honor Jimmy Walls for the service he has given his Country, his County, and his State."

"Whereas, Jimmy Walls has served Mount Herman Baptist Church and the Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts of America.. He has served for 15 years in the National Guard and the United States Post Office. He has also served on various Commissions and Boards and any job asked of him by the City of Smithville and DeKalb County."

"It is therefore, with a great sense of pride, that we declare July 5th, 2008 as Jimmy Walls day, in honor of all the many contributions he has made to our community."

"Jimmy Walls is a member of the Mount Herman Baptist Church and serves as Sunday School Director, Vacation Bible School Director, and is Chairman of Deacons."

"Jimmy worked with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and served as Cub Master for several years."

"He joined the Tennessee National Guard in February, 1953 and served for 15 years. He was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant in February, 1968. His job in the company was Supply Sergeant."

"Jimmy began his career with the U.S. Postal Service in Smithville in March, 1954. He started as City Carrier and in September, 1971 he was appointed Rural Letter Carrier in Smithville. In December, 1995 Jimmy retired from the U.S. Postal Service with a total of forty one years and nine months service. During these years as a rural carrier, he assisted many people in need on the mail route. On one occasion during a bitterly cold day in December, he came to the rescue of an elderly woman who lived off the main road, but part of the rural route. She had been lying in the yard for about two hours and was unable to get up. She was barefoot and in short sleeves. She said 'I knew my only chance was when the mail carrier came along, because no one else was going to be here until 4:30 p.m.' He pulled his coat off and put it over her, then called for assistance in getting the lady back into her house. There were many other occasions when he was asked to assist people in need."

"In the sixties and early seventies, Jimmy was active in the Smithville Jaycees, and held every office on the local level. In 1964, he received the Distinguished Service Award. He worked on many local projects that were a benefit to the City and County. In 1970, he was given a JCI Senatorship award. He was awarded a life membership in the Tennessee Jaycees, and was also a Colonel and Commander of the Tennesee Jaycee Volunteer Corp."

"In December 1982, he was apointed by the Mayor and City Council to the Smithville Planning Commission. On April 4th, 1983, he was elected Secretary and served as Secretary until August 6th, 1992. At this time, he was elected Chairman of the Smithville Planning Commission. He served as Chairman for a total of 14 years. He resigned December 21st, 2007, serving a total of 25 years on the Smithville Planning Commission.'

"In July, 1987, he was appointed to the City of Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals. He served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman. He resigned December 2007, serving a total of 20 years.'

"In January, 2004 Jimmy was appointed as a member of the DeKalb County Joint Economic and Community Development Board, and resigned December, 2007."

UCHRA Awarded Major Transportation Grant

June 25, 2008

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $412,840.00 grant to Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency for the purchase of eight ADA vans and specialized GPS equipment according to a release from the office of U.S. Reps. Bart Gordon and Lincoln Davis.

“The vans and GPS systems will fill a great need in rural areas for the elderly, disadvantaged and persons with disabilities,” said Gordon. “Transportation for healthcare needs and basic necessities is sorely needed to help these individuals maintain a higher quality of life and self sufficiency. I appreciate UCHRA for providing these services.”

The eight ADA vans will become part of the Upper Cumberland Area Rural Transit System fleet. UCARTS provides public transportation to rural residents of all ages, giving first priority to elderly, handicapped and economically disadvantaged with medical needs.

UCHRA’s mission is to promote a strong sense of community and family values by administering programs to provide tools, knowledge and resources to improve quality of life, promote a positive sense of individual self-worth, encourage responsible decision making and provide opportunities for individuals to become productive and independent while giving first priority to the elderly, handicapped and severely economically disadvantaged.

“Our core mission is to assist those who need it most and without these types of grants we would have a very hard time fulfilling our mission and meeting our goals,” said Phyllis R. Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director. “I appreciate the support of Congressmen Davis and Gordon. They continue to be accessible and helpful advocates for us in Washington.”

UCHRA serves fourteen Tennessee counties: Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White.

Senator Beavers Announces Grant Awards to DeKalb County Organizations

June 25, 2008

State Senator Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet), representing the 17th Senatorial District, has released the list of grant award recipients in DeKalb County from the Tennessee Arts Commission for Fiscal Year 2009 (July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009).

These include:
TTU/Appalachian Center for Craft - $4,470.00
Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of TN - $5,200.00

In announcing the awards, Senator Beavers said, “The Tennessee Arts Commission’s matching grants are made possible through an appropriation of state funds by the General Assembly, federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Tennesseans who purchase specialty and collegiate license plates.”

The incoming chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Donna Chase, commented, “This state is indeed fortunate to have elected leaders who support the work of the Tennessee Arts Commission in building better communities through the arts.”

According to Chase, the Commission will award over 850 grants during Fiscal Year 2009, totaling more than $7.2 million dollars. These funds have a direct impact on communities across Tennessee, in both urban and rural areas. Grant categories include: Arts Build Communities, Art Access, Arts Education, Arts Project Support, General Operating Support, Individual Artist Fellowships, Major Cultural Institution, Rural Arts Project Support, Student Ticket Subsidy, Technical Assistance, Touring, Special Opportunities, and Professional Development Support.

The Commission’s allocation process involves a review by citizen advisory panels made up of Tennesseans with expertise in appropriate arts disciplines and a review and final approval by the full 15-member Tennessee Arts Commission.

The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences that add value to the lives of every citizen, and enhances the quality of life in Tennessee communities.

Additional information on grant programs offered by the Tennessee Arts Commission is available on their website: www.arts.state.tn.us.

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Offers Fireworks Safety Tips for Fourth of July Holiday

June 25, 2008

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie Newman Offers Fireworks Safety Tips for Fourth of July Holiday

State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman wants to remind Tennesseans that while fireworks are a traditional part of Fourth of July celebrations, many people are seriously injured each year by their careless use.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages you to leave fireworks to the professionals. If they are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
• Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.

Like matches and lighters, sparklers are not toys and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Sparklers burn hot, can reach temperatures as high as 1200 F, and stay hot long after they’ve burned out. You wouldn’t hand a matchbook or lighter to a child to wave around or play with, so don’t give a child a sparkler.

Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. A new law effective in 2007 prevents children under the age of 16 from purchasing fireworks and those that are age 16 or 17 must have a photo ID to purchase them.

“Please enjoy the holiday at a public display presented by trained professionals, where compliance with state-of-the-art fire codes offers a safer way to celebrate our nation’s independence, and avoid consumer fireworks to keep festivities from turning into tragedies,” Newman said.

For more information on firework safety, visit www.tennessee.gov/sfm.

Three Arrested by Sheriff's Department in Pea Ridge Burglary & Theft

June 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made three arrests in a burglary Saturday in the Pea Ridge Community.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 39 year old Wendy Whittemore of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty, 23 year old John Cummings and his wife 32 year old Toni Cummings of Dry Creek Road, Dowelltown were charged in the case.

According to Sheriff Ray, the three went to a residence on Pea Ridge and entered without the owner's consent. While inside the residence, they loaded an antique cook stove, a wood burning stove, and lots of other metal items. No one was living there at the time. The house was being used for storage. The owner, who noticed lights shining around the residence, was able to get a description of the vehicle and reported it to authorities. Deputies met the automobile on Pea Ridge Road. The driver tried to elude the deputies by turning into a field and unloading the stolen goods. Officers took two of the three suspects into custody but Whittemore took off running. She was caught a short time later.

Both John and Toni Cummings are charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000 and bond for them was set at $40,000 each. Whittemore was charged with burglary, theft of property over $1,000.00, and evading arrest. Her bond was set at $45,000. All three will appear in court on July 17th.

Burglaries and Thefts on the Rise in DeKalb County

June 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

Burglaries and thefts are on the rise in DeKalb County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says from April 1st through June 23, 2008, the Sheriff's Department has taken over 100 reports, up from 80 reports during the same time period last year.. Sheriff Ray says most of the stolen items fit into two types of thefts.

(1) Thieves are targeting construction sites around the lake, including the newly developing sub-divisions off of the Coconut Ridge Road. Sheriff Ray says "We have also had reports from the Floating Mill, Four Seasons, River Watch, and the Austin Bottom Area of stolen hand tools, power tools, and copper wire. Sheriff Ray says "Thieves will wait until after dark or on the week-end and enter the contractors fully enclosed trailers by cutting off the pad locks on the doors or they will find an unfinished house and gain entrance by forcible entry to see if contractors have left any tools there."

(2) Thieves are also riding the roads in the county looking for scrap metal including everything from old scrap metal to junk cars. There has also been a rise in thefts of drive-able and newer model vehicles and lawn mowers.

Sheriff Ray says "One case we are investigating is where someone stole a newer model truck that had a trailer and lawnmower attached to it, took the truck less than a 5 mile radius from the residence, unhooked the trailer, burned the truck, and took the trailer and lawn mower with them."

"One day alone I assigned 14 theft cases to my two detectives. Because of the increase in thefts, I have also assigned patrol deputies to work on some of the reports."

Detectives ask you to be on alert to possible thieves in your area. Without putting yourself in danger, if you see a suspicious vehicle in your area, get the make, model, color, and if at all possible, a tag number, then call 215-3000 and a deputy will check on the vehicle.

If you are approached by anyone wanting to sell tools or any other items for a price well below that of what the item is worth, you are urged to contact the Sheriff's Department.

Detectives also ask you to write down your serial numbers on any appliances such as TV's stereos, etc. You also need to write down the serial numbers of any of your hand tools or power tools. This will help to identify your tools if they get stolen. Detectives say at least 90% of all reports they are assigned to do not have any serial numbers or any distinguishing marks on the reported items. Serial numbers or self applied numbers on any items stolen can aid in their recovery if stolen. The numbers can be entered into a data base and tracked down if the items are pawned.

To report a theft or any crime, call the Sheriff's Department 597-4935 or the Crime Tip Line at 464-6400. All calls are kept confidential

Sheriff Ray also reports several arrests within the last week.

32 year old Stephanie Jill Kennedy of Cookeville Highway, Smithville was charged Sunday, June 15th with public intoxication and resisting arrest after deputies responded to a complaint on Cookeville Highway. When officers arrived on the scene, they noticed Kennedy lying in the roadway. When deputies went to her, she tried to get away by running from them. When the officers caught her, she begin fighting. Kennedy's bond was set at $2,000 and she will appear in court on June 26th.

40 year old Christine Pearl Petty of Phillips Road, Lebanon was charged Monday, June 16th with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. Deputies responded to a call on Highway 96 in Liberty about a drunk driver that had hit a guardrail. Officers spotted the vehicle on Highway 70 West and stopped it. They also detected a strong odor of alcohol on her person and saw that she was unsteady on her feet. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. Petty was also arrested for driving on a revoked driver's license. Petty's license was revoked for a DUI in Wilson County but she was granted a restricted driver's license from home to work and back. She lives in Lebanon and works in Gordonsville. She was placed under a $4,500 bond and her court date is June 26th.

30 year old Phillip Edward Miranda of Dale Ridge Road, Liberty was arrested Tuesday after officers responded to a call about an unwanted guest on Parkway Drive. Upon arrival, deputies found Miranda in an intoxicated state. He was given field sobriety tasks which he failed. He admitted to driving to the residence.

On Wednesday, 36 year old Tammy Denise Currie of Circle Drive, Dowelltown was arrested at a residence on East Main Street in Dowelltown. Currie was wanted on a warrant for non payment of child support. When deputies arrested Currie, they noticed a small amount of marijuana, rolling papers, and scales lying on a coffee table. Officers also found in the home hemostats, a crusher, gravity scales, digital scales, and a bag containing over ½ oz. of marijuana. Also found were 54 pills in an unnamed pill bottle believed to be methocarbamol. Currie was placed under arrest for failure to pay child support, possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) for sale and delivery, possession of a schedule VI drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a legend drug (methocarbamol). Currie's bond is $7,500 and her court date is July 24th.

Currie was arrested again on Saturday on Circle Drive in Dowelltown. Deputies responded to a fight call on Circle Drive and found Currie in an intoxicated state. Deputies witnessed Currie move her vehicle while trying to investigate the fight. Currie submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. She admitted to taking Loritab and Adavan. Currie was arrested for a third offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked driver's license. Her bond was set at $4,000 and will appear in court July 3rd.

Also on Saturday, 46 year old James Hargrave of Old Bildad Road, Smithville was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving on a suspended driver's license. Hargrave was traveling on Old Bildad Road in Keltonburg when he ran off the road and stuck a mailbox and then fled the scene. The owner of the mailbox ran to his vehicle and followed Hargrave back to his residence. Hargrove was also found to have a suspended driver's license. His license was suspended for an accident with property damage and failure to satisfy a citation. Hargrave's bond was set at $3,500 and his court date is July 2nd.

28 year old Amanda Gale Hasty of Hutchinson Road, Murfreesboro was arrested Saturday after she was stopped for a traffic violation for a third offense of driving on a suspended driver's license. Hasty's driver's license was suspended in Rutherford County for failure to pay citations. Her bond was set at $3000 and her court date is July 2nd.


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