Local News Articles

Smithville Police Make Two Arrests in Meth Case

June 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
Matthew A. Murphy
Holly Cikalo
Amanda Brooke Washer

Smithville Police have charged two people in a meth lab investigation.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Monday that 20 year old Matthew A. Murphy is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and 20 year old Holly Cikalo faces a promotion of methamphetamine charge. They will be in court on July 19. Bond for Murphy is $25,000 and $15,000 for Cikalo

According to Chief Caplinger, police were called to a residence on Woodlawn Street last Thursday, June 14 where Murphy had reportedly hidden components used to make methamphetamine in the back yard. Officers searched the premises and found muratic acid, drain cleaner, lighter fluid, ice compress, lithium batteries, and claritin D. Upon questioning Murphy admitted to the officers that these items belonged to him and that he intended to use them to make methamphetamine.

Cikalo, who was also at the residence with a young child, allegedly admitted to buying the lighter fluid and cold packs knowing that Murphy was planning to make meth with these items. The Department of Children Services was notified and the child was removed from the home.

24 year old Amanda Brooke Washer is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and aggravated burglary. Her bond is $10,000 and she will be in court on July 19. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, June 9, 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.

35 year old Dana Taylor is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court on June 28. Chief Caplinger said she was stopped for a possible traffic violation and gave police consent to search her vehicle. Taylor told the officer that she had used hypodermic needles in her pocket book. The needles were recovered along with a cut straw. Taylor allegedly admitted to injecting Dilaudid earlier in the day.

18 year old Garrett M. Johnson is cited for following too closely, violation of the open container law, a window tint violation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and simple possession. He will be in court on July 19. Chief Caplinger said police observed Johnson traveling on North Congress Boulevard following very closely to a vehicle in front of him. He was stopped. The officer noticed that the window tint was very dark. Inside the vehicle were Johnson, the driver, and three minors. A beer can had spilled on the floor and there were 12 unopened beer cans in the vehicle along with a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

18 year old Cheyenne Daniels is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on June 21. Chief Caplinger said that an officer responded to a residence on South College Street in reference to an assault. Upon arrival, he spoke with Daniels, who said she had come to her aunt's house to confront her. They began arguing. Daniels allegedly pushed her aunt when she got up out of a chair and as the aunt raised her arm, Daniels said she lost her cool and physically assaulted the woman, punching her. Officers determined Daniels was the primary aggressor and placed her under arrest.

40 year old Richard Turner is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on June 21. Chief Caplinger said an officer responded to a residence on Andrew Street to a possible break-in. Upon arrival, he found a man on the porch. Upon speaking with him, the man was found to be Turner. Officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Turner said he had relatives who lived there and he was bringing them food and beer. Turner was very unsteady on his feet. No one was home at the residence. He said he had consumed 40 ounces of beer. Officers found on the porch in a brown paper bag, an empty 40 ounce beer and three- 40 ounce full beers. Due to his safety, he was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

36 year old Lynda Neville is charged with public intoxication and she was issued a citation for possession of a schedule III controlled substance. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on June 21. According to Chief Caplinger, police responded to Foutch Industries on Sparta Highway to a report of an intoxicated female. Upon arrival, an officer spoke with Neville and noticed that her speech was very slurred and she was very unsteady on her feet. When asked if she had consumed any intoxicating beverages, Neville replied no saying she had taken nothing. Neville was asked to remove everything from her pockets and from her front right pocket was a cellophane wrapper containing three pills believed to be hydrocodone. For her safety and due to her being under the influence at work, she was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

32 year old Rebecca Andrews is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence. Her court date is June 21 and she is under a $3,000 bond. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, June 10 an officer was dispatched to a possible drunk driver traveling north on South Congress Boulevard. The vehicle turned west on Broad Street, then onto Juniper Lane, Bell Street, and Atnip Street. The officer subsequently stopped the vehicle and found that the driver was Andrews. He noticed that her speech was slurred, that she had red watery eyes, and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. She submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Andrews also submitted to a blood alcohol test. She has three prior DUI convictions on her record.

21 year old Eduardo Petriz is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence and evading arrest. His bond totals $4,000 and he will be in court on June 28. Chief Caplinger said that Petriz was traveling west on East Broad Street, weaving on the roadway. The officer got behind the vehicle, activating his blue lights and siren. The vehicle stopped at a traffic light, which was green, and then proceeded through the light, turning onto Short Mountain Highway. At one point, Petriz attempted to pass another patrol car in front of him. Petriz traveled about three blocks and then pulled into a driveway. He was placed under arrest. Meanwhile, a passenger of the vehicle, 22 year old Jose Lopez is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on June 28. Chief Caplinger said Lopez had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. He also had trouble speaking. He was placed under arrest due to his intoxication level and for his own safety.

27 year old Amanda Maxwell is cited for shoplifting. She will be in court on June 21. According to Chief Caplinger, an employee of Walmart stated that he observed Maxwell concealing items in her purse. She left the store without paying for those items. She was asked to stop, but refused. Police pulled up to her SUV and Maxwell appeared to be hiding the items inside the vehicle. The owner of the SUV gave police consent to search and the officer found the stolen goods behind the backseat.

Knowles Arrested for Evading and Carrying a Prohibited Weapon

June 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
Morris Edward Knowles
Jose Juan Velazquez

42 year old Morris Edward Knowles of Kings Court Lane, Smithville is charged with evading arrest and carrying a prohibited weapon. He was also issued a citation for driving on a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $6,500 and he will be in court June 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Tuesday, June 12 a deputy spotted Knowles driving a red SUV on Highway 70 west. The officer, who had prior knowledge that Knowles had no drivers license, turned on his blue lights but Knowles refused to pull over. The deputy initiated a pursuit for about four miles before Knowles finally stopped. A computer check confirmed Knowles' license was suspended on May 14. Knowles also had a syringe in a small box on the front seat of the vehicle. When Knowles got out of his vehicle, he had a knife with a five inch blade on his side. Knowles told the officer that he carried the knife for his protection.

24 year old Amanda Brooke Washer of Ike Adcock Road is cited for violation of the seatbelt law, simple possession of marijuana, and simple possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court June 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, June 13, a sheriff's department drug detective spotted Washer traveling north through the intersection at Highway 56 & 70. She crossed over into the detective's lane of travel, almost hitting his patrol car, and then turned in front of another vehicle. After she was pulled over, Washer gave consent for a search of her person, and a needle was found inside her bra along with a baggie of marijuana and two non-narcotic pills.

32 year old Jose Juan Velazquez of Bright Hill Road is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on June 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 15, Velazquez allegedly assaulted his wife by hitting her with his fists about the head and body, causing her to have to be transported by ambulance to the hospital for emergency treatment. Valazquez had already fled with scene with his three year old child by the time officers arrived to investigate. The child was found safely with another family member the next morning. Valazquez was also located and arrested on Saturday.

Another Afternoon of Early Voting Added For August Elections

June 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Voters will find it even more convenient to vote early for the upcoming August DeKalb County General and State Primary elections.

The DeKalb County Election Commission voted recently to modify the early voting hours to give voters another afternoon voting period.

The early voting hours for the August election will be as follows:

Mondays from NOON until 5:00 p.m.; Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until NOON.

"Usually, the afternoon numbers are among the largest of the early voting period," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "And based on that history, the commission wanted to give another afternoon voting period to make it easier for those who like voting early or cannot make it to the polls on election day.".

Early voting for the August election begins July 13 and will run through July 28

Local voters will be electing a new Assessor of Property in August. The candidates are Scott Cantrell and Mason Carter. Two school board seats will be filled along with five constable seats.

In the state primary, local voters will help select the party nominees for State Representative in the 40th district, the 46th district, Congressman in the 6th District and one U.S. Senator.

Governor Signs Bill to Curb Metal Theft

June 17, 2012
Governor Bil Haslam

Governor Bill Haslam recently signed into law legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) which aims to reduce the growing problem of metal theft in Tennessee. The legislation, which passed in the final days of the 2012 session, puts stiffer penalties into place on both the selling and the purchasing ends of transactions involving stolen metals. It also gives the Department of Commerce and Insurance more enforcement authority over its scrap dealer registration program.

"Soaring prices for copper, aluminum and other metals make items containing them an attractive target," said Tracy. "Stolen metals can have great value when sold to a scrap metal dealer who arranges for the metal to be melted and reshaped for other uses. With the rising incidence of metal theft in Tennessee, this new law provides an extra measure of security for families and businesses that have been victims of metal theft."

Tracy said metal thieves have hit homes, businesses, churches, construction sites, and public property in Tennessee, like utilities. Criminal recycling has received much publicity in recent years worldwide as thefts rise and thieves grow bolder. Metal theft in the U.S. has become so lucrative that often thieves even risk their lives to strip copper wire and pipes from homes, utilities and electrical facilities.

"The scrap recycling industry in Tennessee is working to be a part of the solution to material theft," added Senator Tracy. "This partnership is very important to really attack the problem. In the last two years, 18 state legislatures have passed bills to crack down on metal theft and any unscrupulous dealers that might aid them."

The new Tennessee law prohibits a person from selling scrap metal that he or she knows to be stolen. It prescribes that the knowing sale of stolen scrap metal shall be punished as theft and graded according to the value of the metal. The legislation creates a Class E "fine only" felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, for selling or attempting to sell metal to a scrap metal dealer if the aggregate value of the metal in its original condition and the costs incurred in repairing and recovering any property damaged in the theft exceeds $500.

Similarly, the law makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a dealer to knowingly or intentionally violate the law, unless the metal is in its original and undamaged condition. If the value of the metal, in addition to any costs for repairs exceeds $500, it is a Class E "fine only" felony.

In addition, the new law makes it a misdemeanor offense for someone to engage in the business of buying scrap metal without being registered unless the metal is in its original and undamaged condition. Unregistered dealers convicted of violating this provision face a Class A misdemeanor under the statute.

Finally, the bill authorizes the Department of Commerce to investigate a verified, written complaint against any scrap metal dealer alleged to have committed a violation when evidence is presented. The Department must provide notice regarding any hearings and sanctions involving scrap metal dealers.

The law becomes effective on July 1.

Smithville Man Charged with Indecent Exposure in Cookeville

June 17, 2012
Kenneth R. Johnson Jr. (From Herald-Citizen)

A Smithville man was arrested on Friday, June 8 in connection with a case of indecent exposure which occurred in the Cookeville Walmart store parking lot on Monday, June 4.

The Herald-Citizen reports that 25 year old Kenneth R. Johnson Jr. of Kendra Drive is charged with indecent exposure, according to a warrant taken by Cookeville Police Detective Sgt. Bobby Anderson.

That warrant says that on June 4 in the Cookeville Walmart parking lot Johnson "did indecently expose himself by exposing his genitals to a female while he was sitting in his vehicle."

It was a Livingston woman who reported the incident to police on that day. She said that she and her elderly mother had exited the store and were walking to their car when a white colored pickup truck approached them.

She thought the driver was about to ask directions, but when she turned toward him, he smiled and exposed his private parts to her, says a report by Officer James Lee III.

"She was deeply disturbed and she looked for Walmart personnel to notify," the report says.

After the incident, the driver drove away and left the parking lot.

Detective Anderson began an investigation and soon was able to identify Johnson as a suspect.

Last Friday, June 8, Johnson was arrested and booked into the Putnam jail, where his bond was set at $1,000. He posted bond and was released. He has a July 9 court date.

14th Annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run Set For July 7th

June 15, 2012
Dwayne Page
Overall 2011 Fiddler 5K Winner Scott Fanning

The 14th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County will be Saturday, July 7, the weekend of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree. All proceeds from the race will be used in building another Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.

For a registration form and more information, please visit www.fiddler5k.com or call Tecia Puckett Pryor at 597-7370. Online registration is also available at www.active.com. New this year: The course will start and end on Church Street, and race results will be chip timed. The race begins promptly at 7:00 a.m. rain or shine.

41 year old Scott Fanning of Lebanon was the overall winner of the Fiddler 5K last year. Fanning completed the course in 17:29.

Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run (7-2-11) from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, 16 year old Morgan Voyles of Sparta was the overall winner in the women's race. She completed the course in 21:41

In the male master's category, 53 year old Jimmy Dawson of Cookeville was the overall winner. His time was 19:52.

In the female masters, 43 year old Lora Simpson of Sparta was the overall winner. Her time was 25:19

The overall winner of the One Mile Fun Run was nine year old Caden Close of Smithville. His time was 7:13

Twelve year old Tyra Graham of Smithville completed the One Mile Fun Run course in 8:20, the best among females.

Race director Tecia Pryor said "we had a record turnout for the 13th annual 5K - we had 322 entries for 5K and 78 for the fun run for 400 total participants. This was a record and exceeded our previous record from 2009 of 387 total participants".

The 2012 Registration for the 5K or Fun Run is as follows:

Adults rates (over 18)
Adults Pre-Race: $20
Adults Day of Race: $25

Youth rates (18 and younger)
Youth Pre-Race: $15
Youth Day of Race: $20

Pre-registration options:
Pre-register online at www.active.com until July 4 midnight

Pre-register by mail by printing a form at www.fiddler5k.com and sending the form along with your payment to: P.O. Box 750, Smithville, Tennessee 37166. Pre-registration forms must be received in the mail by July 2. Shirts are only guaranteed for those pre-registered. For more information call 615-597-7370

Race Day Check-In Times:
Pre-registered: 6:15 a.m.
Race Day Registration: 6:00 a.m.
Please bring a completed registration form with you

5K awards:
Overall and Master (40 plus) male and female finishers
Top three male and female finishers in the following age divisions:
9 and younger
75 plus

Fun Run Awards:
Overall male and female finishers age 12 and younger
Top three male and female finishers age 12 and younger

Race Perks and other information:
Pre-registered participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt. All participants will receive free refreshments and be eligible for door prize giveaways before the awards ceremony

The Course is certified and R.A.C.E. Nashville will be managing timing. Strollers are welcome and at the start line, should line up at the rear. No pets allowed. 5K course is open for 60 minutes.

All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

Brentwood Army Veteran Acquires Omega Apparel Incorporated

June 15, 2012
Omega Apparel, Inc.

Omega Apparel Incorporated, based in Smithville, was recently acquired by Brentwood, TN resident Dean Wegner. Dean is a 1993 graduate of West Point and a 7-year Army helicopter pilot and Army Ranger veteran. He was most recently a Business Development Executive for Mars Inc. and formerly with Procter & Gamble.

In a prepared news release, Omega Apparel reports that Dean acquired the business from former owners Richard Chase and Brian Roberge. Richard and Brian are 45+ year veterans in the apparel industry. They owned Omega Apparel for 18-years and built a best-in-class reputation for Quality and Customer Service that provides a tremendous platform for future growth.

Dean brings a pro-growth mindset to Omega Apparel with the goal of acquiring additional business to enable job creation in Smithville and Middle Tennessee. Richard and Brian will remain on Omega’s Advisory Board of Directors for 3-years to provide strategic guidance and maintain the company bedrock of Quality and Customer Service.
All current employees of Omega Apparel will remain in place and there will be no changes in key staff and leadership. Dean is committed to job creation and investing in the Smithville community. Russ Brue, a former Finance Manager with Mars Petcare will join as the new CFO.

Omega Apparel Incorporated is a leading producer of uniforms for the Department of Defense. The company specializes in making dress pants and skirts for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The production facility is based in Smithville, TN and employs a workforce of 200+.

Community Pays Tribute to the Late PFC Billy Gene Anderson

June 14, 2012
Dwayne Page
Community Pays Tribute to the Late PFC Billy Gene Anderson
Veterans Honor Guard of Upper Cumberland Fires Salute
Brandon Adcock Plays Taps
Dedication of the "PFC Billy Gene Anderson Memorial Bridge

Family and friends of the late PFC Billy Gene Anderson gathered with local and state public officials, veterans, and many others Thursday morning at the site of the bridge that will now forever bear his name at Dry Creek over U.S. 70 in Dowelltown. PFC Anderson died just over two years ago while serving his country in Afghanistan

The formal dedication of the "PFC Billy Gene Anderson Memorial Bridge" featured a prayer by local minister Bobby Thomason, the posting of colors and a gun salute by the Veterans Honor Guard of the Upper Cumberland, remarks by County Mayor Mike Foster, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and Don Smith, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by Representative Weaver, and the leading of the gathering in the pledge of allegiance.

With the unveiling of the road sign by the bridge, Anderson's widow, Caitlin and mother, Marlene were presented replicas as well as copies of the act, adopted by both the State House and Senate and signed by the Governor, naming the bridge in his honor.

"It means the world to me", said Caitlin Anderson. "There's no better way to honor him right now. That way my daughter can see this for years to come and appreciate it more as she gets older. My grandchildren and my family can just love this every time they drive by," she said. Anderson's daughter Lilly Grace turns three years old in August.

"I am so proud of Billy," said Marlene Goodwin, mother of the fallen hero. "It means the world to me for him to be recognized," she said.

State Senator Mae Beavers said the program was a fitting occasion for a brave soldier. "It's a special day. We should always honor those who gave their lives to defend our freedom. I also want to thank the family for the sacrifice they made. Their loved one volunteered to go out and defend our country, defend freedom all over the world and we appreciate it very much. This is just a small token of what the community and state can do to honor those fallen soldiers," she said.

"Its really a sad thing in a way but then its really good too that we honor people who have done so much for our country and realize the sacrifices their families have made," said County Mayor Mike Foster.

"The real important part about doing this is that it leaves a lasting memorial so that not only every time the family drives up and down this road and crosses this bridge, they will see this sign, they will be paying tribute to Billy," said Commissioner Smith. " Even strangers, as they come by will see it. They will recognize the significance. It's a continuous reminder to our citizens everywhere, the sacrifices that our soldiers make on their behalf," he said.

" This is about honoring a young man who gave his ultimate sacrifice and for him, his love for his family and nation," said Representative Weaver. " It truly was a tribute and really spoke loudly of all the people who attended this event. There were so many people who turned out for this and that speaks for itself. The patriotism and the heart of the American citizen is still very grateful for these men and women who give their lives for us. I commend the community and our veterans who were here who have fought in years past, for honoring this young man, Billy Gene Anderson," she said.

The following is the text of the Act, adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly, and signed by the Governor:

AN ACT to name a segment of U.S. Highway 70 in DeKalb County in honor of the late Private First Class Billy Gene Anderson, United States Army.

WHEREAS, from time to time, the members of this General Assembly have seen fit to name
certain highways and bridges to honor the memory of those courageous members of the United
States Armed Forces who gave their lives while serving our nation; and

WHEREAS, no person is more deserving of this honor than the late Private First Class (PFC)
Billy Gene Anderson, United States Army, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on May 17, 2010, while serving in Afghanistan; and

WHEREAS, a young man who counted God, country, and family as the most important
things in his life, PFC Anderson was a talented musician who taught himself to play guitar and piano at the age of fifteen; and

WHEREAS, a devout Christian, Billy Gene Anderson was a wonderful father, husband,
brother, son, and friend to many; and

WHEREAS, PFC Anderson followed the patriotic tradition for which DeKalb County and the
Volunteer State are renowned by reporting for basic training in the United States Army soon after
graduating from DeKalb County High School in 2009; and

WHEREAS, on August 24, 2009, while he was participating in basic training, PFC
Anderson's wife, Catlin Potter Anderson, gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Lilly Grace Anderson; and

WHEREAS, after graduating with honors from basic training at Fort Leonard Wood on
October 16, 2009, PFC Anderson left that same day for Fort Benning, where he completed
paratrooper training; and

WHEREAS, he then was transferred to Fort Bragg to join the 82nd Airborne and was
deployed to Afghanistan on January 13, 2010, serving with distinction as a member of Alpha
Company, 508th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division; and

WHEREAS, PFC Anderson's personal service awards include the Bronze Star, the Good
Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Purple Heart; and

WHEREAS, PFC Billy Gene Anderson served with great courage and gallantry, giving his life
for his country and for the cause in which he believed, and for that ultimate sacrifice, he deserves
proper recognition; as a member of the United States Army, he proudly continued an essential
tradition of American society: the concept of the citizen-soldier; and

WHEREAS, PFC Anderson's dedication to excellence in the military and his love of his
family, his fellow soldiers, country and county, exemplified in his sacrifice of life itself in defense of all that he held dear, stand as enduring examples of all the characteristics that have ensured the
continued freedom of our nation and the preservation of its ideals over the course of our history; and

WHEREAS, PFC Billy Gene Anderson selflessly gave his life while serving his country, and it
is thus most appropriate that a bridge on U.S. Highway 70 in his home county should be named to
honor his memory; now, therefore,

SB 2678

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the bridge spanning Dry
Creek on U.S. Highway 70 in DeKalb County is hereby designated the "PFC Billy Gene Anderson
Memorial Bridge" in recognition of the life of valor and death in combat of Private First Class Billy Gene Anderson, United States Army, one of Tennessee's most heroic citizens.

SECTION 2. The Department of Transportation is directed to erect suitable signs or to affix
suitable markers designating the bridge described in Section 1 as the "PFC Billy Gene Anderson
Memorial Bridge". The cost of such signage shall be funded in accordance with Tennessee Code
Annotated,§ 54-1-133.

SECTION 3. The erection of such signs shall be within the guidelines prescribed by the
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

SECTION 4. This act shall become operative only if the federal highway administrator
advises the Commissioner of Transportation in writing that the provisions of this act shall not render Tennessee in violation of federal laws and regulations and subject to penalties prescribed therein.

SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Bomb Threat Turns Up Nothing

June 14, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger Confers with City and County Officers
Judge Bratten Cook, II and Dennis Stanley (Back to Camera) among those evacuated
Dog brought in from TN Bomb and Arson to search courthouse and complex
Fire Chief Charlie Parker and Police CPL Travis Bryant Enter County Complex

A bomb threat at the courthouse Thursday morning apparently turned out to be just that, a threat.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said a woman called the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk's Office between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to report that her husband was planning to come to the courthouse to set off a homemade explosive device. It was initially rumored that the caller said something about the man being upset concerning his taxes, which may have sparked the threat. But Chief Caplinger said the clerk told police that the caller never mentioned taxes. "After I questioned the person at the courthouse who took the call, taxes were never mentioned. She (clerk) gave the phone to a court officer and the lady hung up. We don't know if it (the threat) was court related or tax related. It could be anything right now," said Chief Caplinger..

Since it was uncertain if the caller was directing the threat to someone in the courthouse downtown or the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard, Chief Caplinger said both buildings were evacuated as a precaution. General Sessions Court, which was underway at the time, was dismissed. Court resumed later in the afternoon.

Roads around the public square were blocked to keep traffic away from the courthouse and, according to Chief Caplinger, "students attending summer school at Smithville Elementary were moved to the far end of the building so that if something did happen they would be out of harm's way," he said.

Chief Caplinger praised all agencies involved for their quick response including the Smithville Police Department, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, FBI, District Attorney General's Office, Tennessee Bomb and Arson, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, and City Fire Chief and local Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker. " A bomb dog was brought in and swept both buildings to check for any type of explosive device. Nothing suspicious was found. The dog did not alert on anything. The courthouse was released to open back up at around 12:45 p.m. The county (complex) building was released to open back up later," said Chief Caplinger.

No arrests have been made in the case, but Chief Caplinger said police are following up on some leads. " Its still under investigation. We're still following leads and putting evidence together to try to determine who made this call and where it came from. We have a couple of leads, nothing real strong. There was vague information given. We're running down phone records trying to find out," said Chief Caplinger.

"The (caller) mentioned the name of a local business and we're following up on that. We're not sure if it (the call) was made from that business, or if the subject worked at that business," he said. The caller, according to the chief, may have been Hispanic.

Chief Caplinger said he wants to thank everyone who participated in this search and investigation. "Everyone did a good job and we had great cooperation between each agency. Everybody responded quickly. If he was on the way to the courthouse, it was shut down pretty quickly, which would have diverted anyone from coming in," he added.

State Health Department Official Weighs In On City Pool Lifeguard Issue

June 13, 2012
Dwayne Page
Tony Poss
One of the Lifeguards
Child on one of the Slides
Swimmer Jumping off Diving Board
Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool

A state health department environmentalist, after making a visit to the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool last week, has issued a report on the number of lifeguards needed there to satisfy state regulations and it seems to support the conclusions reached by Mayor Taft Hendrixson that only a maximum of three are required when the pool is open to the public. However, Mitzi Medley, the environmentalist, suggested that it would be a good idea, though not required, to have an attendant assigned to help control patron traffic at the slides.

Tony Poss, operator of the city pool and golf course, said he requested the environmentalist make a visit to the pool in an effort to clear up the controversy. "I did request for the lady to come and she came from Crossville. She came down and looked at our pool and said that we were required to have three lifeguards. But the first year we were here, we had one inspector to come in and he said we were required to have three lifeguards at all times in the chairs and that if we didn't have three lifeguards, he would shut down the pool so that's the reasoning behind the lifeguards. He also said we were required to have one extra guard for every twenty five pool bathers that come in so that's what we did last year," said Poss.

"This year, the health inspector came in, and we have to do what they tell us to do. She told us the same thing, that we had to have three lifeguards in the chairs and one for every twenty five bathers, so that's why we have scheduled our lifeguards the way we have. So everything was kind of up in the air with the mayor coming up with these state regulations so I requested somebody above our health inspector to come in and she came from Crossville. She inspected the pool and said we were only required one for every twenty five bathers and after fifty one, it was three lifeguards. So that's the third opinion we've had. We just wanted something in writing telling us for sure what we need to do," said Poss.

In her report, Medley wrote "I visited the pool for consultation and discussed lifeguard requirements."

She further wrote the following:

"(1) lifeguard is required when 1-25 bathers are in the pool"

"(2) lifeguards are required when 25-50 bathers are in the pool"

"(3) lifeguards are required per pool square footage when 51 or more bathers are present" (Rule 1200-23-5-.02 (3) (a) 1" (This rule states as follows: Safety: Lifeguards shall be present at Type A Pools in accordance with the following square footage schedule:

Square feet:
1,800 to 3,000 (1 lifeguard)
3,001 to 6,000 (2 lifeguards)
6,001 to 9,000 (3 lifeguards)
9,001 to 12,000 (4 lifeguards)

Mayor Hendrixson says Smithville has a Type A Pool which is about 7,800 square feet.

State regulations specify what constitutes a slide under definition (1200-23-5-.01 (58) "Water slides or Water Flumes" mean inclined troughs that convey patrons in a stream of water ending in a pool. Under rule 1200-23-5-.02 (3) (a) 5. "Type E pools shall have an attendant or lifeguard on duty at all times at the point patrons/swimmers enter the water."

While Smithville has slides, the pool is not Type E, therefore, according to Medley, it doesn't require a fourth lifeguard to monitor the slides. However, she wrote that such an attendant would be helpful to prevent entrapment inside the slides. "I also discussed the slide at the pool. Per definition (1200-23-5-.01 (58), the slide is NOT a permitable Type E pool subject to attendant/lifeguard requirements of rule 1200-23-5-.02 (3) (a) 5. However, due to the enclosed nature of the slide and the presence of water streaming inside the slide, and that the slide turns, an attendant, although NOT REQUIRED, per se, would control the patron traffic and prevent any possible entrapment of doubled children possibly face down in the water," she wrote.

Poss said since the city is only going to pay for three lifeguards, he is footing the bill right now for another guard to monitor the slides. "We looked at the slides and she (environmentalist) recommended that we have one extra attendant, a guard or somebody there to help keep the pool safe. That's all we're wanting is to keep the pool safe for everyone. Right now we are paying out of our own pocket, to keep the slides safe. We've been out of pocket for the last week, just trying to keep it safe for everyone coming in to use the pool," said Poss.

Poss said his lease calls for the city to bear all pool expenses and it doesn't specify how many lifeguards he can have, although aldermen have recently voted to fund no more than three at a time while the pool is open. "According to the contract there is no limit. No maximum or minimum, no hours of operation. Before they did their budget, I requested five lifeguards. I told them what they made per hour and the next thing I knew, we were only allowed three," He said.

Altogether, Poss said there are nineteen life guards but he doesn't use them all. "The city has employed nineteen lifeguards, but we don't work nineteen. We are abiding with what the city requested after they finally gave us notice that they are only going to pay for three. Still, to date, we've not had anything in writing telling us what we are required to do. We got a phone call last Wednesday, telling us we could only work three. As of today, I still don't have anything in writing or in my contacts with city officials telling us what we're supposed to do but we are doing what they are requesting us to do, trying to get along with the city and make everything right," said Poss

Still, Poss said on days when the pool is extremely busy, its difficult for just three lifeguards to have to monitor such large crowds. "When we get a busy day with 250 plus swimmers, its very stressing on these lifeguards to have to watch that many kids and the liability is unreal," said Poss. The guards also have to rotate stations often, which Poss said can create inconveniences. "They are required to rotate every so often. That's how they are trained. We rotate stations so they are not looking at the same area of the pool for hours at a time, getting bored with what they're doing. That way they're keeping their eyes and minds fresh," said Poss. "I order for these lifeguards to rotate, and when they rotate we have to shut parts of the pool down, just so they can take a break. We try to do this every twenty minutes. I don't feel like it is fair to the people who pay their money to come in and use the pool only to have it shut down most of the day," he said.

With a recent pay dispute over lifeguards apparently settled now, Poss said he is hoping for more cooperation from city hall. "Lifeguards are up to date on their hourly wages. We are employing three lifeguards right now. Until we can get this issue resolved, we are taking care of the slides, the deep end, and the other chair as best we can. We're just wanting a little help from the city and more cooperation. We're willing to work with the city. We want to make it right. We want to give something to the people they can enjoy," said Poss.


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