Local News Articles

County Beer Regulations Scheduled for Discussion Monday Night

December 16, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night may discuss whether to change the county's existing regulations forbidding the storage and sale of beer within 2,000 feet of schools, churches and other places of public gathering. Some believe that this minimum distance requirement is too restrictive

During an All-Committees meeting of the commission Thursday night, a majority of the commissioners present voted to place the issue on the regular meeting agenda Monday night for possible discussion.

Some commissioners have said they would be willing to support a measure to change the 2,000 foot rule, reducing it down to some lesser minimim distance requirement. Others are adamantly opposed to making any change.

While the county has the authority to change the distance requirement, it apparently cannot alter the manner in which the distance is to be measured. In the county, the distance must be measured from "nearest point" to nearest point".

County Attorney Hilton Conger addressed that issue during a recent county beer board meeting. "Under regulations established by the county commission in October 1939, no business can be licensed to sell beer if it is within 2,000 feet of a school, church, or other place of public gathering. That's been the rule here in the county ever since (1939). The county can change that and make it less than 2,000 feet but DeKalb County has never chosen to do that," said Conger.

As for how the distance is to be measured, Conger said the state supreme court ruled more than fifty years ago in a Sullivan County case that the distance is to be measured in a direct line from building to building. "That was settled by the supreme court in the case of Jones versus the Sullivan County Beer Board. That was decided in 1956. The court said that the measurement is to be made in a direct line, the nearest point to the nearest point. From the building to the building," said Conger.

The agenda for Monday night's meeting also includes a discussion on the progress of the shopping center renovation as a county office complex; action on budget amendments, a review of expenses and revenues, an update on courthouse (office usage), a review of issues addressed during Thursday night's all-committees meeting, approval of notaries, and any other business properly presented. WJLE plans LIVE coverage of the meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

WJLE to Feature Program on New Voter Photo ID Law

December 15, 2011
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
Dennis Stanley and Walteen Parker

WJLE is providing an opportunity for you to learn more about the new law requiring voters to show a valid photo ID at the polls beginning with the March 6 DeKalb County Democratic Primary and the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries. The new law takes effect January 1, 2012.

State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, DeKalb County Election Commission Chairperson Walteen Parker, and DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley will be appearing on WJLE Wednesday morning, December 21 at 8:05 a.m. to explain provisions of the new law. Parker and Stanley will also be discussing local redistricting based on the 2010 Census. LISTEN LIVE ON WJLE AM 1480/FM 101.7 or LIVE STREAMING AT WWW.WJLE.COM.

If you have a question you would like answered, please fax your question in advance of the program at 615-597-6025 or email at wjle@dtccom.net

The major points of the law include:

•A voter is required to produce a federal or state government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. Some examples of a valid photo ID, even if expired, are a Tennessee driver license, U.S. passport, Department of Safety photo ID card, state or federal employee photo identification card, or a U.S. military photo ID. Student college IDs will not be accepted for voting purposes.

Free photo IDs may be obtained from any Department of Safety driver license testing station. Registered voters must sign an affidavit stating that the photo ID is for voting purposes, that they are a registered voter, and that they do not have any other valid government-issued photo ID. The Department of Safety will not issue a free photo ID if the person already has a valid government-issued photo ID

•Voters who are unable to produce a valid photo ID will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot, which is a paper ballot, at the polls. Voters casting a provisional ballot will have until two (2) business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo ID.

•Voters with a religious objection to being photographed, or voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee - for example, the voter cannot pay for a birth certificate for proof of citizenship - may sign an oath affirming to the information and will be allowed to vote on the machines.

•Voters who vote absentee by mail, voters who are hospitalized, and voters who live in licensed nursing homes or assisted living centers and vote at the facilities are not required to show photo IDs. Registered voters over the age of 65 may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

"The goal of the radio program is to educate the public and prepare voters for the upcoming 2012 elections," Dennis Stanley, administrator of elections said. "We want voters to have plenty of time to obtain a valid photo ID if they do not already possess one. We encourage everyone to listen to the radio program Wednesday morning," said Stanley.

Alexandria F&AM Lodge #175 Installs Masonic Officers

December 15, 2011
Alexandria F&AM Lodge #175  Installs Masonic Officers

The Alexandria F&AM Lodge #175 installed their 2012 Masonic Officers Tuesday night, December 13

Brothers pictured left to right are:

Wayne Huddleston, Senior Deacon; Bob Huddleston, Junior Deacon; Mason Carter, Worshipful Master; Anthony Keith Dies, Senior Warden; Charles Morgret, Junior Warden; Jewell Huddleston, Secretary.

(Photo by Wayne Storey-Tiler)

School Board Seeks FEMA Grant to build Safe Rooms at DeKalb West

December 14, 2011
Dwayne Page
David Brown of KBJM Architects, Inc

The DeKalb County Board of Education has taken the first step in seeking FEMA grant funds which, if approved, would be used to help construct "safe rooms" in a classroom building project at DeKalb West School.

Millions of dollars are available to eligible applicants under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for building safe rooms to withstand winds in the event of a tornado. In this case, not only would the new safe rooms provide a place for students and school staff to take shelter in the event of a tornado, it would also ease overcrowding at the school by providing more classroom space.

During a special called meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Education voted to pay KBJM Architects, Inc. of Mount Juliet a total of $7,500 to prepare a design for the project and to pay Lashlee-Rich, Inc. of Humbolt $7,500 to prepare cost estimates and for the grant writing.

David Brown, architect of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc. (KBJM), and Greer Lashlee of Lashlee-Rich, Inc. addressed the school board Tuesday night. Under this FEMA grant program, Brown said the school system could apply for up to three million dollars for this project with the federal government paying 75% of the cost, if approved. The state would pay 12.5% leaving the local share at 12.5%. "This grant is paying for the construction, the structure, the mechanical, electrical. It is paying a large chunk of it. We've got to take it from where our normal design stops and meet these (FEMA) guidelines but the premium that you're going to pay is smaller than the grant you're going to get. The way it works is this. We (KBJM) do the design, Then Greer (Lashlee) of Lashlee-Rich, Inc. will come up with detailed estimates and it'll be broken down by materials, labor, soft costs, and we'll have to use the guidelines that the application dictates and then we'll come up with an amount that you need. That amount can be up to three million dollars. Lets say we have a classroom addition and in your particular case it ends up being two million dollars that we can justify for this program being this addition at DeKalb West. Out of that two million dollars, the federal government will pay for 75%. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will kick in another 12.5% which just leaves 12.5% locally. So for every one million dollars worth of construction, its $125-thousand dollars locally. That's the best thing out there," said Brown.

Brown said once the plans have been prepared he will meet with the school board again in January. "I've been to DeKalb West several times. I've looked at the facility and the needs but the first thing we must have is a design. What are we going to have there. We've talked about classrooms, a secure vestibule and entrance to that school and obviously the kitchen needs work as well but the initial thing we need to have is a design so that I can give it to Greer so he can look at that area and come up with those (cost) estimates. We have to do what is called a benefit cost analysis and the benefit cost ratio has to be high enough for them (FEMA) to want to help you with this. But the school projects by default always hit that mark. So we need to do a design. I'd like to come back in January to give you a more detailed breakdown of what we're proposing, what we think it will cost, and how much of a grant we need to ask for, and what the local share of that grant would be. If it still looks good in January, we can press on with our grant writer and submit this. I can tell you that the folks at the state are wanting to give this money away," said Brown.

The deadline for submitting the grant application is March 1st.

Brown advised against filing an application for more than one project at this time, but added that grant applications for other local schools could be submitted later if funds are still available.

School Back Pack Program Helps Feed Needy Children During Holidays

December 13, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Sprague
Dee Anna Reynolds
Foods for Back Pack Program

The DeKalb County School System is helping to ensure that needy children have plenty to eat during the holidays while they are at home.

Through the"BackPack" program, children receive food they can take home for the holidays. This year, through the efforts of School Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague, several children will also get a four to five pound cooked ham, donated by Prichards Foods and packs of peanut butter lunchables and fruit cups donated by Larry's Discount Grocery, according to Dee Anna Reynolds, School Health Coordinator. "We've added something extra to our Back Pack program for the Christmas program and we have Mr. Jimmy Sprague to thank for that. He has stepped up to the plate, volunteered, and opened the door for a lot of our kids to have a better Christmas. This year we are going to be delivering hams starting on Monday, December 19 to homes for our needy children and we're very excited about that. These are cooked hams so those babies (children) can go in there and eat and we won't have to worry about them being able to fix the food. The kids that go home with the back pack (foods), they'll go home on the bus on Thursday, December 15 with those (back pack foods). The hams that we're delivering won't necessarily all be for the same kids. There may be some overlap but we'll also have some extra food that we'll be able to take with those hams to those families. The food that we send home with the kids, when we purchase that food and receive that donated food, we try to make sure that its food that a child as young as pre-k or kindergarten can go home, open, and feed themselves. This time, they're going home with a fruit cup, a lunchable, oatmeal, animal crackers, Ramen noodles, bagged peanuts, slim jims, boxed cereal, fruit snacks, and of course the cooked hams that we'll deliver on Monday, and this year we'll put some blow pops in there to give them a little extra treat. It's a good bag. It's a bag that's large enough that the kindergarten students can carry it. Its not too heavy. They can make it last them a good week. We try to make sure that the food is healthy because that's probably the only food that some of those kids are going to eat. But it is healthy food for the most part," said Reynolds.

Sprague said he is thankful to the vendors for donating the hams and other foods. "I got with some vendors and friends of mine who wanted to donate but they didn't want to donate for any recognition. They're like me. Its all about the kids. The vendor that donated the hams this year is Prichards Foods in Alexandria. We've received fifty five hams for our under privileged children. That means a lot not only to the children but the parents, knowing that the children will have something to eat, especially over the school break during Christmas. A lot of parents work and the children are at home and there's nothing really for them to cook or eat so this (donation of hams) will coincide with the Back Pack program to give them something good to eat. I also want to thank Larry's Discount Grocery for helping us with a donation to the Back Pack program. I really appreciate all that they've done," said Sprague.

Reynolds said the children served through the Back Pack Program have been identified through referrals by teachers and faculty staff. "We went with teacher/faculty staff referrals and that's what we've kind of continued with. That seems to work better. We've been able to feed the children better and provide them with better food. That has given us the opportunity to save a little more money and feed the kids better. We also have another partnership through a company called Well Child, Incorporated. They come into our school, set up on-site and do well child exams for our children. Through a partnership with them, we've also been able to receive the funds to buy additional food. So along with those hams and the food that's been donated the kids will go home with a really good goodie bag of food," said Reynolds.

The Back Pack program was started in DeKalb County a couple of years ago, according to Reynolds. "We've tried a different approach every year. We started out the first year just feeding the kids during Christmas break and spring break. The second year we added fall break, Christmas break, and spring break. Last year we added Thanksgiving. This year we weren't able to get the ball rolling for fall break but we will feed the kids during this Christmas break and we have plans to feed them during spring break. With the work that Mr. Jimmy (Sprague) has done it has opened a door for us to be able to feed those kids. We're actually looking for some more partners who might be interested in helping us maybe by picking up a school. Just help us pick up a school and kind of take that school under their wing and feed those kids, volunteer to pack food, donate the food, we are open to anything anybody wants to help us with," said Reynolds.

The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank there began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.

In addition to providing nutritious food to school children in need, some BackPack Programs provide extra food for younger siblings at home and others operate during the summer months when children are out of school and have limited access to free or reduced-priced meals.

The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.

More than 140 Feeding America members operated more than 3,600 BackPack Programs and served more than 190,000 children in FY2009.

THP Investigates Wreck on Short Mountain Highway

December 13, 2011
Dwayne Page
One Car Crash on Short Mountain Highway

At least one person was apparently injured in a one car crash Monday night on Highway 146 near New Home Road, but whoever was in the vehicle left the scene after the accident.

The mishap was investigated by Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He told WJLE that the car, a 2001 GEO Chevy Prizm, was traveling north on State Highway 146 when it went off the left side of the road, overturned, and came to rest on its wheels in the ditchline.

The wreck apparently resulted in injury to someone because there was some blood in the car.

Liberty Lodge #77 F&AM Installs Masonic Officers

December 12, 2011
Dwayne Page
Liberty Lodge #77 F&AM Installs Masonic Officers

The Liberty Lodge #77 Free and Accepted Masons installed their 2012 Masonic officers Saturday afternoon at a public

Brothers front row are, from left, Tommy Clark, installing marshal, Max Barney, treasurer, Kenneth Vanatta, Chaplain, Worshipful Master John C Gottlied, Jr., Corkie Mosley, junior warden, Michael E. Bilbry, senior deacon, John Dodd, installing officer.

Brothers in back row from are, from left, Clarence Neely, senior steward, Dr. R. R. Atnip, senior warden, Homer Hodges, junior deacon and Erbie France, junior steward.

New DUI Law Takes Effect January 1st

December 12, 2011
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said a new state law is taking effect January 1st to crack down on drunk drivers.

As enacted, the law permits an officer to test the blood alcohol content of certain drivers regardless of whether they consent.

Under the current DUI law in Tennessee, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe an individual is driving under the influence may request the person submit to a blood alcohol concentration test. If the person elects not to submit to the blood alcohol test they are to be charged with a violation of the Tennessee implied consent law and could lose their driver's license for one year.

Chief Caplinger said the new DUI law, adopted by the Tennessee legislature, requires that anyone who has a prior DUI conviction, vehicular homicide due to intoxication conviction or aggravated vehicular homicide conviction or any person with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time, MUST submit to either a blood or breath test if they are believed to be driving under the influence.

Meanwhile, in his weekly crime update, Chief Caplinger reports that 40 year old Vickie Alvis is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on December 22.

According to Chief Caplinger, an officer was dispatched to an apartment complex on Foster Road Monday, December 5 to check out a report of an intoxicated female. Upon arrival, the officer found the woman at the lower level of the complex knocking on an apartment door. A half bottle of an alcoholic beverage was next to her. Alvis was unsteady on her feet and she had an odor of alcohol on her person. Alvis was belligerent and allegedly threatened the officer.

51 year old James Lynn Hale of Spencer is charged with public intoxication, simple possession of a schedule II and IV controlled substance, and unlawful possession of a weapon. He will be in court on December 22.

Chief Caplinger reports that on Monday, December 5 an officer was summoned to the public square to check out a suspicious person who was lying on a bench. The man was asleep. The officer awoke the man and found him to be disoriented. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. The man, Hale, told the officer he had taken some medication. He was found to have on him a bottle containing four pills believed to be Xanax, a bottle with two pills thought to be percocet, and a butcher knife. Hale told the officer that he was a convicted felon.

28 year old Ricardo N. Gutierrez of McMinnville is charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued citations for no drivers license, violation of the registration law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 15.

Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, December 5 an officer saw a Ford 150 spinning tires in the parking lot of Mapco Express. The truck turned onto North Congress Boulevard. The officer stopped the truck and found that the driver, Gutierrez, had no drivers license, no registration, and no proof of insurance. A computer check revealed that his drivers license were revoked for a DUI on January 8, 2009.

41 year old Jenna Sue Murphy is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on December 15.

Chief Caplinger said that an officer was called to the CPS probation office on Tuesday, December 6 to check on a possible intoxicated person. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Murphy who was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. She was arrested for her safety.

43 year old Karen Renee Hunter is cited for theft of property. She will be in court on December 22.

Chief Caplinger said that an officer was sent to Walmart on Friday, December 2 to check out a complaint of a shoplifter. Hunter allegedly had on her person several items taken from the store with a total value of $47.

34 year old Richard Brian Mason is charged with theft under $500 and evading arrest. His bond is $1,500 on each charge and he will be in court on December 22.

Chief Caplinger reports that an officer was dispatched to Walmart on a shoplifting complaint. Mason allegedly had left the store with a stroller containing items which he had not purchased. The officer chased him on foot to Anthony Avenue and placed him under arrest. The stolen items were recovered valued at $148.16

24 year old Lydia Renee Judkins is charged with criminal impersonation and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Her bond is $1,500 in each case. She will be in court on December 22.

Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to the Dollar Tree on Friday, December 9 to check on two women in the store who were believed to be intoxicated. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with the women, one of whom was Judkins. She (Judkins) initially gave another name and date of birth to identify herself, but later admitted who she really was saying said she thought she had an outstanding warrant against her and feared arrest. She gave the officer consent to search her vehicle and he found seventeen pills believed to be xanax in a baggie. Another pill was found in her purse. The other woman was not charged.

Sheriff Ray Releases Weekly Crime Report

December 12, 2011
Dwayne Page
Homer Anthony Petty, II
Stanley William Morris, Jr.
Thomas Bradley Hildreth

Sheriff Patrick Ray has released his crime report for the week.

23 year old Homer Anthony Petty, II of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and felony evading arrest. He was also issued a citation for violation of the open container law, violation of the light law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond totals $6,500 and he will be in court on December 15.

Sheriff Ray reports that a deputy stopped Petty's vehicle for no tail lights on New Home Road Tuesday, December 6. When the officer approached the vehicle, Petty accelerated. He turned right onto Highway 146 and drove to Cecil Hale Road before he stopped. A computer check revealed his license were suspended on August 18, 2008 in Smith County for failure to satisfy a citation. He could not provide proof of insurance and he had an open 40 ounce container of beer in the vehicle.
40 year old Stanley William Morris, Jr. of Hodges Road, Smithville and 34 year old Thomas Bradley Hildreth of Oak Street, Smithville are charged with filing a false report. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will appear in court on December 15.

Sheriff Ray reports that both Morris and Hildreth failed to answer the door at an Oak Street residence on Thursday, December 8 in an effort to hide Leslie Love, who had a warrant against her for violation of probation in Warren County. " Officers knocked and screamed for someone to come to the door, ‘ said Sheriff Ray. "A deputy saw Love and someone else run through the house. Officers again knocked and then made forced entry into the house. After entry was made in the living room, both Morris and Hildreth told the deputies that they did not know the whereabouts of Love. But according to Sheriff Ray, the men gave false information so that Love could evade law enforcement and not get arrested. Love was found in the home hiding in the attic space. She was arrested and transported to Warren County", said Sheriff Ray.

23 year old Melissa Gail Andrews of Jackson Street, Smithville is cited for driving on a revoked license and violation of the light law. Her court date is January 11. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, December 10, Andrews was stopped for having a headlight out. A computer check revealed her license to be revoked.

Freckles' Friends Receives Two Grants For The Mobile Spay Station Program

December 11, 2011
Dwayne Page

Freckles' Friends has received two grants to fund the mobile spay station program.

The first grant, in the amount of $4,200, came from the Tennessee Animal Friendly License Plate Program and funding began in July. The second grant, in the amount of $3,025, came from the Patricia & Edward J. McGavock Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee .This grant will help fund the program through August of 2012 provided the sponsorship fee remains $550 per monthly visit.

The spay station provides spay/neuter surgery for pets in low-income families who can prove financial need through participation in a government program such as Unemployment, Disability, SSI, Families First or Food Stamps. Clients are asked only for a donation of whatever they can afford and pets who are spayed or neutered will also be examined and receive needed vaccinations.

For those who do not qualify for the spay station program, Freckles' Friends offers Spay/Neuter Assistance Vouchers in the following amounts: $50 for female dog spays, $40 for male dog neuters, $35 for female cat spays and $25 for male cat neuters. Vouchers expire in 30 days from issue and will not be issued retroactively so please have your voucher number prior to setting your appointment. Freckles' Friends Vouchers are accepted at the following clinics:

Animal Clinic of Smithville (Dr. Mark Burke, DVM) - (615) 597-1726
DeKalb Animal Clinic (Dr. Scott Little, DVM) - (615) 597-1950
Wheeler Veterinary Clinic (Dr. Scott Wheeler, DVM) - (615) 597-3770

The voucher program is open to anyone, regardless of income. However, those who qualify for the spay station will only be issued vouchers if the schedule is full or there are safety issues to consider such as a pet that is high risk for surgery and chances of complications are high. This is because no grant funding is available for the voucher program and funds are limited to what the hard-working volunteers raise during fundraisers such as the DeKalb County Women's Show, the fall yard sale, organized by Bea Garrison and Sommer Deebanks and the Freckles' Fall Fundraiser organized by Rene' Stufano as well as donations received from the Spay Partners and other donors. Funds are available now for vouchers so please email freckles.friends@yahoo.com and let them know if you qualify for the spay station or need a voucher. They also need to know if you have a dog or cat and if your pet is male or female.

Please help reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens in our communities. Be a responsible pet owner and set a good example for others by having your pets spayed or neutered. It is good for the health of your pet and your community and Freckles' Friends would like to help.


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