Local News Articles

Family Left Homeless By Thursday Fire

January 26, 2007
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County family was left homeless by a midday fire Thursday.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says firefighters were called to the home of Nick and Stacey Robinson at 249 Pittman Road in the Four Seasons community around 11:20 a.m. after a passing motorist saw flames coming from the trailer home and phoned 911 to report it.

Green says the trailer was too far gone by the time firefighters arrived. The home and all the family's belongings were destroyed.

No one was at home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

The cause of the blaze is undetermined.

Member's of the Midway, Keltonburg, Short Mountain Highway, Cookeville Highway, and Belk stations responded along with a tanker truck.

Green says the Robinson's were renting the trailer and had no renter's insurance. They have three small children.

An account has been set up for this family at DeKalb Community Bank and a donation from you would be appreciated.

The family is currently staying at the home of Gary and Wanda Russell, 2560 McMinnville Highway behind WJLE.

The are accepting donations of clothing, toys, furniture or anything that anyone would like to donate. They can be reached at 597-5886.

Sizes needed include Baby Boy 9 months old - wearing 18 to 24 months, diapers # 4; Little Girl, age 3 - wearing 4-5 clothes, 10-11 shoes; Boy, age 5 - wearing 6-7 clothes, shoes 3; Man - 36 X 32 pants - XL shirts - 11 shoes; Lady - 9 - 11 pants - M shirt - 8 1/2 shoe.

Corps Announces $220-Million Rehab Plan To Fix Seepage Problem At Center Hill Dam

January 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

Plans are underway to correct seepage problems around Center Hill Dam. It's a project that may take several years to complete and cost more than $220 million dollars.

Officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say Center Hill Dam was designed and built in the 1940's in a karst limestone foundation that is prone to seepage. Seepage is the movement of water through and under a dam. All dams have some seepage as the impounded water seeks paths of least resistance through the dam and its foundation. Seepage must, however, be controlled in both the velocity and quantity to keep the dam safe. Seepage can clearly be seen coming through the rock bluff formation near the dam.

Original designers recognized the nature of the rock and the potential for seepage through the relatively thin rim sections and acknowledged that maintenance would be required to keep the dam safe. The Corps has closely monitored seepage since the 1960's and has completed several limited grouting programs in an attempt to slow and control the seepage. Grout is a mixture of sand, cement, and water that can be placed into drilled holes into the foundation soil and rock to close any openings.

Foundation conditions continue to slowly worsen because clay filled joints are eroding in the rock within the rims and dam foundation. If untreated, this erosion would eventually jeopardize the two earthen embankments (main dam and saddle dam) and the integrity of the rims. The Nashville District of the Corps of Engineers has recently received Washington approval to begin a major rehabilitation project to ensure the long term safety of the dam.

The approved rehabilitation plan includes modern concrete cut off walls constructed within the entire length of the main dam and saddle dam embankments. These walls will extend deep into the rock foundation to effectively cut off seepage through the embankments and therefore protect the earthen portion of the dams from internal erosion. The approved plan also includes placing balance stabilized grout (durable and long-lasting grout) beneath the entire dam and along both sides of the dam.

Fish depend on continuous cold water, which the seepage has historically provided. The Corps plans to replace the cold seepage downstream by replacing a small undependable hydropower unit in the powerhouse. The existing 55 year unit was intended to provide back-up power to start the larger turbines. It will be replaced by a new 2 megawatt unit that will produce hydropower and provide the optimal minimum flow downstream.

The total cost of the rehabilitation plan will likely exceed $220 million. The Corps expects major work will begin in 2007 and the entire rehabilitation will take 5-8 years to complete.

Plans to accelerate the work are being considered. Ongoing work includes design and base mapping. Drilling into the dam foundation for rock information has begun. Initial grouting is planned to begin in the summer of 2007.

This grout will make the dam safer by filling voids within the foundation. Cut off wall construction will likely follow the grouting and is anticipated to begin in 2008.

Dowelltown Woman In More Trouble With The Law

January 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 30 year old Dowelltown woman, charged earlier this month with fraudulent use of a credit card, is in even more trouble with the law.

Carla Denise Chapman of Snow Hill Road , who was free on bond from the earlier charges, has been arrested again, this time for theft of property over $1,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Chapman went to a relative's house on Snow Hill Road Friday and took several pieces of jewelry, valued at over $1,000. She then took the stolen jewelry to a local pawn shop where she disposed of it.

Chapman's bond on this charge is $25,000 and she will be in General Sessions Court February 1st.

Chapman was first arrested on January 18th charged with four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. She is under a $4,000 bond on those offenses.

Sheriff Ray says in that case, Chapman stole a credit card from a family member and went to the Region's Bank location on the public square downtown Smithville on January 11th and 12th where she used the card to make withdrawals from an ATM machine in the amount of $1,710.

Sheriff Ray says Chapman also used the credit card to purchase gasoline from DeKalb Market on January 15th, $826.00 worth of jewelry from Houston's Jewelry on January 15th, and $383 worth of merchandise from Pamida on January 16th.

Mother and Daughter Injured In Saturday Wreck

January 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

Two people were injured in a midday two car crash Saturday at the intersection of U.S. 70 and State Highway 83 near Smithville.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says a 1996 Chevy Blazer, driven by 21 year old Phillip M. Lafever of Cookeville, was crossing U.S. 70 from Highway 83 when it was struck by 2001 Dodge Intrepid, driven by 39 year old Carrie L. Young of Smithville, who was traveling west on Highway 70.

The impact caused the Blazer to overturn on it's top.

Lafever apparently wasn't injured but Young was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Young's eight year old and nine year old daughters were in the car with her. The eight year old was not hurt but the nine year old was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital.

Judkins Named Smithville Police Officer of the Month

January 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Officer Mac Judkins has been named \"Officer of the Month\".

The announcement was made Monday by Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano.

The commendation presented to Officer Judkins says \"On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Police Patrol Officer. Your determination and efforts this month in traffic enforcement specifically in the detection of drivers that were DUI has resulted in numerous arrests.

Due to your professional training in recognizing this type of serious hazard and taking immediate action, know that you have removed an opportunity for serious injury or death from their irresponsible actions as drivers. Your expertise enabled the citizens of Smithville, your fellow co-workers and guests of our area a safer passage while here in DeKalb County. You have served with distinction and are a credit to your profession as a Smithville Police Officer.

Additionally, your work ethic and tenacity during the month of January has shown your true commitment to the citizens we serve and your fellow officers.

I appreciate your input and current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this Commendation becoming apart of your permanent personnel record for all to see.

Congratulations on a job well done!\"

The commendation was signed by Chief Stufano, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks.

Tractor Trailer Rig Overturns On Students Home Road

January 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 33 year old truck driver was treated and released at DeKalb Community Hospital Friday morning after his tractor trailer rig overturned around 2:30 a..m on Student's Home Road..

Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Sirvan H. Rasul of Pelican Rapids, Michigan was driving a 2002 Freightliner for the Premier Freight Exchange Company and was enroute to the Goggin Warehouse where he was to deliver 43,000 pounds of brake parts for Federal Mogul.

Sergeant Prater says the truck, which was traveling toward Magness Road from Keltonburg Road, overturned as it approached a narrow bridge. \"As he was making his turn, the trailer tracked off the right side of the road, the edge of the roadway gave way, and the truck and trailer laid over on it's side.\"

The load crashed through the side of the trailer as it overturned spilling some of the cargo onto the ground.

Rasul was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Hospital with minor injuries.

Sergeant Prater says Students Home Road was closed nearly all day while the truck was unloaded, pulled upright, and the cargo reloaded onto another truck. Officers cleared the scene around 7:00 p.m. Friday night.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Keith Maddux of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene throughout the day included DeKalb EMS, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker, volunteer firefighters, and Troopers Brian Raymond, and Allen England of the THP among other volunteers.

DeKalb County Schools To Be Closed Tuesday and Wednesday Due To Sickness

January 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday because of flu like sickness among students and teachers

Higher than normal absentee rates at each of the schools had been recorded last week, but apparently not high enough to close schools. However Monday, it was a different story.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says the overall student attendance rate Monday was 78%, when it is normally around 96% at the elementary schools and 94% at the high school.

The following are the numbers of students absent at each school Monday:

DCHS- 210 (attendance rate 70%)
DeKalb Middle- 104 (attendance rate 79%)
DeKalb West-87 (attendance rate 79%)
Northside Elementary- 100 (attendance rate 80%)
Smithville Elementary-116 (attendance rate 80%)

Willoughby says there is justification for closing schools when overall attendance falls below 80%.

Willoughby says closing schools for a couple of days will hopefully keep the sickness from spreading and give those who are sick more time to rest and recover.

Two Alleged Marijuana Dealers On Trial In Federal Court

February 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

Two alleged marijuana dealers in Warren and Cannon County are on trial in Federal Court in Chattanooga.

48 year old Jeffory Carl Young of Short Mountain Road, Woodbury and 53 year old Morris Edward Roller of Lance Road, McMinnville were each indicted in May by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to distribute over 2,200 pounds of marijuana and a multi-count indictment for distribution of marijuana.

The men, business partners, operated farmland on the Warren-Cannon County line.

The case stems from a two and a half year old undercover investigation by the Warren County Sheriff's Department, the Southeastern Drug Enforcement Agency, the Middle Tennessee Drug Enforcement Agency, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Agency, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Officers say they made many undercover buys leading up to the raids in May.

DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray worked for the Warren County Sheriff's Department at the time and was involved in the investigation.

A state witness testified this week that Young and Roller trafficked over 100 pounds of marijuana every two weeks for several years.

During the arrest in May, authorities seized 31 parcels of land, equaling 1900 acres with a tax appraisal of $2.5 million; more than $10,000 in cash; and over ten pounds of marijuana.

Investigators also confiscated two farm tractors, a round hay baler, semi-truck, a ton truck, and a bob cat loader, all believed to have been purchased with proceeds from the sale of drugs.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has also levied a $60,000 tax against the two men

The trial is set to resume Tuesday. If convicted, Young could be in prison for the rest of his life and Roller could get a 25 to 30 year federal prison sentence

Sheriff Ray says more arrests may be forthcoming as a result of this investigation, including some from DeKalb County.

USDA Releases Payments for 2007 Tobacco Transition Payment Program

February 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency, announces that annual payments for the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, for the 2007 payment year, were released Thursday, January 25. DeKalb County quota holders and producers will receive $496,726 in 2007 program year payments. Green says that direct deposit transactions should arrive in bank accounts within 3 business days while mailed checks should arrive within 10 business days for quota holders and producers who have enrolled in the program.

The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), also called the \"tobacco buy-out,\" helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market.
The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357), signed by President Bush on Oct. 22, 2004, ended the Depression-era tobacco quota program and established the TTPP. The program provides annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and continue through 2014. Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers. The remaining payments will be made in 7 annual installments that are issued in January of each year.

For more information on the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, please contact the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency at 615-597-8225, extension 2.


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