Local News Articles

Center Hill Lake Elevations to be Lower during Remediation Work

February 25, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, announced today that Center Hill Lake elevations will be lower during remediation work on Center Hill Dam. The Corps plans to target Center Hill Lake levels between elevation 630 feet above mean sea level (msl) in the summer and no lower than elevation 618 msl during the late fall and early winter.

These elevations are approximately five to ten feet lower than recent pool operating levels, and as much as eighteen feet lower than normal operating levels. Since early 2007, the Corps has targeted the lake levels at the lower boundary of the operating guide curve, which is elevation 640, summer pool, and elevation 623.5, winter pool.

At the new lowered levels, all marinas will be operable. However, access to the marinas may be affected and in some cases, restricted, particularly during the fall, winter and early spring months. At elevation 630, 24 of the 35 boat ramps will be usable. At elevation 618, all 35 launching ramps will be unusable. Information on each specific ramp is available on the website.

The lowering of Center Hill Lake is intended to decrease pressure on the foundation, reducing the progression of seepage, as well as lessening downstream damages in the unlikely event of a dam failure. The chosen levels are the result of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) developed over the past year. The EIS evaluated potential impacts caused by each of nine lake level alternatives.

The process included consideration of safety concerns, potential impact to project purposes, and the views of the State of Tennessee, other federal agencies, affected stakeholders, and the public. The goal of the EIS was to identify an alternative that balanced the safety of the downstream human and natural environment against the reduction of project benefits from water supply, water quality, recreation, navigation, and hydropower.

During the five year repair period, this interim pool operation will be periodically re-evaluated to determine if Center Hill Lake can be safely raised, maintained, or if further lowering is necessary to ensure safety. Completion of the dam repairs will extend the project life well into this century, resulting in continued long-term project benefits.

The lake restriction at Center Hill reservoir coupled with ongoing lake restrictions at Wolf Creek reservoir upstream significantly reduce the amount of water in storage in the Cumberland River Basin reservoir system. The impacts of reduced water availability are most likely to be experienced in the summer and fall.

The Corps has developed an Interim Operating Plan (IOP) for management of the reservoir system during the time these pool restrictions are in place. The IOP establishes priorities that water managers will follow during this period of limited water resources. The priorities are: 1) water supply; 2) water quality; 3) navigation; 4) hydropower; and 5) recreation. The Corps operated according to these guidelines in 2007 when severe drought and excessive summer heat accompanied less restrictive pool restrictions.

Further information regarding the seepage problems, remediation, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Cumberland River Reservoir Interim Operating Plan (IOP) may be found on the Nashville District website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill/.

Woman Charged with Felony Child Abuse by Sheriff's Department

February 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 26 year old woman was charged with felony child abuse last week after she was found passed out in her vehicle with a 23 month old child in the back seat wearing no coat, socks, or shoes.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Lori Ann Lewis of Sparta Highway, Sparta was charged on Wednesday, February 20th with a felony count of Child Abuse and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says a deputy was attempting to serve a warrant at Lewis' home when he noticed Lewis passed out in a vehicle in the driveway. The officer also heard a small child crying. Lewis was passed out in the vehicle with the driver's side window down and the child, 23 months old, was sitting in the back seat with no coat, socks or shoes on. The temperature outside was 40 degrees. Also in the passenger side seat was a Ziploc bag containing a hypodermic syringe and a straw. Lewis' bond was set at $30,000 and her court date is February 28th.

Meanwhile, 39 year old Mark A Stults of South York Street Grimsly, Tennessee was arrested Sunday, February 17th for Theft of Property over $500 and Aggravated Burglary. Sheriff Ray says York entered a home on Vickers Ridge Road, which is located in the Austin Bottom Area, and took numerous items such as a guitar, assorted tools, and knives. Most of the property has been recovered. Stults' bond was set at $40,000 and he will appear in General Sessions Court February 28th.

32 year old James Steven Leduc was charged on Thursday, February 21st with one count of Aggravated Burglary and two counts of Theft of Property over $500. Sheriff Ray says Leduc broke into a home on Nashville Highway in Alexandria and while inside, stripped the copper wiring from the home. Leduc also went to Old Casey's Cove Road, Smithville, where a residence had burned, and stole copper wiring from the remains of that home. Leduc's bond was set at $35,000 and his court date is March 13th. The Alexandria Police Department assisted in the case.

50 year old Marc Jenkins of Shady Lane, Smithville was charged on Saturday, February 23rd with driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law. Jenkins was the driver of an automobile which was involved in an accident on Highway 70. Sheriff Ray says Jenkins was found to be under the influence of alcohol after county deputies had him perform field sobriety tasks, which he failed. Jenkins also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Bond for Jenkins was set at $1,000 and his court date is March 27th.

Call In For Coverage To Help Uninsured Adults and Children Enroll in Cover TN

February 23, 2008

Cover Tennessee will hold a live call-in event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 1, to provide information about or enroll qualifying, uninsured Tennesseans in its family of programs: CoverTN, CoverKids, CoverRx and AccessTN.

During Cover Tennessee’s Call In For Coverage, callers will simply dial 1-866-576-0028 to speak one-on-one with program representatives who can answer questions about the programs and help uninsured adults or children enroll.

“I hope every uninsured Tennessean will take a few minutes on March 1 to call Cover Tennessee and find out if they qualify for one of the programs,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “It will be an easy way for those struggling to obtain health insurance to get coverage for themselves, their employees or their children.”

Those interested in enrolling should have basic information available when they call, such as Social Security numbers and income information to enroll CoverKids, CoverRx and AccessTN, and federal employer identification numbers and Tennessee employer account numbers to enroll
in CoverTN.

Cover Tennessee is Governor Bredesen’s multi-pronged effort to extend health insurance to uninsured children and adults in Tennessee.

CoverTN offers basic, affordable health coverage for employees of Tennessee’s small businesses, the self-employed and individuals working at companies that do not provide employer-sponsored health insurance.

CoverKids allows qualifying children 18 and under to get free, comprehensive health insurance for preventive health care services such as vaccinations, doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital visits.

CoverRx, a pharmacy assistance program, provides Tennesseans access to affordable prescription medications.

AccessTN offers health insurance to Tennesseans with uninsurable or catastrophic health care conditions.

For more information on any of the Cover Tennessee programs, visit www.CoverTN.gov or call 1-866-COVERTN.

Cell Phone Numbers May Now Be Included On Do Not Call Registry

February 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

Cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers soon.

You may place your cell phone number (as well as your home number) on the National Do Not Call Registry.

To do so, visit the Do Not Call Registry Web Site at: https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx

You may register up to three phone numbers at a time. You simply put in the phone numbers you want placed on the registry and enter your e-mail address. You will receive an e-mail with a verification link for each of the phone numbers you register. Click on the link or copy and paste the link into your browser address bar and the registration is complete. You MUST click on the link within 72 hours to complete the registration.

Or you may register by calling 1-888-382-1222. You must call on the phone you are registering.

You may verify a registration at: https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/conf.aspx

The Federal Trade Commission launched its national "Do Not Call" registry five years ago prohibiting telemarketers from calling consumers who have placed their telephone numbers on the list.

Congressman Bart Gordon says "Middle Tennesseans are harassed daily with annoying telephone calls from telemarketers,". "I cannot count the times I have tried to sit down with my family to enjoy a meal only to be disturbed by a call from a telemarketer. That's frustrating."

Tennessee has a "Do Not Call" registry enforced by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

"The national registry is not intended to preempt Tennessee's registry, or any state's registry," Gordon said. "In fact, the federal government is working with states that have such registries to coordinate efforts."

To be included on both the federal and state lists, Tennessee residents must contact both the FTC and the TRA. To get on the state's "Do Not Call" list, contact the TRA by mail at 460 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee 37243; the Internet at the TRA's Web site or by calling toll free at 1-877-872-7030.

The state of Tennessee is also enforcing its "Do Not Fax" program. It is designed to prohibit organizations and people from sending unsolicited faxes to any Tennessee resident.

The law requires the organization from which unsolicited faxes originate to establish and print on each faxed page a toll-free fax number that consumers may use to inform the fax-sending organization of their desire to be removed from the organization's fax-solicitation database.

Those Tennessee residents who are interested in the "Do Not Fax" program may visit the TRA Web site or e-mail the agency at Tennessee.Do-Not-Fax@state.tn.us.

"These rules should give all of us relief from this kind of intrusion into our homes," Gordon said. "And they should help protect us from abusive and deceptive telemarketing practices."

Judkins Airlifted to Erlanger Hospital After Friday Morning Wreck

February 22, 2008
Dwayne Page

One woman was injured Friday morning in a wreck on Four Seasons Road.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 42 year old Priscilla Ann Judkins of Bethel Road, Smithville was traveling east in a 1998 Ford Windstar Mini-van when she lost control, skidded off the left side of the road, and went through a fence. The vehicle overturned and came to rest on the passenger side.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:36 a.m.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team were called to the scene and cut the top off of the mini-van so Judkins could be more easily removed from the vehicle.

She was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Goodwin inks scholarship papers with TN Wesleyan

February 22, 2008

DeKalb County High School senior, Grant Goodwin, will continue his golf career on the collegiate level. On Thursday, Goodwin signed scholarship papers with Tennessee Wesleyan, an NAIA school located in Athens, Tennessee.

Goodwin won 83 matches in his four-year career at DCHS, which is the most of any golfer during the tenure of current golf coach, Chris Vance, who has guided the program since 2001. Goodwin also owns ten team records and ten individual records with the program. He becomes the third DCHS golfer in the last four years to move on to the collegiate level, joining Madison Denman and Tara Cantrell.

Goodwin helped lead the Tiger golf team to a program-high 49 match victories during the 2007 season. The team also won District and Region Tournament championships, and earned a berth to the TSSAA State Tournament, where they finished in third place. In Goodwin's four years on the squad, the Tigers were 156-61-5 (.720 winning percentage) as a team.

Goodwin, the son of Joey and Kathy Goodwin of Smithville, said he chose Wesleyan over a handful of other school which showed interest. "Lambuth University in Jackson made a really good offer, but Wesleyan really stood out because I liked the campus. It's a small school, and the atmosphere there reminds me of Smithville. I really liked that."

The senior is excited to take his game to the next level. "It's always been my dream. When I was in Middle School, I quit everything else to concentrate on golf. I wanted to get a scholarship and I've accomplished that."

Coach Vance has seen much improvement in Goodwin's game during his time at DCHS, and believes he will do well at the next level. "Grant came in his freshman year with aspirations of playing well and winning tournaments and championships. He realized his senior year, or maybe even at the end of his junior year, that he needed to pick up his work ethic. He did that, and it payed dividends for him."

Vance says Wesleyan is a good school, particularly from an academic point of view, and thinks Goodwin has an exciting opportunity ahead of him."Tennessee Wesleyan is a very good school, education wise. They have a good golf program, and their coach is very excited to have Grant coming. He's very optimistic about the impact Grant can have on their golf team."

Eddie Hobson, who has worked with Goodwin on improving his game, sees many good traits in Goodwin, and believes he will excel in whatever he does."His character is impeccible. He's an excellent student. I don't believe anyone has ever had any trouble out of Grant, at all. If I ever had a son -- which I was very fortunate to have two daughters -- I think Grant would be a good role model for a son. Grant has always told me, he wants to be an athlete, but at the same time, he wants to be a good student-athlete, and I think he should be commended for that."

Tennessee Wesleyan is a four-year school, and is a member of the Appalacian Athletic Conference. The golf team's head coach is Mike Poe. The school enrolls roughly 880 students.

Smithville Police Stop Truck for Expired Tag and Find Marijuana

February 22, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 39 year old man was arrested Thursday night by Smithville Police after the officer found marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a routine traffic stop.

Chief Richard Jennings says David Leon Pirtle of 834 Gentry Avenue is charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $30,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges February 28th.

Chief Jennings says around 7:28 p.m. on Thursday Bradley Tatrow, the Smithville Police Department's K-9 officer, stopped Pirtle on Jackson Street after noticing a temporary tag that had expired on a 1994 Ford F-250 pickup truck that Pirtle was driving.

As Officer Tatrow inquired about the expired drive out tag, he noticed a book of rolling papers on the dash board of the vehicle. Upon receiving consent to search, he recovered five- quarter ounce bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. This was found in a metal tin box in the seat of the vehicle. A further search of the truck produced a box of clear plastic sandwich bags, two sets of scales, and more rolling papers.

Pirtle was arrested and charged and his truck was seized by the Smithville Police Department.

New Driver License Station Open

February 20, 2008

The Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) is opening a new Driver License Station in McMinnville and closing the one currently located at 167 Cadillac Lane. The new facility will be
located at 1350 Sparta Street, McMinnville, Tennessee.

The center on Cadillac Lane will be closed on Friday, February 22. The modular building is located on the campus of Motlow State Community College and has housed the Warren County Driver License Center for nearly 20 years. The move gives TDOS the opportunity to move into a
larger space that will allow the agency to serve customers more efficiently. It also clears the way for the school to proceed with its expansion plans on campus.

The new center will open for business on Tuesday, February 26. Hours of business will continue to be Tuesday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Customers may also utilize Driver License Centers in Manchester, located at 945 Jack Welch Drive, serving customers Tuesday
through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and in Cookeville at 4600 Jefferson Avenue, Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Project Graduation Seeks Support

February 20, 2008
Dwayne Page

Plans are underway for Project Graduation on May 23rd, the night of Graduation for the Class of 2008 at DeKalb County High School.

Jessica Dyer, a member of the class, says Project Graduation is a night of celebration and fun for the graduates. "Project Graduation is a drug and alcohol free event and it takes place right after graduation. It keeps the students off the roads on a night when it's really easy to make some bad decisions."

Tyler Cripps, another member of the class, says Project Graduation is held on campus under adult supervision. "Project Graduation starts as soon as graduation is over and it will last until the next morning. There will be adult supervision so parents don't have to worry about their kids running wild in the school. There will be teachers, administrative staff, and parents there to help watch over everybody."

Dyer says the graduates also have a chance to win prizes during Project Graduation." Everybody who participates in fund raising activities for Project Graduation, making posters, or anything like that, gets their name in a drawing for TV's, MP3's, gas cards, and gift cards to places like Old Navy and Wal-mart. There's just some really good prizes. Anyone who would like to make a donation to Project Graduation can go to the drive through at DeKalb Community Bank and just say this money is for Project Graduation. An account is already set up and your donation will be deposited right into that account. We meet about two times per month. We talk about our shirts, what kind of shirts we're going to make, our fundraisers, and we try to plan to make it good for all the students.'

Dyer says a male beauty contest is also set for March 1st as a fund raiser for Project Graduation. "We're having a male beauty pageant on March 1st at 6:00 p.m. at the gym. The senior guys will be dressing up like females. We're going to have a top ten. They will perform a talent and there will be a question round. From the top ten we'll pick the winner and he will be Mr. Project Graduation 2008. He will get a certificate and a little crown. Admission is $5.00 but kids age 10 and younger will be admitted free. The entry fee is $2.00 for any senior guy who wants to enter that."

The next Project Graduation meeting will be held at the Smithville office of DeKalb Community Bank March 3rd at 6:00 p.m.

Two Dump Trucks Loaded with Limestone Involved in Tuesday Morning Wreck

February 19, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two truck drivers, hauling a load of limestone, were involved in a traffic accident Tuesday morning on Highway 70 at Liberty.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Jamie Norrod of Smithville was driving west in a 2006 Mac dump truck when he rear-ended a 2004 Sterling dump truck, also going west, driven by 51 year old Bobby Ray Taylor of Liberty.

Both Norrod and Taylor had earlier loaded their trucks with limestone from the Rogers Group Company on Highway 53 for a custom delivery to a contractor on Coconut Ridge in Smithville. One man was driving for Rogers Group and the other for the Hillis Group of Sparta.

However as the two trucks were heading east on Highway 70, Taylor began having mechanical problems so he decided to turn around to head back to Rogers Group. To make sure Taylor made it back safely, Norrod also turned around and followed him.

As they got to Liberty, Taylor's truck began emitting a thick black smoke and it eventually stopped in the highway as the engine quick running. Because of the smoke, Norrod couldn't see that Taylor's truck had stopped and he rear-ended it, pushing it forward some 160 feet before the two trucks came to a stop.

Norrod was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released. Taylor was not injured.

Trooper Tisdale says an environmental crew of Goodlettsville was summoned to the scene to clean up oil and fuel which had spilled out onto the highway from the trucks.

The loads of limestone also had to be dumped and re-loaded onto other trucks.

TDOT closed both westbound lanes of traffic during the investigation and cleanup, forcing motorists in either direction to use the eastbound lanes.

Trooper Tisdale was assisted at the scene by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County Emergency Management Coordinator Charlie Parker, and DeKalb EMS.


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