Local News Articles

Five Injured in Sunday Morning Wrecks

October 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Craig LeFevre Family Injured in this 2001 Honda Accord
LeFevre Family Injured in this 2001 Honda Accord

Four people were injured in a two car crash Sunday morning on Highway 56 north in DeKalb County near Silver Point while one person was hurt in an earlier wreck on U.S. 70 near Alexandria

Central dispatch was notified of the accident on Highway 56 at 8:07 a.m.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old Autumn Meadows of Silver Point was traveling north in a 2002 Ford Taurus when she crossed the center line of the highway and made an angle impact with a southbound 2001 Honda Accord, driven by 44 year old Craig LeFevre. Passengers with LeFevre were his wife 42 year old Margaret LeFevre and his 11 year old step-son. After impact, the Meadows car came to a final rest in the southbound lane while LeFevre's car came to rest off the side of the road near the woods.

All reportedly got out of the vehicles under their own power except for Craig Lefevre who was pinned and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team. County Fire Chief Donny Green said both doors on the driver side were removed to make it easier to get LeFever out of the car.

All were taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Medical Center except for the child, who was transported there by a private vehicle.

Trooper England said that Meadows will be cited for failure to maintain her lane of travel

In addition to Trooper England, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team, others on the scene were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Trooper England also investigated a separate one car wreck earlier Sunday morning at on Highway 70 west near the four mile marker in the Alexandria area.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:45 a.m.

Trooper England said that 19 year old Tamara Armistead was driving a 2002 Chrysler Sebring west on U.S. 70 when she claims to have fallen asleep at the wheel. The car went off the right side of the road, sideswiped a utility pole and then struck a tree. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Hurricane Bridge Could Be Closed Temporarily Three Nights During the Week Starting in November

October 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Hurricane Bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that Hurricane bridge could be closed to all traffic temporarily during night time hours from Tuesdays through Thursdays starting next month.

In its latest weekly update on road and bridge projects Thursday, TDOT reported that " the contractor may close the bridge to all traffic between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. CDT on Tuesdays through Thursdays to pour sections of the new concrete deck. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR-53. The bridge will be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic each morning by 6:00 a.m. during this period."

WJLE contacted TDOT officials in Chattanooga Friday and an official there confirmed that the bridge closure could begin as early as November 8 but that more specifics would be announced in forthcoming media updates.

The Hurricane bridge rehabilitation began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by October 2013.

The bridge currently is down to only one lane of traffic, and it is being maintained and controlled by a temporary signal for the safety of the traveling public. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will remain in effect and will be strictly enforced. This allows for work on the north side of the bridge. Further temporary lane shifts may be implemented by flaggers on an "as needed" basis to facilitate work as it progresses, according to TDOT.

OCCI Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri is under contract with TDOT to do the construction at $26.9 million

Alexandria Home Heavily Damaged by Fire

October 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire Heavily Damages Alexandria Home

An Alexandria woman escaped safely from her home Thursday morning after discovering a fire coming from the utility room.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:08 a.m. at the residence of Helen Edwards of 168 Lower Helton Road.

Members of the Main Station, Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, and tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the City of Alexandria Fire Department.

The fire was contained to one side of the home but the residence received extensive damage.

BOPP Restricts Sex Offenders From Halloween Activities

October 21, 2011

The Board of Probation and Parole’s officers are again enforcing Halloween and fall festival restrictions against sex offenders under the agency’s supervision. Each sex offender has signed a letter acknowledging that they are prohibited from participating in Halloween activities. BOPP Chairman Charles Traughber said, “The safety of Tennessee’s communities is the top job for our staff all year long. But each year, we inform sex offenders under our supervision that Halloween and fall festival activities are inappropriate for them. The offenders also sign a letter acknowledging they understand and will comply with these restrictions.”

The letters advise sex offenders that:

They cannot answer the door to trick or treaters on Halloween;
They cannot pass out candy;
Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside;
They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes;
They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity;
They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences;
They cannot give any Halloween treats to children;
They cannot wear costumes and
They cannot take any child trick or treating.

BOPP probation and parole officers are enforcing the restrictions throughout the season. BOPP Field Services Director Gary Tullock said, “Officers are making additional visits, both announced and unannounced, to verify that sex offenders are in compliance with these restrictions. On many visits, probation and parole officers will be accompanied by local law enforcement officers for added emphasis on the importance of complying with these restrictions.”

The Board of Probation and Parole (http://www.tn.gov/bopp/) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on probation by criminal courts.

State Parole Board Member Votes to Deny Bounds Release from Prison

October 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds
Members of Sherman Wright Family seated near Bounds
Members of  Bounds Family seated behind J.B. Bounds
Sherman Wright (Photo from 1972, age 19)

64 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville may have to serve at least two more years in prison before being eligible for another parole hearing.

Following a hearing Thursday, one member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Yusuf Hakeem voted to deny parole for Bounds due to the seriousness of the offense in the 1981 fatal shooting of 27 year old Sherman Wright of DeKalb County. If at least three other members of the board vote to concur with Hakeem, Bounds will not be eligible for parole again until 2013


The hearing was held at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated.

Bounds is serving a life sentence for the first degree premeditated killing of Wright, who was shot once in the head just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981, allegedly over a gambling debt. The game room no longer exists. The building now serves as the location for the Discount Tobacco Outlet. Had Wright survived, he would be turning 58 years old on Tuesday, October 25th

Bounds was found guilty of first degree murder by a DeKalb County Circuit Court Jury following a trial in October 1981 and he has been in prison since, having served 30 years and eight months.

He has been up for parole three times, in September 2002, August 2005, and October 2010 This was his fourth parole hearing.

Hakeem, a member of the parole board conducting the hearing, was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from his office in Chattanooga, hearing from Bounds, two members of his family and a friend, and two members of the Wright family. Representing the Wright family were Sherman Wright's mother, Louise Wright; sister, Brenda Cantrell; brother Kenny Wright and his wife Kathy; nephew Nick Wright; aunts, Ponzell Usrey and Lynda Luna; first cousin Katherine Pack, and first cousin Cynthia Rhody and her husband Myron Rhody. Only Brenda Cantrell and Cynthia Rhody spoke for the Wright family during the hearing.

Speaking on behalf of Bounds were his cousin Sondra Williams; niece Lisa Childers, and friend Anita Barrett. Among other Bounds family members present were his brother Billy Bounds and daughter Jessica Green.

In reading the record on Bounds, Hakeem noted that "as a juvenile we have no criminal activity listed on your part. As an adult, there was a misdemeanor for reckless operation of a motor vehicle. As a felony, no other items are listed."

Bounds is a high school graduate and he attended Martin College and MTSU. Prior to the shooting, Bounds occupations included accounting and office work, and he served as a night club manager and insurance file clerk.

While in prison, Hakeem mentioned that Bounds has been involved in various educational classes and occupations. "As far as program participation, he has been a teacher's aide, landscape gardener, in the HVAC refrigeration class, carpenter class, computer literacy class, and anger management class."

Bounds is considered a minimum level trustee and during the course of his incarceration he has been involved in two disciplinary issues, the last being in August, 1998 for possession of drugs.

According to his release plan, if Bounds were to be granted parole, he plans to live with his brother Billy Bounds in McMinnville, or in the alternative, stay with his daughter Jessica Green in McMinnville.

Hakeem said Bounds received three letters of support for his release on parole but there seven letters filed in opposition.

Bounds admitted to shooting Wright but he insisted that it was unintentional. In fact, Bounds said he did not expect to see Wright that day, but ran into him while at the game room, where he had stopped to see someone else. "He owed me some money (more than $2,000). We had several discussions about it over a period of time. I had seen him on Friday night. He had come to my place of business and told me that he was working on some things and that he would have some money in a day or two. On Monday, the day it happened, I was going to DeKalb County and I saw a friend of mine's vehicle at this business (Odyssey Arcade). I didn't know what kind of business it was. I pulled in behind this vehicle and stopped. I walked in. It just so happened it was a game room. Mr Wright was there. He was playing a game. I asked to speak to him. He said just a second. I said okay. I was talking to my friend there. I was just going to talk to him there (inside the building) but he started out the door. As we were going out the door there was a girl there that he knew (Mary Mabe). She said something to him and he stopped. I just went on outside the door and I waited for him. He came out and we started talking about this. I guess we lost our tempers or whatever and I took a swing at him. When I did he stepped back. I missed and he put his hands in his pockets. I knew he had carried a gun. I had a gun so I pulled my gun and he pulled his hands out (of his pocket). Of course, I was mad so I was going to hit him with my pistol and when I did he grabbed it. Whether he hit my hand or I pulled the trigger or whatever, anyway it discharged and it shot him and killed him. I left the scene and drove back to McMinnville. I called my lawyer and he came and got me and we immediately went to the Warren County Jail. I didn't try to flee or anything" said Bounds.

In making a plea for his release on parole, Bounds' cousin Sondra Williams said the family needs him back home. "Both families have suffered because of this one act and we can't go back and make amends for that. But we are asking for him to be released because he has done everything they have asked of him. We do have a plan for him to be with us and for us to give him emotional support if he is released. Jessica (Green) has grown up without her father. She now has two boys of her own. They need a grandfather because she is a single parent. His brother and sister-in-law could use some help because his brother has both legs amputated. So his living in the house with them is part of it. He can be of assistance as well as work and take care of them. He has transportation. He has some money that his mother has left him. He's got a place to live. There are no prior incidences of violence so he is not a threat to society," said Williams.

"I'd like the parole board to take into consideration that he is an old man now. He has a brother who really needs him at home, said Bounds' niece Lisa Childers."He has a daughter and grandsons. He's a father, grandfather, brother, uncle and we could really use him at home. Right now, I am the only one there helping my dad. Its really hard on me. I am a full time nursing student and I could really use the extra help at home with him and Jessica could always use the extra help with her boys. We have a plan for him to have at least a part time job when he comes home. He has a place to live. He is not going to be any kind of threat to society. We do really need him. I lost my grandmother last year after the parole board hearing. We really needed him at home for that. We would really like to have him at home for however many good days he has left. We don't know. None of us are promised tomorrow so I'd just like to ask you to take that into consideration," said Childers.

Anita Barrett, a family friend, said " He has always been a very easy going person. He has a lot of friends. As an adult his life changed going into a different avenue than my life and I didn't see him much. I was married and had my own family. But I always knew that no matter what was going on the Gerald Bounds that I know is still the same. He regrets very much that this happened. He regrets what the Wright family has had to go through but he never intended for it to end like it did. We just want him to have a chance to come back and prove that he can be the person that he is and to help with his brother who really needs him. His daughter and grandchildren really need him and we as his friends want to be there for him. We would support him emotionally and physically, anyway we could. I know exactly what happened during this time. J.B. told me. I know exactly how it happened. I would just like to say that I would trust him with my life. I would trust him with anybody's life. I think he has paid a big, big price for this one mistake and even though it was a terrible mistake I see no reason that this would ever happen again. I would please ask that the parole board take into consideration who he is now and let him come home," said Barrett.

Brenda Cantrell, sister of the late Sherman Wright, gave an emotional plea for Bounds being denied parole. "I understand that its been a long time. We don't forget that its been a long time. I'm sure Mr. Bounds feels like he's paid his debt to society. His family may need him. But we needed our brother also. There's only ten of us here today but a survey was run in our local newspaper a couple of weeks ago and from that survey was the question of whether or not the people of DeKalb County thought that Mr. Bounds should be let out of prison. The result of that survey was 83% no and 17% yes. So not only are we a small representation that Mr. Bounds should not be released but I feel like other people of the county are supportive of us and have the same sentiments that we have that he should not be let out. As a matter of fact, some of Sherman's friends have contacted members of the family to let us know that they would possibly have to move if Mr. Bounds was let out," said Cantrell.

Cynthia Rhody, a first cousin of Sherman Wright, added " I speak for the family that's not here this morning. I'm sure Mr. Bounds has done a lot of time but we don't get Sherman back no more. We have family reunions. We have Christmas at my aunt Louise's house every year and Sherman is not there. Aunt Louise buried her husband, Sherman's father, and her parents and Sherman wasn't there. He missed the birth of his nephews. He's missed the birth of several of our children. We miss him so everyday. Our loss is not gone. We don't wake up and say Sherman will be in this evening for lunch. That's not going to happen to us no more sir. We feel that Mr. Bounds should not be paroled," said Rhody.

Hakeem asked Bounds " What do you think your actions have had on the family of Mr. Wright"?

Bounds replied "I can just imagine its been difficult. I know for my own family its been terrible. I can only imagine what its been for them. I wish there was something I could say that would help in some way but I don't know what it would be," he said.

When asked how he has changed since being in prison, Bounds said "I've learned to have patience. I don't have the temper. I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned a lot about what I used to be. That's changed. I'm not the same person. My problem was anger. That's the reason I took an anger management class," he added.

"In a non restricted environment on the street, what would make us think that you would be in control and not intimidate people or do things illegal," asked Hakeem

"I don't know where this intimidation would come from," said Bounds. " I don't have anything against these people. I understand. I feel for these people. I don't know them and they don't know me. Why would I try to intimidate anybody. I'm an old guy for Christ's sake. I'd like to spend some time with my grand kids. I don't gamble anymore. I don't drink. I don't do any of that stuff anymore. That's not what I want to do. You can do that in here (prison) if you want to. None of my family do drugs. Most of them don't drink. They don't gamble. They don't do any of those things. That's the people I want to surround myself with," said Bounds

Hakeem later asked Bounds why he should be released on parole. "I've always told the truth about what I did, said Bounds. I've never denied my responsibility. I know it's a terrible thing. Thousands of times I've tried to figure out why? I wish if there was anyway I could have took that back a second later and I would have but once its done, its done. So I've tried to do my time. I've tried to do it right. I read a lot. I study things a lot. I've learned new things, crafts, computers, and whatever. I've tried to spend my time constructive. I've been here almost 31 years. I'm 64 years old. I'm committed to leaving here. All I want to do is enjoy my family and friends that I have. I have some very good support from friends that I have known for my entire life. I don't feel that there's anything that would keep me from doing things right and I don't think there's any future in me being here. I don't think that would serve any purpose. I don't know what else I could do to help myself. I feel like the time has come that somebody should put some trust in me,' said Bounds.

In announcing his vote, Hakeem said. 'You (Bounds) are incarcerated for first degree murder and the manner in which it has been described, I would consider it calculated in the manner in which it happened. The programs that you have been involved in, I think are good. The jobs that you've held are very good. But some of the things I would want to see as far as programs are concerned are programs like criminal thinking, thinking for a change. Programs that deal with the mind. Something that gives me great pause and great concern is your account of what took place, particularly when I compare that to the account that's in the appeals record. To me they're very different. Based on everything I can see and understand at this time Mr Bounds I can't vote today to parole you sir. Some of the things I think you need to do is (get in) the type of programs that deal with the mind. Though you have been here for a number of years, the Wright family has no contact, so to speak, with their loved one. When I asked about the impact on the families, I listened as you made comments but I did not hear any remorse on your part for what took place. Be mindful, I am only one vote and my colleagues may see it totally different. They may say you've met all the requirements, Its time for you to go. That vote will take place over the next three or four weeks when they review the files. So my vote today is not final. But my vote today is to decline you for two years for seriousness of the offense with programming as I suggested dealing with the mind. This will tell me that you are ready to move back into society and not be a threat to society," said Hakeem.

Bounds' file will now go to the other six members of the state board of pardons and paroles. They will review the case and cast their votes. The voting continues until there are four concurring votes (either to parole or to deny parole), which is what the law requires for a decision on this offense.

The factors board members consider in making parole decisions include the seriousness of the offense, the amount of time served, support and/or opposition to the parole, victim impact, any disciplinary issues the offender might have had while incarcerated, any programs the offender might have completed while incarcerated, etc.

It generally takes 3-4 weeks to get a final decision in any case.

Social Security Announces 3.6 Percent Benefit Increase

October 19, 2011

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday..

The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2012. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $110,100 from $106,800. Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2012, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

Stained Glass Artist Plans Customer Appreciation Open House

October 19, 2011
 Drew Trahan

After 30 years as a professional stained glass artist, Drew Trahan is scaling back operations at ArtGlass, the Silver Point studio where he designs and builds his work.

To mark his semi-retirement, he’s hosting a customer appreciation day Friday through Sunday, Oct 28-30. Anyone interested in stained glass is invited to visit him in his studio, on highway 56, just off Interstate-40 at exit 273 in Silver Point. Doors will be open from 10 until 5 each day.

“I can’t get around as well as I once could due to my health,” says Trahan. “So, I want to take an opportunity to thank all the people who have shown an interest in my work, and supported it, over the years.”

Trahan arrived in DeKalb County with his young family in 1980 from Ft. Lauderdale, where he was a lieutenant in the fire department. Primarily self taught, he started stained glass as a hobby after taking a one-hour class, and only pursued it as a career after moving here.

For more than 20 years, he worked from his studio on highway 56 north of Smithville before relocating it to Silver Point a few years ago. He’s created stained glass windows for several area churches, the Justin Potter library, Webb House, homes here and throughout the country, and the mansions of country stars like Garth Brooks and Randy Travis. He's won many awards for his work.

Visitors to the ArtGlass studio can see how Trahan designs, cuts and assembles his projects. He’s also invited several guests, and light refreshments will be served. What remains of Trahan’s completed pieces will be available. Glass hobbyists can choose from the extensive inventory of colored, textured and beveled glass Trahan is now selling below wholesale.

For more information, contact Drew Trahan at 931 858 1844

City and County Officials to Conduct Workshop over Fees for Treatment of Landfill Leachate

October 18, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Taft Hendrixson
Shawn Jacobs

The City of Smithville, since August 2008, has not been paying the county for the disposal of city garbage in the landfill and the county, since March 2009, has not been paying for the treatment of landfill leachate being hauled to the city's waste water treatment plant.

County Mayor Mike Foster, in a telephone interview with WJLE Monday night, said this non-payment agreement was worked out between he and Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson months ago. But according to Mayor Hendrixson, there was no such deal. He said the city's refusal to pay is based on the principle that the county should not be charging Smithville a fee to dump city garbage in the county landfill since city residents are already supporting the operation of the landfill as county taxpayers. That, he said, is double taxation. Mayor Hendrixson also questions why Smithville, which hauls its own garbage to the landfill, is expected to pay for disposal when the three other cities, whose garbage is hauled to the landfill by the county, are not required to pay for disposal.

Whatever the arrangement has been between the city and county, at least one Smithville Alderman wants city officials to revisit the issue with County Mayor Foster in a workshop which is expected to be scheduled soon.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs raised the issue during Monday night's city council meeting. "Numerous people have asked me about this. I think we're all aware that the county has been bringing many more tanks of leachate to the landfill to be processed at the city sewer plant. As of right now the city is not being reimbursed for the cost of doing that. That is a cost to ratepayers of the water and sewer department. I know its an issue that a lot of folks have brought to my attention. As a matter of fact, I think even County Mayor Foster has offered to meet in a workshop session with the board to discuss the situation and whether the city is willing to let the county have their leachate treated for free," said Alderman Jacobs.

Mayor Hendrixson, during Monday night's meeting, explained how the leachate issue came to his attention. "When they first got the new cell site over there, Mayor Foster came to me and he said until they got some build up of garbage in there we're going to have to haul out some leachate. So I told him to go ahead and haul some out. It has continued to be an on-going thing. I wasn't aware of that for a long time. But it is. Its an on-going thing and probably will be a forever thing," said Mayor Hendrixson.

"I hear there are hundreds of loads a week going in there," said Alderman Jacobs.

"I think that depends on the weather," replied Mayor Hendrixson.

"I think its something that we need to at least discuss," said Alderman Jacobs." I think we owe it to the ratepayers of the Smithville water system to investigate this and decide what we need to do and to come to some kind of formal agreement because right now we don't have one".

The last payment the county made to the city for leachate treatment was in March, 2009 for February hauls. According to available records, from March 2009 to September 2011, the total amount of money the city could have tried to collect from the county for treatment of landfill leachate comes to $400,110.

The biggest month for leachate from the landfill within the last three years was in May 2009 when 274 loads totaling 1,570,300 gallons were hauled by the county to the city wastewater treatment plant at a cost of $46,920 which has gone unpaid.

This year, the lowest number of monthly leachate hauls through September was in August when 18 hauls were made totaling 81,000 gallons at a cost of $2,340 which has gone unpaid.

The city had been paying the county approximately $50,000 per year for garbage disposal but ceased payments after August 2008. The last payment made in August 2008 was for the prior quarter of April through June 2008. The total amount of money the county could have tried to collect from the city from July, 2008 to September 2011 is more than $150,000, which has gone unpaid.

Foster, during the Monday night telephone interview with WJLE, explained his version of how the arrangement between the county and the city came about. "I guess its been nearly three years ago when we were putting in a new (landfill) cell and we were getting a lot of storm water in there. Its technically called leachate but its basically storm water. Its basically water that runs into the cell and when you have that big of an opening which was like five acres, you're going to get a lot of water. We were getting about 25,000 gallons of water per acre, per inch of rain. It was just a lot of water to haul. When we opened up that new cell we were getting a lot of that (leachate) and we were paying the city for it (to treat it). I think we were paying around $140 per load.. The city was paying about $45,000 or $50,000 (to the county) for hauling their garbage to the landfill. Of course we (county) gave them a better rate than we did everybody else. I think everybody else was paying $35 per ton and they (city) were paying $25 per ton. One day we met with Mayor Taft Hendrixson and worked out an agreement where we would not pay for leachate or storm water treatment. They (city) run it through their (sewer plant) and treat it with some things that kill the bacteria in it and then dump it into the creek. Of course we (county) have to bury their garbage which costs us $35 a ton. Anyway we worked out a two year agreement to where neither the city nor the county would pay anything for that two year period which has just expired. About a month or so ago I called to see about renewing that agreement but that was the last I had heard about it until now," said Foster.

Foster said he welcomes a workshop with the mayor and aldermen to try and resolve this issue.

In May, 2009 city officials contacted Don Darden of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to give an opinion on the following question:

Is it possible for the county to prevent the City from taking our garbage to the County landfill? We have refused to pay the county anymore for solid waste disposal being that we pick up and take the garbage to the landfill at our expense. We feel that the City residents are being double taxed for county solid waste disposal. Any thoughts on this?

In his response, Darden said "if the county is paying its landfill expense from property taxes
county wide, then I think you are right. I ran into this same situation when I was city administrator in LaFollette. Campbell County used its second half of the sales taxes to pay landfill expenses, and LaFollette had to pay a tipping fee to dump there. If the county is using a
revenue that is not levied against its county residents who live in Smithville, then I think Smithville will have to pay," he said.

Meanwhile, in other business the board adopted on second and final reading following a public hearing proposed ordinance #435. This is an ordinance abandoning the roadway on the southside of the South Mountain Street and Adams Street intersection.

Mayor Hendrixson explained that "its on the south side of the South Mountain Street and Adams Street intersection. Its something that was never built. Its known as the Johnson/Turner addition. It happened in the 1940's but it has never been built.

The proposed ordinance reads as follows: "Whereas the Mayor and Aldermen are aware that the roadway shown on the southside addition of the Johnson/Turner addition dated May 4, 1945 has not been improved nor improved as a roadway since the construction and improvement of Adams Street.

Whereas, no landowner adjoining the roadway shown on the southside of the Johnson/Turner addition dated May 4, 1945 will be land locked by virtue of the abandonment of said roadway.

Whereas the Mayor and Board of Aldermen have concluded that it is in the best interest of the City of Smithville to abandon the roadway shown on the southside of the addition of the Johnson/Turner addition dated May 4, 1945

Now, Therefore be it ordained as follows: Section 1, the City of Smithville does hereby abandon any right, claim, easement, fee, or intent otherwise in the portion of said southside roadway from the South Mountain Street easterly intersection to the present construction of the Adams Street intersection.

Section 2 This ordinance shall take effect upon second and final reading"

The aldermen also voted to accept a bid from Highways Incorporated in the amount of $84.50 per ton for hot mix to do some street paving. It was the lowest of the two bids received. The other bid came from Lo-Jack in the amount of $84.75 per ton.

Dawson Wanted by Police in Severe Beating of Another Man

October 18, 2011
Dwayne Page

A 38 year old man is facing charges of aggravated burglary, domestic assault, and aggravated assault upon his arrest after an incident Saturday, October 1st at a residence on Oak Street.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Art Lee Dawson of Grand View Avenue, Smithville remains at large.

According to Chief Caplinger, Dawson entered the Oak street home uninvited where his ex-girlfriend was staying and allegedly assaulted her. Another man, who was also there at the time, intervened telling Dawson that he would have to leave. Dawson then turned on the man allegedly beating him severely about the face with his fists. Dawson also allegedly struck him with a tall lamp and coffee table. The man was later taken to the hospital. Dawson fled before police arrived.

If you know of Dawson's whereabouts you are urged to call the Smithville Police Department's crime tip line at 464-6046.

Meanwhile, three people have been charged with evading arrest after a police pursuit on Friday, October 7. A fourth person remains at large in this case.

37 year old Tammy Gail Nunley, 38 year old Roxanne White, and Scott L. Sykes are all charged with evading arrest. Bond for each is set at $1,500 and are due to appear in court on October 27.. The fourth person will be charged with felony evading and reckless endangerment.

Chief Caplinger reports that a Smithville Police Officer tried to pull over a Nissan Altima for a traffic offense on Broadstreet, when the vehicle "took off". A police pursuit ensued from Broad Street onto Highway 56 south to County House Road and ended in a hay field. The four persons in the car got out and fled on foot. One of them, Nunley, surrendered to police at the scene. The other two, White and Sykes were picked up the next day. The fourth person, the driver of the car, has not yet been arrested.

32 year old Scotty Wayne Knowles and 20 year old Latasha Nicole Cantrell were arrested on Wednesday, October 12 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Caplinger reports that Smithville Police Officers went to a residence on Snow Street, responding to complaints of possible drug activity there. Both Knowles and Cantrell were at the residence along with another woman, 30 year old Christina Johnson.

Police confronted Knowles, who is under state probation. He gave officers consent to search and they found in his boot a hypodermic needle. Police also searched a camper outside on the premises and found a metal container which held six hypodermic needles. Cantrell allegedly claimed the needles belonged to her. Both Knowles and Cantrell were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will appear in court on November 17.

Johnson was picked up for violation of probation.

37 year old Marcia Ann Raymer of Watertown was issued a citation for theft of property in a shoplifting case at Walmart on Friday, October 7. She was allegedly caught with several items that she had not paid for. The total value of the merchandise came to $90.12. She will be in court on November 3.

19 year old Christopher Thomas Pack is charged with two counts of vandalism under $500. He is under a $2,000 bond and will be in court on October 27.

According to Chief Caplinger, Pack went to a home on Anthony Avenue to see his girlfriend. When she wouldn't let him in, he allegedly caused some damage to a vehicle at the residence before he left. Pack allegedly returned later while no one was at home and caused some damage to a back door of the residence. He was later arrested at his Adams Street home and charged in the case.

41 year old Mark Anthony Hopkins is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana). Hopkins is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court on October 27.

Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to an apartment complex on Foster Road where someone had reported hearing a fight taking place in one of the apartments. By the time officers arrived, the suspect believed to have been involved had left the scene. About an hour later, police were called back to the apartment complex in answer to another disturbance call. Hopkins was outside the apartment as police arrived and one of the officers saw him place something in a jack-o-lantern. There they found in a pill bottle a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

35 year old Lonnie Lynn Wheeler is charged with domestic assault of his wife on October 14, causing her to require treatment at the emergency room of the hospital. He is under a $2,500 bond and he will be in court on November 3.

38 year old John William Cline is charged with domestic assault. He will be in court on November 3. Chief Caplinger said Cline came to a woman's residence demanding money and her vehicle. He then swung his fist at her before throwing an open beer can at her.

43 year old David Howard Dixon is charged with public intoxication and simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.

Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to a residence on Bell Street where an unwanted visitor was bothering the home owner. Police arrived and found Dixon who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was unsteady on his feet and had trouble standing. Dixon told police he thought he was in Warren County. Officers found on him a plastic bag containing what is believed to be marijuana.

Redistricting Plan to be Presented to County Commission

October 18, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission, which also makes up the redistricting committee, has completed a redistricting plan to better equalize the population count among the seven districts of the county based on the results of the 2010 census. What that means is that some residents who are currently in a particular district now will soon find themselves in another district, which also means they will have a different school board member, constable, and county commissioners representing them than those who currently serve them.

The committee met Thursday night at the courthouse to approve the plan after receiving the newly drawn redistricting map for the county from the State Comptroller of the Treasury Office of Local Government. The plan is expected to be formally approved during the next meeting of the county commission this month.

2010 census figures show that DeKalb's population is now at 18,723. In order to make them equal in population, each of the seven districts would need a population of no more than 2,675. But the districts don't have to be exactly equal in population, as long as the overall population deviation of the county is not more than 10%. DeKalb County's overall deviation is 17%

In DeKalb County, the third district has a total of 2,890 residents while the seventh district's population totals 2,881, which makes each of those districts deviation over by +8%. The second district, meanwhile, has 2,428 residents, which puts it's deviation under by -9%. Adding the +8% to the -9% puts DeKalb County's overall deviation at 17%. Since the overall benchmark is 10%, the boundaries in at least some or all of the districts will need to be adjusted to bring the overall range down to 10% or below.

Under the new redistricting plan, the highest deviations, plus or minus, will be in the fourth and sixth districts. The fourth district's population will be 2,719 with a deviation over by +1.7% while in the sixth district, the population will be 2,644 for a deviation of -1.1%, putting the county's overall deviation at 2.8%. Again, the county can have an overall deviation of up to 10%, so the 2.8% deviation under the new redistricting plan will be well within the range allowed by law.

"This tells us that we have our numbers correct now in the districts," said County Mayor Mike Foster. It did necessitate moving a few lines but basically the districts are pretty much the same as they were. Some people in some of the districts got moved to other districts because of the way the numbers fell. We hoped we could keep it all the same but we had a 17% disparity and we have to be less than 10%. Number wise, the first district now has 2,671 people and to be perfect it would have needed four more people. The second district had 2,681 which was six people too many. The third district has 2,673 and needed two more people. The fourth district has 2,719 which is 44 people too many. The fifth district has 2,666 and needed nine more people. The sixth district has 2,644 and needed 31 more people. The seventh district has 2,669 and needed six more people. This is the closest we can get to where we need to be. The state required that we be within a 10% overall range and we're now, with this plan, at 2.8%. I think most people are comfortable in the districts they are in and they don't like to move. I wouldn't want to either. But it's a necessity. All districts changed just a little. There were some districts that didn't need to change but in order to change the ones that did (need changing) we had to change them too to make it work," said Foster.

Under the new redistricting plans, the population in each district will be as follows:

First district: 2,671, a deviation of -0.1% or four persons

Second district: 2,681, a deviation of +0.2% or six persons

Third district: 2,673, a deviation of -0.1% or two persons

Fourth district: 2,719, a deviation of +1.7% or 44 persons

Fifth district: 2,666, a deviation of -0.3% or nine persons

Sixth district: 2,644, a deviation of -1.1% or thirty one persons

Seventh district: 2,669, a deviation of -0.2% or six persons

Under the law, the new redistricting plan must be in place by January 1, 2012.


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