Local News Articles

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

April 24, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

The State Senate has approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, was approved by a vote of 19-14 this week on the Senate floor.

“If the role of the Attorney General in the state of Tennessee is to provide the best legal service possible to the state and its citizens, then it doesn’t make much sense to me that he or she is currently twice removed from the citizens of Tennessee,” said Beavers. “Currently, the people of Tennessee have to elect a governor, who appoints the Supreme Court, who then appoints the Attorney General and Reporter. This process eliminates any possible practical or substantial check of the attorney general by Tennesseans – who are supposed to be his or her most important clients.”

Forty-three states elect their attorneys general via a popular election, and in six other states, the Attorney General is selected by either the popularly elected Governor or the popularly elected state legislature. Beavers said for most of Tennessee’s history, when the Constitution called for an appointed Attorney General by the Supreme Court Justices, the court was popularly elected.

“The Supreme Court Rules talk about promoting public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” said Beavers. “How does a system where an Attorney General appointed by the same body he might one day argue a case before promote public confidence and impartiality?”

The resolution offered by Beavers would amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years. The amendment process would require approval by both the 106th and 107th General Assemblies. If approved, the question would then go to voters in a statewide referendum in the year 2014.

Issues In Brief

DUI / Interlock devices – The full Senate has approved legislation that would increase the use of ignition interlock devices to curb the number of alcohol-related car crashes in Tennessee. Senate Bill 2965, sponsored by Senator Beavers, requires the use of the devices for extreme drunk drivers, such as those who have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher or who drive intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. It also provides that those convicted of drunk driving under .15 with the option to install an interlock device instead of being geographically restricted by the court. Interlock devices are small pieces of equipment attached to the steering wheel of a car with a tube that the driver must breathe into in order to allow the ignition to start. Studies show the devices have been very successful in curbing drunk driving.

Abortion / federal healthcare law – The State Senate has passed and sent to the governor legislation to prohibit taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion services in Tennessee associated with the federal healthcare law passed by Congress. The bill, Senate Bill 2686, prohibits any health care plan established pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress from offering coverage for abortion services.

Veterans / fundraising – A resolution seeking to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to allow tax exempt veterans groups to raise funds in the same manner as 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations was sent to a Summer Study Committee for further review and to refine the language of the proposal. Veterans groups were left out of the Constitutional Amendment approved by voters in 2002, due to the way their organizations are generally structured as 501 (c) (19) or 501 (c) (4) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code. The Committee will look at making the language in the resolution, SJR 982, as precise as possible to allow charitable fundraisers by veterans, without unintentionally opening a door to any unscrupulous gaming activities.

Highways / federal funds – Legislation that calls for Tennessee to keep its own road money rather than participate in the Federal-Aid Highway Program was approved by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill, Senate Bill 3678, provides for Tennessee to opt out of the federal program subject to enabling action by Congress. The state could then elect to retain the state’s contributions to the federal Highway Trust Fund for transportation purposes. Tennessee is a donor state as far as the Federal-Aid Highway Program is concerned. In the 2008-2009, Tennessee remitted $740.6 million in taxes collected from fuel, batteries and diesel to the federal highway trust fun and received $673.4 million in allocations. Under the proposal, taxes retained by the state would be directed to the State Highway Fund instead.

Foreign defamation / Libel Tourism -- State Senators voted this week to approve Senate Bill 3589 that would help in the fight against a tactic known as “Libel Tourism.” The practice is used in defamation lawsuits filed against authors critical of individuals with known ties to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and Hamas. The legislation ensures that Tennessee Courts have the ability not to recognize a foreign judgment, if that country’s laws protecting free speech and the free press are not as protective as freedoms provided in the constitutions of Tennessee and United States. The measure relates to grounds for non-recognition of foreign defamation judgments, closely resembling similar laws passed by the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Utah and Florida Legislatures on the matter.

Domestic Violence – The Senate Judiciary Committee continued to make progress in attacking crime in the state with passage of several bills this week, including two measures to address domestic violence. One proposal, Senate Bill 2708, prohibits a respondent of an order of protection from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the petitioner. The bill makes it clear that the person to whom the order is directed cannot contact the victim “for any purpose.” The action would prevent excuses from being used in violation of the order.

The second domestic violence proposal, Senate Bill 2709, allows the court to order domestic abuse perpetrators to attend counseling programs. The bill prescribes a list of counseling programs the judges can order from if they choose, including, intervention programs that are certified by Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council. The bill increases the maximum penalty for those convicted of the crime from $200 to $225, with the proceeds going to grants for domestic violence shelter programs.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 24, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

This past week was a busy one. It began with an important roundtable meeting between the Smith County Living Group, the Commissioner of Tourism and Development, Upper Cumberland Tourism, The Main Street Program, Department of Economic and Community Development, and Cumberland Region Tomorrow to discuss preserving and protecting our Courthouse and Square in Smith County. It was exciting to see us all come together and productively advance towards a solution. Towns perish without vision. However, the vision for Carthage is in full gear. The Courthouse Square is the heartbeat of any small town and we are working to revitalize and bring business back to Main Street again. It an honor as your State Representative to work for you by networking with local state government officials and working together towards making our district a better place to live and raise our families.

Tuesday was minister’s day on the Hill. What a wonderful blessing to have prayer in my office and in just the nick of time! I was also busy this week with vital legislation to our district. House Bill 3627 will be heard this week which will require the Tennessee Department of Transportation to bring a prioritized list of bridges to the General Assembly. In this economic crisis it is imperative we have transparency and accountability coupled with fiscal responsibility that will bring rural taxpayer dollars back to rural Tennessee. Our bridges and roads are vital to our economic development and security of jobs. HB3628 addresses Workers Compensation which would repeal legislation passed previously requiring sole proprietors to buy insurance. Now is not the time to add another expense to our small businesses who are struggling in this economy.

Earlier this week I paid a visit to a company in Red Boiling Springs called Raecoe. The company makes uniforms for our honorable men and women in service for our country. They employ approximately 100 people. Owner Joel Coe welcomed my visit as we toured his facility and discussed the different dynamics of his business.

This week, I along with some of my esteemed colleagues denounced a tax increase proposal floated by Governor Phil Bredesen as a way to balance the budget. The administration proposed an additional $85 million in tax increases by increasing the sales tax on single article sales.

Last week, Bredesen and his senior staff outlined a plan to remove the sales tax cap on single article sales. At present, the value of individual items over $3,200 are taxed at seven percent. The governor wants to increase this to 9.75 percent.

Many of us expressed our disappointment in the Governor for showing blatant disregard for the challenges small business owners and average Tennesseans face. Small businesses should be the driving force behind an economic recovery.

The $85 million tax increase would be in addition to $50 million the administration has called for by increasing taxes on cable television, cable television boxes, business telephone services, and free hotel breakfasts. In total, Bredesen has proposed over $130 million in new taxes this year alone.

The TennCare Oversight Committee heard an update on Monday regarding the Long-Term Care and Community Choices Act of 2008, a proposal that overhauled the state’s previously fragmented long-term care system. The plan aimed to increase options and choices for those who needed long-term care support, expand access, and better utilize existing funding.

The plan was designed to promote independence, choice, dignity, and quality of life for the elderly and/or people with physical disabilities who need long-term care support and services from the state’s TennCare program. The legislation included consumer-directed options that offered more choices regarding the kinds of long-term care services people need, where they are provided, and who will deliver them, with appropriate mechanisms to ensure accountability for taxpayer funds. In 2008, 98 percent of all long term care dollars went to nursing home care, the most expensive option. We anticipated saving money by moving funds to home and community-based care for those who were able to live at home with some assistance.

The committee heard from Pattie Killingsworth, Chief of Long-Term Care. Killingsworth reported that TennCare CHOICES, the long-term care system created by the legislation, was successfully implemented in Middle Tennessee in March of this year. The transition was seamless, and 8, 624 enrollees were transitioned to the new program. Even more Tennesseans are taking advantage of the home and community based services since March, including about 450 brand new enrollees. Killingsworth reported the department is currently working on implementing CHOICES in East and West Tennessee.

The State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority, will begin offering rebates to Tennesseans who replace old appliances with Energy Star® qualified ones. Portions of the rebate funding were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total funding for the rebate program is just over $5.9 million, and rebates will be granted until the funds are depleted.

Rebates of $250 will be available for central air conditioners, $40 for room air conditioners, and $250 for heat pumps. Because there are certain specifications that the appliances must meet in order to be eligible in addition to being Energy Star®, consumers are encouraged to check the requirements before purchasing.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development reports that the estimated energy savings for delivery and installation of qualified heating and cooling products statewide will be approximately 16 million kilowatt hours per year. A reduction in energy use of that size translates to a yearly savings of almost $1.4 million in energy costs for Tennesseans and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by 32 million pounds annually.

The Transportation Committee approved House Bill 2544 Tuesday afternoon after a long debate. The bill creates the offense of “super speeding” when a driver speeds at 75 miles per hour or more on any two-lane highway or 85 miles per hour or more on any public highway or interstate. The penalty for super speeding would be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $200 fine.

The bill will be heard next in the Budget Subcommittee. Instead of costing the state money, the legislation actually has the potential to bring in $3.7 million. Under the bill, the funds would be directed to the state’s Trauma Center System established in 2007.

In closing, remember the 40th district seat is your seat. I invite you to come to my office, the War Memorial Building room 105, anytime and spend the day shadowing your State Representative or just dropping in for a visit. As always I am happy to hear from the people in my district.

DCHS Students Help Smithville Police Stage Mock Traffic Accident

April 23, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident
DCHS Students Help Stage Mock DUI Traffic Accident2

The Smithville Police Department and DeKalb EMS in cooperation with DeKalb County High School staged a "mock drill" in the parking lot of DCHS on Friday morning.

Police say the drill simulated a two vehicle crash involving drunk drivers. There were a total of eight victims, two of whom died. The others were treated at the scene. Students in the theater class at DCHS played the roles of victims in the exercise. The entire student body was allowed to witness the event.

Authorities say this drill helped test the readiness of the police department and the ambulance service while serving as a lesson to students about the dangers of drunk driving, especially on prom night.

Police also want to express a special thanks to DeKalb Tire & Service for providing the cars used in the staged accident scene.

Student with "Hit List" Apologizes- Judge Orders Him Placed in State Custody

April 23, 2010
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County High School freshman, who allegedly made threats against other students and school system employees in a "hit list" found at school last week, pleaded guilty to committing a delinquent act as well as violation of probation in a previous drug case against him in Juvenile Court Thursday morning.

Judge Bratten Cook, II ordered that fourteen year old Justin Manley be placed in state custody where he will receive counseling and treatment for his drug use, behavior problems, and a condition he is believed to suffer from called "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD).

Manley, who appeared before the judge, alongside members of his family and attorney, Jeremy Trapp, apologized to people he named on the "hit list" and their families. " I'd like to apologize to all the parents here because of me. I've thought about it long and hard and realize it's probably the most ignorant thing I could have done and I'm sorry."

Last Monday, April 12th, the DCHS school resource officer Kenneth Whitehead was informed by other students that Manley had a hit list. The list, with written threats against seventeen students, DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, bus driver/transportation supervisor Peggy Pursell and a high school teacher, was apparently found in a backpack at Manley's locker.

The list was confiscated and Manley was taken into custody, removed from school, and placed in the juvenile detention center in Cookeville, where he apparently remained until Thursday's hearing.

During questioning by his lawyer, Trapp, Manley said Thursday that he did not intend to harm anyone and that he made out the list to just "clear his head"

Attorney Jeremy Trapp- "Tell the court why you wrote that"

Manley-"To clear my head"

Trapp- "Did you show that letter or give it to anybody?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp- "Where did they find it?"

Manley-"My backpack"

Trapp- "Is that the way you vent, to write it down on paper?"

Manley-"Yes sir"

Trapp- "Did you ever mean to show that to anybody or scare anybody with it?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp-"Did you intend any harm out of that?"

Manley- "No sir"

Trapp- "But you understand now how serious that can be?"

Manley- "Yes sir"

Trapp- "Do you understand the school taking action the way they did?"

Manley- "Yes sir"

Trapp also questioned Officer Whitehead along with Patrick Cripps and David Gash, members of the high school administration. All three said that Manley had not been involved in any fights at school, although Gash added that on one occasion, " We had a report that he was going to have a fight. Deputy Whitehead and myself, we went around the campus and found him walking around, but there was never any actual altercation"

Manley's probation officer also said she never saw Manley "that angry".

The "hit list" incident, however, was not Manley's first encounter with the court. In December, 2009 Manley appeared in Juvenile Court on a charge of simple possession. He was placed on probation. Less than a month ago, as part of his probation, Manley was drug tested and the result showed he had used marijuana and Xanax. Because of the failed drug test and the delinquent act offense, Manley was also facing a violation of his probation, which he pled guilty to Thursday.

Manley has also had a series of misbehavior incidents at school this year including at least eight unexcused absences, at least three suspensions from riding the school bus, not participating in class, being disruptive, uncooperative, and annoying classmates, among others

Manley comes from a broken home. His mother and father divorced several years ago. Manley had lived with his mother until January, 2009, when he came to DeKalb County to live with his father.

Manley's mother, who lives at Hermitage and has legal custody of Manley, asked the court to place him with her and that she would make sure he received the counseling and treatment he needs at a center in Memphis. "I have been employed at the Nashville airport but I'm a home mom now. I will be with him 24/7. His step-father owns a business in Nashville. He is self employed, so he is in and out all the time. We have an in-house alarm system to where there's no way he can get out of the home without that alarm going off. I would be by his side constantly making those trips to Memphis, checking on his progress and communicating with the doctors and the people he's having therapy with."

Manley's mother added that if her son was in her care, she would see that he was home schooled. "He was hard to handle and he had behavior problems in school (when he lived with her). I got calls from teachers all the time, but never this serious. He doesn't cope well in school and I plan to home school him."

Trapp appealed to the judge to grant Manley's mother's request. "As far as the imminent threat, getting physical, there's two experts (evaluators, counselors) that didn't see any imminent risk of violence. There are some drug and behavioral issues and he needs some medication. There's no question that he has issues to work out. But his mother will do everything she can to make sure that he gets the proper treatment that he needs. She is an in-home mom and can be there 24/7. She anticipates sending him to this Memphis facility."

Judge Cook however was not convinced. " Looking at the psychological evaluation, it looks to me like there's a lot of issues that need to be addressed. Through no fault of your own, sounds like you (Manley) were raised in a home that was not calm, quiet, collected, and nurturing. There's nothing you could have done about that. That's just the circumstances of your mom and dad. I'm sure that brought on some of the problems that you have. Reading this evaluation, the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), looks like a significant problem that you might can deal with if treated."

"I think there's a lot of things you (Manley) need that you might could get if I left you in your mom's home or your dads home and I say might because I would be deferring to them to get you the help that I know that the state will provide If I put you in state custody."

"I accept your explanation that it was the stupidest thing you could have done. And I think your apology to these people was sincere, but still it's stupid. In the day and age that we live today, you cannot do something that stupid and not suffer a substantial consequence as a result of it. Part of the whole judicial system's job is to protect people. And here when you have a specific threat, even though you say I didn't mean it, you have to take it seriously because if I just slap you on the wrist and let you go and then all of a sudden you decide to get a gun and start shooting these people, then I'm not sure I'd ever sleep well another night of my life. I'm not willing to take that chance. Plus, there's just a lot of treatment that you need son. So I'm not going to defer to your parents to get that (treatment) when I know if I put you in state custody that you're going to get the help you need because I'll monitor the case and make sure you do. Hopefully you won't be there too terribly long. A lot of that depends upon you. Your behavior. Whether you cooperate with the treatment, the counseling, taking the medication, a lot of that depends on you."

Judge Cook added " I want you (Manley) to end up being a successful, responsible person but you're going to have to learn to follow the rules and if you don't there's going to be some consequences you're going to have to suffer, and not good ones."

Jennings Named THP Trooper of the Year 2009

April 22, 2010
Dwayne Page
Trooper Dewaine Jennings

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) today named 36 year old Trooper Donald "Dewaine" Jennings as the 2009 Trooper of the Year. The announcement was made during a special ceremony Thursday, April 22, at 10:00 a.m., at the THP Training Center located at 283 Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville.

Trooper Jennings, assigned to DeKalb County in the Cookeville District, was named Trooper of the Year for an act of heroism on December 13, 2009. He responded to a traffic crash on Bright Hill Road where he found a vehicle submerged on its top in a rain-swollen creek. The creek water was high and the current was swift. Nobody at the scene had checked to see if there was an occupant inside the vehicle. Without hesitation, or regard for his own safety, Trooper Jennings entered the frigid, waist-deep water to check for entrapped passengers. Unable to determine if anyone was inside the vehicle, Trooper Jennings called for a wrecker to hoist the car out of the creek. Although the efforts of Trooper Jennings did not save the life of the driver, 49 year old Lisa Adcock Tatrow Johnson, he made every effort, including risk to his own safety, when he entered the water knowing that he could not swim.

"These dedicated Troopers represent the outstanding achievements of the men and women of the Tennessee Highway Patrol," said Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "They are being recognized for their hard work, enforcement activity, and daily commitment to keeping Tennessee and its citizens safe."

"Every single day, Commissioner Mitchell and I receive an e-mail, card, letter, or phone call about State Troopers across Tennessee making a difference in the lives of citizens," said THP Colonel Mike Walker. "These nine Troopers recognized today are examples of the Tennessee Highway Patrol's professionals who have served Tennesseans for more than 80 years."

Trooper Jennings was among nine members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol who were also honored and named as Trooper of the Year for their respective districts.

Former Circuit Court Clerk Employee Wants Trial in Theft Case Moved to Another County

April 21, 2010
Dwayne Page
Tonya Page

A former bookkeeper at the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, charged with theft of property over $1,000, wants her trial moved to another county, possibly Cookeville.

Adam W. Parrish, the Lebanon attorney representing 36 year old Tonya D. Page has filed a motion seeking a change of venue in the case. This and other motions in the case are expected to be heard by the court during a hearing on Friday, May 21st in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Page was charged in a grand jury sealed indictment in August, 2009.

The charge stems from a TBI investigation into a cash shortage of $8,501 in General Sessions Court funds, which was discovered during an annual state audit.

The change of venue motion states that Tonya D. Page moves the court for a change of venue due to undue excitement against her in this county, which is of such a nature that a fair trial could not be had. In support thereof, Defendant (Page) would respectfully show as follows:

That the population of DeKalb County is approximately 17,423 and the population of the City of Smithville is even less, 4,389.

This geographically, is a relatively small and tight knit community.

That this case has received significant media exposure, and that commencing with the date of the alleged crime and continuing thereafter, the local papers and WJLE have carried stories purporting to recite facts pertaining to the various alleged facts in the indictment which extends into the homes of many prospective jurors.

Finally, that one of the state's chief witnesses, and arguably the victim, Katherine Pack, is a highly public and well loved individual in the community.

The defendant (Page) moves that this cause be transferred to Cookeville or any other neighboring county which the court may deem proper, where a fair and impartial trial of the defendant may be had.

The case against Page was scheduled for trial April 13th & 14th in DeKalb County Criminal Court but Page's attorney, Parrish, filed a motion for a continuance on April 5th, which was granted by the court.

Page was initially hired as a clerk in the office four years ago and then as bookkeeper. She was later terminated from her employment there, after this incident arose.

The case against Page was presented to the Grand Jury by the TBI.

Tigerettes Alumni Game Set For Saturday

April 21, 2010
Dwayne Page
Tigerette Coach Danny Bond

The DeKalb County Tigerette Alumni Game is set for Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the DCHS field.

Coach Danny Bond says this is the first Tigerette Alumni game in the program's 25 year history. "I want to invite everyone in DeKalb and surrounding counties to come out Saturday, April 24th for our Alumni game. This is our first Alumni game in 25 years and it'll start at one o'clock at the DCHS field. There's going to be three teams and there will be three, five inning games. We're looking for a big turnout. We're hoping everybody will come out, watch the game, and enjoy some good softball."

Among the players scheduled to participate are:

Michelle Gard
Beth Hale
Dondi Miller
Laurel Landrum
Nanci Allen
Misty Blumn
Danyelle Davenport
Bethany Pack
Rebecca Waggoner
Cherise Phillips
Kelly Taylor
Rachel Evans
Julie Ashley
Mindy Higdon
Mindy Redman
Crystal Norton
Kelly Maynard
Kari Taylor
Amy Barnes
Kelly Parkerson
Amanda Washer
Martha Knowles
Cassie Johnson
Jennifer Hampton
Karen Taylor
Jennifer Turner
Jessica Turner
Brittany Alvis
Ashley Redman
Courtney Davis
Madison Denman
Chelsey Young
Kelsey Foutch
Brittany Armour
Kara Young
Sara West and possibly others

Former players who plan to attend as spectators include Gena Cripps, Patty Redman, Tonya George, Kim McCoy, and Elisha Vickers

Meanwhile, Coach Bond says in appreciation to the fans, next Tuesday children will be admitted free to the game while next Thursday, senior citizens will get in free.

McBride Injured in Traffic Accident

April 20, 2010
Dwayne Page
Bertha McBride injured in Wreck
Bertha McBride injured in Wreck2
1999 Ford Explorer driven by Ismael Solis

A Smithville woman was injured in a two vehicle traffic accident Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of West Broad and Carter Street.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:28 p.m.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 81 year old Bertha McBride was driving south on Carter Street, crossing West Broad Street in a 2003 Buick LaSabre, when she entered the path of a 1999 Ford Explorer, driven by 60 year old Ismael Gaona Solis, who was east on Broad Street.

Solis' Ford Explorer struck McBride's car in the passenger side, forcing it off the highway and into a ditch.

McBride was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS until a helicopter ambulance arrived to airlift her to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Solis was not injured but was charged with driving on a revoked license.

In addition to the Tennessee Highway Patrol and DeKalb EMS, officers of the Smithville Police Department and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene to render assistance.

DeKalb 911 Dispatchers Recognized during National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week

April 20, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Dispatchers

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. It's called National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week

In DeKalb County, local dispatchers at the central dispatch/911 center were recognized.

"We took this opportunity to honor our local dispatchers in DeKalb County. We would like to say thank you to the Smithville Fire Department, the DeKalb County Fire Department, and Bumpers Drive-In for their contributions to this years PST week. Each year National PST week is set aside to nationally recognize emergency dispatchers," said Brad Mullinax, Director.

National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s.

By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create "National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week." According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction.

Across the nation, 9-1-1 dispatchers are celebrated National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week. The United States Congress designated the second week in April as a time to honor all 9-1-1 dispatchers who answer the calls for help and provide emergency assistance to the public and emergency public safety responders.

Most people do not think about the people behind the voices of 9-1-1 until they need to call for help. Some people equate 9-1-1 with police cars and fire trucks, with lights and sirens blaring, or an ambulance speeding off to a hospital emergency room. While police, fire, and ambulances are obviously linked to 9-1-1, it may be difficult to visualize the people who perform the functions behind the scenes. 9-1-1 dispatchers are the "first" first responders in emergencies. In addition to the long hours, holidays, and weekends worked that these professionals endure, the 9-1-1 dispatchers often volunteer their time in other ways to support the community, such as helping to educate children about 9-1-1, participating in school events, and lending a helping hand for various community causes.

National Telecommunicators Week is dedicated to public safety Telecommunicators who aid in providing 9-1-1 emergency assistance to citizens everywhere. The term "9-1-1" is often associated with rapid emergency response, poise under pressure, aid and compassion in times of distress, and critical decision-making within seconds. Many people do not stop to think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until they experience an actual emergency themselves. These professionals make the difference between life and death in many instances.

This year the week of April 11 - April 17 was set aside to recognize these individuals across the nation and to show appreciation for all that these dispatchers do on a daily basis.

(Pictured from Left to Right Back Row:
Supervisor Anthony Boyd, Leslie Lytle, Misty Green, Kim Ray, Training Officer Janice Higham, Jennifer Bouldin, and Ronnie Davis

Kneeling from Left to Right:
Lonnie Laxton, Terry Cowart, Stephanee Wright, Kristina McMillen, and Supervisor Tony Thomas.

Sitting in the Middle:
Director Bradley Mullinax
(Not pictured: Chase Ferrell and Darcie Cripps)

City To Create Four Way Stop at Dangerous Intersection

April 20, 2010
Dwayne Page
City to Create Four Way Stop at South Third and Webb Street
 City to Create Four Way Stop at South Third and Webb Street2

A four way stop will soon be created at a dangerous intersection near the public square downtown.

During Monday nights city council meeting, the Smithville Aldermen voted five to nothing to create a four way stop at the intersection of Webb Street and South Third Street. Signs will soon be posted alerting motorists. This intersection is located across from the dentist office, just south of Hilton Conger's law office, and near the Real Life Community Church.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs raised the issue in March, saying many people have become concerned about public safety at that intersection. After doing some research, Lieutenant Steven Leffew discovered that several traffic accidents have occurred there in recent years. A state consultant was contacted and gave the city a couple of options to consider.

On Monday night, Alderman Jacobs, reading from Lieutenant Leffew's letter to him regarding the state consultant's evaluation, said there were basically two options. "There are not a lot of options from the state consultant. Option one is to hire a consultant as to the feasibility of lights, property removal, or other methods, the costs of which would be incurred by the city. The second option is to make the intersection a four way stop with appropriate signs stating that the intersection is an "all ways stop". This option would also include four painted white lines known as "stop bars". These painted lines would be two feet wide and begin at the edge of the pavement of the center of the street. Each "stop bar's" location would be marked approximately six feet back from the intersection. State code requires a minimum of four feet."

After a brief discussion, Alderman Jacobs made a motion that a four way stop be created at the intersection. Alderman Steve White offered a second to the motion. Aldermen Aaron Meeks, W.J. (Dub) White, and Cecil Burger all voted for the motion.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson agreed with the board's action saying "it was a good decision."


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