Local News Articles

DTC Communications To Host Annual Meeting

July 22, 2008

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 13, 2008, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Milton (273), Norene (286), and Woodbury (563) exchanges.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 13. Thursday, Sept. 4, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2008 election.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

Individuals interested in becoming a candidate for a director’s position must meet the qualifications as defined in the bylaws and submit a petition by 5 p.m. on July 30, 2008.
For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory.

City in Search of New Tenant at Golf Course and Swimming Pool

July 22, 2008
Dwayne Page

The city is in search of a new tenant at the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Pool.

The Smithville Aldermen voted Monday night 3 to 2 to accept bids on leasing the facility since the current tenant, Jimmy Lewis, has given his 30 day notice that he is giving up his lease and will be vacating the premises as of August 8th. However, the city will ask Lewis to stay on beyond August 8th rent free for the next month until the transition is made, possibly by the first of September.

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. voted to accept bids. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted no.

Alderman White said he preferred to hire someone to run the golf course and swimming pool temporarily for sixty days until the council had more time to do some thorough research on the city's options. White made a motion to that effect, but it died for the lack of a second. "I feel like we need to find somebody to operate the course just temporarily for possibly 60 days to give us time to research it a lot better and see what our options are. I'd like to consider both sides of it, either rebidding or running it ourselves. I think we need time to make that decision wisely and not just jump into it."

The plan is for the city to advertise for bids next week, open bids on August 18th, and make the transition by the first of September.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said he and Alderman White recently visited the Old Fort Golf Course in Murfreesboro and spoke with the manager there on how that facility is operated. "That is a big 18 hole course but they lease from the V.A. their 9 hole course, which is basically the size of ours. They do not use carts, it's all walk. I think, in their budget for next year, it's about $225,000 to $230,000 to operate that 9 hole course and they're projecting $160,000 in greens fees from that 9 hole course."

Alderman Sullivan suggested that the mayor and alderman White may have broken the spirit of the law regarding open government by making that visit concerning city business without the knowledge of the other aldermen. Sullivan also asked the mayor and alderman White if meetings had been held with the Poss's about taking over the golf course. "I'm not positive why there was a study done. There wasn't a special called meeting to ask that a committee be formed. You and Mr. White just took it upon yourselves to go on and check something else out and I understand there's been meetings with the Poss's as well. We have open government in place and this board ought to be apprised of what's going on. This is one board and we would like to have the same consideration as you (mayor) give to other board members and if there are going to be decisions made about this city's business, we want to be invited. We want it to be open."

Mayor Hendrixson said he and White were only collecting information during their visit to Murfreesboro and broke no laws. "I just made a trip over there. I called the man and asked him about it. Steve (White) was in here one day and he said if you're going, I'll go with you. Nothing was done. We just talked to the man. There was no decisions made and no deliberation on anything. I'll be glad to go with anyone of you and talk with the man again. We went to collect information only and that is not against the law. If I go back I'll invite every board member to go if they want to go."

Both Mayor Hendrixson and Alderman White also added that no such meeting ever took place with the Poss's.

Following the meeting, Alderman Sullivan sent WJLE an email to issue a brief statement about her comments referring to the Poss's. In the statement, Sullivan said " In regard to open government, I made a statement that the mayor had met with Mr. Poss about taking over the golf course. I would like to formally apologize for the misinformation. The Poss's stopped me after the meeting and reported that the meeting did not happen."

Jackie Rigsby, a former alderman and a chartered member of the golf course, addressed the mayor and aldermen with his concerns about the future of the facility. "I would sincerely hope that you people realize the importance that this golf course plays in this community and to think about who you might be going to put in there. Anybody is not going to be able to go in there and do the job that's been done. Since I've been at the golf course, I've never seen it in as good a shape as it is today. The greens are good. The fairways are in good shape as we've had a good season for it. I would hate to see somebody go in there and not know what they're doing and lose those greens. We lost the greens in the early 70's. It cost over $100,000 just at that time to straighten the greens out. You say there are only two options (for the city to rebid the lease or take over the operation) but it's my understanding that there is another option. You could lower the rent. It's my understanding that Jimmy Lewis is willing to stay if the rent is lowered to where he can make a little money. I know the city has been collecting a lot of money off of this (golf course) and that's good. But when a person is losing money they just can't keep staying. You don't make any money off the other parks. It's all spent. You're not making anything off of them. So if you're making anything off of this, you're still in better shape than you would be to let it go out and be ruined."

Fair Association Renames Hilltop Arena in Honor of T.C. McMillen

July 21, 2008
Dwayne Page
McMillen Family

The DeKalb County Fair Association paid tribute to the late T.C. McMillen Monday afternoon in a brief ceremony commemorating his many years of dedication to the fair.

Members of the McMillen family, the Fair Board, and others gathered at the fairgrounds for the unveiling of a pictorial memorial and the official renaming of the Hilltop Arena in honor of Mr. McMillen, who served the fair in many capacities, including helping to prepare the grounds for various events.

Mr. McMillen passed away last October.

On behalf of the Fair Association, Ron Paschal offered the following tribute. "They just don't make them like T.C. anymore. There's never been a better man. There's never been a more loved man than T.C. McMillen. Today marks a special occasion as we begin the 152nd DeKalb County Fair. We're gathered to celebrate, reminisce, and also to be somewhat sad as we pay tribute to one of our special people, that operated in the background to make this arena up here on the hill work. T.C. wouldn't want this fuss about him but he was a very special person. How many times would jobs small or large be mentioned and before you could turn around, T.C. would have the job completed. T.C. could take a perfectly good piece of ground. Tear it up for an event, and fix it back the next day better than it ever was to begin with. He could work all day and night and yet seem to never get dirty or lose his patience with anybody, especially any of us, who might ask for a last minute favor. Many people here today know of the quiet, unassuming generosity of T.C. McMillen. Psalms says ‘Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey Him. You will enjoy what you work for and you'll be blessed with good things.'. That was definitely T.C.. He always worked hard and always enjoyed life. The Fair Board would like to thank each person who stepped up this year to try to fill his void. Even though it's impossible, we want to thank you for doing that. T.C. is one who can never truly be replaced but this tribute will allow us to remember and have a place to honor him, this fine man, from now on. T.C., we love you and we miss you."

McMillen's grandson, Justin Rich, thanked the Fair Association for this memorial. "On behalf of my family, I'd like to thank everyone so much for coming out and showing your support and for all the donations and everything that's made this possible. Pa wasn't the type to take a lot of glory in anything but he would have definitely appreciated this. He was a man that led by example and we miss him. We ask that you take this memorial and when you look at it, celebrate his life and not mourn his death because he was so special to each and everyone of us. He loved this fair. He loved his family and he loved his friends. He enjoyed seeing each and everyone of them. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart and from my family for coming out and supporting us tonight."

(Click on pictures to see larger images)

Smartt Wins Junior Fair Princess Title

July 21, 2008
Dwayne Page
Smartt Wins Junior Fair Princess Title

The 2008 Junior Fair Princess of the DeKalb County Fair is 14 year old Kristen LaCole Smartt of Dowelltown, daughter of Aaron and Paula Taylor.

She succeeds the retiring Junior Fair Princess, 16 year old Whitney LaRay Moss, daughter of Greg and Wendy Moss of Alexandria.

The first runner-up was Martha Alan Webb, the 15 year old daughter of Alan and Lora Webb of Smithville. Martha Webb was also named Miss Congeniality.

Second runner-up was Arielle Corine Davis, the 13 year old daughter of Eddie and Beth Davis of Brush Creek.

14 year old Jasmine Marie Dimas of Smithville, daughter of Lynda Hamilton and Refugio Dimas, was the third runner-up.

Erin Cantrell Pryor, daughter of Edgar and Lori Pryor, was named Miss Photogenic.

The pageant Monday night featured twenty contestants.

Linn Crowned Fairest of the Fair

July 21, 2008
Dwayne Page
Linn Crowned Fairest of the Fair

20 year old Nicole Linn of Smithville was crowned the 2008 Fairest of the Fair on opening night of the DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria Monday night.

Linn, daughter of Leo and Doris Linn, succeeds the retiring Fairest of the Fair, 19 year old Courtney Curtis of Smithville, daughter of Brett and Sherree Curtis.

First runner-up in the pageant was Jessie Strickland of Alexandria, the 17 year old daughter of Jerry Strickland and the late Melissa Strickland.

Second runner-up was Trista Atnip of Smithville, the 17 year old daughter of Jonathan and Twana Green and Barry and Veronica Atnip. Trista Atnip was also named Miss Photogenic.

17 year old Rosemary Apple, daughter of Nick and Claire Apple of Smithville was the Third Runner-up.

19 year old Wendy Michelle Scott of Smithville was named Miss Congeniality. She is the daughter of Kathy Scott and the late Billy Ray Scott.

There were six contestants in the pageant.

Man Accused of Stealing from his Neighbor Charged with Burglary and Theft

July 21, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested an elderly man last week who is accused of stealing from his neighbor.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 73 year old G. L. Waynick of Park Land Drive, Smithville was charged Thursday with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Waynick allegedly went into a residence on Dogwood Place, which is in the Lake View Mountain Estates area, without the owner's consent. The residence is a weekend home and is not occupied at all times. Waynick owns a rent home beside of the Dogwood Place residence. Waynick would allegedly remove items such as a washer, a dryer, a stove, and under pinning from the residence and give them to his renters. The stolen items have been recovered. Waynick's bond is set at $10,000 and will appear in court on July 31st..

Meanwhile, in other cases, 43 year old Roxanne Hendrixson of West Green Hill Road, Smithville was charged Friday with public intoxication at the DeKalb County Jail. Hendrixson is serving 44 days on weekends due to a prior charge. Hendrixson was checking into the DeKalb County Jail to serve her weekend when a correctional officer noticed that she was under the influence. Hendrixson was arrested and her bond was set at $1,000. Hendrixson's court date is August 14th.

72 year old Joseph C. Edge of Creek Road Smithville was charged Saturday with six counts of theft of property under $500. Edge was caught on video surveillance cameras at a local market on Highway 70 West pumping gas and driving off at least six times in the last six months without paying for the gas. Edge was questioned and did admit to pumping the gas and leaving without paying for it. Bond for Edge was set at $15,000 and his court date is August 7th.

One Killed and Others Injured in Boating Accident on Center Hill Lake

July 20, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 44 year old Pleasant View woman lost her life and several others were injured in a boating accident on Center Hill Lake Friday night.

Dead is Tamera “Tammy” Coombs

According to the TWRA, Mrs. Coombs, her husband Tommy Coombs, and two of their relatives, a man and woman, were aboard a 19 foot runabout boat drifting on the lake in an area known as Buoy Point, which is the long peninsula of Edgar Evins State Park, when the accident occurred.

At around 9:00 p.m. a 23 foot ski type boat, reportedly operated by Stephen Maggart of Brentwood, apparently struck the rear and then went over the top of the Coombs vessel, killing Mrs. Coombs, and injuring the others on board.

The Maggart boat then apparently left the scene. According to reports, Maggart dropped off the two passengers who were with him, a male and female, so they could get medical treatment. Officers on a pontoon boat, searching the area, eventually made contact with Maggert on the lake. Both Maggert and Mr. Coombs later submitted to a blood alcohol test, as required of all operators in accidents involving serious injury or death.

All surviving passengers of the Coombs boat, along with the body of Mrs. Coombs, were brought from the scene of the accident by boats to ramp 2 at Edgar Evins State Park. One of them was taken by ground ambulance to Cookeville Regional Medical Center and was later airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Another victim was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance that landed at the park. A third victim was transported to an area hospital by another ground ambulance.

With the investigation continuing, TWRA Officers have not commented on the cause of the crash.

Among those assisting the TWRA in the aftermath of the accident were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb and Putnam County EMS, and Edgar Evins State Park rangers and employees.

Mrs. Coombs was reportedly an administrative assistant at Sycamore Middle School and Mr. Coombs is a former city alderman in Pleasant View.

DeKalb Firefighters endorse five candidates

July 19, 2008

The DeKalb County Firefighters Association has voted to endorse five of the nine candidates running for the 40th State Legislative seat being vacated by long-time representative, Frank Buck.

The Association announced Friday they would endorse Democratic candidates, Gayla Hendrix, Cleveland Derrick Bain, Steven Cantrell and Jeff Barrett, along with Republican, Terry Lynn Weaver. Those who did not receive the Firefighters' endorsement were Democrats, Sarah Marie Smith and Carl (Hix) Jones, and Republican, Nicky Rittenberry.

The Firefighters Association sent each candidate a questionnaire to survey them about specific concerns about how volunteer firefighters could better be prepared to assist citizens, according to Association President, Shawn Puckett. Weaver, Hendrix, Bain, Cantrell and Barrett all completed and returned the survey.

"Having the opportunity to review these candidates' answers and comments allowed our Association's members to understand how these candidates feel about the volunteer fire service," Puckett said, while also pointing out several of the candidates - including two not endorsed by the Association - recently attended a fire department fish fry, while three of the candidates worked in the food both at the Jamboree. "We would like to take this opportunity to thank the candidates that attended these events," Puckett added.

Weaver, Hendrix, Sircy, Bain and Smith all attended the fish fry on May 31st, while Smith, Weaver and Bain all helped in the fire department food booth at the Jamboree. Weaver also attended a breakfast fundraiser at the Midway Fire Station.

The Association was established in 2002 with the purpose to foster and promote a better understanding among members, elected and appointed officials, and the public. The DeKalb County Firefighters Association has approximately 70 members.

Smithville City Council to discuss golf course, pool Monday night

July 18, 2008
Tom R. Duggin & Dwayne Page

The Smithville City Council will meet in regular session Monday night at City Hall, and will consider a mostly light agenda. The council will discuss the future of Smithville Golf Course and the Municipal Swimming Pool. Jimmy Lewis, the current tenant at the golf course and pool, recently notified the council that he plans to terminate his lease with the city, due to, as Lewis put it in his letter to the council, "trouble making a profit due to a number of reasons." He added, "The most important concerns are the amount of the lease payments and the swimming pool."

Lewis originally had the golf course and swimming pool leased until 2012 at a rate of $2,500 per month. Under an amended agreement, Lewis was granted an extension of his lease through 2017 at the same rate of $2,500 per month, with a five year renewal option as a consideration for his commitment " to expend the sum of one hundred thousand dollars in order to dig a second well, to install a sprinkler system for the fairways, and to purchase golf carts". The monthly rate could have been renegotiated in 2017.

Last December, Mayor Hendrixson vetoed a city council vote to amend last year's budget and spend $215,000 to purchase and install a sprinkler system at the golf course. The aldermen failed to override the veto on a 3 to 2 vote.

The council will also discuss playground specs for the Smith Road Park, Monday night, and any other business properly brought before the council.

WJLE plans live coverage of Monday night's City Council meeting at 7:00 p.m.

UCHRA announces Low-Income Energy Assistance

July 18, 2008

Low-income households may be eligible to receive between $300 and $375 through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) toward their electric, wood, coal, natural gas, LP gas or kerosene costs, announced Phyllis Bennett, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency Executive Director. UCHRA administers federally-funded LIHEAP in fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland, including DeKalb County.

Applications will be available and households in DeKalb County may apply August 11th through August 22nd.

Applicants for LIHEAP assistance must be at or below 125 percent poverty level and must provide proof of all household income. Even individuals receiving benefit checks such as VA, SSI or Social Security will need to submit verification of their award amounts. Applicants must also submit a copy of an electric bill and/or a bill for propane gas, wood, coal, or kerosene purchases.
Sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, LIHEAP provides assistance regardless of age, race, creed, national origin, handicap, or sex. Minorities are encouraged to apply.

Interested individuals may apply at their local UCHRA office August 11th through August 22nd between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The local office is located at 527 West Main Street in Smithville. No client will be denied an opportunity to fill out an application; however, applications received after August 22nd will be placed on a waiting list in the event additional funds become available at a later date. Energy assistance awards are based on a priority point system and are not “first come, first serve”. Individuals requiring assistance with completing their applications may schedule appointments with agency personnel.


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