Local News Articles

City Officials Concerned That lake Level Could Affect Water Supply

September 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planning to make repairs to Center Hill Dam, Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and other city leaders are concerned about how that might affect the elevation of Center Hill Lake and the intake operation for the city's water supply.

The City of Smithville owns and operates a multiport raw water intake structure located at Center Hill Lake. This intake is the sole source of water for the City of Smithville and the DeKalb Utility District, the city's largest water customer. The intake was constructed in 1967.

In a letter to Joy Broach, Project Planning Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mayor Hendrixson recently expressed his concerns "The engineering company that designed this structure still serves as the city's consultant and according to their calculations, the absolute minimum lake elevation which will allow this intake to function hydraulically is elevation 618.0 Mean Sea Level (MSL).However, they have cautioned that lake elevations below 620.0 MSL could cause turbulence in the pump well possibly affecting the pumps. In addition, the city's water treatment plant operators report that lake elevations below 623.5 MSL result in poor raw water quality which creates treatment difficulties. For these reasons, we prefer that the Corps of Engineers maintain the elevation of Center Hill Lake at elevation 623.5 or above but understand the importance of Dam repair. If the lake surface is dropped below elevation 620.0 the city's pumps may begin to cavitate and malfunction which will result in the city being out of water."

Tim Dunn, Resource Manager of Center Hill Lake, says repairing the seepage problem at Center Hill Dam may not require the lake elevation to be dropped to the level that would affect water supply for utilities, but there might be a concern because of prolonged dry weather. "We want to make sure we have public water, both for consumption in the homes as well as for fire protection and those types of things, so water supply will be strongly considered in any decisions about lake levels. With the seepage problems, I don't foresee us making any decisions to take the lake down below the existing water intake unless it were a worst case scenario type situation. For normal operations, I don't expect it to have any impact. However, as you know, this summer and early fall we are in a severe drought and there is a possibility that with the drought, at the elevation we are at now on through the fall, we could be looking at fairly low levels this winter toward the end of December down around the low 620's and maybe even as far down as 618 or 619. Hopefully, we will get enough rain that this won't become a reality but if it does I would encourage the water users or water supply folks to consider looking at their drought contingency plans and see what would be required if the drought necessitated the lake going down further than what we would intentionally take the level to. It's something to be aware of and think through, but from the seepage standpoint, I don't expect us going below levels that would affect the water intake."

Dunn says the lake level, as of Wednesday, was at 630 Mean Sea Level. " It is at elevation 630 and that is feet above sea level. To put it into perspective, our normal summer pool elevation is 648, so we're about 18 feet below where we are normally in the middle of the summertime, around Memorial Day. Under our current plan of operation, we are expected to go down to around 623.5 this winter. However, as I mentioned, the drought, with no inflow coming into the lake and with evaporation and minimum releases for water quality and other uses downstream, we may be looking at lower than 623.5. As we go lower, if the drought requires us to go lower, we will work very closely with the other users and the water supply folks to ensure that we know how affective they are able to withdraw water at various elevations and see if there are problems before they occur. Now is the time that communication and working closely together is going to be very important."

Dunn says Corps officials have been in contact with city officials and others who may be affected by the lake elevation. "We have talked with them as well as other stakeholders on the lake as part of our Environmental Impact Statement process. We're doing an Environmental Impact Statement to address possible lake level adjustments, further lowering the lake, and as part of that process we've asked the public and any interested parties to comment on what their impacts may be, and in particular, I have talked with the water supply folks as well as marinas and others who are directly affected by it. We recently talked with the cities and their engineers about exactly what elevations the water intakes could be affected. One of the main things right now is that we want to capture that information and know that we understand and know exactly what the elevations are that are critical to various users so that we can keep that in mind and incorporate that in our decision making process. However, I do want to make sure that the public is aware that public health and safety, which would include water supply, is definitely one of our top priorities."

Sheriff's Department Finds Drugs and Moonshine and Makes Three Arrests

September 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

The discovery of drugs and moonshine by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department this week has resulted in the arrest of three people.

53 year old Danny Petty and 51 year old Julie Saylors of Lake Motel on the Sparta Highway, were arrested Tuesday on charges of simple possession of a schedule II drug (dilaudid) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says his office received a tip that illegal drug abuse was taking place in a motel room at Lake Motel. Detectives went there and found dilaudid and three hypodermic needles in the motel room that Petty and Saylors share.

Bond for Petty and Saylors was set at $7,500 each and their court date is October 11th.

Meanwhile, detectives stopped 37 year old John Corey Vickers on Highway 56 north on Tuesday for a traffic violation.

Sheriff Ray says officers found that Vickers had in his possession a half gallon jug and three quart jars of moonshine, 18 Xanax pills, marijuana, rolling papers, and $1,574 in cash which was seized.

Vickers was charged with unlawful possession of untaxed liquor (moonshine), sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug (xanax), possession of drug paraphernalia (rolling papers), and simple possession (marijuana).

Vickers was also arrested on one count of theft of property and fourteen counts of forgery. Detectives learned that Vickers had gone into a home on Church Street in Dowelltown and took the victim's checks. He then forged the checks and cashed them.

Total bond for Vickers is $200,000 and his court date is October 11th.

Ria Baker Appointed Mayor of Alexandria

September 25, 2007
Dwayne Page

Alexandria has a new mayor.

Ria Baker was appointed by the Alexandria Aldermen Tuesday night to fill the remaining two years of former Mayor Clara Lee Vantrease's unexpired term.

Vantrease was elected Mayor in September, 2005 but resigned the following summer, citing personal reasons. The Alexandria Aldermen then appointed fellow Alderman David Cripps to serve as Mayor,

Cripps announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down in September.

Baker was sworn into office by City Judge Brody Kane.

Kane also administered the oath of office to the newly elected Aldermen, Maureen Tubbs, Derrick Baker, and Shelia Clayborn. They succeed the retiring aldermen, Jimmy Mullinax, James Keys, and Jim York, all of whom were serving unexpired terms of others who had previously resigned.

Meanwhile, Alderman Sarah Walker, who was not present last night, has also resigned. Outgoing Mayor Cripps read a brief written statement from Walker, who stated that she was stepping down, effective September 4th, for personal reasons.

The Aldermen, later in the meeting, re- appointed James Keys to serve out Walker's unexpired term. He was sworn into office by City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.

Parsley was appointed city attorney to succeed Watertown lawyer Robin Vance-Kent, who announced her resignation earlier this summer. Last night was apparently her last meeting with the city board.

The make up of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen now includes Mayor Ria Baker and Aldermen Charles Griffith, Eddie Tubbs, Maureen Tubbs, Derrick Baker, Shelia Clayborn, and James Keys.

The board plans to begin work soon on updating it's 1935 city charter with the help of Don Darden of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service as well as adopting a new municipal code. After the meeting, city leaders said many ordinances have gone missing in recent years and can't be located.

Meanwhile, the Alexandria Christmas Parade has been scheduled for Saturday, December, 8th at 1:00 p.m.

Flu Vaccine Now Available at DeKalb County Health Department

September 25, 2007

Flu season is just around the corner and the DeKalb County Health Department is ready to offer flu shots to area residents. No shortage of vaccine is expected this year and the health department says local supplies will not be restricted while they last.

A mass flu clinic is currently scheduled for Thursday, October 11th from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the DeKalb County Health Department. Mass flu clinics offer convenience and people are able to get in and out quickly. No appointments are needed.

"October and November are often the best months to get the influenza vaccine because that's generally before we begin seeing many flu cases. In Tennessee, flu activity usually peaks in late January, and can peak as late as April, so we will continue to vaccinate residents through the winter, or as long as we have vaccine available, said Dr. Don Tansil, Upper Cumberland Regional Health Officer.

Though influenza vaccine is recommended for anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza, certain people are at especially high risk of serious illness or death from influenza, especially the elderly and the very young. People who live with or care for those at high risk for serious illness should be vaccinated to prevent exposing them to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reccomends that individuals in the following groups receive the vaccine unless their health care provider has told them otherwise:

Children aged 6 months through 59 months up to their 5th birthday
Pregnant women (or those who will be pregnant during flu season)
Adults aged 50 years and older (especially those 65 and up)
Residents of long term care facilities
People of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, certain muscle or nerve disorders, and diabetes)
All healthcare workers
Household members and caregivers of people in the above high risk groups

In DeKalb County the cost of the flu shot will be $25.00 for adults and $13.70 for children. Pneumonia vaccine will also be available for $41.00. Payment can be made in the form of cash or check and Medicare and TennCare can be billed. Correct change is preferred. Individuals receiving flu shots need to wear short sleeve shirt.

For more information about scheduled flu clinics, call the DeKalb Health Department ar 615-597-7599.

DeKalb County Man Makes TBI's Most Wanted List

September 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

28 year old Toby Lynn Young, a DeKalb County Jail escapee who has been on the run for over three years, is now on the TBI's Most Wanted list.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "Within the past few months we've been getting tips that Young could be moving between DeKalb and Cannon counties and we would like to get him picked up. I contacted the TBI to assist us in his capture and now he is on the TBI's most wanted list. Young's criminal history dates back to at least 1997. Young has been charged with offenses such as underage consumption, DUI, theft and weapons charges. He is now wanted for escape and other charges here and more charges in surrounding counties."

Sheriff Ray says Young has brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. Young also has an Eagle's head tattoo on his back.

If you have seen him call 1-800-TBI-FIND or the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says on Sunday 19 year old Jose Martinez of East Main Street, Smithville was stopped for weaving on Highway 56. Martinez was found to be under the influence. He was arrested for DUI and Violation of the Implied Consent Law. His bond is set at $1,000 and his court date is October 4th.

34 year old Luis Manuel Ortiz of Short Mountain Road, Smithville was involved in an accident last week in the Smithville City Limits. Ortiz fled the scene and was stopped by a County Deputy for weaving on Short Mountain Highway. Ortiz was charged with DUI. His bond is set at $1,000 and his court date is October 4th.

19 year old Brandon Ray Riddle of Toy Slatten Road, Sparta was seen by two off duty law enforcement officers loading a 4 wheeler into a pickup truck at around 1:00 am Sunday morning at a residence on Highway 70 near Liberty. The officers called in the incident and a county Deputy stopped Riddle in Liberty on Highway 70. Deputies also found a .25 caliber pistol in Riddle's possession. Through an investigation, officers learned that Riddle was also involved in stealing another 4 wheeler on Parsley Road earlier this month and selling another stolen 4 wheeler, which was stolen out of Kentucky, to an individual in DeKalb County. Riddle was charged with three counts of theft of property and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond is set at $35,000 and his court date is October 4th

The Sheriff's Department, on Monday morning, responded to a vandalism call at DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Sheriff Ray says someone had come there during the night and vandalized a statue of Jesus by pouring a red liquid substance on the statue. Owners of the cemetery advised the statue was purchased some where around 1962 for $25,000. If any one has any information about this crime, please call the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935 or the Sheriff's Department Crime Line at 464-6400.

Three Constable Candidates Have Qualified for Local Democratic Primary

September 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

Three people have qualified to run for constable in the February 5th, DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that Mary Thomason has qualified to run for constable in the seventh district, Cantrell Jones for constable in the sixth district, and Incumbent Mark Milam for constable in the fifth district.

Two persons have picked up petitions for Assessor of Property but have not yet returned them.

DeKalb County Democrats will nominate candidates for the offices of Assessor of Property and Constable in each of the county's seven districts on Tuesday, February 5th.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Lisa Peterson says Democratic and Independent candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable may qualify with the Election Commission now through the deadline of noon December 13th.

Democrats will qualify for the February 5th Primary while Independents will qualify for the August 7th, 2008 DeKalb County General Election.

DeKalb County Republicans select their nominees for the DeKalb County General Election by convention, rather than a primary, but GOP candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable must be certified to run for the August Election by noon December 13th.

DeKalb County Site Added to National Register of Historic Places

September 22, 2007

The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced 12 Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, including one in DeKalb County.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee.

The local site recently added to the National Register of Historic Places is the Susie Foster Log House at 810 College Street.

According to the narrative in the press release, "Miss Susie Foster wanted a log house as early as 1915 when her cousin gave her a lot in Smithville (DeKalb County). It was not until 1946 to 1950 that her house was built. The house was constructed of logs salvaged from older log homes that were in the Caney Fork River Basin prior to Center Hill Lake being built. The house is a mid-century interpretation of the popular Colonial Revival style and the exposed logs on the exterior and interior, original mantel, windows and doors, exemplify the 20th century Colonial Revival movement."

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the Web site at www.tdec.net/hist.

Smithville Police Investigates Two Traffic Accidents Friday at the Same Location

September 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police investigated two traffic accidents Friday at the same location.

Two people were involved in a traffic accident around 8:25 a.m. Friday morning at the intersection of North Mountain Street and West Broad Street.

Police say 40 year old Melissa Lynne Jones of Patterson Road, Smithville was north on Mountain Street, driving a 2000 Pontiac, and was making a left turn on West Broad Street as a 2002 Buick, driven by 59 year old Joyce Vandergriff of McMinnville, was traveling west on Broad Street. The two vehicles collided in the intersection.

Both drivers were transported to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Meanwhile, two other people were involved in an accident around 1:15 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Mountain Street and Broad Street.

40 year old Gordon Rackley of Poss Street, Smithville was driving east on West Broad Street in a 1994 Chevy S-14 as 17 year old Daniel Frazier of Woodbury was traveling west on Broad Street in a 1991 Nissan. According to police, Frazier was making a left turn onto Mountain Street and pulled into the path of the Rackley truck. Frazier was cited for being an unlicensed driver. There were no injuries.

Members of the DeKalb EMS and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department responded to both accidents, along with the Smithville Police Department, who investigated the crashes.

Carter Seeks Probation In Appeal of Statutory Rape Case

September 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man, unhappy with the sentence he received a year ago in a statutory rape case, could hear soon from his appeal to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division, as to whether the lower court's sentence was proper.

Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr., in September 2006, sentenced Gary Carter to four years probation, except for nine months to serve in the county jail, after Carter entered a guilty plea to one count of statutory rape, involving a female, who was seventeen years old and only a few months shy of turning eighteen when the incident allegedly occurred.

Carter has remained free on bond since filing the appeal nearly a year ago. His name is also listed on the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.

In the appeal, the attorney for Carter, Hilton Conger, is asking that Carter be granted probation, and not be made to serve nine months in jail.

Conger, in his written argument filed with the higher court, says the trial court erred in denying Carter probation, especially since Carter had no previous criminal record. Conger writes, " Despite the overwhelming evidence in the record that the appellant (Carter) was a favorable candidate for alternative sentencing, the trial court ambiguously ignored the presumption and failed to articulate in the record its reason or reasons for doing so."

Conger also claims that the trial court "abused its discretion when it summarily denied the appellant's application for Judicial Diversion without specific consideration, on the record, of the relevant factors required under Tennessee Law. Even if sufficient evidence exists to support the denial of Judicial Diversion, the trial court must state its reasons for its denial of Judicial Diversion. It is clear from the record that the trial court failed to weigh all of the factors necessary prior to making its determination that the appellant's application for Judicial Diversion would be denied."

According to Conger, "requiring the appellant to serve nine months would require a complete disregard for the laws and statutes of the State of Tennessee and would cause the appellant and his family to suffer without his income to support them. The appellant has learned a humiliating, humbling and frightening lesson in life which has taken it's toll on him emotionally and physically. The comments of the Assistant District Attorney and of the trial court, on the record, support the appellant's contention that he will return to the exemplary life that he enjoyed prior to the date in question. The chances that the appellant will engage in future criminal conduct are extremely remote. Additionally, the appellant has expressed sincere remorse for his actions, and has taken full responsibility."

Several Arrested on Burglary and Theft Charges by Sheriff's Department

September 21, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made several burglary and theft arrests this week

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 25 year old Charles Robert Wilmoth of Black Oak Cemetery Road, Sparta was charged Tuesday with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says Wilmoth broke into a house on Indian Mound Road. While inside the residence, Wilmoth took power tools and electronics valued at approximately $4,000. His bond is set at $60,000.

22 year old Jonathon David Thomas of Nashville Highway Liberty, 18 year old Anthony W. Tramel of Oakley Road Liberty, and 22 year old Jordan Thomas Adams of Game Ridge Road Smithville were charged Tuesday in a recent break in on Rocky Road Liberty. Sheriff Ray says the trio went to a residence on Rocky Road Liberty on September 6th and entered the home by breaking through a window. While inside, the three men took money, two shotguns, two pistols, and prescription medication valued at over $1,600. Two shotguns and one pistol have been recovered. Thomas' bond was set at $45,000 and bond for Adams was $15,000.

Meanwhile, Tramel and 23 year old David M. Caldwell of Smith Fork Road, Liberty were charged Tuesday with theft of property over $1,000.00. Sheriff Ray says these two men went to Church Street in Liberty and took a four wheeler valued at over $5,000. The four wheeler was in the back of a pickup truck. Tramel and Caldwell unloaded it, pushed it down the street, hot wired it, and drove it off. The four wheeler has been recovered. Total bond for Tramel is $22,500 and Caldwell's bond was set at $7,500. .

28 year old Ernest S. Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road was arrested on Wednesday for aggravated burglary. Cantrell allegedly pried a door open to a residence on Adcock Cemetery Road and entered into the residence. The owner of the house was at home sleeping and was awakened by the prying of the door. The owner jumped up and spotted Cantrell and he, (Cantrell) then fled the scene. Cantrell was arrested and his court date is October 4th Bond for Cantrell is $5,000.

On Thursday, 34 year old Jeffery Lynn Murphy was arrested for 1st Offense DUI. Sheriff Ray says Murphy was stopped by a deputy on Highway 56 North for weaving and running on-coming cars off the road. Murphy was on his way to General Sessions Court in DeKalb County for a Probation Violation. Murphy admitted to the deputy that he had taken Hydocodone and other prescription medication earlier. General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook placed Murphy under "no bond". His court date is October 11th.


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