Local News Articles

Beer Board Gives Conditional Approval for Home Brewery

September 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Beer Board at July Meeting
Alex Seitz

After being denied a beer manufacturing permit in July, Alex Seitz was given conditional approval to start his own in-home research brewery operation by the DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night.

The vote was 5-2 in favor. Board members Edward Frazier, Jim Stagi, Rhonda Caplinger, Johnny King, and Robert Rowe voted "yes" while Leonard Dickens and Frank Thomas voted "no". The meeting, held at the county complex, was covered exclusively by WJLE.

Seitz will be issued the license once he receives and presents to the county clerk's office the required certificate of registration of his brewery from the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Seitz told the board that he has already made application for the certificate from the state and is expected to receive it soon.

"I checked with the state and they said as far as they were concerned it didn't matter whether he (Seitz) already had his beer permit. He couldn't do anything with it if he had it because he doesn't have this certificate. But he has applied for the certificate. When you apply for the certificate they require a bond. So all he's got to do is show them (state) his bond and they will issue him his certificate. My suggestion to you (beer board) is if you feel he meets the requirements and apparently he does, and if he brings in his certificate to the county clerk from the department of revenue, he ought to be issued a license," said County Attorney Hilton Conger to the Beer Board Thursday night.

The board denied Seitz's first application in July on a 3-2 vote. One member "passed" and another was absent. Dickens and Thomas also voted "no" at that time apparently due to concerns they had about a brewery operating in a residential subdivision. But when he reapplied, Seitz also submitted a petition signed by 39 residents in his neighborhood who were not opposed to his plans.

Seitz, who resides on Floyd Drive in Lakeview Mountain Estates, told the board in July that he would be conducting the brewery primarily for research purposes but small amounts of the byproduct would be bottled and sold to the Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, a wholesale distributor. Seitz said the brewery would be operated out of his basement and that there would be no retail sales to the public from his home and no signage on the premises. "It technically is a business but it is a research facility. Its science based and will be in incredibly small amounts. It's like a byproduct of the theoretical yeast fermentation process. I will put it (beer) in champagne bottles and then I'll load them in my car and take it away. I just want to be able to work with my yeast so that I can actually sell the yeast because a lot of other home breweries and laboratories would want that yeast," said Seitz in addressing the Beer Board.

Asked by one beer board member Thursday night if his beer would be sold in DeKalb County, Seitz said that would be up to the distributor. "My distributor is out of White County. It will be mostly (sold) in specialty beer stores in like champagne bottles or maybe in one or two little restaurants. It doesn't have to be sold here but the distributor could sell it to anywhere (store licensed to sell beer) it is requested," said Seitz.

As for any neighbor complaints, the permit application form states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale of beer and like alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a residential dwelling, if the owner of the dwelling objects to the issuance of a beer permit". Although a neighbor questioned it at the July meeting, Seitz claims no resident in his neighborhood is within 2,000 feet of his home and no one who may live within 300 feet has yet come forward to voice an objection.

The application form also states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale, storage, and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 800 feet of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering". This would not be an issue in Seitz's case since no businesses operate in the area.

Seitz has also passed a criminal background check as required by the county beer board.

Smithville Man Found with Baggies of Methamphetamine

September 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Terry Allen King
William A. Osborne
Paul Jerome Grizzle
Stephen Hunter Pugh
Jessie Eugene Thomas

A Smithville man was found with baggies of methamphetamine on him by a Sheriff's Department Detective during a recent home probation visit.

37 year old Terry Allen King of West Broad Street, Smithville is charged with possession of methamphetamine for resale (4 grams). His bond is $25,000 and he will be in court September 24.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 27 a detective went to King's residence on West Broad Street with state probation and parole authorities. Upon arrival the detective spoke with King who is on probation. King held in his hand a cigarette pack that contained 10 small baggies. In each baggie was a white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Each baggie weighed . 4 grams. The total weight in all ten baggies combined was 4 grams. King also had $73 cash which was seized. King was then placed under arrest.

46 year old William A. Osborne of Hendersonville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $75,000.
Sheriff Ray said that on March 19, 2009 Osborne entered a residence on Short Mountain Highway where he gained entry by prying open the back door and took five long guns, a buck knife with a case, a laptop computer, and a jug containing change. The total value of the stolen goods is approximately $3,150. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective who took a warrant against Osborne on March 20, 2009. But he was only picked up recently after being incarcerated for a period of time by the Tennessee Department of Corrections for other offenses.

49 year old Paul Jerome Grizzle of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 28 Grizzle allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by throwing a glass coffee pot at her which broke and cut her leg.

30 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with failure to appear. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on September 24. Sheriff Ray said on July 31 Pugh failed to appear at the sheriff's department to serve his court ordered weekend sentence.

37 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on September 24. Sheriff Ray said on Wednesday, August 26 a deputy went to Thomas' home to serve a warrant on his girlfriend but Thomas told the officer that she was not there. But when she turned herself in on September 1, the woman told the deputy that she had been at Thomas' home the day he arrived to serve the warrant.

Armstrong Elected Alexandria Mayor

September 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Bennett Armstrong elected Alexandria Mayor

Alexandria has a new mayor.

Bennett Armstrong defeated Tony Tarpley by a vote of 60 to 35 to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired mayoral term in the Alexandria Municipal Election Thursday. Tarpley has served as mayor since October, 2013 when he was appointed mayor by the aldermen. Jim H. York, Jr. had been elected mayor that year but resigned three days after taking office in a dispute with the aldermen.

Armstrong has been serving in an appointed alderman position.

Also in the election Thursday, Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs each ran unopposed for four year alderman terms. Their vote totals were as follows: Pyburn 71 votes, Cripps 61, and Suggs 46.

Those running unopposed for two year aldermen positions were Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss. Parkerson led the ticket with 78 votes. Boss received 63 votes.

A total of 95 people voted in the election including 86 on election day and nine during early voting.

Here's how the vote breaks down for each candidate:

Mayor: (2 year unexpired term)
Bennett Armstrong: 52 election day and 8 early votes
Tony Tarpley: 34 election day and 1 early vote

Aldermen (four year terms)
David Cripps: 53 election day and 8 early votes
Kelly Pyburn: 62 election day and 9 early votes
John F. Suggs: 39 election day and 7 early votes

Aldermen (2 year unexpired terms)
Matthew Wayne Boss: 54 election day and 9 early votes
Robert D, (Danny) Parkerson, Jr.: 69 election day and 9 early votes

School Bus Involved in Sideswipe Accident with Semi

September 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
School Bus Involved in Sideswipe Accident with Semi (Photo by Ken Underhill)
Semi involved in sideswipe accident with school bus(Photo by Ken Underhill)
Bus #08-26 involved in accident. Note broken glass above the numbers.(Photo by Ken Underhill)

A school bus was involved in a sideswipe accident with a semi tanker truck this morning (Thursday) on Highway 70 east near the Lake Motel and the Amvets Club.

There were no injuries.

Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that bus #08-26, driven by 34 year old Shara Cowan of Smithville, was east on Highway 70 and had just begun her route. Other than her own two children who were aboard, Cowan had not yet picked up any other students.

The semi tanker truck, driven by 52 year old Jeffery Stoglin of Sparta, was heading west on Highway 70. According to Trooper Tramel, Stoglin, who works for the Atlantic Bulk Carrier Company of Virginia, was enroute to Murfreesboro hauling pellets.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation but foggy conditions at the time may been have a contributing factor, according to Trooper Tramel

The bus has damage on the driver side. The side mirror was torn off and windows were broken on both sides of the bus near the front, including by the driver.

The semi has damage to a side mirror and a broken glass.

School Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague said bus #14 substituted for bus #26 this morning and another bus will substitute on the route this afternoon.

Police Ask For Help in Identifying Suspect Caught on Camera Breaking into Car (VIEW VIDEO)

September 2, 2015
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department is turning to the public for help in solving a rash of recent automobile burglaries.

One of the crimes was captured on a surveillance video Sunday morning, August 30 at a residence on Golf Club Lane.

Captain Steven Leffew is asking for the public's help in identifying this man (shown in the video below)

If you have information that could lead to the arrest of this individual call the Smithville Police Department's Crime Stoppers number at 615-464-6046 or contact Lieutenant Matt Holmes at 615- 597- 8210. You may also visit the department's facebook page.

While only one man is shown in the video, Captain Leffew said police believe there is a second suspect in both this crime and others which occurred Saturday night, August 29 and Sunday morning, August 30 in the area of Golf Club Lane, Riley Avenue, and Love Lane.

According to Captain Leffew, the burglars primarily target unlocked vehicles. After gaining entry, the thieves grab up whatever they can get their hands on, keep any valuables, and then discard what they don't want.

After the burglaries last weekend, some of the victim's belongings were found in wooded areas near their homes.

Although the latest crimes occurred in the Golf Club Lane area, Captain Leffew said similar crimes have been taking place throughout the city.

Captain Leffew is renewing his plea for residents to be vigilant; to keep all car doors locked; and not to leave valuables inside your automobile in plain sight. "It appears that unlocked vehicles are being targeted. We would encourage citizens not to leave valuables such as purses, wallets or purchases in plain sight as this may encourage thefts," he said.

12th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Coming October 2

September 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
12th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Coming October 2

It’ll soon be chili time and time for you to again support a great cause and decide who makes the best chili in DeKalb County! Come out and cast your vote on Friday, October 2 on the Courthouse Square when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 12th Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the north side of the Courthouse on the Smithville Town Square. In case of rain, the Chili Cook-off will be held at the County Complex.

Make a donation to Habitat and eat all the chili you want from all the teams and vote for your favorite. A limited supply of handmade pottery bowls will be available for $ 20.00. Enjoy delicious baked goods too!

Take out available.

All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization.

Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Puckett Pryor at 615- 597-7370.

Tennessee Offers Free High School Equivalency Testing

September 2, 2015

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is now giving students who left high school before graduating the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency diploma at no cost.

“This is a real game changer for those who need this credential to get a job,” said Jason Beard, Administrator of the Adult Education Program. “Our target is to have diplomas in the hands of 5,000 graduates by the end of the year, and we know removing the test fee is a great incentive to meet our goal.”

The state of Tennessee offers two test options to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The HiSet is managed by the nonprofit organization Educational Testing Service, and the GED is administered by Pearson Education. The HiSet’s original cost is $75 compared with $125 for the GED.

In order to reach as many potential graduates as possible, the HiSet will be the only test offered at no cost by the Adult Education program. Once a student passes either the HiSet or GED, an official state high school equivalency diploma is issued that does not make reference to which test was taken.

According to the American Community Survey, approximately 700,000 Tennesseans have less than a high school diploma. National figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (graphic below) show employment opportunity and income increase significantly with educational achievements.

Anyone interested in earning their Tennessee High School Equivalency Diploma should contact their local Adult Education office to get started. Free preparatory classes are available throughout the state of Tennessee and online resources are also available.

For more general information on eligibility and testing, visit Adult Education’s website at http://www.tn.gov/workforce/topic/high-school-testing or call 800-531-1515 for assistance in finding a local program.

DTC Communications to Host Annual Meeting

September 1, 2015

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 19, 2015, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Smithville exchanges. The Nominating Committee has qualified the following candidates by nomination: Bennie “Buck” Curtis - Alexandria, Randy Campbell – Liberty, and Ronnie Garrison – Smithville. Those candidates who qualified by petition are: Mark Willoughby – Alexandria, Danny Lynn Hale – Liberty, and Paul Cantrell – Smithville.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 19 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 14-16. The last day to make changes to your membership for the 2015 election is Thursday, Sept. 10.

Hours and locations for early voting include:

Early Voting Hours
Mon., Sept. 14 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 15 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 16 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Early Voting Held at DTC Store Locations
111 High Street – ALEXANDRIA
200 Walmart Drive – SMITHVILLE
106 West High Street - WOODBURY

On Saturday, Sept. 19, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

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.

County Must Store Amendment 1 Election Data

September 1, 2015

The DeKalb County Election Commission will extract and store the November 14 election results because of a pending legal challenge to the passage of amendment 1

The State Election Commission has ordered all of Tennessee's County Election Commissions to extract all the November 14 election data from voting machines, and store in an external device.

DeKalb County Voting machine technicians, County Election Commissioners representing both parties and a technician from the voting machine company, Microvote, will be present for the extraction, which is set for 4 p.m. September 10 at the election office.

“The extraction became necessary because the lawsuit has yet to be resolved, and at some point, those machines will have to be loaded with the March 1 Presidential Preference and DeKalb Democratic Party Primary candidates," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "Because we have no concrete date on when the litigation will be resolved, we have no choice but to extract that data, preserve it should it be needed as evidence in the lawsuit, and make plans for the March elections."

The lawsuit is challenging how the state calculated the votes for Amendment 1- a Constitutional Amendment giving the Tennessee General Assembly more leeway in enacting abortion regulations.

It is argued that the state's constitution says for an amendment to pass, voters of the state have to "approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of all citizens voting for Governor, voting in their favor."

The lawsuit, filed on November 7, 2014, claims because of how the State Constitution is worded, the state should have only counted the votes of those who case a ballot in both the Governor's race as well as Amendment 1.

However, State Election officials maintain Tennesseans have a right to vote or not vote for Governor and any other way "would not make sense."

According to the final election totals from November, about 30,000 more people cast ballots for Amendment 1 than cast ballots in the Governor's race. However, the Amendment won by approximately 70,000 votes.

TABC Approves Liquor License for Center Hill Wine & Spirits

August 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
TABC Approves Liquor License for Center Hill Wine & Spirits

The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has granted approval for Smithville's second liquor store.

During a meeting last Tuesday, August 25, the TABC acted on James E. Bradshaw's request for licensing of a retail store to be located at 725 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville called "Center Hill Wine & Spirits" near Food Lion.

According to the TABC, Bradshaw is investing $200,000 of personal funds into the business, as verified by TABC staff. Mr. Bradshaw is leasing the premises from Bayview Holdings, LLC for an initial term of four years. The TABC staff recommended conditional approval of this request for licensing, subject to receipt of a TABC inspection and acknowledgement of TABC rules and regulations.

The Smithville Board of Aldermen in July voted to issue Bradshaw a certificate of compliance, which signified that he met all the city's ordinance requirements to make application to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency which has the sole authority to grant a liquor license.

The city's first liquor store, Smithville Discount Wine & Spirits at 413 East Broad Street, opened several weeks ago after also receiving a license by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.


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