Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 6% in November

December 24, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for November was 6%, down from 6.1% in October and well below the 7.3% rate in November 2013.

The local labor force for November was 9,030. A total of 8,480 were employed at 540 were without work.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for November was fourth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 11.8%
Van Buren: 8.9%
Clay: 8.8%
White: 7.7%
Cumberland:7.7%
Jackson:7.2%
Fentress: 6.8%
Warren:6.4%
Overton:6.2%
Putnam: 6.1%
DeKalb: 6%
Cannon:5.4%
Macon:5.3%
Smith:5.3%

County unemployment rates for November 2014 show the rate decreased in 18 counties, increased in 63 counties, and remained the same in 14 counties.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in November at 5.1 percent, unchanged from the previous month. Davidson County was 5.2 percent in November, up from 5.1 in October. The Hamilton County November rate was 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent. Shelby County was 8.1 percent in November, up from 7.8 in October.

The Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for November was 6.8 percent, three tenths of one percentage point lower than the October revised rate of 7.1 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for November was 5.8 percent, unchanged from the prior month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

December 23, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society invites you to make a special donation in honor or in memory of a loved one during the holiday season through "Love Lights a Tree". A special memory board has been erected on the south side of the courthouse that lists the names of loved ones.

The names of Honorees are as follows:

Cecil Adkins, Lisa Anderson, Ann Barnes, Jean Cook, Ralph Curtis, Bill Ertel, Earl D. France, Cathy Fuson Frazier, Ed Gass, Radley Hendrixson, Eddie Hobson, Chizuko Howard, Bobbie Joines, Linda Judkins, Betty Malone, Katrena Moore, Janette Moss, Ernest Ray, Carolyn Sheets, Margie Smith, Johnna Sprague, Lavelle Turner, Polly Turner, Sandra Wall, Georgia Willoughby, L.V. Young, and Susan Young.

Those in memory are as follows:

Harold M. Adcock, John D. Akin, Mai Akin, Angela Allen,

Dortha Barnes, Margie Barrett, Rebecca Beason, Bobbie T. Betty, Wayne Blair, Alan Bradford, Comer Bratcher, Larry Bratten,

Jeremy Caldwell, Joshua Caldwell, Clifton Cantrell, Frances Cantrell, Johnny Cantrell, Jodie Cantrell, Dianna Fuson Carter, Ronnie Carter, Martha Cathcart, Will Allen Cathcart, Mary Sue Chapman, Mary Collins, Arlo Cook, Bob Cook, Bratten Cook, Sr., James H. (Buddy) Cook, Jo Bill Cook, Jo Lynn Cook, Pam Baker Cook, Rubye Cook, Steve Cook, Eva Crook, Grady Crook, Jimmy (Cowboy) Curtis,

Earl Driver, Eddie Driver, Ravanell Driver, Tony Durso,

Barbara Easterwood, Ruth Elder, Homer L. Ellis, Roberta Ellis, Jerry Lee Estes, Nathan Estes,

Geraldine Fish, Byron Foutch, Willie Foutch, Billy J. France, James Alvie France, Billie Ann Frazier, Jim & Audrey Frazier, Joe Ronald Frazier, John Larry Frazier, Ronald Frazier, Ronnie Frazier, Woodrow Frazier, Leonard "Buddy" Freeman, Leonard Freeman, Sr., Margaret Freeman,

Royce L. Givens, Jr., James Goodwin, Brent Gregory, John Paul Grubb,

Brownie Haley, Sharon M. Harper, Lucille Cook Harris, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Helen Hayes, Betty Herndon, Charles Wayne Herndon, Mallow Herndon, Vada Pauline Herndon, Edward Hobson, Billie Ruth Hooper, Harry Hooper, Lois Horn, Elby Howard, Kenneth Howard, Joe Huffman, Marvin Hutson, Sarah Hutson,

Johnnie Joines, Robert Joines, McKinley Jones, Earl Judkins, Len Judkins, Lillie & Grady Judkins, Marie Judkins,

Paulette Fuson Keith, Don B. Kilgore, Jennifer Renea Kincaid,

Claudette Frazier Lasser, Olene Lockhart, Brackett Luna, Nadine Luna,

Patsy Kilgore Majors, Billy Malone, Ida Malone, Linda Malone, Lou Autry Malone, Charles (Chuck) McCracken, T.C. McMillen, Amy Lynn Miller, Jeff Miller, Maude Lockhart Moody, Roy Murphy, Sr.,

Leonard Nixon, Lorene Nixon, Jo Ann Newbell, John Newbell,

J.C. Oakley,

J.W. Pack, Clarence, Jr. & Jewell Phillips, Donna Phillips, Bobby Pruitt, Dr. Jerry Puckett, Helen Putty,

Evelyn Ramsey, Clyde Randolph, David Randolph, Mary Alice Randolph, Author Redmon, Billy Rhody, Kenny Rhody, Edward Robinson, Lucille Robinson, H.R. Rosson,

Kevin Sanders, Larry Scurlock, Donald Smith, Nan Smith, Virgil Smith, Norman Sprague, Chris Stanley, Claude Stanley, Howard Stanley, Jordan Steinbach,

Shelby Tittsworth, Elizabeth Tramel, Dib Tubb, Gertie Tubb,

Betty Vaughn, Betty Nixon Vickers,

Green Wall, Maud Wall, Eveleen Walls, Jvan Walls, Sandy Wheeler, Bethel Steven (Steve) White, Sandra Willoughby, Louise Winchester, Ricky Winchester, Anthony Wright,

Amerce Young, Billy S. Young, Gary Ralph Young, John Cephas Young, Marie Young, and Stella Thweatt Young.

The names are in "honor of" and in "memory of" for a donation of five-dollars per name. Forms may be obtained at the local banks. For more information, contact Barbara Ashford at 417-6563, Ivadell Randolph at 597-5296, Lynda Luna at 597-5837, Renee Cantrell at 597-4551, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Patsy Judkins at 597-4213.

UCHRA Announces Commodities Recertification

December 23, 2014

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency would like to remind those who receive assistance through the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, known as Commodities; it is time for recertification of their commodities card. With 2015 deliveries right around the corner, it is very important for recipients to recertify their commodity card with their local county offices prior to the first pick-up date.

Recertification date starts January 2nd.

If you think you or someone you know qualifies for this program, please contact the UCHRA office in your county for more information.
The UCHRA county telephone: DeKalb County 615-597-4504.

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services or activities.

Dowelltown Announces City Lights Winners

December 23, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Winners of the Dowelltown City Lights Contest have been announced.

1st place Door/porch
Sisters Lisa Wassom Lorie Sells

2nd place
Tommy & Dorothy Duggin

1st place Window
Joseph & Bethany Chandler

2nd place
Mike &Elizabeth Redmon

1st place overall
Chris Walker &Terri Dodd

2nd place overall
Darry & Susan Driver

3rd place overall
Joe &Vicki Bogle

DeKalb County Drug Court Hosts Christmas Party

December 22, 2014
by: 
Norene Puckett
DeKalb County Drug Court Hosts Christmas Party

The DeKalb County Drug Court program hosted its 5th annual Drug Court Children’s Christmas party on Friday, December 19. Each year, the DeKalb County Drug Court organizes a day for the participants and their children to come together to celebrate their recovery and the joy of being with family. The event included dinner and of course Santa Claus came to deliver presents! The DeKalb County Drug Court was so over joyed at the amount of donations and gifts the community provided this year. The staff and participants would especially like to thank the Smithville Church of Christ, Cops 4 Kids program, Omega House and Sober Living Services staff, and the private residents of DeKalb County for making donations that were able to give 29 children of DeKalb County presents and Christmas cheer.

Pictured Left to Right:
Drug Court Case Manager Les Trotman, John Quintero Haven of Hope Counseling, Drug Court Program Coordinator Norene Puckett, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Drug Court Case Manager Kristy Longmire, Judge Bratten H. Cook II

TWRA Seeks to Increase License Fees

December 22, 2014

For only the second time in 25 years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is seeking to adjust the way hunting and fishing licenses and fees are structured in order to maintain its successful wildlife, fisheries and education programs. The proposal includes some incremental fee increases and the inclusion of new user groups.

The TWRA will ask that all license fees be raised by 22 percent at the Jan. 15-16 meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting at Discovery Park in Union City.

If approved the most purchased permit, the Type 1 resident hunting and fishing license, would go from $27 to $33.

The annual sportsman license would go from $135 to $165.

The new fees do not go in effect until July 1. The 2014-15 license expires on Feb. 28.

It wasn’t too long ago that the sight of a white-tailed deer, a bald eagle or a wild turkey in Tennessee was a rare treat. These and other key wildlife and fish are now thriving across the state, thanks to intensive restoration and management by the TWRA.

“The reality is that managing our wildlife and fisheries has never been more expensive than it is today,” said TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter. “Our objective with this proposal is to spread the cost of these programs across more user groups who utilize Tennessee’s public lands and waters.”

This license fee change proposal is the first since 2005, and only the second to be sought since 1990. It’s also the smallest increase in the TWRA’s 65-year history. The Agency, which is funded almost exclusively by hunting and fishing licenses, boating registrations and federal excise taxes on related equipment, has seen operating costs increase dramatically. This includes everything from fertilizer to fish food and other essential expenses over the last 10 years.

“We employ 46 fewer people Agency-wide now than we did eight years ago, and salaries and benefits such as health insurance have increased significantly,” Carter said. “Our wildlife officers, biologists and other staff do an incredible job, and we’re doing more work with fewer people than ever before to provide world-class outdoor opportunities.”

Changes to the way license fees are structured can be found across the board in the new proposal, which will be considered by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission in January. If approved, the new fee structure would go into effect on July 1, 2015. Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses expire on Feb. 28, and new licenses will be on sale at the current prices from mid-February through the end of June.

Highlights include: incremental increases for resident hunting and fishing licenses; elimination of certain short-term non-resident licenses; a new fee for professional hunting and fishing guides; new senior citizen license options; and fees related to the use of TWRA firing ranges, as well as for horseback, off-highway vehicle and mountain bike riders whose activities have a maintenance impact on state Wildlife Management Areas. More details on the proposal can be viewed by clicking here.

“Our mission is to manage the fish and wildlife of the state and their habitats for the use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Tennessee and its visitors,” Carter said. “We take that responsibility very seriously and have been very successful in creating access for all user groups to these incredible public resources. We’re now asking more of those users to contribute to the effort.”

TWRA’s success stories are many. Plentiful wildlife such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bald eagles, black bears and wild elk were severely threatened or thought lost forever well in to the 20th century. All are thriving today, thanks to the efforts of TWRA.

The Agency has also stocked more than 100 million fish into Tennessee waters, and now manages more than 250 public boat access points across the state. TWRA also oversees more than 1.5 million acres of publicly accessible land. In the last decade alone, the Agency has planted more than three million trees and protected 42,000 acres of wetlands across the state.

Meanwhile, examples of significant cost increases abound: fish food pellets are up 76 percent since 2004, milo seed is up 150 percent, and farm diesel is up 58 percent. Items including vehicles, boats and motors, pond liners and other significant expenses have all increased at or above the approximately 25 percent rate of inflation over the last decade.

“This new fee structure will allow us to continue doing the good work we do every day for Tennessee’s wildlife and fisheries into the foreseeable future, without having further cuts to programs,” Carter said. “We don’t take these increases lightly, which is why this is only the second time in 25 years that we’ve sought such an action. But it’s the reality of today’s economy, and a burden we can all share incrementally.

“There’s no question that the world-class hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities available today in Tennessee simply didn’t exist 25 years ago, and we’re excited to continue enhancing those resources for the public good.”

Needy Families Treated to Christmas Party (VIEW VIDEO)

December 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Children Visit with Santa and Get Presents at Cops for Kids Christmas Party
Many Families Treated to Christmas Party

Many needy families were treated to a dinner, entertainment, and gifts at the third annual Cops for Kids Christmas party held Friday night at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.

The party, sponsored by the Smithville Police Department and organized by records clerk Beth Adcock, is held each year by invitation only for families who are experiencing a difficult time around the holidays due to illness, loss of income, or other circumstances. In addition to Cops for Kids, a drawing was held to give away bicycles and riding toys which were donated. The bike collection drive was conducted recently by employees of the City of Smithville.

The singers and musicians from the First Assembly of God performed during the party and Iain Swisher read passages of scripture from the Bible about the birth of Christ.

Santa and his elves showed up to hand out presents to the delight of everyone, especially the children. The youngsters also received a Bible.

State Fire Marshal’s Office Urges Fire Safety for Christmas Trees

December 19, 2014

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans with natural, fresh-cut Christmas trees to keep them in water because of the fire risk posed when they are allowed to dry out.

“Properly maintaining a cut Christmas tree’s moisture content by keeping it in water significantly reduces the chance that its needles will dry out and pose a fire hazard,” said Gary West, deputy commissioner of the Fire Prevention Division, Department of Commerce and Insurance.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), structure fires caused by Christmas trees result in an average of six deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage every year. Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they occur, they are likely to be very serious. On average, one of every 40 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death. A heat source placed too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (18 percent) of these fires.

To illustrate the short time in which a dry, cut Christmas tree can catch fire and engulf a room in flames, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s office is distributing this link of a side-by-side comparison of the burn rates of a properly maintained tree and a dried-out tree: http://youtu.be/RNjO3wZDVlA
In addition to keeping natural trees watered, the State Fire Marshal’s Office also shares these Christmas tree safety tips:
Picking the tree

• If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1 inch – 2 inches from the base of the trunk.

• Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces,
radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are
only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for
screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to
connect.

• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After Christmas

• Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger
and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

• Check with your local community to find a recycling program.

Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your home. The plan should include two ways out of every room and a designated meeting place outside where everyone can be accounted for.

Don’t forget to install smoke alarms on every level of your home and to test them monthly.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has distributed more than 68,000 smoke alarms throughout the state in two years’ time through our “Get Alarmed Tennessee” program. So far, that has resulted in 71 lives being saved. For more information, visit our website
at http://www.tn.gov/fire/.

About the Department of Commerce and Insurance: The state Department of Commerce and Insurance is a diverse entity of six divisions charged with protecting the interests of consumers while providing fair, efficient oversight and a level field of competition for a broad array of industries and professionals doing business in Tennessee. Our divisions include the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Division of Insurance, the Division of Securities, the Division of TennCare Oversight, the Division of Fire Prevention, and the Division of Regulatory Boards.

Police Issue Citations and Make Arrests for Shoplifting, Vandalism, and Alcohol Offenses

December 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

In his latest report on city crime news, Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 30 year old Jeffery Dawes is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said according to a Walmart employee, Dawes recently left the store with unpaid for merchandise in his possession. He was confronted and found with the items.

25 year old Zel Carter is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said Carter was recently observed by Walmart employees placing two SD cards in his pocket, valued at $99.76. He was stopped trying to leave the store without paying for the cards which were found on him.

23 year old Sonny Stults is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to an automobile accident on Allen's Chapel Road. Stults was found to be the driver of the vehicle. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he performed unsatisfactorily on field sobriety tasks and a portable breath test. He was placed under arrest.

Willard Darrell Brown is charged with vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 15. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to a residence at City Walk Apartments on Bryant Street to a possible domestic and vandalism. Upon arrival he spoke with a woman who reported that Brown had done damage to her apartment and her car. Police confronted Brown who allegedly admitted to damaging the apartment and vandalizing the car with a hammer. Several items in the apartment were also damaged.

42 year old Cherri Murphy is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to East Bryant Street on a disturbance call. Police had already been summoned there once before that day. On the second call, the responding officer found Murphy to be unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. She was in a hallway using profane language toward other people. Murphy was placed under arrest.

56 year old Terry Brent Hall is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer was recently dispatched to 724 Short Mountain Street for a possible intoxicated person. Upon arrival, the officer found a man laying in the back yard, identified as Hall. He had been drinking from a half gallon of Country Club vodka. Hall was placed under arrest.

25 year old William Keith Melson is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, December 3 an officer responded to Food Lion in reference to a shoplifter. Melson was observed putting two beers inside his coat pocket. He will be in court on January 8.

Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

December 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

Second grade students at Smithville Elementary recently participated in a community project for Christmas.

Students worked to make cards to send to a sick little girl who may be celebrating her last Christmas. The students will be mailing the 6 year old girl over 120 homemade Christmas cards.

Pictured are a few students from each class that worked on the cards.

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