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"A Day at the Park" Coming April 23

April 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
"A Day in the Park" Coming April 23

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition (DPC) and DeKalb Community Advisory Board (CAB) are hosting “A Day at the Park” on April 23 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Greenbrook Park in Smithville. The day is designed to be a Child Abuse Prevention and Foster Family Recruitment Event. It is a free event for families and individuals designed to educate the community about child abuse prevention and to also provide families with information about becoming Foster Parents. Food, games and activities will be available for children and speakers and vendors will be at the park. The CAB’s mission is to identify, utilize and create resources to help families and the community as a whole. While the DPC works to promote a safe, healthy and productive environment that prevents destructive opportunities among the youth and adults of our community. The DPC and CAB meet together the last Tuesday of each month at 12:00pm in the DeKalb County courthouse basement.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the DeKalb Prevention Coalition and DeKalb Community Advisory Board encourage all individuals and organizations to play a role in making DeKalb County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:

•Nurturing and attachment
•Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
• Parental resilience
•Social connections
• Concrete supports for parents
• Social and emotional competence of children

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Norene Puckett CAB Vice-President. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

In support of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and over 30 National Prevention Partners have created 2016 Prevention Resource Guide: Building Community, Building Hope. The resource guide, designed for service providers who work throughout the community to strengthen families, is available online at

For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities during the month of April and throughout the year, contact Norene Puckett 615-215-8690 or

New State Record Brook Trout

April 4, 2016
Sasa Krezic
TWRA Officer Tony Cross, Sasa Krezic, Will Collier, a TWRA fish biologist

He caught it on April Fools’ Day, but Sasa Krezic has a fish tale that has been verified and placed in the record books by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It is no joke!

A new northern brook trout state record was on the Caney Fork River near Smithville by Krezic, a resident of Nashville. Will Collier, a TWRA fish biologist, verified the record weight at 4 lbs., 12 oz.

The old state record was set in 1973 by Jerry Wells while fishing the Hiwassee River near Chattanooga. It weighed 3 lbs., 14 oz. and stood the test of time over 43 years and during millions of fishing trips.

Krezić has fished the Caney Fork River near Smithville for many years, specifically for trout. One of his favorite holes seemed busier than normal when he arrived to the Caney today, so he moved to a more open space, baited his line with a live minnow, and on his first cast caught the record and a great April 1 story to tell the rest of his life.

Krezić assumed the fish was a brown trout while fighting it because brown and brook trout are similar in color, but brown trout get much larger. After reeling it in and giving it a closer look, he recognized it might be more special than he already thought.

Still, he wanted to get a second opinion and discussed it with a nearby angler. After seeing the size of the fish, the angler suggested Krezić contact TWRA.

Dekalb County Wildlife Officer Tony Cross received Krezic’s call.

“I expected to see a brown trout and was surprised when I arrived,” said Cross, who in turn telephoned Collier per state protocol that requires a TWRA biologists verify the catch.

The fish was weighed on certified scale at nearby Big Rock Market. “This is a once in a career event,” stated Will Collier. “We were thrilled to be part of it, and we’re happy for Mr. Krezić. It is great to see successful anglers and even better to see a new state record.”

Northern strain brook trout have been stocked on the Caney Fork River since 2008. The northern strain grows much larger than the southern strain brook trout, which resides only in cold headwater streams at high elevations. Brook trout are Tennessee’s only native trout. For more information on brook trout or state records, visit and search under the “For Anglers” menu.

Man Airlifted after Motorcycle Crash

April 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
Noe Roberto's motorcycle hits tree (right) on Four Seasons Road
Mark England's motorcycle crashes on Highway 70 east

One man was airlifted after a motorcycle crash Sunday on Four Seasons Road near the intersection of Hooper Road.

Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 35 year old Noe Roberto was traveling in the direction of Four Seasons on a 1990 Yamaha FZ1 when he went off the right side of the road and hit a tree.

Roberto was treated by DeKalb EMS and flown from the scene by helicopter ambulance to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also there.

Meanwhile, 55 year old Mark England of Smithville was injured in a separate motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon on Highway 70 east near the Smithville Water Treatment Plant.

Trooper T.J. Withers of the Tennessee Highay Patrol told WJLE that England was traveling east on a 1997 Honda motorcycle when he failed to negotiate a curve and wrecked.

He was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital for treatment. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was also on the scene.

HiSet Now Sole High School Equivalency Test in Tennessee

April 2, 2016
HiSet Now Sole High School Equivalency Test in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) announced Thursday the HiSet product from Educational Testing Service will become the only high school equivalency test given in the state.

Prior to April 1, 2016, adult learners in Tennessee had the option to choose between the HiSet test and the GED Testing Service product.

Beginning, April 1, 2016, new test takers will no longer be able to sign up for the GED test. As of that date HiSet will be the sole provider of high school equivalency testing in Tennessee.

There are currently 132 students, in 95 counties, who have taken at least one module of the GED test, but have not completed it. Those students will continue to have access to the remaining modules of the GED test through June 30, 2016.

Effective July 1, 2016, HiSet will be the only test available to students in Tennessee who wish to obtain their high school equivalency diploma.
The Adult Education Division of the TDLWD is working with Educational Testing Service to develop a new Tennessee Adult Education curriculum. This joint venture will create the first of its kind curriculum in the nation. The change to HiSet testing will ensure the new curriculum will be aligned with the test students take to earn the high school equivalency diploma.

The HiSet test will provide other benefits to adult learners in Tennessee. The cost of the HiSet test is $75, compared to the $120 fee to take the GED test. HiSet is also more convenient for students, it offers the option of on-line testing, as well as a standard paper test.

Time Running Out For August Candidates to Qualify

April 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

With the qualifying deadline fast approaching, there are still positions for which no petition has been issued or no petition has been returned for two August city elections.

As of noon Friday, no petition had been issued for one of two Alderman seats in Dowelltown, an issued petition for Mayor had not been returned, and petitions for two Aldermen positions in Liberty had yet to be returned, according to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. The qualifying deadline for all races in August is NOON Thursday (April 7).

At last report, only William A. Davis had returned a petition for Alderman in Dowelltown with another alderman seat and the mayor’s seat up for election.

In Liberty, Dwayne Blair and Todd Dodd have returned petitions with another 4-year alderman seat and a seat of one year to fill an unexpired term up for election.

In Smithville, three alderman seats are up for grabs in August and 5 petitions have been returned with two outstanding. Those who have returned petitions are Richard Steinbach, Ronald Dale Stanley, and incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller and Danny Washer.

In the August 4 DeKalb County General Election, all seats up for grabs have a candidate, including the recently created vacancy on the county commission.

Petitions returned or candidates chosen by party conventions are as follows:

1st District County Commission—Thomas Chandler, Republican and Julie Williams Young, Democrat

4th District School Board—Kate Miller
5th District School Board—W.J. (Dub) Evins, Kevin Hale and Barry Mabe
6th District School Board—Doug Stephens.

Other candidates chosen in the March 1 Democratic Primary or by party convention are:
Scott Cantrell, Assessor of Property, Democrat; Shannon Cantrell, Assessor of Property, Republican

Constable 1st district—Lee Plummer, Republican and Jason Taylor, Democrat

Constable 2nd District—Thomas Theriaque, Republican

Constable 3rd District—Travis Bryant; Democrat

Constable 4th District—Paul Cantrell, Democrat

Constable 5th District—Mark Milam, Democrat

Constable 6th district—Carl Lee Webb, Democrat

Constable 7th district—Johnny King, Democrat

Meanwhile, the picture is coming in focus on the state level as petitions are being filed for State House 40 and 46.

In House District 40 petitions have been filed by incumbent Terry Lynn Weaver, Republican and Democrat Gayla Colvert Hendrix. In House District 46 petitions have been filed by incumbent Mark Pody, Republican; Jim Gibbs, Republican; and Amelia Hipps, Democrat.

Again, the qualifying deadline is NOON Thursday.

Lakeside Resort Gets New Owners and New Name (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

March 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
UCHRA Executive Director Luke Collins (left) hands keys of Lakeside Resort to Thaddaeus Hill, Executive Director of Timothy Hill Ranch following a brief program Thursday at Lakeside.
Thaddaeus Hill, Executive Director of Timothy Hill Ranch ; Jesse Schmelling, Director of Operations; and Fern and Jerry Hill, Founders of the Timothy Hill Ranch Organization.
County Mayor Tim Stribling, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, and Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis were among those in attendance at the Thursday unveiling of the new name for Lakeside "The Retreat at Center Hill Lake- A Timothy Hill Retreat Center"

Lakeside Resort has new owners and a new name.

"The Retreat at Center Hill Lake" will be operated as a retreat center by the Timothy Hill Ranch organization for the purpose of hosting individuals, families, churches and groups in an alcohol and tobacco free environment. It will not be used as a residential center for youth.

Luke Collins, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) turned over the keys of the facility Thursday morning to Thaddaeus Hill, Executive Director of Timothy Hill Ranch, an organization whose mission is “strengthening character by modeling Christ-centered values.”

The final sales agreement was signed on Wednesday.


"We are so excited about it. What a great community partner Timothy Hill is. They are Christian based and an organization full of love and full of super people," Collins told WJLE.

"I just think it's a great fit for us and for DeKalb County. Other people have been interested in this property but I just think it was God's will that it worked out like it did. We have nothing against the other folks that wanted the property but we just could not have found a better fit than the folks here at Timothy Hill. I just admire them so much. I admire them for what they do and what they stand for. It's just a beautiful organization. They are going to make a lot of investment. They already have. They have been trimming a lot of trees and they are going to put a beach in and do a lot of great things. It really has a great future," Collins added.

Following the Thursday ceremony held at Lakeside, Hill told WJLE that the final development plans for the Retreat will have to be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but “we have the impression they are very excited to have us as a partner. I think they know we’ll take our stewardship of this property very seriously.”

Under terms of the sale, Timothy Hill Ranch has put forward a $600,000 purchase, $50,000 deposit and $100,000 in services over 10 years ($10,000 per year). Those services are to include staff retreats, annual meetings, employee training and other events. UCHRA will pay off its USDA Rural Development loan debt of $1,285,550 relating to Lakeside Resort by applying the $600,000 from Timothy Hill and borrowing from the Bank of Putnam County $685,550.35 to be repaid in 4 years.

The organization, founded by Jerrell and Fern Hill, is named after their son Timothy Hill, a Columbia, TN native who died at age 13 but who already had a vision and business plan for helping others.

The first location was opened in 1980 in New York as a residential facility working with young people coming out of foster care. About 15 years later a retreat center was opened in the mountains of Massachusetts.

“As our board began exploring our next phase of expansion we said we really wanted to have the opportunity to do things in Tennessee where Timothy was born and dad was raised and felt this would be like coming home for us” Thaddaeus Hill told WJLE.

“At this location our intent is to continue to run this as a retreat center and host conferences and events for individuals, families, churches and groups who want to come and use this place,” Hill explained. “I’m sure there’s a lot of questions about our residential end of what we do. That will not exist on this site. At some point in the future we do have intent to work with some young people who have aged out of foster care. That is the population we’re looking at. The ones who have aged out of foster care that are 18 and above that may not have families to support them through their college years or finding their career paths. We’re not talking about criminals. We’re going to do our best to love on those folks and at some point use this facility as part of their training ground for some of their education and vocational training opportunities but we do not have a concrete date as to when that is going to happen. That will be some time in the future," said Hill

“Our main focus for the immediate future is to get the facility up to our standards and get it running in a direction that we feel like is a blessing to the people who are using it,” he added.

"I think for the next two to three years we're going to really focus on improving what is here before doing too much expansion. Expanding some of the trails in the woods to allow for hiking and passive recreation and at some point having horses on campus is definitely important to us. This is something we have on all of our locations is horses and an equestrian opportunity for young people and families to be able to participate in that. I absolutely expect that this will be something somewhere down the road that we will do. But again to me the real magic is the view, the lake, and the nature that's around us and we want to make sure that we're steering people toward that and have the opportunity to really go all throughout this 160 acres. We're not going to let it lie dormant and not do anything with it. But we have to do it in cooperation with the Corps and what they will allow us to do but they have indicated to us that using the entire property for passive recreation is absolutely an allowable use and something they encourage," Hill concluded.

Guest cottages and apartments are maintained on the property including thirteen cabins or houses, four condominiums, along with the lakeside lodge, featuring 26 units. The resort also has a dock and a swimming pool.

DeKalb Project Included in Governor's Transportation Improvement Plan

March 31, 2016

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer today released TDOT’s annual three year transportation program (2017-19), featuring approximately $2 billion in infrastructure investments for 79 individual project phases in 42 counties including DeKalb, as well as 15 statewide programs.

Among the projects in Region 2 is the widening of Highway 56 from south of State Route 288 near Magness Road to East Bryant Street in Smithville (4.5 miles). Budgeted for construction in Fiscal Year 2017.

The Warren-DeKalb Highway 56 project from south of the Warren County line to near Magness Road is scheduled for a construction letting this summer. It was scheduled for the June 24 letting but may shift to the August 19 letting, according to TDOT.

The three-year program (2017-19) continues the state’s focus on providing a high quality state transportation network that is safe and reliable and supports Tennessee’s economic development efforts. New federal transportation funding through the FAST Act federal legislation includes a roughly two percent increase for FY 2017 over FY 2016’s funding. The FAST Act also provides some one-time flexibility that allows TDOT to tap into an additional $147 million in federal money.

These increases combined with the $100 million repayment to the highway fund in the Haslam administration’s proposed FY 16-17 budget will give the department a somewhat larger building program in the upcoming fiscal year - an estimated $965 million in FY 2017, compared to $660 million in FY 2016.

Despite the increase in revenue for FY 2017, the department still has a multi-billion dollar backlog of unfunded highway and bridge projects that have been approved by the General Assembly, but lack available funding to move forward.

“This program reflects our commitment to increasing safety and economic development opportunities, while also remaining debt free on our roads, and these one-time funding increases will allow TDOT to move forward with nearly a billion dollars in much needed road projects in communities across the state,” Haslam said.

In addition to the 2017 budgeted program, partial plans for 2018 and 2019 are included, along with funding for 15 transportation programs including Rockfall Mitigation, Spot Safety Improvement, and the statewide HELP Program. The program also provides funding for transit agencies in all 95 counties, as well as Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations.

Please see the attached list of highlighted projects in each of TDOT’s four regions. To view a complete list of projects and programs funded through the 2017-2019 three-year multimodal program, visit For more information about transportation funding, please visit

Mason Carter Appointed to 911 Board

March 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
Mason Carter

The County Commission Monday night named Mason Carter to fill the remaining two year unexpired term of Elmer Ellis, Jr. on the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (911) Board of Directors.

Ellis resigned last month.

Carter also serves as a 1st district county commissioner.

The appointment was made upon the recommendation of the DeKalb County ECD Board. County Mayor Tim Stribling read the letter of recommendation Monday night sent to the county commission by Local ECD Director Bradley Mullinax on behalf of the 911 Board.

"During the March meeting of the DeKalb 911 ECD Board of Directors discussion was made of the appointment of a board member to the 911 board to serve in the position recently vacated by Elmer Ellis. The board unanimously recommended Mason Carter from the DeKalb County Commission to serve in this position to fill the unexpired term. We feel his background and experience will be invaluable to the success of our organization," Mullinax wrote

Carter will serve out the existing four year term of Mr. Ellis ending August 31, 2018.

Rogers Group Awarded Bid to Pave Street to Solid Waste Transfer Station

March 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
Solid Waste Transfer Station

Paving will soon begin from Moog Boulevard to the county's solid waste transfer station in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east.

The county commission Monday night awarded a bid to Rogers Group in the amount of $468,421 (after deduct). It was the lowest of the three bids submitted. "The bids were opened on March 17 at 10:00 a.m. There were three bids for the paving of Moog Boulevard to the transfer station. LoJac Enterprises submitted a bid of $648,064. Rogers Group's base bid was for $499,413. Tinsleys Asphalt's bid was for $580, 109. These were the base bids. Our engineer Ronnie Reese put in a deductive item where we will (pave) come right past the crossroad area and no further. The city is planning on putting a couple of posts and a chain across there anyway. Ronnie Reese is recommending that Rogers Group receive the bid. He said they have the equipment and manpower to do it. I just need approval from the county commission. We also had a landfill committee meeting and they recommended the $468, 421 bid to be awarded to pave to the transfer station street," said County Mayor Tim Stribling

Although the county's existing Class I landfill still has a remaining life of a year and six months, the new solid waste transfer station could begin operation by late summer.

The transfer station is located behind Tenneco Automotive.

County Mayor Stribling said last month that the conversion from the landfill to the transfer station could begin in August or September. Some work yet remains to be done before the facility is completed. Under an agreement with the county, the City of Smithville has installed a waterline to the site and the county will have to pave the road leading to the transfer station.

" We're just waiting for warmer weather to have the water turned on. We'll also have to buy some minor office equipment and a loader to be able to load the garbage into the trucks at the transfer station. We'll also have to advertise bids for the hauling of the waste to Smith County," said County Mayor Stribling.

Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park Upcoming

March 30, 2016
Bob Tarter of NHECM showing a colorful parrot to Sandy C. Brown
Ranger Mark Taylor, Silver Point, intoducing one of his non-poisonous snake friends to an eager audience.
Crystal Young, Silver Point, stays busy painting faces, hands and arms
Smithville’s retired school teachers, Carol Williams and Judy Fuson, are “official volunteer photographers” for the event.

The annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park will be Saturday, April 9th.

It is an all day event for just about everyone ... adults and families. Everything will be free except boat rides and anything you might want to buy from the food vendors. Bring a picnic lunch and stay for the day or come for while.

Registration will open in front of the Visitors Center at 8 a.m. Signing up for the $2 boat rides scheduled throughout the day will be on a first come first serve basis. (To ride on a boat children must be over age 3 years and accompanied by an adult.).

At 8:30 a.m. Randy Hedgepath, the Tennessee State naturalist, will take a group out on the 2 mile Highland Rim Nature Trail to enjoy the profusion of wild flowers, other flora and fauna. Ranger Mark Taylor will guide a later group.

Dancers from Cannon Arts Studio, Woodbury, will perform at 10:30 a.m., followed by the popular Bob Tarter and his animals from NHECM at 11:30 a.m., a friendly snake show, and a chance to get acquainted with Henry, the red tailed hawk on loan from Henry Horton State Park,

There will be old fashioned games for young and old, a chance to fly a kite and take one home, do a little crafts making, get faces, hands or arms painted, climb the observation tower, picnic on the grounds, hike other trails on your own and just enjoy a beautiful spring day outside in a beautiful park. A hay wagon and a passenger vehicle will transport visitors to and from other parts of the park from the Visitors Center. Free parking along the park's main road only has to be done once.

For those who wish to make this an overnight or weekend event there are cabins and camp sites available at the park. These may be reserved on-line or by phoning the park office at (931) 858-2114 or 1-800-250-8619. The park is located at in DeKalb county at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point 38582, on Center Hill Lake, between Smithville and Cookeville

This event is a joint project of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park employees. More information about the volunteer group may be found on-line at or on Facebook at friendsofeesp.


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