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Early Voting Times Set for November 8 Elections

September 13, 2016
Early Voting Times Set for November 8 Elections

You can start making plans to vote early. The DeKalb County Election Commission has now set the hours for early voting for the November 8 elections.

Early voting will be held October 19 through November 3 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The hours will be Mondays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. until noon.

“Voting early will be the smart choice for this election,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

“Nearly 3,000 voted on election day in 2012, the last Presidential election, and over 2,800 voted early that year. With the huge turnout we anticipate this November, we would like to see the early voting numbers far exceed the actual election day vote,” he said. “Early voting is so convenient with the number of days and flexible hours. It’s the smart choice to make.”

Meanwhile, October 11 is the last day to register to vote for the November election. That same deadline applies to those who wish to register as property rights voters in the City of Smithville.

In addition to the presidential candidates, races on the ballot include the 6th District U.S. Congressional seat, seats for the 40th and 46th Tennessee House of Representatives, and two liquor referendums in the City of Smithville—consumption on the premises and the sale of wine at retail food stores.

Stanley also reminded voters to keep their residential (and mailing) address up to date with the election office.

“If you have moved since you last voted, you should call the election commission office to make sure your correct address is on file,” Stanley said. “Tennessee law requires voters to cast their ballot in the precinct that matches their residential address, so keeping your address up to date with our office can avoid delays when voting.”

In addition, voters who have moved to DeKalb County from another county in Tennessee or from another state need to register locally before the October 11 deadline.

New DCHS Girls Basketball Coach Seeks to Start Alumni Club

September 13, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Fish

As he looks toward building the program, Coach Danny Fish wants to honor the history and tradition of the DCHS women’s basketball program and start an alumni club to keep in touch with former players.

Inspired by a reunion of the 1986 DCHS Tigerette Softball team during the spring, Coach Fish told WJLE recently that he would like to pay tribute to former Lady Tiger basketball players and learn through them more about the earlier years of the program.

“I’m trying to get the history of the women’s basketball program. I want to start an alumni club to where I can have names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses of people who have played in the program before. I want to know the background and history of the women’s basketball program. It’s because of the players who came before us that we have such a rich tradition,” said Coach Fish.

“I’m trying to generate some excitement by bringing back some of the older players. I believe that for us to have strong athletics at the high school with any program we need community involvement. I’m trying to reach out to the community and to former players and coaches. I want them to be involved,” Coach Fish continued.

“We’re looking at maybe having a reception for former and current players and coaches closer to the season. We want to get them together and hear their stories. All through my coaching days, regardless of what I’ve done before, it’s always been about the relationships. Win games. Lose games. Win championships. Not win championships. When you come back years later to tell those stories it all comes down to the relationships you made with each other. Renewing old relationships and making new relationships is something I’d like to do and build bridges to the future,” he said.

While his emphasis is on making contact with former Lady Tigers, Coach Fish said he would also like to see the men’s program honor Tigers of the past. “Its not a separate entity but one. I played in the 90’s and would like to see my former teammates again. We have a very rich history in men and women’s basketball and I plan to work with Coach Lynus Martin on maybe doing something for the men too,” he said.

Former Lady Tigers are urged to send their names, addresses, phone numbers, email information to dannyfish@dekalbschools.net.

“I plan to start a bulk mailing list and send out a blast email to keep them informed about what we’re doing in the program,” Coach Fish concluded.

Coach Fish was named to head the DCHS Girls Basketball Program last month after Coach Nathaniel Kennard resigned. Coach Fish was also chosen earlier in the summer to succeed Coach Danny Bond as the head coach of the DCHS Tigerette Fast Pitch Softball Team. Coach Bond stepped down as coach but remains in the school system having taken another position.

Fish was born and raised in DeKalb County and he graduated from DCHS in 1996. During his high school years, Fish played both basketball and baseball. He served as an assistant to Coach Bond in the softball program for the last four years before being named to succeed him. Fish teaches physical education at DCHS.

Aldermen-Elect and Reappointed City Judge Take Oath of Office

September 12, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Aldermen Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer Take Oath of Office
Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger Takes Oath of Office After Being Reappointed to New Two Year Term

The three Smithville Aldermen who were re-elected to new four year terms last month took their oath of office during Monday night’s monthly city council meeting.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. administered the oath to Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer. Their terms officially began September 1.

Meanwhile, Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger was re-appointed by the Aldermen to serve another two year term. Conger was sworn in by City Attorney Parsley.

Mayor Jimmy Poss appointed Alderman Danny Washer as Commissioner of the Water and Sewer Department; Alderman Gayla Hendrix, Commissioner of the Sanitation Department; Alderman Jason Murphy, Commissioner of Streets and Safety; Alderman Josh Miller, Commissioner of the Police and Fire Departments; and Alderman Shawn Jacobs will be the Commissioner of Finance and Taxation. Alderman Jason Murphy will be the Vice-Mayor.

In other business, the Aldermen promoted certified sewer plant operator Anthony Hasemann to Supervisor of the plant to replace Bobby Pinegar, who recently retired.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker addressed the Mayor and Aldermen asking for a workshop to discuss options for purchasing a new combination fire engine/rescue vehicle to replace the fire department’s oldest fire truck, a 1992 model, as well as a 20 year old rescue truck and cargo van. The workshop will be Monday, September 19 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall.

Local Youth Attend Annual TN 4‐H Roundup

September 12, 2016
by: 
Leigh Fuson
Caitlyn Lawrence and Kayla Belk
Caitlyn Lawrence

For the 93rd year, 4‐H members from across Tennessee gathered at the University of Tennessee for State 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference.

The annual event, which took place July 25‐29, recognized the outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments of senior high 4‐H members. Approximately 300 high school age 4‐H’ers from across Tennessee met for several days on the UT Knoxville campus. 4‐H’ers competed in projects such as communications, livestock, computers and technology, and photography for college scholarship money and trips to National 4‐H Congress in Atlanta. The theme for this meeting and for all 4‐H programs in 2016 was “Tennessee 4‐H: Breaking Barriers and Building Leaders.”

Representing DeKalb County at State 4‐H Roundup this year were Kayla Belk, 11th grade, and Caitlyn Lawrence, 12th grade. Caitlyn competed in her project area of nutrition, health, and fitness. She was a regional finalist with her portfolio and earned her trip to Round Up. She also had to compete in a professional interview and represented DeKalb County very well. Caitlyn attended as an All-Star member and completed service hours with Keep Knoxville Beautiful. Caitlyn also received the Vol State Award, the highest level of recognition a 4-H member can be awarded. This award is only given to current or incoming high school seniors.

Teens from all over the state came together, competed in their project areas, learned life skills such as leadership and citizenship, made lifelong friends and had a great time at Dollywood. Roundup is one of the highlights for Tennessee’s 4‐H program. Delegates who attend have spent years of work in their respective project areas. Delegates to the 2016 Tennessee 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference were also asked to collect items for foster children in East Tennessee.

“Service‐learning opportunities are a very important component of the 4‐H program,” said Richard Clark, Assistant Dean and Department Head for Tennessee 4‐H Youth Development. “Each year, 4‐H’ers statewide perform tens of thousands of hours of service at an estimated value of over $1 million. Through the service‐learning projects, our 4‐H’ers learn that they can really make a difference in their communities.”

4‐H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee State University. 4‐H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 168,000 youth in 4th through 12th grades. 4‐H also has more than 6,000 adult volunteers. For more information about DeKalb County 4-H, please call 615-597-4945.

Photo Caption:
Round Up: Caitlyn Lawrence and Kayla Belk after the awards banquet at State 4-H Roundup held at UT Knoxville. Kayla was a state finalist in her project area of nutrition, health, and fitness.

Caitlyn Lawrence received the highest honor a TN 4-H member can receive: Vol State.

Local Heroes Join Boy Scouts in Special 9/11 Flag Retirement Ceremony (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

September 12, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of Boy Scout Troop 347 and Leaders Conduct 9/11 Flag Retirement Ceremony
Local emergency personnel and others joined members of Boy Scout Troop 347 in a special 9/11 flag retirement ceremony Sunday.
Sheriff Patrick Ray joins Boy Scout in retiring an American Flag
County Fire Chief Donny Green joins Boy Scout in retiring an American Flag

Local emergency personnel and others joined members of Boy Scout Troop 347 in a special 9/11 flag retirement ceremony Sunday.

The event was hosted by Alan and Lora Webb on the grounds of the Webb House Retirement Center. Residents of the center, local veterans, and others were in attendance.

“The Boys Scouts retire a lot of flags every year and we do several ceremonies but this one is special. Everyone who was old enough to recognize what was going on that day knows the significance of 9/11. For the young Scouts here in the audience I need you to know that the world changed that day for the United States. It was a day that was terrible but a day that showed great courage in many Americans. It has shaped our foreign policy for the last fifteen years in this country. If you get a chance to see a documentary on 9/11 I think you should take that chance because you need to understand the significance of this day. I’m sure it is similar to the way people felt about Pearl Harbor but the difference I think is that everybody in this country was able to see it happen in live time on television that day. The country basically stopped that day and has not been the same since. We’re very proud of the men and women who responded to that emergency and disaster. There is still great sorrow over the loss of life that ensued as the emergency responders who came to that incident perished when the towers fell,” said Scout Master Dr. Will Sherwood, who served as Master of Ceremony.

Jacob Williams, Boy Scout Chaplain’s Aide offered a brief prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Senior Patrol Leader Jonathan Birmingham and then a performance of the National Anthem by Erica Birmingham. The Boy Scout Troop 347 Color Guard presented the Colors.

Scout Master Jen Sherwood recognized local heroes as the Boy Scouts presented them a star cut from the cloth of the American flags to be retired. “As we celebrate 9/11 we cannot help but thank those who lost their lives in the buildings doing their duty to their country and to their local citizens. It is our pleasure at this time to also recognize those people in our own community who do this day in and day out in DeKalb County. We would like to recognize all of our local law enforcement and emergency personnel for the job that they do in our community. This is our opportunity to say thank you and to know that they are doing a tremendous service in DeKalb County,” said Sherwood.

Jen Sherwood and Sherry Bush then led the audience in singing “God Bless America”, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and “Let There Be Peace on Earth”.

The flag retirement ceremony followed.

“The United States federal law provides that the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display should be destroyed in a dignified way preferably by burning,” said Dr. Sherwood.

Food Pantry Gets New Name

September 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
The First United Methodist Church Food Pantry is now “God’s Food Pantry, Christians Working Together”.
Food Pantry Gets New Name

The First United Methodist Church Food Pantry is now “God’s Food Pantry, Christians Working Together”.

A group of friends, volunteers, and supporters gathered at the food pantry location at 430 East Broad Street Friday for the unveiling of a sign bearing the pantrys new name.

Since its beginning, the pantry has been known as the First United Methodist Church Food Pantry, a prime supporter. But the name has been changed to reflect the wider support from the community and other churches in the area. “ Now its God’s Food Pantry because of the multitude of churches now funding it. There are people in the community, businesses, and others who give us donations,” said Pat Zornow, a volunteer.

“The people who the food pantry are honored to feed have named the pantry. The people call the food pantry “God’s Pantry” because without it, they would not have enough food to feed their families or themselves. They say that God runs the pantry as they post prayers on the outside of the pantry building. So, the name “God’s Food Pantry” was given,” said Zornow.

For nearly a decade the pantry has served the less fortunate of this community and beyond with food and other essentials to help meet their needs.

“When the pantry first opened its doors nine years ago, it was called the First United Methodist Church Food Pantry. It had its beginning at the Methodist Church. However because of space issues, the pantry was later moved to its first community location at 107B East Bryant Street. Due to an increasing need for more services and additional space, the pantry was later moved again and now is located at 430 East Broad Street,” said Zornow.

“Each year our population increases. We started out with 999 people that year. Now we’re serving thousands. We saw almost 20,000 last year alone. They come from all counties,” Zornow said.

During the calendar year 2015, the pantry served 6,393 families or 19,608 individuals including 4,927 senior citizens and 7,003 children. So far this year, 5,229 families have received food or 14,223 individuals including 4,046 senior citizens and 4,572 children.

The pantry is staffed by volunteers and supported totally by donations from the community, churches, and businesses. It does not receive any local, state, or federal government funding. The money raised goes toward purchasing food from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and to assist families in specific situations in paying utility bills and rent.

“The First United Methodist Church allocated the pantry a budget which in essence covered the costs of the utilities. The rent costs were agreed to be paid by several individuals so as not to take from donations to the pantry,” said Zornow.

“We do housing, rent, and utilities for families. We also buy Food Lion gift cards and gas cards for them. We have had quite a few people, especially the elderly who can’t afford even to drive daily for chemo treatments,” Zornow said.

In addition, the pantry works each year with St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in providing hot meals over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year to persons enrolled in the Meals on Wheels Program who would not have food over the holidays. Individuals who are delivered food boxes twice a month through the pantry and the homeless additionally receive hot meals.

Christmas presents are also provided each year to less fortunate children up to the age of 18 who may not otherwise get a gift during the holidays.

Over the years the costs to operate have increased along with the number of people served by the pantry. Last year, $14,234 was paid to Second Harvest to purchase 136,334 pounds of food not including the costs for paying utilities, rent, and motel lodging for homeless persons and for the costs of Food Lion and gas cards. So far this year, $10,354 has been spent to buy 111,344 pounds of food plus other costs.

If you would like to support the food pantry with a donation or if you wish to receive assistance call 615-597-4961 or 615-714-1242.
You may also call the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 and ask for Chief Mark Collins or Captain Steven Leffew.

Food is distributed on the first and third Friday of every month from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. “We have two Fridays. The police have also been addressing a lot of the emergencies at night. People can call them. You may also call the First Baptist Church or the First United Methodist Church,” said Zornow.

“We consider it a privilege to be able to work here and help other people. We feel like we’re doing God’s work. We know we’re helping a lot of people,” said Hilda Oakley, who has been a volunteer for the pantry for more than eight years.

Suspected Marijuana Dealer Arrested by Sheriff's Department

September 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray and Detectives Robert Patrick, Jimmy Martin, and Stephen Barrett confiscate 12 marijuana plants 6-7 feet tall at the home of Michael Duane Kingsbury on Jefferson Road
Sheriff’s Department confiscates 209 baggies of processed marijuana with an estimated street value of $14,000 at the home of Michael Duane Kingsbury on Jefferson Road
Michael Duane Kingsbury

A suspected marijuana dealer found with $14,000 worth of marijuana and $10,000 in cash was arrested Friday night at his home by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department

66 year old Michael Duane Kingsbury of 1359 Jefferson Road, Smithville is charged with manufacturing a controlled substance (marijuana) and possession with intent to sell marijuana. His bond is $10,000 and he will make an appearance in General Sessions Court September 29.

After receiving a tip that Kingsbury had been growing marijuana, Sheriff Patrick Ray said detectives went to his home to investigate, executed a search warrant, and found 12 marijuana plants from 6-7 feet tall growing in a garden spot next to the house and more than 209 baggies of processed marijuana in the home along with drug paraphernalia. The pot had an estimated street value of $14,000. Detectives also recovered $10,000 in cash.

“Friday at around 3:47 p.m. a detective with the Sheriff’s Department went to the home of Kingsbury acting on a tip of him growing marijuana. The officer pulled up in the driveway and noticed some marijuana plants to the side of the house in a garden spot. He drove down Jefferson Road and also could see some of the plants from there. The detective went back to Kingsbury’s home and a female answered his knock on the door. The officer asked her for consent to search but she refused. The detective then summoned a deputy to the home to secure the scene while he went to the Sheriff’s Department to obtain a search warrant,” said Sheriff Ray.

When officers returned to the home and executed the search warrant, they found the marijuana. “ At 7:50 p.m. Friday night we executed a search warrant at Kingsbury’s home and found 12 marijuana plants in a garden spot beside of the house. The plants ranged in height from 6-7 feet tall. A search of the home turned up 209 baggies of marijuana, 190 of those were quarter ounce bags of processed marijuana and 19 were half ounce bags of processed marijuana with an estimated street value of $14,000. Also in the home the detectives found drug paraphernalia and $10,000 in cash,” said Sheriff Ray.

Kingsbury was arrested and taken to the Sheriff’s Department for booking.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says if anyone has information on any crimes to please call the department's anonymous drug tip line at 615-464-6400 or call him at the Jail at 615-597-4935. All calls are kept confidential.

Smithville Police Arrest California Fugitive

September 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Eric Wayne Robertson
Christopher Lee Lewis
Heather D. Fralix
Marty B. Tallent

Smithville Police arrested a fugitive from California while investigating a local domestic complaint on Wednesday, September 7.

42 year old Eric Wayne Robertson is being held without bond on a Fugitive from Justice warrant and his court date is September 15. He is to be extradited to California.

Police conducted an identification check Wednesday with Central Dispatch while investigating a domestic call involving Robertson and through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) learned that Robertson had warrants against him out of California for a parole violation. California authorities confirmed through NCIC that they would extradite Robertson. He was taken into custody by police.

32 year old Christopher Lee Lewis was arrested Friday, September 2 for aggravated domestic assault and cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Police responded to a physical domestic complaint and upon arrival observed Lewis and the victim arguing. According to the officer, it appeared that the victim was trying to leave and Lewis was preventing her from doing so. During the investigation it was determined that Lewis had grabbed the victim by the throat and pushed her into a wall. Upon incident to arrest, an ink pen body containing a white powdery substance was found in his front pants pocket. Lewis’ bond is $3,000 and his court date is September 15.

40 year old Heather D. Fralix was arrested Saturday, September 3 for simple possession of Schedule II & IV drugs and she was cited for driving on a revoked license, no tail lights and driving while in possession of methamphetamine. Police spotted Fralix driving without working tail lights on the vehicle. A computer check revealed that her license were revoked for fleeing and evading police. Upon a consent to search, a pill bottle was found. The bottle had no prescription printed label on it but held 60 round pills believed to be Carisprodol. She was also found to be in possession of a crystal like substance believed to be approximately 1 gram of methamphetamine. Her bond is $5,000 and her court date is September 29.

50 year old Marty B. Tallent was arrested Sunday, September 4 for evading arrest. Police were called to Wal-Mart regarding a trespasser. Management had asked Tallent to leave the premises but he refused. When an officer observed Tallent talking with people in the parking lot he activated his siren to get Tallent’s attention. Upon hearing the siren, Tallent looked back and took off running. The officer exited his patrol car and called for Tallent to stop, but he kept running. Another officer was able to cut Tallent off in the parking lot where he was detained and arrested for evading. Tallent’s bond is $2,500 and his court date is September 29.

Evins Re-Elected Chairman of School Board

September 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Doug Stephens, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Shaun Tubbs

Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III has been re-elected Chairman of the Board of Education.

Evins was named by his fellow board members to serve another year as chairman during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens was re- elected Vice-Chairman and Seventh District member Shaun Tubbs was re-elected Assistant Secretary.

The board re-organizes each September electing officers to serve for the year.

In other business, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly report on personnel moves since last month.

Amanda Johnson and Kim Violet were each granted a leave of absence as requested.

Kenderly Cripps has been transferred from DCHS Bookkeeper to the Central Office, replacing Joyce Robinson

Nathaniel Kennard, a teacher; Dan Hooper, an educational assistant; and Joyce Robinson, federal bookkeeper have resigned.

Although the school system provides free breakfast, a “grab-and-go” breakfast program has been launched this year at DeKalb Middle School which allows students to take their breakfasts from the cafeteria to the classroom.

According to Director Cripps, this pilot program has already been a tremendous success with the rate of students eating breakfast at the school almost doubling and it may be started at other schools in the system next year.

Because of its success, the school board has added a new part-time position at the DeKalb Middle School Cafeteria to be funded from the Food Service Budget.

The board adopted a resolution in support of reading initiatives to reach the goal of children being able to read at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade.

Fourth district member Kate Miller read the following resolution:

“Whereas, the children of our community are our most precious resource; and

Whereas, our children’s education is their key to success in life; and

Whereas, research tells us children who read at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade have a better chance for success in school and life; and

Whereas, children who are read with 20 minutes a day from birth are more likely to have the skills needed to succeed in school and life;

Now, therefore we, the members of the DeKalb County School Board do resolve that we support the goal of having 90% of our students reading at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade; and we support the Children’s Reading Foundation of DeKalb County to help achieve such goals; and we encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud with children 20 minutes a day from birth;

Resolved this 8th day of September, 2016.”

The school board budgeted more money to help meet increased costs for employee medical insurance this year, still employees may have to pay more out of pocket to cover higher premiums. The board approved the increases Thursday night.

“As everybody knows the state has increased insurance across the board for educators. We have been working with our partners and in order for us to meet the Affordable Health Care Act the premiums are set before you (school board)”, said Director Cripps.

“Do you have an idea of how much they did increase,” asked Board Chairman Evins.

“From six to twenty percent,” replied Director Cripps

Road closure scheduled for inspection of Center Hill Dam

September 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces that the section of State Highway 141/96 that crosses over Center Hill Dam will be closed to all traffic 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12-15, 2016 while engineers conduct an inspection.

Pedestrians and bicycle traffic are also not allowed across the dam. The closure provides for the safety of employees while making room for the equipment utilized during the inspection.

The road will be barricaded at the Center Hill Dam overlook and the 141/96 intersection.

Concerns or questions about the road closure can be addressed to the Center Hill Resource Manager’s Office at (931) 858-3125.

(For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and http://www.facebook.com/lakebarkley, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)

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