Local News Articles

TWRA Cites White County Angler with Illegal Fishing on Caney Fork River

February 6, 2018
TWRA Cites White County Angler with Illegal Fishing on Caney Fork River
TWRA Cites Man on Caney Fork River
Man Cited on Caney Fork River

A White County resident was cited on the Caney Fork River, on Wednesday, January 31. DeKalb County Officer Joe Fortner responded to a call and observed an angler and his female companion for over an hour and a half. During this time officer Fortner observed the angler catch several trout and place them in a bucket. Occasionally the angler’s female companion took the bucket to a nearby car, placed the trout in the car and returned to the riverbank.

When the couple packed up and returned to their car, officer Fortner performed an inspection of the man’s catch. The man was found to be in possession of 16 total trout including five brown trout, eight brook trout and three rainbow trout. The angler was cited with three counts of over the limit and two citations for illegal length limit. The female was given a written warning for aiding and abetting. The angler will appear in court on February 21.

Fortner shared, “TWRA fisheries crews work hard to maintain great angling opportunities in this area. Slot limits on fish are put in place to ensure quality fishing continues”.

This area is popular among anglers this time of year because warm tail-waters keep fish actively feeding and therefore biting during winter months. According to the Region 3 fisheries program manager, Mark Thurman, TWRA stocked 30,000 brook trout last fall in the tail-waters of Center Hill and another 5,000 will be stocked in April. Ninety thousand brown trout were also stocked in 2017. TWRA will stock 90,000 rainbow trout and 40,000 brown trout in the Caney Fork River in 2018.

The majority of stocked trout are raised at the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina. Thurman stated, “TWRA streams biologists monitor the Caney Fork River, evaluate fish stocking strategies and work with other regulatory agencies to evaluate flows that ensure good results in this area.

Thurman continued, “The regulations in place on the Caney help provide quality fishing to a wide range of anglers. TWRA staff will be performing a creel survey on the Caney Fork River this spring. For more information on stocking or fishing regulations visit tnwildlfie.org.

DeKalb Animal Coalition Asks City for More Help

February 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter Director Megan Moore and President Marsha Darrah
Half time Animal Shelter Employee James Wilkerson with Coalition President Marsha Darrah at Christmas on the Square in December
Sue Puckett of the DeKalb Animal Coalition
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen

The staff at the new DeKalb Animal Shelter has become stretched thin because of the workload and needs help.

During Monday night’s regular monthly city council meeting, Sue Puckett, spokesperson for the DeKalb Animal Coalition Board of Directors, addressed the mayor and aldermen to formally ask that the city, which already funds a full time director and a half-time position at the shelter, make the half-time employee full time.

Since it opened to the public in November, the shelter has stayed at or near capacity of dogs and cats which has created more work for the staff, Director Megan Moore, and her assistant James Wilkerson. Volunteers have been used to help take up the slack but it still apparently isn't enough.

“We are asking and kinda begging to make him (Wilkerson) a full time employee. We don’t want to lose him but we’re liable to if we can’t give him full time employment,” said Puckett.

Alderman Jason Murphy, who is also a member of the Animal Coalition Board, seemed to agree with Puckett. “ We have the same staffing we had for the old shelter but now we have six times more space”.

In December, 2015 the City entered into a 99 year lease with the DeKalb Animal Coalition Board of Directors. Terms of the agreement call for the City to “ provide to the Coalition a full time employee, as well as a part time employee, to assist in the day-to day operation of the animal shelter and to budget funds for this purpose from year to year, subject to approval of the Coalition”.

Prior to the new shelter, the city paid two other people to operate the old dog pound on Smith Road, which is now closed. According to the 2016-17 city budget, the former full time employee was paid $27,979 plus a $279 Christmas bonus and a health insurance benefit of $6,993. The former part time employee at the old dog pound was paid $17,487 and a Christmas bonus of $174 but no health insurance benefit.

Puckett said the new team, Moore and Wilkerson are doing a great job and the Coalition wants to keep them together.

“We have a wonderful director, Megan Moore, and we have James Wilkerson as a half time employee. That was our agreement with you (for the city) to furnish one and a half employees. That is exactly what was happening at the old one (dog pound). But we’re new at this and you are too at running a good shelter. We were full (animals) the first week (in operation) and had a waiting list. The community has responded and we are really excited. We don’t want to lose either of these employees. They are over worked. They just can’t do it all,” said Puckett.

In the 91 days the new shelter has been open, Moore said 89 animals have been adopted, almost one a day. “We’re housing 51 animals right now. We have 20 indoor/outdoor runs. We have 41 dogs in those. That’s quite a few,” she said.

Unlike the old dog pound, Moore explained that the new shelter does much more than just pick up strays. “We are an adoption center. Animals are spayed and neutered before they leave our facility to reduce the problem we have with over population. We are in the process of being state certified as an animal controlled agency. The duties we do during the day are not just picking up dogs. We do everything from cleaning, feeding, medical, transport, dealing with the public, making sure everything is clean throughout the day and weekends. Saturdays we’re there for half a day. Saturday evenings we come back and Sunday mornings we’re there cleaning. Sunday evenings we’re there cleaning. Holidays, weekends, it doesn’t matter. It’s a seven day a week, every single week job. It’s not easy but that’s what we are there for and that is why we are asking you for that extra help. The work load itself is quite a bit. I want to do my job the best I can but I also do need help to do that. I think two full time employees would make that much easier for everybody. As of right now our volunteer program is on hold because I need to find a volunteer coordinator that can help me train and manage volunteers while they are there,” said Moore.

In addition to funding the employees, the city appropriated $75,000 to help build the shelter, which is located behind Tenneco Automotive. The county also put in $75,000 for the construction. While the Coalition had hoped the $150,000 contribution by the local governments would have been sufficient to build the facility, it fell short.

“We were hoping $150,000 would build it but it did not. Our board has raised and spent $144,531 in addition to the $150,000. We owe $33,000 of that because we had to borrow some money. We didn’t have enough. Of course we’re having to pay interest on that. I think we have $3,000 in the bank. We’re low on funds,” said Puckett.

Alderman Danny Washer said he had reservations about the city making the half-time position at the animal shelter full time when the city, because of funding concerns, has previously turned down requests by the fire chief and police chief to add another full time position to their departments. Washer said the community might not support giving the animal shelter higher priority than police and fire.

“My problem is the fire department asked for another employee and we’ve had the police chief ask for another employee so how are we going to justify giving you (animal coalition) a full time employee when we turned them down? How do we say one is more important than the other? I know it’s a burden to you but the way I look at it we have to get by with what we’ve got,” said Alderman Washer.

“But we may lose what we’ve got if we don’t do something,” replied Puckett

“We have spent $145,000 on a building (shelter) that belongs to the city and this was money that was raised by the (animal coalition) board. We’ve spent almost as much as the county and city put in together on the building. I understand that we have a lease and it calls for one and a half employees but none of us knew how it was going to work. We would pick that up (extra expense) but we can’t do it,” added Puckett.

“They are not asking for a completely new employee, just to increase one from a part time to a full time so you’re not adding a completely full salary, just a half a salary,” explained Alderman Gayla Hendrix in response to Alderman Washer.

“What about health Insurance?” asked Alderman Josh Miller.

“Once you (city employee) are put in full time status you are entitled to health insurance,” replied City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

Mayor Jimmy Poss said according to Director Moore, Wilkerson does not wish to have health insurance through the city.

The mayor and aldermen decided to schedule a workshop to determine the actual cost to the city before acting on the animal coalition’s request.



Woman Airlifted, Another Also Injured in Two Vehicle Crash

February 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
2015 Dodge Dart driven by Ann Taylor of Smithville
2015 Honda CRV driven by Myra Sircy of Lebanon

One woman was airlifted and another was also injured in a two vehicle crash Friday night on West Broad Street near DeKalb Middle School.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 31 year old Ann Taylor of Smithville was pulling out of Tiger Drive onto West Broad Street in a 2015 Dodge Dart when she crossed the path of a 2015 Honda CRV , driven by 49 year old Myra Sircy of Lebanon who was traveling west on Broad Street. The front of Sircy’s vehicle struck the driver’s side door of Taylor’s car.

Taylor was transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone at DeKalb Middle School and airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital. Sircy was transported by ground ambulance to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

The crash remains under investigation by Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and Smithville Police Department were also on the scene providing assistance.



DTC Communications receives $1.725M to expand high-speed broadband

February 5, 2018
Chris Townson, DTC’s CEO

DTC Communications has been awarded $1.725M to make more high-speed broadband Internet available to rural Tennesseans. The grant is a product of Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, and was awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.

DTC Communications serves residents in Cannon, DeKalb, Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. The grant will cover areas near Plunkett Creek and Rawls Creek roads in Smith County and areas near Watertown in Wilson County.

“With this grant money and DTC’s matching contribution, we will be able to reach out and help more of the underserved and unserved in our area,” said Chris Townson, DTC’s CEO. The project includes building miles of new fiber optic lines in and around the designated grant area, and is expected to take up to two years to complete.

Townson continued, “The grant helps DTC continue its efforts to build a state-of-the-art fiber optic network for our members and the region we serve. It’s an exciting time for DTC Communications.”

Levoy Knowles, executive director of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association (TTA), congratulated Townson.

“This is great news for DTC Communications. These grants will help our local telecom companies to continue filling in the high-speed broadband gaps in and near their rural coverage areas.

TTA has worked with the Governor’s office to make rural broadband a top priority. These grants are a solid way to advance that priority.”

A total of $30 million in grants and $15 million in tax breaks are part of the Governor‘s program, passed last year in the General Assembly, to make more broadband available in rural Tennessee. These are the first grants awarded.

DTC Communications, a member of TTA, was one of five TTA member companies that received almost half of the $9.8 million in grants awarded.

TTA members include independent and cooperatively owned telecom companies that provide high-speed broadband or fiber service to more than 136,000 customers in rural Tennessee. They have installed more than 21,000 miles of fiber in rural areas across the state, and by 2019, they will have spent more than $243 million to connect rural Tennesseans with gig-speed fiber – the fastest Internet available.

TTA has been connecting rural Tennesseans for 70 years. Today, the 21 members of TTA are THE rural broadband experts in Tennessee.



Sparta Man Arrested in Theft of Kayaks and Trailer from Local Business

February 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
Rainn Wanos Martin
Carrie Lynn Cole
Scottie Wayne Knowles

An investigation into the theft of kayaks and a trailer from a business on Wolf Creek Road has resulted in the arrest of a Sparta man.

39 year old Rainn Wanos Martin of White Oak Flat Road, Sparta is charged with theft of property. His bond is $10,000 and his court date is February 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on July 20, 2017 Martin took several kayaks and a trailer from the business without the owner’s consent.The total value of the stolen items is $21,700.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

23 year old Carrie Lynn Cole of Church Street, Alexandria is charged with two counts of violation of probation in General Sessions Court, assault, and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, January 29 a deputy made contact with Cole on Avant Circle in Alexandria. He was there to serve existing warrants on her for violation of probation. When he tried to place Cole under arrest, she resisted. When he asked her to stand from where she was seated Cole became irate, began yelling, and kicked the deputy in the chest.

38 year old Scottie Wayne Knowles of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked or suspended license.

Sheriff Ray said that on February 2 a deputy spotted a broken tail light on a Toyota pickup truck. He conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Knowles who admitted to not having a valid driver license. A computer check through central dispatch confirmed that Knowles’ license were revoked having been suspended on April 10, 2017.

Fire Chiefs Warn Residents Not To Fall for Scam

February 5, 2018
Dwayne Page

If you should get a phone call from someone soliciting money on behalf of the Smithville, Alexandria, or DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments, hang up. It is a scam.

Although local residents have reported receiving such calls, the local fire chiefs say neither the Smithville, Alexandria, or DeKalb County Fire Departments are currently engaging in any such fundraising efforts.

If you should get a call, don’t send money and report the call to the police departments or to the sheriff’s office.

Assessor Reminds Property Owners of Important Deadline

February 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell

DeKalb County Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell reminds you that March 1 is an important date for business owners and applicants of the Greenbelt Program.

“March 1 is the deadline for two different things coming out of the Assessor’s Office. One is the Greenbelt application. If you don’t have your form turned in by March 1 then you won’t be able to qualify for the savings for the 2018 tax year,” said Cantrell.

“If you are already enrolled in the greenbelt program you do not have to reapply. However, if you have purchased property or have added acreage to your farm within the last year and seek to enroll in the greenbelt program then you need to apply by March 1 in order to get the 2018 savings,” Cantrell said.

“Basic requirements for the Greenbelt application are that you must own a minimum of fifteen acres and are able to produce some kind of agriculture product to the gross amount of $1,500 per year. Also if you own fifteen acres and you don’t have an agriculture product and its all forestry you can get a forestry plan and qualify that way”.

“March 1 is also the deadline for personal property schedules. Anyone who owns a business needs to have those turned in by March 1. If you don’t turn one in at all or its not turned in by March 1 there are penalties after March 1. We want you to avoid those penalties if possible,” said Assessor Cantrell.

Two Involved in Friday Night Crash on Allen Ferry Road

February 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
Two Involved in Friday Night Crash on Allen Ferry Road
Friday Night Crash on Allen Ferry Road

Two people were involved in a one car crash Friday night on Allen Ferry Road (State Highway 83) near the Little League ball park.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 51 year old Peggy L. Jordan of Smithville was traveling west in a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic when the car ran off the right side of roadway, struck an embankment and came to rest. She was injured and taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Her passenger, 65 year old Julian M. Jordan of Smithville was not injured. Both had been wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to the scene to stabilize the car and to help remove Ms. Jordan from the vehicle.

She was cited for failing to exercise due care and failing to provide proof of financial responsibility.

The crash was investigated by Trooper William Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.



DCHS Career Technical Education Programs Gets State Grant for New Equipment

February 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
DCHS recently received a Career and Technical Education State Grant to buy new equipment for the Advanced Manufacturing Class and other programs. Shown: Computer Numeric Controlled Milling Machine
Computer Numeric Controlled Lathe bought with grant funds
New Manual Mill Machine bought with grant funds
New horizontal /mitering bandsaw bought with grant funds
New belt sander bought with grant funds

Students in the Career Technical Education Program at DCHS have more up to date equipment to work with in their training thanks to a $120,000 state funded grant.

“We received a Career and Technical Education Grant through the State of Tennessee for $120,000 that was used for three of our Career and Technical Education Programs including the Advanced Manufacturing Program which is taught by Todd Cantrell; Information Technology, which is taught by Coach Steve Trapp; and the Health Science Programs, which are taught by Angie Anderson and Jane Rice. This money was used to buy equipment for those areas for our students at DCHS,” said Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education Director.

The Advanced Manufacturing Program was the first to receive new shop equipment from the grant funds including a computer numerical controlled mill machine and lathe along with a manual milling machine, belt sander and horizontal /mitering bandsaw. New equipment for the other programs are coming soon.

Computer numerical control (CNC) is the automation of machine tools by means of computers executing pre-programmed sequences of machine control commands to form metal into different shapes for various projects and applications. This is in contrast to machines that are manually controlled by hand wheels or levers mechanically automated by cams.

“Some of the equipment we got was to replace older ones that been here and needed updating. The two biggest pieces of equipment we got were the new CNC Mill and CNC Lathe. Its a step up from the manual mills and lathes. With the manual milling machine, students have to crank it by hand. They have to move everything. They have to think, measure and they have to keep up with a lot of information. Now we can have computer numerical controls. Students can set at a computer, design a part, program it and tell the machine what to do based on their knowledge and the part can be reproduced in a fraction of the time it would take if it were done on the manual machines. It makes it easier because the computer doesn’t have to think or stop and measure,” said Cantrell.

Leach said the newer equipment is more like what these students will see when they get into the workforce.

“With the way it is with our nation today and the need for advanced manufacturing workers, its one of the reasons the state has got on board with us to try and update that (technology) so we can better prepare students for the work force and help keep our jobs here in America. It (new equipment) is a good addition for us to get students better trained to become good quality workers in our local and regional work force,” said Leach.

DCHS also has a dual credit agreement with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McMinnville under which high school students can accumulate credit hours toward training at the TCAT center.

“Students who get an education here can transfer the time they have spent here in our shop and get up to 360 hours of credit at the TCAT center in McMinnville. That’s our dual credit agreement. It helps students get more prepared to go out and make a smoother transition into the work force,” said Leach.

“I want to say thank you to the state of Tennessee especially our state representatives and senators for getting this grant money for us to use and we hope to continue to work with them for more funding for our programs,” Leach concluded.

Smithville's New Fire Truck Arrives

February 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville's New Fire Truck

The City of Smithville has a new fire truck.

The new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle, arrived Friday evening in time for members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department to get their first look and inspection of it following the firefighter appreciation dinner downtown.

In January, 2017 the aldermen voted to spend $751,575 over a two-year period to purchase the new fire truck. It will replace the fire department’s oldest truck, a 1992 model, and a 20-year old rescue and service truck. The new vehicle will also come equipped with five air packs and other tools and equipment.

The city plans to eventually sell the 1992 truck along with the rescue truck and service truck.

In addition to the new truck, the fire department has three other fire trucks, a 1992 and 2001 model along with a 2012 ladder truck.




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