Local News Articles

Lenzi Dickens Wins County Spelling Bee

February 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lenzi Dickens Wins County Spelling Bee
 Grace Godowns Spelling Bee Runner-up
County Spelling Bee Winners with School Officials

Lenzi Dickens, a seventh grader at DeKalb Middle School, won the 7th annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night at DeKalb County High School.

Dickens, the 12 year old daughter of Len Dickens and Mandi Sullivan of Smithville was among almost forty students from the fourth grade to the eighth grade who participated in the contest.

She correctly spelled the words "cafeteria" and "ominous"" in the 12th round to claim the championship.

Nine year old Grace Godowns, a fourth grader at Northside Elementary School, was the runner-up in the contest. She is the daughter of Kelly Godowns of Smithville.

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from thirty nine other counties, Dickens and Godowns will compete in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 4th at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

WJLE taped the spelling bee and will air the broadcast Monday night, February 8th at 7:00 p.m.

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee were:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade- Hannah Brown, Grace Godowns, and Hayley Martin

Fifth Grade- Erica Birmingham, Madison Bouldin, Timothy Cassinera, Katlyn Cox, Caelin Crips, Eli Cross, Madison Dickens, Hali Huang, Sara Beth LeFever, Baylee Phillips, and Taylor Spare.

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade-Chase Bryant and Kyra Trapp

Seventh Grade- Peter Antoniak, Lenzi Dickens, Matthew Foutch, Justin Johnson, Brandon Kircher, Makalee Rush, Makayla Starnes, and Jacob Washer.

Eighth Grade- Josh Davidson and Jacob Pittman

DeKalb West School:

Fourth Grade- Breanna Gibson and Danielle Theriaque

Fifth Grade- Jayra Plattenburg, Brandy Rock, and Paige Snyder

Sixth Grade- Ashley Grater

Seventh Grade- Leah Burchfield, Cason Oakley, Lydia Trail, and Bruce Wilson

Eighth Grade- Zach Bandy, and Crystal Vickers

(Bottom Photo: left to right front row- Grace Godowns and Lenzi Dickens; left to right back row- Michelle Burklow (Spelling Bee Coordinator) Mark Willoughby (Director of Schools), Charles Robinson (School Board Chairman), and Jon Fontanez (Official Pronouncer)

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

February 4, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

The focus on Capitol Hill this week turned to the budget as Governor Phil Bredesen unveiled his proposal to fund state government for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Despite being one of the most difficult budgets to date, Senator Beavers expressed concern that the Governor presented a budget that did not go far enough in ensuring fiscal responsibility and adhering to Tennessee’s “pay-as-you-go” history. Beavers was also unhappy that the Governor requested the legislature approve $71.7 million in tax and fee increases, in addition to plugging holes in the budget with one-time stimulus and reserve funds.

Tax Hikes, Fee Raises, Stimulus and Reserve Funds Once Again Rear Ugly Head in Governor’s Proposed Budget

Tennessee’s revenue collections have continued to underperform at unprecedented levels as the national economy has declined. December tax collections represent the 19th consecutive month of negative sales tax growth. With the decline in revenue, the Governor is allowing the legislature to use money from the Rainy Day Fund – the state’s savings account to be used in cases of severe economic hardship. Yet, pulling money from the state’s reserve fund instead of living within our means and making the necessary spending reductions is very dangerous, especially when the fund will be essential if the economy worsens in the coming years.

“The legislature needs to ensure that the state makes realistic revenue projections and prioritizes its spending cuts, however to do things such as rely on stimulus money and reserve funds to plug holes will only make it harder for the next governor to operate when he takes office next year,” said Sen. Beavers.

The Governor’s tax proposals include a $21.3 million proposed sales tax on cable and satellite television services, $2 million to tax cable boxes, a $6.5 million increase in the rate charge on interstate and international business telecom service, $10 million to clarify ‘sale for resale’ provisions, and $10 million to repeal the dividend paid deduction on real estate investment trusts (REITs). In addition, the governor proposed a $2 per year increase for the cost of a Tennessee driver’s license.

Finally, in a move quite perplexing to many Republican lawmakers, the Governor proposed a raise to state employees – a move that comes when thousands of people are losing their jobs and places like Cloverbottom – a facility that cares for mentally disabled individuals – are being closed down.

Unlike Congress, the Tennessee General Assembly is constitutionally bound to balance the budget. The legislature will closely examine the budget over the next two months as the various agencies and departments are called before Senate committees to explain the details further. Senator Beavers believes that the weakened economy means lawmakers must be vigilant to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner.

Senator Beavers to Introduce Constitutional Amendment to make it Harder to Break “Copeland Cap” – Ensuring more Fiscally Responsible Budgets

In 1978, Tennessee legislators amended the constitution to attempt to prevent the problem of runaway spending, especially during times of economic hardship. The “Copeland Cap” is a provision that says that state spending can grow no faster than the annual growth in personal income. This move was supposed to make tax hikes unnecessary, and allow Tennessee to operate as a “pay-as-you-go” state with a balanced budget. Yet, the amendment allowed the legislature to break the cap with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate, a provision that has allowed the cap to be broken fourteen times for a total of more than $3.6 billion dollars in overspending since 1978.

Senator Beavers hopes to restore fiscal accountability and to control the growth of state government with a new amendment – a move that she hopes will restore Tennessee’s “pay-as-you-go” history that has brought much economic prosperity to the state over the years. Beavers’ amendment will require a 2/3 vote by the House and Senate to override the Copeland Cap, not a simple majority as it currently requires.

“It is time that we make it harder for administrations to drive this state further in debt in the form of bonds, tax hikes, and reserve spending,” said Beavers. “I think it’s inconsistent when legislators vote against breaking the Copeland Cap, and then vote for the budget that breaks the cap. This amendment will attempt to right that wrong.”

Tennessee Soldiers Honored

Tennessee’s soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored this week by the Governor and the General Assembly. In the State of the State Address, Governor Bredesen recognized several soldiers who were deployed, including some who have served multiple missions. Lawmakers stood in silence to recognize the 11 Tennesseans who lost their lives in the War on Terror over the past year and the 114 who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 2001. In addition, the yearly informational Tennessee Blue Book published by the Secretary of State’s office dedicated this year’s publication to those fallen brave men and women.

Comptroller's Office Makes County Financial Information Available Online

February 4, 2010

Citizens can now look up financial information for most counties across Tennessee online, thanks to a new service that is being offered by the state Comptroller’s office.

By clicking to a page on the Comptroller’s web site, it is now easy to find detailed financial information about revenues and expenditures for 89 of the state’s 95 counties. The web address is: www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/TAG/

“I am very pleased that we are able to offer this new service,” said Comptroller Justin Wilson. “This is an excellent way to follow the money or to see where it comes from and where it goes. Citizens will find that there is a great deal of information about their county governments that is now available at their fingertips.”

The information is compiled from the annual audit reports done by the Comptroller’s Division of County Audit. Jim Arnette, the division’s director, said revenue and expenditure data from the last four fiscal years is now available at the site, which is called Transparency and Accountability for Governments (TAG) in Tennessee. Arnette said several years’ worth of data will be kept available for access through the TAG Tennessee archives.

“We envision this as a tool citizens can use to keep up with what their local governments are doing,” Arnette said. “And local and state government officials should find it helpful to have easy access to this information as well.”

The TAG Tennessee site includes information about school departments, but not other agencies, component units or enterprise funds that are accounted for separately from the counties’ main budgeted operations.

Six counties are audited annually by private certified public accounting firms rather than the Comptroller’s office, so their financial information isn’t available on the site at this time. Those counties are: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, McMinn, Shelby and Washington.

Roses Store Grand Opening set for February 25th

February 3, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Steve Swenson, Senior Vice President of Roses Store Operations and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

The new Smithville Roses store will be having a Grand Opening on Thursday, February 25th at 8:30 a.m. at 750 South Congress Boulevard.

Steve Swenson, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, made the announcement on WJLE's Chamber Chat program Wednesday morning. "We want everyone to come out and help us celebrate our grand opening and ribbon cutting."

"We're a value priced merchant and we offer apparel, shoes, and accessories for the entire family. In addition, we offer housewares, home decor, health and beauty aids, food, toys, lawn and garden, and this fall Christmas decor."

"We're excited to be here. It gives us an opportunity to continue to grow in the market where we already have stores operating in McMinnville and Murfreesboro, Memphis, and Bowling Green. We have another new location opening the same day as Smithville in Livingston. Stores hours will be 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday."

"We'll have a quiet store opening next Tuesday, February 9th at 9:00 a.m."

"I hope everyone comes out to help us celebrate this big event. We're extremely excited to be in Smithville and we look forward to being here for a long time."

DeKalb Community Hospital and Senior Citizens Center Celebrate Healthy Heart Month

February 3, 2010
Tammy Freeze

DeKalb Community Hospital and Senior Citizens Center Celebrate Healthy Heart Month

On Tuesday, February 16th at 11 a.m., Tammy Freeze, the Director of the Cardiopulmonary Department at DeKalb Community Hospital, will present information at the DeKalb County Senior Citizens Center on Heart Disease, symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, as well as things that can to keep your heart healthy. Those who attend will enjoy heart cookies and red punch compliments of the hospital.

February is recognized as National Heart Health Month. Here is some of the valuable information from the American Heart Association that can save your life:

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense - the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

"Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

"Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

"Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

"Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Tammy states, "Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives - maybe your own. Don't wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1. It is always better to come to the E.R. and be safe rather than sorry".

Stroke Warning Signs

The American Heart Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:
"Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

"Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

"Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

"Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

"Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

Heart-healthy nutrition, daily physical activity, eliminating tobacco, controlling diabetes and a commitment to follow your healthcare professional's recommendations (including for cholesterol and high blood pressure) are all part of reducing your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

If you have any questions about heart health, please talk to your doctor or visit the American Heart Association's website at www.americanheart.org.

UCHRA Receives Additional $1.6 Million in Energy Assistance Funding

February 2, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
UCHRA Receives Additional $1.6 Million in Energy Assistance Funding

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has been awarded a significant increase of $1,698,695 for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $322,411 of which must be matched with non-federal funds,” announced Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director. “The total LIHEAP budget for year ending June 30, 2010 is now $4,181,248,” she continued. LIHEAP provides a one-time per year payment averaging $325 to the primary heating energy provider (electric, natural gas, propane, coal, wood, or kerosene) for qualifying low income households based upon a point system with priority given to households having elderly disabled members and those with children under the age of 3.

“We are delighted that with this funding increase UCHRA will be able to serve more than 3,400 additional households across the region, bringing the total that can be served to over 10,000 for the year,” stated Michael Nesbitt, Chairman of UCHRA’s Aging and Community Services Committee. “However, with the current economic conditions there are more eligible families that will need to be served,” he continued.

“The UCHRA Board of Directors is pleased with the additional LIHEAP funding allocated to the 14-county area,” commented Stephen Bilbrey, Board Chairman. Of the total funding approximately $227,235 will be allocated to DeKalb County to serve 553 households. “I am pleased to announce additional funding to provide energy assistance to low-income residents of DeKalb County. It is so important to help those people most in need during these difficult times,” Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive stated.

“The additional $322,411 is designated by the State as “leveraging funds,” meaning that for every $1 of non-federal funds UCHRA can generate and document as having been spent to assist LIHEAP-eligible households, the agency will receive $2 of LIHEAP leveraging funds to be used to serve additional households,” explained Lee Webb, Community Services Director. In other words, if UCHRA is able to document the expenditure of $161,206 in non-federal funds used to assist income-eligible households with energy assistance it will be receive the $322,411 of LIHEAP funds, which will serve almost 1,000 additional households. “It would be a shame to not be able to draw down all of these funds when so many families are suffering,” Webb stated.

Some utility companies provide cash contributions that can be used as matching funds, collected through “round-up” and similar programs, directly to UCHRA for the provision of emergency energy assistance. However, non-federal funds do not have to flow directly through UCHRA in order to be used as match. For example, if a church, civic club, or local charitable organization assists households in paying utility bills and will provide the names of the recipients and amounts of assistance, UCHRA will determine if the expenditures can be utilized as leveraging match. Additional LIHEAP funds earned will be used to assist families in the counties where the matching funds were generated.

Organizations and individuals who are interested in assisting UCHRA to generate the matching funds necessary to earn an additional $322,411 to assist low-income families with heating expenses this winter are encouraged to contact UCHRA’s DeKalb County office at 615-597-4504.

CUTLINE: Members of the Aging/Community Services Committee review the contract for additional funding for the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program totaling $1.6 million. Pictured from left to right: Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director; Brock Hill, Chairman of Finance Committee; Michael Nesbitt, Chairman of Aging/Community Services Committee; and Stephen Bilbrey, Chairman of Board of Directors.

Pedestrian Struck by Car on Anthony Avenue

February 1, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 30 year old pedestrian was seriously injured Monday night when he was accidentally hit by a motorist on Anthony Avenue.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:42 p.m.

Sergeant Mark Dial of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Jonathan Lesley Lewis of Gentry Avenue, Smithville was apparently walking on the edge of the northbound lane of Anthony Avenue when he was struck by a northbound 2002 Ford Taurus, driven by Catherine Newby of Smithville.

Sergeant Dial says the accident occurred in a dimly lit area just north of Morgan Drive and Lewis was wearing dark colored clothing, which apparently made it difficult for Newby to see him.

Lewis was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was later airlifted by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Newby was not injured.

The investigation continues.

Aldermen Vote to Update Ordinance Regulating Fund Raising Roadblocks

February 1, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville aldermen Monday night approved a revised ordinance on first reading establishing regulations for charitable and other non-profit groups who collect donations at city street intersections.

Aldermen are concerned that more people could get hurt if stricter rules and enforcement are not put in place.

Under the proposed ordinance, non-profit organizations would be limited to not more than two charitable roadblocks per year; all participants would be required to wear orange or yellow vests or jackets; groups would be required to show written proof that they are a legitimate non-profit 501C3 or 4 organization; solicitors would be prohibited from standing in the road ( they would be required to stand on the sidewalks near the intersections); solicitors would have to be at least 14 years of age or older to participate in the roadblocks); and a four hour per day time limit would be established for any group to solicit donations at intersections. Groups would be required to submit, in writing, to the Chief of Police, a proposal for the specific time and place of the road block and the precautions to be implemented by the organization; and the groups must receive prior written approval by the Chief of Police to have the roadblocks.

Second and final reading passage of the ordinance will be scheduled following a public hearing at the February 15th meeting.

Ordinance #424 states as follows:

An ordinance regulating the obstruction of highways and other passageways.

Whereas, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Smithville are deeply concerned for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of Smithville; and,

Whereas, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Smithville, acknowledge that, from time to time charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organizations wish to raise funds by obstructing the highways and other passageways of the City of Smithville by soliciting charitable donations from those utilizing said highways and passageways.

Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Smithville:

1. No organization shall be eligible to obstruct any highway or other passageway for the purpose of soliciting or collecting funds at a highway or street intersection unless said organization has received a determination of exemption from the Internal Revenue Service under 26U.S.C. 501 (c) (3) or (4) as a charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization.

2. Any organization seeking to obstruct a highway or other passageway for the purpose of soliciting or collecting funds at a highway or street intersection must present written proof of its exemption from the Internal Revenue Service under 26 U.S.C. 501 (c) (3) or (4).

3. The members of any charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization seeking to obstruct a highway or other passageway for the purpose of soliciting or collecting funds at a highway or street intersection shall undertake reasonable and prudent precautions to prevent both disruption of traffic flow and injury to persons or property.

4. The charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization seeking to obstruct a highway or other passageway must limit time of soliciting or collecting funds to four (4) hours per day, and limiting to two (2) times (days) per year organization. Must not be in roadway, and must stay on sidewalks, must wear orange or yellow vest or jackets. All participants must be fourteen (14) years of age or older.

5. The charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization seeking to obstruct a highway or other passageway for the purpose of soliciting or collecting funds at a highway or street intersection shall submit, in writing, to the Chief of Police its proposal for the specific time and place of the obstruction and the precautions to be implemented by the organization.

6. Before undertaking to obstruct any highway or other passageway for the purpose of soliciting or collecting funds at a highway or street intersection, the charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization must receive prior written approval by the Chief of Police. Said written approval must set forth with specificity the specific time and place of the obstruction, the highway or other passageway to be obstructed, and the intersection at which the obstruction is to occur. Additionally, the prior written approval must contain a finding by the Chief of Police that the precautions to be implemented by the charitable, eleemosynary, or non-profit organization for the purpose of preventing both disruption of traffic flow and injury to persons or property are reasonable and prudent.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on first reading an ordinance amending the city's municipal code with specific language as to what services for which the city firefighters are to receive compensation.

Ordinance #423 states as follows:

Section 1. Title4, Municipal Personnel, of the City of Smithville Municipal Code is hereby amended as follows:

(1) Chapter 2, Section 4-203 (6) is hereby inserted in-lieu of to read as follows:

6. Volunteer Firefighters. Volunteer Firefighters are selected by the Fire Chief. After successfully completing a 90 day probation period and after approval of the Fire Chief, their continuance is subject to approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Volunteer Firefighters are compensated for incidents, training, and workings with benefits of coverage under the Firefighters Insurance Coverage Policy.

a. Compensated Incidents to include but not limited to: fire, rescue, explosion, alarm, over pressure, motor vehicle accident, hazardous condition, service, good intent, false alarm, severe weather, landing zone, investigation, special incident, extrication, mutual aid, natural disaster, hazardous materials.

b. The minimum and maximum number of incidents, workings, and training can be accomplished in the fire department's standard operational guideline. A maximum of twelve (12) workings each paid as one (1) fire call and 240 hours training and/or thirty (30) training sessions per year with each session paid as one (1) fire call.

Second and final reading passage of the ordinance will be scheduled following a public hearing at the February 15th meeting.

The aldermen also voted to authorize back pay to the firefighters who did not receive the funds they claim were due for last year's training and other services rendered.

Smithville Water Treatment Rehab Project to Start Soon

February 1, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Water Treatment Plant

The renovation of the Smithville Water Treatment plant is expected to begin soon.

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night approved a resolution awarding the construction bid to W&O Construction Company of Livingston in the amount of $2,542,000. The actual costs will be more when taking into consideration fees for engineering and other related services. The city will receive a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 will have to be appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city would not have to borrow the money. There are sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.

In a letter to Mayor Hendrixson last week, Greg Davenport, Senior Vice President of the J.R. Wauford & Engineering Company, Consulting Engineers, recommended W&O Construction Company. "We have tabulated the five bids received in your presence at 2:00 p.m., January 26th for the subject contract and find W&O Construction Company, Incorporated is the low bidder. This contractor was a pre-qualified bidder and has successfully performed work for us, therefore, we recommend award of this contract to W&O Construction at $2,542,000

The project entails modernizing the water treatment plant and making improvements to the raw water intake. Mayor Hendrixson says W &O Construction has 365 days to complete the project and service to customers will not be interrupted while the renovation is underway. The following are specific cost estimates for each phase of the project:

1. Floating Intake at Raw Water Intake- estimated cost $100,000
2. Renovate Filters with New Underdrains and Media- $250,000
3. Blower and Accessories for Air Scour- $40,000
4. New 40 horsepower Backwash Pump, Rebuild Existing Pump for Standby- $90,000
5. Convert Filter Instrumentation including Water System Telemetry- $300,000
6. Modifications to existing 1967 Clearwell- $10,000
7. New Chemical Bulk Storage and Containment- $60,000
8. Electrical Work- $200,000
9. New Standby Generator at Intake and at Plant- $200,000
10. Three New Raw Water Pumps and Valves, Painting, and Sump Cleaning- $550,000
11. Three New High Service Pumps, VFD's and Valves- $600,000
12. Chlorine System Improvements- $50,000

Estimated Construction Costs- $2,450,000

1.Budgeted for Construction- $2,450,000
2.Engineering: Design- $140,000
Construction Administration and Observation- $135,000
3. Administrative- $23,500
4. Environmental- $1,500
5. Project Contingencies- $50,000

Total Estimated Project Cost $2,800,000

In other business, the aldermen voted to apply for funding through a Rural Development Grant/Loan program to help the city convert to a new automated water meter reading system.

Will Taylor of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, who addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night, will assist the city in making the application.

Through Rural Development, the city could be eligible for up to a 45% grant for the total project, with the remainder to be funded through a low interest rate loan, which the city could carry for several years.

Taylor says benefits to the city by having an automated meter reading system are that it would reduce water loss by an estimated seven to fifteen percent and cut costs associated with the current manner of reading meters. For example, with an automated system, an employee could read all water meters in the city in just a day or two each month. This would also save fuel costs and wear and tear on city vehicles.

Many utilities are using AMR as a way of improving customer service while reducing the cost of reading meters. Some AMR systems use miniature radio transmitters attached to each water meter. These utilities are then able to collect the readings from handheld radio receivers and from moving vehicles. With this process, one driver in a vehicle is able to read more meters in one day. At the end of the day, the meter reader unloads the information to the city's billing system.

The police chief position remains vacant.

The issue was not on the agenda Monday night and the only discussion about it was during citizen comments when Ruth Johns asked Mayor Hendrixson what's been done so far.

Mayor Hendrixson: "No chief has been selected yet, we have some applications, they have not been interviewed yet."

Mrs. Johns: "Will this position be advertised"?

Mayor Hendrixson: "I'm not sure, it could be or it could not be"

Mrs. Johns: "If it isn't advertised, how will people who are interested in it, what will they do, if they don't know about it"?

Mayor Hendrixson: "As long as you have a cadry of applications, we do not have to advertise. I'm not saying it won't be advertised.

Mrs. Johns:"So you already have a lot of applications for the police chief"?

Mayor Hendrixson: "We have some applications"

Mrs. Johns: "Is POST certification a prerequisite?"

Mayor Hendrixson:"Yes ma'am, definitely"

In other business, the aldermen approved the officers of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. The officers for the year are as follows: Chief Charles Parker,
Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale, Captain Jeff Wright, Lieutenant Danny Poss, Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell, and Lieutenant Anthony Wright.

Mayor Hendrixson appointed Dr David Darrah and Tim Stribling as citizen members to the Smithville Municipal Airport Committee. They will join Alderman Shawn Jacobs, who will serve as the city's representative on the board.

Smithville Woman Making Court Appearance Found with Drugs

February 1, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Amanda Riley
Scott Douglas Griffin

A Smithville woman, making a court appearance last Monday, was arrested at the courthouse after she was found with drugs in her possession.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 30 year old Amanda Mae Riley of Bright Hill Road Smithville was charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). Riley was in Circuit Court when her probation officer asked a deputy to stand outside of the bathroom doorway while she (the probation officer) administered a drug screen on Riley. During the test, the officer heard the probation officer shouting his name. He went into the restroom and found the probation officer and Riley in a struggle. The officer assisted the probation officer in bringing Riley under control. Riley was trying to flush down the commode a pill bottle. The deputy and probation officer retrieved the bottle and found 14 pills believed to be Xanax and a small plastic baggie of a white substance believed to be Methamphetamine. Riley was charged with the crimes and her bond was set at $10,000 on the drug charges. She will appear in General Sessions court on February 25th.

43 year old Scott Douglas Griffin of Logue Road, Mount Juliet was arrested Tuesday, January 26th for driving under the influence and simple possession of schedule VI drug (marijuana). Deputies were behind a vehicle on Highway 70 west when they noticed it weaving. Officers stopped the automobile and found Griffin to be the driver. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person, slurred speech and very poor motor skills. Deputies also found in Griffin's front pants pocket a plastic bag that contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Bond for Griffin was set at $3,000 on the charges and he will appear in General Sessions Court on February 11th.

37 year old Sergio Sanchez of West Bryant Smithville was arrested Saturday, January 30th for driving a motor vehicle without a driver's license. Deputies received a report of an auto accident on Highway 70 east and found Sanchez to be the driver. Sanchez told the officer that he had a Kansas driver's license. Upon running Sanchez's name through the driver's license data base, authorities discovered there was no record of Sanchez having any kind of driver's license issued to him. Bond for Sanchez was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on February 18th.

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