Laura Elaine England, O.D., of Smithville, TN was among 119 students recently awarded the Doctor of Optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis. She has been accepted and will continue her education in a residency program from BVA Advanced Eye Care in Edmond, OK.
A graduate of Tennessee Tech and DeKalb County High School, Dr. England is the daughter of Brian and Janet England of Smithville, TN. Grandparents are Neil and Emma Jean Dudney, and Tom and Cheryl England of Smithville, TN.
Optometrists are independent, primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases/disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures, as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.
Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education.
The Smithville Police Department has made several arrests within the past month on charges ranging from driving under the influence, public intoxication, assault, drug offenses, and burglary and theft, among others.
In the latest crime news released to the media, Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that on Saturday, May 14th Officer Brandon Donnell arrested 50 year old James Milton Florida, of Smyrna for DUI. According to the warrant, Officer Donnell responded to Hardees to check out a report of a man who had passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle in the drive thru. Officer Donnell arrived and tried several times to wake him up. In doing so, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Florida's court date is June 23rd. His bond is $1,500.
On Monday, May 16th Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested 51 year old Landon Lynn Mathis of West Broad Street for burglary and theft under $500. According to the warrant, Mathis was in an area not open to the public knowing he was not supposed to be there. He allegedly took fruit without paying for it. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is June 23rd.
On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant cited 25 year old Laura Beth Elmore of Gentry Avenue for theft. Elmore was found to have in her purse, items taken from Dollar General Store that had not been paid for.
On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 74 year old Phyllis Angeline Thompson of Foster Road for abuse of 911. Thompson allegedly called 911 and when Corporal Bryant arrived at her residence in answer to the call, she told him her cell phone was making a buzzing noise. Ms. Thompson had been informed several times since May 2nd not to dial 911 unless she had an actual emergency. Her bond is $1,000.
On Wednesday, May 18th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 65 year old Jo Ann Luna of Joe Turner Road for public intoxication. Corporal Bryant and Officer Matt Farmer responded to a call at Wal-Mart and met with Luna. After speaking with her, Corporal Bryant noticed she appeared to be unsteady and had slurred speech. After submitting to field sobriety tests Ms. Luna was arrested. Her bond is $1,000.
On Thursday, May 19th Officer David Phillips cited 41 year old Brenda Lou Barrett and 33 year old Tanya Ann Chapman both of Liberty for simple possession and casual exchange. Barrett was stopped for a traffic violation and after giving the officer consent to search her vehicle, she and Chapman were found to be in possession of prescription medication for resale.
On Saturday, May 21st Officer Andy Snow arrested 46 year old Artemio Juarez of Jackson Street for a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license because of a DUI. Officer Snow was called to check on a person who had passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle. Upon arrival Officer Snow found Juarez in the driver's seat asleep with the key in the ignition. Juarez had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person, blood shot eyes and he was unsteady on his feet. A computer check of his license revealed them to be revoked for a previous DUI. His bond is $6,500 and his court date is June 16th.
On Monday, May 23rd Corporal Travis Bryant cited 46 year old Susan Elaine Shaw of Dearman Street for theft under $500. Witnesses saw Ms. Shaw allegedly put items that she had not paid for in her purse at the Dollar General Store.
On Thursday, May 26th Officer Matt Farmer cited 20 year old Krista Lauren Ellis of Highland Avenue for shoplifting. Ms. Ellis was seen allegedly putting items belonging to Dollar General Store in her bag that she had not paid for.
On Monday, May 23rd Sergeant Randy King arrested 24 year old Julian Flores Cruz of Morgan Drive for aggravated assault. Cruz allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by backing her into a closet in her home with a knife and then sticking the knife in the wall next to her body. His bond is $25,000 and his court date is June 16th.
On Saturday, May 28th Sergeant Randy King arrested 28 year old Abalardo Lara of West Broad Street for DUI. Sergeant King was looking for a reported reckless driver coming into the city limits when he met the vehicle coming toward him. According to Sergeant King, the automobile crossed the center line and almost hit him head on. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, Lara, Sergeant King noticed a strong smell of a fermented beverage about his person. Lara had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 16th.
On Saturday, May 28th K-9 Officer James Cornelius arrested 26 year old Stephen Brandon Pirtle of Rolling Acres Road for domestic assault and public intoxication. K-9 Officer Cornelius and Officer Brandon Donnell responded to a domestic call where Pirtle had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and then left the residence. Officer Donnell made contact with Mr. Pirtle by the side of the road. While talking with him, officers could smell alcohol on his person and noticed his speech was slurred. Bond for Pirtle is $4,000 and his court date is June 23rd.
On Monday, May 30th Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 40 year old Vickie Lenae Alvis of Sparta Highway for DUI and escape. Corporal Bryant stopped a vehicle for speeding on East Broad Street and while speaking with the driver, Alvis, he noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and Alvis' speech was slurred. Ms. Alvis was transported to the police department but while there, she was able to get the handcuffs off and walk outside. She was quickly apprehended again. Her bond is $5,000.
On Wednesday, June 1st Detective Matt Holmes arrested mother and daughter, 63 year old Charlene Poss and 27 year old Terri Lynn Poss both of Poss Road for theft under $500. A report was taken stating that on September 10th, 2010 several pieces of jewelry were taken from F Z Webb & Sons Gifts. On May 19th, 2011 Terri Poss allegedly went to Granny's Gold Mine and sold the jewelry to the business while her mother, Charlene stayed outside in the car. Bond for each is $5,000 and their court date is June 16th.
On Wednesday, June 1st Officer Brandon Donnell arrested 28 year old Cassandra Nicole Estes of Foster Road for public intoxication. Officer Donnell was dispatched to Pizza Hut to check on a possible intoxicated female inside. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Estes and saw that she could not keep her eyes open. Estes had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet to the point where she could hardly stand up. Bond for Estes is $1,000 and her court date is June 23rd.
Estes was arrested again the next day, Thursday June 2nd, along with 35 year old Tyrone Dwayne Owens of Shady Drive. They were each charged with public intoxication. Officer David Phillips and Sergeant Randy King were in court when they saw Estes and Owens in the court room about to pass out. Both had slurred speech and they were unsteady on their feet. Bond for each is $1,000. Estes will be in court on August 4th. Owens' court date is June 23rd.
On Thursday, June 2nd Officer Bradley Tatrow cited 22 year old Brittany Jean Bell of King Ridge Road for possession of drug paraphernalia. Ms. Bell was observed snorting something inside her car at Bill Page Ball Park. Ms. Bell gave consent to search her vehicle and Officer Tatrow recovered a pipe believed to be used for smoking marijuana. Her court date is June 23rd
On Thursday, June 2nd Officer David Phillips cited 27 year old Millissia Ann Berry of Gainesboro for theft of property. Ms. Berry was seen putting items in purse that she had not paid for. Her court date is June 23rd.
On Friday, June 3rd Officer Matt Farmer arrested 26 year old Melinda Beth Murphy of Webb Street for violation of probation. Officer Farmer responded to a disturbance near Webb Street where he identified Ms. Murphy. A background check revealed active warrants against her for violation of probation.
Meanwhile, anyone with information on any criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.
Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.
A portion of two DeKalb County roads remain closed due to bridge construction.
Dry Creek Road in the Pea Ridge area was closed on Monday, June 6th and will tentatively be closed through July 15th while the work is in progress.
County Mayor Mike Foster spoke of this project recently at a county commission meeting. "It's really going to adversely affect some people for a short period of time. They're (state) requesting to close Dry Creek Road in order to construct the north abutment of the new bridge right below Pea Ridge. The new abutment sets on the edge of Dry Creek Road which will require a drill rig be set up that will block the road. The wing wall closest to the existing bridge sets on the edge of the roadway. This will require an excavation approximately ten feet deep into the opening up of the roadway. It is impossible to keep traffic on this section of road while this work takes place. This is the upper bridge just before you get to Pea Ridge. Everybody from just this side of the bridge, the road will be cut this side of the old bridge. So that means that everybody up there, even Cave Hollow and everything above there, will be required to go around (detour) until this bridge is replaced. It will take about five weeks. They're going to build the abutment on the south side, southwest side, and the pier and then they're going to close the road and add in the pier on this side. While that's being done, it will be closed," said Foster.
TDOT has awarded a bid to Roads, LLC of Brentwood in the amount of $623, 963 to build a concrete I-Beam bridge at Dry Creek. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving. The work must be completed on or before November 30th.
Meanwhile progress is being made on the construction of a bridge on Tramel Branch Road over Helton Creek near Alexandria.
In February, the Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded a bid to Mountain States Contractors, LLC of Mount Juliet in the amount of $505,991 to build a new concrete box beam bridge there. The project includes grading, drainage, and paving.
Tramel Branch Road is closed to traffic at the point of the bridge site. The work is to be completed on or before November 30th.
Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE that both projects are being funded with 80% federal funds and 20% local matching money, including 14% from the DeKalb County Highway Department budget (state aid) and 6% from the county general fund.
A law known simply as “the photo identification” law was one of several topics of discussion at a recent seminar attended by the state’s election officials, including Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections.
In addition, Stanley was one of the speakers at the two-day seminar and his lesson on media relations will now be part of the training program for newly-appointed administrators.
“Obviously, the new photo I.D. law was hot topic of discussion,” Stanley said, “and election officials had many questions relating to the measure, which passed this year and will go into effect January 1, 2012.”
Beginning with all elections held next year, voters will be required to produce a government issued photo I.D. before they will be allowed to vote on the voting machine. If no photo identification is provided, the voter will vote a provisional ballot and the voter will have two business days to return to the election commission office and show a valid photo I.D. or the ballot will be rejected.
Stanley said there are two exceptions to the I.D. requirement. The voter can sign an oath stating he/she is indigent or an oath stating a religious objection to being photographed. After signing the oath, the voter will vote on the machines.
Also, the law does not apply to voters who vote absentee, are hospitalized or in a licensed nursing home.
A valid photo I.D. includes a Tennessee driver’s license, U.S. passport, Department of Safety photo I.D. card, state or federal employee photo identification card, a photo I.D. card issued by the federal government or other state and a U.S. military photo I.D.
“Keep in mind,” Stanley said, “a college photo I.D. is not considered a valid I.D. for voting purposes.”
To assist voters who do not currently have a proper photo I.D., the Department of Safety will issue an I.D. for voting purposes only at no charge beginning next month (July 1).
“Under a separate bill that passed the legislature, a voter can go to the Department of Safety (driver’s license stations) and sign an affidavit stating the requested photo I.D. is for voting, that he/she is a registered voter and the voter does not have a valid government issued photo I.D. card for voting. Once the form is signed, the department will issue the photo at no charge,” Stanley said.
Much more information will be released well in advance of next year’s elections, he said.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly update on personnel during Thursday night's school board meeting.
Amy Fox has resigned as a part time employee in the Response to Intervention Program
Brittany Willoughby, a DCHS teacher, was granted a leave of absence as requested
Names inadvertently left off the 2011-12 personnel list last month included Peggy Pursell, Transportation Manager and Kristen Van Vranken, a teacher at Northside Elementary School.
As for the recent storm damage to Smithville Elementary School, Director Willoughby reported that a structural engineer has assessed the damage and found the building to be safe for the public to enter. "A structural engineer has said we can go back into the building. Mr (Bill) Tanner will be getting the word out to everybody when they can come back and pick up report cards. But as far as the safety of the building and going back in, its safe. The roof damage was the main thing that we had. Unless there is something unforeseen, we will be able to open that school by our opening date," said Willoughby.
In April, the board declared six school buses, being taken out of service, as surplus property and voted to sell them by sealed bid to the highest bidder. No bids have been received.
Director Willoughby suggested that the buses be sold as scrap if its legal to do so. Willoughby said the buses might bring just as much money by selling them this way. If not, then the buses can be re-bid.
On plans to update the science lab at the high school, Director Willoughby said "our maintenance crew has worked really hard on getting that room ready for new equipment to come in. There's about a six week lead time for all the furniture, lab tables, and things like that to come in. But there's a lot of work that must be done before that and this work is being done now. We can get all that (furniture and equipment) on a state bid and not have to bid that out. Right now we're looking at around $70,000 just for the things we need to bring that room up to date. Its going to be less than $80,000," said Willoughby.
Kenny Rhody, Vice Chairman of the board who presided over Thursday night's meeting, thanked DCHS graduate Samantha Lewis, the school board's non-voting student representative, for her service over the last year..
In other business, the board gave approval for the DCHS Boys Soccer team to use the high school facilities to host a youth soccer camp this summer. The dates of the camp will be July 12-15.
Permission was granted for the DeKalb County FFA to attend Leadership on the River Leadership Camp this summer from June 14-16.
The board also approved a request for the DCHS football cheerleaders to attend the NCA cheerleading camp at Vanderbilt University July 18-21
Members of the DeKalb County Fair Association are busy preparing for this year's edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South which is set for Monday through Saturday July 18th through July 23rd.
With the theme "DARE2FAIR..It's a Sweet Ride ", this year's DeKalb County Fair will feature a fun filled week of activities including rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and two new events, Mud Drag Racing on Thursday night and the Lawn Mower Derby on Friday night as part of the Demolition Derby.
Fair Manager Jeff McMillen said these new events should add even more excitement to an already entertaining fair. "The Mud drag racing is basically four wheel drive vehicles that run on a 150 foot track. They run against a clock. They're not actually lined up side by side. It's a time event. This is the best new attraction we've added in the last couple of years. We took away the four wheel drive rock climbing (Off Road Challenge) because it just wasn't drawing the number of spectators that we thought it should. We feel like this event will fill in that gap for us," said McMillen.
"Probably one of the most interesting things we'll have this year is the lawn mower derby. During the demolition derby we've always had this down time between classes so this year we have added a lawn mower derby," said McMillen.
"Another event that we are working on is the corn hole tournament. That has become a popular thing in our community and across the state. We're going to try to put that together. Hopefully, it will be in a tent so that if it rains we can go ahead and have it anyway," said McMillen.
The fair will be bringing back the Open Rodeo, the Demolition Derby, and Super Tractor and Truck Pull, Go Kart Racing, Four Wheelers and Motorcycle Racing, DeKalb Idol, the Vintage Fashion Show, and many other popular attractions.
McMillen urges fair goers to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.
Play following YouTube video clip of Mud Drag Racing (similar to event coming to DeKalb County Fair)
The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Play following YouTube video clip of Lawn Mower Derby (similar to event coming to DeKalb County Fair)
All Non- Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 9th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. All Perishable items ONLY will be accepted on Saturday, July 16th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Premium books are now available at DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, Prichard's Foods in Alexandria, the Chamber of Commerce Office, the U.T. Extension office and at libraries and post offices in DeKalb County. It can also be downloaded from the fair website as well at www.dekalbcountyfair.us.
Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village, sponsored by DeKalb Community Bank. The DeKalb County Fair Memory Lane Stage Line-Up is as follows:
The following events are scheduled:
Monday, July 18
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Donny Barthelemy
7:45 p.m.- 8:45 p.m. Burden Rock Band
Tuesday, July 19
6:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.: Born for This-Zachary Allen
7:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m.: Kingdom Reign-Zachary Allen
Wednesday, July 20
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Lil John-Magician
7:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m.: Mercedes Luna
Thursday, July 21
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: The Evermean Evergreen Cloggers
7:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m.: Terri Lynn Weaver
Friday, July 22
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Ronnie Wison Band
7:45 p.m.-until?: The Mid-State Cloggers
Saturday, July 23
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Pickin Friends
7:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m. Abigail Rose
Monday, July 18th: National Anthem at 5:45 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 6:30 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant for contestants ages 13-16 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant for contestants ages 17 to 20 at the Lions Club Pavilion. $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 19th: Visit from WSMV's Snowbird; the Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion with a concert by The Springs to follow; Go-Cart Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20th: Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-9 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; Four Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 21st: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4-H Chick Chain Show at 5:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; and Mud Drag Racing at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:00 p.m.; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 22nd: Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 47 months at 6:00 p.m. followed by DeKalb Idol Final Competition at the Lions Club Pavilion; a Super Truck and Tractor Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Demolition Derby/Lawn Mower Derby at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23rd: Horseshoe Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at 1:00 p.m.; Gospel singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and a $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.
One thousand dollars in cash will be given away each night, Monday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion and you must be present to win. If no one presents the winning ticket within three minutes, the money will be saved and given away on Saturday night in increments of $1,000. Your fair admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing.
Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available each night for $18.00. Wednesday will be Discount Ride Night- Arm Bands Only for $14.00
Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is Free!
Every night is T-shirt night! Wear any DeKalb County Fair T-shirt from ANY YEAR and ask for your ticket to win the newest fair T-shirt during the cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion. Request tickets at the gate.
Sign up to compete in the DeKalb Idol competition Monday through Thursday backstage at the Lions Club Pavilion from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The registration fee is $10.00. The final competition will be Friday, July 22 at 7:00 p.m. following the Toddler Show at the Lion's Club Pavilion. You could win a $300 cash prize and a $100 People's Choice Award.
One hundred ten students from DeKalb County High School participated in Project Graduation on Friday night, May 20 after the commencement program.
Every student who took part enjoyed the night safe and drug-free, which is the whole purpose behind Project Graduation. They had a night filled with food, fun, games, and prizes.
A huge thanks goes out to all who contributed to make this night a success, including parents, grandparents, friends, churches, the community, and all sponsors especially T-shirt sponsors DeKalb Community Bank and Liberty State Bank
Members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County have helped build HOPE for three partner families within the last four years and they would like to reach out to another family this year.
If you would like to experience the dream of home ownership you are invited to attend an information meeting and application fair on Thursday, June 9 from 6-7 p.m. at the Smithville First United Methodist Church Family Life Center next to Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Applications must be completed and postmarked by June 30.
The third Habitat home on Hayes Street in DeKalb County was completed last summer for Kim McCowan and her grandchildren. The other two, completed within the last four years for the Denise Perry and Felicia Gibbs families, are located on Adams Street.
Laura Stone, member of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, said Habitat works in partnership with people in need to build affordable housing. The houses are then sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. "It's a great opportunity for those who may not otherwise be able to afford a home to actually get in their own home. There's zero percent interest on it. You have to meet three criteria. The basic things are that you have to be in need of a house due to inadequate or substandard housing that you currently live in which may not have enough rooms for you, there may be structural issues or heating and cooling issues," said Stone.
"Secondly, you must have an ability to pay for the house. Your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance are all included together. We have income guidelines for that and they range anywhere from a one person family in which you can't make more than $17, 875 a year all the way up to an eight person family who can't gross over $33,000," said Stone.
"You also must have a willingness to participate and partner with Habitat. What that means is you must have a certain number of sweat equity hours. That number is 500. What you would do is come out and assist in the construction of your own house and or work with some of our volunteer functions that we have including our chili supper, our Fiddler 5K, and things like that. This is where you get in your sweat equity time. All of our current homeowners have helped in building the next house so its an ongoing thing where everyone gives back," said Stone.
Stone further explained that partner families don't necessarily have to build on the Habitat site. "People have a misconception that they have to build where we're building. If you have a lot or if someone has donated land to you, we can build on that land. We can go anywhere in the county. The only problem would be if you have property in an area that is under building codes or restrictions. Our houses generally do not meet the square footage guidelines for most restricted housing areas. We're a little bit under that. But basically, anywhere you have a lot or if someone wants to give you a place to build, we can build on that for you," said Stone.
As a partner family, you may also have some input on what your new home will look like.
In addition to providing an opportunity for affordable home ownership, the efforts of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County also help put money back into the local economy and tax base." Sixty eight percent of the building supplies of our house in 2010 was purchased in DeKalb County. We paid out about $6,000 to local subcontractors. We did have a lot of volunteer work, but we did have to pay for some things. Homeowners also pay city and county taxes just like everyone else. We've generated about $3,000 in DeKalb County taxes to date with our three other homes, so we do give back to the community," said Stone.
Although money is raised through grants and local fundraising efforts, corporate and individual donations are vital to the continuation of Habitat's work. Another $15,000 will be needed to complete the next house. Your contribution can make a difference. You may send a donation to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County at Post Office Box 750, Smithville, TN. 37166.
All officers of the Smithville Police Department will soon be equipped with tasers
Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that with the TASER X26C, each officer will have the ability to take down a fleeing suspect or someone who is threatening to do harm to himself and or others, without causing any injury or lasting after effects to the target. Tasers temporarily override the central nervous system, taking over muscular control for just a few seconds, giving officers an opportunity to make an arrest while the suspect is immobilized. "All officers with the city are certified and will be carrying the new X26 Taser, which is a weapon that can be utilized at the same time that any type of chemical spray can be used or a baton. It'll be at the officer's discretion. It's a tool actually for the safety of the officers and for the public. It can be used against a fleeing subject or what's called hands on, soft hand, or hard hand combat. Tasers are something the public has been hearing about for years. We hear the negative side a lot but there has never been one death caused by a Taser. A lot of people think a Taser will kill them but it won't. What the Taser does when it's deployed, it immobilizes the muscles. If a person is on drugs and the nerve endings are numb and a chemical spray doesn't affect them, the Taser will. It puts out an electrical charge for five seconds. It immobilizes the person and gives the officer time to make the arrest. Its not going to stop their heart or affect their breathing. If a person has a knife or weapon of any sort, threatening themselves or anyone else it does keep that contact away from that person and the officer. It's nothing that's going to be used regular. It'll just be used in certain situations and the officer will give the person (suspect) a warning that the Taser will be used if they don't follow their commands. We should have one for each officer. That's how many has been ordered. We'll probably start utilizing the Tasers around the first of July,"said Chief Caplinger.
The costs of purchasing the tasers comes to around $5,000. The new city budget also includes funds for a new police car, four shotguns for the department, and a new detective position, along with funds for some new radar equipment.
Hours are set for the operation of the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool.
Currently, the pool is open from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Although he apparently has the authority to set the hours under his lease agreement with the city as tenant of the pool and golf course, Tony Poss felt like he had to come before the mayor and aldermen Monday night to make sure it was okay to keep the pool open as late as 8:00 p.m. especially since Mayor Taft Hendrixson had the issue on the agenda Monday night for discussion, at the request of at least one alderman.
Previous tenants have apparently closed the pool around 5:00 p.m. each day, but Poss said because there have been so many patrons since the pool opened on Memorial Day, there is a need to keep it open til 8:00 p.m. Poss added that since the city can't provide lifeguards for private pool parties, keeping the pool open longer still gives the public a chance to enjoy it after hours. "We're keeping it (pool) open right now from eleven until eight o'clock at night. We've had a good response with it. The public seems to appreciate what we've done. We're doing it kind of as a courtesy to the public. We're definitely not getting rich at it. We're doing it because we want to. We're doing it kind of because we've been requested to do it. Since we couldn't do private parties we've cut the prices down where they (public) can come in for two dollars a head until eight o'clock. The public is welcome. It's not private. I'm just trying to put this issue to rest because it just seems to keep coming back up over and over. We have churches, ball teams, and others wanting to use the pool so can we stay open until eight o'clock? Its your employees. Its your pool. We're trying to run it as efficiently as we can. The pool is clean. I promise you that. I'm taking care of the filters. I'm monitoring the chlorine and ph. I'm very proud of what we've done over there. When we're not maxed out at six or seven o'clock, we send lifeguards home. We're trying not to abuse the system but we do have to have a minimum of three lifeguards there at all times. Its not our decision. It's a decision by the state" said Poss.
Mayor Hendrixson responded "Tony I'm very proud of what you've done and if you have patrons that stay until eight o'clock, that sounds good to me". The aldermen seemed to agree.
Under terms of the lease, Poss hires the lifeguards at the pool but the city must pay their salaries. "The tenant (Poss) shall be responsible for the operation of the Smithville Swimming Pool, to include the hiring of certified lifeguards, however the landlord (City) shall pay their salaries during all hours of operation". However during a discussion last month on how many lifeguards would be needed the aldermen informed Poss, based on a legal opinion by city attorney Vester Parsley, that while the city would be responsible for paying lifeguards during regular hours, it could not use public funds to pay lifeguards during private pool parties after hours.
Meanwhile, if the pool remains a popular attraction after school starts, the aldermen may consider amending Poss's lease to allow him to keep it open for a few hours in the late afternoons or evenings and on weekends for a few extra weeks.
The lease currently states that "the tenant (Poss) agrees to open the pool to the general public on a daily basis beginning with Memorial Day until the first day of the school year as designated by the DeKalb County Board of Education. The tenant (Poss) further agrees to provide at least one day of "FREE" swimming to school children K thru 12 who have successfully passed their most recent school year."
That free swimming day or "Report Card Day" was held on Memorial Day, the opening day of the swimming season.
Several people attending Monday night's meeting were apparently there in support of keeping the pool open longer. Among them was Poss's mother, Joyce Poss, addressed the aldermen "There's a lot of families that don't get off from work until four or five o'clock. Some of them work out of town. This way they can spend time with their children at the pool. While they're there, they can have family time. It also gets a lot of children off the street. The children are going to do something. We need to make sure we have things for our youth to do. Our senior citizens will want to use the pool for exercise reasons. I ask you to keep the pool open until eight o'clock so that everybody can use it," said Poss.
Senior Sneakers, as in the past, will be allowed to use a portion of the pool as early as eight a.m. each day without lifeguards on duty for exercise purposes.