Local News Articles

Deer Hunting Seasons to Conclude with Young Sportsman Hunt

January 10, 2009

Tennessee's 2008-09 deer hunting seasons will conclude with the Young Sportsman Deer Hunt to be held the weekend of Jan. 17-18. Only youth (ages 6-16) may participate in the Young Sportsman Hunt, regardless of whether they possess a junior or adult license.

Bag limits allow for either-sex hunting in all units. In Unit A, (DeKalb County) the antlerless limit is two for the hunt.

Antlered deer that are taken during the Young Sportsman Hunt count toward the statewide antlered deer bag limit. If a youth in Unit A has already taken three antlered deer this year, he or she would only be allowed antlerless deer on this hunt. A

Each youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 or older, who does not need a license, but also must wear 500-square inches of fluorescent orange.

Youth hunters ages 10-16 need a TWRA Hunter Education card along with the appropriate license where applicable. Hunters, ages 6-9, are not required to possess a hunter education card or license (these youth must have their Social Security number to check out a deer).

For those youth hunters, age 10 and older, who have not taken the TWRA Hunter Education course, the apprentice license is available.

The apprentice license exempts a hunter, 10 or older who falls within the hunter education requirement, from having to complete the mandatory TWRA Hunter Education course for the current license year.

The apprentice license (Type 12) may be purchased for $11 at any hunting and fishing license agent. The license is valid from the date of purchase through the last day of February. This license may only be purchased once in the lifetime of the hunter.

While hunting, the apprentice hunter must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21, who is hunter education certified or otherwise exempt from the law. In addition to the apprentice license, the hunter must have other applicable licenses and permits.

For more information about the Young Sportsman hunt, refer to the Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents or on the TWRA Web site. (The icon is located on the lower portion of the home page.)

Habitat Restore Exceeds First Year Goals

January 10, 2009

The Restore of DeKalb County’s Affiliate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity just completed its first full year of operation, easily exceeding its goals for the year.

“When we started, I hoped we could generate sales of $10,000,” reports Restore manager and Habitat board member Mike Antoniak. “For the year, gross sales totaled more than $16,000....not bad considering we were only open six hours a week.”

The Restore serves as a fundraising arm of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Sales at the store support Habitat’s projects, and will help the group build its third home in DeKalb County.

Restores specialize in the sale of items donated to Habitat which cannot be used in Habitat homes. The local store has evolved into a combination thrift/building supplies center, selling new and re-usable household items, appliances, furniture, tools and all types of construction materials at bargain prices to generate funds for Habitat.

“Our success is entirely community-driven, and I’d like to thank our store volunteers, donors and everyone who shops the Restore for their support,” says Antoniak. “Special appreciation goes to Robin Driver of Center Hill Realty who has given the Restore a home, at no cost, so all sales directly benefit our Habitat chapter.”

The Restore is located at 415 Miller Road in Smithville and open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 until 12. Donations may be dropped off during regular business hours. For more information, or to arrange a pick-up of donated items, please call 215.8181 and leave a message on the ReStore voicemail box.

Sheriff Releases Yearly Report on Incident Responses

January 10, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to more than six thousand dispatched calls from January 1st to December 31st, 2008.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the following are Incident Responses or dispatched calls; not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

Calls Reported:
Wrecks- 637
4 wheeler calls- 99
911 calls- 205
Abandoned Vehicles- 45
Animal calls- 227
Assaults- 36
Boat Fires- 3
Break-ins- 208
Burglar Alarms- 428
Child Custody Exchanges- 18
Children in roadway- 13
Debris in roadway- 44
Disturbing the peace- 109
Domestic violence- 357
Drug trafficking- 43
Escorts- 120
Extra Patrols- 31
Fights- 84
Fire Alarms- 37
Funeral Escorts- 187
Gas drive-offs- 19
Harassments- 40
Indecent exposure- 7
Investigations- 303
Vehicle lockouts- 752
Medical Assists- 194
Missing Persons- 65
Phone harassment- 9
Possible D.U.I.- 125
Prowlers- 77
Public Intoxication- 25
Rape- 2
Reckless Drivers- 229
Recover Property- 29
Robbery- 3
Seizures- 10
Shots fired- 67
Shop lifter- 4
Stolen property- 209
Stolen vehicle- 68
Stranded motorists- 65
Structure Fires- 66
Someone threatened- 105
Suicides- 14
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 389
Traffic Hazards- 84
Trespassing- 13
Unruly juveniles- 36
Unwanted guests- 159
Vandalism- 141
Vehicle fires- 22
Wanted Persons- 27
Welfare checks- 132
Miscellaneous- 65

Total 6,536 incident calls

Board of Education to Conduct Evaluations

January 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Thursday night, January 22nd at the Board of Education Building.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night's monthly school board meeting, said the same basic instruments for making the evaluations will be used as in the past and the same procedure will be followed. " Our precedent in doing this is that, in the past, when Mr. (Johnny) Lattimore was chairman in 2007 we had an evaluation workshop for the director starting at 6:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. we had a special called meeting to address the board issues (self evaluation). This is probably something our policy committee needs to look at on the interpretation of the policy concerning the board self evaluation as to whether we can do it in a workshop setting or if it needs to be done during a special called meeting. But for now I want to continue the precedent that has been set in the past. So on January 22nd, we'll have a workshop to evaluate Mr. (Mark) Willoughby and then at 7:00 p.m. we'll go into a special called session to evaluate ourselves."

Robinson also called for a board workshop on Saturday, February 21st at 8:30 a.m. to set future goals. "In taking into consideration how we evaluate ourselves and our director and what we want to achieve for the next school year in trying to remain a board of distinction, we will have workshop to address our five year plan, our strengths and weaknesses and how we can improve. We want to be a pro-active board and I believe this (workshop) will help us to be pro-active and not reactionary."

At the workshop on January 22nd, the school board members will evaluate Director Mark Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they believe expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.

Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.

In the self evaluation, each board member must rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They must rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.

Also during the school board meeting Thursday night, Director Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since the last meeting.

Darril G. Taylor has been employed as a substitute bus assistant and Tiffany Frazier, Martha Kirksey, Gayla Hendrix, and Kymerleigh Lamson have been named substitute teachers. Roenia Turner has resigned as an educational assistant at DeKalb West School. April Odom was granted a leave of absence as requested and Peggy Semmes, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, was also granted leave as requested.

The school board approved a grant proposal totaling $26,000 to create a model dropout prevention program, specifically for students with significant disabilities at DCHS.

The board also adopted a budget amendment to appropriate $10,435 in additional state revenue received for lottery and pilot early childhood programs not previously appropriated in this year's budget. The county commission will also be asked to approve the budget amendment.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix updated the school board on high school news. "We took our Gateway and End of Course tests in December and I'm really proud of the scores that we received.. In Algebra I, we had 93.7% pass and we had 44.4% advanced. In Biology, we had 98.4% pass and 78.9% advanced. In English 10, we had 99.2% pass and 84.6% advanced.. And in the End of Course in English 9, we had 98.9% pass and in U.S. History 90.7% passed.

Also in our Adult High School we had eleven students who took the Algebra I test and all of them passed. One student at the adult high school took the English 10 test and also passed. So 100% of our students at the adult high school passed the Gateway.

"I would like to congratulate the basketball cheerleaders. They won the TSSAA state championship in the non-building for the third year in a row. Ms. (Walteen) Parker also received the Coaches Achievement Award."

" I would also like to congratulate our football team. Hunter Poteete was a Region 3A Mr. Football finalist. He was also Region 4-3A MVP, Upper Cumberland Playmaker of the Year. He won two All-State awards, one of them was the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and the other was the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association award."

" Abram Edwards was the Region 4-3A receiver of the year. He also received the Upper Cumberland receiver of the year award and he also made the All-State Tennessee Sportswriters Association."

" Chris Odom was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland linebacker of the year award. J.J. Herriott was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive back of the year award. Logan Roller was named to All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive lineman of the year award. Matthew Lawrence was named to All Region 4-3A."

"Coach (Steve) Trapp received the Region 4-3A Coach of the Year award and he also got Upper Cumberland Coach of the Year. Congratulations to all of them."

Gina Arnold, Supervisor of Special Education, also gave a report. "The Tennessee Department of Education has created an annual profile of all the special education programs across the state and this is the first year that the monitoring process is in this format. It's a new format for us. We received our results over the Christmas holiday. Based on the data for the 2007-08 school year, the DeKalb County School profile for Special Education met all of the requirements. I would like to thank our students and our parents who are involved in the special education program and a special thanks goes to the teachers and paraprofessionals and other staff who work everyday to make this a success and to our principals who are very cooperative and so supportive of special education here in DeKalb County."

County Fire Department Releases Yearly Report on Incident Responses

January 7, 2009

The DeKalb County Fire Department has compiled its 2008 Incident Response Summary.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says overall, 2008 fire incident responses in the county were up by 20 calls from 2007. In 2007, the department responded to a total of 390 fire incidents. The department responded to 410 fire incident responses in 2008. This count does not include the 371 rural medical first responder calls to which county fire department personnel also responded.

Green says with the rural population growing at rates higher than the cities' population growth in DeKalb County, the department continues to experience annual increases in the its rural call volume. Even though 2008 was an extremely dry year, the department responded to 47 fewer wildland and grass fires than in 2007.

The following is a breakdown of each type of fire incident response that the department responded to in 2008:

Incident Type:
Structure- 69 (Year 2007), 76 (Year 2008)

Wildland/Grass/Debris-100 (Year 2007),73 (Year 2008)

Auto Wrecks-129 (Year 2007),126 (Year 2008)

Auto Fires-23 (Year 2007), 25 (Year 2008)

Landing Zones-11 (Year 2007), 18 (Year 2008)

Extrication/Entrapment-19 (Year 2007), 31 (Year 2008)

Hazmat-None for both years.

Alarms- 33 (Year 2007), 54 (Year 2008)

Miscellaneous- 6 (Year 2007), 7 (Year 2008)

TOTAL-390 (Year 2007), 410 (Year 2008)

TDOT says Repairs to Veterans Memorial Bridge to Begin Soon

January 7, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Veterans Memorial Bridge

Repair work on the Veteran's Memorial Bridge on College Street is expected to begin this month, possibly next week.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer with the Tennessee Department of Transportation in Chattanooga says the cost of the project is $141,806. "This is a project for the repair of the bridge on College Street over U.S. 70. Work should start on the project by the first of next week. The signal lights are up already on each end of the bridge and for the duration of the project College Street will be reduced to one lane with the signals controlling traffic crossing the bridge."

"The contractor on the project is Jamison Construction, LLC from McEwen Tennessee. The price of the contract is $141,806 and it should be completed on or before May 15th, 2009. They will be doing concrete repair and deck repair on the top of the bridge."

The bridge has received collision damage over the years caused by large trucks that have hit the underside of the structure on Highway 70.

Cumberland Plateau Regional Science and Engineering Fair coming to TTU in March

January 7, 2009

Students put your thinking caps on to come up with sensational science projects to enter in the 55th Annual Cumberland Plateau Regional Science and Engineering Fair on March 27-28 at Tennessee Tech University.

It's never too early to start planning your project and getting your paperwork started. Two senior exhibitors will win trips to Reno, Nevada in May, to exhibit projects at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair as well as receiving a $3,000 scholarship each to Tennessee
Tech. Two more senior exhibitors will be selected to win a $1,500 scholarship each. Team projects at any level will no longer be accepted.

The fair, sponsored by Tennessee Tech, will be held at TTU's Roaden University Center. Affiliated with the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) organized annually by the Society for Science and the Public, it is open to all 4th through 12th grade students attending public, private, parochial, or home schools in the following Tennessee counties: Bledsoe, Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Scott, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White.

Teachers and sponsors may advise students and facilitate the projects, but all work must be done by the students. Students may be asked to explain their work in detail to a panel of judges. All rules and regulations issued by the ISEF must be followed, including the completion of various forms documenting parental approval and adequate supervision to ensure the safety of the student and their human or animal subjects before experimentation begins.

Two Grand Award winners selected from the senior division will receive $3,000 scholarships to TTU and expense-paid trips to enter their projects in the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno on May 10-15. Two Grand Reserve Award winners will receive $1,500
scholarships. If a Grand Award winner is unable to attend, a Grand Reserve winner will have the opportunity to participate as an exhibitor.

All exhibits must be pre-registered to compete in the fair. Registration forms must be received by the Fair Director by March 24. Any student in grades 4 through 8 who has received an award in a school fair and all students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to compete. A student whose school does not have a science fair may enter the regional fair directly.

Visit our web site at www.tntech.edu/scifair/ for links to the Intel ISEF Rules and Guidelines, the Regional Fair Rules and Guidelines, information for parents
and teachers, a list of the Science Review Committee and Institutional Review Board members, registration forms that can be submitted online, and photos from previous regional fairs.

Registration forms may also be mailed to Cumberland Plateau Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Tennessee Tech University, Box 5051, Cookeville, TN 38505, or faxed to (931) 372-6351. For more information, contact Gloria Julian at (931) 372-3483 or e-mail science_fair@tntech.edu .

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Awards Grants

January 7, 2009

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has distributed $6,000 in grants to two nonprofit organizations in DeKalb County as part of The Foundation's annual grant making process.

"The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee connects generosity with need by supporting our region's hard-working nonprofit organizations," said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation. "The Foundation appreciates that these programs matter, congratulates the organizations on their efforts and salutes the dedicated people who work to enhance the quality of life in our community."

Freckles Friends Pet Shelter, Inc. has received a grant to provide spay/neuter services to pets of low-income families in DeKalb County.

Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Inc. has received a grant to provide spay/neuter services to pets of DeKalb County residents.

These contributions are part of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's annual grant making process that has distributed more than $1 million to 202 nonprofit organizations throughout 30 Middle Tennessee counties.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 670 charitable funds. In the past seventeen years, The Community Foundation has distributed $408 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Future Location of Fiddlers Manor Annex Recommended for Rezoning

January 6, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Planning Commission voted Monday night to recommend to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen the re-zoning of property that may soon become the location for an apartment complex for low-income grandparents who are raising a child.

The two acre site, owned by Bruce Medley, is located to the south of Bright Hill Road and to the rear of Fiddler's Manor and other property owners on Walker Drive.

The proposed Fiddlers Manor Annex would actually be situated on 1.76 acres of the property. Site plans have not yet been considered for approval by the planning commission.

The planning commission gave the public an opportunity to speak but no one voiced any opposition to the proposed rezoning.

The issue will now be considered by the city council. Approval is required by ordinance on first and second reading before the rezoning can take effect. If approved, the property would be rezoned from R-1 low density residential to R-3 high density residential.

Congressman Bart Gordon made the announcement of the proposed complex in a news release last month.

In the announcement, Gordon said "More grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren than ever before. However, many of these grandparents are retired and struggling with the cost of raising a child. Today, Congressman Bart Gordon announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $1.67 million grant to build eight apartments in Smithville for low-income grandparents who are raising a grandchild.

"The numbers are staggering – more than 101,500 children are being raised by a grandparent in Tennessee," said Congressman Gordon. "While I am happy UCDD received this grant, more needs to be done. If a grandparent steps forward to raise their grandchild, we have a responsibility to make sure the grandparent isn't overwhelmed financially as a result."

The grant was awarded to the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) as part of the HUD's Demonstration Program for Elderly Housing for Intergenerational Families. This program is intended to assess the best way to assist the more than 6 million children in the United States being raised by a grandparent. If the UCDD program is successful, it will potentially be used as a model for assisting other grandparents throughout Tennessee and the rest of the country.

"This grant will help us build upon our previous work," said UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins. "Not only will we be able to help grandparents pay for expenses such as school supplies and clothing for their grandchildren, but we will be able to build and provide them with safe and affordable living environments. I would like to thank Congressman Bart Gordon and his staff for their support and help in getting this project funded."

UCDD was one of only two organizations to receive HUD's Demonstration grant (the other organization is based out of Chicago). UCDD received the grant in part because of its previous efforts to assist grandparents raising their grandchildren. Since 2000, UCDD has received grant money from the Tennessee state government as part of the Relative Caregiver Program and developed a program to assist low-income grandparents to pay for their grandchild's basic needs.

Larry Webb who runs the Cumberland Regional Development Corporation – UCDD's nonprofit housing construction partner – explained that the grant money will be used to build six two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units. Rent will be based on 30 percent of the grandparent's income minus any medical expenses they have. In addition, UCDD will pay the utility bills.

"I am confident that UCDD will develop a successful program with this HUD grant," said Gordon. "When they do, I will work to ensure that they receive additional grant money to expand their program and help the many other grandparents who have stepped in to raise their grandchildren."

City Pays Tribute to the Late Don Cantrell

January 5, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kenny Rhody
Smithville Mayor, Aldermen, City Attorney & Secretary-Treasurer

The City of Smithville will honor Don Cantrell, a former police officer and city firefighter who recently passed away.

The Smithville Aldermen voted 5 to 0 Monday night to retire Cantrell's badge number 409 and to rename East Walnut Street by city hall the Don Cantrell Avenue, provided there are no legal or other reasons why the street could not be renamed.

The action was taken at the request of Kenny Rhody, who was a friend and former co-worker with Cantrell in the police department.

In addressing the Mayor and Aldermen, Rhody made the following remarks,

"As I walk around this town, I am reminded of the services some people have contributed to our community in order that the citizens here enjoy all that we have. Some of the people which have helped this town to become what it is today include Mr. Shannon Taylor, Mr. Billy J. Lefever, Mr. Joe Evins, Mr. Hobson Reynolds, and Mr. Cecil Burger."

"Recently we have lost another person who has made a difference in our town. That was Mr. Don Cantrell. Don was a devoted employee of 35 years as a Smithville Police Officer. He was also a firemen of 15 plus years. He was a husband, a father, and a friend."

"As a former police officer, I had the pleasure of working with Don for four years. Many times I witnessed Don go above and beyond the call of duty to assist people when they needed it most."

" I would like for us to do something to honor this man, who gave so much of himself to this community. I'm asking that the council to consider retiring badge #409 that Don wore for some 35 years and possibly renaming East Walnut Street right here beside the police department the Don Cantrell Avenue".

"In West Tennessee on a tomb rock for Sheriff Buford Pusser, it reads three words, "He Walked Tall". For those of us who knew Don, although he wasn't six foot, six, Don walked just as tall. He served our community. He worked with at least eight mayors and at least one hundred council members that I know of and he managed to get along with all of them. Don taught us officers many things. How to help people when they really needed it. How to do your job properly. And I'd just like for us to honor him in some way or another. We'll always remember Don Cantrell."

In other business, Travis Stephens was hired as a certified water plant operator to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of another water plant employee. Stephens was put to work on October 30th at $11.75 per hour. His pay will increase to $12.42 per hour after his 60 day probation period. The aldermen voted 5 to 0 to hire him. The city currently has two certified water plant operators and a trainee working toward his certification.

Secretary Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson gave a brief report on two grants that have been approved for the city airport. "The TDOT Aeronautics Division has approved two more grants for the city airport, one for $166, 667 of which 90% comes from federal funds with a 10% city match. That is for a new fueling system. Ours out there is not in bad shape but it's aging and while the state is dishing out money I'm not going to turn it down. I think it's a good idea to go ahead. If we can get a new fuel system for $16,000 or less I think we should jump on it. We've sold quite a bit of fuel out there this year. It's been pretty busy. There's a lot of people flying. Not so much in the winter, but they have been during the spring and summer. Hopefully that will bring in more fuel sales.

"We also put in for a security grant at the airport. Our airport manager, Mr. Wes Nokes put in for that and it came back as a $21,590 grant with the city matching 10% of that which will be roughly $2,200. This will pay for any kind of video surveillance we need out there, updating any of our fence, or just anything to help keep the area more secure."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson added that "It seems that the aeronautics grants are more plentiful than anything else and we'll try to get our share. (With these latest grants) That's going to be about a million dollars worth of aeronautics grants in the last year and a half."

Mayor Hendrixson also reported on the city's insurance audit. "We got our insurance audit. We always get this in December and we have to pay the premium by the middle of February. There is some good news. This is our total package of insurance except for one thing for the airport that TML doesn't do. But it is down by approximately 9% from last year, down about $24,500. I think that's down because the accidents have been down and days off from work from accidents are down. I really didn't expect that, but it's good news."

The mayor also addressed the issue of the lake elevation and the need for a portable pump to support the water intake at Sligo. "This morning (Monday) Center Hill Lake was at 628.3 MSL (Mean Sea Level). That is good news. They are generating a lot down there (dam) and probably after tonight and tomorrow, according to the weather forecast, it (lake level) will be up again. So hopefully we won't need the portable pump system. However in this CDBG grant that we're asking for, we're going to include that (portable pump) in this grant (application)."

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