Local News Articles

Vernon Indicted on First Degree Murder Charge

December 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 James P Vernon

38 year old James P. Vernon of Green Hill Road, Rock Island has been indicted on a first degree murder charge by the DeKalb County Grand Jury in connection with the death of 24 year old David Joseph Clark.

Clark was severely beaten during an attack on a houseboat at Center Hill Lake July 7th. He later died from his injuries at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The arrest warrant states that "On July 7th, law enforcement began an investigation regarding serious injuries to Clark, who had been discovered unconscious in a vehicle parked at Horseshoe Bend Marina. A subsequent investigation by Dan Friel of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officers has determined that Clark had been severely beaten on the eve of July 7th on a houseboat on Center Hill Lake."

" Eye witnesses have provided information concerning the beating of Clark by Vernon on the houseboat. The beating was accomplished by hitting the victim repeatedly in the face and head with his fist and concluded with kicks to the victim's body. Witnesses describe the continued beating of the victim even after he was unconscious."

" A subsequent investigation also determined the location on Center Hill Lake where the houseboat was anchored at the time of this beating to be located just inside the DeKalb County line. The victim was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and remained there in the intensive care unit in a comatose state with massive head injuries" until his death

Vernon is among a total of eighty three people who were indicted by the December term of the Grand Jury this week, including two named in sealed indictments. All those indicted will be arraigned in criminal court on Monday, December 14th at 9:00 a.m.

The names of all those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Orlando Ovalle Acuna- evading arrest, criminal impersonation, and speeding

Jack C. Adams- driving on a revoked license and driving on a revoked license enhanced 9th.

Ashley M. Anderson- theft of property under $500

Kenneth A. Applegate- driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Matthew Allen Baker- aggravated assault
Matthew A. Baker- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 2nd, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the financial responsibility law

Thomas A. Bagnall- vandalism over $500
Thomas A. Bagnall- burglary and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance

Michaela L. Bilbrey- theft under $500 (2 counts)
Michaela L. Bilbrey- theft under $500

Donna S. Blankenship- simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance; simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance

Brian Allen Bly- domestic assault

Bret Kenneth Boring- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 2nd, and driving on a suspended license

Willard Darrell Brown- domestic assault

William Eugene Burgess- boating under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Christopher E. Bush- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Jason K. Cline- driving under the influence and DUI enhanced 2nd

Joshua Rhyan Cripps- attempted aggravated burglary, unlawful possession of a weapon, and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance

Brandy M. Egerton- assault

Donna S. Estes-worthless check under $500

Jimmy L. Estes- public intoxication

Ricky Estes- driving under the influence. DUI enhanced 5th, driving on a revoked license, and driving on a revoked license 4th
Ricky Estes- habitual traffic offender

Billy D. Ferrell-no drivers license, prohibited weapon, and disorderly conduct

Donald E. Foster- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 3rd, and driving on a suspended license

Jacob Gadberry and Nina Natasha Sullivan- aggravated robbery and criminal impersonation

Lazaro R. Garcia- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 3rd, driving on a revoked license, and driving on a revoked license 2nd

Christopher J. Garrett- theft of property over $1,000

James Edward Gilles- domestic assault

Sharon J. Groshon- theft under $500

Leland Todd Hasty- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 4th, failure to maintain lane

Joel Thomas Hayes- possession of drug paraphernalia

Michael Chad Hayes- driving on a revoked license and driving on a revoked licensed enhanced 2nd

Craig A. Hill- forgery (3 counts) and passing a forged instrument (3 counts)
Craig A. Hill- forgery and passing a forged instrument
Craig A. Hill- theft over $500
Craig A. Hill- forgery and passing a forged instrument
Craig A. Hill- theft under $500 ( 2 counts)

William G. Howell- theft over $10,000

Denise A. Jaurequi- theft of property over $1,000

Brandon M. Jennings- driving under the influence

Brad E. Johnson- possession of drug paraphernalia

Pamela Jo Kelley- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the open container law.

Stephen C. Killion- public intoxication
Stephen C. Killion- accessory to violation of boating under the influence (BUI), and violation of the vessel registration law

Molly S. Lawrence- theft of property under $500

Amy Jeanette Lawson- simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance; simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance
Amy Jeanette Lawson- driving on a suspended license, driving on a suspended license enhanced 2nd, and violation of the financial responsibility law
Amy Jeanette Lawson-theft of property under $500

James Steven Leduc- aggravated burglary and theft over $500
James S. Leduc- burglary and theft under $500

James David Linder- driving on a revoked license and driving on a revoked license enhanced to 10th

William Travis Malone- theft under $500

Joseph L. Merriman- driving under the influence

James B. Metcalf- driving under the influence

Billy Paul Mooneyham- vandalism over $500
Billy Paul Mooneyham- aggravated burglary and theft over $500

Cody Murphy and Ricky Murphy-aggravated assault
Cody Murphy and Ricky Murphy- retaliation for past action

Gregory E. Neal- driving under the influence

Scotty W. Neisz-theft under $500

Jefry V. Overall- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 6th, and violation of the implied consent law

Courtney A. Paris- driving under the influence, no drivers license, violation of the financial responsibility law, and violation of the implied consent law.

Timothy W. Patrick- driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license
Timothy W. Patrick-driving on a revoked license

John Bryan Pedigo- simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia

Marco A. Perez-driving on a revoked license and driving on a revoked license enhanced 2nd

Rhonda Perez- worthless check over $1,000

David R. Petty- criminal impersonation

Aron D. Ponder- driving on a suspended license

Lisa Porterfield- driving on a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia
Lisa Porterfield- theft of property over $1,000

Wallace M. Rackley-domestic assault
Wallace M. Rackley-assault
Wallace M. Rackley- aggravated burglary and vandalism over $1,000

Luis M. Ramirez- driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, and resisting arrest

Jo Ann Rutland- theft over $1,000
Jo Ann Rutland, Sharon Barnwell, and Brandon E. Smith- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Jose Eugenio Sagahon- driving on a revoked license

Mike J. Sartain, Sr.- worthless check under $500 (2 counts)
Mike J. Sartain, Sr.- worthless check under $500

Jeremy S. Shelton- aggravated assault and vandalism under $500

Sharon K. Skinner- forgery
Sharon K. Skinner- theft over $500

Jeffery Smithson- aggravated burglary and theft under $500

Steve A. Stanley- sale of a schedule II controlled substance, delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license

Matthew R. Sullivan- driving under the influence

Jeffrey L. Taylor- driving under the influence, DUI enhanced 3rd, and violation of the implied consent law

Michael F. Teachout- driving on a revoked license

Jonathon D. Thomas- aggravated burglary and theft under $500
Jonathon D. Thomas- evading arrest
Jonathon D. Thomas- evading arrest, criminal impersonation, and possession of drug paraphernalia
Jonathon D. Thomas- evading arrest

Michael G. Thomas and Nancy Brown- promotion of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia

Crystal L. Thompson- simple possession of a schedule II, simple possession of a schedule III, and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance

Joel Trobaugh- driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal impersonation.
Joel Trobaugh-domestic assault

Stephanie Lee Vanatta- forgery (2 counts) and passing a forged instrument

James P. Vernon- first degree murder

Timmothy Walker- worthless check over $1,000

Toby Lynn Young- aggravated assault with a weapon

New Roses Store to Open in Smithville

November 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Future home of Roses in Smithville-

Roses is coming to Smithville.

According to a prepared news release on the company's website, Henderson based Variety Stores, a subsidiary of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. a discount retailer, has announced it will open a 30,000 – square-foot Roses store, a unit of the company’s retail division, in Smithville. The store is scheduled to open in early Spring 2010 at 750 South Congress Boulevard formerly Pamida.

In a statement to WJLE, Tony Luna says the Luna Realty Group co-brokered the deal to get Roses here. "About a month to six weeks ago, we were contacted by a group, I believe from Missouri, that we had the old Pamida building co-brokered with and they said the Roses group had contacted them about coming into this area. They were looking at several buildings in middle Tennessee."

"I met them at the airport and brought them in and they fell in love with the community. After a couple of weeks, I was contacted again. They said they were definitely going to come into the area. They signed a long term lease with the Pamida group to move in at the old Pamida building."

"We're as excited as they are about them coming into this community, especially since the county is buying the old Food Center building. With Roses there, that's going to be a hopping end of town again."

According to the company news release, Roses operates several other stores in McMinnville, Murfreesboro, Memphis and Bowling Green, Kentucky. The new Roses store will offer a combination of “Value-Priced” merchandise that includes Clothing & Shoes for the entire family, Home Furnishings, Housewares, Toys, Food, Health & Beauty products, and Seasonal products such as, Lawn & Garden, BTS, and Christmas Decor, all at “Value Driven Prices”!

Variety Stores concept and mission is simple—provide great value, convenience, and a pleasant shopping experience for our customers. The new store will create 30 to 40 new jobs in the Smithville area. Plans are to begin hiring for this location mid December 2009. Interested parties can contact Carl Wright, Senior Manager of Human Resources at HYPERLINK "mailto:cwright@vwstores.com" cwright@vwstores.com

Variety Wholesalers, Inc. is a family owned business that has been operating since 1922, and has been listed in Fortune 500 magazine as one of the largest, privately owned companies in the United States.

The retail stores operated by the Company are grouped into three main divisions – Roses, Maxway and Super 10. The corporation operates over 425 stores across the Southeastern States. For more information on Variety Wholesalers, Inc, visit our website at HYPERLINK "http://www.vwstores.com" www.vwstores.com.

Woman Charged with Trying to Smuggle Drugs into the Jail

November 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Laura B Elmore
Samuel Max Meketon
Zack Ross Hendrixson

A Smithville woman has been charged with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 24 year old Laura B. Elmore of Gentry Avenue, Smithville was arrested Wednesday, November 25th for facilitation to introduce drugs into a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. On November 13th, detectives and deputies were summoned to a beauty shop in Smithville where a woman had reportedly come into the business and purchased a bottle of shampoo. After making the purchase, the woman left the business but returned a short time later stating that she intended to take the shampoo to the DeKalb County Jail, but had forgotten that the jail would not accept shampoo unless it was signed into the facility by a registered beautician. The woman left the bottle at the business with the intent for the owner or employees to take the bottle of shampoo to the jail. After an investigation, detectives discovered that the bottle of shampoo contained two straws that were taped on each end. The straws contained 19 pills believed to be Xanax and 12 pills believed to be Oxycodone. Elmore was identified as the person who bought and returned the bottle of shampoo. Detectives allege that Elmore intended to slip the pills into the jail by hiding them in the bottle. Elmore's bond was set at $2,500 and she will appear in court on December 3rd.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, November 28th, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department's K-9 officer was patrolling on Highway 56 North and observed a vehicle fail to yield to a stop sign at the intersection of Cookeville Highway and Craft Center Drive. The officer stopped the automobile and the driver, 20 year old Samuel Max Meketon of Byrne Apartments Cookeville, showed him an identification card. When the officer checked the number, Meketon's license was found to be suspended for an unpaid citation in Pennsylvania. The K-9 officer then allowed the K-9 dog, Banshee, to run around the vehicle. Banshee alerted at the trunk. Upon checking the trunk, the officer found a pillow case that contained 2 bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Meketon was arrested for a first offense of driving on a suspended license and simple possession of a schedule VI drug. His bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on December 31st.

Also on Saturday, a deputy, while on patrol on Midway Road, spotted a vehicle weaving in the roadway. After stopping the automobile, the officer found 23 year old Zack Ross Hendrixson of West Main Street Hickman to be the driver. The deputy checked Hendrixson's driver's license and discovered that they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Putnam County on August 23rd. The officer also found in Hendrixson's car under the seat, a sunglasses case that contained a glass pipe with marijuana residue, 2 plastic bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, and a pill believed to be Suboxone. Rolling papers were also found in the glove compartment of the car. Hendrixson was charged with driving on a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of a schedule III drug Suboxone, and simple possession of a schedule VI drug marijuana. Bond for Hendrixson was set at $5,000 and he will appear in court on December 10th.

Smithville Police Department Releases Weekly Arrest Report

November 27, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has released it's arrest report for the week.

35 year old Donna Bogle of 658 Parkway Drive was arrested by Smithville Police on Friday, November 20th for possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the report: K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow observed a vehicle fail to use a turn signal when making a left turn off South Mountain Street onto White Street Upon making contact with Bogle, Officer Tatrow said it appeared that both she and her passenger were very jumpy and nervous. He received consent to search Mrs. Bogle's vehicle as well as her purse and recovered two used hypodermic needles as well as a straw with yellow powdery residue. Mrs. Bogle was placed under arrest. Her bond is 1,000 and she will appear in General Sessions Court on December 17th.

40 year old Jose Miguel Sagahon of 304 White Street was arrested on Sunday, November 22nd for driving on a revoked license. Officer Randy King reports that he was dispatched to the intersection of West Bryant and South College Street and upon arrival. he saw a white Dodge truck attempting to pull a white Monte Carlo out of a ditch. The vehicle was towed out and across the roadway into the parking lot of Creative Styles Hair Salon. The operator of the Monte Carlo who had been involved in the accident was Sagahon. Officer King asked if he was driving the car and he replied "yes". He also asked him for his name and he responded " Miguel". Officer King said he knew Sagahon's license had been revoked in April for DUI . After he verified that the license were still revoked, he arrested Sagahon. Bond is set at 2,500 and Sagahon will be in court on December 3rd.

57 year old Danny Austin Reeder of 633 Restview Avenue was arrested on Sunday, November 22nd for Prevention or Obstruction of service of Legal Process or Writ. Officer Matt Farmer reports that on November 17th, Reeder hid Patsy Estes in his residence knowing there was an outstanding warrant on her. Police officers also told him that they had warrants on her. After officers entered the home, they found Estes there. The case against Estes is the result of an investigation into a stolen wallet taken from an office in the DeKalb County Courthouse. Bond is set at 1,000 and the court date is December 3rd.

20 year old Lucas David Bocel of 412 West End Avenue McMinnville was arrested by Officer Matt Holmes on Tuesday, November 24th for Solicitation of a Minor. An offense report was taken by Officer Randy King on November 21st regarding a possible statutory rape. It was reported that Bocel arranged to meet a 13 year old minor and that sexual contact had occurred. The case was later assigned to Officer Holmes. During Officer Holmes' investigation it was determined that there was intimate contact but no sexual activity. Bocel was charged with Solicitation of a Minor. Bond is set at 5,000 and the court date December 3rd.

26 year old Jason L Knowles of 846 Anthony Avenue was arrested on Tuesday by Officer Scott Davis on a warrant for Violation of Probation. His court date is December 3rd.

51 year old Ricky Deland Adcock of 2917 Obie Adcock Road was charged with Public Intoxication on Tuesday. According to the report, Sergeant Joey Jones arrived at 119 Dearman Street on a suspicious vehicle call. The complaint was about a white pickup truck going slow up and down the roadway and then pulling into the driveway of the Dearman Street residence. Sergeant Jones says he was advised that the owner of the residence was not at home at the time. Upon arrival, Sergeant Jones noticed that the white pickup truck had backed up in the driveway on the east side of the residence and sitting behind the wheel was Adcock. Sergeant Jones says he stopped and walked up to the vehicle and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage that smelled like beer. He asked Adcock what he was doing there. He told the officer that he was there to meet a friend. Sergeant Jones asked if he had any I.D. on him. Adcock then produced his driver license. His eyes were bloodshot and droopy and his speech was slurred. Sergeant Jones asked if he had been drinking but Adcock kept changing the subject. Sergeant Jones asked him to step out of his vehicle but he just sat there. He was asked twice more before he finally got out. As Adcock was getting out of the vehicle, he told the officer that he was not going to take field sobriety or any other tests. Sergeant Jones replied that was his choice and then advised him that he was going to be arrested for Public Intoxication. Adcock was taken into custody and transported to the Smithville Police Department for processing. He was then transported to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.. His bond is 1,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on December 3rd.

Farm Service Agency to Host Meeting

November 27, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Have you been operating a livestock farm less than 10 years? Is your total household income less than $22,050 a year? Are you a member of a socially disadvantaged group? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you can still sign up in the 2008 Livestock Forage Program (LFP) for assistance due to the drought conditions in DeKalb County during 2007 and 2008.

DeKalb County and Cannon County Farm Service Agency are hosting a joint producer meeting on Monday, November 30th at 6:00 p.m. in Smithville at the “303 Building” on the north side of the DeKalb County Courthouse. The meeting will be targeted towards explaining Livestock Forage Program benefits to socially disadvantaged farmers, limited resource farmers, and beginning farmers. However, general information will also be provided for anyone interested in the 2008 Livestock Forage Program. Office staff will be on hand to accept applications at the meeting.

Producers meeting the requirements of a socially disadvantaged farmer, limited resource farmer, or beginning farmer did not have to pay the $100 buy-in fee or purchase a NAP policy for the 2008 crop year and will be eligible to sign up in the 2008 LFP by the December 10 deadline.

The definitions for each group qualified under this waiver are:

(1) Socially Disadvantaged Farmer: a farmer who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group that has been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

(2) Limited Resource Farmer: a producer with BOTH the following:
a) direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than $100,000 in both of the previous 2 years, AND;(b) total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of 4, or less than 50% of county median household income in both of the previous 2 years. For DeKalb County and Cannon County, adjusted gross income (total household) of less than $22,050 would qualify.

(3) Beginning Farmer: an individual who (1) has not operated a farm for more than 10 years, AND (2) substantially participates in the operation.

For more information, or for directions to the meeting, contact the local Farm Service Agency. The DeKalb County Farm Service Agency office phone number is 597-8225, extension 2 and the Cannon County Farm Service Agency office phone number is 563-4321, extension 2.

Community to Celebrate "Christmas on the Square"

November 27, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

Christmas on the Square will be celebrated on Thursday, December 3rd from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the Smithville Public Square.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, says festivities will be held at the 303 North Public Square building including Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus by Double J Photography, free pictures by Studio Six Limited, special music including the Community Chorus, Thea Tippin, Susie Guerin, Chris Summers, Sue Slager, Ron Noonan, Brian Russell, & students from Indian Mound, Chance, and the Cumberland Impact Center. Snowbird will be visiting around town from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Visit with your county officials and staff and enjoy lots of fresh baked goodies at the Courthouse Open House.

Williams says Children's Train and Inflatables are scheduled (if weather permits). Extended hours at downtown stores will make this a wonderful time for Christmas shopping. At the Justin-Potter Library, Snowbird will read to the children and pose for pictures from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and you may visit with Santa will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your camera.

Come out for this enjoyable and heartwarming experience –Christmas on the Square! For more information, call the Chamber office at 597-4163.

Local Businesses Urge Consumers to Shop at Home More this Christmas

November 26, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Phillip Fluty Cantrell
Jerry Lee Cantrell (Left) Scott Cantrell (right)

The Christmas shopping season has arrived and local businesses hope you'll give them a chance to serve you more this year.

Phillip (Fluty) Cantrell of Cantrell's the home of Fluty says before you go out of town, try home first. "We know you can't buy everything at home but we would like to encourage people to at least try home first. Merchants have been here for years. We've made our living here and we appreciate everything everybody has done for us to keep us here."

Cantrell says many stores around town will be opening early on Friday morning for early bird shoppers, including downtown. "We started this thing (opening early on the morning after Thanksgiving Day) about ten years ago. People were shopping out of town and all the big sales were going on. We said let's try it and see what happens here. We tried it and it went over really good. So a lot of the downtown merchants will be open at 7:00 a.m. Friday with door buster specials. We encourage people to shop early."

Meanwhile, Jerry Lee Cantrell of Cantrell's Furniture and Appliances says when you buy at home, you're helping support the local tax base which means you're helping fund schools and other local government services. "We really appreciate all the people who trade with us. I think it's a very important thing that we keep our tax dollars in our community. We get the tax dollars back from the state. Of course, we have to send them in. It goes to the state and then comes back to us. This helps our community immensely."

Scott Cantrell also adds that when you shop at home, you get competitive prices and personal service and attention to your needs. "We've got competitive prices, in the sense of shopping apples for apples. We've got name brand things as all the big cities do so why would you want to go out of town and drive so far when you can get the very same thing right here in town at the same prices, if not cheaper? You don't have to pay for deliveries. You don't have to pay for haul off services. And we'll smile at you the whole time."

Thanksgiving Day Fire Destroys Rigsby Home

November 26, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire early Thanksgiving morning destroyed the home of Roscoe and Marie Rigsby at 375 Andrew Jackson Boulevard.

Central dispatch received the call at 1:39 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says Mrs. Rigsby had set her alarm clock Wednesday night to awaken her to check on a turkey she had placed in the oven and when the alarm sounded, she awoke and went to the kitchen. She got the turkey out of the oven and set it out to cool before placing it in the refrigerator. While she was in the kitchen, Mrs. Rigsby heard popping and crackling sounds coming from the basement. When she opened the door to the downstairs, she saw the basement engulfed in flames and the fire was beginning to spread up the stairs.

Mrs. Rigsby awoke her husband and they escaped unharmed. But the home and all their belongings were lost in the fire.

Green says the cause of the fire is undetermined but it apparently started in the basement.

Members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, and Liberty Stations, and Tanker # 1 responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

DeKalb Jobless Rates Inches up to 10.7% in October

November 26, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for the month of October inched up to 10.7%, slightly higher than the 10.3% rate recorded in September, and much higher than the 7.4% rate in October, 2008.

The local labor force for October was 9,530. A total of 8,510 were employed and 1,020 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's unemployment rate for October was 10.5 percent, unchanged from the September rate of 10.5 percent. The United States' unemployment rate for the month of October was 10.2 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for October 2009, show that the rate increased in 38 counties, decreased in 42, and remained the same in 15 counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, unchanged from its September rate. Lauderdale County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 18.9 percent, up 0.1 from the September rate, followed by Hancock County at 18.0 percent, down from 18.4 percent in September.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.8 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from the September rate. Hamilton County was at 8.8 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from the September rate. Davidson County was 8.9 percent, down 0.2 from the previous month, and Shelby County was 10.2 percent, up 0.1 from the September rate.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit Extended to April 30, 2010

November 25, 2009

A new law that went into effect Nov. 6 extends the first-time homebuyer credit five months and expands the eligibility requirements for purchasers.

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends the deadline for qualifying home purchases from Nov. 30, 2009, to April 30, 2010. Additionally, if a buyer enters into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, the buyer has until June 30, 2010, to settle on the purchase.

The maximum credit amount remains at $8,000 for a first-time homebuyer –– that is, a buyer who has not owned a primary residence during the three years up to the date of purchase.

"The new law also provides a 'long-time resident' credit of up to $6,500 to others who do not qualify as 'first-time homebuyers,'” said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.

To qualify this way, a buyer must have owned and used the same home as a principal or primary residence for at least five consecutive years of the eight-year period ending on the date of purchase of a new home as a primary residence, Boone said.

For all qualifying purchases in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 tax returns.

A new version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, will be available in the next few weeks. A taxpayer who purchases a home after Nov. 6 must use this new version of the form to claim the credit. Likewise, taxpayers claiming the credit on their 2009 returns, no matter when the house was purchased, must also use the new version of Form 5405. Taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return will not be able to file electronically but instead will need to file a paper return.

A taxpayer who purchased a home on or before Nov. 6 and chooses to claim the credit on an original or amended 2008 return may continue to use the current version of Form 5405.

The new law raises the income limits for people who purchase homes after Nov. 6. The full credit will be available to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) up to $125,000, or $225,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $125,000 and $145,000, or $225,000 and $245,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

For homes purchased prior to Nov. 7, 2009, existing MAGI limits remain in place. The full credit is available to taxpayers with MAGI up to $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $75,000 and $95,000, or $150,000 and $170,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

Several new restrictions on purchases that occur after Nov. 6 go into effect with the new law:

Dependents are not eligible to claim the credit.

No credit is available if the purchase price of a home is more than $800,000.
A purchaser must be at least 18 years of age on the date of purchase.

Members of the Armed Forces and certain federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and still qualify for the credit. An eligible taxpayer must buy or enter into a binding contract to buy a home by April 30, 2011, and settle on the purchase by June 30, 2011.

For more details on the credit, visit the First-Time Homebuyer Credit page on IRS.gov.

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