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Local News Articles

McCowan Charged with Theft and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

December 28, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 25 year old man with theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Randy Caplinger said Joshua Lynn McCowan of Morgan Drive was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Sunday, December 19th. Earlier that day, Sergeant Randy King took a theft report. The victim stated that he had given McCowan a ride to his residence and as McCowan exited the vehicle he took with him a .22 caliber bolt action rifle, belonging to the victim. The man tried to stop McCowan from taking the gun but was unsuccessful. Officers then went to McCowan's residence to interview him. He was asked to step outside with Officer Phillips as Sergeant King spoke with the other occupants. Upon stepping out on the stoop of the residence, Officer Phillips saw McCowan drop a syringe from his hand onto the concrete stoop. Police also recovered the gun. Bond for McCowan was $2,500 and his court date is February 27th.

In another case, 42 year old Kimberly Dawn Foster of McMinnville was issued a citation on Monday, December 20th for simple possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. Corporal Travis Bryant received a call of a suspicious vehicle at Mapco Express Upon investigation, Corporal Bryant made contact with Foster. Corporal Bryant confirmed that she was on parole. Foster consented to a search of her property. Found in her purse were schedule III and IV drugs. Her court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile while assisting Corporal Bryant at Mapco, Officer Scott Davis was given permission by the passenger of Foster's vehicle, 31 year old Terra Nadean Rippe of McMinnville to search her property. Found in Ms. Rippe's purse was a schedule III drug. Ms. Rippe was also cited into court on January 6th..

40 year old Terry Lee King Sr. of Bybee Woods Drive was arrested on Monday, December 20th for criminal impersonation. While investigating a suspicious vehicle Corporal Travis Bryant made contact with a man who identified himself as Lee Knowles. He also gave a date of birth. Upon further investigation Corporal Bryant learned that he was actually Terry King and that he attempted to conceal his identity due to an arrest warrant out of Warren County for failure to appear. Bond for King is $1,500 and his court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile anyone having information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Recent Burglary and Theft

December 27, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Matthew Malachi Lawson
Claude Trimble

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary.

27 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid), aggravated burglary, and theft of property over $10,000. He is under a $70,000 bond and his court date is January 6th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on December 8th, Lawson allegedly kicked open the back door of a residence on Antioch Road and took several items from the home including two jewelry boxes containing a gold waterfall ring, four leaf clover diamond pin, gold necklace with red, white, and blue charm and several other pieces of jewelry. All items were valued at over $10,000.

Meanwhile on July 7th, Lawson allegedly sold a schedule II drug (dilaudid) to a confidential source during an undercover drug operation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

In another case, 37 year old Christie Michelle Willoughby of South Chancery Street, McMinnville was issued a citation for failure to drive within her lane, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (xanax), violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance) and driving on a suspended license. Her court date is January 6th.

According to Sheriff Ray, Willoughby was stopped for failure to maintain her lane of travel on Highway 146 on Monday, December 20th. As the deputy walked up to the vehicle, Willoughby allegedly tried to swallow a pill and on the floorboard in plain sight, was a xanax (a schedule IV controlled substance). The officer searched Willoughby's purse and found another xanax. A computer check revealed that her drivers license were suspended and she did not have insurance.

46 year old Claude Trimble also known as Hoss Roller is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. He was also issued a citation for failure to give immediate notice of an accident. He will be in court on January 20th.

Trimble is further charged with failure to appear in general sessions court in a separate case on September 20th. He will appear in court on this charge January 6th.

His bond totals $6,500.

Trimble also faces charges from the Smithville Police Department.

Sheriff Ray said that on Christmas Day, Trimble was involved in a traffic accident on Highway 56 south and left the scene. He was later stopped by Smithville Police. In the accident, Trimble's vehicle struck a fence, tearing down the top strand of barbed wire. When stopped by police, Trimble admitted to hitting the fence and not stopping after the accident

Christmas Eve Fire Leaves Liberty Family Homeless

December 25, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Christmas eve fire left a Liberty family homeless Friday night.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the home of Phillip and Natasha Waggoner at 270 Groom Street, Liberty at 9:40 p.m. after a passerby spotted the blaze and reported it to 911.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said the house was already engulfed in flames by the time firefighters were notified and they could not save the home. The family has a sick child in a Nashville hospital so the Waggoners were not at home at the time of the fire.

Neighbors salvaged a few items from the basement but most of the family's belongings were lost in the fire. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, Temperance Hall, Main Station, and Tanker #1 responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Honorees Named in ACS "Love Lights a Tree" Fundraiser

December 24, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Love Lights a Tree Honorees
Support Love Lights a Tree

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree fundraising campaign." This annual event gives area residents the opportunity to honor a special person during the holiday season and aid in cancer research.

The "Love Lights a Tree" project is designed to raise money not only for research, but includes cancer education and patient services. Donations in honor of and in memory of a special person can be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names of honorees are as follows:

Kent Smithson, Mike Breeding, Polly Turner, Nadean Turner, Jimmy Taylor, Sandra Wall, Patsy Judkins, Violet Fuson, Margie Smith, Donald Smith, McKinley Jones, Ruth Pirtle, Linda Judkins, Carolyn Sheets, Ralph Curtis, Lisa Anderson, Willie Turner, Radley Hendrixson, David Terrell, Earl D. France, Georgie Willoughby, Macon Hale, Veronica Kay Atnip, and Emma Petty

In memory:

Jack Midgett, Velma Midgett, Frances Scramick, Dick Scramick, Joe Huffman, Judy Huffman, Shane Hawkins, Judy Hawkins, Lonnie Wilkins, Becky Wilkins, Peggy Roller, Rebecca Beason, Carl R. Cathcart, T.C. McMillen, Leonard Gwyn, Howard Stanley, Martha Cathcart, Will Allen Cathcart, William Doyle Thomason, William Paul Thomason, Ewin Sandlin, Sherman Love, James Gantzer, Barbara Page, Charles L. Redmon, Clara Carter, Frances Haley, B. Akin, Mai Akin, John D. Akin,

Buddy Cook, Bob Cook, Jessie Cook, Pam B. Cook, Lucille Cook Harris, Brownie Haley, Arzie Usrey, June Nixon, Len Judkins, Earl Judkins, Marie Judkins, Clyde Randolph, Mary Randolph, Ruth Elder, Jordon Steinbach, Brackett Luna, Nadean Luna, Margaret Freeman, Leonard M. Freeman, Sr., L.M. "Buddy" Freeman, Kevin Sanders, Houston Braswell, Eugene Braswell, Hattie Velma Braswell, Betty Jean Braswell, Courtney Pirtle, Nell Judkins,

Austin Vaughn, Linnie Johnson, Alfred England, Helen England, Paul Johnson, Dr. W.E. Vanatta, Kathy Crouch, Homer Lee Ellis, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Vada Pauline Herndon, Luther Fuson, Pearl Fuson, Lewis Cobb, Floyce Vaughn, Florene Sanders, Peggy Palmer, Ted Beck, Curtis Adams, Clyde Redmon, Foster Redmon, Tracy Cassidy, Glenn Smith

Lynn Duke, H.C. Duke, Kathy Foster, Gail Cripps, Emily Cripps, J. Van Walls, Jack G. Rhody, Charles L. Johnson, Angel Mahler, Mary L. Collins, Ruby Pinegar, Ewin Vanatta, Eveleen Walls, Donnie Edge, Helen Jones Mayo, Mallow Herndon, Sara Frances Herman, Nina Phillips, Vada Reeder, George Reeder, Bertie Reeder, C.T. Phillips, Sr., Edna Pauline Phillips, Sandra Willoughby, Billy J. France, James Alvie France,

Royce L. Givens, Jr., Dr. Jerry Puckett, Woodrow Frazier, John Larry Frazier, Billie Ann Frazier, Harold Hoover, Stanley E. Wallace, Virgil Smith, Nan Smith, Grady Crook, Eva Crook, Will Allen Crook, John Paul Grubb, Robert Joines, Johnnie Joines, Marvin Hutson, Lular Hutson, Edward Hobson, H.R. Rosson, Jewell Dean Alligood, Doris Janette Chapman, Chester Chapman, Walter Cubbins, Wilma Cubbins

Jim Truitt Hale, Jack Barnes, Dorotha Barnes, Donald Johnson Estes, Billy Estes, Sr., Marshall Estes, Lloyd Redmon, William Michael Murphy, Vera L. Davenport, Vanice King Davenport, Billy Cooper Pruitt, Sr., Bobby Carroll Pruitt, Leonard Nixon, Betty Nixon Vickers.

Love lights are $5.00 each. Forms are available at most banks in DeKalb County. The name of every person honored or remembered will be placed on a display board located on the south lawn of the courthouse through the holiday season.

For more information contact Iva Dell Randolph at 597-5296, Violet Fuson at 597-4483, Linda Luna at 597-5837, Barbara Ashford at 931-417-6563, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Casey Midgett at 597-2089.

Arrest Made in Attempted Robbery at Subway Restaurant

December 24, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Justin Robb

A man, wanted by U.S. Marshals in an Arlington, Virginia bank robbery parole/probation violation was arrested by Smithville Police Friday afternoon, after allegedly attempting to commit a robbery at the Subway Restaurant in Smithville.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 26 year old Justin Robb, who has a Byrdstown address, is charged with aggravated robbery and his bond is set at $75,000. He is being held without bond on the parole/probation violation.

According to Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant, Robb entered the Subway restaurant building through a back entrance, used only by employees. He then came through the stock room and into the restaurant behind the counter.

The only employee on duty at the time, who was in front of the counter doing some cleaning, saw Robb standing near the cash register and asked if she could help him, or words to that effect.

Officer Bryant said Robb told her "you know what I want" and warned her that he had a weapon, although he never displayed any weapon. He then kicked open the door to the safe, which was setting on the floor behind the counter. But, according to Officer Bryant, Robb left without taking anything from the safe or the cash register, making his exit through the rear of the building where he had entered. No one was injured.

The restaurant employee ran to the front of the adjoining Kwik-N-Ezy market and had the store clerk there call 911. Central dispatch alerted officers in the area at 3:07 p.m. to be on the lookout for the suspect.

Brandon Donnell, a DeKalb County Sheriff's Deputy, was patroling in the area and spotted a man fitting the description of the suspect walking through the parking lot of the Kwik-N-Ezy. Officer Donnell drove up, got out of his cruiser, and detained the man until other officers arrived.

Robb was taken into custody by Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis and Deputy Donnell. Robb was subsequently questioned about the incident and charged in the case.

Robb is currently being held in the DeKalb County Jail.

Chief Caplinger said Robb has been very tightlipped, not disclosing much information about himself or why he was in Smithville. Officers could not find any vehicle in the area belonging to him.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 9.3% in November

December 23, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for November increased to 9.3%, up from the October rate of 8.9% but well below the jobless rate of 10.7% in November, 2009.

The labor force in DeKalb County for November was 9,770. A total of 8,870 were employed and 910 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for the month was third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:

Pickett County-15.5%
Clay- 12.2%
White-12%
Fentress- 11.1%
Warren- 11%
Van Buren 10.8%
Jackson- 10.3%
Cumberland- 10.3%
Cannon- 10.1%
Overton 9.9%
Macon 9.6%
DeKalb- 9.3%
Putnam 8.7%
Smith- 8.1%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's unemployment rate for November was 9.4 percent, unchanged from the October rate. The national unemployment rate for November 2010 was 9.8 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November 2010, released today, show that the rate increased in 85 counties, decreased in eight counties and remained the same in two counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.3 percent, up from the October rate of 6.0 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.9 percent, up from 18.9 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 16.2 percent, up from the October rate of 15.4 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.2 percent, up from 7.0 percent in October. Hamilton County was 8.1 percent, up from 7.8 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month, and Shelby County was 9.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from October.

DeKalb County Records Three Traffic Fatalities in 2010

December 22, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people have lost their lives as a result of traffic accidents on DeKalb County roads this year and local and state authorities will be working through the holidays to make sure that number does not increase. There were seven fatalities in DeKalb County last year.

On Sunday, January 10th, 47 year old Lisa A. Hallmon of Avant Circle, Alexandria died when her 1988 Cadillac struck a DeKalb County garbage truck on Highway 70 near Sligo bridge.

On Wednesday, September 15th, 44 year old Priscilla Judkins was a passenger of a Dodge Caravan that crashed on East Broad Street in Smithville. She later died at Vanderbilt Hospital. The driver of the vehicle was Donald Henson. Smithville Police said Henson rear-ended an eastbound 1994 Toyota pickup truck that was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Broad Street and South Mountain Street. After crashing into the truck, Henson left the scene and turned into the parking lot of Curves where he came to a stop after trying to the drive the vehicle up an embankment.

On Monday, November 29th, 63 year old Wanda K. Harrison of Dowelltown was involved in a head-on crash on West Broad Street near DCHS. Harrison was in a 2009 Honda SUV traveling west when her vehicle veered into a 1994 Chevy pickup. Harrison died later at Vanderbilt Hospital.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturated patrols at various times through January 2nd targeting drunk drivers on State Highway 146, U.S. 70 east and west, State Highway 56 north and south, State Highway 53 in Liberty and Alexandria, and State Highway 96 on Dale Ridge.

Meanwhile in conjunction with the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be cranking up its enforcement effort throughout the upcoming Christmas and New Year's Day celebrations to find and remove impaired drivers from Tennessee roadways. State Troopers will be conducting more than 100 sobriety and driver license checkpoints with a clear message to motorists – "Don't Wreck the Holidays."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety checkpoints in DeKalb County on Friday, December 31st on State Route 53 north .2 miles north of the 4 mile marker and on Highway 56 south at DeKalb Memorial Gardens.

THP is also participating in the national campaign, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. "The Highway Patrol will be working with law enforcement officers from hundreds of agencies across the state and country to remove impaired drivers from the road," Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said. "It is our duty to ensure the public's safety through education, regulation and especially enforcement; we take this responsibility seriously on holidays and all throughout the year."

The 2010 Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 26, while this year's New Year's holiday period will commence at 6 p.m., Thursday, December 30, and will conclude at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 2, 2011.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. In 2009, 303 people died in Tennessee traffic crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. That's a one percent decline from the 306 impaired driving deaths in 2008, and a 19.6% decline from the 377 impaired driving deaths in 2007. Nationwide, impaired driving fatalities dropped from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,839 in 2009, a 7.4 percent decline.

"While the number of impaired driving fatalities has declined both nationwide and in Tennessee, that's not enough," said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. "We will not rest…we will not stop working until drunk driving fatalities become non-existent. Our Troopers will spare no expense to keep drunk drivers off the road en route to saving lives this holiday season. If we catch you, we will arrest you."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in December 2009, 753 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That was down from 888 people killed in similar impaired driving crashes in 2008.

During the 2009 Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in traffic crashes on Tennessee roadways. This represents one death every 17 hours. Alcohol was involved in 33 percent of those crashes and one of the five vehicle occupants killed was not wearing a safety restraint.

Thirteen people were killed during last year's New Year's holiday period 2009-10 and 23 percent of the fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes.

In 2009, there were 989 traffic fatalities in Tennessee, down just over five percent from 1,043 fatalities in 2008. As of December 16, preliminary statistics indicate that 996 people have died on Tennessee roadways this year, an increase of 48 deaths (9 percent) compared to 948 fatalities at this same time a year ago.

If you are planning to drink alcohol with family and friends, there are several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or trauma and the financial costs associated with an impaired driving arrest.

·Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.

·If you're impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

·Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear when on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver.

·And remember, "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk". If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

·Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, towing and repairs, lost time at work, etc.

For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org .

Tennessee Schools are Improving, Not Failing

December 22, 2010

The 2009-2010 school year introduced a world of change in how Tennessee gauges the performance of our school systems, educators, and students. As a result of these changes, there will be numerous headlines in newspapers over the next several days that will indicate that our schools are failing our students. However, a quick glance at the facts paints a much different, more optimistic picture.

Prior to the changes, Tennessee faced two problems: the content of our statewide tests and the expectations of our students. Tennessee students were graduating from high school and entering college, career training, or the workforce. However, many of our graduates were not prepared for any of these difficult endeavors. After consultation with professors, industry leaders, and technical professionals, Tennessee realized that regardless of a student's post-graduation plans, the same skills were needed in order to be competitive in today's world. As a result, this year Tennessee increased the rigor of its curricula and assessments. All of the students in Tennessee will now earn a high school diploma that reflects both their hard work as well as their readiness to enter the world.

In addition to the content, Tennessee had to address expectations. In 2009, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report which examined the assessments and performance of each state's public educational system. This report was very revealing as to Tennessee's inadequacies. Our great state was annually reporting a proficiency rate of 80% - 90% for 3rd - 8th graders in reading/language arts and math. When this report looked at the performance of our students on a national standard, though, only 20% - 30% of students were "proficient." This discrepancy had to be addressed.
Prior to this year, Tennessee defined a proficient student as one who was minimally prepared for the next level of study. With the changes, a proficient student is now one who demonstrates mastery in academic performance, thinking abilities, and application of understandings that reflect the knowledge and skills specified by the grade/course level content standards. This new definition is a drastic change in the expectations of students and recognition that students were receiving false senses of accomplishment with the tag "proficient."

With the new, more rigorous assessments and with the mark of proficiency moving from minimal to mastery, we are going to initially see lower results than in years past. However, our students are improving and performing, and as parents, educators, and communities, we must be steadfast and supportive. We must insist that the new standards remain while ensuring the resources needed are available. No one is denying that we are expecting much more from everyone involved. These increased expectations, though, will lead to economic development and jobs for our communities and an overall better quality of life for our students.

Imagine there was an archer who routinely hit the bull's eye, and everyone around him was proud. One day, the archer was told to take 10 steps back and aim at a much smaller target. Everyone questioned the changes and the archer had difficulty with the transition. Ultimately, though, with the diligent efforts of the archer and those around him, he greatly improved his skill and once again hit that bull's eye.

Our target in Tennessee has definitely moved, but our archers will once again hit that bull's eye.

Hendrixson Gets 10 Year Suspended Sentence

December 22, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Zachary Ross Hendrixson

A 24 year old man, who allegedly used somebody else's 2006 Mastercraft X45 ski boat several times over the summer without the owner's permission to entertain friends on the lake, was sentenced Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

Zachary Ross Hendrixson received a ten year suspended sentence after entering a guilty plea under a negotiated settlement to charges of vandalism over $10,000 and burglary of a boat. Under terms of the sentence, Hendrixson received six years for the vandalism and four years on the burglary charge, all suspended. The sentences are to run consecutively for a total of ten years. Hendrixson was given jail credit of 150 days. He must also make restitution of $1,000 to a victim in the case.

Hendrixson was indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, November 29th for vandalism over $10,000 and joyriding. He was also indicted in a separate case, charging him with burglary and theft over $1,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Hendrixson was arrested on Monday, July 19th after the owner of the boat took warrants against him. The boat, which was docked at the time at Hurricane Marina, apparently received some damage to the interior and exterior while Hendrixson was using it. The boat is valued at approximately $100,000.

According to Sheriff Ray, Hendrixson took the boat out on the lake several times. " He has been going down there since Memorial Day, taking people out on that boat, falsely claiming it belonged to his family. He even published pictures of the outings on his Face Book account."

When the owner discovered that Hendrixson had been using the boat, he had him charged in the case.

After a further investigation, Sheriff Ray said Hendrixson was also charged with theft of property over $1,000 for allegedly taking items off another boat."We started an investigation and found that he had stolen a surf board, a wake board, and life jackets from a boat at Cove Hollow Marina, valued at $1,180."

Meanwhile in other cases, 32 year old James Summers pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and sale of a schedule III controlled substance. He received a two year sentence to serve in each case and was fined $2,000. The sentences are to run consecutively with each other for a total of four years and concurrently with a violation of probation he is now serving. Summers was given jail credit from April 7th to December 20th.

42 year old William A. Cantrell pleaded guilty to a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve. He was also fined $50. The sentence is to run concurrently with two other cases against him.

25 year old Michael Snyders pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He was given credit for sixty days of time served. Snyders was fined $2,000.

27 year old Christopher Pinegar pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000, burglary, and vandalism over $1,000. He received a total sentence of four years including three years in the theft case and two years for burglary and two years for vandalism, all suspended to supervised probation, except for 193 days to serve. He was given jail credit for 193 days. The burglary and vandalism cases are to run consecutively for a total of four years and concurrently with the theft sentence. Pinegar must make restitution of $8,000 in the vandalism case.

26 year old Sabrina Leighann Branham pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation, except for 48 hours to serve. She was fined $360 and her license will be revoked for one year.

21 year old Cody Murphy pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation. He must make a $75 contribution to the economic crime fund.

30 year old Felicia Murphy pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation in each case to run concurrently with each other and a violation of probation against her. Murphy was fined $360 and she must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. She will also lose her license for one year.

22 year old Timothy W. Patrick pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and three counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence in each of the drug cases to run consecutively with each other for a total of nine years. Patrick also received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days probation in the DUI case to run concurrently with the nine year term. Patrick will be on probation by community corrections. In the DUI sentence, Patrick must attend school, pay a fine of $360 and his license will be revoked for one year. He also pleaded guilty in a worthless check case, which will be dismissed upon his making restitution.

Poole Pleased with Findings in City Audit Report

December 21, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville apparently gets good marks in it's latest audit report.

John Poole, Hendersonville CPA, who performed the annual audit for the city, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night.

Poole said there were no major deficiencies. "We didn't see any unusual expenditures during the year. We review a vast majority of the city's expenditures and there were no unusual items purchased. All items seemed appropriate for city business. The city does a pretty good job in the way that it pays it's bills. In my opinion, the city of Smithville and this board and boards that have served before you, have always been good stewards of the people's money. The city has very good reserves. If catastrophic things were to happen, the city has really good reserves that it could use to do the things it wanted to do. Not only do we have adequate reserves, but as far as the debt, the city literally has only two loans, one for some vehicles that we leased/loaned which the state considers a loan; and the other is the last year of a bond on the water system. All of these loans will basically be paid off next year so the city will almost be debt free. That is a great place to be in."

Poole said while the city showed a deficit in the water and sewer fund, the problem should be resolved next year, now that the city has raised water and sewer rates. "The area where most cities are having difficulties now in this economic slowdown we're in is in the utilities fund and that is no different here in the city of Smithville. This board is aware that the state has a requirement that at least every other year, you have to show a profit. In other words, you can't show a deficit two years in a row. So for the year ending June 30th, 2010, you can see we had a deficit of $81,000 (water and sewer fund). That has been very unusual for the city. The city, generally speaking, has shown surpluses. But it's just one of those things (that happened) because we haven't had a rate increase in a long time and we've seen all major areas of expenses go up including the cost of electricity, which went up 20% last year or eighteen months ago. Employee benefit costs, health insurance, we've seen increases in those. So that's really gotten us to this point. But I know this board has already taken action (to increase water and sewer rates) so that in 2011 that will not be a concern. You are to be commended. It's a tough thing to do (raise rates) but the state requires it and as this board is aware if you didn't do it, the state would have stepped in next year and done it for you and they would have set a much higher rate increase than what you would have because from their standpoint, they (state) don't want to see you back for the next ten years. In my opinion this board did exactly what it needed to do and you did it in a timely manner and I don't expect it to be a concern next year."

Poole said the city will also have to keep an eye on it's rate of water loss, which is currently at 19%. "There's something new this year. The state is concerned with utility operations, especially those that have water, in what they call unaccounted for water or water loss. The state has been gathering information for a couple of years and this is the first year that we have a standard that this board will have to be very concerned about going forward and that is unaccounted for water. Your rate of unaccounted for water is 19% which is very good. The state standard is 35%. In other words, if you're in excess of 35% you are a concern to them (state). But needless to say, being at 19% that is really good news. If you were over that percentage (35%) the state would ask you to start spending money to try and reduce that percentage. You should take great pride because 19% is an exceptional number and that is one of the things that I would be holding my water and sewer departments responsible for and if that number starts to creep up near 30% we would want to know what's going on and try to take action to reduce that but at 19% it's of no concern whatsoever."

In other business, the aldermen set the dates for all regular meetings of the city council for the calendar year 2011. The meetings will be held on the first and third Monday nights of each month at 7:00 p.m. on the top floor of the city hall building. The only exceptions are for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day in January; the fourth of July; and for Labor Day. No meetings will be held on those dates.

Public Works Director Kevin Robinson gave a brief update. "Within the next two weeks we're going to have the water tanks serviced and check the water level indicators on the tank. The one on Miller Road is not working correctly so we're going to have all those checked. We also fixed part of the street in front of the post office where the vehicles are rutting the pavement out. We've fixed that with concrete. And holiday garbage pickup. We're off on December 24th and 27th so garbage will be picked up on December 28th. We're also off on December 31st and that garbage pickup will be on January 3rd."

Gary Durham, city resident and taxpayer, addressed the mayor and aldermen asking that he be placed on the agenda at the next meeting to try and convince them to start working on a new 20 year plan. Durham said the city should establish a 20 year plan which would put the city in a better position to prepare for future needs regarding maintenance and or expansion of city services. The city had a long range plan covering the period 1984-2004 but Durham said it seems that nothing has been done in recent years to update or follow it.

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8:55 A.M.
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9:45 P.M.

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