Local News Articles

USDA Releases Payments for Tobacco Transition Payment Program

January 22, 2010
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency, announces that annual payments for the Tobacco Transition Payment Program,
for the 2010 payment year, were released Wednesday, January 20. DeKalb County quota holders and producers will receive $483,405.90 in 2010 program year payments. Green says that direct deposit transactions should arrive in bank accounts within 3 business days while mailed checks should arrive within 10 business days for quota holders and producers who have enrolled in the program.

The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), also called the "tobacco buy-out," helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to the free market.

The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-357), signed by President Bush on Oct. 22, 2004, ended the Depression-era tobacco quota program and established the TTPP. The program provides annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. Payments began in 2005 and continue through 2014. Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers. The remaining payments will be made in 4 annual installments that will be issued in January of each year.

For more information on the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, please contact the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency at 615-597-8225, extension 2.

Fire Damages Shop/Garage Building on West Broad Street

January 21, 2010
Dwayne Page
Fire Damages Shop/Garage Building
Smithville Fire Department Responds to Fire at 633 West Broad
Fire Photo by Steven Laxton

A fire Thursday night caused extensive damage to a shop/garage building at 633 West Broad Street belonging to Darrell Gill, which served as an annex for DeKalb Tire and Service. The building is located across from Gordon's Hardware.

Central Dispatch received the call at 6:51 p.m. and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and the Smithville Police Department rushed to the scene.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says Gill was working in a shed at the rear of the building when the fire started and he escaped unharmed. "He was in the back part of the building and had turned on a compressor when he heard a noise. When he came back up (through the building), he discovered the fire. When he discovered it, the flame was pretty good (intense) and the smoke was already getting heavy. He got out through the front door and just barely in time too. He was pretty lucky."

Chief Parker says the cause of the fire is undetermined but it started in a storage room at the rear of the building and spread to the ceiling and roof. "It started in the back of the building, in a room back there. The building has a double ceiling inside of it and a newer roof on top of an older roof. The fire got in between the roofs and there's block around the edges so it was not burning through. Half of the building is pretty extensively damaged. There was one vehicle belonging to a customer in the bay that was damaged and two more vehicles in the back of the building, belonging to Gill which were not damaged."

Smithville Police officers diverted traffic while firefighters were on the scene. No one was injured.

(Bottom Photo provided by Steven Laxton)

Habitat for Humanity Announces Board Members

January 21, 2010
Dwayne Page
Habitat Board Members and Officers

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County held its annual meeting on Tuesday, January 19th. The meeting was held at The Inn at Evins Mill. Board members for January 2010-2011 are: Mike Antoniak, Michael Carpenter, Glenda Davis, Robin Driver, Sharon Evans, Lisa Garrison, Larry Green, Gayla Hendrix, Tom Janney, Nancy Lewis, Adela McGeehin, Hearon Puckett, Pam Restrepo, Laura Stone and Kim Wheeler.

Pictured in photo are officers and new board members (L-R): Co-Treasurer Kim Wheeler, Vice President Sharon Evans, President Tom Janney, and new board members Gayla Hendrix and Nancy Lewis, who is also serving as Secretary. Not pictured is Co-Treasurer Glenda Davis.

Five School Board Members to be Elected this Year

January 21, 2010
Dwayne Page

If you want to run for a position on the school board, you have until April 1st to qualify.

Five of the seven seats on the Board of Education will be filled in the August 5th DeKalb County General Election.

The positions are currently held by John David Foutch in the first district, Charles Robinson in the second district, Kenny Rhody in the third district, Joan Draper in the fourth district, and Johnny Lattimore in the seventh district. Each term is for four years.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that the following school board candidates have picked up petitions:

First District
John David Foutch (picked up petition)

Second District
Charlie Robinson (picked up petition)

Third District:
Kenny Rhody

The fifth and sixth district school board seats are not available this year. W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the fifth district and Bruce Parsley in the sixth district were elected two years ago. Their terms will expire in 2012.

School board candidates run as non-partisan candidates

Meanwhile on the state level, candidates for state representative, state senator, governor and U.S. Congress can run for their respective party nominations in the August 5th State Democratic and Republican Primaries, with the winners and any independent candidates squaring off in November.

The qualifying deadline is noon, April 1.

State Representative:
James Hale (picked up petition) DeKalb County
Jamie Winkler (picked up petition) Smith County
Sarah Marie Smith (picked up petition) Smith County

Tommy Hay of DeKalb County has qualified to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Sixth District

Smithville Municipal Election set for June 15th

January 20, 2010
Dwayne Page

Candidates interested in running for mayor or alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election this summer may now pick up qualifying petitions at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office in the courthouse.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, says candidates have until Thursday, March 18th to qualify.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 15th. The positions are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger. Each term is two years.

The election commission reports that the following candidates have picked up petitions:

Steve White (picked up petition)

Cecil Burger (picked up petition)

Taft Hendrixson (picked up petition)

Bruce Medley (picked up petition)

Election Administrator Reminds Potential Candidates of Qualifying Deadlines

January 20, 2010
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

The DeKalb County Election Commission reminds potential candidates for local offices of the approaching qualifying deadlines.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections says noon on Thursday, February 18th is the qualifying deadline for the May 4th DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

Offices eligible for the May ballot are County Mayor, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Road Supervisor, and Sheriff, county commissioners in districts one through seven, 13th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Part 1 and District Attorney. The judge and D.A. elections are to fill unexpired terms.

Independent candidates have the same qualifying deadline, Noon, February 18th..

The following persons have picked up and or returned petitions to run for local public offices in the May DeKalb County Democratic Primary

County Clerk:
Mike Clayborn
Glynn Merriman
Chris Smithson

Road Supervisor:
Jimmy Sprague

County Mayor:
Mike Foster
David C. Redmon (picked up petition)
Robert (Bob) Snyder

Register of Deeds:
Jeff McMillen
Clarence R. Trapp

Circuit Court Clerk:
Katherine Pack

Candidates for county offices running as Republicans or Independents in the August General Election:

Patrick Ray (Republican)

Sean Driver(Republican)

Road Supervisor:
Kenny Edge (Republican)

County Commission Candidates in May Democratic Primary (two can be nominated from each district to run in August)
First District:
Elmer Ellis, Jr.

Second District:
Jack E. Barton, III

Third District:
Jerry Scott
Roy Merriman
Bradley Hendrix
Johnathan W. Willoughby (picked up petition)

Fourth District:
Wayne Cantrell
Ronald H. Rogers
David L. McDowell
Jesse Baker

Fifth District:
Johnny Ringo Colwell
Randy Braswell
Bobby R.Taylor
John D. Green

Sixth District:
Jeff Barnes
Marshall Ferrell

Seventh District:
Larry A. Summers
Jimmy W. Poss

County Commission candidates running either as Republicans or Independents in the August General Election (Two to be elected from each district in August)

First District:
Mason Carter(Republican)

Second District:
Bobby Joines (Republican)

Fifth District:
Jerry Adcock (Republican)

Fifth District:
Lloyd Emmons (Independent)

Seventh District:
Richard Kinsey (Independent)

School Board:

First District:
John David Foutch (picked up petition)

Second District:
Charlie Robinson

Third District:
Kenny Rhody

Seventh District:
Johnny Lattimore (picked up petition)

Smithville Alderman:
Steve White (picked up petition)

Smithville Alderman:
Cecil Burger (picked up petition)

Smithville Mayor:
Taft Hendrixson (picked up petition)

Smithville Mayor:
Bruce Medley (picked up petition)

State Representative:
James Hale (picked up petition) DeKalb County
Jamie Winkler (picked up petition) Smith County
Sarah Marie Smith (picked up petition) Smith County

Tommy Hay of DeKalb County has qualified to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Sixth District

County to Consider Helping Control Weight Loads over Hurricane Bridge

January 20, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Mike Foster
 Hurricane Bridge

The county has apparently reached an agreement with officials of the Tennessee Department of Transportation to help enforce weight limits on Hurricane bridge by escorting across large trucks, fire engines, school buses, and other vehicles carrying heavy loads.

County Mayor Mike Foster, during an all-committees meeting with members of the county commission Tuesday night at the courthouse, said this issue would be discussed during Monday night's regular monthly meeting of the commission and he will ask that the plan be approved.

Under the proposal, Foster says the county would appropriate around $20,000 to hire at least a couple of people with experience in law enforcement or traffic control who would work a forty hour week, monitoring traffic across Hurricane bridge. These officers would be responsible for making sure that no more than one large truck passes over the bridge at a time.

Foster says this would ease concerns about public safety and keep industries from having to detour through Alexandria or Dale Ridge Road to access the Interstate.

According to Foster, he met with officials of TDOT and the Tennessee Highway Patrol earlier this month at his office to discuss the plan and he says they have given their approval. If accepted by the county commission, Foster says the proposal could be implemented as early as next month, subject to a few more details being worked out with TDOT.

"TDOT has told us in the meeting we had a week ago Friday that if we will escort the trucks across and make sure that there's no more than one big truck on the bridge at a time, the factories can haul up to 72,000 pounds. That will be a big help and save them from having to go around (detour). It will save them a couple a hundred dollars a load. Their (TDOT) engineering report says that the bridge doesn't need to have more than 72,000 pounds on it at a time. They've got it restricted to 18 tons, but that's only if a truck is crossing from each direction. As long as we keep only one truck on it then they feel like it's safe to go up to 72,000 pounds."

Foster says TDOT officials liked the escort idea better than posting traffic lights on either end of the bridge. "They felt like the lights were not as safe as this and would cause more problems."

The escorts would not be provided around the clock, but Foster says arrangements could be made for after hours if needed. "It won't be twenty four hours a day. Right now it'll be 40 hours a week and if there is a special need then we can do that. We'll try to work out something with law enforcement so that kids going on school bus trips (such as basketball tournaments) can be escorted across the bridge for the safety of them going and coming."

He added that fire trucks might also need an occasional escort. " On Christmas eve, there was a fire on the other side of the lake. They (fire fighters) went all the way around (detoured). We've got it worked out now so they can escort that truck across by blocking the ends (of the bridge) to keep more than one truck from getting on the bridge at a time. That way they can cross it and it will be legal."

Foster says the persons hired to do the escorts would not necessarily have to be active law enforcement officers "They could probably be non-commissioned officers, not necessarily post certified, but someone with a law enforcement background or experience in traffic control. It could be like a constable or someone possibly supervised by the sheriff's department."

According to Foster, this is probably the best solution to the problem until TDOT begins rehab work on Hurricane bridge, and no date has yet been set for that. "It will help our industries, provide for the safety of our school buses, and help fire firefighters and ambulances. It's a small price for us to pay."

At a public meeting hosted by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Senator Mae Beavers in November, Ed Wasserman, TDOT Director of Structures, addressed the safety issue regarding Hurricane bridge and the timetable for getting it repaired. "With regard to the Hurricane bridge, if you observe the postings that are on it, then the bridge is perfectly safe. As to the scheduling of things, these are very expensive structures, we have a limited overall amount of money to deal with statewide. While you have every right to be concerned and feel that your bridge is the top priority in the state, there are people in other areas in the state with a bridge in similar condition and they feel theirs needs to be top priority. We are going to keep your bridges safe until such time as they get repaired or replaced on whatever schedule that works out to be. If the revenue stream continues, then we're going to be able to get to your bridge. But with the Hurricane bridge, it will be repaired because there's not any chance that we can afford to replace that bridge."

Wasserman said that Hurricane bridge had not deteriorated to the point that it would have to be closed and added that the state would spend funds to do emergency repairs to keep it open if need be.

Lady Tigers Snap Ten Year District Losing Streak

January 19, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Lady Tigers Snap Long District Losing Streak-

The streak is over!

After more than ten years, the DeKalb County Lady Tigers snapped their 128 game district losing skid with a victory Tuesday night over the Smith County Owlettes in Smithville. The final score was 57 to 35.

The last time the Lady Tigers won a district game was on January 6th, 2000 against the Smith County Owlettes at Carthage under coach Jerry Foster.

DeKalb County dominated the game from the beginning leading 17 to 2 after the first period, 34 to 10 at the half, and 48 to 20 after the third quarter before winning 57 to 35.

Martha Webb led the team in scoring with 21 points. Cynthia Woodward had 14, Kristina Stephens and Alex Meadows each had 9 points, and Morgan Page and Nikki Bass each scored 2 points.

With the win the Lady Tigers improve to 11-7 on the season and 1-4 in district play.

Meanwhile in the nightcap, the Tigers and the Owls played into overtime before the issue was settled, but DeKalb County prevailed, winning 69 to 61.

DeKalb County led 17 to 14 after the first period, 32 to 24 at halftime, and 47 to 41 after the third period. In the fourth quarter, the Owls outscored the Tigers 12 to 6 to tie the game at 53 by the end of regulation. In the overtime, DeKalb County outpaced the Owls 16 to 8 and won 69 to 61.

Sonni Young had high scoring honors for the Tigers with 20 points. Payne Denman scored 15. Seth Willoughby 13, Hunter Poteete 7, Abram Edwards 5, Zach Neal 4, Destry Wiggins 3, and Cody Puckett with 2 points.

The Tigers improve to 11-7 overall and go to 2-3 in district play.

DeKalb County will host Monterey Friday night starting with the girls game at 6:00 p.m. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

DeKalb Rescue Squad Helps Save Cow and Horse

January 18, 2010
Cow Rescued (Photo provided)

The Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad was called to an area close to the Center Hill Dam on the Dale Ridge Road to rescue a cow that was stuck in the lake.

The cow was rescued sucessfully and was not injured.

This is the second incident within the week. Early Monday morning, (last week) the rescue squad was called to Evins Mill Road for a horse that was stuck in a pond. The horse was also successfully rescued , without injury.

(Story and photo by Dustin Johnson)

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrests in Child Abuse and Theft Cases

January 18, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jo Carol Summers
Jacob L Tramel
Thomas Jacob Sims
Travis Dewayne Rich
Steve A Stanley
Jeffery S Ponder

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made one arrest for child abuse last week while five others have been charged in various theft investigations.

In his weekly report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Jo Carol Summers of Students Home Road Smithville was arrested Tuesday, January 12th for child abuse of a 4 year old. Through an investigation, deputies learned that Summers struck a 4 year old child with a paint stir stick, hitting the youngster several times on the back and buttocks areas with the stick, causing bruising to those areas. Bond for Summers was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on January 28th.

27 year old Jacob L. Tramel of Whaley Street Smithville was arrested on Tuesday, January 12th for theft of property over $1,000.. Detectives received a report of a theft on Short Mountain Road, Smithville where the victim stated that on December 15th a diamond ring, valued at over $1,000, was taken from the victim's residence without consent. Tramel sold the stolen ring to a jewelry dealer in Smithville. Bond for Tramel was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on February 4th.

26 year old Thomas Jacob Sims of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown was arrested on Wednesday, January 13th for aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Detectives received a report of a theft on January 10th in which someone had stolen a freezer, food, television, and a microwave. These items were taken from a home on Robinson Road without the owner's consent. Entry was made through a back door to the residence. Though an investigation, detectives identified Sims as a suspect in the crimes. The stolen items have since been recovered. Bond for Sims was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on February 4th.

On Thursday, January 14th, detectives received a report of a burglary, theft, and vandalism which occurred on January 11th on Cherokee Drive in Smithville. As a result of the investigation, detectives learned that 22 year old Travis Dewayne Rich of Bear Hollow Road, Liberty had broken into the home and stolen a 32 inch television, cable box, sink faucets, and parts to two central heating and air units. During the crime, Rich cut the faucets off from the water lines causing over $10,000 worth of water damage to the homes' structure and furnishings. Rich was charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property over $10,000 and vandalism over $10,000. Bond for Rich was set at $45,000 and he will appear in court on February 18th. Rich is also a suspect in other break-ins in the county where items such as copper, and televisions, among other items were taken. If you have bought anything from Rich, you are urged to contact DeKalb County Sheriff's Department detectives or Sheriff Ray at 597-4935.

32 year old Steve A. Stanley and 45 year old Jeffery S. Ponder both of Old Mill Hill Road Dowelltown were arrested on Saturday for burglary and theft of property over $500. After receiving a complaint call of a break-in, deputies caught both men taking items out of a storage building on Dale Ridge Road. Both men had entered a storage building by forcing open a front door and loaded a propane tank, 2 stoves, an electric pump, catalytic converter, and other scrap metal into a truck that they were in. Bond for both men was set at $35,000 and they both will appear in court on February 4th.


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