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Election Commissioners Found to be Immune from Liability for Monetary Damages in Federal Lawsuit

January 22, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of the DeKalb County Election Commission

Claims for monetary damages in a federal lawsuit filed against Republican members of the DeKalb, Hawkins, Weakley, and Putnam County Election Commissions have been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Wisemen, Jr. last month issued a ruling in the case and a 21-page memorandum opinion stating that the election commissioners, in their official capacities as state actors, are not subject to liability for the monetary damages sought. Other issues of the lawsuit have yet to be decided.

However, County Attorney Hilton Conger told WJLE Friday the federal court's ruling raises another question. If county election commissioners are considered "state actors", or "state employees" as he put it, then does the county's insurance pool still have to provide a legal defense for these election commissioners"?

In the order, Judge Wiseman wrote that " Specifically, the court finds that the claims for monetary damages asserted against the defendants in their official capacity are subject to dismissal because the defendants, in their official capacity as state actors, are not subject to liability for monetary damages. Second, the claims against the defendants in their individual capacity for monetary damages are subject to dismissal because the defendants, in their individual capacity are shielded by qualified immunity from liability for monetary damages. Even assuming the allegations in the complaint to be true, the defendants' conduct did not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known, in light of the fact that the question of whether county administrators of elections are protected from patronage dismissal remains an unsettled question of law. The motion to dismiss the claims for monetary damages against the defendants in both their representative and individual capacities will therefore be granted."

Judge Wiseman's ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court, although a challenge has been filed as to whether the appellate court has jurisdiction.

If the ruling stands, County attorney Conger said he wants to know if the county's insurance pool is still required to provide a legal defense for the election commissioners, or if the state will take over the representation. Conger said he may write a letter to the state attorney general asking for an opinion. "The county, in light of this ruling, feels that since they (election commissioners) are state employees, the state attorney general's office ought to be the one to defend them (election commissioners). So I'm going to draft a letter to the state attorney general requesting that he do that. We're going to make a demand on the attorney general to defend this. Also, since there's been an appeal filed, the question arises does the attorney general's office represent them on the appeal or does the commission have to have their own attorney to defend the appeal?"

The Republican members of the DeKalb County election commission have been represented by Mary Ferrara, an attorney for the local government insurance pool. But, again Conger said that could change with this ruling by the federal court. "They (insurance pool) have provided the defense up to this point. Now that there's been a ruling that they (election commissioners) are state employees, the local government pool could say they are no longer county employees so our representation is done. So right now the election commission (defendants) is in the posture of having to either hire it's own attorney, and they don't have the money to do that, or the state attorney general's office will pick it up."

Meanwhile, in the latest development court documents were filed Friday demanding that the plaintiffs show cause within twenty one days whether the issue has appellate jurisdiction.

According to the documents, "The denial of a motion to dismiss based on a claim of qualified or absolute immunity is an appealable final decision.But orders granting a motion to dismiss on this basis are not similarly appealable."

"It is therefore ordered that the plaintiffs show cause within twenty-one (21) days of the file date of this order why their appeal should not be dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

Following the receipt of a response or the expiration of the 21-day response period, whichever occurs first, the remaining parties, if they so choose, have ten (10) days in which to file a reply. Thereafter, the issue of appellate jurisdiction will be referred to the court for review."

Locally, the federal court lawsuit was filed by former election administrator Lisa Peterson who was not re-appointed in 2009 by the Republican majority of the local election commission. Another case involving the election commission, also filed by Peterson, in DeKalb County Chancery Court is still pending.

Republican members of the DeKalb County Election Commission are Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean. Democratic members are Nolan Turner and Kenneth Moore.

McCrary Arrested for Domestic Assault

January 22, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made an arrest in a recent domestic assault case

34 year old Royce Duane McCrary of Halls Hollow Road was arrested on Friday, January 14th for domestic assault. Officer David Phillips spoke with the victim who stated that McCrary assaulted her by hitting her in the face. She had a broken tooth on the left side of the mouth and a busted lip, lacerated chin and nose. Bond for McCrary is $2500 and his court date is February 10th.

39 year old David Eugene Driver of Aerohead Drive was cited by Detective Matt Holmes on Thursday, January 20th for theft of property and forgery. On December 28th, Lieutenant Steven Leffew took a report from the victim who stated that she bought a part from Advanced Auto in November and she gave the part to Eugene Driver to put on her vehicle. She was later told that the part had been taken back for a refund. Upon investigation, it was discovered that Driver had taken the part back to Advanced Auto and signed her name to the receipt without her permission. His court date is February 10th.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on any offense 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

Warren County Jury Finds Former Deputy Not Guilty in Alleged Drug Trafficking Scheme

January 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Larry Pedigo, Jr.

A former DeKalb County Sheriff's deputy, charged in connection with a drug trafficking scheme at a McMinnville clinic in 2009, has been found innocent of the charge against him following a two day jury trial in Warren County Criminal Court this week.

The jury, Thursday afternoon, found Larry Pedigo, Jr. not guilty of fraudulently obtaining drugs (oxycontin) from the Ameri-Care Urgent Care Clinic in McMinnville. He was originally indicted on two counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic (oxycontin) and two counts of fraudulently obtaining drugs (oxycontin)

Prosecutors alleged that Pedigo had participated in a scheme to obtain oxycontin from Justin Turner, a physician's assistant at the clinic, only to return some of the drugs to Turner, who was believed to have been addicted to the medications and needed them to feed his habit.

Three other officers, who worked for either the McMinnville Police Department or Warren County Sheriff's Department, were also charged in the case along with Turner, clinic employee Marcus Northcutt, among others. Some of the defendants in the case have already been sentenced while others still await trial.

Pedigo, who steadfastly maintained his innocence since being arrested, refused to settle the case, preferring to stand trial. By the time his case went to trial, two of the charges against Pedigo had already been dropped by state prosecutors and another charge was dismissed during the trial at the close of the state's proof after Special Judge Tim Easter granted a motion by Pedigo's attorney, Hilton Conger for a directed verdict. That, said Conger, left only one charge for the jury to consider against Pedigo, one count of obtaining prescription medication by fraud. "The state (previously) dismissed two of the counts against Pedigo because he had an air tight alibi for where he was on the date that they alleged these (crimes) occurred. The judge dismissed the other one, the charge of delivery, upon my motion for a directed verdict at the close of the state's proof. The state had not proven that Junior Pedigo had ever delivered any drugs to Justin Turner, the physician's assistant who worked at Ameri-Care. The charge that went to the jury was one count of obtaining prescription medication (Oxycontin) by fraud, which is a class C felony."

Conger told WJLE Thursday afternoon that Pedigo always maintained that the prescription he was given was for a medical necessity. "He had injured his knee on May, 20th 2009 while working as a detective in DeKalb County. He was making an arrest and tore a cartilage in his knee. It ultimately resulted in surgery to that knee. He was going to this physician's assistant at Ameri-Care for his work comp injury. It was always his insistence that the prescription for oxycontin was written to him for a legitimate medical purpose."

According to Conger the charges against Pedigo and the others was the result of an undercover investigation which began in March, 2009. "An employee of Ameri-Care had contacted the district attorney and reported that Justin Turner was writing prescriptions to patients he was not seeing and for people who did not need them (drugs). There was also an employee, Marcus Northcutt, who was posing as a nurse and dispensing prescriptions. That led to an investigation. During the investigation the names of four police officers surfaced alleging that they were involved in obtaining drugs. The scheme was that the physician's assistant, who was allegedly addicted to oxycontin, was writing prescriptions to various people, including some police officers in exchange for a return of oxycontin to him. Junior Pedigo just happened to be a patient there for his workers comp case. He was not involved in this scheme but because he was a patient there and because he had been given a prescription for oxycontin, he was implicated. Pedigo always maintained his innocence and that the only time he got oxycontin was for a legitimate medical purpose."

Pedigo resigned from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department after the case came to light in August, 2009.

In a brief statement to WJLE Thursday night, Pedigo said "I'd like to say a special thanks to all my friends and family and my attorney who stood by me through this ordeal."

OCCI to Begin Mobilizing Equipment for Construction at Hurricane Bridge

January 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hurricane Bridge

The contractor on the Hurricane Bridge rehabilitation project may start moving in equipment as early as next week in preparation for the beginning of construction.

Officials of OCCI Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri were among those present at a pre-construction conference held Thursday morning at the TDOT building on Armory Street in Smithville where details of the project were discussed. Representatives from TDOT's regional and field offices also took part in the discussions along with consulting engineers.

Milton Greer, resident engineer for Modjeski and Masters, a consultant for TDOT on the Hurricane Bridge project told WJLE that OCCI is expected to begin preparation work within a few days. " The contractor is planning on doing some mobilization starting this next week and possibly get some traffic control items set up. Hopefully around the first of February, they'll start doing some of their preparation work, putting up some shielding, etc to protect the river so that they can start doing some repair work underneath the bridge, such sandblasting and repainting the sub-structure."

Among the issues discussed during the pre-construction conference Thursday morning was the traffic control plan for the bridge during construction. Greer said posted weight limits on the bridge will continue to be enforced, however school buses and fire trucks will be allowed to cross. Otherwise, loaded trucks over the posted weight limits will have to detour via State Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road). "Local traffic including light trucks and multi-axle trucks 18 tons or less can continue to use the bridge as well as 10 ton trucks with two axles. Any vehicle in excess of that will need to take a detour which will be around highway 96. There will be traffic signals when we have alternating traffic on the bridge (one lane open) to control the direction of traffic. A fair amount of the time there will be two way traffic maintained on the bridge but there will be short periods where we will have to have alternating traffic on the bridge. As far as traffic control on the bridge, that probably will not go into effect until the actual construction starts. At some point in time when they start getting ready to take the deck off, we'll have to start doing alternating traffic in order to set up the required portable barrier rails for the protection of the public and the workers on the bridge."

The county ceased flagging operations January 1st but officials said flaggers may be needed again at some point during construction.

Greer also described the scope of the work to be done on the bridge "We've got a certain amount of strengthening to do to the steel truss members and some additional stringers which actually support the concrete deck. The existing rails and deck will eventually be removed from the bridge and replaced with a lite weight concrete deck." The bridge will also be repainted .

In October, TDOT awarded the bid to OCCI Incorporated at $26.9 million.
The contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project. OCCI officials said Thursday that they plan to finish the project in less tme.

County Mayor Mike Foster, who was present during the pre-construction conference, said he was pleased to hear that construction work will be starting soon. "I'm glad to know that they're not going to interrupt traffic, except for loaded trucks. But the fact that traffic can still go across the bridge including school buses, fire trucks, and empty trucks is a big, big relief. I was also encouraged to hear the contractor say that he thought he could cut a year off the contract time. That's big for us. This is important to all of our industries and all the people who work there, as well as tourism. That's our life blood."

Landlines Preferred Over Cell Phones When Making 911 Calls

January 19, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brad Mullinax
Dispatchers Janice Higham and Anthony Boyd on duty at 911 Center

"What's your location?" is one of the first things dispatchers need to know to get help quickly to you in the event of an emergency.

If you're using a cell phone, rather than a landline, to make an emergency call for help and are able to give your address quickly and accurately, that's fine. But if you can't give the address because of a medical condition or some other reason, the dispatchers have to rely exclusively on technology to locate you and that poses a greater challenge if you're using a cell phone.

Brad Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb County 911 Center, urges all residents to keep this in mind as you consider whether to drop your land line phone service and go exclusively with cell phones at home. "Over the past several years we've had a growing trend of folks disconnecting their home telephone service and going to cell phones. Cell phones have become a great thing and they are convenient for everybody but they do pose somewhat of a problem to 911. When 911 was first set up back in 1994 and we went to enhanced 911, it was set up in such a way to where we'd get caller ID information such as location and subscriber information when you call 911. But with cell phones we don't actually get that type of information. It's not really location based. We do have GPS on the cell phones but we don't get that exact location like we do with a landline. It often presents a problem for 911 dispatchers because we're not able to pinpoint exactly where you are so if you're having a heart attack and you can't talk to one of our 911 dispatchers, it sometimes delays the amount of time to get someone to you because we have to make an attempt to try and re-query that call and locate it by GPS which is not 100% accurate. Whereas with a landline call, we can get your address information and it pinpoints right on our map when you call 911."

"I know times are tough right now, economic wise. There's a lot of financial problems and a lot of families are under strains, but if there's any way possible for you to keep your home telephone service I would encourage all citizens to do that because it does greatly enhance the possibility of us locating you in the event of an emergency."

Meanwhile, Mullinax reminds cell phone users to be sure and remove the battery from any phone you no longer intend to use, even after it no longer has service, before you give it to your children to play with because it may still have the capability of calling 911. "We see this on a regular basis with cell phones that are disconnected, they (parents) give them to their children to play with. But what a lot of people don't realize is that a non-initialized cell phone or a cell phone that does not have service attached to it like through DTC Wireless or Verizon Wireless or some of the other carriers, if the phone does not have service, it still calls 911 regardless. So if you give those phones to your kids for them to play with, make sure to take the battery out of them because they will still call 911. We get a lot of bogus calls in these type of situations."

Mullinax also urges you to post your 911 address on your residence where it can easily be spotted by law enforcement, fire fighters, and EMS personnel. "A lot of folks will have it on their mailbox but they will not have it on their house and we have a hard time finding these citizens sometimes in emergencies. Ninety percent of the population does a pretty good job with it but we have several who will not post their 911 address. Ideally, it needs to be posted in three inch letters on the front of the residence and at the end of the driveway either with a 911 marker or on the mailbox."

When calling 911, Mullinax asks you to please be patient with the dispatchers and give them as much information as you can about your emergency. "We've seen a lot of negative publicity in Metro Nashville and other places where dispatchers are on the line for several minutes gathering information before they actually dispatch units out. We don't operate that way in DeKalb County. We have multiple dispatchers on at one time. The dispatcher that actually answers the phone taking the call, gathering information is not the person who is actually dispatching the call. We have someone else monitoring that call and they're getting units enroute. We have to ask a lot of questions such as location, whose calling, and what the actual problem is and sometimes citizens get a little frustrated with that but they're having an emergency and we understand. I'd just like to ask the public to be patient when you're calling 911 and give us as much information as possible because that helps us get the right units dispatched and it protects our units from any problems."

Mullinax added "If you should mis-dial and call 911 by mistake, we encourage you not to hang up the phone. Stay on the line with the 911 dispatcher and give us the information. Just tell us basically what happened. If you were trying to call Mexico, California, or somewhere else just let us know that information because that ties us up. We have to tie up a line making a second call back to your residence to find out what's going on. In addition, if we have a 911 hangup, it's our policy that we automatically dispatch response units to that location. So if you call 911 and it was a mis-dial, you're going to get a deputy or police officer regardless if there's a problem or not so just stay on the line with us and give us a little information. It'll make things a lot easier for you and us too."

Finally, Mullinax asks that you only call 911 when there's an actual emergency. Otherwise, call the non-emergency line at central dispatch, which is 615-215-3000. "A lot of times, we have folks call 911 when it's not actually a 911 emergency. It may be an emergency in your mind but if it's not an immediate threat to your life or property, then please use our non-emergency line. We dispatch non-emergency calls for the City of Smithville, DeKalb County, and the City of Alexandria. We encourage you to call if you need assistance but please don't tie up a 911 line for a non-emergency because our 911 lines in DeKalb County are limited. We don't have very many of them. Use our non-emergency number at 615-215-3000 if it is a non-emergency."

Federal Flood Insurance Now Available in DeKalb County

January 18, 2011

DeKalb County has joined over 21,000 communities nationwide that are allowed to purchase federally backed flood insurance. This availability follows the community's adoption and enforcement of ordinances to reduce flood losses and acceptance by the National Flood Insurance Program.

DeKalb County is now a participant in the NFIP effective on December 21st, 2010. Residents of DeKalb County will be able to purchase flood insurance up to the limits under the Regular Phase of the program. However, there is a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance coverage goes into effect. For single-family dwellings, the building coverage limit is $250,000 and the contents coverage limit is $100,000. Renters can also protect their belongings by purchasing contents coverage. For commercial properties, the building and contents coverage limits are both $500,000.

Lenders must require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

The NFIP is implemented through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There are over 5.5 million flood insurance policies in more than 21,000 participating communities nationwide.

Smithville First United Methodist Church to Start New Weekly Contemporary Worship Service

January 18, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dr. John Purdue

Need friends you can count on? Need God's healing? Need to feel something real? Free on Wednesdays?

Pastor John Purdue and the First United Methodist Church, Smithville, invite you to our brand new Wednesday Night Worship service. The service is called Love Wins and it features a loving environment, transforming Biblical truth and powerful drum and guitar music. The first service is next Wednesday, January 19 at 7:00pm at the Christian Fellowship Center, 102 W. Church St, (across from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home)

"A couple of years ago, I began to pray about where our church needs to go in the future. We have a good strong 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning worship and I am really happy with it but we were thinking about doing a contemporary worship. So instead of trying to change what people already love (on Sunday morning) is to add something else. I prayed about that a lot. We've been working on it for about two and a half years and this Wednesday, January 19th we're going to have our first official service. We'll have the exact same sermon on Wednesday nights that we have on Sunday mornings. The difference will be the music. The music on Wednesday nights will be drums and guitars. It's all LIVE music. I think we have a fantastic band," said Purdue

Smithville Police Make Three Arrests in Theft and Forgery Investigation

January 17, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brittney D. Barnes
Mary J. Robb
Randy Caldwell
Stephanie Fagan

The Smithville Police Department has apparently solved a forgery scheme with the arrest of three people.

Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 22 year old Brittney D. Barnes, 44 year old Mary J. Robb, and 40 year old Randy Caldwell have each been charged with theft under $500. Robb is also charged with forgery.

According to Detective Matt Holmes, Barnes stole a book of blank checks from her great grandmother's home on December 29th at 713 Cill Street and gave it to Caldwell, who in turn handed it over to Robb.

Robb allegedly signed the name of Barnes' great grandmother to at least twenty of the checks and then passed them for more than $4,300 worth of merchandise at stores in several different towns, using a fake drivers license number. According to Detective Holmes, the way Robb conducted the scheme was that she would go into a Wal-mart, for example, and pass a forged check for merchandise. Then she would leave the store and go to a Wal-mart in another town and return most of the merchandise for a refund.

In addition to Wal-mart, Robb is accused of passing the checks at places like Walgreens, Lowe's and Publix, among others in several mid-state towns including Smithville, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Manchester, Crossville, Sparta, and Cookeville. As a result, other law enforcement agencies may also bring charges against Robb

On Thursday, January 6th, after reviewing surveillance footage of the forgery at the Wal-mart in Smithville, Detective Holmes said he saw a woman as he was leaving the store, who matched the characteristics of the female on the video. She got in a vehicle which left the parking lot, heading south on Anthony Avenue. "I followed the vehicle and it turned around and headed back to Wal-mart. I ran the tag through central dispatch and stopped the automobile and spoke to the woman, Robb, who was a passenger. She told me that she had been in Wal-mart and that she passed checks belonging to someone else. She was arrested and taken to the Smithville Police Department. After admitting to forging a name on about 20 checks, Robb was charged with forgery and theft under $500."

After questioning Robb on Thursday, January 6th, Detective Holmes said he saw Caldwell coming out of the courthouse the same day and picked him up for questioning. Caldwell was subsequently charged in the case.

Detective Holmes said that on January 6th, he reviewed surveillance footage at the Smithville Police Department taken from the Sparta Walgreen store, which showed Robb and Caldwell in possession of the stolen checks. According to Detective Holmes, Caldwell benefitted from the forgery transaction by taking the merchandise and leaving the store.

Barnes was picked up by police the following day on Friday, January 7th at her great grandmother's home and charged in the case.

Meanwhile, in a separate investigation, a 28 year old Smithville woman has been charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly allowing her 12 year old daughter to smoke marijuana.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Stephanie Fagan is under a $3,500 bond and she will appear in court on January 27th.

According to Detective Matt Holmes, he met Fagan at 829 Gentry Avenue on Wednesday, January 12th while conducting a follow-up investigation on an offense report. She was then transported to the Smithville Police Department for questioning. Fagan allegedly admitted that a few weeks ago she was at her residence with an adult male and that he talked Fagan into allowing the12 year old daughter to smoke a marijuana cigarette with her

Fagan was arrested and charged and the child was removed from her custody by the Department of Children's Services.

State Audit of Selected City Records Reveals Findings

January 17, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville City Council, last July, voted to ask the state comptroller to conduct an independent audit after Aldermen Steve White raised concerns about something he had seen in the budget, which he did not elaborate on at the time.

"I think that due to some of the issues that we found looking in the budget we need to call for an all out audit from the state comptroller's office", said White. "That way it would be an independent audit. It will cost us a little bit of money but I think it would be profitable for the city in the long run for us to do that.", he said.

Last week, Dennis F. Dycus, CPA, CFE, Director of the Division of Municipal Audit for the state, issued a letter on a report on his findings of "selected records of the City of Smithville", and that letter has been sent to the Mayor and Aldermen.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson acknowledged Monday morning that he and the aldermen have been notified of the audit findings but that there has been no action taken as a result of it.

While the audit report refers to actions taken by City Secretary- Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, it does not accuse him of a crime or misuse of funds for personal gain.

The report states as follows:

"We have concluded our investigative audit of selected records of the City of Smithville. The purpose of the investigative audit was to address specific allegations primarily related to the city's golf course and swimming pool operations. This investigative audit focused on the period July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010. However, when warranted, this scope was expanded."

"In August 2008, the City of Smithville entered into a five-year agreement with a private company, Smithville Golf Management, LLC [SGM], to operate the Smithville Municipal Golf and Swim Club [golf course and swimming pool]. The duties and responsibilities for both the city and SGM were detailed in a written contract. However, our investigative audit established that the city had improperly assumed some of the financial burdens that, according to the written
contract, were the responsibility of SGM."

City payment for SGM obligations:

"Our investigative audit identified four city checks, totaling $4,871, issued to pay for city swimming pool operation costs that were apparently obligations of SGM."

"Two city checks, each in the amount of $680, dated April 17, 2009, and April 17, 2010, respectfully, were issued to the Tennessee Department of Health for swimming pool licensing fees. Although both checks had signatures for the mayor and city treasurer, the mayor advised state auditors that he had not signed the April 2010 check. The city treasurer (Hunter Hendrixson) acknowledged to state auditors that, without permission, he had signed the mayor's name to the April 2010 check."

"A city check in the amount of $2,511 dated June 14, 2010, bearing only the signature of the city treasurer was issued to an insurance company for a liability policy related to the city swimming pool."

"A city check in the amount of $1,000 dated June 17, 2010, bearing only the signature of the city treasurer was issued directly to Smithville Golf Management for swimming pool start-up expenses."

The city treasurer told state auditors that the $1,000 payment to SGM was to cover beginning inventory for the concession stand, lifeguard pay, and other expenses related to opening the swimming pool at the start of the summer season. He stated that he issued the checks
to Smithville Golf Management and to the insurance company because SGM was having
financial difficulties and would not have opened the swimming pool for the summer season
without financial assistance."

SGM water usage not metered:

"Our investigative audit also determined that the water account for the city swimming pool was classified as inactive from September 2008 through July 2010. As a result, the water meter was not read and SGM was not billed for any water usage during that period. When asked about the failure to bill SGM for almost two years, the treasurer told state auditors that he was responsible for that decision. On or about July 29, 2010, the city billed SGM $2,702, the city's
calculation for previously unbilled and unpaid water usage related to the use of the swimming pool."

The contract between the City of Smithville and Smithville Golf Management LLC, states: "The Tenant [Smithville Golf Management] herein agrees to pay all utilities for said facility, except the Landlord [City of Smithville] will maintain the tennis courts, the nets and fence, as well as pay the electric bill for the tennis court lights. The Tenant shall be responsible for providing all water to the facility, except the landlord agrees to fill the swimming pool once a year and provide the necessary chemicals for start up each year. The Tenant will be responsible for all fees and charges associated with the operation of the facility, including but not limited to any fees to the Tennessee Department of Health….The Tenant herein shall provide at his sole expense public liability insurance….

"The Tenant shall be responsible for the Smithville Swimming Pool, same to include the hiring of certified lifeguards during all hours of operation….

"We noted that in August 2010, the Smithville Golf Management gave 60-day notice to
city officials that it would terminate its agreement with the city."

On Monday morning, January 17th, City Secretary-Treasurer Hendrixson issued the following prepared statement in response in the state audit findings:

"A week or so before the opening of the pool season I was informed by the lessee, Smithville Golf Management, that their insurance policy on the pool had been dropped and they would not have one in time to open the pool. I took it upon myself to locate a policy but it was more than they could afford so I allocated the money through the City's Golf Course/Swimming Pool checking account which at the time had around $75,000 in it and I also gave them another $1,000 for start up expenses such as lifeguard salaries and any other maintenance repairs needed to open the pool on time. We don't have much to offer our youth recreationally so there was no way I was going to allow the pool to not open, however, I should have gotten the blessing of the Board before taking matters into my own hands", said Hendrixson.

"As far as the issue of the water meter for the pool, the 2008 contract with the lessee states that the City pays for the ‘initial' or first fill up of the pool. The Smithville Golf Mgmt could have used their well reservoir with their chlorinator after the initial fill up but apparently were under the impression that the City would provide all pool water costs. This was an oversight on both the City and Smithville Golf Mgmt's part.", Hendrixson added.

Sheriff's Department Finds Three Meth Labs-Makes Five Arrests

January 17, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ricky Wilbert Hendrixson
Harold L. Hutchings
Charles James Davis
Charlie Chad Barnes
Terry Ray Barnes
Candida F. Davidson- Driver

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has found three meth labs since last Wednesday, January 12th resulting in the arrest of five people.

In one of the cases, 24 year old Ricky Wilbert Hendrixson of Cooper Street, Smithville is charged with manufacture and unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine). His bond totals $51,500 and he will be in court on January 27th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, January 12th, a deputy received information that someone may be cooking methamphetamine at a specific address and he went to the home to investigate. The officer received consent to search and when he went through the residence he found components used to manufacture meth, including seven glass jars, twenty coffee filters, turkey basters, funnels, ph test solution, draino, heet, coleman fuel, bi-layer liquids, tri-layer liquids, plastic hoses, scales, and several plastic liter bottles of liquid. The officer also found in Hendrixson's room a plastic jar containing some methamphetamine. Hendrixson allegedly admitted that these items belonged to him.

Meanwhile, 52 year old Harold L. Hutchings of Sparta Highway, Smithville and 27 year old Charles James Davis of North Main Street, Sparta are each charged with manufacture and unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine). Bond for each totals $51,500 and they will be in court on January 27th.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies went to check out a report of a possible meth lab at the Lake Motel on Sparta Highway on Wednesday, January 12th. The officers received consent from Hutchings to search the room he was renting. Davis, who was also in the room, told the deputies that he had been staying there with Hutchings. Found in the room were components used to make meth, including bi-layer liquids, tri-layer liquids, lithium batteries, ph strips, cold packs, and hypodermic needles. In a glass bowl, officers discovered a powdery substance, which tested positive for methamphetamine. Hutchings allegedly admitted to having cooked methamphetamine in the room. Both men were placed under arrest.

24 year old Charlie Chad Barnes and 22 year old Terry Ray Barnes both of Red Road, McMinnville are each charged with manufacture of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine). Bond for each is $50,000. They will appear in court on January 27th.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 16th, a deputy went to Big Hurricane Road to investigate a possible meth lab. The officer spoke with Chad Barnes who answered the door. The deputy told him why he was there. Barnes gave consent to search. Terry Barnes was also there. Found in the room were components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including a two liter bottle containing a clear liquid with lithium strips boiling, batteries, cut up batteries, lye, draino, cold packs, eight foot long plastic tubing, and other items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine. The officer reported that when he approached the front of the residence, he noticed a chemical smell coming from inside the home.

38 year old Candida F. Davidson- Driver of Cill Street, Smithville is charged with violation of probation and resisting arrest. Her bond is $1,500 on the resisting arrest charge but she is being held without bond for the violation of probation. She will appear in court on January 27th. Davidson-Driver was also issued two citations for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, one for morphine and the other for dilaudid. She was further issued a citation for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (diazepam).

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, January 15th officers went to a residence on E.H. Haas Road to serve a warrant on Davidson-Driver for violation of probation. While the officers were cuffing her, she began to resist arrest, fighting, kicking, and trying to pull away. She was finally taken down and cuffed. The deputies told her several times to stop resisting but she refused. Officers also found five medicine vials on a bed in the residence along with her keys. Davidson-Driver allegedly admitted that the vials belonged to her. The vials contained a half of a pill believed to be dilaudid, one and a half pills thought to be morphine, and eight blue pills suspected to be diazepam.

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