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Local News Articles

Smithville Man Dies From September 2009 Gunshot Wound in Nashville Shooting

October 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Keith Collier
Donnie G. Taylor

A Smithville man who suffered a gunshot to the abdomen in September 2009 during what his assailant described as an argument over a drug deal died last Friday from complications of the wound.

Based on Saturday’s autopsy findings, the death of Donald Taylor, 61, is being classified as a homicide.

The Metro Nashville Police Department, in a prepared news release states that the suspect in the case, Keith Collier, 45, was indicted last December on charges of especially aggravated robbery, unlawful weapon possession by a convicted felon and drug selling. He remains jailed and is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court next month. South Precinct detectives have made prosecutors aware of Taylor’s death.

Taylor was shot in the 100 block of Lafayette Street in Nashville on the evening of September 1, 2009. Taylor then drove to a convenience market on 8th Avenue South from where he telephoned for help. Investigation by South Precinct Detective Brandon Dozier led to the identification of Collier as the man involved in the fatal confrontation with Taylor.

TDOT Re-Bidding Hurricane Bridge Rehab Project

October 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is re-bidding the rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge after rejecting the one and only bid received last month.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer in the Chattanooga TDOT Office told WJLE Monday that bids for the project were due September 17th, but only one bid was submitted. According to Flynn, Bell & Associates of Brentwood bid $39.5 million dollars and TDOT rejected it for being "over estimates" .TDOT officials have said that the estimate for the project is $12 to $15 million dollars.

TDOT is accepting bids again on the project through October 29th. According to the notice posted on TDOT's website, the contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project.

Flynn said the project will entail a rehabilitation of the existing bridge. " The rehabilitation project will replace the deck at the bridge. New guardrails will be installed and it will strengthen the steel structure underneath and make the bridge a lot safer and it won't have to be weight posted anymore upon completion of the project."

The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the fiscal year 2010-11 state budget, which was approved by the legislature this year.

City Seeks Proposals from Those Interested in Managing Golf Course and Swimming Pool

October 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

If you are interested in managing the Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool for the City of Smithville, the mayor and aldermen would like for you to submit a written proposal to the city before the next meeting on October 18th.

The aldermen Monday night voted to seek written proposals from interested parties and publish an advertisement in the local newspapers. The mayor and aldermen stress, however, that the city is not looking for bids to lease the golf course and pool at this time, only proposals to manage the operation for the city.

Alderman Aaron Meeks made the suggestion during Monday night's meeting, "I understand there's some folks interested in taking it over (golf course and pool). I don't know who they are or what they're proposing. I don't have any information other than there are people who have contacted who are interested. Would it be feasible, and we are not asking for bids, to ask whomever these folks may be, to give us a written proposal of what they think they would do if they were able to become the manager of the golf course."

Alderman Steve White said he thought Meeks had a good idea. "I think that would be definitely appropriate."

Farron Hendrix, doing business as Smithville Golf Management LLC has given notice to the mayor and aldermen of his intention to terminate the lease agreement with the city to operate the municipal golf course and swimming pool, effective October 23rd.

In the notice, Hendrix adds "Smithville Golf Management, LLC also agrees to assist the city in the management of the golf club until the new management can be secured."

Basically, the city has two options: To re-bid the lease of the golf course and swimming pool to someone else; or the city could assume control of the operation and hire someone to manage it.

Last month, Alderman Steve White suggested that the city contact the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Recreation Educational Services Division first to see what grant opportunities are available to improve the golf course and pool operation, as well as other city owned parks and recreation areas before taking action on the future of the golf course. White said Monday night that he has tried but has not yet been able to make contact with state officials to set up a meeting.

Mayor Hendrixson last month appointed a committee made up of Aldermen Steve White, W.J.(Dub) White, and Aaron Meeks to join him in setting up a meeting with whoever the state sends here to tour the city's parks and learn more about what funding sources are available to improve and possibly expand the city's existing recreational areas.

Purse Stolen from Car Near Post Office-Police Seek Tips in Solving the Crime

October 4, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving a theft last Thursday, September 30th in which a purse was stolen from an automobile parked near the post office.

According to police, a woman reported that her purse had been stolen out of her car while she was in the Post Office. Witnesses saw a white female in her early 20's with black shoulder length hair run from the area and then stop on the north side of the Post Office by some bushes.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew searched the bushes and found the purse but missing were the victims credit card, cash, checkbook and a Peintex digital camera.

Anyone with information on this or any other offense is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

All information is confidential

Meanwhile in other city crime news, 27 year old Luis Lopes RaBananlos of Adcock Cemetery Road and 31 year old Leonel Sanchez Rodriguez of South Mountain Street were arrested on Saturday, September 25th and charged with simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrests were made by Smithville Police Officers Matt Farmer and James Cornelius in the parking lot of Mapco Express. Officer Farmer saw RaBananlos come out of the store and he appeared to be unsteady on his feet as he got into his vehicle. Officer Farmer walked over to the vehicle and saw, in plain view, a pack of rolling papers. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle from the owner, Rodriguez, three marijuana roaches were found in the ashtray and one was confiscated from the back floor. Bond for each man is $2,000 and their court date is October 7th.

33 year old Brandy Mae Egerton of Big Hurricane Road was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Sunday, September 26th for driving on a suspended license. Egerton was operating a motor vehicle which was stopped for a light violation. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for Egerton is $1,000 and her court date is October 7th.

46 year old Jerry Trent Haas of Streamer Drive was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Sunday, September 26th for driving under the influence. Officer Cornelius was called to check out a complaint about a man sleeping behind the wheel of a truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Upon speaking with the driver, Haas, Officer Cornelius smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and when he exited the vehicle, he was unsteady on his feet. Haas submitted to sobriety tasks but he performed poorly. Bond for Haas is $1,000 and his court date is October 7th.

34 year old Lynda Michelle Neville of Smith Road was arrested Monday, September 27th by Sergeant Joey Jones for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sergeant Jones was called to check out a complaint about a careless driver on Wal-Mart Drive. As he walked up to the vehicle, Sergeant Jones smelled the odor of marijuana and a marijuana joint was in plain view on the console. Upon a search incident to arrest, Sergeant Jones found a cigarette box containing a pack of rolling papers, a plastic bag that contained marijuana and four marijuana roaches. Bond for Neville is $2,000.

47 year old Kenneth Wayne Vanatta of Snow Street was arrested by K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow on Tuesday, September 28th for domestic assault. Vanatta allegedly hit a family member several times in the face and head with his fist. Bond for Vanatta is $2,500 and his court date is October 6th.

19 year old Anthony Charles South of East Bryant Street was arrested by Detective Matt Holmes on Tuesday, September 28th for theft of property. On Friday, September 24th at City Walk Apartments a cell phone was taken from a vehicle. Three days later, on Monday, September 27th the phone was located by police at McDonald's restaurant. The person the phone was taken from stated that Anthony South gave the phone to him. South initially denied giving the phone to anyone but later admitted to police that he gave the phone away. Bond for South is $1,000 and his court date is October 7th.

21 year old Joshua Dewayne Dishman of McMinnville was cited by Officer David Phillips on Wednesday, September 29th for shoplifting. An employee of the Dollar Store saw Dishman take a pair of sunglasses. Dishman told Officer Phillips that the sunglasses were in his pocket. The court date for Dishman is October 28th.

36 year old Sharon Groshon Malone of South College Street was arrested by Officer Matt Farmer on Wednesday, September 29th for violation of probation, possession of a schedule II & IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Farmer was at Malone's residence to serve a violation of probation warrant and during a search incident to arrest, a metal container was found in her left front pants pocket. Inside the container were four schedule II pills and one schedule IV pill. Six hypodermic needles were also found in the residence. Bond for Malone is $4,500 and her court date is October 21st.

DeKalb Health Department to Offer Flu Vaccine Friday

October 4, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Seasonal influenza vaccine is now available at the DeKalb County Health Department. Flu vaccine will be offered on Friday, October 8th at the health department on Tiger Drive from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Please call the health department at 597-7599 to find out the best time to get your flu vaccine.

Seasonal flu is a preventable illness that can be serious and even deadly. Each year, 5 to 20% of the country's population gets seasonal flu. Nationally, thousands of people die from influenza each year, most of them over age 65; however, the flu can cause serious illness for people of any age. The 2009 H1N1 flu strain is expected to come back again this season, and it can be especially hard on children and pregnant women. Last season during the H1N1 pandemic, 13 Tennessee children died of the flu.

The DeKalb County Health Department urges vaccination as the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination. There is no special pandemic vaccine this season; the 2010 seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1 flu, in addition to two other strains of seasonal flu expected to circulate this year. Even if you have already had the H1N1 vaccine, you should still get this year's flu vaccine to protect you from the other strains. Flu vaccine will be plentiful and is already available from many providers, including private physicians and pharmacies.

The cost of the flu shot is $32.00. The health department will bill traditional Medicare-the red, white, and blue card-for those with that coverage, but no Medicare Advantage Plans or private insurance will be billed for the shot.

To make an appointment for vaccination or ask questions about flu vaccine, call the DeKalb County Health Department at 597-7599.

Meanwhile. the Family Medical Center is administering flu shots at both locations, Smithville and Alexandria any day that the office is open, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until close, which is usually at 5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Flu shots are covered by most insurances, and the Family Medical Center will file those for the patients.

This year's flu shot contains not only the traditional A & B strains, but also H1N1. The Family Medical Center has plenty of vaccines for those ages 6 months and older. FluMist, the intra-nasal attenuated live vaccine for healthy individuals ages 2 to 49 is also available.

Patients may call either office with any additional questions – Family Medical Center – Smithville (615) 597-4395 or Alexandria Family Medical Center – (615) 529-2116.

Sheriff's Department Makes Three Arrests for Traffic Offenses

October 4, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brandon Keith Thomas

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made three arrests last week for traffic offenses.

25 year old Brandon Keith Thomas of West Broad Street was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence on Friday, October 1st.

Sheriff Ray says an officer was on West Bryant Street when he met a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. After passing the officer, the vehicle then ran off the road. The deputy turned around and stopped to investigate. He noticed that the driver, Thomas, had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Thomas submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed but he refused to submit to a blood test

Bond for Thomas is $1,500 and his court date is October 21s. Thomas was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law for failure to submit to a blood test.

25 year old John Bryan Pedigo of Lee Homer Road, Smithville was charged Friday, October 1st with a first offense of driving on a revoked license.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a deputy, while on routine patrol on Dry Creek Road, noticed Pedigo operating a motor vehicle. Having prior knowledge of Pedigo's license being revoked, the officer made a traffic stop. A computer check confirmed that Pedigo's license were revoked for failure to file security after an accident on May 10th.

Bond for Pedigo is $1,500 and he will be in court on October 28th.

49 year old Jesse Lynn Epps was charged Saturday, October 2nd with driving on a revoked license.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy, while on routine patrol saw a vehicle turn into a business on Highway 70 east. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Epps who said his license were revoked. A computer check verified that his license were revoked for a DUI conviction on August 25th, 2005 in Warren County,

Bond for Epps is $1,500 and his court date is November 3rd.

A Windy Win for the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band

October 4, 2010
by: 
By the DC Band Boosters
Members of DCHS Band

Saturday, October 2nd started just like any other "contest Saturday" for the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band. They were set to perform at the Blue Devil Marching Invitational band contest at Lebanon High School.

The Band gathered at DeKalb County High School at noon for a rehearsal in preparation for their 5:30 performance in Lebanon. The students were on the practice field, cleaning and perfecting small trouble spots in their marching show titled, "Big Top Catastrophe."

The Parents and Boosters were buzzing around the band room working on the new back drop for the show. The new set is designed to look like a "Big Top Circus Tent" and it is a full ten yards long. This is, by far, the biggest prop that the band has ever used in a marching show.

At the end of the rehearsal, the Band packed up and boarded their buses and made their way to Lebanon. Upon arrival, one thing had changed…the weather, more specifically, THE WIND. The National Weather Service reported winds at the Nashville International Airport, the closest reporting location to Lebanon, at 18mph with wind gusts as high as 25mph. This made for some interesting moments for the Parents and Boosters who had taken on the task of moving around the new set piece.

The 30ft long, 8ft high prop acted as a sail in the wind. Six parents gave everything they had to move the set into place for the band's performance. Just as the band stepped on the field, the wind gave one final gust that snapped the set in half. Director Jonathan Wright made the quick call to get the prop off the field for the safety of the students.

With the "wind sail" removed from the field, "The Show Must go On." The Contest announcer said, "Now entering the field, The DeKalb County Fighting Tiger Band from Smithville, Tennessee. Their show is entitled, ‘Big Top Catastrophe.'" Assistant Director, Mr. Joey Wilburn, jokingly said, "Well, we've already taken care of the ‘catastrophe' part."

At awards time, the Big Top Catastrophe (the prop, not the show), was the last thing on anyone's mind. The DeKalb County Band finished in 1st place in Class 2A. DCHS Field Commander, Katie Merriman, also won 1st place in Class 2A. The score sheets indicated that the band scored 2nd highest in the Small Division, which is the combination of the three smallest classes, 3A, 2A, & 1A. Katie Merriman also scored highest in the Small Division. Percussion and Color Guard received 2nd highest scores in Class 2A.

"I would like to thank all of the parents that help our band operate, but I would like to say a special thank you to the parents that were fighting our gigantic prop," said Mr. Wright. "Our band doesn't operate without the dedication of our students and parents. As our band continues to improve, I'm very excited about completing the show for our football and contest audience. I'm very proud of our band this year, they are working very hard and I think you'll really enjoy what we have in store."

The band has a few weeks to prepare for their next contest, but will continue to perform during half-time of the DCHS Tiger Football games.

· 10/8 – Macon County Home Game (Senior Night)

· 10/15 – Upperman High School Away Game

· 10/29 – Livingston Academy Away Game

· 10/30 – Mid-South Marching Invitational Contest at Austin Peay State University

· 11/6 – Division II State Contest at Independence High School

You are also invited to come out and support the DCHS Band during the Tiger Football Bye Week at their Chili Supper on Friday, October 22nd at Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church on 201 South College Street. Tickets are just $5 each and include a bowl of chili, crackers, a desert, and drink. Tickets can be purchased from any DCHS Band Student or Booster or at the door. Your help and support would be greatly appreciated.

You can learn more about the Band on Facebook or log onto www.DekalbBand.com.

Sheriff says Beware of Telephone Scam

October 2, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Sheriff Patrick Ray urges you to beware of a telephone scam seeking your debit card number.

His advice to you is never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax, or email, no matter how official it may seem. "We've been getting some calls here at the jail about people receiving telephone calls from a solicitor asking for their debit card numbers. Its an automated service that tell the caller that their debit card is on lock down for security reasons and if they wish it to continue to be locked down then press "2" on their phone or if they want to unlock it press "1". The automated system then asks them to punch in their debit card number. We just want to warn people that this is a scam. We want to warn people to not give out their debit card numbers."

If you have been a victim of the scam or have questions about it contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Fall Break and Parent-Teacher Conferences Set for DeKalb Schools

October 2, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

DeKalb County Schools will be closed for the fall break October 11-22 (The first week will be intercession)

Meanwhile Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 5th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 7th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 4th

Any DCHS student interested in working on grade recovery, Tiger Academy, or credit recovery during fall break needs to sign up in the counseling office as soon as possible. Fall Intercession will be held October 11-15th from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Bus transportation is available. Students wanting to do grade recovery for classes they are currently enrolled in need to check with their teachers before signing up.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said during Parent-Teacher Conferences, parents in DeKalb County will be receiving their child's individual Student Performance report, or a comprehensive review of how the child performed on the state's Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests.

This year parents will notice some changes as a result of reforms at the state level.

Tennessee adopted revised academic standards through the Tennessee Diploma Project in 2008 and during the 2009-2010 school year students completed their first year of learning and testing on those standards. Willoughby said the tests given in 2009-2010 reflect not only revised academic standards but a much higher bar for the "proficient" and "advanced" levels of performance.

The performance report this year will include new levels of performance, "basic" and "below basic" that are used to help identify how much students need to progress to be proficient.

A new definition of proficiency now indicates a mastery of knowledge in a subject rather than minimal understanding. The combination of higher standards and proficiency means, ultimately, more students will be college and career ready. But it also means harder tests, and a potential dip in the immediate future with lower test scores and performance at the school level.

Despite the immediate outlook, Willoughby said these changes mean that our students will be better prepared for success in a global economy. They will be better prepared to not only compete with their peers in Tennessee, but with their peers in high-performing nations across the world, he said.

The DeKalb County School System, Willoughby said, is dedicated to helping parents during this transition. If parents have questions about student test scores, please contact the schools. Willoughy added, "we will work together for each student's success."

Local Libraries to Receive Grants for Computer Centers and Job Skill Development

October 1, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Justin Potter Library of Smithville and the Alexandria Public Library are among dozens of rural libraries across Tennessee that will share in nearly $1.5 million in combined federal and state grants to provide computers, education courses and job skill training. The grants are targeted to help Tennesseans improve computer-related skills so they will be more competitive as they seek jobs.

The libraries in Smithville and Alexandria will each receive a total of $16,013

The project is the culmination of more than a year’s effort by the Department of State and the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). The joint effort was successfully leveraged to secure additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Of the nearly $1.5 million, ECD will provide $1,030,000 and the Department of State will provide up to $70,000. The remaining $356,577 will come from USDA Rural Development. The funds will be used to provide computers, peripheral equipment, high-speed Internet routers and instructors to conduct training classes.

In addition to administering the $70,000 grant, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division of the Tennessee Department of State, will administer the other grant funds. TSLA is currently assisting the local libraries in finalizing the consent agreements required before the money is disbursed.

“Now rural communities across Tennessee will have greater access to the technology their citizens need to be more competitive and successful in the workplace,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Our work to obtain the first-class equipment and training for citizens in some of the hardest-hit local economies in our state will yield great benefits across Tennessee. I am grateful for the persistent support of our friends in ECD through this lengthy process and that of USDA Rural Development to further extend the reach of what we could have otherwise accomplished.”

“Libraries play a vital role in the success of entrepreneurs and the creation of jobs across our state,” said Matt Kisber, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Libraries are where people go to research strategies for a business plan, learn more about market opportunities and to gain skills to become more marketable employees. We’re pleased to be able to partner with the Secretary of State’s office and USDA Rural Development to make this project happen.”

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