Local News Articles

Three Charged in Recent Pharmacy Burglary in Alexandria

December 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has charged three people with a November burglary at F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy in Alexandria.

22 year old Bryon Ray (Bud) Gibbs and 25 year old Candice B. Vickers both of Liberty and 31 year old Jeffery A. Willet of Lebanon are charged with one count each of burglary and theft over $500.

According to Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins, the investigation began on November 26th when officers from the Alexandria Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported break-in at the pharmacy, which is located downtown.

Chief Collins says officers discovered that entry had been made through the roof and that 6,500 Lortab pills and liquid morphine were stolen. The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between November 24th and November 26th.

All three are currently incarcerated in other jails on unrelated charges and will face the charges in Alexandria upon release. Bond will be $30,000 each.

More arrests are expected.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted in the case.

Suspicious Fire Guts Home on West Bryant Street

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire Wednesday morning gutted the residence of Freeland Estes at 109 West Bryant Street.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene at 10:49 a.m.

Chief Charlie Parker says it appears there were multiple fires in the residence, which rendered extensive damage.

The cause is under investigation.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze and no one was injured.

Estes says the fire damaged or destroyed all of his belongings.

The dwelling is a rent home belonging to John Bill Evins.

Fallen Tree Limb Causes Power Outage and Sparks Fire that Destroys Van

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fallen tree limb snapped a power line at the home of Bobby Rader at 925 Earl Avenue Wednesday evening which caused a power outage for a portion of the city and sparked a fire that destroyed Rader's Dodge Caravan.

Rader says he was topping a tree in his yard when the incident occurred. "I was already up in the tree, cutting the tree, when my mother-in-law pulled up in a car underneath where it was going to fall, so I stopped cutting to get down out of the tree, to get her out of there. It then began popping and everything."

"It was just an accident. The limbs were getting dead and I was trying to prevent them from getting into the lines and over the people's (neighbor's) homes. One of the limbs caught the smaller wire and snapped it into. It burned my van up and basically knocked power out to half the city."

Neither Rader nor his mother-in-law were injured and her vehicle apparently wasn't damaged, but as the tree limb fell, it broke a power line which sparked a fire in the yard where Rader's Dodge Caravan was parked, destroying that vehicle.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to the scene around 4:57 p.m.

Deputy City Fire Chief Hoyte Hale says firefighters dealt with the fire but had to be a little more cautious due to the nature of it. " There were two big balls of fire around the van where the electric line had fallen on it and about 30 feet down the road, a transformer was arching on fire. Due to the safety of the firemen, we couldn't get around the van to put any water on it until the electric company crew got here, but while they were enroute, we stood across the road and straight streamed a pre-connect attack line and got it knocked down and kept an eye on it until they arrived and repaired the line."

Rader praised the fire department for their efforts."The fire department did a real good job, more than they were expected to do. I'm glad they responded the way they did."

The power outage was widespread, affecting the subdivision where Earl Avenue is located, and many other streets to the south of Broad Street from Carter to Mountain.

Three People Involved in Wednesday Morning Wreck.

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people were involved in a two vehicle accident Wednesday morning at the intersection of Highway 56 south and Vaughn Lane.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Jamie Carroll of 834 Gentry Avenue was east on Vaughn Lane in a 1990 Chevy pickup, crossing Highway 56, when he collided with a Buick LaSabre, driven by 74 year old Charles Burgen of Pekin, Indiana, who was north on Highway 56.

Burgen and his wife, 71 year old Edith Burgen were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Trooper Tisdale says Carroll was cited for a second offense of driving on a suspended license and other charges are pending.

He says the Burgen's had been visiting their daughter who lives in McMinnville.

Candidates May Now Qualify for Smithville Municipal Election

December 22, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission is now accepting qualifying petitions for the Smithville Municipal Election.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on June 17th. The positions are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline is Thursday, March 20th at 12 noon.

The last day to register to vote in the city election is Monday, May 19th.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 19th registration deadline.

Early voting for the city election will be May 28th through June 12th. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Meanwhile, January 16th is the first day candidates in the Liberty and Dowelltown Municipal Elections may pick up qualifying petitions.

The Dowelltown Election will be held on August 7th to elect a mayor and two aldermen. Three aldermen will be elected in Liberty on August 7th.

The qualifying deadline for both the Dowelltown and Liberty elections is 12 noon on April 17th and the last day to register to vote is July 8th.

The charters in both towns allow property rights voting, but proof of ownership must be provided to the Election Commission office by the July 8th deadline along with a registration form.

Early voting for both elections is July 18th through August 2nd. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Rogers Named General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

William S. (Bill) Rogers will become the General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, Inc. on January 1st.

A brief news release states that "Mr. Rogers began serving as the cooperative’s interim general manager on October 8, 2007. He has worked at the cooperative since 1985 as Director of Engineering. In addition to his duties as Director of Engineering, Mr. Rogers became the Assistant General Manager in 1997."

"Mr. Rogers is a native of Clarksville, TN and has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. He is married to Kristie Rogers who is an assistant principal at the Warren County Middle School in McMinnville. Mr. Rogers has one son, Slayden, a sophomore at Warren County High School."

"In his tenure at the cooperative, Mr. Rogers has worked closely with the rate structure. He has been instrumental in building three new substations, completion of office improvements at three of the cooperative offices, and has worked closely on the two way automated meter reading system now being installed at the cooperative."

Local Law Enforcement Working To Keep Roads Safer During New Year Holiday

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local law enforcement agencies are teaming up in preparation for the New Year's Holiday.

The Alexandria and Smithville Police Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be out in full force starting December 28th through January 1st for the safety of you and your family.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "The Public's safety is a top concern for me and my Department. We will be conducting saturated patrols and Sobriety Check Points for intoxicated people who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and we will also team with the Alexandria and Smithville City Police Departments to better cover areas where drinking and driving are more prevalent."

"Nearly 23,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Statistics show one life is lost every 22 minutes in alcohol-related traffic collisions. Law Enforcement uses these checkpoints as a tool to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our highways and to diminish the amount of pain, suffering and death that results from intoxicated driving."

Chief Richard Jennings of the Smithville Police Department say's his department will be on the watch for impaired drivers on the streets of Smithville. "The Smithville Police Department will be out patrolling the streets of Smithville in full force this weekend with saturated patrols looking for impaired drivers. We are working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department on conducting Sobriety Check Points within the City of Smithville to keep everyone safe."

Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department say's his department will also be out in full force. "The Alexandria Police Department will conduct saturated patrols within the city limits of Alexandria. We will be working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department conducting Sobriety Check Points within the city limits of Alexandria looking for impaired drivers. We want everyone who lives or travels through Alexandria to be safe and enjoy the upcoming New Year."

The Sobriety Check Points will be conducted on the following Highways: Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 53, and Highway 146.

THP Investigating Triple Fatality on Highway 96 Near Liberty

December 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people died and a 12 year old girl was seriously injured in a two vehicle crash on Highway 96 near Liberty Thursday evening.

Dead are 24 year old Nathaniel Dane Hishke of Milton, Florida, 37 year old Kenneth Lemke, Jr. of Franklin, and 42 year old Debbie Parchman of Alexandria, who was an educational assistant at DeKalb County High School and a former substitute teacher. Parchman's daughter, Haley is now in stable condition at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

The accident, which occurred a little over a mile from the intersection of Highway 70, was reported to 911 at 4:32 p.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Hishke was driving a 1993 Pontiac Firebird, traveling west on Highway 96 (toward Murfreesboro) when he lost control and slid sideways into the path of a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Parchman, who was traveling east (toward Highway 70). Trooper Jennings says Parchman's vehicle T-boned or struck the Firebird in the passenger side door.

Lemke, who owned the Firebird driven by Hishke, was a front seat passenger of the car. Both had been wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Parchman's daughter was a front seat passenger of the Cherokee. Neither she nor her mother were wearing their seatlbelts. The preliminary investigation revealed no sign of alcohol as a factor in the crash.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke, Lemke, and Parchman, who died at the scene, had to be extricated from their vehicles, as did the child. The young girl was transported by DeKalb EMS to UMC Medical Center in Lebanon and was later airlifted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke and Lemke were employed by Ford Roofing company of Franklin, and had visited Lemke's mother, who resides in Alexandria, prior to the accident.

The crash remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Others on the scene included Lieutenant Brian Lawson and Troopers Allen England and Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

Sales Tax Reduction goes into Effect on January 1

December 20, 2007

As people return to work and school in 2008, their wallets will be a little heavier after a trip to the grocery store. The state sales tax on food and food ingredients will be reduced from 6% to 5.5% on the first day of the New Year.

The measure to reduce the sales tax on food was guided through the Senate by Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). Beavers, an advocate of completely eliminating the sales tax on food, calls the half-cent reduction a “good first move.”

In addition to lowering the state sales tax on food, the 2007 legislative session bill (now Public Chapter 600) specifies an additional sales tax holiday weekend in 2008 to take place March 21-23. Current law provides one annual sales tax holiday scheduled for the beginning of the school year in August for the purchase of clothing and school supplies.

“There is no question that the state needs to refund the taxpayers of their overpayment of taxes whenever possible,” stated Beavers. “The reduction especially assists the elderly and those families who need help the most, which is a step in the right direction,” commented Beavers.

The sales tax reduction will be on all food and food ingredients except prepared food, alcoholic beverages, candy, dietary supplements, and tobacco.

UCHRA To Provide Enrollment Services for CoverKids

December 20, 2007

CoverKids, Governor Phil Bredesen’s free health insurance program for uninsured children, is partnering with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency to offer enrollment information and assistance to families in its service area.

“Providing families with easy access to CoverKids is essential to the program’s continued success,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, CoverKids Program Director. “Ensuring the health needs of Tennessee’s uninsured children is a monumental task. By working with Tennessee’s Human Resource Agencies (TAHRA), we hope to effectively reach these children and provide access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare services.”

Part of a statewide partnership with the Tennessee Association of Human Resource Agencies, this effort will enable families to meet with case workers at UCHRA’s offices and learn more about CoverKids and ultimately enroll in the program.

“Our mission is to provide services and resources to families in the Upper Cumberland and CoverKids is yet another opportunity to fulfill our mission,” said Phyllis Bennett, TAHRA President and Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency. “This program addresses a very specific need faced by the families in our service area, and we want to do everything to encourage enrollment and participation.”

CoverKids, a Cover Tennessee Program, allows qualifying children 18 and under to get free, comprehensive health insurance for preventive health care services, such as, vaccinations, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and hospital visits. Maternity coverage is also available for pregnant women who meet eligibility criteria.

A family of four with a $51,625 yearly income will qualify for CoverKids. Qualified, low-income children will have no monthly premiums for coverage, will pay only $15 for doctors’ visits and $5 for generic medications, and will not have any co-pays for routine exams, labs or x-rays. Families with income in excess of 250% FPL, could have coverage available at full premium.

Vision benefits will be added for children in CoverKids beginning Jan. 1, 2008, and dental benefits will be included later in the first quarter next year.

“We are excited to be a part of this process to help provide health insurance for children,” remarked Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive. Applications are now being accepted at local UCHRA offices. To apply for CoverKids, contact Mitzi Bradford, County Coordinator, at 527 West Main Street, in Smithville, call 615 597-4504 or visit UCHRA’s website at www.uchra.com to access an application.

Cover Tennessee provides health coverage to uninsured individuals in Tennessee through three insurance programs and a pharmacy assistance program. CoverTN is an affordable and portable health insurance initiative for working Tennesseans who are uninsured. Comprehensive insurance for children is provided through CoverKids and chronically ill adults are eligible for AccessTN, a high-risk pool. CoverRx is a statewide pharmacy assistance program designed to assist those who have no pharmacy coverage, but have a critical need for medication. More information on all Cover Tennessee programs is available at www.CoverTN.gov or by calling 1-866-COVERTN.

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