Local News Articles

City Officials to Consult ABC Commission on Liquor Ordinance

January 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Attorney Vester Parsley

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night continued discussions on developing an ordinance regulating the sale of liquor from retail package stores in Smithville. No ordinance has yet been prepared but city officials are using the Mount Juliet and Madisonville ordinances as a model for Smithville.

City attorney Vester Parsley had hoped to have provided the aldermen a couple of sample ordinances for their review by now, but he said Monday night that he doesn't want to rush into it and prefers consulting with officials of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to clarify some issues before proceeding further. "One of the reasons we're not getting in a big hurry is because we want to make sure that we get things right and we have it (ordinance) so that the Alcohol Beverage folks don't reject our "Notice of Compliance". But we haven't been able to talk to them (ABC officials). Hopefully, I'll have a rough draft (ordinance) at the next meeting which would set out how we're going to have liquor stores established in the city" said Parsley.

While liquor licenses can only be issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the city has the authority to develop local guidelines for applicants. For example, the city may establish minimum distance requirements between liquor stores and churches, schools, etc. The aldermen may also regulate the size of stores in terms of square footage; impose residency requirements for applicants; and limit the number of licensed liquor stores that may operate within the city.

Aldermen have said they would like the minimum distance requirement between liquor stores and churches, schools, etc. to be the same as the city's beer ordinance requirement of 400 feet. During Monday night's meeting, aldermen expressed a desire to establish a residency requirement for applicants of five years as a city resident or five years as a county resident. The proposed ordinance will also most likely require that applicants be U.S. citizens.

Parsley said while the city can establish minimum store size square footage requirements, he wants to find out if ABC officials have their own rules on that issue. "Some (cities) don't have a square footage (requirement) while others do. Mount Juliet has a 3,000 square foot requirement. We felt like 1,500 square feet was adequate. I don't see anything in the statute (state law) that is required by the state for the size but we want a clarification on that because sometimes these regulatory boards approve things that are not actually in the statute," said Parsley.

Aldermen also want to know from ABC whether there are minimum store inventory requirements.

Where the aldermen seem to differ is on whether the city should limit the number of liquor stores that are allowed to operate in the City of Smithville. Both Aldermen Josh Miller and Shawn Jacobs want limits. The other three aldermen, Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy have indicated they don't favor establishing limits so as to allow the free market of supply and demand to dictate.

"One thing that was said in the workshop (last month) was that it would work itself out. It might and it might not. Of course, I've got my opinion and ya'll have ya'lls. But I would love to see a limit. I'm going to be in the minority. That's fine," said Alderman Miller.

"Some places do have a limit and some don't. I think probably the public will determine how many we have (free market). Finances will have a lot to do with that too. You're talking about a pretty large initial investment especially if you have to build a building or even renovating a building," Parsley responded.

"Like Josh said I believe we are in the minority but I do agree (with him) and would personally like to see a limit. We don't limit other businesses but this is a unique business. It has a lot of restrictions on it already imposed by the state and the ABC and there is a reason those restrictions are there because of the uniqueness of this kind of business. It's just like driving. It's not a right, it's a privilege. I think that we should be very circumspect in the way we handle this and I do applaud you guys because I know you're trying to do that," said Alderman Jacobs.

"Most places who have restrictions, it puts a big burden on them to make sure their application process is not flawed by some sort of favoritism given to one person over another. Mount Juliet (which has a limit) does it sort of on a first person filed who is in compliance gets it. We don't know how many people are going to apply (here) because it is going to be an expensive proposition," Parsley replied.

"I would certainly agree that it should be first come, first served. I think that's the only way to do it if you're in compliance. That is the way to handle it," added Alderman Jacobs.

Parsley said he and Mayor Jimmy Poss and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson plan to have discussions with ABC officials soon and that he expects to draft a proposed ordinance for the Aldermen to review by the next meeting in February.

Once an ordinance is adopted, persons may apply. Even if there is a limit on the number of stores that may operate, there would be no limit on applications. Applicants would be subject to criminal background checks by the city attorney and police chief, which could take up to 30 days. After background checks are completed, applications would be reviewed by the Board of Aldermen, which would be the city's liquor board. Certificates of compliance would be issued by the city to those who qualify, a process which could take up to sixty days. The certificates of compliance would then be forwarded by the applicants to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has its own requirements for applicants to meet.

Happy New Year from FCE

January 6, 2015
Happy New Year from FCE

The Family, Community, and Education Club of Smithville would like to wish the community a Happy New Year and invite women who are interested in home and garden matters, educational and community activities, and arts and crafts to come to our first meeting of the 2015. It has been rescheduled to Thursday, January 15 at 10:00am in the UT Extension meeting room of the County Complex. The program will be provided by a representative of the Chamber of Commerce.

This last year, the club had interesting programs in which to learn about ways to serve our community, such as Habitat for Humanity. We would like to thank Food Lion for providing bags and books which the club stuffed with helpful items for the kindergarten teachers at Smithville Elementary. Other businesses that contributed to the club and deserve a thank you are Caney Fork Electric, Dekalb Telephone, Middle Tennessee Gas, and the Rogers Group; each gave items for our FCE County Rally and visiting guests.

This spring the club will have its annual yard sale to raise monies for the needs of local community organizations. Trips that benefit home and garden interests are also planned.

The new year will again feature fun and fellowship along with learning about our community.

Senator Beavers Opposes Raising State Gas Tax

January 5, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

State lawmakers may consider raising Tennessee's gas tax this year.

The push is coming from more than forty Middle Tennessee mayors who are calling on the Governor to find additional revenue for transportation projects across the state.

Tennessee imposes 21.4 cents in taxes per gallon of fuel. That hasn't been increased since 1989. The federal gas tax, which hasn't changed since 1993, is 18.4 cents per gallon, meaning drivers in Tennessee pay a total of 39.8 cents on each gallon of gas purchased.

In an interview with WJLE Wednesday, State Senator Mae Beavers said she opposes any higher taxes. "I'm not for any more new taxes. I think we need to manage with what we have right now and get rid of the waste. One of the things we've been doing in the legislature is trying to get rid of all the boards and commissions that we could under the Government Operations Committees. There's a lot of things we can do to streamline state government rather than pass a new tax," she said.

"If they do pass a new tax (raise gas tax), it should all go to roads and bridges. I think we need to cut out what I consider some of the waste and that's money going to greenways and walking trails and projects like the Amp that was being considered in Nashville (Bus rapid transit project). I would not be for any of that money going to those kinds of projects. I think there's a lot we could do right now. We need to be calling on our Congressmen in Washington to cut out all of that waste and quit designating money. We have money that has to go to the Governor's Highway Traffic Safety Office simply because we haven't adopted the "Pass the Bottle" bill in Tennessee to affect our DUI's. We've got Washington telling us what we have to do with our own money. We send money to Washington. They send it back and tell us what we have to spend it on. We have a Republican majority in Washington now and I'd be for calling on our Congressmen to stop some of the mandates coming out of Washington on our state government," said Senator Beavers.

Governor Bill Haslam said gas tax revenue goes exclusively to help fund roads, and in no way helps the state general revenue fund. Although he hasn't explicitly started pushing for an increase, he's framed the issue as something that must be addressed.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he could favor an increase as long as it's part of a larger comprehensive measure. House Speaker Beth Harwell reportedly hasn't revealed a position.

“Reeling in the Years” Returns Saturday Night

January 5, 2015
Shawn Jacobs and Dennis Stanley

Many of us have often had a longing for the past, a yearning for yesterday.

With nostalgia in mind, another edition of “Reeling in the Years” will air on WJLE the night of January 10.

Former WJLE announcers Dennis Stanley and Shawn Jacobs host the program that will feature the pop/rock music and artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

“We’ll be playing many of the songs that today’s 50 to 65 year old residents remember as teens and young adults,” said both Jacobs and Stanley. “The music you will hear on our show will bring back many fond memories. We’ve made sure our playlist includes a few songs that were popular during 1975, which was 40 years ago. It’s those little details we want to incorporate into our show to make it even more enjoyable.”

The program will also showcase the diversity of the pop/rock music scene during a time of transition in the lives of our listeners and in the world.

“During the days we were ‘disc jockeys,’ WJLE and radio stations throughout the country were playing music that ranged from soul, rock, southern rock to disco music. All of those genres were mixed within the same program, and ironically, it worked,” said Jacobs and Stanley.

The January 10 program will air from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WJLE FM and will be the first of four shows planned for 2015.

Man Arrested for Repeat Offenses of DSL

January 5, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kevin Donald Bogle
Spencer Montgomery Wallace
Steven Jeffery Lohr
Nathan Charles Cantrell

A DeKalb County man was caught driving on a suspended license two days in a row last week, Monday and Tuesday, December 29 & 30.

44 year old Kevin Donald Bogle of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville already had two prior charges against him for the same offense. Bogle is charged with two counts of driving on a suspended license (3rd offense). His bond is $14,000 and he will be in court January 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 29 a deputy spotted Bogle operating a motor vehicle on Duncan Street pulling onto West Broad Street. The officer had prior knowledge that Bogle's license were suspended and obtained a warrant for Bogle's arrest. The next day, Tuesday December 30, an officer saw Bogle driving on West Broad Street, turning onto Walmart Drive. Bogle was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Meanwhile, 24 year old Spencer Montgomery Wallace of South College Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law, driving on roadways laned for travel, and violation of the seatbelt law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 31 a deputy was dispatched to Bright Hill Road due to a vehicle that had run off the roadway. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Wallace who reported that he had been driving the truck which went off the road into a ditch. Wallace had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Wallace submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Wallace admitted that he had not been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. He also refused to give blood for testing. He was placed under arrest.

41 year old Steven Jeffery Lohr of Martin Street, Alexandria is charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. His bond $1,500 and he will be in court January 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 1 an officer went to a residence on Martin Lane in Alexandria to serve a Rutherford County warrant on Lohr. Upon arrival the officer spotted Lohr in the window of the home and motioned for Lohr to come outside. Lohr came outside but when the officer identified himself and explained why he was there, Lohr turned his back to the deputy and appeared to be doing something with his waist band. The officer asked Lohr to show his hands but he refused. When the deputy tried to grab Lohr to see what he was doing with his hands, Lohr aggressively pulled away from the officer and resisted being handcuffed. He was subsequently placed under arrest.

38 year old Nathan Charles Cantrell of Puckett Point Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for driving on the wrong side of the roadway and for simple possession. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 2 a deputy was traveling in the southbound lane of Highway 56 when he saw a white Chevrolet Caprice leave its northbound lane of travel. The oncoming car almost struck the deputy's cruiser head-on. The officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Cantrell. He detected a strong odor of alcohol on Cantrell's person. Cantrell's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Cantrell submitted to and performed unsatisfactory on field sobriety tasks. He also took a blood test and was placed under arrest. While conducting an inventory of the car, the deputy found a small round orange pill believed to be Adderall, a schedule II drug.

DeKalb Students Return to School Tuesday

January 3, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Students Return to School Tuesday (Older Photo)

DeKalb County students and teachers will return to the classrooms next week as the winter break comes to a close.

Monday, January 5 will be a stockpile day for teachers. Students will be back in school on Tuesday, January 6.

The remainder of the school calendar is as follows:

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19 and for President's Day, Monday, February 16.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 30 through April 3

No school for students Memorial Day, Monday May 25.

The following are designated as Early Release dates: Friday, February 13 and Friday, March 6

Students will not attend on Friday, May 22. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Tuesday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 10 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, March 12 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

DCHS report cards will be sent home on Monday, March 9 and at all other schools on Tuesday, March 10.

2014-15 Deer Hunting Season Coming to a Close

January 3, 2015

Deer hunting season is coming to a close in Tennessee. The gun season for deer concludes on Jan. 4 while the second Young Sportsman Hunt for 2014-15 is Jan. 10-11.

For the Young Sportsman Hunt, youth, 6-16 years of age, are allowed to participate. The young sportsmen must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age who must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device.

The accompanying adult must comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youth may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.

The first youth hunt of the season was held Oct. 25-26 and the young hunters had a harvest of 5,663. The gun season for deer for everyone across the state began Nov. 22. Archery and muzzleloader equipment are also legal during gun season.

Heading into the final regular hunting week, there have been 148,763 deer harvested since archery only season began Sept. 27. A final harvest tally for 2014-15 will be completed a few weeks following the completion of the Young Sportsman Hunt.

Giles County is the overall leader with 4,582 deer harvested since the start of archery season. Rounding out the top 10 counties are Fayette 4,118, Henry 3,908, Lincoln 3,655, Hardeman 3,596, Maury 3,549, Montgomery 3,228, Carroll 2,910, Weakley 2,840, and Franklin 2,795.

Senator Beavers Supports "Sensible" Laws on Abortion

January 2, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

State lawmakers will have more authority to regulate laws on abortion with passage of Amendment 1 to the Tennessee Constitution in the November election.

Amendment 1, which passed with 53 percent of the vote, was one of the most hotly contested issues in Tennessee’s general election. Since its passage, lawmakers have already stepped forward to propose new restrictions including waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds and new inspections of abortion clinics.

State Senator Mae Beavers told WJLE Wednesday that she supports "sensible" laws on abortion. "Amendment 1 allowed people to say whether or not they wanted the legislature or the Supreme Court making the laws on abortion. The Supreme Court had overturned every sensible piece of legislation that we had passed. We're talking about sensible laws like informed consent. If I go to the doctor for any other kind of procedure or to the hospital, I have to sign a consent form. Why shouldn't a woman have to do that who is having an abortion. We'll be looking at whether or not facilities that do abortions should be licensed just like our hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. We'll be looking at whether they should have health inspections like our other surgery centers. Those are just some common sense things we'll be considering this year because of Amendment 1 that was passed," said Senator Beavers.

Opponents of Amendment 1 are seeking to overturn it calling the election process “tainted”. They're asking a federal judge to allow a lawsuit to continue that seeks to either re-count or reject the vote count in favor of the measure.

Flu Cases on the Rise

January 1, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local health care providers are urging you to increase efforts to prevent flu and flu-related health threats by getting immunized. Since 2007 there have been 29 pediatric flu-related deaths recorded in Tennessee, including three in December, 2014, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. That is the highest number of pediatric flu deaths in the month of December since current reporting began in 2007. Prior to 2007 pediatric influenza deaths were not specifically required to be reported.

Almost five hundred people have been tested for the flu at the Family Medical Center and 139 cases have been confirmed, according to Office Manager Michiko Martin in a statement released to WJLE Wednesday. "Since October 1 until today (December 31), between our clinic here in Smithville and the one in Alexandria, we have performed 491 flu tests. Of those tested, there have been 99 testing positive for Type A and 40 testing positive for Type B. The majority of those have been positive this month (December)," said Martin.

Numbers of persons tested for the flu and confirmed cases at other local clinics were unavailable.

The Center for Disease Control has declared a flu epidemic with the number of deaths that have already occurred this season. The CDC is still urging people who have not yet been vaccinated to get their flu immunizations, which is recommended for nearly everyone over the age of six months.For one thing, the dominant version of the virus this year is H3N2 - which tends to lead to harder-hitting flu seasons. "H3N2 predominant seasons tend to have more hospitalizations and more deaths," CDC director Thomas Frieden warned in early December.

The virus poses greatest risks to the very young and the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions. Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, runny nose, sore throat, headaches and fatigue. These are the recommendations from the CDC website:

CDC Says “Take 3” Actions To Fight The Flu

Take time to get a flu shot:
•CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
•While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common.
•Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
•Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine
•Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
•People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
•Vaccination also is important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
•Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
•Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
•If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
•While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
•Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
•If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
• Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
• Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
•Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
•Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Gas Prices Continue to Fall

December 31, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
On the Way Market, one of three Smithville Locations where gas prices were as low as $2.17 per gallon as of Dec 31.

Gas prices are falling in DeKalb County and across the state and nation.

According to published reports, Tennessee has some of the lowest gasoline prices in the country, with numbers continuing to fall.

As of this morning (Wednesday), at least three Smithville area convenience stores had advertised prices of regular unleaded at $2.17 per gallon, a reduction of eight cents per gallon since Tuesday. Prices at the others ranged from $2.19 to $2.29.

Average retail gasoline prices in Tennessee have fallen 8.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.102/g according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 3,821 gas outlets in Tennessee. This compares with the national average that has fallen 8.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.260/g, according to the gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Back in April, Tennesseans were seeing some of the highest gas prices in a very long time. The Auto Club Group AAA said the average price was $3.50.

Gas prices went below $3 just a few months ago. Now that number is under $2 in many places and experts said they will keep on falling.

"The world's oil supply continues to outpace demand keeping downward pressure on oil and gas prices," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA in other published reports. "Speculators believe this trend will continue next year, so cheap gasoline should stick around for a while."

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fell every day since September 25 to today's average of $2.260, which is the lowest average price per gallon since May 2009.

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