Local News Articles

Lohorn Sentenced in Robbery and Vandalism Cases

June 19, 2010
Dwayne Page
Justin Lohorn

A 24 year old man, arrested last December for the robbery of a local resident and vandalism of soft drink vending machines at three businesses, was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

24 year old Justin Lohorn pleaded guilty to robbery and vandalism under $500. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced Lohorn to a three year sentence on the robbery charge and 11 months and 29 days on the vandalism. Both sentences are to run concurrently. Lohorn was given jail credit of 193 days and he must make restitution of $1,800 to one victim, $300 to a second person, and $300 to a third victim in the case.

Lohorn was accused of robbing a man at 826 Anthony Avenue on Friday, December 4th, 2009 as the resident was leaving his home during the early morning hours. Lohorn allegedly took a watch from the man at gunpoint and fled. No one was injured. A gun and the watch were later recovered at Lohorn's home.

Lohorn was also accused of vandalizing vending machines on Monday, December 7th, 2009 on the outside of Larry's Discount Grocery on West Broad Street, It's All About Looks on Dry Creek Road, and at the Mystik Market on Highway 56 south.

Meanwhile in other cases, 48 year old Joe Ray Hall pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 48 hours to serve and then be on probation. Hall will lose his license for one year. He must also pay a $360 fine and complete and alcohol safety education program.

22 year old Travis Dewayne Rich pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, theft of property over $10,000, and three counts of vandalism over $10,000. Sentences in each case are to run concurrently with each other for a total of three years. The term is also to run concurrently with a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in a violation of probation case against him in General Sessions Court. Rich is to serve 180 days and he must pay restitution of $1,000.

42 year old Mark R. Robinson pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a two year sentence to serve. He was fined $2,000 and given jail credit of 193 days.

30 year old Lisa Rena Taylor pleaded guilty to attempting to introduce a schedule II controlled substance into a penal institution. She received a two year sentence, all suspended to DOC probation.

34 year old Nancy F. Brown, charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and manufacturing, sale, and delivery of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of one year. She must perform 40 hours of community service work.

48 year old Dawn Beavers, charged with theft of property over $10,000, was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years. She must make restitution of $30,000 to the victim and perform 50 hours of community service work.

23 year old Daniel Sanchez pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and no drivers license. He received a 60 day sentence, suspended to good behavior probation.

49 year old Roy Douglas Atnip, charged with theft under $500 and public intoxication, was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of 11 months and 29 days. He must perform 20 hours of community service work.

22 year old Trinity James Anderson, charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment with a weapon, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and vandalism under $500 was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution of $2,466.

39 year old Michael G. Thomas pleaded guilty to promotion of meth and received a four year sentence suspended to probation supervised by community corrections. Thomas must pay a fine of $3,000.

34 year old Jimmy Walker pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation except for 48 hours to serve. He was fined $360. The term is to run concurrent with a White County DUI sentence against him.

39 year old Chad E. Knowles pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence to serve at 30% before his eligible release date. His term is to run concurrent with another TDOC sentence against him.

25 year old Robin Lynn Woodard pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. She received a three year sentence to be released to time served. She must pay a $2,000 fine. Woodard will be on TDOC probation. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommended treatments. As part of her probation, Woodard must perform 100 hours of public service. She was given jail credit of 31 days.

29 year old Joseph Richardson pleaded guilty by information to aggravated burglary and theft under $500. He received a three year sentence on the burglary charge and 11 months and 29 days in the theft case, to run concurrently with each other, and all suspended to supervised probation. He must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and make restitution to the victim.

30 year old Heather Renee Perkins, charged with tampering with evidence, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale, simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years. She must perform 100 hours of community service work.

29 year old Sonya Miller pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and misdemeanor reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run concurrently with each other and all suspended to supervised probation. She has requested judicial diversion probation.

34 year old Jo Ann Ortega Rutland pleaded guilty to three counts of theft. All the sentences are to run concurrently with each other for a total of two years, all suspended to DOC probation except for 90 days to serve. She must make restitution of $1,068. The term is also to run concurrently with a Warren County sentence against her. She was given credit for time served.

48 year old Bret Kenneth Boring pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 45 days to serve. Boring will then be on supervised probation. He was fined $610 and he will lose his license for two years.

28 year old William Travis Malone pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days to be on supervised probation.

21 year old Raymond Rollins pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for 133 days to serve. He was given jail credit of 133 days.

41 year old Jose Sagahon pleaded guilty to driving on a revoked license. He received a six month sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. He will also lose his license for a period of time.

32 year old James A. Hesson was found to be in violation of probation and must serve the balance of a two year sentence for violation of the sex offender registration and monitoring act.

Luke Brock was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years and he must perform 60 hours of community service work.

Smithville Man Accused of Altering Prescription to Obtain more Pain Medication

June 18, 2010
Dwayne Page

A man, accused of altering a prescription in order to obtain more pain medication, was arrested by Smithville Police Wednesday, June 16th.

32 year old Darnell F Gurley of 848 Foster Road is charged with prescription fraud. Officer Matt Holmes made the arrest. Gurley, who had a written prescription for pain, took it to Wal-Mart Pharmacy where it was determined that the prescription had been altered. Gurley admitted to adding to the amounts of pills above what the prescription called for because he needed more medication for his pain and did not have the money to see another doctor. Bond for Gurley is $5,000 and his court date is June 24th.

22 year old Cynthia Marie Shehane of 392 Page Drive was arrested on Sunday, June 13th for driving on a suspended license. Corporal Travis Bryant responded to Mapco Express regarding a motor vehicle crash. During his investigation, Corporal Bryant discovered that Ms. Shehane had driven to Mapco and was then involved in the accident. A check revealed that her license was suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in DeKalb County. Bond for Shehane is $1,000 and her court date is June 23rd.

32 year old Steve A Stanley of 7714 Old Mill Hill Road was arrested on Tuesday, June 15th for possession of a schedule II and IV controlled substance. Lieutenant Steven Leffew was dispatched to the court house to assist parole officers Jessie Rucker and Byron Houston. While Danny Ponder was reporting to his probation officer, his vehicle was to be searched. Stanley was a passenger of the vehicle and when he got out of the automobile, Stanley walked to the yard of the court house where Rucker saw him drop a small metal container. Inside the container were 10 ½ pills. There was no prescription for the pills. Stanley said he was trying to help Ponder by getting the pills out of his car. Bond for Stanley is $2,000 and his court date is July 22nd.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Leffew arrested 48 year old Danny R Ponder of 7851 Old Mill Hill Road for public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lieutenant Leffew entered Kwik N Ezy and was approached by two customers and an employee who said that a man was passed out in a white Kia by the side of the building. Lieutenant Leffew checked and found Ponder passed out in the driver's seat. After Ponder was awakened, Lieutenant Leffew found his speech was slurred and Ponder was unsteady on his feet as he got out of the vehicle. Ponder said that he had taken several xanax and hydrocodone. Incident to arrest, nine syringes were found in the glove compartment of the vehicle. Bond for Ponder was set at $2,500 and his court date is July 22nd.

41 year old John Michael Turner of A B Frazier Road was arrested on Thursday, June 17th for driving under the influence. Officer Scott Davis observed Turner asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle which was parked in the north bound lane facing south bound on Allen Ferry Road near the ball field. There was an open can of Budweiser beer between his legs. When Officer Davis awoke Turner and asked for his driver's license, Turner gave him his debit card instead. Field sobriety tasks were not performed due to the vehicles location facing oncoming traffic and due to safety concerns for Turner. Officer Davis read Turner his Miranda rights and the Tennessee Implied Consent Law but he refused to submit. Turner was arrested for DUI and cited for violation of the open container law and violation of the implied consent law. Bond for Turner is $1,500 and his court date is June 24th.

Anyone having any information on the following offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Sunday, June 13th, Candido Rico of 832 O' Conner Street reported that between Saturday, June 12th at approximately 9:30 p.m and Sunday, June 13th at approximately 10:25 a.m. someone had cut the convertible top of his car and made entry. Rico's in dash DVD/stereo was stolen

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Trial Date Set for Former Circuit Court Clerk Bookkeeper-Motion for Change of Venue Denied

June 18, 2010
Dwayne Page

A former bookkeeper at the Circuit Court Clerk's Office, charged with theft of property over $1,000, is set to stand trial October 18th in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

During a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Leon Burns, Jr. set the trial date and denied a motion for a change of venue in the case against Tonya D. Page.

Adam W. Parrish, the Lebanon attorney representing Page filed the motion asking that the trial be moved to Cookeville due to "more than average" media exposure in DeKalb County and due to the fact that Mrs. Page's former employer, Katherine Pack, is a well known person who not only is arguably the victim in this case, but has contact with potential jurors as part of her responsibilities as clerk. For those reasons, Parrish asked that the trial be held in Cookeville where the jury pool would be larger and more diverse.

In response, Assistant District Attorney Greg Strong said that Parrish had not produced any evidence to support his claims, and asked that the trial go forward in DeKalb County.

Judge Burns said it was his practice to try and seat a jury in the county where the case originates and felt like that should be done in this case to "see where we are." However, Judge Burns added that Ms. Pack serving as clerk or jury coordinator in this trial might be a concern, and said he was open to the idea of having a clerk pro temp appointed just for this particular case. But he stopped short of making a final decision on a clerk pro temp appointment until August 16th, to give the lawyers in the case more time to do some legal research on the issue.

The change of venue motion states that Tonya D. Page moves the court for a change of venue due to undue excitement against her in this county, which is of such a nature that a fair trial could not be had. In support thereof, Defendant (Page) would respectfully show as follows:

That the population of DeKalb County is approximately 17,423 and the population of the City of Smithville is even less, 4,389.

This geographically, is a relatively small and tight knit community.

That this case has received significant media exposure, and that commencing with the date of the alleged crime and continuing thereafter, the local papers and WJLE have carried stories purporting to recite facts pertaining to the various alleged facts in the indictment which extends into the homes of many prospective jurors.

Finally, that one of the state's chief witnesses, and arguably the victim, Katherine Pack, is a highly public and well loved individual in the community.

The defendant (Page) moves that this cause be transferred to Cookeville or any other neighboring county which the court may deem proper, where a fair and impartial trial of the defendant may be had.

DeKalb County Fair Set for July 19th-24th

June 18, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jeff McMillen

Members of the DeKalb County Fair Association are busy preparing for this year's edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South, which is set for Monday through Saturday July 19th through July 24th.

With the theme " The Fun Begins in 2010", this year's DeKalb County Fair will feature a fun filled week of activities including all new rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and two nights of the Super Truck and Tractor Pull on Friday and Saturday nights.

Fair Manager Jeff McMillen says more work has been required this year to get ready for the fair, due to the flooding that occurred in May. " If at all possible we'll start putting up the fence next week. That will be the last of the flood damage. Although the grandstand was not structurally damaged due to the flood we have been required to buy additional insurance and we'll have that in place by the first of the week. We have bought some very expensive insurance that we hope we don't have to use to be able to do the events. We are going to go up on our entry fees of every event that I can think of by five dollars to help pay for these events because we have to buy special event insurance to do the demolition derby, the motorcycle/four wheeler event, the go carts, tractor pulls, every thing that we do, we have to buy special event insurance. We've spent a lot of money cleaning up after the flood and we're hoping for federal assistance but we can't guarantee that. We can't bank on something we don't have. But everything is cleaner than it's been in probably ten years because of all the pressure washing that's been done. We've hired some people to come down and help and they have done a good job. We're going to be ready and you probably won't know the difference between this year and last year as far as a flood being there. "

McMillen says the fair will be bringing back the Off-Road Challenge, Open Rodeo, the Demolition Derby, Antique Tractor Pull, Super Tractor and Truck Pull, Go Kart Racing, Four Wheelers and Motorcycle Racing, DeKalb Idol, the Vintage Fashion Show, and many other popular attractions. "We have the same events that we had last year but the carnival people (Family Attractions Amusement) will have all new rides. They're trying to bring new things to towns that they have been in for a while."

"The Off- Road Challenge will be adding a speed course. Instead of it being a boring type five minute "can you get across the log" type thing, it's going to be more of a time type (speed course) event. These vehicles need to be pre-registered. The cost is twenty five dollars to pre-register or forty five dollars if you register the day of the event."

"We'll have Go-Cart racing. This year with our competition carts, which is the fast carts, they have started a points system and they do about four or five fairs. The Lebanon fair is the championship series of this challenge so if they (participants) want to be involved in the points and win money at the end of the year, they have to come to these fairs and race so we should have more participation in that class than we have had in the past."

"This year on the tractor pull, we're going to do two nights of the Super Trucks and Tractor Pull. We'll have seven classes each night. Part of the smoker tractors will pull both nights and it's a points event so they will have to participate if they want to win the points at the end of the year."

"On Saturday, we're going to open the gates at noon and we'll have an antique tractor pull starting at two o'clock. Again, the second night of the Super Truck and Tractor Pull will be on Saturday night at seven thirty p.m."

McMillen urges fair goers to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from Noon. until 9:00 p.m.

All Non-Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 10th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

All Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 17th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Premium books are now available at DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, the Chamber of Commerce Office, and at all libraries in DeKalb County..

Enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village

The following events are scheduled:

Monday, July 19th: Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Off-Road Challenge at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 6:30 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion. $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 20th: the Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion with a concert by Doug Collins to follow; Go-Cart Racing at 6:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 21st: Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-8 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; Four Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 22nd: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4-H Chick Chain Show at 5:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; and a Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:30 p.m.; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 23rd: Toddler Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by DeKalb Idol Final Competition at the Lions Club Pavilion; a Super Truck and Tractor Pull at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Demolition Derby at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 24th: Horseshow Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at 3:00 p.m.; Gospel singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Antique Tractor Pull at 2:00 p.m at the T.C. McMillen Arena.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and a $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

One thousand dollars in cash will be given away each night, Monday through Saturday and you must be present to win. If no one presents the winning ticket within three minutes, the money will be saved and given away on Saturday night in increments of $1,000. Your fair admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing.

ALL NEW RIDES on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available each night for $16.00.

Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at NOON. on Saturday. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us.

School Board Considers Light Agenda

June 18, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education considered a light agenda Thursday night, meeting less than ten minutes to adopt budget amendments, approve contracts and to take care of other routine business.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby gave his monthly report on personnel.

Betty Boss, educational assistant at DeKalb West School has resigned.
Dianne Trapp, school bookkeeper at Northside Elementary School has resigned
Jan Alexander, teacher at DeKalb Middle School has retired

Jeff Poteete, substitute bus driver, was employed for the 2009-2010 school year.

TDOS Reminds Motorists: Never Leave Children Unattended in a Vehicle

June 17, 2010

With above average temperatures this June, the ‘dog days of summer' are certainly looming on the state of Tennessee. As the heat becomes a factor, the Tennessee Department of Safety would like to remind motorists to never leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle, which can be a dangerous and sometimes deadly offense.

"A child or a pet should never be left in an unattended vehicle under any circumstances – especially in the heat," said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "Motorists should routinely make sure all occupants exit the vehicle whenever they leave a car. An illness or even worse, a death, due to such a senseless tragedy is absolutely preventable."

On a typical sunny, summer day, experts say the temperature inside a car can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes. Even on a mild day at 73 degrees outside, an SUV can heat up to 100 degrees in 10 minutes and to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes. At 90 degrees outside, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 160 degrees within several minutes.

"Children are not safe from heat buildup when motorists crack the window of a parked car," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel

Mike Walker. "The best way to protect your children is to never leave them unattended in a vehicle; not even for a minute. This negligence could lead to the loss of a loved one, as well as jail time or stiff penalties. Don't risk it."

Make sure your child is safe this summer and always follow a few simple safety tips:

Children should never be left alone in a vehicle, not even to run a quick errand.

Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.

Children can set a vehicle in motion. Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access
to keys or remote entry devices.

If a child gets locked inside, call 911 and get him/her out as soon as possible.

Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.

Keys should never be left within reach or sight of children.

If you see a child or animal unattended in a car, be proactive and call 911.

Only 15 states, including Tennessee, have laws that prohibit leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.

State law provides that "any person who knowingly, other than by accidental means, treats a child under eighteen years of age in such a manner as to inflict injury commits a Class A misdemeanor. Class A Misdemeanors carry a penalty of not greater than 11 months, 29 days or a fine up to $2,500, or both. If the abused child is six years of age or less, the penalty is a Class D felony.

State law carries a possible Class B or Class A felony for aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment. Class A Felonies can carry a penalty of not less than 15 no more than 60 years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $50,000.

Under state law, it is an offense for a person responsible for a child younger than seven (7) years
of age to knowingly leave that child in a motor vehicle located on public property or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, or any apartment house complex, or any other premises that is generally frequented by the public at large without being supervised in the motor vehicle by a person who is at least thirteen (13) years of age, if:

(1) The conditions present a risk to the child's health or safety;

(2) The engine of the motor vehicle is running; or

(3) The keys to the motor vehicle are located anywhere inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

(b) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for the first offense.

(c) A second or subsequent violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500).

As of June 13, 2010, there have been 10 child deaths in the United States due to hyperthermia from being left behind in hot vehicles. Last year, nationwide, there were at least 33 U.S. deaths due to the same cause. (Source: San Francisco State University)

Motorists should also take precautions in the event of a break down on a highway, especially with children or senior citizens in the vehicle. The Tennessee Highway Patrol suggests the following safety tips when traveling:

For highway emergencies, summon help immediately via cellular phone by dialing *THP (*847) to connect to the nearest THP District Headquarters.

Have a basic first aid/survival kit, including two-three bottles of water per person, in vehicle.

If vehicle begins to overheat, turn off the air conditioner.

If a break down occurs, steer your vehicle as far away from the flow of traffic as possible.

Unsightly City Storage Building Being Demolished

June 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Unsightly City Storage Building Being Demolished

An old warehouse building located across the street from city hall is being torn down today (Wednesday)

Preston Construction of Woodbury is conducting the demolition.

The Smithville Aldermen recently voted to take advantage of a Neighborhood Stabilization Program through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency which provides funds to cities and counties wanting to demolish blighted properties.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says the city owned building, located across the street from city hall on the north side, qualified for the program."I was approached by the Upper Cumberland Development District. They had some THDA funds, which in turn is HUD money for blighted areas and blighted buildings. I was approached about our white building over here. I took the liberty to make sure it (building) wasn't on an Historical site and it's not. It (building) was probably erected sometime in the 1920's. The only thing we used that for is (storing) a bunch of old stuff that probably needed to be thrown away anyway."

Once the building is removed, the property may be used for any city purpose, but under terms of the program, the property cannot be sold or leased for private purposes for a period of time, otherwise the city would have to refund all or a portion of the funds used to demolish the building.

City officials say the site will be graveled.

Mayor Hendrixson Re-Elected, Aldermen White and Burger also Win

June 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson
Cecil Burger
Stephen White

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson was re-elected to a third term Tuesday beating challengers Bruce Medley and Debi Loring DePriest in the Municipal Election.

Incumbent Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger were also re-elected, beating challenger Shawn Beckham. White was elected to his sixth term and Burger to his third term as Aldermen.

A total of 746 people voted in the election, including 476 early (440 in person and 36 by absentee ballot) and 270 on election day (Tuesday). The City of Smithville has a total of 3,076 registered voters.

Mayor Hendrixson won with 354 votes (47.84%). Bruce Medley, a livestock producer and former Smithville mayor, came in second place with 211 votes (28.51%). Debi Loring DePriest, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, received 174 votes (23.51%) in her first run for public office.

Alderman White led the ticket with 504 votes ( 42.07%) followed by Alderman Burger with 479 votes (39.98%). Shawn Beckham, in his first run for public office, received 210 votes (17.53%) in his unsuccessful bid for alderman.

Mayor Hendrixson thanked his supporters and pledged to continue governing conservatively. "I would like to thank everyone who voted today in the city election. I would especially like to thank the ones who voted for me. I have had the taxpayers at heart for the last four years and I will continue to do that with conservative leadership and trying to take care of the taxpayers dollars. Again, I appreciate your confidence in me and I will continue doing the best I know how during the next two years. Again, I appreciate your vote. Thank you."

Alderman White also expressed his gratitude. " I want to thank all the voters who came out and voted. Those who voted for me and supported me, I thank you dearly. I'll continue to do the job, the best for the community. We have some things that will be hard decisions in the next two years, I feel, but just keep us all in your prayers and thanks again for everybody coming out and voting."

Alderman Burger, who has now been elected eleven times (eight times as mayor and three times as alderman), says he counts it an honor and privilege serving the people of Smithville. " I think I've been pretty lucky. I really want to thank my supporters for taking care of me this long. The ones who didn't support me, I don't have any ill will against them. I hope that we can carry on with the city and do the best we can with what we've got to do with. Thank you very much."

Medley said he was disappointed more people didn't vote. "I'd like to thank everybody who came out and voted and especially the ones who voted for me. I'd like to thank everybody. I just wish more people had voted."

DePriest said she too was concerned about the low voter turnout. "I want to thank all my friends and supporters who gave so much encouragement through this campaign, especially my husband and my family. I want to congratulate Mr. Hendrixson and wish him good luck. The election is over now but the work is just beginning. We can't afford business as usual unless we really want to see our town die a slow death. I think I'm more disappointed in the low voter turnout than I am anything else. I think it's sad that less than 25% of our electorate actually got out to make this decision that could have changed the outcome. But 25% of the electorate got out and they are the ones who spoke and they are the ones who said this is what they want. We've got to get involved as citizens. We need to encourage and support every public servant and employee and we also need to thank them for the outstanding job they're doing. We need to support our elected officials and every positive thing they do and we need to demand their best for we have a future here. We're writing our history every day. Let's make it a great story and let's make this a great city. God bless all. I love Smithville."

The mayor and aldermen-elect will begin their new two year terms of office July 1st. They will most likely be sworn into office sometime before that date.

The other three aldermen, whose terms will expire next summer, are Aaron Meeks, Shawn Jacobs, and W.J. (Dub) White.

Here's how the results break down for each candidate:

Mayor Race:

Taft Hendrixson:
Absentee: 17
Early Voting: 234
Election Day Machine #1 : 47
Election Day Machine #2 : 56

Total: 354

Bruce Medley:
Absentee: 12
Early Voting: 123
Election Day Machine #1: 30
Election Day Machine #2: 46

Total: 211

Debi Loring DePriest:
Absentee: 7
Early Voting: 79
Election Day Machine #1: 55
Election Day Machine #2: 33

Total: 174

Alderman Race:

Stephen White:
Absentee: 28
Early Voting: 308
Election Day Machine #1:82
Election Day Machine #2; 86

Total: 504

Cecil Burger:
Absentee: 21
Early Voting: 298
Election Day Machine #1: 79
Election Day Machine #2; 81

Total: 479

Shawn Beckham:
Absentee: 11
Early Voting: 108
Election Day Machine #1: 44
Election Day Machine #2; 47

Total: 210

DeKalb Utility District Announces Water Rate Increases

June 15, 2010
Dwayne Page

Rates for most customers of DeKalb Utility District will be increasing effective with bills due on July 10th.

Basic rates for customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will increase from $16.50 to $17.50. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an additional $6.50 per thousand, which is an increase of a dollar per thousand gallons. Customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an additional $7.00 per thousand. These rates will apply to all customers except in the Gassaway and Silver Point service areas.

A customer, for example, who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $38.50 to $44.00 plus tax.

Jon Foutch, DUD manager, says the utility has little choice but to adjust rates since the operation is currently running in the red. "We knew that we would be operating in the red this year but the state won’t let us do that for two years in a row.". The state requires water utilities to be financially self supporting. Foutch adds that this rate increase has nothing to do with the City of Smithville’s plans to raise it’s water rates. The DUD purchases most of it’s water supply from the City of Smithville. The DUD pays the city $1.90 per thousand gallons.

Foutch says the DUD has not raised water rates for most customers since 2007. Customers in the Silver point area (across Hurricane bridge) have not seen a DUD rate increase since 2004. Foutch says in order to provide service to the Silver Point area, the DeKalb Utility District has to purchase water from Baxter, which buys its water from the City of Cookeville. Because it costs more for the DUD to deliver water to the Silver Point area, customers there are under a different rate structure.

For example, a customer in the Silver Point service area who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $60.00 to $71.60 plus tax.

Basic rates for Silver Point area customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will go from $20.00 to $26.70, effective with bills due on July 10th. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an extra $11.10 per thousand, an increase of $1.10 per thousand. Customers (Silver Point area) who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an extra $11.60 per thousand, an increase of $1.60 per thousand gallons.

Effective July 1st, water customers in the Gassaway area will be served by the DeKalb Utility District instead of the City of Woodbury. Foutch says Woodbury, which also gets it’s water from DUD, currently provides service to the Gassaway area, but under an agreement with Woodbury, DUD will take on about eighty customers in the Gassaway area and serve them directly.

The current rate structure for Gassaway customers will mostly remain unchanged. Customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will continue to pay a minimum bill of $18.55. For monthly usage above 2,000 up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be additional $7.15 per thousand. The DUD will be adding a third tier rate for Gassaway customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month, $7.55 per thousand (over 5,000 gallons).

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

June 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers.

Session finally came to a close last week as the state was able to pass a budget and conclude its business. The budget process consisted of weeks of negotiations, mainly with Senate Republicans attempting to pass a responsible budget against the will of many House Democrat and Republican leaders.

After passing a conservative budget out of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate leaders were constrained by members of the State House in what spending they could cut to balance the budget, and negotiations with House leaders allowed numerous pork projects to be included into the budget, in addition to raiding Tennessee’s “Rainy Day” savings account by hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I applaud the Senate for attempting to pass a conservative budget during these hard economic times,” said Senator Beavers. “However, due to certain House members’ wish lists when it came to pork projects that are not affordable during these times, in addition to spending hundreds of millions of dollars from our rainy day fund, I had to vote against this budget. It’s a shame that House members would rather spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow rather than operate within our means. My family operates in a pay-as-you go fashion…and the state of Tennessee needs to do the same.”

Senator Beavers Proud to Have Passed Tennessee Health Freedom Act Twice this Session – Discouraged with the State House for Refusing to Protect Tennesseans from Obamacare

On Friday, June 4th, Senate leaders enacted a procedural method that revived the Tennessee Health Freedom Act. The original Health Freedom Act, SB 3498, was sponsored by Senator Beavers and passed the Senate Floor overwhelmingly last February. Yet, due to parliamentary maneuvers and side-deals being struck by House members and the House Speaker, that bill was killed last week in a budget subcommittee.

“The House Speaker cast a tie-breaking vote to kill that bill in committee last week,” said Senator Beavers. “The House committee then decided to pass out a similar, but substantially weaker bill to cover their tracks; however, all of the members knew that bill had not moved in the Senate. Their attempt to only advance the version that was dead in the Senate was their attempt to kill the Tennessee Health Freedom Act.”

The legislature was then left with a predicament in that there were two different versions of a bill that sought to protect Tennesseans from unconstitutional provisions of the national healthcare bill; however, both of their companion bills were stalled in the opposite legislative chamber. Therefore, SB 2560 was recalled from committee and brought straight to the Senate Floor. The only way the Senate agreed to recall the bill was to have an amendment that would put Beavers’ version of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act onto the bill since that was the only amendment that had been through the Senate committee process. If the Senate had not adopted that version of the bill, the bill would have been dead.

“This was an unusual procedural motion,” acknowledged Senator Beavers. “However the difference between this motion and others that have failed in the past is that this amendment has been vetted in committee and passed overwhelmingly in February. To me, it’s not a question of politics, it’s a matter of policy and principle…the Tennessee legislature needs to send a firm message to Washington that we do not agree with their unprecedented and unconstitutional national healthcare legislation. My amendment protected Tennesseans from the federal government, the other bill only said that the state legislature could not impose mandatory healthcare – which is irrelevant because it’s the federal government, not the state, who will impose such a mandate.”

Then, after passing the Senate overwhelming for the second time, the Tennessee Health Freedom Act failed to receive the necessary 50 votes to pass in its final form in the House of Representatives.

“I was incredibly discouraged that House Democrats voted to kill this bill,” said Senator Beavers. “The Senate did every maneuver we could to resurrect this bill - even passing the Tennessee Health Freedom Act once in February and then again last week.”

Many Democrats cited the reason for their vote being that Tennessee's Attorney General said it was likely unconstitutional, yet Senator Beavers argued that such a statement was merely his opinion. "The only way you could say that my bill is unconstitutional would be if you believe Obamacare is constitutional – and the State Senate said loud and clear that we do not think it is…it’s the Attorney General's job to defend the policies of this state, and there is no way that an unconstitutional federal law should trump a constitutional state law!"

To read about the different versions of Tennessee Health Freedom Act (SB3498 and SB2622), you can visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/Amend/SA0829.pdf; http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/Bill/HB2622.pdf; and the compromise reached: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/CCRReports/CC0027.pdf


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