Local News Articles

Man Charged with Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

June 20, 2011
Dwayne Page

In the latest crime news from the Smithville Police Department, Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 66 year old Ernest Ray Bane of West Main Street was arrested on Wednesday, June 15 by Officer Brandon Donnell for aggravated assault. According to the warrant, Bane went to the residence of his ex-girlfriend, grabbed her by the arm leaving a bruise, and put a knife to her throat threatening her. Bond for Bane is $10,000 and his court date is August 4.

Meanwhile, 34 year old Steven Craig Banfield of Highland Avenue was arrested Monday, June 6 for violation of an order of protection. According to the warrant, Officer Brandon Donnell responded to a 911 call on Highland Avenue to a possible domestic. Banfield stated that he and his ex-wife were fussing. Upon further investigation, Officer Donnell discovered that Banfield is under an order of protection to stay away from her. Bond for Banfield is $3,500 and his court date is June 23.

44 year old Shane D Green of Vermont was arrested on Tuesday, June 7 for DUI. While on routine patrol traveling south on Congress Boulevard Officer Brandon Donnell stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. Officer Donnell asked Green for his license but Green kept dropping his wallet and could not keep his eyes open. Green was asked to step out of the vehicle and perform several field sobriety tasks. Bond for Green is $1,500 and his court date is August 4.

55 year old Raymond Nelson Caldwell of Four Seasons Road was arrested on Tuesday, June 7 by Corporal Travis Bryant who responded to a reckless driver call on West Broad Street. Corporal Bryant followed the vehicle which traveled partially in the median for approximately one mile. He stopped the automobile and made contact with the driver, Caldwell who had slurred speech. Caldwell submitted to several field sobriety tasks. Bond for Caldwell is $1,500 and his court date is June 23.

26 year old William Corey Dickens of Short Mountain Highway was issued a citation by K-9 Officer James Cornelius for theft. Officer Cornelius was dispatched to Earl Avenue to check out a complaint of an unwanted guest. Upon arrival Officer Cornelius found Dickens loading a car with tools taken from a shed located on the property. The victim stated that he was taking tools from her shed without her permission. Dickens' court date is June 23.

24 year old Jamaal Ahmad League of Smith Road was arrested on Wednesday, June 8 by Officer Andy Snow for public intoxication. Officer Snow responded to Smith Road to check on a person who had been walking in the neighborhood, jumping out from behind bushes, and causing a disturbance to residents in the area. Officer Snow made contact with League, who had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was identified as the person causing the disturbance. Bond for League is $1,000.

28 year old Brandon Ross Bogle of Sparta was arrested on Tuesday, June 14 by K-9 Officer James Cornelius for possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Cornelius was dispatched to the probation office to check on a possible intoxicated man. Upon arrival he spoke with the probation officer who stated that she had found drug paraphernalia on her probationer, Brandon Bogle. Bond for Bogle is $1,500.

38 year old Maria Kathleen Smith of Earl Avenue was issued a citation on Wednesday, June 15 for possession of drug paraphernalia. Corporal Travis Bryant stopped Smith on a complaint of possible intoxication. Officer Bryant received consent to search her person and found drug paraphernalia in her possession. Smith's court date is July 7.

23 year old Alfredo Garcia Ordas of Bright Hill Road was arrested on Thursday, June 16 by Officer Bradley Tatrow for public intoxication. Officer Tatrow responded to an accident at Anthony Avenue and Miller Road where the person involved in the accident had left the scene and was observed walking down the road. While enroute to the accident, Officer Tatrow saw a man matching the description given by witnesses. Upon stopping and making contact with the man, Ordas, Officer Tatrow noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of a fermented beverage about his person. Bond for Ordas is $1,500 and his court date is June 23.

Meanwhile anyone having information on any criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

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

Budget Committee Rejects School Board Request to Fund New Positions

June 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
County Budget Committee Meeting

The budget committee of the DeKalb County Commission has rejected the Board of Education's request to fund new positions in the proposed 2011-12 budget but is still open to the idea of funding a pay raise for personnel.

During a meeting Thursday night at the courthouse, the budget committee, on a 5 to 0 vote, instructed County Mayor Mike Foster to notify the school board that the request for funding to create several new positions within the school system is denied.

Members of the budget committee are Wayne Cantrell, Larry Summers, Marshall Ferrell, John Green, and Jack Barton.

In order to fully fund the school board's request, the county commission would have had to increase the local property tax rate by seventeen cents, something members of the budget committee are unwilling to recommend.

The proposed school budget includes a 3.2% pay raise for support staff or non-certified personnel and a 1.6% local increase to match the state's 1.6% pay hike for certified personnel (teachers). While members of the budget committee seemed to be in favor of granting the request, they have some questions about the proposed pay raises and want to meet with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby first before giving final approval on a recommendation to send to the county commission.

The budget committee also wants to question Willoughby on a couple of other budget issues, specifically the reason for an increase in the capital outlay request of $250,000 and whether it has anything to do with the renovation of the DCHS Science Lab. While budget committee members said they support the project, they would like to know if it is being funded in the current budget or next year's spending plan. They have also questions about a budget line item in the amount of $666,893 from the Education Jobs Fund, which Willoughby has previously said is federal one time monies.

The school board will now have to go back and revise its proposed general purpose budget for 2011-12, which as presented in its original form totaled $20-million 146-thousand 303.

The school board had originally proposed adding the following new positions:

Five new teacher positions
One Northside Elementary School 5th grade teacher
One Northside Elementary School physical education teacher
One DCHS math teacher
One county wide instruction coach teacher
One band assistant teacher

Two new assistant soccer coach positions

One new support staff position-DCHS site coordinator

One new teacher position-DCHS special education teacher

Three teacher positions which have been funded from federal stimulus (ARRA) money to be returned to the local general purpose fund now that the ARRA funds have been exhausted.

One educational assistant position which has been funded from ARRA money to be returned to the local general purpose budget

Three new assistant principal positions with benefits
One at DeKalb West
One at Northside Elementary
One at Smithville Elementary

The school board has also asked for the following increases:

Textbook adoption (Math)- $40,000
Updated hardware/software Accounting Department- $40,000
Minimal increase in utility costs- $6,000
Increase in maintenance of plant supplies- $23,000
Increase in fuel costs: $124,000
Increase in capital outlay- $200,000

County Fire Department Seeks New Pumper

June 18, 2011
Dwayne Page
County Budget Committee Meeting
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department is in need of a new pumper according to County Fire Chief Donny Green.

Green met with members of the county budget committee Thursday night to formally make a request for the funding in the 2011-12 budget

Green asked that $180,000 be budgeted to purchase a new fire pumper to replace the Midway engine which is a 1979 model. By doing this, Green said "we can take the 1975 model truck out of service at the Austin Bottom station and place the 1979 Midway truck at Austin Bottom." This station (Austin Bottom), he said has a low call volume and the 1979 truck should be adequate to "hold them over for a few more years". Green said the county is looking at major expenses if it continues to keep the 1975 truck at the Austin Bottom Station.

Meanwhile, Green is also asking for an increase in the maintenance and repair services-equipment line item of the budget from $5,000 this fiscal year to $8,000 in the new budget. Green said due to the age of the fleet of trucks, maintenance and repair expenses this year exceeded the previous year's budget in this line item. Actual expenses this year were $8,062.

Green is seeking an increase in the equipment and machinery parts line item of the budget from $17,000 this fiscal year to $44,200 next year. "We are requesting an additional $27,200 to allow for annual replacement of a portion of turnout gear and breathing cylinders to avoid a major one-time purchase in the future", said Green

Green said an increase is also needed in the utilities line item from $17,000 this year to $21,000 in the new budget. "Actual utility expenses were $18,860. We are projecting a utility rate increase in our request," he said.

Meanwhile, the county fire department plans to seek two grants for a brush truck and equipment. Green said "we plan to apply for two 5% local match grants under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. If awarded, $6,000 will be needed as a local 5% match for a brush truck and a $5,000 local 5% match for equipment.

Green said the county fire department currently has 75 volunteer firefighters on board operating out of eleven stations. Since 2001, the county fire department has been awarded $1,864,537 in federal, state, and private grants.

The budget committee has taken no action yet.

DeKalb Fair Seeks Entries for Baby and Toddler Shows

June 18, 2011
Dwayne Page
2010 Toddler Twins Winners

Entries are being accepted for the Baby and Toddler Shows at the DeKalb County Fair

The baby show will be Thursday, July 21 at 6:00 p.m. and the Toddler Show will be Friday, July 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion. No entries will be accepted after Saturday, July 16. Its open to contestants from DeKalb, Cannon, and Smith Counties.

Categories of competition for babies include one day to three months, four to six months, seven to nine months, ten to twelve months, and twins one day to twelve months.

Categories for toddlers include thirteen to eighteen months, nineteen to twenty four months, twenty five to thirty months, thirty one to thirty six months, thirty seven to forty seven months, and twins thirteen to forty seven months.

The entry fee is $20 per child.

Send completed entry forms along with the fees to the DeKalb County Fair Association, Attention Angie Meadows at 3385 New Home Road, Smithville, 37166. Include the child's name, birth date, address, parents names, telephone number and designate whether the child is a boy or girl and whether you are entering the baby or toddler show and in which age group the child is being entered.

There is no limit to the number of contestants in the show. A small trophy and ribbon will be given for first place winners, A ribbon will be given for second place winners.

Make checks payable to the DeKalb County Fair Association.

You can obtain a registration form on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us.

(Pictured above: 2010 Toddler Twins winners: 1st place Bryson and Brayden Lawson (left), 19 month old sons of Tim and Christy Lawson; 2nd place Jesse and Thomas Foutch (right), 22 month old sons of Michael and Nocola Foutch)

County Forced to Comply with Costly Federal Mandate to Replace Road Signs

June 17, 2011
Dwayne Page
Kenny Edge holding new retroreflectivity road sign

A mandate calling on counties and states to replace existing road signs with new ones that offer better nighttime visibility could cost the state millions of dollars and DeKalb County tens of thousands of dollars, without any financial assistance from the federal government.

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE Friday that the old county signs currently cost the county $13.50 each while the new ones run $32.95 apiece. With at least three thousand or more county road name signs and traffic signs which will have to be replaced to meet this federal requirement within the next four to seven years, Edge said he has already started the process of replacing a few signs here and there as needed.

Kenny Edge from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Meanwhile U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander have introduced legislation to stop what they call this overreach by the federal government – commonly called an unfunded mandate – requiring local governments to replace road signs according to new visibility standards by arbitrary 2015 and 2018 deadlines. According to estimates from the Tennessee County Highway Officials Association, meeting the current compliance deadlines will cost local governments at least $50 million in Tennessee alone.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has updated federal rules governing minimum nighttime visibility standards (known as "retroreflectivity") for road signs. State and local governments must present plans for overhauling their old signs by January 22, 2012. Traffic safety signs, such as stop and yield signs, must be replaced by 2015, and all signs must be replaced by 2018.

The Corker-Alexander bill would waive the compliance dates and instead permit state and local governments to comply with the new standards when they replace signs at the end of their normal life cycle.

"Obviously, everyone wants our roads to be as safe as possible, but the arbitrary deadlines assigned by Washington amount to an unfunded mandate on local governments at a time when they can least afford it. Instead of asking local governments to shell out $50 million, it seems like a much more reasonable approach to replace road signs when they need to be replaced instead of an arbitrary deadline assigned by some Washington bureaucrat," Corker said.

"Here they go again, turning a big Washington idea about little road signs into another unfunded mandate, making state and local governments foot the bill," Alexander said.

Several Tennessee localities submitted public comments detailing the excessive compliance costs imposed by the proposed road sign rules.

On May 30, Governor Haslam signed a resolution, HJR 304, passed by the Tennessee General Assembly calling for Congress to fully fund the FHWA's mandate.

In a statement, the Tennessee County Highway Officials Association said, "It is financially impossible for Tennessee county governments to comply with this unfunded FHWA mandate. Tennessee county governments' inability to comply with the FHWA sign mandates indirectly exposes all units of local governments to potential litigation. One of the biggest concerns for county governments regarding program mandates is the threat of lawsuits for non-compliance."

Three Hundred Fifty Vote Early in Smithville Election, Lightest Turnout in Several Years

June 17, 2011
Dwayne Page
Lydia Holmes and Louise Brown sign in to vote with election worker Dean Estes

Based on the response to early voting, this could be the lightest turnout for a contested Smithville Municipal Election in several years.

After fourteen days of early voting only 350 city voters cast ballots out of 2,877 active registered city voters. That's the lowest turnout for early voting during a contested city election since 2003, when 231 voted early. In 2005, only five people voted early and sixty five on election day in an uncontested city election.

A total of sixty three people voted yesterday (Thursday) on the last day of early voting, which was the largest single day turnout during the fourteen day period.

Here's how the vote breaks down for each day from Wednesday, June 1 through Thursday, June 16:

Wednesday, 7
Thursday, 32
Friday, 15
Saturday, 22 (20 in person, 2 absentees)
Monday, 15
Tuesday, 22
Wednesday, 17
Thursday, 31
Friday, 23
Saturday, 24 (20 in person, 4 absentees)
Monday, 10 (8 in person, 2 absentees)
Tuesday, 32 (31 in person, 1 absentee)
Wednesday, 37 (27 in person by machine, 1 absentee, 9 Nursing Home)
Thursday, 63

Three aldermen are to be elected Tuesday, June 21, each to serve a two year term beginning July 1st. Voting will be conducted in the basement courtroom of the courthouse from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The candidates are incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White. The challengers are Gayla Hendrix, Cordell Walker, and Danny Washer.

WJLE will be your only source for LIVE election coverage on the radio and up to the minute Internet updates at www.wjle.com.

Last year, (2010) a mayor and two aldermen were elected in Smithville. During that election, a total of 746 voters turned out, including 476 early voters and 270 on election day.

In 2009 a total of 790 voters responded, including 590 during the early voting period and 200 on election day to select three aldermen.

A total of 963 city voters turned out in 2008 to elect a mayor and two aldermen including 684 early voters and 279 on election day.

In 2007, three aldermen were elected. That campaign drew 738 people to the polls including 555 during the early voting period and 183 on election day.

In 2006, a total of 696 city voters cast ballots to elect a mayor and two aldermen, including 425 early voters and 271 on election day.

Only seventy people voted in 2005, including 65 on election day and five during early voting, but the race was uncontested. Three aldermen were elected.

For the year 2004, a total of 800 city voters cast ballots; 450 voted in 2003; 811 in 2002; 473 in 2001; and 642 in 2000.

Dixon Qualifies for Alexandria City Election

June 16, 2011

Only one person has qualified to run for three seats on the Alexandria Board of Mayor and Alderman.

Darrell Dixon, a current alderman, turned in his qualifying petition by the noon deadline on Thursday, June 16.
But it is not too late for others who may be interested in holding a position on the town's board.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said persons attempted to be elected by write-in ballots can complete a notice requesting his/her votes be counted no later than NOON July 13. The person requesting to be a
write-in candidate must fill out a particular form that can be obtained at the election commission office in Smithville. If someone does seek to be a write-in candidate, his or her name will not be on the ballot.

The Alexandria election is set for September 1, 2011.

Chamber Seeks Entries for "Shop at Home" Contest

June 15, 2011
Dwayne Page

You could win $100 from the Chamber of Commerce just for giving your best reason for shopping locally.

Tim Hintz, Past President of the Chamber, said you can enter by going to the Chamber Facebook page or emailing the Chamber. You can find links to the facebook page and email address at www.dekalbtn.org. Then submit your reason.

Tim Hintz from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The name of the winner will be drawn on June 24 and will be announced on the next Chamber Chat program Wednesday, July 6 starting at 8:30 a.m. on WJLE.

The prize money has been donated by the Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Meanwhile, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams urges all local businesses to participate in the 10th annual Project Welcome Mat in time for the 40th annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Suzanne Williams from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Fair to Feature Pageants, Vintage Fashion Show, DeKalb IDOL, and More

June 15, 2011
Dwayne Page
Shan Burklow

The DeKalb County Fair will feature several exciting events at the Lion's Club Pavilion July 18-23 including nightly pageants, the Vintage Fashion Show, and DeKalb IDOL among others.

The Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be held Monday, July 18 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair at the Lion's Club Pavilion. The Little Mister and Little Miss contest will be held Tuesday, July 19 at 6:00 p.m. The Little Miss Princess Pageant will be held Wednesday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Contest.

Shan Burklow encourages anyone interested in entering any of these pageants to register on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us or www.studiosixlimited.com. Registration forms are also available at all bank locations in Smithville and Alexandria.

The Vintage Fashion Show is set for Thursday night, July 21 following the Baby Show at the Lions Club Pavilion.

DeKalb Idol will be featured on Friday night following the Toddler Show at the Lions Club Pavilion.

Registration and rehearsal for the Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 16 anytime from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the fairgrounds. Contestants must be 13 through 16 years of age. Participants must not be over age 16 by the date of the pageant. The Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be held on Monday, July 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion.

Registration and rehearsal for the Fairest of the Fair will be Saturday, July 16 anytime from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m..at the fairgrounds. This pageant is only open to DeKalb County residents. Contestants must be age 17 and not over age 20 by December 31, 2011. Participants must not be, nor have ever been married. The winner must also agree to participate in the State Fairest of the Fair Pageant in January, 2012. The Fairest of the Fair pageant will be Monday, July 18 following the Junior Fair Princess Pageant.

The Little Mister and Little Miss contest will be held Tuesday, July 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration and rehearsal will be Saturday, July 16 anytime from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the fairgrounds. Contestants in both pageants must be 4 and not over 6 years of age by the pageant date.

The Little Miss Princess Pageant will be held Wednesday, July 20 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Contest at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration and rehearsal for the Little Miss Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 16 anytime from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the fairgrounds. Contestants must be 7 and not over 9 years of age by the pageant date. Meanwhile, registration and rehearsal for the Miss Sweetheart Pageant will be Saturday, July 16 anytime from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Contestants must be 10 and not over 12 years of age by the pageant date.

The entry fee for each of these pageants is $25.00 per contestant, (cash only) payable at the time of registration.. Contestants may be residents of DeKalb, Smith, Putnam, White, Warren, Cannon, or Wilson Counties except the Fairest of the Fair which is only open to DeKalb County girls. .

For more information visit www.dekalbcountyfair.us or www.studiosixlimited.com.

Another Driftwood Fire at Dismal Bridge

June 15, 2011
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters Battle Debris Fire at Dismal Bridge

For the second time since September, someone has set a fire which spread to the debris and driftwood underneath the Dismal bridge on the Alexandria to Dismal Road over Smith Fork Creek

Central dispatch received the call at 5:10 a.m. this morning (Wednesday)

County Fire Chief Donny Green said members of the Main Station and the Liberty and Cookeville Highway stations rushed to the scene upon receiving the call and when they arrived, firefighters found a blaze coming from under the bridge. "We found where three campfires had been set near the bridge and it appeared one of them spread to the debris underneath the bridge. A witness who was at the creek fishing overnight saw a suspicious vehicle in the area. We have a description of that vehicle and the Sheriff's Department is investigating at this time," said Chief Green.

Green said this bridge poses a particular problem with accumulating debris. "As we get heavy rainfall the debris comes up under the bridge and accumulates. A fire like this can then cause a lot of damage to the bridge. It also causes a lot of problems for us (firefighters) because we have trouble getting to it with our equipment. We do have a floating pump that we set up this morning to get water out of the creek to extinguish the fire," said Chief Green.

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, who was also on the scene, said he will contact the Tennessee Department of Transportation, who may have to inspect the bridge to determine if there is any structural damage.

The bridge remains open.


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