Local News Articles

Gordon Urges DeKalb County Flood Victims to Contact County Emergency Management Agency

May 7, 2010
Congressman Bart Gordon

Congressman Bart Gordon is encouraging DeKalb County residents to document property damage from flooding and contact county emergency management officials following this weekend’s devastating floods.

“In the next few days, county officials will be working with TEMA and FEMA to conduct damage assessments that could determine whether the area will be eligible for federal disaster assistance,” Gordon said. “If your property was damaged by flooding, make sure the county is aware of it. This is one of the most important steps you can take right now.”

Several counties in Tennessee have already received federal disaster declarations. Governor Phil Bredesen has requested a disaster declaration for 52 Tennessee counties, including DeKalb. Gordon continues to work with federal, state and local officials to ensure damaged areas receive needed assistance.

Gordon applauded the efforts of local first responders during the unprecedented flooding and the Army Corps of Engineers for its management of the Center Hill Dam, which is upstream from DeKalb County. Gordon, who has worked closely with the Corps in the past to secure critical funding for dam repairs, noted Corps officials report both dams remain structurally safe and are not showing signs of damage.

“The Corps is doing an excellent job of monitoring the situation. The dams have performed as they were designed to under massive pressure,” Gordon said. “The flood damage is still substantial, but we could have seen much worse without prompt response and sound repairs.”

Gordon’s staff will be available to answer questions about applying for federal assistance at (615) 896-1986. Up-to-date information will also be online at www.house.gov/bart.

Steps for property owners to report flood damage:

·Contact county emergency management officials at (615) 597-5673.

·Contact your insurance company to determine the extent of your coverage. A list of major homeowner insurance telephone numbers is available at house.gov/bart.

·Contact the Red Cross for immediate assistance and information about other local assistance at (615) 250-4250.

· If the county is declared eligible for assistance, contact FEMA promptly, regardless of the level of insurance on your property, at 1 (800) 621-FEMA or at www.fema.gov.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

May 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! As we all know, Tennessee was hit with unprecedented rain over the weekend, causing disastrous floods across Middle and West Tennessee. Although much of the water has receded, some communities are still faced with flood water. As clean-up efforts began Monday, the extent of the devastation was becoming apparent. As of Thursday morning, the Governor had declared a State of Emergency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had designated 10 counties as federal disaster areas: Cheatham, Davidson, Dyer, Hickman, McNairy, Montgomery, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Williamson Counties. More are expected to receive the designation, as the Governor asked for a federal disaster declaration for 52 counties total.

Parts of Middle and West Tennessee received a record 13 inches of rain in 24 hours over Saturday and Sunday. The Cumberland River, which winds through the state, finally crested late Monday night, well over the 50 feet expected by officials. The flood level for the Cumberland is 40 feet. As of Thursday morning, 19 people were killed, and thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Tens of thousands went without power for several days, and water supplies in Middle Tennessee were threatened as a result of damaged water treatment plans. Federal and state officials estimated Wednesday that Davidson County’s damage alone would be upwards of $1 billion. The cost of damage in other counties is expected to be assessed in the coming weeks.

In addition to the homes that were destroyed, many Tennessee landmarks also suffered extensive damage, such as Gaylord Opryland Hotel, historic businesses on Lower Broadway in Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry.

Despite the mass devastation, criminal activity has not dramatically increased. Living up to its nickname of the “Volunteer State,” Tennesseans have been helping neighbors and many media reports have focused on communities pulling together.

Flood waters as high as seven feet prohibited me from driving out of our bend on Monday. Roads were closed in many parts of Smith, Macon, and Dekalb counties. Knowing there was not going to be any train travel that day, our four wheel drive got us out via the tracks and I was able to get to the flooded areas and meet with local authorities in the 40th district. No words can describe the extensive damage this historic flood of 2010 has caused. Facing these unprecedented challenges, it is inspiring to see the hands of campassion extended to many of those who are hurting. Now as we work towards recover let us continue to trust God and move forward.

Those in disaster designated counties can contact FEMA for assistance. Tennesseans can apply at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). In addition, organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army are also organizing massive assistance efforts. Affected people can call the Red Cross at 615-250-4300 and the Salvation Army at 1-800-725-2769.

We passed a resolution on Wednesday commemorating the National Day of Prayer and encouraging other Tennesseans to take part. House Joint Resolution 1191 passed with an overwhelming majority.

We are publicly supporting the National Day of Prayer due to a ruling recently handed down by a federal court saying the day was unconstitutional. The sponsor said people have the choice of whether or not they want to participate, and their actions are supported by the First Amendment. Many members of the House also felt the day takes on new meaning as thousands across the state are still reeling from floods that paralyzed communities for days.

We are a people of prayer and we must remain a nation of prayer. Faith is what keeps us united as a nation and motivates us during the difficult times.

The National Day of Prayer acknowledges the important role of religion in the United States, and was a tradition started by President Harry Truman via proclamation. Events are being held across the country today, including several major events in Tennessee.

In brief...
House Bill 270 which passed on Wednesday requires voters to affirm that they are lawfully in the United States and requires a warning on the registration form stating that giving false information is a Class D felony. This measure will protect against voter fraud.

House Bill 3125 passed the house this week. The General Assembly last year passed a law allowing licensed carry permit holders to carry firearms into establishments that sell alcohol, while giving restaurant owners the option of posting signs explicitly prohibiting firearms. The law was subsequently struck down in Chancery Court due to some ambiguity. This clarifies the language with regard to the posting and lawmakers believe the new law can withstand a constitutional challenge.

House Bill 3310 is now headed to the Governor for his signature. The bill enacts a hospital coverage fee that will restore $659 million state and federal dollars to TennCare using a method that 26 other states already utilize. The mechanism will allow the state to draw down federal funds and restore millions in eliminations and reductions the state has been forced to make as a result of low revenues.

House Bill 2768 moved out of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee this week. The bill requires anyone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher to use the ignition interlock device (IID). Ignition interlock devices have been implemented around the country, and tests the driver’s BAC level. If it is above the set limit, the car will not start.

As always, I am honored to serve the 40th district. Please do not hesitate to call my office at 615-741-2192 if you need any assitance or have any questions.

Water Samples Being Tested-Boil Water Advisory Could be Lifted Friday Afternoon

May 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Condition of Lake near City Water Intake
Condition of Lake near City Water Intake2

Water is flowing again in the City of Smithville but it may be Friday afternoon before the "Boil Water" Advisory is lifted.

Hunter Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer for the City of Smithville says the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has asked the city to collect twenty water samples for lab testing in McMinnville. He says the state wants the samples taken from areas near the city's water tanks, where levels ran so low Wednesday. Hendrixson says if the test results check out okay, then the "Boil Water" advisory will probably be lifted, but that may not be for 24 hours or sometime Friday afternoon.

In the meantime, the "Boil Water Advisory" remains in effect.

The Cookeville office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Wednesday afternoon asked the City of Smithville to issue a "Boil Water Advisory" once water service was restored. The city's water treatment plant began pumping again Wednesday night.

Because of the "Boil Water Advisory", DeKalb County Schools, the Smithville Head Start Center, the Smithville Day School, and the Smithville First Methodist Pre-School all closed for the day today (Thursday).

The notice states as follows" Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have reason to suspect that the water distributed to the customers of the City of Smithville and DeKalb Utility District may be contaminated. Until further notice, water customers are advised to boil water prior to using it for drinking or food preparation. As a precaution, customers should take the following step:

The water should be heated to a vigorous boil, and then rolling boil should be maintained for one minute to insure disinfection."

Although most customers of the DeKalb Utility District were unaffected by the disruption in water service Wednesday due to ample supplies, the "Boil Water Advisory" included them because the City of Smithville is the primary source of water for the DUD.

City officials apparently discovered early Wednesday that it was going to take stronger chemicals to treat the water from the intake because of the condition of the lake in the Sligo area. The water, as shown in these pictures, was very muddy and filled with floating debris due to the recent floods. With the city being unable to pump water to town until it was properly treated, the levels in the city's water tanks began to drop, which caused low water line pressure problems for customers.

Hendrixson says the city later had to cut off the supply from the water tanks before they ran dry."We had to cut the tanks off today (Wednesday). We were hoping not to get to this point, but unfortunately it did. We can't run the tanks completely dry, although they were basically almost dry. The McMinnville Water Treatment Plant is letting us use one of their chemicals, which is a little stronger than the one we were using to cut through all this dirty water, with all the mud and sediment in it. It seems to be doing a better job. We are currently treating water and are now pumping back out to our water tanks. We just ask everybody to be patient."

"It's taken longer to treat the water due to the trash in the lake. The lake water is extremely muddy right now due to several reasons. The Corps of Engineers discharged an extremely large amount of water overnight (Tuesday) and the lake level dropped about twenty feet. That stirred up the bottom of the lake making the lake water extremely dirty and when we pumped that water here to the plant it took longer to treat before we could send it out to the water tanks in town."

"It's not a city operational issue nor a water plant issue, it's a lake issue. The (Corps) hasn't released much water downstream toward Nashville since the floods, but they're releasing a lot more now. Anyone who has been around our water intake near Sligo bridge can tell that the lake water there is nasty. The nastiest that I have ever seen it. Again, because of that it just took us longer to treat the water and therefore it took us longer to get it out to the water tanks."

Foster, Clayborn, McMillen Win Democratic Primary

May 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Mike Clayborn
Jeff McMillen
Katherine Pack
Jimmy Sprague

County Mayor Mike Foster, County Clerk Mike Clayborn and Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen all were re-nominated during Tuesday's Democratic Primary and will go on to be re-elected in the August General Election without opposition.



Foster defeated challenger, Bob Snyder, 2,135 votes (78.2%) to 594 votes (21.7%) in the County Mayor's race. Foster carried all sixteen precincts along with the early voting and absentees.

Clayborn fended off challenges from both Chris Smithson and Glynn Merriman. Clayborn earned 1,617 votes (58%), followed by Smithson with 764 votes (27.4%) and Merriman with 403 votes (14.4%). Clayborn carried every precinct except Cherry Hill. He also carried the early voting and absentees. Smithson carried Cherry Hill with 8 votes to 5 for Clayborn and 3 for Merriman.

McMillen defeated Clarence Trapp 1,897 votes (68.1%) to 886 votes (31.8%). McMillen carried all sixteen precincts along with the early voting and absentees.

Meanwhile, incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack finished with 2,256 complimentary votes. Pack will be unopposed in the August General Election.

James D. Sprague finished with 1,397 complimentary votes in earning the Democratic nomination for Road Supervisor. Sprague will square off with Republican incumbent Kenny Edge in the August General Election.

Only 2,907 people voted in the primary including 1,149 who voted either early or by absentee and 1,758 who cast ballots on Tuesday.

In other uncontested races, Circuit Court Judge Amy Hollars received a total of 1,243 complimentary votes in DeKalb County while District Attorney General Randy York received 1,289 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. Both will also be unopposed in August to fill unexpired terms.

Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray and incumbent Trustee Sean Driver, both Republicans, will also be unopposed in the August General Election.

In the contested county commission races, Bradley Hendrix and incumbent Jerry Scott secured Democratic nominations in the third district. Hendrix had 258 votes, while Scott finished with 198, just three votes ahead of Roy Merriman, who tallied 195 votes. Hendrix carried the Middle School precinct 113 votes to 87 for Merriman and 72 for Scott. Hendrix also carried Early Voting/Absentees 145 to 126 for Scott and 108 for Merriman.

In the fourth district, incumbent Wayne Cantrell led the ballot with 233 votes, followed by David McDowell with 191 votes. They defeated Ron Rogers, who tallied 136 votes, and Jesse Baker, who earned 120 votes. Cantrell carried the Early Voting/Absentees 107 to 66 for McDowell, 63 for Rogers, and 55 for Baker. Cantrell also carried the Courthouse precinct 97 votes to 71 for McDowell, 66 for Rogers, and 63 for Baker. McDowell carried Cherry Hill 8 votes to 6 for both Cantrell and Rogers and and 2 for Baker. McDowell also carried Rock Castle 46 votes to 23 for Cantrell, 1 for Rogers and no votes for Baker.

In the fifth district, incumbent John Green led the ticket with 177 votes, followed by Bobby Taylor with 152 votes. Randy Braswell finished with 106 votes, while Johnny Ringo Colwell received 69 votes. Green carried Early Voting/Absentees 72 to 57 for Taylor, 45 for Braswell, and 31 for Colwell. Green carried the Elementary School precinct 85 votes to 77 for Taylor, 50 for Braswell, and 23 for Colwell. Green carried the Johnson's Chapel precinct 20 votes to 18 for Taylor, 15 for Colwell, and 11 for Braswell. Green and Taylor will face a challenge from Republican Jerry Adcock and Independent Lloyd Emmons in the August General Election. Two will be elected.

In uncontested County Commission races, Elmer Ellis, Jr. had 237 complimentary votes in the first district. Ellis and Republican Mason Carter will be unopposed in the August General Election.

In the second district Jack Barton got 248 complimentary votes. Both he and Republican Bobby Joines will be unopposed in August.

Jeff Barnes had 278 votes while Marshall Ferrell picked up 214 in the sixth district. They will be unopposed again in the August General Election,

In the seventh district, Jimmy W. Poss garnered 233 votes, while Larry Summers had 210. Independent Dick Kinsey will be running against them in August. Two will be elected.

Randy Caplinger Named Smithville Police Chief

May 3, 2010
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

The City of Smithville has a new Police Chief.

By a vote of five to nothing, the aldermen voted Monday night to hire Randy Caplinger as the next chief. Caplinger is expected to take over within days.

A native of DeKalb County, Caplinger is a retired Lieutenant Colonel/Major of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and since October, 2006 has been Transportation/Safety Director for Kitchen Craft of Smithville. He and his wife Karen reside on Hurricane Ridge Road in Smithville. They have two grown sons, Shawn and Corey. Caplinger's parents are Doston and Ruth Caplinger of Smithville.

Caplinger, who was not present during the meeting Monday night, told WJLE by telephone later that he is grateful for the opportunity to serve the city and is looking forward to going to work. "I just want to say how grateful I am for the support of the city aldermen, the mayor, and the public. I had a lot of good support. A lot of people came to me in support and I really appreciate them putting their confidence in me to let me show them what we can do in this job. We have a great department already and I think we can make it that much better. We have a great bunch of men to work with. We have a lot of other good agencies here in DeKalb County and the State to work with and I am looking forward to it. Any time if anyone needs me all they have to do is call on me and if we can help them we'll certainly be there to do what we can."

Caplinger says he will officially take over after submitting some needed paperwork to the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission. Last week during his interview, Caplinger explained the status of his POST certification. "Before I ever applied, I checked with POST and my understanding is as long as you're not out (of law enforcement) over five years, you're eligible to go back. Of course I have to send in my psychological, physical, and training records, and if hired I just have to put those records with a letter from the city stating that I have been hired. I was told that I'm also supposed to take a week of in-service training that all officers are required to go through each year."

The Police Chief position has been open since December when the Board of Aldermen, with four voting in the affirmative, upheld the city discipline board's decision in November to terminate former Police Chief Richard Jennings for dereliction of duties/negligence.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew has been serving as "Officer in Charge" of the department since November.

On December 10th Jennings and his wife June filed a federal court lawsuit against the City of Smithville claiming he was wrongfully terminated and that his constitutional rights were violated
In the lawsuit, Jennings alleges that the city never established a cause for his termination, that the city violated his constitutional due process rights, and that he was the victim of age discrimination in the dismissal.

In March, the city advertised that applications were being accepted through April 16th from persons interesting in the police chief position. According to the notice, all applicants had to be certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (P.O.S.T.) with a minimum of six years experience as a certified, full-time officer with a minimum of three years experience in a supervisory position.

Caplinger was one of three people to apply for the job along with Larry D. Parsley of Lenior City, a former resident of DeKalb County and a retired Lieutenant of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Kenneth D. Smith of Watertown, who is Police Chief of the Lakewood Police Department at Old Hickory.

The mayor and aldermen interviewed all three men in a workshop meeting last Monday night, April 26th at city hall.

During Monday night's city council meeting, (May 3rd) Alderman Aaron Meeks, who also serves as the city's Police Commissioner made a motion to hire Caplinger as Chief. "Gentlemen, you all have had an opportunity to review the applications, review the resumes, and hear the oral statements made by the three gentlemen who have applied for the position of chief of police. Our department is now in a position to move forward but it needs a senior officer to provide additional guidance. The officers who have been working here have been doing their jobs as police officers as well as supervision in the department. I would like to go ahead and move forward tonight and hire our next chief of police. I would move that we hire Randy Caplinger for our next chief of police."

Alderman Steve White offered a second to the motion.

Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Cecil Burger, and W.J. (Dub) White joined both Meeks and Steve White in voting for Caplinger.

After the vote, Alderman Meeks commended the job Lieutenant Leffew has done as Officer in Charge of the department. "I would like to express my appreciation to Lieutenant Leffew and his officers for the job they have done over the past few months in getting our department organized and in good working order, doing a tremendous job in keeping our law enforcement department operating very efficiently. Lieutenant Leffew along with his officers have gotten the fleet of cars back now in safe working order. He's done many other things. There was some discussion about investigations, but sometimes that's an item you can't discuss or go too far into, but from very early on in Lieutenant Leffew's charge as Officer In Charge, he did start contacting departments and places around this area for assistance and certainly has gotten some very positive results from that. I look forward to seeing some results that we can tell you about in the not too distant future. So again, Lieutenant Leffew and officers, thank you all very much."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson also expressed his appreciation to Lieutenant Leffew. "I'd like to tell you, Lieutenant Leffew that you have done a marvelous job and I appreciate you."

Lieutenant Leffew thanked city officials and members of the police department for their cooperation. "The men and women of the Smithville Police Department have helped me tremendously. I want to thank the city council, and (Secretary-Treasurer) Hunter Hendrixson, he's helped me a lot and been very supportive. No man can do anything alone and I've had a lot of support. I'm glad to see the department moving forward. Thank you."

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson recognized and congratulated Bobby Pinegar, the operator at the Smithville Waste Water Treatment Plant for his good management " I would like to recognize our wastewater treatment plant operator, Bobby Pinegar. He always has good reports and always keeps the plant clean and in good working order."

Mayor Hendrixson read a letter to the city from the state concerning a recent inspection at the plant. "On March 3rd & 4th, personnel from the Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control conducted a compliance sampling inspection at the Smithville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The purpose of the inspection was to evaluate compliance for the discharge of treated municipal wastewater to Fall Creek."

"On the permit and reports review, there were no reported violations of the affluent water quality limits contained in the permit for the time period reviewed."

"On the facility review, the wastewater treatment plant was found to be very well maintained. The plant operators have an on-going equipment maintenance plan and schedule."

"Laboratory review, the plant operators follow EPA approved laboratory methods for analyzing treated affluent samples. All the samples were in the permitted limits."

"We extend our thanks to the Smithville wastewater treatment plant staff for their time and cooperation during this inspection."

Governor Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration

May 3, 2010
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen has asked President Obama to declare 52 Tennessee counties, including DeKalb as federal disaster areas following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state beginning Friday, April 30.

Should this initial request for assistance be granted, the following Tennessee counties would have access to varying levels of federal assistance programs: Anderson, Bedford, Benton, Cannon, Carroll, Cheatham, Chester, Clay, Crockett, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Giles, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lake, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Macon, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Morgan, Obion, Perry, Robertson, Rutherford, Shelby, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Tipton, Trousdale, Van Buren, Wayne, Weakley, White, Williamson and Wilson.

"The swift reaction from emergency first responders was exemplary during this emergency situation," said Bredesen. "I want to thank local and state agencies that responded so quickly to evacuate, perform water rescues and assess any immediate damage and danger to the roadways."

As a result of the extreme weather conditions, Tennessee suffered 14 confirmed fatalities. Numerous nursing homes, apartment complexes and residences were evacuated due to rapidly rising waters and flash flooding. In addition, several water rescues and helicopter extractions were performed as flood waters continue to rush over hundreds of roads through cities, towns and neighborhoods. Many residents lost all of their possessions as their homes were destroyed or sustained major damages. Currently, there are 24 shelters open statewide housing 1,282 people.

"As we turn toward recovery, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who lost loved ones or have been affected by this disaster," said Bredesen. "I commend Tennesseans on the resiliency of their communities and their unshakable compassion to lend a helping hand. We face many obstacles and challenges in the days to come, but I am reassured to see that we are united in our efforts to help those in need."

The state of Tennessee is requesting joint FEMA-State Preliminary Damage Assessments be conducted as soon as waters have receded enough to make reasonable determinations. The start date is projected for Monday, May 10, 2010.

Public Assistance will also be requested in all categories, including Individual Assistance – Individuals and Households Program (IHP); Disaster Unemployment Assistance; Crisis Counseling; Disaster Food Stamp Program; American Bar Association Young Lawyers Legal Aid; and Small Business Administration disaster loans.

"The state's current budget circumstance is severe and unprecedented," said Bredesen. "I am requesting 100 percent Federal assistance for the first 72 hours. Any aid received will assist with work and services to save lives and protect property."

The Department of Military/Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Department of Environment & Conservation, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Safety, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Civil Air Patrol responded and provided emergency protective services to supplement local efforts.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.

For more updates regarding the state's response, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

Two More Persons Named in Grand Jury Sealed Indictments Arrested on Drug Charges

May 3, 2010
Dwayne Page
Elijah Eli Arnold

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested two more people who were named in Grand Jury sealed indictments resulting from the recent undercover drug investigation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Elijah "Eli" B. Arnold of Bunk Lane, Elmwood is charged with two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and four counts of violation of the drug free zone. His bond is $60,000.

44 year old Tammy Denise Miller of Kings Court Trailer Park, Smithville is charged with one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. Her bond is $70,000

Fairgrounds Damaged by Flood Waters

May 3, 2010
Dwayne Page
Fairgrounds Damaged2
Fairgrounds Damaged
Newly Built Tee Ball Field Behind Fairgrounds Damaged

The Grandpa Fair of the South kicks off in less than three months, but members of the DeKalb County Fair Association will have to do a little extra work this year in preparation for it after the flooding of the fairgrounds Saturday.

Jeff McMillen, Manager of the DeKalb County Fair, says when Hickman Creek overflowed, a large portion of the fairgrounds went underwater, causing significant damage. "All the fence around the arena in front of the grandstand as well as the fence down along the creek bank and Edgewood street was damaged. We also had about sixty gate panels along with some thirty to fifty big tires that we used for the demolition derby that washed away. We would like to ask that if anybody should come across any of these gate panels or big tires to please bring them to us or contact me or someone associated with the fair."

Since Saturday, some of the gate panels and tires have been located. It's not known yet if the flood did any damage to the grandstand.

The high water got up around the grandstand and barn as well as the large concession building near the grandstand, but did not make it to the Kenneth Sandlin Center, commercial building, Lions Club Pavilion, and other structures on the fairgrounds that are located on higher ground.

The newly built tee ball field, located behind the fairgrounds, was also damaged by the flood.

Flooding Causes Major Problems for Alexandria

May 1, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fairgrounds Underwater (Photo by Jeff and Shelia McMillen)
Home on West Main Street in Alexandria
 Vehicles Parked Near a Residence on West Main Street in Alexandria
Edgewood Street Near Entrance to Fairgrounds
Fairgrounds Flooded (Photo by Jeff and Shelia McMillen)

Swollen creeks from heavy downpours spilled over their banks in Alexandria Saturday, flooding portions of the town, and creating problems for some residents and businesses. The high water also damaged the DeKalb County fair grounds and the newly built tee ball field in the area.

Another round of storms moved through Sunday, forcing authorities to spring into action again. Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says the same area of West Main Street was affected Sunday by high water but the problem was not as severe as on Saturday. According to Chief Collins, several residents were asked to evacuate their homes as a precaution because Goose Creek had again overun its banks and was crossing the street, threatening homes. He says those who chose to leave their homes were taken to the Alexandria City Hall for shelter. Hickman Creek also overflowed again into the fairgrounds, but not like Saturday.

Alexandria city water customers also found themselves without service after the storm on Saturday. The problem occurred when a fire hydrant at the fairgrounds broke during the flood, causing a leak in a six inch water main, which reportedly drained the city's water tank. The water service has since been restored.

Click here to view more Alexandria flood photos


As for the Saturday storm itself, Chief Collins says it came quickly and the rising waters from Hickman and Goose creeks caused several people to have to be evacuated from their homes in the Locust Street/West Main Street area. "It hit quickly. It was raining hard here. We had a substantial amount of water fall, upstream of our town creek and then when that water hit us, with our rainfall it was just more than our system could hold."

"We went to approximately 45 houses trying to get some people evacuated. The West Main/Locust Street area was hit the hardest. We went to every house out through there and evacuated everybody out on West Main. There are several houses out in the new annex of Alexandria that got hit hard. We opened up the West Main Baptist Church as a shelter. They were so kind to do that for us and we sent some of the families there until the waters receded. There's been no injuries. We were able to get everybody in harms way out in time."

Approximately 12 to 15 families were actually displaced.

Chief Collins says the flood caused a lot of damage."There's been several homes flooded and several businesses flooded here on the public square. The water was higher than I have ever seen it. The fairgrounds was completely underwater. There is substantial damage to the fairgrounds. There are several houses on Edgewood Street where the water came in. We had to set up barricades. We had several citizens who came out to assist us. We set up the barricades to keep these people from driving off into the water. Charlie Parker (Emergency Management Agency Coordinator) came down. The DeKalb County Rescue Squad, they were down this way on another call and they offered assistance. The Sheriff's Department offered their assistance. We all pulled together to get these people out and transported to our shelter."

Chief Collins added that his department, the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, Water and Street Department employees and others all joined in the effort to help these people.

Jeff McMillen, Manager of the DeKalb County Fair, says when Hickman Creek overflowed, a large portion of the fairgrounds went underwater, causing significant damage. "All the fence around the arena in front of the grandstand as well as the fence down along the creek bank and Edgewood street is gone. We also had about sixty gate panels along with some thirty to fifty big tires that we used for the demolition derby that washed away. We would like to ask that if anybody should come across any of these gate panels or big tires to please bring them to us or contact me or someone associated with the fair."

The high water got up around the grandstand and barn as well as the large concession building near the grandstand, but did not make it to the Kenneth Sandlin Center, commercial building, Lions Club Pavilion, and other structures on the fairgrounds that are located on higher ground.

Charlie Parker, DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator says while there was flooding and wind damage in other parts of DeKalb County, Alexandria suffered the most.
"Alexandria was hit hardest. They had several streets underwater and several houses were in danger so a few people were evacuated as the water was rising. They did set up temporary shelter there in Alexandria for the people who were displaced. The West Main Baptist Church is one of our designated areas for a temporary shelter down there. Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins made the contact and went ahead and got that set up. Most of the water was coming from the creeks in the area. So much rain fell so fast that the creeks just went completely out of their banks. It was even rising close to Highway 70 at one point. The water was across the road (near Goose Creek) but it was still passable. But if it had kept raining for very much longer it would have been even worse than what we had."

Parker says rising creek waters also caused some problems for people in the Dowelltown and Temperance Hall areas. "There was also water in the streets in Dowelltown. The creeks were rising down there. An outbuilding floated down the creek and lodged up against the bridge there in Dowelltown. Also around Temperance Hall and Oakley Hollow, there were reports of water over the roadways and it was getting close to some houses although no one there had to be evacuated."

A few places in Smithville experienced some street flooding due to the storms and high winds also caused some damage, according to Parker. "I think there were three trees, at least part of them that fell on a residence at the bottom of Holmes Creek Hill. There was also some trees that fell on Golf Course Drive and I think it knocked some power lines down."

Parker added, "Through all of this, nobody has been injured. We're just really lucky."

Julie Vincent Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

May 1, 2010
Dwayne Page
Julie Vincent
Julie Vincent Receives DeKalb Teacher of Year Award and Check from Liberty State Bank
Teachers of the Year at Each School

An educator from Northside Elementary School was named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" Friday night during the third annual Teacher of the Year banquet at DCHS.

Julie Vincent received the honor and a check for $150 from Liberty State Bank, the sponsor of the banquet. The presentation was made by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank.

Vincent was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Beth Pafford from Smithville Elementary School, Mike Lewis from DeKalb Middle School, Vicki Wilson from DeKalb West School, and Chris Vance from DeKalb County High School.

Three of the educators, Vincent, Lewis, and Vance, earlier this year were selected "Teachers of the Year" locally and competed for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

Willoughby congratulated Vincent for being named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" as well as the other teachers. "In my opinion all of our teachers are teachers of the year, but the peers of each school selected their teacher of the year. We sent information on each teacher of the year to the state department of education, where their credentials were reviewed. There, they considered what the teachers had done in their careers thus far and made a selection for teacher of the year in DeKalb County. Based on that, we took this occasion tonight to present the award to Mrs. Vincent. We're very proud of her. She has done an amazing job as a teacher and she is a super person. She is a great role model for our children."

(Top Photo: Julie Vincent, DeKalb Teacher of the Year)

(Middle Photo: left to right- Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank; Gayle Redmon, Principal of Northside Elementary School; Julie Vincent, DeKalb Teacher of the Year; and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby)

(Bottom Photo: left to right: Mike Lewis, Vicki Wilson, Beth Pafford, Julie Vincent, and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. Not pictured, Chris Vance)


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