Local News Articles

Smithville Man Suffers Burns and Smoke Inhalation while Escaping a Fire at his Home

October 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Home of Jerry Williams Destroyed by Fire
Rear of  Jerry Williams Home
County Fire Chief Donny Green

A Smithville man received burns and smoke inhalation while escaping from his home which caught fire around midnight on Pine Grove Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 12:08 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says Jerry Williams of 161 Pine Grove Road was in his bedroom watching television when a fire started in the kitchen. "Shortly after midnight we got a call to go to 161 Pinegrove Road off the Cookeville Highway to a reported structure fire. When we got there we realized that we had a victim and DeKalb EMS was already there treating him. He was apparently the occupant of the home. He lived in his daughter's house. His name is Jerry Williams. He was in the back bedroom watching television. His dog started barking erratically. Williams smelled the smoke and then he opened the bedroom door to investigate what was going on and realized that the house was full of smoke. So he had to get down on his knees to crawl up the hallway to the back of the house where the kitchen was. He saw the kitchen was on fire and he had to go out a door. In the process of getting out, he received some burns to his back, hands, and arms. Also during the course of exiting, he apparently had some respiratory injuries due to breathing in the super heated air. So EMS was treating him and it's my understanding they transported him to DeKalb Community Hospital and he was later transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital. We don't know exactly what caused the fire. We know it started in the kitchen and it's still under investigation. The home was totally destroyed. When we got there the whole back end of the house had fire coming out of the windows and out of the roof. We attempted to make entry through the front to put out the fire but it was already too involved. We had to do an exterior attack just to keep it from spreading to other properties there." Two dogs and a parrot were also lost in the blaze.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Midway, and the Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park October 16th

October 6, 2010
James Edgar Evins Portrayed by James Westerfield
Adam Dale Portrayed by Charles Robinson

Cooler weather, campfires, storytelling, roasting marshmallows – a chance to snuggle down under blankets – all these are pleasant happenings in the fall and are part of Edgar Evins State Park's 5th Annual History Hayride, on Center Hill Lake Saturday, October 16. There are still a number of seats available!

This is a wholesome, family-oriented event rather than a Halloween ride although one of the new characters will be a gravedigger from the 1930s when bodies were exhumed from existing cemeteries to be reinterred during the construction of Center Hill Reservoir. Some of the other characters will include an area moonshiner, a local foxhunter, and the Revolutionary War veteran who founded the town of Liberty. Back by popular demand will be Elizabeth Dale, the lovely daughter of the founder of Liberty who later became known as "The Black Widow of Hazel Green."

Click here to listen to Park Manager Carl Halfacre talk about the History Hayride

As many as nine wagon loads will leave at 30-minute intervals from the park's office at the observation tower. The ride will take approximately 90 minutes to make a complete circuit, stopping at several scenes where costumed re-enactors will present historical sketches.

Hosted by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, this event is an opportunity to learn about the history of the park and the area, while enjoying fresh air and spectacular lake and hillside scenic views. Reserve your spot now as this event sells out quickly! Admission is $10 per person, with all proceeds benefiting the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park whose efforts help improve and preserve the park. Light refreshments also will be served, including marshmallows – and it is recommended you BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) and dress warmly in layers. Phone the park office for reservations: (931) 858-2446 or toll free at (800) 250-8619.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the steep, hilly Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000-acre park provides excellent recreational opportunities and accommodations on one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Tennessee. Wildlife is abundant, including three different owl species, numerous hawks and wintering bald eagles as well as the rare Cerulean Warbler – a summer resident of the park's mixed hardwood forests, which include stands of Tulip Poplar, Oak, Hickory, Buckeye and Wild Cherry. The park was dedicated in 1975 and named for James Edgar Evins, a DeKalb County businessman and mayor of nearby Smithville. As a two-term state senator, Evins was instrumental in the development of Center Hill Dam and Reservoir. For more information about the History Hayride, please call (800) 250-8619. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/EdgarEvins.

7th Annual Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Set for October 29th

October 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor
Courthouse Gang Won Best Chili Award Last Year

Enjoy chili and delicious baked goods while helping raise money for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County during the 7th annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale Friday, October 29th at the 303 building downtown Smithville.

Serving time will be from 10:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. YOU BE THE JUDGE! Purchase your bowl for $5.00 (or $10 for a pottery bowl) and eat all the chili you want from all the teams and vote for your favorite! Come and have lunch. Take out available. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

Tecia Puckett Pryor says the chili cook-off and bake sale is one of two major fundraisers held during the year for Habitat. "We just completed our third Habitat house and we'll be starting on our fourth house next year and we'll be choosing a family this winter. So the proceeds from this year's cook-off will be going toward that house."

The event last year raised approximately $3,500

Last year "The Courthouse Gang" from the DeKalb County Officials won the "Best Chili" award, and "Monster Mash" from the DeKalb County Board of Education followed in second place. In the decorating contest, the "Red Hot Chili Papers" from The Smithville Review won first place honors.

For more information or to enter a team, contact Tecia Pryor at 615-597-7370 or Jeff McMillen at 597-4153.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

City May Apply for Downtown Revitalization Grant

October 6, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen want more information before deciding on whether or not to apply for a downtown revitalization grant.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber announced last week in a press release that applications are now being accepted for Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts. The program is open to communities with downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and whose citizens are ready to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful program "Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization." Applications are available online at www.tennesseemainstreet.org and must be completed by Monday, Nov. 8.

"Having a thriving downtown benefits and promotes economic development efforts for a community and lays the groundwork for a growing local economy," said ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber. "The Tennessee Downtowns program is the first step toward reviving a community's central business district in a comprehensive, sustainable way."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said Monday night during the city council meeting that he would contact the state to learn more about the program. "We'll call and see what the grant match is, if any. I think we have $10,000 in our budget for that project (downtown beautification) but we'll find out what the match is and what's available and what it can be used for."

Alderman Steve White then made a motion that the city "check into it and then move forward it, but first come back with the numbers for final approval."

The aldermen approved White's motion.

Tennessee Downtowns is a tiered program affiliated with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's Tennessee Main Street Program. Communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns will form a volunteer committee of local citizens who will participate in a multi-month training curriculum supported by the National Main Street Center. The curriculum is designed to teach citizens about comprehensive, sustainable downtown revitalization and historic preservation. The training includes attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop and a grant to complete individualized downtown development projects.

Communities participating in the Tennessee Downtowns program may wish to continue a self-initiated downtown revitalization effort at the end of the program or apply for certification in the Tennessee Main Street Program through the competitive application process. Successful completion of the Tennessee Downtowns program does not automatically result in qualification for the Main Street program.

Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district. For information about the Main Street Program and the Main Street Four Point Approach, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/.

Tennessee's Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.

For more information about Tennessee Downtowns, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.

Smithville Man Dies From September 2009 Gunshot Wound in Nashville Shooting

October 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Keith Collier
Donnie G. Taylor

A Smithville man who suffered a gunshot to the abdomen in September 2009 during what his assailant described as an argument over a drug deal died last Friday from complications of the wound.

Based on Saturday’s autopsy findings, the death of Donald Taylor, 61, is being classified as a homicide.

The Metro Nashville Police Department, in a prepared news release states that the suspect in the case, Keith Collier, 45, was indicted last December on charges of especially aggravated robbery, unlawful weapon possession by a convicted felon and drug selling. He remains jailed and is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court next month. South Precinct detectives have made prosecutors aware of Taylor’s death.

Taylor was shot in the 100 block of Lafayette Street in Nashville on the evening of September 1, 2009. Taylor then drove to a convenience market on 8th Avenue South from where he telephoned for help. Investigation by South Precinct Detective Brandon Dozier led to the identification of Collier as the man involved in the fatal confrontation with Taylor.

TDOT Re-Bidding Hurricane Bridge Rehab Project

October 5, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is re-bidding the rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge after rejecting the one and only bid received last month.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer in the Chattanooga TDOT Office told WJLE Monday that bids for the project were due September 17th, but only one bid was submitted. According to Flynn, Bell & Associates of Brentwood bid $39.5 million dollars and TDOT rejected it for being "over estimates" .TDOT officials have said that the estimate for the project is $12 to $15 million dollars.

TDOT is accepting bids again on the project through October 29th. According to the notice posted on TDOT's website, the contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project.

Flynn said the project will entail a rehabilitation of the existing bridge. " The rehabilitation project will replace the deck at the bridge. New guardrails will be installed and it will strengthen the steel structure underneath and make the bridge a lot safer and it won't have to be weight posted anymore upon completion of the project."

The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the fiscal year 2010-11 state budget, which was approved by the legislature this year.

City Seeks Proposals from Those Interested in Managing Golf Course and Swimming Pool

October 5, 2010
Dwayne Page

If you are interested in managing the Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool for the City of Smithville, the mayor and aldermen would like for you to submit a written proposal to the city before the next meeting on October 18th.

The aldermen Monday night voted to seek written proposals from interested parties and publish an advertisement in the local newspapers. The mayor and aldermen stress, however, that the city is not looking for bids to lease the golf course and pool at this time, only proposals to manage the operation for the city.

Alderman Aaron Meeks made the suggestion during Monday night's meeting, "I understand there's some folks interested in taking it over (golf course and pool). I don't know who they are or what they're proposing. I don't have any information other than there are people who have contacted who are interested. Would it be feasible, and we are not asking for bids, to ask whomever these folks may be, to give us a written proposal of what they think they would do if they were able to become the manager of the golf course."

Alderman Steve White said he thought Meeks had a good idea. "I think that would be definitely appropriate."

Farron Hendrix, doing business as Smithville Golf Management LLC has given notice to the mayor and aldermen of his intention to terminate the lease agreement with the city to operate the municipal golf course and swimming pool, effective October 23rd.

In the notice, Hendrix adds "Smithville Golf Management, LLC also agrees to assist the city in the management of the golf club until the new management can be secured."

Basically, the city has two options: To re-bid the lease of the golf course and swimming pool to someone else; or the city could assume control of the operation and hire someone to manage it.

Last month, Alderman Steve White suggested that the city contact the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Recreation Educational Services Division first to see what grant opportunities are available to improve the golf course and pool operation, as well as other city owned parks and recreation areas before taking action on the future of the golf course. White said Monday night that he has tried but has not yet been able to make contact with state officials to set up a meeting.

Mayor Hendrixson last month appointed a committee made up of Aldermen Steve White, W.J.(Dub) White, and Aaron Meeks to join him in setting up a meeting with whoever the state sends here to tour the city's parks and learn more about what funding sources are available to improve and possibly expand the city's existing recreational areas.

Purse Stolen from Car Near Post Office-Police Seek Tips in Solving the Crime

October 4, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving a theft last Thursday, September 30th in which a purse was stolen from an automobile parked near the post office.

According to police, a woman reported that her purse had been stolen out of her car while she was in the Post Office. Witnesses saw a white female in her early 20's with black shoulder length hair run from the area and then stop on the north side of the Post Office by some bushes.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew searched the bushes and found the purse but missing were the victims credit card, cash, checkbook and a Peintex digital camera.

Anyone with information on this or any other offense is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

All information is confidential

Meanwhile in other city crime news, 27 year old Luis Lopes RaBananlos of Adcock Cemetery Road and 31 year old Leonel Sanchez Rodriguez of South Mountain Street were arrested on Saturday, September 25th and charged with simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrests were made by Smithville Police Officers Matt Farmer and James Cornelius in the parking lot of Mapco Express. Officer Farmer saw RaBananlos come out of the store and he appeared to be unsteady on his feet as he got into his vehicle. Officer Farmer walked over to the vehicle and saw, in plain view, a pack of rolling papers. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle from the owner, Rodriguez, three marijuana roaches were found in the ashtray and one was confiscated from the back floor. Bond for each man is $2,000 and their court date is October 7th.

33 year old Brandy Mae Egerton of Big Hurricane Road was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Sunday, September 26th for driving on a suspended license. Egerton was operating a motor vehicle which was stopped for a light violation. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for Egerton is $1,000 and her court date is October 7th.

46 year old Jerry Trent Haas of Streamer Drive was arrested by Officer James Cornelius on Sunday, September 26th for driving under the influence. Officer Cornelius was called to check out a complaint about a man sleeping behind the wheel of a truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Upon speaking with the driver, Haas, Officer Cornelius smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and when he exited the vehicle, he was unsteady on his feet. Haas submitted to sobriety tasks but he performed poorly. Bond for Haas is $1,000 and his court date is October 7th.

34 year old Lynda Michelle Neville of Smith Road was arrested Monday, September 27th by Sergeant Joey Jones for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sergeant Jones was called to check out a complaint about a careless driver on Wal-Mart Drive. As he walked up to the vehicle, Sergeant Jones smelled the odor of marijuana and a marijuana joint was in plain view on the console. Upon a search incident to arrest, Sergeant Jones found a cigarette box containing a pack of rolling papers, a plastic bag that contained marijuana and four marijuana roaches. Bond for Neville is $2,000.

47 year old Kenneth Wayne Vanatta of Snow Street was arrested by K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow on Tuesday, September 28th for domestic assault. Vanatta allegedly hit a family member several times in the face and head with his fist. Bond for Vanatta is $2,500 and his court date is October 6th.

19 year old Anthony Charles South of East Bryant Street was arrested by Detective Matt Holmes on Tuesday, September 28th for theft of property. On Friday, September 24th at City Walk Apartments a cell phone was taken from a vehicle. Three days later, on Monday, September 27th the phone was located by police at McDonald's restaurant. The person the phone was taken from stated that Anthony South gave the phone to him. South initially denied giving the phone to anyone but later admitted to police that he gave the phone away. Bond for South is $1,000 and his court date is October 7th.

21 year old Joshua Dewayne Dishman of McMinnville was cited by Officer David Phillips on Wednesday, September 29th for shoplifting. An employee of the Dollar Store saw Dishman take a pair of sunglasses. Dishman told Officer Phillips that the sunglasses were in his pocket. The court date for Dishman is October 28th.

36 year old Sharon Groshon Malone of South College Street was arrested by Officer Matt Farmer on Wednesday, September 29th for violation of probation, possession of a schedule II & IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Farmer was at Malone's residence to serve a violation of probation warrant and during a search incident to arrest, a metal container was found in her left front pants pocket. Inside the container were four schedule II pills and one schedule IV pill. Six hypodermic needles were also found in the residence. Bond for Malone is $4,500 and her court date is October 21st.

DeKalb Health Department to Offer Flu Vaccine Friday

October 4, 2010
Dwayne Page

Seasonal influenza vaccine is now available at the DeKalb County Health Department. Flu vaccine will be offered on Friday, October 8th at the health department on Tiger Drive from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Please call the health department at 597-7599 to find out the best time to get your flu vaccine.

Seasonal flu is a preventable illness that can be serious and even deadly. Each year, 5 to 20% of the country's population gets seasonal flu. Nationally, thousands of people die from influenza each year, most of them over age 65; however, the flu can cause serious illness for people of any age. The 2009 H1N1 flu strain is expected to come back again this season, and it can be especially hard on children and pregnant women. Last season during the H1N1 pandemic, 13 Tennessee children died of the flu.

The DeKalb County Health Department urges vaccination as the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination. There is no special pandemic vaccine this season; the 2010 seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1 flu, in addition to two other strains of seasonal flu expected to circulate this year. Even if you have already had the H1N1 vaccine, you should still get this year's flu vaccine to protect you from the other strains. Flu vaccine will be plentiful and is already available from many providers, including private physicians and pharmacies.

The cost of the flu shot is $32.00. The health department will bill traditional Medicare-the red, white, and blue card-for those with that coverage, but no Medicare Advantage Plans or private insurance will be billed for the shot.

To make an appointment for vaccination or ask questions about flu vaccine, call the DeKalb County Health Department at 597-7599.

Meanwhile. the Family Medical Center is administering flu shots at both locations, Smithville and Alexandria any day that the office is open, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until close, which is usually at 5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Flu shots are covered by most insurances, and the Family Medical Center will file those for the patients.

This year's flu shot contains not only the traditional A & B strains, but also H1N1. The Family Medical Center has plenty of vaccines for those ages 6 months and older. FluMist, the intra-nasal attenuated live vaccine for healthy individuals ages 2 to 49 is also available.

Patients may call either office with any additional questions – Family Medical Center – Smithville (615) 597-4395 or Alexandria Family Medical Center – (615) 529-2116.

Sheriff's Department Makes Three Arrests for Traffic Offenses

October 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Brandon Keith Thomas

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made three arrests last week for traffic offenses.

25 year old Brandon Keith Thomas of West Broad Street was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence on Friday, October 1st.

Sheriff Ray says an officer was on West Bryant Street when he met a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. After passing the officer, the vehicle then ran off the road. The deputy turned around and stopped to investigate. He noticed that the driver, Thomas, had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Thomas submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed but he refused to submit to a blood test

Bond for Thomas is $1,500 and his court date is October 21s. Thomas was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law for failure to submit to a blood test.

25 year old John Bryan Pedigo of Lee Homer Road, Smithville was charged Friday, October 1st with a first offense of driving on a revoked license.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a deputy, while on routine patrol on Dry Creek Road, noticed Pedigo operating a motor vehicle. Having prior knowledge of Pedigo's license being revoked, the officer made a traffic stop. A computer check confirmed that Pedigo's license were revoked for failure to file security after an accident on May 10th.

Bond for Pedigo is $1,500 and he will be in court on October 28th.

49 year old Jesse Lynn Epps was charged Saturday, October 2nd with driving on a revoked license.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy, while on routine patrol saw a vehicle turn into a business on Highway 70 east. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Epps who said his license were revoked. A computer check verified that his license were revoked for a DUI conviction on August 25th, 2005 in Warren County,

Bond for Epps is $1,500 and his court date is November 3rd.


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