Local News Articles

City May Set Up Porta Potties For Swimming Pool Crowds This Summer

April 6, 2012
Dwayne Page

Should porta potties be set up to accommodate anticipated larger crowds at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool this summer?

The aldermen Monday night decided to check with the health department to find out if inspectors would approve porta potties, even if only on a temporary basis until the city decides if it wants to build a permanent restroom facility there.

Restrooms are already available at the golf course for swimmers but after an increase in pool activity last summer, Alderman Steve White said more restroom facilities are needed. The issue has been raised more than once in recent months but so far no action has been taken.

Alderman White, who presided over the meeting Monday night in Mayor Taft Hendrixson's absence due to an illness, brought up the subject again. 'We talked about this back in December, and here it is April and we're still not any further along than what we were then," said White

Alderman Danny Washer suggested that since pool season opens soon, the city should look into the possibility of setting up porta potties, at least for this year to gauge how much they are used and to perhaps look at a long-term fix for next year, if there is a need. "To see how its going to work out, why not get porta potties for this year, because its going to push us right now," said Washer. "Try porta potties that are handicapped accessible. They have them. They come with sinks in them. They maintain them and everything. Try that for this season and see how that works out and that will give us plenty of time to see what we need to do for next year," said Washer.

Alderman White objected to the porta potty idea, saying he thought it might pose a sanitary health concern and environmental risk to the pool, especially if vandals were to turn them over. "I would be definitely against the porta potties just because of the sanitary part of it, with it being a temporary thing, and the vandalism thing. I'm also pretty sure that the porta potties would not be approved by the health department either," said White.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix said porta potties might be the answer in the short term, especially during peak usage times at the pool, until a plan can be drawn up and proposed for permanent restroom facilities. She said the aldermen need to see a plan that includes costs estimates and where such a building would be erected on the grounds. "As he (Washer) was saying for this season, maybe try this especially during the busiest weekends. But we need to see a plan. We discussed maybe something like they have at the lake, concrete blocks with maybe two women and two mens (restrooms). Where are you going to put it? Are you going to put it in front of the pool? Are you going to put it behind the pool? We don't have a drawing. We don't know what we're looking at. We don't know how much money and pool season starts in six weeks," said Hendrix.

Alderman White replied "What I'm talking about is something similar like we did out there at the airport (park). With our employees doing most of the work, probably five to six thousand dollars would fund a four commode bathroom."

Alderman Hendrix asked "Why don't we check on the cost of having the handicapped accessible porta potties for the busiest times and weekends at the pool? Then Hunter (Hendrixson) can look up what it cost to build the bathrooms at the airport park. We can look a little bit closer at the pool area and come up with a feasible place to put it. I think the front of the pool would not be a good idea. I think that would look bad. Maybe if we can get an estimate on prices and get a design and a place, it might be something we can have completed by the end of the season. We're coming up here and discussing it but we're not bringing any concrete information," said Hendrix.

Meanwhile, Alderman White said existing bathroom stalls at the golf course will have to be modified to make them handicapped accessible, but he added that this would not be too expensive.

The city is also apparently making plans to purchase a portable chairlift to make the pool more handicapped accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ADA requirements were to have been met by March 15th, but officials say the U.S. Justice Department has granted the hotel industry at least a 60-day extension for complying with a new rule aimed at making existing hotel pools compliant. City officials say that extension also applies locally.

Beer Board Keeps VFW on Suspension for at Least Another Month

April 5, 2012
Dwayne Page

The VFW Club will be without a beer permit for at least another month.

Quartermaster Thomas Skelenka appeared before the DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night to inquire about when the VFW can get back its permit. Until then, the club cannot sell beer.

The beer permit was suspended last month following an undercover investigation into allegations of illegal sales of liquor. Agents of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the VFW club on the Sparta Highway March 15 seizing gambling machines, a raffle prize, and cash.

Operators of the VFW allegedly kept selling liquor, even after letting their liquor license expire.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said he was instructed by former beer board chairman Mack Harney to take the VFW's beer permit after operators of the club were issued citations for selling liquor without a license and for possession of gambling devices. Sheriff Ray said he retrieved the permit and surrendered it to the county clerk, pending a final decision by the beer board.

Skelenka told the beer board that while the club can remain open, it cannot survive financially without a beer permit. He said membership has dropped off and unless business picks up and new members can be recruited, the club, which has been in operation since 1946, could go bankrupt and close its doors.

Beer Board members Thursday night voted to have county attorney Hilton Conger attend the next meeting in May to render a legal opinion on how to handle the situation with the VFW since the allegations have to do with liquor and gambling, something the beer board has no control over. The question beer board members want to know is whether the actions of the VFW constitute a violation of their beer permit and whether the beer board should impose further sanctions or civil penalties.

AS WJLE first reported last month, Special Agent Brad Allison said the investigation by the ABC began after complaints surfaced about the VFW. "The Alcoholic Beverage Commission received an anonymous complaint about the VFW in Smithville selling liquor without a license. The complaint was given to the ABC Cookeville Office who researched to see if the VFW currently had a liquor license and they did not. At that time they executed an undercover operation at the establishment and were able to purchase liquor from the bartender inside the VFW. After purchasing the liquor, they then prepared and executed a search warrant on Thursday, March 15. At that time during the search warrant, there were approximately fifty bottles of liquor that were seized; four gambling machines; several envelopes with various amounts of money in the envelopes with some labeled "race boards", some labeled "dice". There was a TV seized that was in a box labeled "raffle" with the amount of the price for the raffle tickets written on the box," said Allison

As a result of the investigation, bartender Brian Soye was cited for unlawful sale of alcohol and quartermaster Thomas Skelenka was issued citations for storage of alcohol for sale and possession of gambling devices. All are misdemeanor offenses.

Beer Board Member Takes Issue with County Commission

April 5, 2012
Dwayne Page

As the DeKalb County Beer Board voted Thursday night to issue permits to five businesses, one member spoke out against the county commission for the way they went about changing the minimum distance regulations in February.

Second district beer board member Frank Thomas said he wasn't pleased that the county commission voted to make the change on a night when two members of the commission, previously opposed to it, were absent. "The wool was pulled over our (beer board members) eyes by changing the distance from 2,000 to 800 feet. It was sneaked in on us," said Thomas.

Even though the issue was not on the agenda, the commissioners in February, by a vote of seven to five, adopted a motion to reduce the minimum distance requirement from 2,000 feet to 800 feet between stores seeking to sell beer and places of public gathering such as churches and schools.

Last December, some members of the commission tried to change the distance requirement from 2,000 feet to 400 feet but that proposal died on a seven to seven tie vote. All members were present that night but eight votes were needed for passage and County Mayor Mike Foster refused to break the tie.

"The commission voted on it and had a tie vote (in December)," said Thomas. "The county executive could have broke the vote (tie) either way but he wouldn't. He said he didn't want to make nobody mad either way. But he didn't give a damn who he made mad down here (beer board). But then it come up again (in February) when they (county commission) found out two of them wouldn't gonna be there at the meeting. One of them (commissioners) had to be out of town on a trip. The other was out of town on account of sickness,' said Thomas

The 2,000 foot distance regulation is the maximum allowed under state law and it had not been changed since the county adopted it in October 1939, until the meeting in February.

During Thursday night's meeting, the beer board voted to issue an on and off premises permit to Viva Gail Johnson at Jewel's Market and Pizza at 600 North Congress Boulevard; to Araceli Godinez Soto of Nicole's Market at 7221 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville; and to the North Alabama Bank and Bank of Lincoln County for Back 9, LLC doing business as Riverwatch at 167 Highland Trail, Sparta (DeKalb County)

The beer board also voted to issue an off premises permit to Jesus Villa at the Stop Market , LLC at 3794 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville; and to Debra Sacran of D & D Market at 7166 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville.
All applicants apparently meet all the requirements, including the new minimum distance regulations.

The vote was four to one to issue a permit to Jewels Market and Pizza, Nicole's Market, and D& D Market. Board member Frank Thomas asked for a roll call vote and he "passed" when his name was called. These three businesses had been unable to sell beer under the 2,000 foot rule.

The vote was five to nothing to issue permits to the Back 9, LLC, and the Stop Market. Thomas voted in favor apparently because those locations have had permits to sell beer in the past and now have new operators making application.

Meanwhile, two other businesses are seeking an on and off premises permit to sell beer, the Company Store near Cove Hollow and the Sharpe Lodge on the Cookeville Highway. The beer board Thursday night accepted the applications and will take a final vote on issuance of the permits at the next meeting in May. The Company Store already has an on premises permit, but is now seeking to sell beer for consumption off the premises as well.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of long time member and chairman Mack Harney of the seventh district, who stepped down after last month's meeting. The board also named member Edward Frazier as the new Chairman and Robert Rowe as Vice Chairman.

Sixth district board member Harrell Tolbert last month announced his resignation from the board. Because of redistricting, Tolbert has been moved from the sixth district to the fifth district and can no longer serve the sixth district as a beer board member. The county will have to appoint a new member to succeed both Tolbert and Harney.

Darrin Vincent To Speak at Chamber Banquet

April 5, 2012
Darrin Vincent

Darrin Vincent of the award-winning bluegrass duo, Dailey and Vincent will be the keynote speaker for the Chamber of Commerce Membership Dinner and Awards Banquet set for Tuesday, April 24 at the new County Complex, 732 South Congress Boulevard. Vincent and his daughter Victoria will also be providing musical entertainment for the program.

Dailey and Vincent took home seven awards at the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year.

"We are excited to again host this enjoyable and informative event. This year, we are celebrating our 49th year as a Chamber. We invite you to share in this fun-filled night of dining, entertainment, and the latest updates from the Chamber including the introduction of our new Board members and 2012 Officers,” said Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams.

The special evening begins at 5:30 PM with a “Silent Auction.” The dinner and program start at 6:00 PM. Dinner music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell. Victoria Vincent will sing the National Anthem as Boy Scout Troop #347 present the flags. The delicious meal will be prepared by Chef Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2012 will serve the meal.

Leadership DeKalb Alumni will announce their “Legacy” and “Community Leader of the Year” awards.

Corporate Sponsors for this event are Caney Fork Electric, DeKalb Community Bank, DeKalb Community Hospital, DTC Communications / DTC Wireless, FirstBank, Liberty State Bank, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Regions Bank, and WalMart.

Please contact the Chamber office at 597-4163 for more information, to donate a silent auction item, door prize, or to become a Corporate Sponsor. Banquet tickets prices are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the Chamber or from the Chamber Board of Directors.

Evins and Hale In The Race for Fifth District School Board Seat

April 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III
Kevin D. Hale
Doug Stephens

Fifth district school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III will be challenged for re-election in the August 2nd DeKalb County General Election.

Kevin D. Hale will be running against Evins for the position. Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline.

Meanwhile, Doug Stephens, recently appointed by the county commission to fill the unexpired term of Bruce Parsley on the school board in the sixth district, will be unopposed in the August 2nd election. Boyd Trapp had picked up a qualifying petition from the election commission but did not return it.

The terms of the school board positions are for four years.

The last day to register to vote in the school board election is July 3.

Meanwhile, a mayor and two aldermen are to be elected in the Dowelltown Municipal election on August 2 but only two candidates names will be on the ballot. Incumbent Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Incumbent Alderman Joe Bogle will be seeking re-election unopposed. Incumbent Alderman Elizabeth Redmon did not qualify to seek re-election. No one else qualified to run either. Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline.

The terms of office of the mayor and aldermen in Dowelltown are for four years.

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The seats are held by Todd Dodd, Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal. Dwight Mathis, Paul M. Neal and Jason Ray all qualified to run for alderman. Dodd will not be seeking re-election. Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline

The terms of office for the mayor and aldermen in Liberty are for four years.

The last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver in the 40th district and State Representative Mark Pody of the 46th district will be running unopposed in the August 2nd Tennessee Republican Primary.

Wesley Duane Hodges of Gallatin and Sara Marie Smith of Carthage will be seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in the 40th district in the August 2nd Tennessee Democratic Primary.

The qualifying deadline was noon today (Thursday). The last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

The term of office of the State Representative is for two years.

Petition Drive Seeks City Referendum on Allowing Liquor Sales in Restaurants

April 4, 2012
Dwayne Page
Petition Drive Seeks Referendum on Liquor Sales in Smithville Restaurants

A local businessman has started a petition drive calling for a public referendum in the Smithville Municipal Election June 19 to allow the licensed sales of alcoholic beverages including liquor in city restaurants.

The petition, circulated by Randy Paris, seeks to "authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville". Only 90 valid signatures are needed to get the referendum on the June 19 city election ballot.

The petition states "we, the registered voters of the City of Smithville, do hereby request the holding of a local option election to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville as provided by law".

Paris, in a telephone interview with WJLE Wednesday, said this is a way to boost the local economy and bring in more tax revenue. "We're a tourist town. We have a ton of people who come from Nashville, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, and other places to use our lake and this is a way to capture some of this outside money. When I had the boat dealership (Smithville Marine), the majority of my business and the sales tax that I collected was from out of town like Nashville, Brentwood and Murfreesboro who use the lake. This is a great opportunity to generate some revenue. There's so much money being left on the table. It'll help the development of the town as a whole," said Paris.

"This would allow a restaurant to serve wine or beer with your meal," said Paris. That opens up the door for other businesses to locate in this town. The city can use that (tax) money for a lot of good things," he said.

While the move is certain to generate opposition, Paris said he expects to receive more than enough signatures on the petition to get the measure on the city ballot June 19. "There is a whole lot of support," he said.

Paris owns a laundry mat and car wash, and he rents out several commercial properties in the area. His wife also operates a local business.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections said that "State law allows individuals to submit a properly worded petition calling for such a referendum. In this case, the referendum is for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises within the Smithville City Limits."

Under the law, Stanley said such a petition must be presented to the election commission office no later than 45 days before the Smithville Municipal Election, which is set for June 19.

"Based on TCA 57-3-196(C), the petition must be signed by 10% or more of the registered voters voting for Governor in the last election in the city," Stanley said. "There were 891 registered Smithville voters who voted in the November, 2010 election, thus the petition will only require 90 valid signatures."

If the petition is returned by the deadline and includes the required number of signatures by registered voters in Smithville, the issue will be placed on the June 19 ballot.

TCA 57-3-101 (A) states that "alcoholic beverage means and includes alcohol, spirits, liquor, wine, high alcohol content beer, and every liquid containing alcohol, spirits, wine and high alcohol content beer and capable of being consumed by a human being, other than patent medicine or beer, as defined in 57-5-101 (b).

The City of Smithville has a beer board that issues permits to eligible applicants for the sale of beer within the city limits. But the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission would apparently have the sole authority over the issuance of liquor licenses for consumption on the premises.

Fire Chief Says City Still in Running for FEMA SAFER GRANT

April 4, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Fire Department has not yet heard from its application for a FEMA SAFER grant for hiring of full time firefighters.

While Mayor Taft Hendrixson believes Chief Charlie Parker filed for the wrong grant and has no chance of it being approved, Parker said Monday night, the city is still in the running. "Mayor Hendrixson had been advised from Congressman Black's office and sources in Washington that we had applied for the wrong grant completely," said Chief Parker. "That was not my understanding but I didn't have the paperwork with me at the last meeting. On page three of the guide under the eligibility requirements it says volunteer fire departments may apply for funding in the following categories: #1 is "Hiring of Firefighters Category (hiring career firefighters)". The second category is the "Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters". You can apply for both if you do two applications. As I stated at the last meeting, I was really under the gun trying to do this and I barely did get the one in that I chose to. On the last page of that guide, it also has the "Specific funding parameters". It says that "10% of the grant monies is set aside for grants awarded to volunteer or mostly volunteer departments for hiring of firefighters." So in my thinking, that means they're setting 10% money back to hire new hires for volunteer departments. That's the reason why I decided to go for the grant that we did. The mayor has said we had no chance. We may get turned down tomorrow. I don't know. But as of 6:00 p.m. this evening (Monday) we've still not received any turn down notice or denial of the grant. To my knowledge we're still in the running," he said.

Chief Parker said the grant would fund up to three positions. "What I have proposed in this grant is for an administrative person and two forty hour per week positions. We'd have an administrator to take care of some of the paperwork and then we would have two people here on a forty hour per week job. That's basically forty hours per week during the day. We're extremely short during the daytime hours. Most of these guys and gals work at the factories and its getting to where they can't leave(work) anymore. Its hard on the factories to let some of them out because they have production they have to meet so unless its something extremely important, its hard for them to leave. Most of the maintenance has to be done during the daytime. So if we can get two people on a forty hour per week job we can take care of some of the maintenance and testing. Right now, if we need supplies, bulbs, things like this, somebody has got to take off during the day and go to the parts store or go to the shed. We need somebody to do that during the daytime. There's a lot of little things that eats up time that really nobody thinks about. We've got to do something. If we can get a two year period where we can prove ourselves (with paid firefighters) we may be able to lower our ISO ratings. I've talked to our ISO representative. If we added some people, even on a forty hour a week basis, it would go toward our ISO total scores to help us lower that, which would in turn lower insurance rates for everybody. There's several people in the city that may never need a fire truck. But when you need one, you want one then and you expect it then. There are a lot of people who don't have need of our services. That's great. But most everybody does pay insurance and if we can help lower the insurance rates for your home or business that's a benefit year after year. We're striving for better fire protection for the city of Smithville. We've got to find that niche that we can afford. I feel the people of Smithville need good fire protection. I think they deserve it. When industry comes to town, they look at these things. When they decide to relocate, they look at fire protection. They look at insurance classifications. They look at several things when they come in so we want to do our part to try and make it appealing to industry to relocate here too," said Chief Parker.

Grand Jury Indicts Cookeville Man in Alexandria Kidnapping Case

April 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Courtney D. Barrett

A Cookeville man was indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday on charges of kidnapping and assaulting his uncle and a woman at a residence on Avant Circle in Alexandria last November.

23 year old Courtney D. Barrett faces two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault. The case was investigated by Sergeant Chris Russell of the Alexandria Police Department.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that on Tuesday, November 1 Barrett allegedly kidnapped Glenda Hutchinson at 127 Avant Circle by forcing his way into the residence, holding her at gunpoint and threatening to kill her. He allegedly forced her into the bathroom and told her not to move until he left.

While in the home, Barrett is also accused of kidnapping his uncle Roger Barrett at gunpoint, hitting him with his fist and the gun, causing serious bodily injuries. He was forced into the bathroom where he stayed until Courtney Barrett left. Roger Barrett was later taken to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

A county deputy backed up Sergeant Russell at the scene.

Barrett was among forty four people indicted by the grand jury this week including one named in a sealed indictment. All those indicted will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, April 9 at 9:00 a.m.

Others indicted and their charges are as follows:

Tommy Parsley- Reckless endangerment, evading arrest (2 counts), and a 6th offense of driving on a suspended license

Jefry Vincent Overall- Leaving the scene of an accident

Mistey Dawn Barnes- Possession of a schedule II for Resale, driving under the influence, possession of paraphernalia, and a second offense of driving on a revoked license

James Robert Fuson- driving under the influence

Travis Joe Davenport- Possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale and possession of paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license

Kenny W. Dyal, Jr.- Theft over $1,000

Justin A. Cantrell- Initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine

Lonnie Wheeler- Driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Brandon Matthew Byford- Falsifying a drug test, disorderly conduct, theft under $500 (2 counts), criminal trespassing, filing a false report, carrying a prohibited weapon, and resisting arrest

Fred Thomas Dowell, Jr.- False report, driving on a revoked license, leaving the scene of an accident, a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia, possession of a weapon by a felon

Jeffery L. Sanders- Vandalism over $1,000; Vandalism over $500; escape; theft over $500, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, possession of a schedule II and IV controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct, theft under $500

Jeffery L. Sanders and Billy Crook- Theft over $1,000 and filing a false report

Joshua Lynne Batey- Forged prescription and theft over $1,000 (2 counts)

Ernest Bane- Driving on a revoked license, aggravated assault

Art Dawson- Domestic assault, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault

Elsie M. Judkins- Aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000.

Michael Brandon Colwell- Attempted burglary, burglary (2 counts), theft under $500 (5 counts), auto burglary (4 counts), theft over $500 (2 counts) vandalism over $1,000, carrying a prohibited weapon, resisting arrest

Scotty W. Knowles- Driving on a suspended license, failure to appear, and possession of paraphernalia

Donna Overall Blankenship- Theft under $500

Josh L. Tate- Theft under $500

Joshua L. Jones- Burglary and theft over $1,000

Joshua L. Jones and Daniel Lee Taylor- Theft over $1,000

Lynn Jones- Initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia

Shannon Newby- Aggravated burglary (3 counts) and theft over $1,000 (3 counts), burglary (2 counts), theft under $500, theft over $1,000 (3 counts), theft over $500

Joshua J. Bain- a second offense of driving under the influence, driving on revoked license, and reckless driving

Clayton Bradley Lance- Violation of the habitual motor offender order, a second offense of driving under the influence, and possession of a schedule III controlled substance

Hani Mohamad Ittayem- Reckless endangerment and evading arrest with a motor vehicle

William H. Bogle, Jr.- Hindering a secured creditor; Fraudulent transfer of a vehicle

Johnny Lynn Devault- Hindering a secured creditor

Latasha N. Cantrell- Possession of paraphernalia (2 counts), initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine.

Lisa Porterfield-Theft over $1,000

Teresa Thomas- Possession of a schedule III controlled substance with intent to sell and deliver ( 2 counts), possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with intent to sell and deliver; sale and delivery of a schedule VI controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia

Shane N. Miller- Theft under $500 (3 counts)

Nena Renea Chapman- Aggravated burglary and theft over $500

Michael Stewart Brown- Possession of a schedule V controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia

David Dixon- Possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and public intoxication

Stephen Pugh- a second offense of driving under the influence, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked license.

Ricky Allen Ashford, Jr.- Theft over $1,000 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Courtney D. Barrett- Aggravated kidnaping (2 counts) and aggravated assault (2 counts)

Jeremy Shelton and Jennifer Johnson- Aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Timothy L. Caldwell- Driving under the influence

Joe Anthony Young- Driving under the influence (2 counts) and leaving the scene of an accident, theft over $500.

City to Seek Bids to Purchase Ladder Truck for Fire Department

April 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
City Fire Department Seeks Aerial Ladder Truck similar to vehicle shown here

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department may soon get an aerial ladder truck.

On a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Smithville City Council Monday night approved a motion offered by Alderman Shawn Jacobs to advertise for bids for a new or demonstration ladder truck and to fund it under a lease purchase plan.

Alderman Jacobs made the motion after reading a letter addressed to him from the wife of one of the city volunteer fire fighters. In the letter, Lori Poss, wife of John Poss made a plea for a ladder truck and for paid firefighters "It's the job that they train for hours on end because they care about our city and the people in it. This is why I have no problem asking our mayor, city aldermen, those running for these offices, and the citizens of Smithville to consider a full time department and a ladder truck. We do not ask our police officers to go into a domestic without a gun, nor do we ask our EMS to work a wreck without an ambulance. So why would we ask our firefighters to go to a building fully engulfed without the proper equipment and gear? We do not ask our other emergency services to be volunteers. So why should we expect our firefighters to volunteer their services when it is such a dangerous job?," she wrote.

In making the motion, Alderman Jacobs said "given the facts detailed in this letter, reaction from the recent fire department ladder truck informational meeting, and comments from numerous other city residents, I make the following motion. That the city immediately advertise for bids for a new or demonstration ladder truck meeting the specifications enumerated by Chief Parker and that said ladder truck be paid for under a lease purchase plan or financial arrangement as determined by this board as the plan most beneficial to the city. Since the city has more than the anticipated cost of the ladder truck in its financial reserves, this should result in no tax increase," said Alderman Jacobs.

This action comes almost three weeks after members of the fire department unveiled their recommendation for purchasing a 75 foot ladder truck during a public forum at city hall.

During that forum, Chief Charlie Parker said the department is suggesting that the mayor and aldermen include funds in the budget to make a down payment and enter into a five year lease purchase agreement. "Our recommendation is a 75 foot ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon a minute pump which gives us a 1,500 gallon a minute water way. It also has a 300 gallon tank and it carries hose and other equipment so we can use it as a first line engine also. We can count it as an engine and a ladder truck.. Our recommendation is to put a down payment down and do a lease purchase. We're looking at a five year lease purchase. This is a year to year lease. Once you make a substantial deposit, it is on a year to year lease. We think the lease purchase is probably the best way to keep some money in the bank and still accomplish what we need," said Chief Parker.

Asked about the price of such a truck, Chief Parker said the costs vary but the price on the demo truck that the department tested recently was around $680,000.

The city fire department would have a total of three trucks in the fleet with the addition of a ladder truck including a 2001 and a 1992 model.

Earlier in the meeting last night (Monday), concerned citizen Faye Sandosky suggested that the aldermen investigate further the need for a ladder truck as well as paid firefighters and then let those decisions be made in a public referendum. "Before buying a ladder truck, I think we need to know how many ladder truck necessary fires we have per year. We also need to define what we do with the two trucks we now own. Maybe if we have fewer than ten structure fires per year on average, maybe we don't need a full time force waiting at the station. I'm not clear on exactly what they would be doing. We, the citizens and taxpayers need to know how these initiatives separately or together affect the current tax base. So I think before the board starts serious deliberations about if and how to spend the citizens reserve funds, we need more facts based on what we have to have, not what we would like to have. I do want to be clear that our firemen certainly sacrifice a lot along with their families to keep us safe and I appreciate everything that they do. I thank them for everything they do. Finally, I just might add that an appropriate response to these two high ticketed initiatives might be a public referendum," said Sandosky.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson was absent Monday night due to an illness. Alderman Steve White, who serves as Vice Mayor, presided over the meeting.

Arrest Made in Liberty Home Burglary

April 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
Justin Larry Thomas
Desiree Snyder
Nola Jean Farmer
Domingo Lopez Gomez

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent home burglary and theft in Liberty.

25 year old Justin Larry Thomas of Old Alexandria Road, Watertown is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. He was arrested on Tuesday, March 27. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on April 19

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Tuesday March 20, Thomas allegedly broke into a residence on Choctaw Ridge Road, Liberty by going through a basement door with the intent to commit a felony. While there, Thomas allegedly took four gold rings valued at more than $1,000.

27 year old Desiree Snyder is charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine and two counts of prescription fraud. She was arrested on Tuesday, March 27. Her bond is $20,000 and she will be in court on April 5.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, March 25 at the Snyder residence on Barnes Mill Road, she admitted to purchasing pseudoephedrine for people she knew was manufacturing methamphetamine. She allegedly bought pseudoephedrine on February 14th, 27th, 28th, March 13th & 19th. She was blocked on March 5th & 14th from buying any more pseudoephedrine because she had already bought her limit.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, March 6 Snyder allegedly obtained from a local pharmacy Claritin D by a fraudulent prescription. A doctor's name was on the prescription but he made a statement to drug detectives that he did not authorize any medication at any pharmacy for Snyder. The doctor said Snyder had not been in his office since November 12, 2009.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, March 19 Snyder allegedly obtained Claritin D at another local pharmacy by a fraudulent prescription. A doctor's D.E.A. number was given to obtain the prescription. The doctor, a different physician than in the March 6th case, said he did not authorize the prescription and that the last time he saw Snyder was in October, 2011.

32 year old Jamie Edward Carroll of Gentry Avenue, Smithville is charged with a fifth offense of driving on a revoked license. Carroll was also issued a citation for violation of the light law. Carroll was arrested on Tuesday, March 27. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court April 26.

Sheriff Ray reports that on March 27 Carroll was stopped by an officer for a light law violation on Highway 56. He had an ID only. A computer check revealed that his drivers license were revoked. Other offenses against him were on February 3, 2009 and February 28, 2008 in DeKalb County and January 16, 2007 and February 5, 2002 in Cannon County.

22 year old David Braxton White of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Wednesday, March 28 for failure to maintain his lane of travel and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will be in court on April 12. Sheriff Ray said that White's automobile was pulled over by an officer on the Cookeville Highway for failing to maintain his lane of travel. The vehicle was searched and a pipe was found, believed to be used to smoke marijuana.

53 year old Lola Dean Minton of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court April 5. Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, March 29 Minton came to court under the influence. The judge ordered her to be placed in custody. She was brought to the DeKalb County jail and charged with public intoxication. She had an odor of alcohol on her person and she had trouble keeping her balance.

53 year old Nola Jean Farmer is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a revoked license. Her car was also seized. Farmer's bond is $7,000 and she will be in court April 5. Farmer was arrested on Friday, March 30

Sheriff Ray reports that on March 29, Farmer was operating a vehicle on Highway 146 when she became involved in a crash. She had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and she was very unsteady on her feet. Farmer was unable to perform field sobriety tasks and she was transported to the hospital for a blood alcohol test. Other offenses against her were on October 26, 2004, July 25, 2002, and April 8th, 1997 in Putnam County. A computer check revealed that her drivers license were revoked for DUI.

21 year old Domingo Lopez Gomez of White Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Gomez was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law, violation of the financial responsibility and registration law, and no drivers license. He will be in court April 26. His bond is $2,500. He is being held for the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) because he is believed to be an illegal immigrant.

According to Sheriff Ray, Gomez was operating a vehicle April 1 on Highway 56 when he became involved in a crash. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Gomez admitted to drinking ten beers. He was unable to perform field sobriety tasks because of a language barrier. Gomez was unsteady on his feet and he refused to submit to a blood test.


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