Local News Articles

Center Hill Seepage Rehabilitation is in a transition period

December 9, 2010

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced today a normal decrease in construction activity at Center Hill Dam as the Seepage Rehabilitation project transitions from first phase grout placement to the next phase of constructing a foundation barrier wall.

"We want to assure the public there is no reason for concern if they notice a lull in activity," said Project Manager Linda Adcock. "The grouting contract is basically complete and proposals for constructing a foundation barrier wall are currently being evaluated."

The seepage rehabilitation plan is a combination of grouting and construction of a continuous concrete barrier wall for long-term stability. The District anticipates awarding the 2.5-year-long contract to construct the permanent seepage barrier for the earthen dam's foundation in the spring of 2011.

"A vertical concrete wall, at least 2-feet thick, will be constructed through the earthen dam and into the rock foundation below to prevent seepage from harming the foundation," Adcock added.

Awarded in March 2008, the grouting contract was the first major contract of the seepage rehabilitation effort and is essentially complete. The grouting filled voids and soil-filled openings in the rock foundation and prepared for the safe construction of a concrete barrier wall. More than 1.5 million gallons of grout have been successfully placed in the rock foundation along the 800-foot-long earthen dam, 2,700-foot-long left rim and 700 feet downstream of the earthen dam, making the dam safer according to Adcock.

The problem was identified through long-term dam monitoring and stems from the type of karstic limestone rock on which the dam was constructed in the late 1940s.

A study is also underway to determine if rehabilitation is needed in the foundation for the earthen saddle dam built to fill a low area about 1,500 feet east of the main dam and should be concluded in early 2011.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $295 million, with about $120 million spent to date on investigations and construction.

The Corps plans to maintain Center Hill lake levels as it has in recent years, targeting a summer high of 630 feet above mean sea level and a winter pool of about 620 feet; however, day-to-day lake levels are highly weather-dependent.

Additional information is available at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill/index.htm.

Counterfeit Bills Showing up in Smithville

December 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Counterfeit bill passed at a local business (Police have covered the serial #)
Counterfeit $100 Bill Passed at Local Business
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

Counterfeit bills are showing up in Smithville

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said some phony $20 and $100 bills have been passed recently at a few local businesses and he is urging all store owners and operators to watch closely and mark any bills that may arouse your suspicion.

According to Chief Caplinger, a tell tale sign could be someone trying a use a large bill to buy a small amount of merchandise, in order to receive a large amount of change in return. "As the holiday season is getting closer, we're getting a lot more counterfeit bills that are being passed at our businesses here in town. The main denominations we're finding are $20 dollar bills. We're also finding a few $100 bills. A lot of the vendors do mark those. What we're finding mainly are the $20 bills. We're asking that all vendors especially be careful this time of year and mark those bills if at all possible and check them before they leave. Anyone who observes someone passing a counterfeit bill, we'd appreciate them giving us a call to let us know who it is or we'll come to the scene and take the bill and also question the people involved. We've been to five locations so far this week. We're getting calls from drugs stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and Wal-mart has had some. No one is safe from being hit. Anyone who accepts currency is susceptible to being hit."

Chief Caplinger said no arrests have yet been made but a few persons of interest have been questioned. " We have some persons of interest who we're talking to and we hope that'll lead us further in finding out where these bills are actually coming from."

The Smithville Police Department is being assisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in the investigation.

If you have questions or information that could help solve the case, contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210.

Smithville Among Communities Selected for Tennessee Downtowns Revitalization Program

December 8, 2010
Suzanne Williams

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today announced the 12 communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts.

The selected communities are: McKenzie, Henderson, Athens, Linden, Red Boiling Springs, Smithville, Centerville, Brownsville, Lewisburg, Mountain City, Rockwood and Pikeville.

“The Tennessee Downtowns program is the first step toward reviving a community’s central business district in a comprehensive, sustainable way,” said ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber. “We applaud each of the selected communities for reaching this milestone and look forward to partnering with them in future endeavors.”

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.

The 12 selected communities are each home to downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and have demonstrated their readiness to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization.” The highly competitive selection process was based on five core criteria: historic resources, need (economic and physical), demonstrated local effort, overall presentation and probability of success.

“Tennessee Downtowns will be a vital resource and a basis of support for downtown revitalization efforts for the participating communities,” said Rick Meredith, assistant commissioner for Community Development at ECD. “I am confident that each community will see a strong return on their investment of time and resources, and we look forward to being a part of that investment.”

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber, made application for the Tennessee Downtown Program on behalf of the city of Smithville and was very encouraged and excited upon hearing the news about Smithville being one of the 12 chosen cities. “Smithville’s Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Secretary/Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, City of Smithville Aldermen, and the Downtown Merchants Association along with our new TN Downtowns Program steering committee members are committed to working hard and doing what it takes to help revitalize our public square. Our aim is to partner together to help create a renewed sense of pride and excitement about our downtown. We want to develop an attainable but challenging plan, create a business environment conducive to entrepreneurship, stir up interest and enthusiasm, and promote volunteerism so people will have a real vested interest and a sense of pride in the project. We want to see the all the vacant buildings downtown filled with thriving businesses again,” says Williams.

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.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd or www.investtennessee.org.

Temperance Hall Community Home Destroyed by Fire

December 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Carl Montgomery Home Destroyed by Fire

A man and his grandson were left homeless after a fire destroyed their residence at 138 Old Temperance Hall Road Monday night.

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were called to the home of Carl Montgomery around 6:00 p.m. after a passerby spotted flames coming from the residence and called 911 to report it. Neither Montgomery nor his grandson were at home at the time and no one was injured.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said when firefighters arrived they found flames coming through the roof and back side of the house. The home could not be saved. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to other structures nearby.

The home and all contents were destroyed.

Chief Green said it appeared the fire started from a back bedroom. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Temperance Hall, Liberty, Main Station, and tanker truck responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

DMS Students Participate in Jr. Beta Convention

December 7, 2010
Kesley Hedge Ran Unsuccessfully for State Chaplain at Jr Beta Convention

Jr. Beta Convention is a time for Beta students to compete in numerous activities that explore the arts and the academics. It also allows students to campaign and run for state office. Kelsey Hedge, and 8th grader at DeKalb Middle School and daughter of David and Trina Hedge, followed her predecessors as she ran for office of State Chaplain.

In previous years, Jonathon Craig, Mason Merriman, and Jordan Wilkins vied for state office. Kelsey spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 7,000 youth and adults. Kelsey was confident and sure of herself as she delivered an outstanding speech that honored DeKalb Middle School, as well as her parents, friends and family that offered up support, as she braved the waters. Kelsey was clear that God was first in her life and that she would lead well in their endeavor. When the votes were counted, Kelsey came up short and was defeated. The experience was life changing and will give her a boost as she continues to lead and represent her fellow students. Hats off to Kelsey and the campaign team that followed her campaign speech with a skit in Kelsey's support. The skit was flawless. This team of students put forth great effort and exhibited dedicated and skill in bringing Kelsey's campaign to life. Great job!

Running for State Chaplain: Kelsey Hedge
Campaign skit: Ale Maciel, Savannah Driver, Bethany Poss, Harlli Silcox, Kathryn Blair, Michael Caplinger, Mariah Jones, Destiny McCardell, Kristen Hale, Julia Little, Emilee Stephens, Amanda Blanco, Loren Cripps, and Makalee Ruch.

Other competitions that DMS competed in:

Talent: Darrian Turner sang "It Happens" by Sugarland
Tower of Power: Jailyn Bolding, Katie Parker, Tyra Graham, Loren Cripps, and Ale Maciel
Spelling: Chase Bryant
Speech: Julia Little
Photography: Caitlin Jacobs
Banner: Brooke Reffue, Kaylene Ferguson, Jennifer Caplinger, Kyra Trapp, Rachel Gash, Caitlin Jacobs, Caitlin Turner, Christian Turner, Clara Knowles, Chloe White, Hannah James
Scrapbook: Katie Parker, Mariah Jones, Lenzi Dickens, Lexi Barnwell, Kelsey Braswell.
Arts with Acrylic Painting: Erin Perry
Math: Corey Ferrell
Battle of the Books: Ashli Chew, Erin Perry, Makalee Ruch, Hannah Lasser
Poster: Harlli Silcox, Lance Ball
Quiz Bowl: Michael Caplinger, Amanda Blanco, Savannah Driver, and Kristen Hale
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker
Social Studies: Lane Ball
Science: Dylan Cantrell
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker, Carlee White

Meanwhile, Chase Bryant, an outstanding seventh grader at DeKalb Middle School, recently placed fourth in the Division I Spelling Competition. Bryant is the son of Don and Teresa Bryant. He competed against 51 other Beta members from across the state of Tennessee. Chase was given words like "subterfuge". He ended his spelling streak on the word "eulogy". Chase watched numerous members be seated as he remained standing. Chase placed fourth out of 51.

Watertown Man Indicted in October, 2009 Death of Robert Senick

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Richard J. Mooney
Senick Mobile Home After the Fire in October 2009

A 32 year old Watertown man has been indicted in the October, 2009 death of 63 year old Robert "Bob" Senick, whose remains were found in the rubble of his mobile home near Liberty, which had been burned to the ground.

Richard J. Mooney of Armstrong Road, Watertown was named in a sealed indictment returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury last Monday, November 29th, charging him with felony murder and theft of property over $1,000. Mooney is currently incarcerated in Rutherford County on unrelated charges.

The indictment alleges that on or about October 7th, 2009, Mooney killed Senick during the perpetration of theft of property and that he did obtain or exercise control over property, to wit: cash and drugs with a value of over $1,000, being the property of Senick.

Mooney is under a $100,000 bond and will be arraigned on the charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court on December 13th.

The charges against Mooney come as the result of an investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Bomb and Arson, and District Attorney General Randy York and members of his staff.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Mooney is believed to have gone to the Senick home sometime either Tuesday night, October 6th or Wednesday morning, October 7th, 2009; shot Senick in the head; committed the theft; and then set fire to the mobile home.

According to Sheriff Ray, authorities recovered evidence that links Mooney to the crime scene.

The mobile home, which belonged to Senick, was located in an isolated area about a mile off the Liberty to Dismal Road.

According to Sheriff Ray, the mobile home had already burned to the ground by the time it was discovered and reported Wednesday morning, October 7th, 2009 at around 9:13 a.m.

Senick's body was later sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Dental records confirmed the identity of Senick, whose body was burned beyond recognition during the fire. The autopsy also confirmed that Senick had a gunshot wound to the head.

Brief Snowfall adds to Excitement of Liberty Christmas Parade

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Steve Hayslip of NewsChannel5 -Grand Marshal
Randy Campbell Garage Wins Float Competition

The Town of Liberty and Liberty State Bank hosted their annual Christmas Parade Sunday and all those there shared in the fun. Some won cash and other prizes. A brief snowfall added to the excitement.

Steve Hayslip of NewsChannel5 in Nashville was the Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, ATV's, and Santa Claus among other attractions.

Click here to see more pictures


Randy Campbell's Garage entry won the float competition and the Calvary Baptist Church took second place.

W.J. White won first place in the best vintage automobile category for his 1965 Chevy Nova. Don Hawkins took second place for his 1956 Chevy, and Danny and Wanda Cowan received third place for their 1969 Chevy Impala.

Among the miscellaneous entries, Eli Johnson won first place while Nathaniel and Caroline Crook received second place.

Melton Charged with Theft

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Travis Mark Melton
Darrell Wayne Malcolm

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged 18 year old Travis Mark Melton of Johnson's Chapel Road, Sparta with theft of property over $1,000

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Melton, on or about November 23rd, allegedly took from a residence on the Old Sparta Highway without the owner's consent, a dirt tamper, a gas engine, spot welder, air compressor, and tractor weights all valued at over $1,000. Melton was arrested on November 29th. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court December 16th.

Meanwhile, 56 year old Darrell Wayne Malcolm of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court December 16th.

According to Sheriff Ray, On November 30th, a deputy responded to a one car accident on the Old Mill Hill Road. Upon arrival and speaking with the driver, Malcolm, the deputy noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Malcolm was unsteady on his feet. He was asked to submit to several field sobriety tasks, which he performed poorly. Malcolm admitted to drinking one quart of beer. He also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Malcolm was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law, for refusing to give blood.

Local Teenager Dies from Injuries in Car Crash

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Photo provided courtesy of Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro

A 16 year old Lebanon boy, formerly of Smithville, died Sunday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from injuries in a car crash Friday morning on U.S. Highway 231 near the Wilson County line in Rutherford County.

Dead is Dylan Petty.

According to reports, 18 year old Joshua Orcutt of Smithville was traveling southbound toward Murfreesboro around 8:15 a.m. Friday when his Chrysler Sebring crossed the center line, went off the highway, and rolled down a 24 foot embankment. The vehicle overturned and came to rest in a cluster of cedar trees.

Orcutt was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt Medical Center. Petty, a passenger, was thrown from the vehicle and later airlifted by LifeFlight helicopter to the Trauma Center at Vanderbilt, where he later died. Orcutt has reportedly been discharged from the hospital.

The highway was closed to traffic for about an hour and a half to allow troopers to complete their crash investigation and for the clean-up crews to remove the debris and make the roadway safe

Petty's body is at DeKalb Funeral Chapel.

Holiday Celebration

December 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Wins Float Competition
Dailey & Vincent-Grand Marshals of Parade
Santa Arrives in Smithville

The town of Smithville was the scene of a holiday celebration Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds lined the downtown streets for the annual Smithville Christmas Parade.

Click here to see more pictures


As always, the parade featured floats, vintage automobiles, local royalty, scouts, horseback riders and horsedrawn wagons, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route.

The Grand Marshals of the Smithville parade were the popular bluegrass group "Dailey and Vincent", who have just been nominated for a grammy award.

The Whorton Springs Baptist Church won first place in the float competition.

The Calvary Baptist Church took second place for their float and DeKalb Community Bank received third place as well as the Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

The Smithville Parade is sponsored each year by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.


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