Local News Articles

DCHS Awards Day set for Friday

May 10, 2010
Dwayne Page

Thousands of dollars in scholarships will be awarded to members of the Class of 2010 at DeKalb County High School during the annual Senior Awards Day program, set for Friday, May 14th at 8:30 a.m.

Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the military service, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations will be making the presentations.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

Awards are expected to be presented by the following groups:

U.S. Marines
U.S. Army
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Navy
University of Florida
Tennessee Tech University
Middle Tennessee State University
Cumberland University
Freed-Hardeman University
Centre College
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
St. Mary's College
Carson-Newman College
DeKalb Soil Conservation District
Class of 1966
DeKalb Community Hospital
DeKalb Fire Fighters
Class of 1969
Smithville Business & Professional Women's Club
Liberty State Bank
Jeff Garrett Memorial
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home
Alan Hooper Memorial
DeKalb Republican Women
Jolly Angels
CIC Foundation
DeKalb Scottish Rite
AmVets POST #101
AmVets Auxiliary POST #101
Agee Oil
DeKalb PTO
Hunter Davis Memorial
First Bank
Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride
Smithville Rotary Club
Smithville Women's Club
Leadership DeKalb
Lucille Stewart Memorial
Elzie & Nell McBride Memorial
Eddie Crips Memorial
DeKalb Retired Teachers
Comcast Leaders & Achievers
DeKalb Farmer's Coop
Kyle & Kenny Robinson Memorial
DCHS Student Council

High School Seniors Honored for Outstanding Educational Achievement

May 10, 2010
Dwayne Page

Eighteen members of the class of 2010 from Dekalb County High School have received the High Schools That Work (HSTW) Award of Educational Achievement. High school seniors who complete a challenging and focused program of study and demonstrate readiness for employment and for college studies receive the award. Award recipients receiving personalized certificates and congratulatory letters from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) are Reeves Beller, Payne Denman, Dakota Dexter, Kendra Foutch, Nick Goff, Brandon Haas, Kyle Hogue, Grant James, Sasha Knowles, Layne Mathis, Tejaswi Munagala, Katie Nixon, Amanda Ours, Hunter Poteete, Haley Snyder, Caleb Spencer, Cynthia Woodward, and Tiffany Young.

“These students are to be commended for their efforts,” said Kathy Hendrix. “By taking challenging courses in high school and performing well high on rigorous exams, they have increased the likelihood of success in the workplace and further education.”

Students qualify for the award by completing a college-preparatory course of study in at least two of three subject areas (English/language arts, mathematics or science); completing a concentration in a career/technical area, mathematics/science or the humanities; and meeting readiness goals in all three subject areas on the HSTW Assessment.

HSTW, a Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) initiative, is the largest high school improvement effort in the United States, with more than 1,100 school sites in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Calgary, Canada. HSTW is supported by member states and grants from organizations, such as the Wallace Foundation, Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Whitehead Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. SREB was founded in 1948 as America’s first multi-state compact for education.

For more information, contact Allison Timberlake, coordinator of assessment for School Improvement, or Emily Kagey, chief editor for School Improvement, at the Southern Regional Education Board, 592 10th St., N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318.

Candidates Gearing up for Smithville Municipal Election Campaign

May 9, 2010
Dwayne Page
Debi Loring DePriest
Taft Hendrixson
Bruce Medley
Shawn Beckham
Cecil Burger
Steve White

The Smithville Municipal Election is a little over a month away and the voter registration deadline in time for the balloting is Monday, May 17th

Meanwhile, early voting will be May 26th through June 10th. Voting times are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse. No voting on Memorial Day, May 31st.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 15th. Each term is for two years. The terms of office for those elected will begin on July 1st.

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson will be challenged for re-election again this year. Hendrixson, who is seeking his third term, will face opposition from former Smithville Mayor Bruce Medley and DeKalb County High School teacher Debi Loring DePriest

Hendrixson was first elected mayor in 2006 and he was re-elected in 2008. Medley, a local livestock producer, served one term as mayor from 1988 to 1990. He did not seek re-election in 1990.

DePriest will be making her first attempt at elected public office.

Meanwhile, Incumbent Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger are seeking re-election. Also in the race for alderman is Shawn Beckham.

White was first elected in 2000 and will be looking for his sixth term as alderman. Burger is seeking his third term as alderman. He was first elected to that office in 2006. Prior to that, Burger served as Mayor from 1990 to 2006.

This is Beckham's first attempt at elected public office.

Voters who don't live in Smithville but own property in the city may vote in the municipal election under certain conditions.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 17th registration deadline.

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley reminds voters who have moved since registering to vote that the election commission office needs your current address on file.

"Updating the record is a simple process. All the voter needs to do is fill out a change of address form, which is available at the election commission office. To see if you need to update your record, simply check the address on your voter registration card. If it is different than your current address, you need to update the information with the election commission."

"Updating the address will make your voting experience go much easier and quicker." Stanley said," and will not slow down the line at the polling place during early voting or election day."

Bredesen Announces Disaster Declarations for 12 More Counties Including DeKalb

May 9, 2010
Dwayne Page

Governor Bredesen has the federal government has authorized a major disaster declaration for 12 additional Tennessee counties, including DeKalb County bringing the total number of counties declared to 42. This action makes federal assistance available to individuals in Chester, Clay, DeKalb, Hardin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Macon, Stewart, Trousdale and Wayne counties.

Bredesen asked President Obama on Monday to declare 52 counties federal disaster areas following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state over the weekend. Forty-two counties have received declarations to date. In addition to the 12 counties announced today, counties authorized include: Benton, Carroll, Cheatham, Crockett, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Robertson, Rutherford, Shelby, Smith, Sumner, Tipton, Williamson and Wilson.

“I appreciate that President Obama and other federal officials continue to expedite our requests and announce declarations for additional counties,” said Bredesen. “This will be tremendously helpful to Tennesseans who suffered losses as they work to rebuild, and I look forward to seeing more counties authorized in coming days.”

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Tennessee suffered 23 confirmed fatalities as a result of the extreme weather and flooding that struck the state April 30-May 2. Numerous evacuations and water rescues were performed as flood waters rose. Many residents lost all of their possessions as homes were destroyed or sustained major damages.

FEMA sent a liaison officer to the state Sunday and opened its regional coordination center in Atlanta to provide support to operations in Tennessee. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has been in the state twice since the flooding began, touring areas of both middle and west Tennessee.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties authorized to date, including both individual and public assistance.

Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Public assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures only at this time. In addition, federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

May 9, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers.

This week’s action on Capitol Hill was overshadowed by Tennessee’s “state of emergency” due to severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that resulted in one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. There have been 21 confirmed fatalities in the weekend storms.

Prayers for those devastated by the storms were also lifted in the chamber of the State Senate on Thursday. Senators commended state and local emergency personnel who performed above the call of duty during the disaster. They also stopped to express appreciation for the heroic efforts of citizens who participated in the rescue and stopped to remember those who must rebuild in the aftermath of the storms.

The Coast Guard rescued 250 people, while the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) helped 351 persons to safety from the flood waters. Twenty-eight shelters opened their doors to assist those who needed a place to stay due to evacuations or destruction of their homes. The American Red Cross and other charitable organizations are working with federal and state partners in the relief effort. In addition, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has activated the Tennessee Emergency Donations Hotline to accept contributions to support state flood victims. Volunteers will be answering calls at 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CDT daily at the toll free number (866) 586-4483.

Federal officials are working with state and local emergency responders throughout the region. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) staff and resources have been dispatched to assess the damage and assist with the recovery.

On Monday, Governor Bredesen asked President Obama to declare 52 counties federal disaster areas. The President had declared 21 counties as disaster areas by Thursday. The state expects more counties to be added over the next several days. That designation enables local governments and individuals to access the critical federal grants and/or loans needed to help them recover from the damages sustained due to the high winds and floods. The aid also helps citizens and local and state governments with costs for damage to roads, bridges, emergency protective measures and debris removal. In addition, an expedited declaration has been requested that provides federal reimbursement for 100 percent of all eligible costs for 72 hours from the declaration.

Businesses located in a declared disaster area and that have incurred damage during the disaster may apply for funds to help repair or replace damaged property to its pre-disaster condition. The Small Business Administration makes physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to qualified businesses. Physical Disaster Loans are for permanent rebuilding and replacement of uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged property. SBA’s physical disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations. Businesses can learn more about these funds and apply by visiting the website https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ or by calling (800) 659-2955.

Additionally, there are federal funds available through the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program for workers who have lost work as a direct result of the storms and flooding. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development facilitates this program for the Federal Government, and those individuals eligible should call the Tennessee Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at (877) 813-0950 extension 7599.

Individuals are encouraged to call their county Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) to report their damages so the agency can make the appropriate assessments. Citizens should contact FEMA by either Internet at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800 621- FEMA (3362) to make application for grants or loan approval for loss of personal property if they do not have insurance.

Issues In Brief

Election Integrity/Citizenship – The full Senate debated legislation, Senate Bill 194, aiming to strengthen the integrity of elections in Tennessee. The bill requires that voter registration forms contain a disclaimer that clarifies giving false information to register to vote carries a criminal penalty and requires that the applicant affirm that they are lawfully in the United States. The U.S. Constitution already requires citizenship to vote. In addition, federal law makes it a crime to knowingly make a false statement or claim regarding citizenship upon registering to vote.

Grandparent visitation – The State Senate has approved Senate Bill 3036 to allow the courts to grant grandparent visitation in cases where one of the child’s parents has died and the surviving parent has terminated the relationship between the child and grandparent. Currently, Tennessee law provides court standing for grandparents to petition visitation rights in certain circumstances. However, the court must first determine whether cessation of visitation between a grandparent and grandchild constitutes a substantial threat of harm to the child.

Purple Heart Memorial Plate – The full Senate voted unanimously to approved Senate Bill 2382 authorizing widows and widowers of persons entitled to receive holders of Purple Heart memorial plate to obtain a plate upon such person's death.

Child abductions – Legislation that aims to reduce the risk of child abduction in Tennessee was signed by the governor this past week. Senate Bill 3065 provides courts with guidelines to follow regarding potential child abductions and to provide courts with appropriate measures to prevent these crimes. This includes information about abduction risk factors so that they can place appropriate restrictions to prevent abductions. Using these guidelines the court must determine that there is a credible risk of child abduction, and then the court may consider preventative measures.

Abortion / Federal health care bill – The governor returned without his signature legislation to prohibit taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion services in Tennessee associated with the federal healthcare bill passed by Congress in March. Senate Bill 2686, which now becomes law without his signature, prohibits any health care plan established pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress from offering coverage for abortion services.

Cantrell Charged by Smithville Police with Simple Possession

May 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police took warrants against Johnny Cantrell on Wednesday, May 5th charging him with two counts of simple possession.

K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was called to 318 Bell Street to check on a man who had called 911 saying that he was on drugs and felt like he was going to die. Officer Tatrow and Sergeant Randy King made contact with Cantrell who told them that he and a friend were smoking some marijuana and he thought that it was laced with something. Mr. Cantrell was complaining of pain and had very slurred speech. The officers asked him if there was anymore marijuana in the house. Cantrell told them that there was some in the drawer and he pointed to an end table next to the couch. Upon opening the drawer, Officer Tatrow found and recovered a small baggie of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. He also confiscated a small baggie of a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine that was in plain sight on top of the end table. Cantrell was transported by DeKalb EMS to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where he received medical treatment. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department served the warrants upon Mr. Cantrell's release from the hospital.

28 year old Derek A Daniels of 4635 East Richmond Shop Road, Lebanon was arrested on Saturday, May 1st for a fourth offense of driving on a suspended license. Officer David Phillips pulled over Daniels for speeding and a check of his driver license revealed them to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation multiple times. Daniels' bond is $2,500 and his court date is May 12th.

25 year old Ellissa Howard of 306 Jackson Street was arrested on Saturday, May 1st for domestic violence. Officer Scott Davis was called to the residence and saw Howard assault two family members. He pulled Ms. Howard off one of the victims, put her in his patrol car, and later arrested her. Howard's bond is $2,500 and her court date is May 13th.

46 year old Paul Green Cantrell and 35 year old Tonya Michelle Cantrell both of 523 Riley Avenue were arrested on Monday, May 3rd by Officer Matt Farmer and K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow. Officer Farmer received a phone call from County Deputy Jody Johnson informing him that Paul Cantrell was coming into the city driving on a suspended license and that he was operating a black Charger. Officer Farmer met Cantrell at the intersection of South College Street and West Bryant Street. Cantrell passed him and continued on to the corner of Oak Street and West Broad Street where he got out of his vehicle and met Tonya Cantrell. When asked why he was driving since he had received a citation earlier, Mr. Cantrell became belligerent and uncooperative. Tonya Cantrell, standing between Officer Farmer and Mr. Cantrell, began yelling and saying that he (Officer Farmer) was not going to talk to Mr. Cantrell nor take him into custody. Mrs. Cantrell was asked to move back several times but she refused. After Officer Farmer placed Cantrell under arrest and began escorting him to the patrol car, Mrs. Cantrell kicked Officer Farmer in the back of his upper left leg knocking him into Mr. Cantrell. Officer Farmer requested back up and K-9 Officer Tatrow responded to the scene where he was informed by Officer Farmer that Mrs. Cantrell was to be arrested for assault. Officer Tatrow advised Mrs. Cantrell that she was under arrest for assault and as he tried to place her left wrist in the handcuffs she jerked away from him violently and began yelling. At that point, Officer Tatrow placed her in an arm bar restraint while trying to affect her arrest. Mrs. Cantrell was charged with resisting arrest. Bond for Paul Cantrell is $1,000. Mrs. Cantrell's bond is $2,000. They will be in General Sessions Court on May 20th.

20 year old Antonio Santimanez of 225 East Bryant Street was arrested on Thursday, May 6th for domestic assault. Corporal Travis Bryant made the arrest. The victim stated that her boyfriend, Santimanez, tied her up and struck her several times in the face causing her nose to bleed. She also had marks on her arms and forehead from the assault. Bond for Santimanez is $2,500 and his court date is May 20th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on the following offenses is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Sunday, May 2nd Ross Peterson reported that he had a .380 Walther pistol stolen out from under the passenger seat of his vehicle while at Town Edge Apartments on Kendra Drive.

Also on Sunday, May 2nd, Connie Armour reported that someone had taken her Snapper push mower from her yard at 425 Jackson Street

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


May 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

The "Boiling Water Advisory", which has been in effect since Wednesday night for subscribers of the City of Smithville and DeKalb Utility District, has been lifted.

Hunter Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer for the City of Smithville, says the official word came down from the state Friday afternoon. "As of 2:30 p.m. today (Friday), the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has lifted the "Boiling Advisory" for water for both Smithville Water Department customers and also for DeKalb Utility District customers so it is safe to drink your water. We have been cleared by the state. Our water samples checked out fine. There was nothing found in them to be alarmed about."

Hendrixson adds that the water treatment plant continues to pump and water storage levels are rising in the city's water tanks. "We are seeing water storage levels rising slowly, but hopefully tonight (Friday) and with the weekend coming up, we should be back up to normal storage levels."

UCHRA Secures Additional $1.2 Million Energy Assistance Funding

May 7, 2010
Phyllis Bennett, Curtis Hayes, Stephen Bilbrey, Lee Webb

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) has received an additional $1,270,760 in energy assistance funding to serve low and moderate income consumers in the Upper Cumberland region announced,” Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services has informed UCHRA that funding for its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been increased to $5,081,257 for the year ending June 30, 2010, a 74% increase over the previous year’s funding. “The increased LIHEAP funds will allow UCHRA to serve in excess of 14,000 households in the 14-county area,” remarked Bennett.

In DeKalb County, 765 households have received assistance totaling $248,703. “We are very pleased that with these funds every eligible household that has applied for LIHEAP assistance will be served,” stated Stephen Bilbrey, Pickett County Executive and UCHRA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “I encourage individuals who meet program guidelines to apply for funding this year, even if they have not previously been served,” Bilbrey continued.

During the current year the Federal government has increased the required level of poverty from 125% to 200% for households to be eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance. “Under these guidelines, for example, a household of 4 persons may have an annual income up to $44,100 and qualify,” explained County Executive Mike Foster. The range of payments is $300 - $375, depending upon priority points, which are paid directly to the provider of the eligible household’s primary energy source (i.e. electric, natural gas, propane, coal, wood, or kerosene).

The increase in funds represents a successful effort on the part of the UCHRA Board and staff to provide more LIHEAP program funds for qualifying families. “This infusion of additional funds has come at the best possible time to assist residents in the Upper Cumberland,” remarked Michael Nesbitt, Smith County Mayor and Chairman of the Aging and Community Services Committee.

All UCHRA county offices are accepting LIHEAP applications between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. DeKalb County residents may apply at the DeKalb County office located at 527 West Main Street in Smithville. For more information call 615-597-4504.

CUTLINE: Pictured from left to right: Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director; Curtis Hayes, Mayor of Livingston and UCHRA Policy Council Chairman; Stephen Bilbrey, Pickett County Executive and UCHRA Chairman of the Board of Directors; and Lee Webb, UCHRA Community Services Director.

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.


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