Local News Articles

Tigers to Host Chattanooga Christian in State Play-Offs

November 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Tigers to Host Chattanooga Christian in State Play-Offs

The DeKalb County Tigers closed out the regular season Friday night with a 69-3 win over the visiting Cannon County Lions on Senior Night in Smithville.

The victory gives DeKalb County a 7-3 record and they finished the region in second place with a 5-1 mark.

DeKalb County will host Chattanooga Christian in the first round of the Class 3A state play-offs Friday night, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville.

The Chargers are 7-3 overall and 3-2 in their region. Under TSSAA rules, admission for the game will be $8.00 per person.

Mark Collins Named Smithville Police Chief

November 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mayor Jimmy Poss congratulates Mark Collins on being named Smithville Police Chief.

The City of Smithville has a new Police Chief.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting the Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to hire Mark Collins as chief. He will assume the duties within the next two weeks. Collins has served as the Alexandria Police Chief since 2006.

"I look forward to serving the people of Smithville and working with the Smithville Police Department. I think there is a fine group of young officers here and I am honored and blessed to have this opportunity. I look forward to getting in here and doing the citizens of Smithville some good," said Collins after the meeting.

Collins was one of three applicants for the job. Patrolman Matt Farmer of the Smithville Police Department had also applied along with Algood Police Chief Gary Harris.

The mayor and aldermen held a 90 minute forum Saturday at city hall to interview each applicant. Collins, Harris, and Farmer were brought in separately and given about 30 minutes each to answer questions.

Collins, a resident of McMinnville Highway, Smithville, worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department from 1995 through 2006, where over the years he served as deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Collins was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1988-90. He graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1983 and attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville from 1983-85.

Collins said while he is looking forward to this career move, he will miss the people of Alexandria. "The residents of Alexandria have been a blessing to me. I have enjoyed working there. They have been good to me and hopefully I have been good for them. I have made friends there I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will hate to leave Alexandria but this is a lot closer to home. It's a bigger challenge and I think it was the thing for me to do," said Collins.

In other business, the aldermen authorized Fire Chief Charlie Parker to apply for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase up to $50,000 in equipment for the fire department. If approved, the city would have to pay a five percent match or up to $2,500. Funds are allocated in the fire department budget to cover the costs.

Chief Parker also announced that Robin Summers and Kim Johnson have begun their 90 day probationary period in becoming members of the volunteer fire department.

The aldermen voted to hire Tyler Patterson as a patrol officer in the police department.

The aldermen voted to accept a bid from King's Firearms and More Law Enforcement Division in Columbia to purchase thirteen fully stocked semi-automatic Smith & Wesson assault rifles for the police department. The total cost is $18,223. This was the only bid received.

Local Minister to Retire

November 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Bill and wife Joyce Robertson
Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Held Retirement Reception Sunday for Minister Bill Robertson. Pictured with his wife Joyce
Bible-Shaped Cake

After ministering there for almost 30 years, Bill Robertson will preach his last sermon as pastor next Sunday, November 8 at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The church honored Robertson Sunday, November 1 with a retirement reception.

While he has enjoyed his years at Elizabeth Chapel, Robertson told WJLE that retirement time has come. "I never thought I would get to it (retirement). I have some solemn thoughts about the day. I've thought about Monday, November 9 which will be my first day after my actual retirement. I won't have anywhere to go. I won't have an office to go to. I won't have anything to do. On the other hand I have to admit that I look forward to maybe not having anything to do for a while. Maybe I'll be able to use an old fishing boat that I just bought. I intend to continue to preach as people will allow me or invite me. I won't be completely useless but I am looking forward to the day. It's time. I am 72 years old now and the time has come for me to slow down a little bit. I preached my first sermon on March 23, 1963. I have been pastoring churches for 50 years. I've been here more than half of that time in Tennessee," he said.

Robertson shared how he came to be pastor of the church. "It's a good story. My son, Bill had met a fellow from here in Smithville when he was at Belmont College in those days. He came to Smithville to visit in this fellow's home over the weekend on a few occasions and the father of the guy he came home with knew about Elizabeth Chapel and told Bill about it. He (Bill) wrote a letter to the Director of Missions here in DeKalb County and that's how it all started," said Robertson.

After almost 30 years, Robertson now holds the distinction of being the second longest tenured minister of Elizabeth Chapel. "I'm number 2 on the list. A fellow by the name of Whitlock pastored Elizabeth Chapel for 33 years as I am told back when they were down on Holmes Creek. Those were the days of maybe meeting once or twice a month. I really don't know. But it's quite a bit different living right here and being here all day long everyday with three regular services a week. But yeah, I'm number 2. I thought I might try to hang on til 30 years. That would be in July. But I don't want to be just a hanger on. I don't want to just be picking up a paycheck and so forth. If I'm tired and not doing everything I think I need to do it was time to leave so that's what I'll do," he said

A native of Florida, Robertson said he and his wife plan to continue living in Smithville. "We live here. We own a house here. My wife taught school here in DeKalb County for 19 years after we married. All but two of my children live in Tennessee now and one of the two (not here) is moving back here as soon as they can. This is kind of a central location. I like it here so we plan to stay in Smithville as long as you will have us," Robertson continued.

Robertson said he and his family love the people here and the community has been supportive through good times and sad times. "Smithville has been extremely gracious to me. In times of great happiness and in some pretty sad times that we have had since we've been here, Smithville has stepped up and really been our friends. You have supported, prayed for, and ministered to us when we had needs. I've enjoyed getting to know so many people. My dad would come to town and we would ride around town together and people would wave at us and I'd wave back. He asked me one day "do you really know all those people or is that just the way it's done in Smithville?" I said dad that is the way it's done in Smithville but on the other hand I know a lot of them. I have enjoyed being a part of the community. Smithville has been a very enjoyable place for me to live and you all have welcomed my wife. After my first wife died and Joyce and I married you welcomed her and I appreciate that so much," he said.

Robertson said he has been honored to have witnessed the growth of Elizabeth Chapel in the last three decades. "Elizabeth Chapel has grown. No doubt about it. We've got a good group. A good fellowship of people at Elizabeth Chapel and between them and what the Lord has done I've had the privilege to pastor a growing church for almost 30 years." he said

"I'd just like to thank you for loving me and my family. I'm just thankful for God putting me here. I'll never forget all the experiences I've had. Thanks for letting me just say to Smithville thank you. Continue to pray for us. We'll be here and help you anyway we can. It's been a really good time," Robertson concluded.

(UPDATED) New Police Chief to be Named Monday Night

October 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen held Interviews for Police Chief Saturday
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins
Algood Police Chief Gary Harris
Patrolman Matt Farmer of Smithville Police Department

The City of Smithville may soon have a new Police Chief.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Mayor Jimmy Poss is to make a recommendation on the hiring of a new chief from the three applicants who have applied. The aldermen are then expected to take a vote.

The applicants are Mark Collins, Gary Harris, and Matt Farmer. Collins is currently the Alexandria Police Chief. Harris , a former member of the Smithville Police Department, serves as the Algood Police Chief. Farmer is a patrolman for the Smithville Police Department.

The mayor and aldermen held a 90 minute forum Saturday at city hall to interview each applicant. Collins, Harris, and Farmer were brought in separately and given about 30 minutes each to answer questions.

Collins, a resident of McMinnville Highway, Smithville, has served as Police Chief for the City of Alexandria since 2006. Prior to that he worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department from 1995 through 2006, where over the years he served as deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Collins was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force from 1988-90. He graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1983 and attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville from 1983-85.

"I'm a person who likes to be seen in the community not just in the police department," Collins told the mayor and aldermen during his interview. " I want people to know that they can come up and say "Hey Chief Collins, can you help me out?" Where I'm at now (Alexandria) people call me all the time and say things like "Hey, we're going to be out of town next week can you do an extra patrol?". You know it's the little things like that. And I'm sure that happens here but I believe once you gain the trust of the community as a leader, they expect that to go down to the police officers and over a period of time when that does, once you gain the trust of the community you can do just about anything as a police department," Collins continued.

"There are a whole lot of people in Smithville and there are only a few of us (officers) and when all of those eyes and ears get information to us we can get a lot done. The investigative side of any department is very important because your patrol officers are answering calls and writing reports. But the detective or investigation side of any department has to be your go-getters. They are the ones who have to get out and scratch and claw, go talk, and put the pieces of the puzzle together. There may be pieces of that puzzle missing so they are the ones who has to find them. That's what I enjoy doing. I enjoy the drug (investigation) work. I enjoy the detective work. I like to work closely with them (detectives). I know as a Chief you have other obligations and you have an entire city to manage but staying in good communication with your detectives and prioritizing what cases we need to work on is important and then when drugs arise after you gain the trust of the community and people feel like they can tell us (police) something then we can work on the drugs (problem) because we're going to be getting information. We know it already. I mean if you do your homework, you're going to know who is doing what (drug activity) but that little bit on intel (intelligence) from the public might give us the piece of the puzzle we need to make a bust or to get a buy and go from there," said Collins

Harris has worked for the Algood Police Department since 2004 where he has risen in the ranks from patrolman to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and now chief of police. Harris worked for the Smithville Police Department from 2001 to 2004 where he served as patrolman, detective, and sergeant. Harris began his law enforcement career in 1987 as a patrolman for the Cookeville Police Department. From there he went to work for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department as a deputy in 1994. The following year Harris became owner and private investigator of Investigations Unlimited. Four years later the Monterey Police Department hired him as a patrolman. He was later promoted to detective and sergeant. Harris served in the United States Navy as a Personnelman 3rd Class from 1983 to 1986. He graduated from Putnam County Senior High School in 1983 and attended the City College of Texas and City College of Chicago in 1985. Harris is a resident of Cookeville.

"I have dedicated my life to law enforcement," said Harris during his interview. " I worked in Smithville from 2001 to 2004. I loved it here. I love the people. I love the community. I love the police department. When I saw that you had an opening I thought I'd like to come back. I am a strong believer in community oriented policing. We do several programs now in Algood for the community. We work around the schools quite a bit. We work with the churches. We're just out there all the time trying to make a difference. I'd like to do that here. I did some detective work when I was here in Smithville. I worked well with the TBI drug task force guys and I still have an active program now dealing with a lot of prescription drugs in Algood. We do the best we can with it. I'd like to see it (drugs) all gone. When I was here before drugs were a big issue. We can work with the TBI drug task force guys and they will bring us up to speed on all the new and latest, greatest stuff to do everything we can to get rid of it," said Harris.

Farmer has been a member of the Smithville Police Department since February, 2008. In addition to patrolman, Officer Farmer serves as General Department Instructor and is responsible for the training of all officers. Farmer began his law enforcement career with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department in Cookeville in August 1993 where over the years he served as correctional officer, assistant jail administrator, patrol officer, school resource officer, lieutenant/jail administrator, and criminal investigator. From October 2006 until February 2008 Farmer worked for the White County Sheriff's Department in Sparta where he served as patrol officer and narcotics investigator. Farmer graduated from Lookout Valley High School at Chattanooga in 1986 and attended Tennessee Tech in Cookeville from 1986-88. He resides in Cookeville.

"I love what I do. I love helping people," Officer Farmer told the mayor and aldermen during his interview. " I fully believe in protecting and serving. I think we've lost some of the serving part over time. I think there is a grand opportunity in Smithville. We have a lot of trust in the community already. I'm not afraid to go out and talk to people and get answers that we need to make this a better community. This is what I was prepared to do was be a police officer. And I have learned a lot and studied hard. I am at a point in my career where I can take these young men that we have in the department now and guide them in a direction that you want to see in your community. A police department you want to see and a relationship with the people in the community. When you (mayor and aldermen) look back at the end of your tenure I want you to be able to say we made a good decision (hiring new chief). To be able to say this is a place that my grandkids, my kids, and my parents feel safe. That's what I'd like to bring to Smithville," said Officer Farmer.

All three applicants pledged to have better communication within the police department, to work well with other local and state law enforcement agencies, and to have more involvement with the schools and community.

The new police chief will succeed former chief Randy Caplinger who was ousted earlier this year by the mayor and majority of the aldermen and who lost a court battle for reinstatement or back pay last Thursday. Captain Steven Leffew has been acting as Officer in Charge of the Police Department in the absence of a chief.

Center Hill Historical Marker Dedicated (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 31, 2015
Lee Roberts,Nashville District Public Affairs
Center Hill Historical Marker Dedicated (Photo by Mark Rankin)

Local community leaders and Corps officials dedicated a new Tennessee state historical marker Tuesday that highlights the technical significance of Center Hill Dam and Powerhouse and the project’s authorized purposes, which include recreation, hydropower, and flood risk reduction.

During the unveiling ceremony at the Center Hill Dam Maintenance Facility, Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, recognized that the dam and powerhouse are historically representative of the federal flood control power development of the early post World War II era.

“Center Hill is historically significant because the structure makes it eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and the historical marker we’re putting up will be the first one put up on any Nashville District dam in Tennessee,” Murphy said.

Murphy noted that the Corps used state-of-the-art structural design materials and state-of-the-art power generation equipment of the period to build this historically significant dam.

“The engineering that was done without computers, with slide rules and hand-drawn drawings is truly phenomenal to me,” Murphy said.

On a rainy day that demonstrated the value of the dam capturing water runoff in its reservoir, local officials talked about the many benefits of the project.

Tennessee State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, District 40, said it’s important to preserve the history of the dam and to be knowledgeable of how the dam still provides important resources to local citizens and tourists.

“Since 1951 Center Hill Power Plant has produced hydroelectric power that is marketed by the Southwestern Power Administration and sold to utility companies,” Weaver said. “So not only is it a historical marker, it provides juice and electricity for many, many Tennesseans most efficiently, and it also preserves a beautiful lake and a landmark for people to come (recreate).”

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling said that since the dam’s impoundment 65 years ago, the lake has provided tremendous economic and recreational impact to regional communities.

“Center Hill Lake now has over three million visitors per year,” Stribling said. “These visitors provide an economic impact of over $70 million to our local economy, and that says so much for the lake and for the Corps.”

Stribling added that whether someone is fishing, swimming or boating on the lake, or trout fishing on the Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam, Center Hill provides many recreational opportunities to visitors. He also mentioned that there are nine marinas that provide first-class amenities to the public.

“Many people have moved here because of the recreational opportunities at Center Hill Lake,” Stribling said. “And I can directly say that without Center Hill Lake, DeKalb County, wouldn’t be the same county that it is. But with Center Hill Lake it makes DeKalb County a great place of which to live, work and play.”

Construction of Center Hill Dam began in 1942, but World War II delayed its completion until 1951. The 246-foot-high and 2,160-foot-long dam impounds 64 miles of the Caney Fork River and is one of 10 dams the Nashville District operates and maintains within the Cumberland River Basin.

“This one in particular is one of the district’s largest water storage projects… the impact this on has just in flood control is pretty phenomenal,” Murphy said. “It holds back millions of acre feet of water… that we can use in times of heavy rain to prevent flooding downstream.”

Olga Beddingfield, operations manager for the Nashville District’s Mid-Cumberland Area, said Congress authorized the project in the Flood Control Act of 1938 to regulate river flows to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Beddingfield said since the Corps built Center Hill Dam it has played an integral role in transforming the social and economic conditions in the region, reduced major flooding events along the Cumberland River, saved countless lives, and protected industrial and agricultural areas downstream.

“Center Hill Lake and Dam provide a great resource to the local community and provide a way of life for those who choose to call this area home,” Beddingfield said.

The Nashville District operates nine hydropower plants and 28 hydropower units in the Cumberland River Basin, which produce about 3.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Sales of this electricity yield about $40 million each year in revenue for the U.S. treasury.

Center Hill Powerhouse contains three main turbine generators with a combined rated capacity of 135,000 kilowatts, enough to power 12,000 homes, which reduces the cost of electricity during peak periods of the daytime. The three units can supply the needs of an average city of 125,000.

The Corps awarded a $47.25 million contract to Voith Hydro in June 2014 to rehabilitate the hydropower units at Center Hill Dam and recently disassembled the first unit in the early stages of the project.

The historical marker will now be placed at the Center Hill Dam overlook next along Tennessee Highway 96/141, which is located beside a parking lot before crossing the dam.

(PICTURED ABOVE: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District dedicates a Tennessee State Historical Marker at Center Hill Dam Oct. 27, 2015. Left to right are David Nixon; Olga Beddingfield, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mid-Cumberland Area Operations manager; Jodie Craig, Center Hill Power Plant superintendent; Tennessee State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, District 40; Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Tim Stribling, Dekalb County mayor; and Center Hill Lake Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla. (Photo by Mark Rankin)

Bond Reduced for Man Charged with Abusing Five Week Old Child

October 30, 2015
Dwayne Page
Charles Justin Wiggins

A Smithville man charged with aggravated child abuse appeared for a bond hearing Thursday in DeKalb County General Sessions Court.

27 year old Charles Justin Wiggins of Cooper Street, Smithville was arrested Monday, October 19 after a five week old infant was brought to Cookeville Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Wiggins is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse. His bond was originally set at $500,000. According to Smithville Police, Wiggins is an acquaintance of the child's mother.

Following the hearing Thursday, Judge Bratten Cook II, reduced Wiggins' bond to $100,000. He is scheduled to be back in court November 12.

According to the arrest warrant, "At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Monday, October 19 at his Cooper Street residence, Wiggins did knowingly treat a five week old boy in a manner as to inflict serious bodily injury. Wiggins stated that he squeezed the child's ribs and bounced the child aggressively enough to cause the child serious injury".

In the second offense involving the same child, the warrant states that "At approximately 3:00 p.m., on Monday, October 19 at his residence, Wiggins did knowingly treat a five week old boy in a manner as to inflict serious bodily injury. Mr. Wiggins did state that he did pick the child up and squeeze his ribs and slammed him down aggressively into the crib causing the child's head to bounce. Mr. Wiggins stated he pressed down on both the child's legs and felt them break".

The child was later taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center for treatment. Law enforcement authorities were subsequently notified.

In a prepared statement at the time of Wiggins' arrest, Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew said, "On Monday, October 19 at approximately 6:07 p.m., Cookeville Regional Medical Center contacted Smithville Police in regards to an infant that was severely injured and had been brought into their facility for treatment. The injury was believed to have occurred in the jurisdiction of the City of Smithville".

"Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Sergeant Brad Tatrow responded and upon arrival spoke with medical staff who advised that the infant had sustained obvious severe injuries. Officers quickly developed Charles J. Wiggins as a suspect and upon investigation Smithville Police arrested Wiggins for two counts of aggravated child abuse. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from his office as well as the Department of Children Services responded to the scene," said Captain Leffew.

Chamber Prayer Breakfast to be held November 24th

October 30, 2015
Dr. Phillip Oldham

Everyone is invited to attend the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber Prayer Breakfast to be held on Tuesday, November 24th from 7 AM to 8 AM at the DeKalb County Complex Community Theatre, 712 South Congress Drive, Smithville. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

Tennessee Technological University President Phillip Oldham will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Oldham became the 9th president of TTU on July 1, 2012. Prior to this appointment, he served as provost and senior vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Josh Issac will perform the National Anthem and local Boy Scout Troop #347 will present the flags. Leadership DeKalb Class of 2016 will lead prayers for our Community and Leaders, Military and Emergency Response Personnel, and Children and Families making this a meaningful and memorable experience. A delicious breakfast will be served also with the help of Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2016.

The morning’s entertainment will be provided by the Relentless Student Ministries from the Smithville First Assembly of God.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office, from the Chamber Board of Directors, by calling the Chamber office, or emailing swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org. We’ll be glad to hold your tickets at the door.

Chamber Executive Director, Suzanne Williams says, “I would like to invite everyone to join us at this special and inspirational event in giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings He has given us in our county and for His direction as we move forward into the future.”

The Chamber Prayer Breakfast is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season. A BIG THANK YOU to our current Chamber Prayer Breakfast Sponsors: St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Family Medical Center, DTC Communications, and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative. For tickets or additional information, call the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber at 615-597-4163.

Smithville Police Department to Participate in "No Shave November"

October 30, 2015
(PICTURED: Front Row: Marlene Delong, Ivadell Randolph, Mayor Jimmy Poss, Jackie Cantrell; Back Row: Captain Steven Leffew, Alderman Jason Murphy, Lieutenant  Detective Matt Holmes, Alderman Shawn Jacobs, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Sergeant Brad Tatrow)

Members of the Smithville Police Department will be participating in "No shave November" to raise funds for Cops for Kids and the American Cancer Society. The Funds will be split between the two organizations.

"Cops for Kids" is a way for the department to help families that need help usually during Christmas. Officers also want to show their support in the fight against cancer. No-Shave November is a unique way to raise overall cancer awareness and raise funds for the American Cancer Society's life saving mission.

The goal of No-Shave November is to increase cancer awareness by embracing hair, which many cancer patients lose. As the participant lets their hair grow, family and friends are encouraged to join the campaign, they become educated about cancer prevention, saving lives, and helping those fighting cancer.

" You will soon see some Smithville police officers that could use a shave, but it's for a good cause. Several surrounding law enforcement agencies participate in "No shave November,” said Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department, “Many of our officers are very enthusiastic to partake in the fundraiser, so we decided to participate as a group. I'm very proud to work beside such caring people."

Jackie Cantrell of the Gentleman's Barber has graciously donated a free hot shave to the best beard.

For more information on how the public can participate, go to www.no-shave.org. Help spread the word and do your part by choosing to “Like” No-Shave November on Facebook and Twitter, then share the posts with your personal and professional networks. Please join the Smithville Police Department and consider inviting your own network of friends, family, and associates to participate in 2015.

(PICTURED: Front Row: Marlene Delong, Ivadell Randolph, Mayor Jimmy Poss, Jackie Cantrell; Back Row: Captain Steven Leffew, Alderman Jason Murphy, Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes, Alderman Shawn Jacobs, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Sergeant Brad Tatrow)

Young Sportsman Deer Hunt Begins Saturday

October 30, 2015
Dwayne Page
Young Sportsman Deer Hunt Begins Saturday

The first of two Tennessee young sportsman deer hunts for the 2015-16 season will be held the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Youth ages 6-16 years of age may participate.

Young sportsmen must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 or older who must remain in position to take immediate control of the hunting device. The adult must also comply with the fluorescent orange regulations as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youth may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.

Archery season began in the state on Sept. 26 and the first segment ends Oct. 30, the day prior to the opening of the young sportsman hunt. The second segment of archery only season resumes on Monday, Nov. 2. The TWRA makes the recommendation that all hunters obtain a 2015-16 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide lists license requirements, the counties and bag limits for each of the different deer management units. The guides are available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and on the TWRA website, www.tnwildlife.org. In 2014, youth hunters harvested a total of 5,673 during the first hunt. All 95 Tennessee counties reported harvests with Giles County posting the highest two-day total of 184.

Citations Against Store Clerks Accused of Illegal Beer Sales to be Dismissed

October 29, 2015
Dwayne Page

Citations against three store clerks accused of illegally selling alcohol to a minor in a recent undercover investigation are set to be dismissed.

25 year old Langed Bassem Nabil Samir of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store on Nashville Highway; 56 year old Allison Ferguson of Smithville, an employee of Mapco Express on East Broad Street, Smithville; and 42 year old Areceli Soto Godinez of Smithville, owner of Nicole’s Market on Short Mountain Highway appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court Thursday.

Under negotiated settlements with the District Attorney General's Office, each case is to be dismissed provided the defendants pay their court costs and have no further incidents of this kind within a certain period of time. Ferguson's case has already been dismissed. Citations are to be dismissed after 60 days for Samir and after six months in the Godinez case.

The case against 32 year old Jennifer Sims of McMinnville, an employee of the Discount Tobacco Store on West Broad Street, Smithville across from the Dairy Queen has been postponed until December 10 to give her time to hire an attorney.

The Alexandria Beer Board Tuesday night imposed a $500 fine against the owner of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store for the violation of the town's beer ordinance. Samir, the clerk who actually made the sale, was cited by the Alexandria Police Department after he illegally sold beer to an underage operative during an undercover investigation on September 22. Samir admitted to making the illegal sale of beer but claims he made a mistake in reading the birth date on the identification presented to him by the customer (undercover operative) who is 20 years old.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins said while he believes the store clerk may have made an honest mistake, the illegal sale of beer was made from the store. The same underage operative tried to buy beer at other stores in Alexandria on the same day but he was turned away.

The undercover investigation was conducted jointly by the Alexandria Police Department, Smithville Police Department, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department using the same underage operative.

The Smithville Beer Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, November 3 at 5:30 p.m. to take up the cases against Mapco Express and the Discount Tobacco Store . The beer board met on the issue October 13 but delayed action on possible punishment against the two stores after managers at both businesses claim the clerks who made the transactions mistakenly entered into their computers the wrong date of birth from the ID card given to them by the customer (underage operative). The managers said they could produce receipts and video evidence of the transactions to back up their claims. But the same underage operative tried to buy beer at other stores in Smithville on the same day and was turned away.

The Mapco manager said Ferguson had worked there since the 1990's and had never been accused of this before. "Allison has done probably the best of anybody I have ever seen at controlling all sales," he said.

Some board members also wanted to delay action until after the cases came up in court against the store clerks.


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