Local News Articles

STEMmobile Making Return Visit to DeKalb West School

January 15, 2015
STEMmobile Making Return Visit to DeKalb West School

Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math can be a challenge for any teacher.

Yet some of the teachers at DeKalb West School will have a new tool for four days next week to ignite their students’ interest, the STEMmobile.

The STEMmobile is scheduled to arrive Friday and will be there for teachers and students to make use of during the four days of school next week, January 20-23. "Next week, the four days of school our third through eighth grade will be able to go there and do some science, technology, and math activities with our science teachers. We're going to incorporate that with our third through eighth grades along with some of our after school programs" said DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler during Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

The STEMmobile is a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school children. The mobile classroom brings technology to the doorsteps of schools, and the students have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them to learn about STEM topics in creative and hands-on ways.

This is the second STEMmobile visit to DeKalb West School and it will be open to the public on Sunday, January 25 from 2-3 p.m.

The STEMmobile is a one-of-a-kind product of the Oakley STEM Center and Tennessee Tech University as part of the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a grant project funded by Tennessee’s First to the Top program. UCRSI is part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, where the mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.

The UCRSI project includes STEM platform schools in Putnam County and a hub school selected by each participating county or school district to become more focused on STEM learning. UCRSI also has a STEM Hub, the Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. The
UCRSI Hub represents a partnership between the 21 school districts, three post-secondary institutions and 11 STEM-related or innovative businesses and non-profit organizations committed to supporting STEM education.

UCRSI’s goal is to tackle the unique challenges of enhancing STEM education for younger learners in mostly rural areas, and to create innovative and collaborative solutions to these challenges.

Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEMmobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. The classroom on wheels is stocked with equipment from the Oakley STEM Center and includes equipment and supplies for activities for each grade level.

The Oakley STEM Center also has a lending library of STEM instructional materials to partially equip the STEMmobile and classroom kits for STEM subjects are on board, ready to go. The trailer is moved from site to site by Averitt Express, Inc., which has sponsored a significant portion of the transportation costs for the school year.

The STEMmobile is designed to help students learn more about three core STEM themes particularly relevant to rural students: water, with a focus on its importance, usage and conservation; energy, which highlights how power is generated, ways to lower consumption, green energy and long-term energy needs; and my food, my body, my health, which helps students learn more about agriculture, health, nutrition and physical fitness.

135 DCHS Seniors Have Signed Up For TN Promise

January 15, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps

One hundred thirty five seniors at DCHS have signed up for an opportunity to receive two years of tuition-free community or technical college through Tennessee Promise.

Patrick Cripps, DCHS Principal reported to the school board Thursday night that he is proud of the student response to this program. "I am really proud of our seniors. We've got 135 kids signed up for (TN Promise) out of 195. I'm also really proud of the work Ms. (Lori) Myrick (DCHS Guidance Counselor) has done getting kids signed up for that," he said.

Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program that will begin in the fall of 2015. It will provide students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or TSAA funds. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program. While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admissions process. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete eight hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their institution.

Cripps said the community response to the mentoring aspect of the program has also been great. "I want to give a big thank you to our community. We must have mentors to work with those students and we have close to 25 or 30 community members. I just want to say thank you to them for giving their time because there are certain requirements students have to meet to get this free money. We have had some to step up and are willing to work with our students to do that," he said.

Students who have signed up for TN Promise are reminded to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms by February 15. "Students who are signed up for this program need to have their FAFSA form completed by February 15. That's the deadline. If you don't have your FAFSA done by February 15 you may very well miss out on the money. That's a very important date for parents and kids to get that filled out. We had a workshop on Monday and we had someone come out and help with filling out the FAFSA forms. There are workshops set up through the state and if parents have questions they may call the high school and we can link them to another high school if they need help with that," said Cripps.

Statewide, 56,000 seniors have signed up for the Tennessee Promise Initiative. November 1, 2014 was the deadline to register.

Farm Bill Meeting for Producers, Landowners, and Agri-Industry

January 14, 2015
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency announces that a Farm Bill Meeting will be held on January 26, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Woodbury at the Woodbury Lions Club Building, 614 Lehman Street, Woodbury, TN. The meeting is free and open to the public and lunch will be provided.

Topic of the meeting will include: Base Acre Reallocation, Yield Updates, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), and Farm Service Agency Decisoin Aids.

Learning more about ARC and PLC is extremely important for row crop producers who must make a one-time decision about base and yield options by February 27, 2015. In addition, the choice of whether to elect ARC or PLC must be made by March 31, 2015. There are many variables that must be considered when making these crucial one-time decisions. Dr. Aaron Smith, University of Tennessee Extension Crop Marketing Specialist and Mr. Dallas Manning, University of Tennessee Extension Area Farm Management Specialist will be on hand to answer any questions after the program.

Although the meeting is free and open to the public, please contact the UT Extension Office in your county to register so planning can be allowed for the lunch. If you are in DeKalb County, please call 597-4945. If you are in Cannon County, please call 563-2554.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).
USDA

WJLE Radio Shopper Airs Friday Morning

January 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
WJLE's Dale Carroll will co-host the RADIO SHOPPER program with Dwayne Page Friday Morning

WJLE and participating local businesses are giving you a chance to bid on and buy merchandise at a discount in the RADIO SHOPPER on Friday, January 16.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines for you to bid on various items from F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Extreme Team Salon, Dairy Queen, Kilgore’s Restaurant, DeKalb Farmers Coop, K& M Jewelry, This & That Gifts, Sew Clever Fabric N More, DeKalb Tire & Service, Bumpers Drive-In, Cantrell’s the home of Fluty and Fluty’s Shoes, Head Turners Salon, Flower Box, the White Possum Grille, and possibly others!

WJLE will set a minimum bid on each item, and continue the bidding until the item is sold. The program on Friday will be limited to around three hours. If we have more items to sell, the program will resume the following Friday morning, January 23 at 8:30 a.m.

It’s going to be fun and exciting! Be sure to be by your radio and your telephone on Friday, January 16 at 8:30 a.m. and call in a bid to RADIO SHOPPER on WJLE. The program will also be streamed LIVE at www.wjle.com.

2015 WJLE RADIO SHOPPER ITEMS AND RETAIL VALUES LISTED BELOW:

Fluty: Spanx Bra-llelujah: $62.00; Spanx Power Panties: $34.00; Enro man's shirt (no iron) $74.00; One Pair of Not Your Daughter's Jeans ( up to $108.00); Man's suit (up to a $200 value); Columbia shirt (man or woman) $35; Memory Foam shoes by Skechers (up to $60 value) for men or women

Flower Box: One Dozen Red Roses: $65.00

DeKalb Ace Hardware: Living Accents Outdoor LP Patio Heater: $179.99

Farmers Coop: 40 pound bag of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. $22.00

Kilgore's Restaurant: $25.00 Gift Cards (3 to be sold)

DeKalb Tire & Service: Certificate worth $300 toward the purchase of a set of tires

Extreme Team Salon: Eva Dover. 5 men's cuts & styles by Eva Dover. 3 men's cuts and 2 ladies cuts by Stephanie Goines; 2 men's cuts and 2 ladies cuts by Kristie Johnson, and 5/ $10 certificates to use on hair care products of your choice.

Bumpers Drive-In: 3-catfish dinners $10.00 each; 3-biggie bags (two burgers, two large fries, two large drinks, and apple turnovers) 12.50 each; 2-chicken dinners $7.00 each

Dairy Queen: 3-8 inch photo cakes- $26.95 each; 3-8 inch Blizzard cakes- $22.95 each; 3- 4 piece chicken dinners with drink- $6.38 each; 3- salads with drink- $5.98 each

Head Turners Salon: Gift card for any hair service by Debbie Grimmett. $20; Man's haircut by Debbie Grimett: $12.00; Joico Color Endurance shampoo and conditioner set (10 ounce bottles) by Judith Hale: $22; Joico Smooth Cure shampoo and conditioner set (10 ounce bottles) by Judith Hale: $22; Joico Daily Care shampoo and conditioner set (10 ounce bottles) by Judith Hale: $22; Gift Certificate by Dana Turner for service only-no products: $25; Gift certificate by Nail Tech Rachel Baker-service only: $15

Sew Clever Fabric N More: 1-Owl Baby quilt. 34" x 41 1/2". Features a cute owl sitting in a tree, background is shades of pink with lime green accent. Back of quilt is lime green and white polka dots. Adorable baby girl quilt. Retails for $45; 1-"My Friend Maisy" girl or boy quilt. 42" x 58" great for a toddler bed. This quilt has a white background is in primary colors of red, white and blue. The back is a dark blue with red binding. Retails for $65; 1-Wall mirror 31" x 56" made by Sigoloff Frame and Art. Gold beaded frame with beveled glass. Can be hung horizontal or vertical. Gorgeous feature mirror. Retail $249; 1-Pants Hemmed. Are your pants too long? We will hem two pairs of your pants. Regular straight hem. If you would like to see pictures check out our Facebook page. Just search Sew Clever Fabric.

K& M Jewelry: $300 gift certificate good toward any purchase in the store

This & That Gifts: $50 Gift Card

F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts:UT Projector Rock (Displays Power T on your house) $22; UT Pool Float $39.99; Melissa and Doug Magnetic Wooden Dress up doll with clothes for ages 3 plus $12.99; Melissa and Doug Lock & Latch Board ages 3 plus $19.99; Ganz stuffed owl $12; Orla Moonlight 100% soy wax candle $12.99; Time & Again Glass Heart with red hot cinnamon oil $24; Large Woodwick Aloe Diffuser set $25; Mika Sharable Body Massage Kit $19.99; Soccer Ball 4" x 6" Frame $15; Grasslands "Merry Christmas" ceramic plaque with stand $27)

City Awards Bid for New Automated Read Water Meters

January 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville will soon be replacing all customer water meters with new automated read meters.

The aldermen last week accepted a bid from Advanced Utility Services of North Little Rock Arkansas to supply approximately 2,500 new meters at a cost of $532,600. The project will be funded under a USDA Rural Development grant/loan program.

In 2010, the city received approval for a $95,000 grant and a $315,000 loan to pay for the purchase and installation of the new automated water meters. "The loan is set up through Rural Development at a 2.75% interest over a twenty year period. We can pay it off all at one time, over a couple of years, or over twenty years. The grant is free money to the city to help fund the project," said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

But since the project has been delayed, Hendrixson said the cost has increased. "We finally took bids on October 28. By the time we got bids after four years the cost of the project has gone up. We had a $122,000 higher cost than originally estimated. However Rural Development has approved to put that ($100,000) on the loan amount and the city will have to pay a match of $22,000 in an applicant cost overrun contribution," said Hendrixson.

The new meters are expected be more accurate to help prevent water loss. Hendrixson said the system will save the city time, money, and wear and tear on city vehicles. "Instead of taking seven working days to have two men read meters, it will only take one day with these meters. Labor wise it will save a lot of money over time. From what we understand in talking to other utility districts, automated meters are a lot more accurate and usually revenue increases," he said.

The new system also keeps a 90 day history of customer's water usage and sensors are on the meters to alert city officials in the event of tampering or unusually large amounts of water usage.

Any city employee no longer needed to read meters will be reassigned to other positions in the public works department. No one will lose his job due to the new system.

City officials also stress that no increase in water or sewer rates would be needed to pay for it.

One Injured in Monday Afternoon Wreck

January 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chevy Malibu driven by Wanda Wallace
F-150 driven by Pedro Gonzales

One person was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital after a two vehicle accident Monday afternoon on Highway 56 south.

62 year old Wanda Wallace of Smithville was treated. Her injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

According to Trooper Brandon Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Wallace was driving south in a Chevy Malibu as 37 year old Pedro Gonzales of Smithville was traveling north in an F-150 pickup truck. Trooper Jackson told WJLE that Gonzales ran off the right side of the highway and overcorrected into the path of Wallace's car. The Malibu struck the pickup toward the rear on the passenger side and came to rest in the southbound lane facing west. The truck went off the west side of the highway into a field.

Gonzales was not injured.

Trooper Jackson said charges are pending against Gonzales.

Three Charged with Forgery

January 12, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Melinda Beth Murphy
Jo Ann Luna
Molly Sue Lawrence
Ginger Elaine Moore
Eric Dewayne Judkins
Brandi Louise Murphy-Proffer
Dustin Matthew Brewer
Amanda Marie Hatfield

Three women were arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department last week on separate forgery charges.

29 year old Melinda Beth Murphy of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville faces two counts of forgery. Her bond is $10,000 and she will be in court January 22. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, January 8 Murphy passed two forged checks at a store in Liberty without the victim's consent. One check was in the amount of $110 and the other was for $90.

39 year old Jo Ann Luna of Bright Hill Road, Smithville is charged with one count of forgery and one count of resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. Her bond is $6,500 and she will be in court January 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 8 Luna passed a forged check at the same store in Liberty in the amount of $200 . A deputy saw her trying to cash the check. As the officer placed her in custody, Luna tried to pull away from him in an attempt to avoid arrest.

27 year old Molly Sue Lawrence of Highland Street, Smithville is charged with one count of forgery. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, January 6 Lawrence passed a forged check for $200 at a bank in Alexandria without the victim's consent.

These forgery cases were investigated by detectives and deputies of the sheriff's department.

Ginger Elaine Moore of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court January 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, January 5 a sheriff's department drug detective went to a residence on South Judkins Lane. Upon arrival the detective knocked and Moore opened the door. The officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the residence. Moore allowed him to come inside and talk to her but as the detective entered the home, Moore went to her bedroom and tried to hide a wooden box which contained .28 ounces of marijuana. Moore was placed under arrest.

23 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins of Hendrickson Road, Smithville is charged with two counts of theft of property under $500. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court January 29. Sheriff Ray said that on November 18 Judkins went to an auto parts store in Smithville and bought an ignition coil in the amount of $84.50 and charged it to another person without his consent. The next day, Judkins went to an auto parts store and bought a control module in the amount of $115. 23 and charged it to another person without his consent. The cases were investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

Brandi Louise Murphy-Proffer of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court January 29. Sheriff Ray said that Tuesday, January 6 a sheriff's department detective went to an address on Jefferson Road to conduct an investigation. Upon arrival, he spoke with a woman who identified herself as Lonnie Lykens. The detective later learned that she had lied about her name. When confronted, the woman admitted to using a false name because she had warrants against her from Michigan. She then gave her true identity and was placed under arrest.

Meanwhile, Proffer's boyfriend, 26 year old Dustin Matthew Brewer is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $200,000 and he will be in court January 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, January 7 Brewer, who had a parole absconded warrant against him from Michigan, was located at a residence on Barnes Mill Road. The warrant was confirmed through the National Crime Information Center and he was placed under arrest and held without bond. Brewer made a court appearance last Thursday, January 8 and signed a waiver of extradition. Michigan authorities have ten days to pick him up.

23 year old Amanda Marie Hatfield of Adcock Cemetery Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 10 a deputy responded to Kings Court due to a domestic dispute. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a man who said he and his wife, Hatfield had gotten into an argument over her wanting to see his phone. The man said when he refused to give her his phone, Hatfield got on top of him and grabbed him around the neck. He then pushed her away and went to call for help. The man had red finger marks and scratches on both sides of his neck. Hatfield was determined to have been the primary aggressor and she was brought to the jail for booking. Warren county authorities also had a hold on her for separate offenses. After she made bond here, Hatfield was taken to Warren County.

Smithville Man Recovering from Injuries in Recent Crash at Baxter

January 12, 2015

Family members say a 24-year-old Smithville man is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being critically injured in a wreck in Baxter as he drove home from work on Friday, January 2.

According to the Herald-Citizen, Cody Atnip was extricated from the wreckage of the accident, which happened around 8:30 p.m., and transported by ambulance to Cookeville Regional Medical Center, where he was stabilized before being taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt.

The crash occurred on Nashville Highway, as Atnip was traveling westbound toward Baxter in a maroon Nissan Maxima, according to reports by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Williams.

A silver Nissan Altima being driven by Earl Thompson of Baxter was traveling eastbound toward Cookeville, and was attempting to make a left turn into the Baxter Pizza Hut parking lot.

Thompson’s Altima had yielded to Atnip’s oncoming Maxima, but the driver of a blue Dodge truck also traveling eastbound on the same roadway apparently failed to yield.

The blue pickup, driven by Patrick Green of Castalian Springs, swerved into the left lane, simultaneously rear-ending Thompson’s silver Altima and hitting Atnip’s maroon Maxima head-on, according to Trooper Williams’ report.

No one else was seriously injured.

Lane Ball Wins DCHS Football MVP Award

January 10, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Tiger Football MVC Brooke Martin and MVP Lane Ball
DCHS Tiger Football Award Winners
Hunter Stone Wins Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award
DCHS Tiger Football Cheerleader Award Winners

Lane Ball, a senior, was named Most Valuable Player of the 2014 DeKalb County High School Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet held Saturday night at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The awards were sponsored by Liberty State Bank.

The MVP trophy was presented to Ball by Coach Steve Trapp. "This young man played a lot of football for us. He has probably played in more football games in the Tiger uniform than anybody in the history of this program as far as appearing in games playing on Friday night. This guy has been in almost every one of them since his freshman year. Maybe not as a starter as a freshman, but he was on the field. He would come in. Very shortly into his freshman year he was a starter. He has been a defensive player of the year. He has been a linebacker of the year. He has been an All-District player, an All-Region Player, and an All-Upper Cumberland Player. He has been an outstanding player for DeKalb County High School Football. Not only that but he has been an outstanding role model. He has been an outstanding team captain. He's been an outstanding student. He has just been a great young man and I am happy to say that I have been able to be a part of his life as his football coach and I know he is going to have a bright and successful future at whatever he plans to do," said Coach Trapp.

Ball was named to the 1st Team All-District for the 2014 season and was an All Upper Cumberland Football Honorable Mention on defense for his 120 plus tackles at middle linebacker.

The Tigers finished the season in November with an overall record of 5-6 and another appearance in the state play-offs. It was the fourth consecutive year the Tigers earned a berth in the state play-offs and their sixth appearance in the last seven years. The Tigers lost in the first round of the play-offs at Signal Mountain.

Meanwhile, Brooke Martin, a senior, was named Most Valuable Cheerleader. The presentation was made by Cheer Coaches Amanda Fuller and Sonya House. "She has leadership qualities. When she comes into a room she demands respect and she has been an excellent leader of this squad. I am very proud to have had her here for four years. She is an amazing cheerleader and has an amazing personality and is very deserving of this award," said Cheer Coach Fuller.

"She really stepped into a leadership role last year when she started working toward being captain. She started taking over a lot of things. She started helping plan pep rallies. It just came natural to her. She is able to demand respect with a smile. And she is able to get respect from everyone. She just has that leadership quality," added Cheer Coach House.

Other individual Football Player Awards are as follows:
Offensive Player- Steven Jennings
Offensive Lineman- John Bradford
Offensive Back- Luke Boss
Receiver- Aaron Patterson
Defensive Player- Lance Ball
Defensive Lineman- Joseph Pack
Linebacker- A.J. Mooneyham
Defensive Back- Jonathon Munoz
Special Teams Player-Matthew Poss
Most Improved- Austin Brown
MVP- Lane Ball
Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award-Hunter Stone

Individual Cheer Awards are as follows:
Best Stunts- Lexie Bates
Most Spirited- Emilee Stephens
Best Jumps- Kaitlyn Roller
Best Dance-Carlee White
Most Improved- Abby Evans
Best Motions- Makayla Redmon
MVC- Brooke Martin
DEAR (Dedication, Enthusiasm, Attitude, and Responsibility)-Rachel Fuson

2014 District 8AA Award Winners from DeKalb County:

Most Outstanding Defensive End: Hunter Stone
Most Outstanding Wide Receiver: Aaron Patterson
Most Outstanding Quarterback: Steven Jennings
Most Outstanding Kicker: Matthew Poss

1st Team All District:
Lance Ball, Lane Ball, Jacob Hale, Jonathon Munoz, and A.J. Mooneyham

2nd Team All District:
John Bradford, Joseph Pack, and Luke Boss

2014 All Upper Cumberland Football Team:

1st Team-Offense
QB-Steven Jennings
(2,052 passing yards, 16 TDs/783 rushing yards, 11 TDs)

2nd Team-Offense
OL- Jacob Hale
WR- Aaron Patterson (40 catches, 719 yards, 4 TDs)

Honorable Mention-Offense:
John Bradford-Lineman Right Guard
Eli Cross-Lineman Left Tackle
Luke Green-Lineman Center

Honorable Mention-Defense:
Lance Ball-Linebacker 90 plus tackles LOB
Lane Ball-Linebacker 120 plus tackles MLB
Joseph Pack-Defense Lineman 30 plus tackles NG

Special Teams:
Matthew Poss-Kicker and Punter 3/5 on Field Goals & average on punts of 40 yards

(TOP PHOTO:DCHS Tiger Football Most Valuable Player Lane Ball and Most Valuable Cheerleader Brooke Martin)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP: Football Winners: (FR) Jonathon Munoz, Lane Ball, Aaron Patterson, Steven Jennings; (BR) A.J. Mooneyham, John Bradford, Matthew Poss, Lance Ball, Luke Boss, Austin Brown, Joseph Pack, Hunter Stone)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: Hunter Stone received the Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award. Pictured here with Sarah Edwards, daughter of the late Clay Edwards and Sarah's mother Tena)

(BOTTOM PHOTO: DCHS Football Cheerleader Award Winners: Seated MaKayla Redmon,Brooke Martin (MVC), Emilee Stephens,Carlee White; Standing Rachel Fuson, Abby Evans, Lexie Bates, and Kaitlyn Roller)

Representative Pody Proposes Alternative to State Gas Tax Hike

January 9, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Representative Mark Pody

Although he is opposed to increasing the state's gas tax as some have advocated, State Representative Mark Pody has an idea to get TDOT and local road departments more money to operate.

In an interview with WJLE on Thursday, Representative Pody suggested reallocating a portion of money in the state's general fund to TDOT from taxes derived through the sale of tires and other automotive services.

"Gas prices are low and there's already a push now to add more gas taxes to it. On the federal level as well as the state level, there are people saying that because gas prices have dropped so much that if we're ever going to put a tax (increase) on now is the time to do it. I would rather see us do something different to give TDOT more money. For example, I'm trying to propose that any tax on tires sold be used. We're already getting that money. We can just take it out of the general fund and allocate that to TDOT and there are other things like that we can do to help fund TDOT. I'm not saying we shouldn't give them more money but I think we can reallocate the money we're collecting to that department. Anytime someone gets their auto repaired or oil changed we could take that portion of the tax on those services and use it for the roads and put that to the same formula that we have now so it goes to the locals (county road departments) and to the state (TDOT). We don't have to raise more taxes to do this and we can still get that money to the required areas," said Pody.

Tennessee imposes 21.4 cents in taxes per gallon of fuel. That hasn't been increased since 1989. The federal gas tax, which hasn't changed since 1993, is 18.4 cents per gallon, meaning drivers in Tennessee pay a total of 39.8 cents on each gallon of gas purchased.

Proponents of a gas tax hike have said more revenue is needed to keep pace with the costs of funding needed transportation road and bridge projects across the state.

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