State Offers Tips for Purchasing Gift Cards this Holiday Season

What typically is the year’s busiest shopping season is upon us. And, even with a national economic downturn sapping consumer confidence, gift cards are a sure bet to remain hot sellers.
You can find department stores’ gift cards not only in the chains’ retail locations but also being sold in grocery stores and drugstores. Many consumers see gift cards as reliable standbys for friends and relatives who seem to already have everything. For them, a gift card from a favorite store can be ideal.
But, despite all the conveniences of gift cards, savvy consumers should take steps to ensure stores’ fine-print policies don’t translate into buyer’s remorse during the holiday season:
1. Check expiration dates and fees. In the state of Tennessee, expiration dates, fees and other terms must be clearly disclosed at the time of purchase. The expiration date and fee must be legibly printed on the gift card.
2. Ask about restrictions. Some card issuers deduct a monthly fee from the card or apply inactivity fees, if a card has not been used for a period of time. These fees will reduce the value of the card. Some gift cards do not allow cash refunds for a remaining balance on a card. You will have to either forfeit the balance or buy additional items.
3. Know what it will cost. Major shopping mall operators charge fees for gift cards. Gift cards issued by banks and credit card companies often expire and tend to add fees. Fees – including activation fees, transaction fees, maintenance fees and inactivity fees – can lessen a card’s value.
4. Ask what to do if the card is stolen. Always keep a receipt. Since gift cards are not usually registered to an individual purchaser, they can be easily stolen. Some stores urge customers to access their store website and register cards in case they’re stolen.
5. Check on purchase exemptions. Ask if the card may be used at both a store’s physical location and the store’s website. Also ask if the card may be used at other locations, not just the specific store where the card was purchased.
6. Get as much information as possible for the card’s recipient. Ask for a toll-free phone number, in case there are problems with the gift card. Ask if a website that provides gift card details is available.
Consumer Affairs is here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities, to resolve complaints through the mediation process, to investigate violations of the state Consumer Protection Act, and to clarify consumer protection laws.
The department is available to help consumers and business owners who have been affected by unfair business practices. Feel free to call Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385. Or visit online where consumers can get tips on everything from avoiding investment scams to picking a home repair contractor. You can find this information at

Second Segment of Gun Season for Deer Hunters Now Open

Tennessee’s second segment of gun season for deer hunters opened Saturday, Dec. 20 in all three of the state’s deer hunting units according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
The dates for the second segment for each unit are as follows:
*Unit A (DeKalb County) – Dec. 20 – Jan. 11.
*Unit B – Dec. 20 – Jan. 7.
*Unit L – Dec. 20 – Jan. 11.
The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is three, except a hunter may take no more than two antlered bucks from Unit B. No more than one antlered buck may be taken per day.
For antlerless deer hunting in Units A and B, refer to the list of hunts on page 21 of the Hunting and Trapping Guide. There are quota and non-quota hunts listed on that page.
An Annual Sportsman, Lifetime Sportsman, Type 167 Permit, or Type 94 permit is required to harvest antlerless deer on all non-quota hunts in Units A, B, and L.
Antlerless deer are defined as deer with no antlers or deer with antlers less than three inches in length.
Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License (along with other required licenses) while hunting any species in Tennessee.
For more information about Tennessee’s deer hunting seasons, refer to the Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents or on the TWRA website at

Deanna Kirby

52 year old Deanna Kirby of the Green Hill Community died Thursday at Stones River Hospital in Woodbury of injuries in an automobile accident. She was born in Warren County and was a homemaker. Kirby was preceded in death by her parents, I.D. and Georgia Magnolia Haley Adcock. The funeral will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at McMinnville Funeral Home Chapel. Wayne Cantrell will officiate and burial will be in the Mount View Cemetery. The Kirby family will receive friends on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at McMinnville Funeral Home. Survivors include her husband, Eddie Kirby of the Green Hill Community; a daughter and son-in-law, Shelley and Matthew Wanamaker of McMinnville; a son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Stacey Kirby of Smithville; a sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Bernie Siler of Florida; brothers and sisters-in-law, Danny and Michelle Adcock of New Jersey, Garry and Peggy Adcock of McMinnville, and Mickey and Joyce Adcock of McMinnville; mother-in-law, Mildred Kirby of McMinnville; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Diane and Troy Sullens of McMinnville; and grandchildren, Gage Wanamaker, Linley Wanamker, and Paisley Wanamaker. McMinnville Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

State Fire Marshal’s Office Issues Warnings on Christmas Trees

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Tennesseans with natural, fresh-cut Christmas trees in their homes to take care to keep them in water, in light of the fire risk posed when they are allowed to dry out.
“The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that there is an estimated annual average of 210 home structure fires that begin with Christmas trees,” says State Fire Marshal and Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Leslie A. Newman. “Properly maintaining a cut Christmas tree’s moisture content of more than 100 percent by keeping it in water significantly reduces the chance that its needles will dry out and pose a fire hazard.”
NFPA studies also have found that, on average, one of every nine Christmas tree fires causes a fatality, compared with an average of one death per 75 non-confined home fires. Fires involving Christmas trees cause 94 percent of those related fatalities when they spread beyond the room where the fire begins, which is 49 percent of the time.
“We’re in the midst of the winter holiday season,” Newman says. “It’s imperative – amid the hustle and bustle of holiday events – that residents remember to practice good fire safety and make sure to never leave trees near heat sources, especially dried-out trees.”
To illustrate the short time in which a dry, cut Christmas tree can catch fire and engulf a room in flames, the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office is distributing links to two videos produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
* – side-by-side comparison of the burn rates of a properly maintained tree and a dried-out tree
• – tree fire spreading throughout a room.
For further information on protecting your home from fire hazards, particularly during the winter months, visit or call 615-741-2981.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee.

Winners Named in Dowelltown City Lights Contest

Winners have been named in the Town of Dowelltown’s Christmas lights contest
Names of the winners are as follows:
First Overall:
Joe & Vicki Bogle
Second Overall:
Darry & Susan Driver
Third Overall:
Kevin & Beth Kent
First Place Door/Porch:
James & Ruth White
Second Place:
Andy & Shan Burklow
First Place Window:
Terri Dodd
Second Place:
Jan Taylor

Three Municipal Elections Scheduled in 2009

2009 will be a light election year in DeKalb County.
There will be no county or state elections, only three municipal elections.
The Smithville Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, June 16th and three aldermen will be elected that day.
The Liberty Municipal Election will be held on Thursday, August 6th and Mayor and two Aldermen will be elected.
A mayor and two aldermen will be elected in the Alexandria Municipal Election on Thursday, September 3rd.

Woman Dies in Cannon County Crash

A 52 year old woman died in a one vehicle traffic accident in Cannon County Thursday night.
Dead is Deanna M. Kirby of Warren County.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that Kirby was driving east on the Judge Purser Hill Road in a 1998 Durango SUV when the vehicle went off the right side of the road, crossed a bridge abutment, and struck a tree.
The accident was investigated by Troopers Bruce Pryor, Monty Terry, and THP Sergeant Billy Prater.
Officials say extreme fog at the time of the 7:15 p.m. crash contributed to the accident.
Kirby was wearing her seatbelt.

Katie Frances Cantrell

73 year old Katie Frances Cantrell of McMinnville died Wednesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville of a brief illness. She was a DeKalb County native, a homemaker and a Baptist. The funeral will be Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel of High Funeral Home in McMinnville. Paul Roberts will officiate and burial will be in the New Union Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lonnie and Madie Young Pack; a daughter, Penny Cantrell; three sisters, Betty Jo Redmon, Lear Wright, and Vestie Green; and three brothers, D.G., Charles, and Franklin Pack. She is survived by her husband, Dennie Cantrell of McMinnville. Children and their spouses, Steve and Doris Cantrell of Smithville, Pam Cantrell of McMinnville, Kim and Bennie McBride of Morrison, and Kathy and Jesse Bratcher of McMinnville. Three grandchildren, Misty Arnold, Zach and Jamie McBride. Three great grandchildren, Gabe, Garrett, and Abbigail. Several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews also survive. High Funeral Home in McMinnville is in charge of the arrangements.

Ernestine V. Patterson

93 year old Ernestine V. Patterson of Smithville died Tuesday of an extended illness at DeKalb Community Hospital. She was a Cannon County native, a housewife, stove manufacturer, and a member of the Church of Christ. The funeral will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Woodbury Funeral Home. Royce Martin will officiate and burial will be in the Melton Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Dearman Patterson. Survivors include first cousins, Joe Patterson of Goodlettesville, Ralph Patterson and Peggy Patterson of Murfreesboro, Dorris Hare of Delaware, Sue Cripps, Kelly, and Eugene Underwood of Smithville, Joe R. Leonard and Tony Patterson of Cannon County, Paul Patterson of Michigan, William Patterson of Mississippi, Roger Patterson of Arizona, James Patterson of Maine, Paul Waggoner of Chattanooga, Geraldine Prater of Warren County, and numerous second and third cousins and devoted neighbors, Ken and Marie Garrett and family. Woodbury Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Large Number of Students Record Perfect Attendance

Student attendance has been good for the first half of the school year and a total of 268 students system wide have had perfect attendance.
Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System says the attendance numbers have been impressive. “Part of my role each year is to keep up with the attendance of students in the county and to report that to the state. Perfect attendance means no missed days, no tardies, and no leave earlies for the year. We’ve had 82 full days of school (as of Monday) and there are 94 days of school left in the year (as of Monday).”
The attendance rates at each school and the number of students with perfect attendance at each grade level are as follows:
DeKalb West School:
Attendance rate- 95.8%
32 students with perfect attendance
By grade:
Pre-Kindergarten -1, Kindergarten-2, 1st Grade- 3, 2nd Grade- 2, 3rd Grade-6, 4th Grade-3, 5th Grade-7, 6th Grade-2, 7th Grade-1, and 8th Grade-5
DeKalb Middle School:
Attendance rate-96.4%
57 students with perfect attendance
By grade:
6th Grade-21, 7th Grade-19, and 8th Grade-17
Smithville Elementary:
Attendance Rate-95.3%
38 students with perfect attendance
By grade: Pre-Kindergarten-1, Kindergarten-11, 1st Grade-11, and 2nd Grade-15
Attendance Rate-95.1%
65 students with perfect attendance
By grade:
9th Grade-27, 10th Grade-12, 11th Grade-18, and 12th Grade-8
Northside Elementary:
Attendance Rate-96.7%
76 students with perfect attendance
By grade:
2nd Grade-11, 3rd Grade-20, 4th Grade-18, and 5th Grade-27
Farler says “I want to commend all the students, their parents, and their schools for this accomplishment. Of course, we encourage students to be in school everyday and on time and stay for the full day. For us, to be almost half way through the school year and have this many students who have not missed any school is really good.”