Drought Declaration Announced for DeKalb County

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives David Davis (R-Tenn. 1), John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn. 2), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) today announced that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward T. Schafer has declared seven counties in Tennessee as disaster areas due to losses caused by drought. According to Secretary Schafer’s declaration, “This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.”
The following seven counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas: Carter, Cumberland, De Kalb, Loudon, Roane, Sullivan, and Trousdale.
In addition, 23 contiguous counties may also be eligible for disaster assistance. Those counties are: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Cannon, Fentress, Hawkins, Johnson, Knox, Macon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Smith, Sumner, Unicoi, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, White, and Wilson.
“I’m glad that Secretary Schafer has announced this declaration for seven counties in our state that have experienced some of the driest seasons in our state’s history,” Alexander said. “With this declaration from the Secretary of Agriculture, Tennessee farmers should be able to get the help they need.”
“I was proud to support Governor Bredesen’s request for a drought declaration and I am pleased that Secretary Schafer has made assistance available for eligible producers in these counties who have been affected by the persistent drought,” Corker said. “I hope the designation and subsequent assistance will provide some help to these farmers as they work to recover from the severe weather conditions that have plagued our region for the last two years.”
“I am glad that the USDA has declared these hard hit counties eligible for drought assistance,” said Congressman David Davis.
“I am pleased that the federal government will be offering support to Tennessee farmers as they deal with the effects of this year’s drought,” said Congressman Duncan. “These farmers work very hard every day to put food on our table and contribute to our Nation’s economy. By receiving this declaration, they will be able to apply for assistance to help get them through this tough time.”
“This USDA declaration provides some relief to the farmers in Tennessee who were hit with tough conditions this year, and whose families are having a hard enough time weathering today’s economic conditions,” said Congressman Wamp.
“We have seen in past years the effect a drought can have on Tennessee’s farmers and economy, and I will be working closely with my colleagues to help out wherever we can in these difficult times,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis.
“This drought has destroyed crop yields and hurt county economies across Middle Tennessee and throughout the rest of the state,” Congressman Gordon said. “With this declaration, the many affected farmers and their families in counties like De Kalb and Trousdale can begin to rebuild and prepare for the start of the next farming season.”

Josie Marjorie Love

90 year old Josie Marjorie Love of the Fountain Grove Community of Warren County died Wednesday at her residence. She was born in DeKalb County, a homemaker, and a member of the Viola Church of Christ. The funeral will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at McMinnville Funeral Home Chapel. Kevin Deason will officiate and burial will be in the Gardens of Memory. The Love family will receive friends on Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. She was preceded in death by her parents, Zollie and Shirley Love Cantrell; her husband, James Landon Love; and her brothers, Norman Cantrell, Royce Cantrell, and Howard Cantrell. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Judy and Lee Brewer of the Fountain Grove Community. Grandchildren, Kristie Love Crouch of Murfreesboro and Suzanne Lynette Moore of Morrison. Great grandchildren Derek Alan Crouch, John Wiley Moore, and Shelby Love Moore. Sisters, Elizabeth Lafever of Atanta, Georgia, Rubye Cantrell of Smithville, Gladys Buck of Madison, Joyce Crosslin of Nashville, and Linda Hillis of McMinnville and brothers, Reed Cantrell and Gordon Cantrell both of McMinnville. McMinnville Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Johnny Crockett McGuire

85 year old Johnny Crockett McGuire of Nashville died Tuesday at Southern Hills Medical Center. He was a mechanic and a Baptist. The funeral will be Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Whorton Springs Cemetery. Visitation will be Thursday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Elizabeth Cantrell McGuire. He is survived by his wife, Sue Turner McGuire of Nashville. One son, Richard Vandergriff of Old Hickory, and several cousins and friends. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Russell Watson Receives Agricultural Educator Outstanding Service Award

A local educator has been presented an Outstanding Service Award by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
Russell Watson of Smithville, an educator in the Warren County School System, was named to receive the award last Friday at an award’s luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Throughout his 41 years of teaching, Watson has been very involved in the curriculum changes for many agriculture courses. Early in his career, he realized the need to incorporate courses that were not all production agriculture into the program. With McMinnville being considered the “nursery capitol of the world,” Watson began to incorporate courses such as greenhouse management and agribusiness. These kinds of courses were more relevant to his students’ lives, which led to increased learning and improved retention.
Watson has served on state and national curriculum committees, and he served as a reviewer for many textbooks now on the market. He began to incorporate math, science and language into the curriculum, giving agriscience courses the opportunity to count towards core credits.
Along with his service to agricultural education as a whole, Watson has also been very successful in his own classroom. Whether it is because of the changes he has made or simply his passion and dedication to the profession, he is doing something right. His agriculture department and FFA chapter has seen numerous American and state FFA degree recipients, national and state finalists in proficiency award areas, and 40 national gold chapter emblems. His students have also been very motivated in continuing their education, with many of them receiving not only a Bachelor’s degree, but masters and doctorates as well. His students are not the only ones that have been influenced by Watson’s work; his service has continued into the professional organizations in which he is involved. Watson is someone to whom students and fellow teachers alike can look to for advice.
“Mr. Russell Watson has not only served as an educator and FFA advisor, but as a mentor to his students,” said Tracy Risinger, Warren County School System Career and Technical Education Director. “It is easy to see that his accomplishments during his 41 year tenure have definitely made a difference in the lives of his students.”

State Senator Mae Beavers Re-elected Treasurer of Senate Majority Caucus

State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) was unanimously re-elected by her colleagues as Treasurer to the Tennessee Senate Majority Caucus. The election took place as the Republican Caucus met in an organizational meeting of the group on Monday.
“It is an honor to be re-elected by my colleagues as Treasurer of the Caucus and I am looking forward to continuing to serve our members in this capacity,” said Sen. Beavers, who also serves in the State Senate as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As Treasurer, Beavers is part of the Republican Leadership team. Beavers has served in various leadership capacities since she was elected as a freshman.
In other positions elected by the Caucus, Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was re-elected Senate Majority Leader, Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) as Republican Caucus Chairman, Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesoboro) as floor leader, and Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) as Secretary.
The 106th General Assembly is set to convene on January 13.

Doris Pearl Gard

96 year old Doris Pearl Gard of Smithville died Wednesday at DeKalb Community Hospital. She was a homemaker and a member of the Allen Chapel Methodist Church. A graveside service will be Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at the Gard Cemetery. Tim Ferguson will officiate. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ward and Rosella Loy Bonney; her husband, Cleo Gard; a son, Ronnie Gard; and a daughter, Karen Kay Gard. Survivors include a daughter, Sherri Gard; one son, Darwin and his wife Wanda Gard; and a daughter-in-law, Barbara Gard all of Smithville. Eleven grandchildren, Denise Holcomb, Karla Warrick, Michelle Roller all of Smithville, Bill Gard of Murfreesboro, Tim Dixon and Lori Wall of Arizona, Wanda Kinnard of Cookeville, Kathy Neal of Smithville, Betsy Smith of Alexandria, Linda Thomas of Smithville, and Janet Cecil of Arrington, Tennessee. Thirty one great grandchildren. Seven great great grandchildren. One sister, Bob Westergreen of Iowa. There will be no visitation. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Smithville Chapter OES Donates Children’s Books

The Smithville Chapter of The Order of the Eastern Star recently donated children’s books for the “Tantalizing Tales” project.
Chapter members Carolyn Williams, Past Worthy Grand Matron, Guylene Atnip, Worthy Matron of the Chapter, Wanda Gard, Grand Representative and Joel Dawes, Project Chairperson visited Smithville Elementary Pre-K and the First United Methodist Day Care.
Pictured are the members and Deanna Adams, Director of the First United Methodist Day Care and Smithville Elementary Pre-K was represented by Jennifer Peak, Christina Ortiveros, Susan Palmer, and Lori Purnell.

Bredesen Announces Grant for Smithville Municipal Airport

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that $150,000 in federal aeronautics grant funds have been approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport in DeKalb County.
“As our communities grow and thrive, it is increasingly important that our airports stay competitive and efficient at meeting the needs of travelers,” said Bredesen. “Smithville Municipal Airport is vital to this region’s economy and travel system. I’m pleased to support its continued growth.”
Funds from the aeronautics grant will be used to purchase and install a new fueling system. Senator Mae Beavers represents DeKalb County in the Tennessee General Assembly. The grant is made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.
“This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee’s diverse public aviation system,” reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.”
Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.
TAC Chair Larry Mullins explained, “Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be put to good use.”
The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

Britney Campbell Chosen for Mid-State Band

For the fourth year in a row, Britney Campbell, a sophomore at DeKalb County High School, has been chosen to represent Middle Tennessee in its most prestigious musical ensemble, Tennessee’s Mid-State Band.
On Saturday, December 6th, Britney traveled to McGavok High School in Nashville to audition for Mid-State, which selects its musicians from the Middle Tennessee area based on the students’ level of musical ability. At the senior high level, any 10th – 12th grade student in Middle Tennessee can audition. During the audition process, each student is tested in three general areas of musicianship. Students are asked to perform a prepared piece of music, which is a song that has been rehearsed prior to the audition date. Students are also required to demonstrate their ability in playing scales, a basic pattern of musical notes. They are also tested on sight-reading skills, which displays the ability to perform a song without having to rehearse it.
Among the hundreds of clarinet players in grades ten through twelve who auditioned for this event, Britney placed nineteenth chair in the Bronze Band, Mid-State’s third ranking band.
In January 2009, all the students who made the Mid-State Bands will rehearse in Murfreesboro. Students will only have a couple days to prepare for a concert, which will be held at Middle Tennessee State University. DeKalb County High School’s Band Director, Jonathan Wright, says, “It is a wonderful experience for all involved students because they get an opportunity to play with the most talented and motivated students from all over the middle Tennessee area.”
In addition to playing clarinet in the high school band, Britney also plays percussion in the DCHS Winter Drumline, DC-1 Percussion. This ensemble is completely extracurricular, and meets twice a week in the band room to prepare for an indoor show to be performed in 2009.
Britney is the daughter of Mike Campbell and Kimberly Houk of Smithville. Britney’s dad says, “This was her first year to try out in the senior high division and I am very proud of her. She works really hard for this every year.”

Former 3-D Financial Loan Officer Indicted on Forgery and Theft Charges

A former loan officer at 3-D Financial of Smithville has been named in a sealed indictment charging her with eighteen counts of forgery and one count of theft over $1,000.
53 year old Sari Bailey of Antioch Road, Smithville, who was arrested Friday, is accused of issuing $4,100 in loans, using the names and personal information of previous 3-D Financial customers without their knowledge, and keeping the money for herself. She also allegedly forged a company check and passed it at a local bank for $1,500 and kept the money.
Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings, who investigated the case, says with each fraudulent loan issued, Bailey would apparently use the funds from it to either pay off or make a payment on the previous loan.
Bailey allegedly forged loan agreements using the names of six different persons in amounts of $100, $200, and $300 on seventeen occasions from April 27th, 2007 to October 30th, 2007.
The investigation began last fall after the office manager of 3-D Financial reported to police that three company checks were missing and that one of them had been cashed for $1,500 but the money was not returned. Chief Jennings says the fraudulent loan scheme was uncovered as a result of that investigation.
The indictment alleges that on and between April, 2007 and October, 2007, Bailey did forge and pass one check and seventeen loan agreements with a total net loss of approximately $2,893 on accounts with the intent to deprive 3-D Financial of said property, constituting the offense of theft over $1,000.
Her bond is $25,000 and she will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 15th.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has arrested two persons since Friday for driving under the influence.
37 year old Thomas Wayne Wallace Jr. of Jamestown was charged Friday with driving under the influence, unlawful possession of a loaded weapon, and possession of a loaded weapon while intoxicated.
Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputes spotted a vehicle that was parked in the roadway on Highway 70 East. Upon inspecting the vehicle, officers found Wallace passed out in a fetal position with the vehicle running and in gear. They determined that Wallace was under the influence of alcohol after he failed field sobriety tasks. Upon taking an inventory of Wallace’s vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun under his seat. Wallace’s bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on December 18th.
Meanwhile on Saturday a county deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 for weaving from side to side in the roadway. Sheriff Ray says 28 year old Steve Ross Merriman of Snow Hill Road Dowelltown was found to be the driver of the vehicle. Deputies noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. Merriman was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. He was also asked to give blood to determine any alcohol content in his body. Merriman refused to consent to both the sobriety tasks and blood test. Deputies placed him under arrest for driving under the influence. Merriman’s bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on January 8th.. Merriman was also issued a citation for violating the implied consent law.