City Pays Tribute to the Late Don Cantrell

The City of Smithville will honor Don Cantrell, a former police officer and city firefighter who recently passed away.
The Smithville Aldermen voted 5 to 0 Monday night to retire Cantrell’s badge number 409 and to rename East Walnut Street by city hall the Don Cantrell Avenue, provided there are no legal or other reasons why the street could not be renamed.
The action was taken at the request of Kenny Rhody, who was a friend and former co-worker with Cantrell in the police department.
In addressing the Mayor and Aldermen, Rhody made the following remarks,
“As I walk around this town, I am reminded of the services some people have contributed to our community in order that the citizens here enjoy all that we have. Some of the people which have helped this town to become what it is today include Mr. Shannon Taylor, Mr. Billy J. Lefever, Mr. Joe Evins, Mr. Hobson Reynolds, and Mr. Cecil Burger.”
“Recently we have lost another person who has made a difference in our town. That was Mr. Don Cantrell. Don was a devoted employee of 35 years as a Smithville Police Officer. He was also a firemen of 15 plus years. He was a husband, a father, and a friend.”
“As a former police officer, I had the pleasure of working with Don for four years. Many times I witnessed Don go above and beyond the call of duty to assist people when they needed it most.”
” I would like for us to do something to honor this man, who gave so much of himself to this community. I’m asking that the council to consider retiring badge #409 that Don wore for some 35 years and possibly renaming East Walnut Street right here beside the police department the Don Cantrell Avenue”.
“In West Tennessee on a tomb rock for Sheriff Buford Pusser, it reads three words, “He Walked Tall”. For those of us who knew Don, although he wasn’t six foot, six, Don walked just as tall. He served our community. He worked with at least eight mayors and at least one hundred council members that I know of and he managed to get along with all of them. Don taught us officers many things. How to help people when they really needed it. How to do your job properly. And I’d just like for us to honor him in some way or another. We’ll always remember Don Cantrell.”
In other business, Travis Stephens was hired as a certified water plant operator to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of another water plant employee. Stephens was put to work on October 30th at $11.75 per hour. His pay will increase to $12.42 per hour after his 60 day probation period. The aldermen voted 5 to 0 to hire him. The city currently has two certified water plant operators and a trainee working toward his certification.
Secretary Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson gave a brief report on two grants that have been approved for the city airport. “The TDOT Aeronautics Division has approved two more grants for the city airport, one for $166, 667 of which 90% comes from federal funds with a 10% city match. That is for a new fueling system. Ours out there is not in bad shape but it’s aging and while the state is dishing out money I’m not going to turn it down. I think it’s a good idea to go ahead. If we can get a new fuel system for $16,000 or less I think we should jump on it. We’ve sold quite a bit of fuel out there this year. It’s been pretty busy. There’s a lot of people flying. Not so much in the winter, but they have been during the spring and summer. Hopefully that will bring in more fuel sales.
“We also put in for a security grant at the airport. Our airport manager, Mr. Wes Nokes put in for that and it came back as a $21,590 grant with the city matching 10% of that which will be roughly $2,200. This will pay for any kind of video surveillance we need out there, updating any of our fence, or just anything to help keep the area more secure.”
Mayor Taft Hendrixson added that “It seems that the aeronautics grants are more plentiful than anything else and we’ll try to get our share. (With these latest grants) That’s going to be about a million dollars worth of aeronautics grants in the last year and a half.”
Mayor Hendrixson also reported on the city’s insurance audit. “We got our insurance audit. We always get this in December and we have to pay the premium by the middle of February. There is some good news. This is our total package of insurance except for one thing for the airport that TML doesn’t do. But it is down by approximately 9% from last year, down about $24,500. I think that’s down because the accidents have been down and days off from work from accidents are down. I really didn’t expect that, but it’s good news.”
The mayor also addressed the issue of the lake elevation and the need for a portable pump to support the water intake at Sligo. “This morning (Monday) Center Hill Lake was at 628.3 MSL (Mean Sea Level). That is good news. They are generating a lot down there (dam) and probably after tonight and tomorrow, according to the weather forecast, it (lake level) will be up again. So hopefully we won’t need the portable pump system. However in this CDBG grant that we’re asking for, we’re going to include that (portable pump) in this grant (application).”

Smithville Police Make Arrests For Drug and Alcohol Related Offenses

The Smithville Police Department has made a few arrests in recent days on drug and alcohol related charges.
Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says 21 year old Joshua Lynne Batey is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for sale and delivery.
His bond totals $30,000 and he will be in court on January 8th.
Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. reports that on December 30th, Batey called the Smithville Police Department to 228 Green Acre Drive. Upon entering the residence, a plastic bag of marijuana could be seen in plain view on a table. After obtaining consent to search, police also found a box of sandwich bags and a marijuana grinder in the house.
Meanwhile, 37 year old Richard B. Turner is charged with public intoxication and simple possession. His bond totals $5,000 and he will be in court on the charges January 8th.
Officer Matt Farmer reports that on December 30th on Crestlawn Avenue, the Smithville Police Department was in the area on a dispute call. Turner was walking across the street. He was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of alcohol on his person. Turner is under a restraining order and not supposed to be at the housing authority. Upon incident to arrest, Officer Farmer found six seroquel pills, a legend drug, loose in his front pocket.
In another case, 47 year old Roy Douglas Atnip is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court January 8th. Officer Nathan Estes reports that on December 30th at 634 Crestlawn Avenue, the Smithville Police Department received two calls on Atnip. He was seen in the front yard very unsteady on his feet. He also had an odor of alcohol on his person.
Another vandalism was reported on Tuesday. Lieutenant Steven Leffew reports that on December 30th at 5:16 p.m., he responded to Sundance Restaurant downtown where someone had busted out the front glass. A large rock was found near the front of the building.
Tracy Foutch also reported to police on December 30th that someone trespassed on his property at 720 Robinson Road and cut six trees valued at $2,000.
Chief Jennings asks that if you have seen or see anyone cutting trees in that area to contact police.

Billy Joe Cowan

61 year old Billy Joe Cowan of McMinnville died Friday at his residence of an extended illness. He was a factory worker and a member of the Methodist Church. The funeral will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Love-Cantrell & Cope Funeral Home in McMinnville. Greg Hibdon will officiate and burial will be in Whorton Springs Cemetery. The family will receive friends Saturday from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. until the time of the service at 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home. He was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver B. and Erma C. Courtney Cowan. Survivors include a sister and brother-in-law, Bianne and John Pennington of McMinnville. Two nieces and their husbands, Katrina Pennington and Rusty Thompson and Regenia Pennington and John Rovsek all of Atlanta, Georgia. Two great nieces, Abigail Thompson and Hannah Grace Rovsek. One uncle and two aunts also survive. Love-Cantrell & Cope Funeral Home in McMinnville is in charge of the arrangements.

James Edward LaFever

The funeral for 93 year old James Edward LaFever (better known as Ed LaFever) will be Monday at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Baxter Funeral Home. Burial will be in the LaFever Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday from 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Monday from 7:00 a.m. until the time of the service. He is survived by his son, Richard LaFever. Four daughters, Joyce Ford, Penny Craighead, Barbara Cassilly, and Lisa Mackie. A sister, Willie Jo Thomas. The Baxter Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Robert Eudele Ramsey

The funeral for 69 year old Robert Eudele Ramsey will be Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Baxter Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Rock Springs Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. until the time of the service. He is survived by his wife, Susie James Ramsey. Two sons, John C. Ramsey and Justin W. Ramsey and a brother, Doug Ramsey. The Baxter Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Joe Homer Brown

93 year old Joe Homer Brown of Rock Island died Friday at the Rain Tree Manor of Warren County. He was a farmer and a member of the New Bybee’s Chapel United Methodist Church. The funeral will be Monday at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Tim Lewis will officiate and burial will be in DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Sunday from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the service at 11:00 a.m. He was preceded in death by his parents, Billy and Vell LeFever Brown and wife Sally Hendrixson Brown. Survivors include a son, Bill Brown of Georgia; a daughter, Patty Jean Brown of McMinnville; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Alice Marie Colvert

83 year old Alice Marie Colvert of Smithville died Thursday at NHC Healthcare Center. She was an ASCS office secretary and a member of the First United Methodist Church. She also played piano for the Community Chorus. The funeral will be Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Chapel of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Burial will be in Town Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel Harrison and Mabel Eller Colvert. She is survived by several cousins. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

DeKalb County Fire Department Receives $190K Federal Grant

When there is an emergency, fire stations should have the necessary staff and personnel to properly respond. Today, Congressman Bart Gordon announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $190,000 to the DeKalb County Fire Department for recruitment of volunteer firefighters.
“Countless lives are saved every day by the courageous efforts of first responders – our nation’s firefighters, EMTs, and police officers,” said Congressman Gordon who is a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “This DHS grant will allow the DeKalb County Fire Department to staff up and do an even better job than they are already doing.”
The grant was awarded through the DHS Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The program was developed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment to improve their ability to protect the public and emergency personnel from fires and related hazards.
The DeKalb County Fire Department will receive the $190,000 grant incrementally over the next 4 years and use the funds to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and personnel.
“We’re excited about this. We’ve been struggling with recruitment and retention of volunteers,” Chief Donny Green said.
The DeKalb County Fire Department plans to use billboards and media advertisements to expand the 72 all-volunteer countywide department. The department currently serves 11 stations in DeKalb County. “That’s a little less than seven firefighters per station, and with volunteers, half are at work or out of town,” explained Chief Green. “We really need 40-50 more volunteers.”
Retention incentives include fuel reimbursement of $10 per call and payment of $200 at the end of the year to each firefighter who attends 75 percent of monthly training drills or $400 for 100 percent of all training.