38 year old Christopher Paul Turner of Smithville died Sunday at his residence. He was a member of the Covenant Fellowship in Morrison. Turner was also a computer technician. The funeral will be Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Dean Northcutt and B.J. Thomason will officiate and burial will be in DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until the service at 2:00 p.m. Turner was preceded in death by great grandparents, L.H. “Cottoner” and Percy Turner and John B. and Daisy Herman; grandmother, Mary Frances Turner; step-father, Gary Kitts; special cousins, T.J. Lewis; and great uncles, Bobby and Kenneth Herman and Jerry Reeder. He is survived by his parents, Joyce and Glenn Nixon of Smithville. Sisters, Jenny and husband Kevin Hall of Smithville. Lorie and husband Steve Rupp of Nashville and LeAnn and husband Matthew Maretti of Ooltewah. Grandfather and step-grandmother, Paul and Sandra Turner of McMinnville. Uncle and aunt, John and Terri Turner of McMinnville. Cousins, Lee Alan and John Adam Turner of McMinnville. Special friends, Shannon and Jason Ours of Murfreesboro. Nieces and nephews, Destiny, Kaitlyn, Leah, Lily, Lexie, R.J., Noah, and Jax. Great uncles and aunt, John and wife Becky Herman of Christiana, and Jack and wife Brenda Herman, and Kathy Reeder of Smithville A host of family and friends also survive. DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has charged a 34 year old Smithville man with aggravated assault after he allegedly stabbed his brother three times with a knife
Sheriff Patrick Ray said 34 year old Heladio Nunez Gutierrez of Campbell Road is under a $10,000 bond and his court date is February 3rd.
Gutierrez was arrested Friday, December 17th at a residence on Blue Springs Road, accused of assaulting his brother Ricardo Gutierrez by stabbing him in the side with a knife. After the first attack the victim began running, trying to get away, but Gutierrez chased after him and stabbed him twice again. Ricardo Gutierrez was taken to the hospital for treatment. His injuries were apparently not life threatening. Gutierrez, the assailant, admitted to the assault.
Meanwhile, in another case, Sheriff Ray said a man, scheduled to serve a weekend sentence for driving under the influence, showed up at the jail drunk on Sunday and was charged with public intoxication.
Sheriff Ray said 32 year old Phillip Edward Miranda of Four Seasons Road, Smithville is under a $1,000 bond and he will be in court on December 22nd.
According to Sheriff Ray, Miranda came into the jail to serve a sentence for driving under the influence. Upon his arrival, the correctional officers saw Miranda throw an empty beer bottle in a garbage can outside of the jail. Miranda admitted to the correctional officer that he was drunk. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person.
41 year old John Michael Turner of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with public intoxication and possession of a prohibited weapon.
According to Sheriff Ray, Central dispatch received an anonymous call on December 16th requesting an officer on Short Mountain Road. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Turner who was very irate and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Turner was punching his truck with his fist and he made verbal threats against another officer, who was not present during this incident. Turner was apparently upset that the officer he named had arrested a family member in a previous case and might be the officer who would arrest him. Turner was charged with public intoxication.
During the arrest, Turner placed his hands in his pockets. According to the arrest warrant, “When the officer asked him to remove his hands (from the pockets), Turner threw a knife onto the ground and the officer saw a silver object in his other pocket. Turner turned away from the officer and grabbed for it. The officer took the object from him and found it to be an expandable baton.”
Turner is under a $2,500 bond and he will be in court on January 20th
29 year old Chris Michael Pack of Cookeville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $10,000. Pack was arrested on Monday, December 19th and he will be in court on December 22nd.
Sheriff Ray said on December 8th, Pack entered a residence on Antioch Road by kicking the back door open. He then allegedly took two jewelry boxes containing a gold waterfall ring, a four leaf clover diamond pin, a gold necklace with a red, white, and blue charm, along with several other pieces of jewelry valued at more than $10,000.
82 year old Carl M. Robinson of Morrison died Friday of an extended illness. Robinson, born in DeKalb County, was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, a farmer, and a retired employee of the A.E.D.C. He was also a member of the Allen’s Chapel Methodist Church and a charter member of the Morrison Ruritan Club. The funeral will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the Bascom Methodist Church. Stacy Cowan, Douglas Jacobs, and James Lester Hayes will officiate and burial will be in the Bascom cemetery in the Vervilla community. Visitation will be Saturday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at High Funeral Home in McMinnville and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. until the service at 2:00 p.m. at the Bascom Methodist Church. Military grave rites will be conducted by the V.F.W. Post 5064 and the American Legion Post 173. Memorials by the Morrison Ruritan Club. Robinson was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton and Ethel Hullett Robinson; his wife, Jo Jacobs Robinson; a granddaughter, Ella Rose Robinson; brothers, Charles and Edward Robinson; sisters, Calysta Pedigo, Delia Foutch, and Lois Williams; sisters-in-law, Helen and Lucille Robinson; and brothers-in-law, Everette Pedigo, Louie Williams, and Tom Washer. Robinson is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law, Kenneth Robinson of Nashville, Michael and Leela Robinson of Morrison, and Mitch and Stephanie Robinson of Murfreesboro. Grandchildren, Kalyn, Kaine, Rhyan, Seth, and Sam Robinson. Great grandchild, Kyler Robinson. A brother, Brisco Robinson of Cookeville. Three sisters and brothers-in-law, Omega Hayes of Smithville, Mary and Paul Parsley of Smithville, and Jo and Jesse Baker of Smithville. Sisters-in-law, Marie Robinson of Smithville and Jacqueline Robinson of Smithville. Brother-in-law, James Foutch of Grand Rapids, Michigan and special friend, Boyd Atnip. High Funeral Home in McMinnville is in charge of the arrangements.
103 year old Rutha Taylor Adcock of Sparta died Thursday at DeKalb Community Hospital. The funeral will be Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at Taylors Providence Church and burial will follow in the Taylors Providence Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday at Thurman Funeral Home in Sparta from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. She is survived by a daughter, Mary Luna and her husband Roston of Sparta. A son, Jessie Adcock of Sparta. Grandchildren, Richard Adcock, Carl Young, Myron Adcock, Darrell Adcock, and Shannon Weaver. Great grandchildren, Heath Young, Jarred Young, and Mironica Franklin. Great great grandchildren, Gabreiana, Jackson, Eli, and Ella Young. Thurman Funeral Home in Sparta is in charge of the arrangements.
Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, announces that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have awarded a $118,091 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the DeKalb County Fire Department. Chief Green says that the Federal share is 95 percent and the local share is 5 percent.
The award will be used to purchase personal protective equipment for the department’s 73 volunteer firefighters. The grant will help meet the needs of DeKalb County’s growing, rural fire department. The Department has eleven stations responsible for protecting 305 square miles and responds to an average of 325 fire-related calls per year. DeKalb County Fire Department is one of the few county-wide departments in Tennessee.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States.
Chief Green says that DeKalb County is fortunate to receive federal funding to help offset the high cost of these equipment purchases. “Without such grants, DeKalb County taxpayers would be shouldering the entire cost of purchasing this necessary firefighting equipment”, says Chief Green. DeKalb County Fire Department also expresses its appreciation to County Mayor Mike Foster and the DeKalb County Commission for supporting the department by allowing the application for such grants.
74 year old Walter Wesley “Wally” Holmes of Liberty died Wednesday at Centennial Medical Center. He was a U.S. Army veteran and a bus driver for entertainment. The funeral will be Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Jerry Driver will officiate and burial will be in the Fairview Cemetery in Norene. Visitation will be Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service at 2:00 p.m. Holmes was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Pauline Wagner Holmes; a sister, Rose Mary McElroy; and a nephew, Daniel Warders. Survivors include his wife, Cathy Holmes of Liberty. Sisters, Sandra Meyers of Baxter, Myrtle Edge of Indiana, and Mary Ruth of Gallatin. Nieces, Kristie and husband Drew McCardell of California, Ellen Warders of Arizona, Teresa Sloat, and Jennifer Jones both of Watertown. Nephews, Jamie Meyers of Baxter and Steven Ray and wife Aleta Phillips of Wyoming. Great nieces and great nephew, Courtney and Emily McCardell and Matthew Phillips. Sister-in-law, Sharon and husband James Brazier of Liberty and brother-in-law, Bill and wife Chris Warders of Arizona. DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.
Construction on the renovation of the former Town and Country Shopping Center has begun and what will become an office complex and recreation center is expected to be completed by late summer of next year.
County Mayor Mike Foster said the project was bid in two phases and Cambridge Constructors of McMinnville was the low bidder at $1.6 million on the first phase and $726,000 on the other for a total of $2.3 million. Under terms of the agreement, Foster said at least 40% of the labor must be from DeKalb County and 25% of the materials must be purchased locally. “The county commission unanimously voted to recommend to the purchasing committee that Cambridge be awarded the contract. We had four bidders including Cambridge, Lee Adcock Construction, J&S, and another company out of Cookeville. Cambridge was $407-thousand dollars cheaper than the others. We compared all the equipment and everything in the specs and they awarded the contract to them (Cambridge). The first thing we were concerned about was the roof. So this will include a new roof on the entire building, a new roof and insulation, an all new central heat and air system for the entire building, and a new facade on the front of the building.”
“The project was bid in two phases because we didn’t know what the estimate was going to be. We set it up so we could winterize and weatherize the entire building, get the heating and air done, get the facade done and get the southern portion of the building from the old food store all the way down to and including where the old Pizza Inn was located. All of that was in one part of the bid. The other part of the bid was for where the senior citizens and recreation area will be. It (bid) came in under the amount we were expecting. The first part (bid) was for $1,611,000 and that’s for an all new roof, all new central air and heat, facade, painting the exterior building, and doing all the interior walls from food center down to Pizza Inn. The other part (bid) was $726,000. It will include all the remodeling for the entire building, including adding desks and work stations for the four offices that are being moved from the courthouse.”
According to Foster, the county can afford this project without having to raise property taxes. In fact, he said the county’s debt service payments will actually be less than they are now, due to a better bond rating and a re-structuring of the county’s debt.”We (county) had some notes. Some of them had been here a long time, some were short term and some for a longer term but the payments on them were $465,000 a year. By re-doing the structure and by getting a new bond rating of A plus from Standard & Poors, even adding this new building, the payments are now $406,000 a year. That’s nearly $60,000 a year less. Plus we’re renting two parts of the building that’s going to bring in about $57,000 a year so our debt service is going from $465,000 to $349,000. That’s a tremendous savings, enough to do the utilities and everything on the entire building.”
Again Foster said the work has begun on the building and it should be ready for use by next summer. “By contract, they have to be done by eight months or they start paying a penalty. The part where UCHRA is moving into, they have to have it done within four months.”
Foster said when completed, the building will offer public use for a variety of purposes. “We all know that we want to have something for our young people to do and there are a lot of things incorporated into this building. There’s absolutely no new costs to any taxpayer. We’re going to be moving four offices out of the courthouse. We’ll have a drive-thru window for the county clerk. You’ll be able to drive up and get your car tags and never have to leave your car. That will be a good thing for people who have trouble negotiating the steps at the courthouse. So the county clerk, trustee, property assessor, and register of deeds which are all interconnected will be moving there (shopping center), moving to the south end of the building. Plus we’ve built in two storage areas, several hundred feet each, where we can have archives.”
“Adjoining that (courthouse offices) will be the UCHRA. They will be leasing approximately 4,700 square feet. They will be moving their facility in there. Motlow Junior College and Tennessee Tech will be having some extended classes there so they (students) don’t have to drive to Motlow or Cookeville for extended classes. We’ll have six classrooms for that, one of which will be set up as a training center for computer literacy. A lot of industries are needing that. Other people also need it. It’s to help create jobs and increase the productivity of people with jobs and give them a better opportunity for employment and maybe allow them to get a better job than what they have right now. We’ll also have another meeting room in that area (of the building).”
“Second Harvest Food Bank will have an area in the back (of the building) where they can store their food and distribute it in a much better way. In the (food center) store part, there’s about 3,500 square feet for senior citizens. Adjoining that area is an exercise room of about 2,000 square feet and then there’s a museum area for things that are pertinent to the county. Adjoining that will be a game room, and then an auditorium with a stage area which will also include an overhead projector which could be used by industries for training. It could also be used as a mini-theater, seating about 230 people. We’ll have a scaled down gym with basketball goals where kids can go and play along with two other exercise areas.”
“We already have some grants and we’ve applied for others where we can get things we really need without it being an additional cost to the county.”
In October, 2009, the county commission voted to purchase the 62,000 square foot complex for about $750,000. The property covers 5.21 acres and includes a large paved parking lot.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department will cease “flagging” operations at Hurricane Bridge beginning January 1st due to a new TDOT requirement.
Since April 15th, the sheriff’s department has posted a “flagger” on each end of the bridge to monitor traffic across the bridge, which has state posted weight limits. The county commission authorized the “flaggers” last January and appropriated the funds to pay for it with the understanding that the county would apply for state grant funds to help recoup the costs.
At the time, County Mayor Mike Foster said posting “flaggers” at the bridge would help school buses, fire trucks, and industries with heavy loads get across the bridge without violating the state’s posted weight limits of 10 tons for a straight truck and 18 tons for a semi. Flaggers were to be posted there Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
On November 29th, the county received a notice from TDOT commissioner Gerald Nicely about a new training requirement for TDOT, the result of the Federal Highway Administration’s updated regulations for work zone safety.
According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the new requirement states that all uniformed law enforcement officers who work on a TDOT project shall have training from a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified police training academy within the state of Tennessee. Furthermore, these officers must have an additional four hours of FHWA approved work zone training by December 31st, 2010. The “flaggers” being used by the sheriff’s department at Hurricane bridge are part- time employees, who are not POST certified. “This is not something that the county commission, the county mayor, or myself has done”, said Sheriff Ray. “This is a requirement from Nashville from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.”
“TDOT has revised it’s requirements for the use of law enforcement in the highway safety work zones. This will become effective on December 31st. This is a new requirement that is a result of the federal highway administration’s work zone safety. What we have to do is, if we have officers down there, they have to be full time law enforcement officers that has the training from the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) in Nashville. Without that training they will not be able to do any of the flagging work at the bridge. If we use our regular deputies or certified deputies that are on shifts, those deputies would have to be taken off the road in order to go down there and do that (flagging) or the county would have to pay overtime fees to those deputies for doing that so I don’t think that would be cost efficient for the county or us. So on January 1st, 2011 the weight restrictions on the bridge will go back to what they are and there will be nobody there to flag traffic. We will not be able to send officers down there to stop traffic on the bridge or let any kind of semi- truck, including loaded school buses, to go across the bridge. Any vehicle that’s overweight will have to take an alternate route.”
Sheriff Ray said since April the “flaggers” have been working at the bridge, but there have been occasions when they could not work due to poor weather conditions or times when the state’s solar powered flashing road signs could not function. “Some of the requirements at the bridge that we have had to adhere to are if the weather is bad, such as during heavy rain or ice and snow, then we’re prohibited by the state from flagging during those times. Also within the last thirty days we’ve had trouble with the solar powered signs. If the sun is not shining then the signs will not power up so we’re having to get our local TDOT people to go to Cookeville to get a generator that’s big enough to come back and charge those batteries. This week, there’s not been anybody there (flaggers at the bridge) because of either the weather or the signs. We’re still having problems with the signs. We’ll get back to it (flagging) just as quick as TDOT can get to us. They’ve been busy with the road work trying to get it done.”
Construction is expected to begin soon on Hurricane bridge.
TDOT opened bids on the project October 29th and the low bidder was OCCI, Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri with a bid of $26.9 million. The contract was officially awarded to OCCI.
TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said last month that “it’s not yet known when construction will begin but OCCI has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project. “It will take about a month to get all the paper work done. As soon as that happens, then the contractor will hold the pre-construction conference where representatives from the contractor’s office and TDOT representatives from the construction field office, the regional construction office, and any utilities that might be involved on the project, will meet at a pre-construction conference and determine how the work is going to be done and how they will approach the job. As soon as that is done, they can get to work on the project. The completion date for this project is on or before October 31st, 2013. “
With the winter break set to start after an abbreviated day Friday and the possibility that DeKalb County Schools might be closed again Thursday, school officials say state mandated end of course assessments may not be administered until January.
Mark Willoughby, Director of Schools, said the state requires students to take those tests on their first day back in the classroom. Willoughby said if schools are back in session Thursday, the exams will be given then. If not, it’ll have to be after the holidays “The end of course tests are not school decisions. On our first day back in school, the state says we have to give end of course tests. We have English IX and Algebra II left to give so that means if we’re in school tomorrow (Thursday), those students need to come to school ready to take those two tests. Also there’ll have to be a makeup day for anybody that misses those tests.”
According to Willoughby, the state will not require the tests to be given on Friday, the abbreviated day, should schools be back open then. “We talked with the state Tuesday and they will not make us give those tests on the abbreviated day on Friday. But if we show up Thursday for a full day or two hours late or whatever, we have to give those end of course tests. Assuming the worst and we can’t go at all this week, we will have to consult with the state and hopefully we will not have to give those tests on the first day back in January. We would hope they would be a little lenient on that and give us a few days after we get back.”
As far as the regular final exams, Willoughby said a decision on those is left up to the schools.” The finals that our schools have scheduled, those can be a school decision on what they’re going to do about finals. One option is to take the first nine weeks grades and the second nine weeks grades and average them together to get the final grades, but that’s a school decision.”
Meanwhile with the unexpected December winter weather, the allotted snow days in the school calendar is already beginning to dwindle. Willoughby said DeKalb County Schools have already been closed three days this week with seven snow days remaining and two stockpiled days. “We have ten days built into the calendar and three stock piled days. We have already used up one stock piled day (November 2nd) with two of those remaining, January 3rd and March 18th. If we did not have any stock piled days then we would have thirteen snow days.”
Willoughby explained that on stockpiled days, students are out of school but teachers attend for staff development. “Several years ago, school systems, including DeKalb County, started extending the school day in order to build up to thirteen additional days, which could be taken off for inclement weather. Most school systems chose to do that, therefore they wouldn’t have to make up those days at the end of the year. By choosing to do that, school systems could take a stockpile day as one of those thirteen days for staff development where we work with teachers on new teaching strategies, training, and things like that. We scheduled three stock piled days this school year.”
The Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) wants Tennessee insurance consumers to be aware of changes in the law relating to the regulation of the sale of Medicare Supplement insurance products (“Medigap”) in this state. This week it has posted a bulletin addressing eligibility expansions for the State-required offer of Medigap policies to persons under 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
“Beginning January 1, 2011, as a result of an amendment to State law,” says TDCI Commissioner Leslie A. Newman, “insurance carriers who offer Medigap plans to individuals 65 and older must also offer those same plans to eligible individuals under 65. “An individual under 65 must be eligible for Medicare due to a disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to enjoy this expanded mandated offering of coverage,” she says.
Pursuant to the 2010 Tennessee Public Acts, Chapter 978, the following persons are eligible for a six-month open enrollment period under the new law:
•A person who has been enrolled in Medicare Part B since before January 1, 2011, will have until June 30, 2011 to purchase a policy;
•A person who becomes enrolled in Medicare Part B after January 1, 2011, will have six months from the date of enrollment to purchase a policy;
•A person who becomes retroactively enrolled in Medicare Part B due to a retroactive eligibility decision made by the Social Security Administration will have six months from the date of the notice of retroactive enrollment to purchase a policy;
•A person who loses access to alternative forms of health insurance coverage such as accident and sickness policies, employer-sponsored group health coverage or Medicare Advantage plans due to termination or cancellation of such coverage because of the individual’s employment status, or due to an action by a health insurer or employer that is unrelated to the individual’s status, conduct, or failure to pay premiums will have six months from the date of loss of that coverage to purchase a policy; or
•A person who is involuntarily disenrolled from Title XIX (Medicaid) or Title XXI (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) of the Social Security Act will have six months from the date of disenrollment to purchase a policy.
The bulletin can be found on the Insurance Division web page at http://tennessee.gov/
commerce/insurance/documents/120110.pdf. Consumers with questions should contact the TDCI Insurance Division at 615-741-2176, www.tn.gov/commerce/insurance/ or by mailing correspondence to:
TDCI Insurance Division, Fourth Floor
Davy Crockett Tower, Fourth Floor,
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/