Morris Charged with Reckless Endangerment and Vandalism

In his latest report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 45 year old Frank Ervin Morris of Gene Vaughn Road, Smithville is charged with seven counts of reckless endangerment and one count of vandalism.
Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, December 7 Morris came to a residence on Medlin Lane and engaged in conduct that placed seven females in fear of serious bodily injury. Morris allegedly broke out two windows, kicked in the front door causing damage to the door and frame, and broke two porch rocking chairs. Two chairs inside the home were damaged due to the broken glass from the windows. The estimated value of the damage is $2,550.
Bond for Morris is $19,000 and he will be in court on December 20.
21 year old David Matthew Graham of Cookeville and 44 year old Gregory Allen Mayo of Dry Creek Road are charged with vandalism. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court on January 3.
Sheriff Ray said that on December 10, Graham and Mayo, who were both inmates at the jail, vandalized a sleeping mat by cutting the mat and removing the stuffing.

Self-Service Kiosk for Renewing Driver’s Licenses Now Available at County Complex

A new self-service kiosk for renewing driver’s licenses was recently placed at the DeKalb County Complex. It’s part of a statewide effort that Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials hope will reduce wait times at driver’s license testing centers.
The kiosk is only for renewal of expired Tennessee driver’s licenses or replacement of lost licenses. “It will not do CDL’s (Commercial Driver’s Licenses) and it will not do a license where the owner has a handgun carry permit,” said County Clerk Mike Clayborn.

The license-holder pays at the kiosk by credit or debit card and poses for a photo. A receipt is printed out which serves as a temporary driver’s license until the real license arrives in the mail a few days later.
The kiosks are networked with state driver’s license records and have facial-recognition software which compares the person posing for the new photo with the previous license photo to avoid fraud.
The new kiosk is now available for use whenever the county complex is open. Its located in the hallway near the County Clerk, Trustee, Assessor of Property, and Register of Deeds offices.
People getting Tennessee licenses for the first time must still go to a driver’s license testing station and renewals and replacements will still be available there as well.

Sara V. “Ginny” Reed

71 year old Sara V. “Ginny” Reed of Smithville died Monday at her daughter’s residence. She was a member of the Webb’s Chapel United Methodist Church and attended Smithville First Baptist Church. Reed was a farmer, homemaker, and she worked at Sundance. The funeral will be Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Don Davidson will officiate and burial will be in DeKalb Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the service at 11:00 a.m. Reed was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Katherine Powers Farlow; a son, Brent Reed; a brother, Charles Farlow; and sisters, Beth and husband Joe Hensel; and Alice Libka. Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Robert Jack Reed of Smithville. Children, Margaret and husband Doyle Curtis of Liberty, Bart and wife Glenda Reed of Warner Robbins, Georgia, Brian and wife Phyllis Reed, and Barry and wife Angie Reed all of Smithville; and daughter-in-law, Paulette Reed of Smithville. Fifteen grandchildren, twenty three great grandchildren, and sister-in-law, Janet Farlow of Chiefland, Florida. DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Corps To Tighten Restrictions Around Center Hill Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to tighten restrictions around locks and dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries, including Center Hill Dam.
Nashville District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jim DeLapp said the Corps, because of safety issues, will install physical barriers, most likely buoys tied to cables above the water, within 500-700 feet of dam tail waters to prevent boat access to that area. Barriers will also be placed above the dams. The restrictions will be effective on a project by project basis as they are phased in. Fishing from the bank will still be allowed but all forms of water access will be prohibited in the restricted area, including boating, swimming and wading. The restrictions are being put in place to bring the Nashville District into compliance with other U.S. Corps of Engineers properties nationwide.
“We understand the tightened restricted areas in the Nashville District may be unpopular, but it is necessary for the district to enforce a more restrictive policy that complies more effectively with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ER 1130-2-520, Chapter 10,” said Freddie Bell, chief of the Natural Resource Management Branch. “The increased restriction will also provide the highest level of public safety and address physical security issues.”
Since 2009, three fatalities, one serious injury and 10 near misses/rescues have occurred in the hazardous waters immediately downstream of dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries. Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned were wearing a life jacket.
The immediate hazardous water areas above and below dams in the Nashville District are best described as industrial areas that pose a high level of risk for the public because of the hydroelectric, spilling, sluicing and lock operations that are often present or begin with little or no notice. Such water releases can change a dry riverbed or calm waters into a life-threatening situation within seconds that can swamp, capsize and trap boats and people in turbulent waters.
“We want the public to understand safety is the Agency’s highest priority,” said Bell. “The tailwater directly below a dam is a high risk area and fishing in this area is a high risk activity. As we comply with Corps regulations by restricting these areas, we are also keeping the public safe.”
DeLapp said the barriers will cost around $2 million for all 10 projects and that they will be phased in beginning in February and running through April.
The Corps will hold public meetings in Nashville, Cookeville, and Paducah and Somerset, Kentucky in January 2013 to both inform and solicit input from the public.
For more information, on the “Restricted Areas Around Dams” please go to

DeKalb County Records Three Traffic Fatalities in 2012

Three people have lost their lives in DeKalb County traffic accidents this year and the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement agencies will be working over the next two weeks to keep that number from going any higher.
The THP will be conducting driver license roadside safety checkpoints this week on State Route 146 and sobriety roadside safety checkpoints next week on Highway 56 in DeKalb County. Two of the three fatal wrecks this year in DeKalb County occurred on Highways 146 & 56 while the other took place on Highway 70 at Snow Hill. At least one of them involved alcohol. Meanwhile, two others from DeKalb County died in traffic accidents in Rutherford and Smith Counties this year.
30 year old Chris Gammons of Smithville, involved in a two vehicle crash on Saturday, June 23 died Monday, July 9 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Gammons was one of four people in that accident which occurred on Highway 70 near the intersection of Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) on Snow Hill. Gammons and Troy Bruno, both of Smithville were airlifted from near the scene of the crash by Life Force and Air Evac helicopter ambulances. The other two in the wreck were 32 year old Cleva Elaine Gammons of Smithville, wife of Chris Gammons, and 52 year old Johnny Hickey of Liberty. Hickey was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 2004 F350 full size flat bed truck when he crossed the turning lane and into the path of an eastbound 2002 Nissan Altima, driven by Cleva Elaine Gammons. Chris Gammons was a front seat passenger and Troy Bruno was a back seat passenger of the Altima. Chris Gammons was ejected and landed on the highway, in front of the Altima. Bruno was trapped in the backseat and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s Extrication and Rescue Team.Bruno and Chris Gammons were transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone on Highway 70 at the intersection of Toad Road. One of them was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter and the other was flown out by an Air Evac helicopter. Mrs. Gammons was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital, where she was treated and released. On November 26, Hickey was indicted by the grand jury on one count of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault, and driving under the influence.
41 year old William Larry Dyle, II of McMinnville was found dead at the scene of a motorcycle crash on Highway 56 south on Thursday, September 27. Dyle was operating a 2007 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle southbound and failed to negotiate a curve. He ran off the right side of the roadway, struck two mailboxes and a utility pole near the home of Phillip Cantrell. Dyle, who died at the scene, was wearing a helmet but was thrown from the bike. He landed about ten yards away from the motorcycle. It is unknown when the accident occurred. A couple out walking discovered the crash and reported it to 911 at around 6:19 a.m. Dyle’s body was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.
A Wednesday, November 28 traffic accident claimed the life of 72 year old Martha J. Thomason of Short Mountain Highway, Woodbury. The accident occurred on Highway 146 between the Game Ridge and Whorton Springs Roads. Thomason was driving south on Highway 146 in a 2004 Honda CRV when she went off the right side of the road, struck an earthen embankment, and overturned in a field. The car came to rest upright on its wheels. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue Team were summoned to perform extrication in order to get Thomason out of the car. She was treated on site by DeKalb EMS and then loaded onto an Air Evac helicopter ambulance which landed at the scene. Thomason was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville where she later died.
18 year old Zack Ferrell of Smithville, on his way to work at Nissan, lost his life in a pickup truck crash around 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning, July 1 on Highway 96 near Lascassas in Rutherford County. Trooper Michael Cummins of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Ferrell was driving a 1986 Chevy pickup truck, heading toward Murfreesboro, when he ran off the right side of the highway and struck a guardrail. Ferrell apparently overcorrected and came back across the highway, crossing the center line and oncoming lane. The truck then went off an embankment and into a line of trees. The truck ran head on into a tree. Ferrell was partially ejected. Trooper Cummins said Ferrell died at the scene. His body was taken to Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro. Ferrell graduated from DeKalb County High School in May.
19 year old Johnny Ray Farless of Smithville died and two others were injured after their car ran into a tractor trailer rig on Interstate 40 in Smith County early Thursday morning, October 25. Those injured were 21 year old Amanda Price of Liberty and 19 year old Zachary Barlow of Lebanon. Farless and Barlow were passengers of a 2009 Hyundai, driven by Price. The accident occurred at around 2:06 a.m. Price was driving east on I-40 near the 252 mile marker when she apparently fell asleep and ran into the back of a 2012 tractor trailer, which was parked off the roadway near a truck rest stop area. The driver of the rig, 44 year old Alvin Walker of Olive Branch, Mississippi was asleep in the sleeper cab compartment of the truck at the time of the accident. The truck was loaded with general freight. After making impact with the rear of the trailer, Price’s car spun around and came to rest halfway in the slow lane and the entrance ramp to the rest stop. Walker was not injured. Neither Farless, Price, nor Barlow were wearing a seatbelt.
Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. During the sobriety checkpoints, Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

Board Looks to Make School Buildings More Energy Efficient

The DeKalb County Board of Education is looking to partner with Johnson Controls to bring more energy efficiency to existing school buildings.
During Thursday night’s meeting, the board voted to enter into a project development agreement with the company to continue a study already begun to determine what improvements are needed that would deliver a certain amount of energy savings over a period of time. After the study is completed, officials of Johnson Controls will return to the school board with a detailed scope of the work to be done and the savings projections. At that time the board can vote to proceed with a contract with Johnson Controls or opt out. The cost for the study is $11,000.
But the costs of making any facility and infrastructure retrofits or renewal projects recommended by the study could be offset from the energy and operational savings that are achieved as a result, according to Joe Bond of Johnson Controls, who addressed the board. Project improvements may include lighting system enhancements; HVAC upgrades; and water conservation measures. “We were able to come out and do a preliminary assessment a couple of month ago,” said Bond. ” Our engineers came on site and spent a couple of days walking the buildings with your maintenance director and what we found was an opportunity to help upgrade the buildings with no extra tax dollars affected. This is money you are already spending today. You just happen to be writing the check out to the utility company whether its TVA or your natural gas provider or water company. This money will be redirected back into your buildings and to upgrade your facilities especially at the high school. The high school is the culprit of a lot of the energy use in the county but that’s not unusual because most high schools are going to run a lot more than elementary or middle schools. What we learned here in DeKalb County is that you spent a little over $570,000 in utilities last year. You have right at 412,000 square feet. The buildings vary in age. Some of them are over thirty years old and with various updates and additions throughout them,” said Bond
Once the study is completed possibly by early March, Bond said he will return to the board with a detailed scope of the proposed work to be done and the savings projections. If the board votes to proceed with a contract, the work will begin, mostly after school and possibly at night.
If Johnson Controls doesn’t achieve the guaranteed savings for the school system, the company would pay the difference between what was guaranteed and what was actually achieved, according to Bond. “A performance contract generates guaranteed utility savings. Our firm does guarantee the savings and we do write you a check if we fall short of those savings,” he said.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he believes this is a great opportunity to make school buildings more energy efficient and save money. “The costs for the study is $11,000 but that money could be absorbed through cost savings if the school system later decides to proceed with work to implement the recommendations of Johnson Controls,” said Willoughby. “They work with several different school systems in basically saving them a significant amount of money on energy and utilities. He (Bond) and his company have done a preliminary study and he would like to present to the board the study thus far. If we did enter into a contract with Johnson Controls we would not be using any additional money from the school system. We would not be using any additional tax dollars to do this project. If we do this, it would upgrade our climate control systems, possibly our use of water in the schools, and make everything more efficient. And the savings would go toward funding these projects where each year we’re spending several thousand dollars on replacing air conditioning and heating units at schools. This is a way that we could possibly go ahead and do everything and get upgraded so we’re not trying to do catch up all the time. We have some units that have been running since 1963. Our maintenance people do an excellent job patching them and keeping them going. But we could replace some of those and save a lot of money. We could enter into a contract with Johnson Controls and they would come out and do a study. The study cost $11,000 and if we do business with Johnson Controls and they come in and update our facilities then we wouldn’t ever pay that ($11,000). That (fee) is absorbed through the project. If we vote tonight to let them do the study then we can decide by April whether we’re going ahead or not,” said Willoughby.

Dean Magness

91 year old Dean Magness of McMinnville died Thursday of an extended illness at her residence. She was a homemaker and a member of the Central Church of Christ. A graveside service will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Warren County. Comer Mullican will officiate. She was preceded in death by her parents, William “Bill” and Quixie Milligan Watson; a son, Teddy Magness; two daughters, Linda Sacheck and Beth Addison; a brother, Waldon Watson; and two sisters, Gwen Brown and Audrey Henry. Survivors include two daughters and a son-in-law, Judi Love of Toccoa, Georgia and Marilyn and husband Phillip Cantrell of Smithville. Thirteen grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren survive. Memorial contributions may be made to the Warren County Relay for Life or to the American Alzheimers Association. High Funeral Home in McMinnville is in charge of the arrangements.

Lillie Belle Gilliam

98 year old Lillie Belle Gilliam of Alexandria died Wednesday at the Dekalb Community Hospital.
Mrs. Gilliam was born April 3, 1914 in Fern Creek, KY; the daughter of the late Susie E. Brown and M. Guy Miller. She married Wilton Kenneth Gilliam and he preceded her in death on May 10, 1995. She moved to Alexandria in 1972 and was a member of the Alexandria Church of Christ.
Mrs. Gilliam is survived by Nieces, Nephews, and Stepchildren.
Funeral Services for Mrs. Lillie Belle Gilliam are scheduled to be conducted on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 11:00AM at Avant Funeral Home in Alexandria, TN. Bro. Jeff Ford will officiate.
Visitation with the Gilliam family will be held on Friday from 4PM to 7PM and again on Saturday from 9AM until service time at 11AM.
The Gilliam family requests that donations in Mrs. Gilliam’s memory be made to the Alexandria Church of Christ.

Mark Willoughby Recognized as Upper Cumberland Superintendent of the Year

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby was recognized Thursday night for having been named the 2013 Upper Cumberland Superintendent of the Year.
Keith Brewer of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents presented a plaque to Director Willoughby for this honor during the monthly school board meeting.
Brewer said Willoughby was also in the running for Superintendent of the Year in the state but lost out to the eventual winner by less than a point. “It’s my privilege tonight to recognize your Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. He is one of the outstanding leaders for the 2012-13 school year,” said Brewer. “We have a competition for Superintendent of the Year. That is based on finalists that we have from each developmental district. Mr. Willoughby represented the Upper Cumberland District. He was nominated and elected as the finalist for the Upper Cumberland. He joined seven other superintendents across the state. It was a close competition this year. Some outstanding leaders were there. The Upper Cumberland (Superintendent of the Year) won last year (State Superintendent of Year) and she is now the current deputy commissioner from Putnam County which is in the Upper Cumberland so whatever you’re doing down here it’s right in the Upper Cumberland District. It represents about twenty two districts,” he said.
“This year, Mr. Willoughby did not win (State Superintendent of Year) but what separated him from the eventual winner as Superintendent of the Year representing Tennessee in Los Angeles this year was less than a point,” said Brewer. “We have independent readers, about nine of those are judges from across the state and they are made up of retired superintendents, higher education, supervisors, and practitioners in the field and they do the judging. That’s a process that takes them sometimes a week and then they send the scores to us and we certify those scores and count those,” he said.
In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel.
Those employed since the last meeting are as follows:
Evelyn Wray and Luanna Tollett, substitute teachers
Mary Margaret Tripp, Smithville Elementary School
Ricky Edwards, substitute bus driver
Bonnie Rigsby, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Leave of Absence:
Ginger Wenger, Teacher at Northside Elementary School as requested
Kristy Williams, Teacher at Smithville Elementary School as requested
Christy Young, Teacher at Smithville Elementary School as requested
Jim Harrison of Civil Site Design Group updated the board on plans for the DeKalb West School building program. Harrison, the civil engineer for the project, said the targeted bid date is March 28. “We’ve been on site looking at utilities, grades, and that sort of thing. The architects have proceeded with the floor plan. We’ve made some adjustments looking very closely at parking and everything else so we are proceeding nicely with some of the more schematic design elements. We are currently shooting at a target date of bid date of March 28, trying to complete all the design work. We were out there with maintenance today just doing some on ground work just to make sure everything fit within the site to accomplish the goals we needed to for not just what’s inside the building but what’s outside as well,” said Harrison.
Director Willoughby said he is hopeful construction can begin by late spring. “Hopefully we’ll bid it out in March and come back in April and accept the bids. Hopefully the bids will come in within reason and we’ll accept those bids and start on the project,” he said.
The board had planned to act Thursday night on the Architectural contract with Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc for the building project at DeKalb West School but delayed a vote until a special meeting in January so that the attorney reviewing the contract for the school board can attend to answer any questions.
Meanwhile, the board has scheduled a workshop to conduct its annual evaluation of Director Willoughby for Monday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. followed by a special meeting for a board self evaluation at 7:00 p.m.

DeKalb Middle School Student Council Lends a helping hand to Habitat for Humanity

The DeKalb Middle School Student Council wanted to lend a helping hand in the community. Susan Webb, club president, contacted Habitat for Humanity sponsors to inquire where DMS students could be useful. The Student Council decided to prepare a meal for the workers. Smithville Church of Christ members were working on Saturday December 8th and were delighted to enjoy a variety of soups, sandwiches, chips, cheese and crackers and homemade desserts.
Chairpersons Isaac Smith and Malone Fletcher headed this service project. 6th grade student council members did a great job getting involved in such a great community service. Dosson Medlin, Luke Bryant, Derek Young, Braya Murphy, Madison Whitehead, Joni Robinson, Dulce Maciel and Anna Rachel Blair were very helpful and directly involved in making this project a huge success.
Group Pict-1st row sitting- Isaac Smith, Anna Rachel Blair, Madison Whitehead, Malone Fletcher,
2nd Row-standing- Dosson Medlin, Braya Murphy, Derek Young, Luke Bryant, Joni Robinson and Dulce Maciel