News

Tennsco, Speyer family pledge $1.75 million to match funds to build new animal shelter and park

Joined by family members and emcee Dan Alsobrooks (right), Tennsco President Stuart Speyer announces a project to build a new animal shelter in Dickson.

Joined by family members and emcee Dan Alsobrooks (right), Tennsco President Stuart Speyer announces a project to build a new animal shelter in Dickson.

The Tennsco Corp. and the Speyer family that owns it unveiled plans Thursday night to build a new animal shelter in Dickson and pledged to match up to $1.75 million in a community fund-raising campaign to construct and endow the facility’s operation. Stuart Speyer, president of the company founded in 1961 by his father, the late Lester Speyer, said Tennsco will donate eight acres at the corner of Tennsco and Marshall Stuart drives in the William D. Field-Dickson County Industrial Park for the facility that will include a playground, walking trail, dog park and an agility course. “One of the philosophical ideas my Dad had is it is important to be a good corporate citizen and to give back to the community. And we as a family abide by that and we would like to continue that tradition,” Speyer said. To be called June’s Pet Haven and Bark Park in honor of the family’s matriarch, the late June H. Speyer, the building will include over 50 dog kennels with indoor and outdoor accommodations for all breeds and sizes, a larger cattery to handle 40-50 cats, dedicated space for adoptions and counseling, full-service medical treatment and observation areas, isolation kennels for incoming strays, a secure entrance for animal control officers, playrooms, space for a retail pet supply store and a multi-use community room among the amenities. During an unveiling ceremony before invited guests at the Tennsco Community Center Thursday evening, Speyer said the family and company are committed to making the facility a reality but want the Dickson County community also to be invested in the plan. “Given the size and scope of this project, to be honest, we need community support. We don’t want this to be a Speyer project, we don’t want this to be a Tennsco project, we want this to be a Dickson community project. Something that each and every one of us will have a part of and something that we can say, ‘Yes, I helped make that happen,’” Speyer said. The project is estimated to cost about $3.5 million to not only build the facility but also create an endowment to help subsidize its operation. Speyer said the company and his family will match dollar for dollar the first $1.75 million raised for the project. He said the community portion can come from individual donations to organizations that want to conduct fund-raisers of any size or even those who want to volunteer during construction of the facility. Phil Corbin, who co-chairs the Humane Society of Dickson County’s board of directors with Amanda Russell, said there have been tough financial struggles for the organization and at times it faced the possibility of having to close its doors if not for the support of Tennsco and the Speyer family. The society announced this week the re-organization of its board by expanding from six to 13 members. Architect Ken Adkisson of Adkisson and Associates presented conceptual renderings of June’s Pet Haven and Bark Park as well as proposed drawings for the facility. Rachel Bradley, director of marketing at Tennsco and granddaughter of Les and June Speyer, will serve as chair of the capital campaign to begin the community fund-raising effort. For information on how to support the fund-raising campaign, call 615-878-9736. The organization also will soon launch a new website at junespethaven.org.

A portrait of the late June H. Speyer and her pet Brutus.

A portrait of the late June H. Speyer and her pet Brutus.

 

Suspects in several Wal-Mart thefts believed to have hit Dickson store Wednesday morning

Police across Middle Tennessee are seeking help in locating two suspects believed to be targeting area Wal-Mart stores to steal video game controllers. Det. Chad Fussell of the Dickson Police Department said the two black males are suspected of stealing game console controllers at the Dickson store on Beasley Drive early Wednesday morning. Police report the pair normally hits 24-hour stores in the early morning and is believed to have stolen game controllers at Wal-Marts in Fairview, Tullahoma, on Charlotte Pike in Nashville and possibly other locations over the last week before hitting the Dickson store. Video surveillance shows the suspects entering the Dickson store at 2:45 and 2:48 am Wednesday. Both are black males who appear to be in their mid- to late-20s. The shorter suspect has a medium build and short hair and was wearing a flannel shirt. The taller suspect has a heavier build, longer hair and was wearing black-rimmed glasses and a white t-shirt. Fussell said the pair took game console controllers and left the store through the emergency exits. Video surveillance from the parking lot shows them leaving in a gray or silver four-door Honda Accord. Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to contact Fussell at 615-441-9577 or call the department’s anonymous tipline at 615-441-9555.

Surveillance image of suspect in theft at Wal-Mart.

Surveillance image of suspect in theft at Wal-Mart.

Surveillance image of suspect in theft at Wal-Mart.

Surveillance image of suspect in theft at Wal-Mart.

Surveillance image of car believed to be driven by theft suspects.

Surveillance image of car believed to be driven by theft suspects.

6 Dickson County agencies get $278,000 in grants to combat DUIs, promote road safety

Six agencies in Dickson County received more than $278,000 in grants to combat drunk driving and improve traffic safety from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and GHSO Director Kendell Poole announced the awarding of more than $24 million in grants to 386 agencies on Tuesday. The 449 grants for 2014-15 support the Governor’s Highway Safety Office mission to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations. “Having safe roads is critical to our mission of making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Haslam said. “These grants will support the efforts of highway safety agencies and advocates to reduce the number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in Tennessee each year.” Six grants totaling $278,762.20 were awarded to agencies in Dickson County. More than half of that amount, $152,192.44, was awarded to the District Attorney’s Office for the 23rd Judicial District to fund DUI abatement and prosecution. For 12 years, the DA’s office has used the grant to fund a prosecutor and administrative assistant dedicated strictly to working cases involving impaired drivers. Assistant District Attorney Talmage Woodall currently serves as the DUI prosecutor for the five-county district. The 23rd Judicial District Drug Court received $60,000 to continue funding the residential treatment program that provides alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders with substance abuse problems. The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office received $31,570.49 to continue funding its DUI enforcement campaign as part of Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe’s Traffic Safety Education and Awareness Program. The Dickson Police Department received $25,000 for a program designed to target traffic offenders with multiple violations. The White Bluff Police Department received $5,000 and the Burns Police Department received $4,999.27 to fund high visibility enforcement campaigns, using the funds to pay overtime for officers to work sobriety checkpoints and other DUI enforcement efforts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding for the grants to the GHSO. Agencies that apply for funds must define a particular problem and statistical need to be addressed with the grant funds.

Dr. Ming Wang to be guest speaker at Saturday ceremony to celebrate Constitution anniversary

Dr. Ming Wang

Dr. Ming Wang

The area chapter of the Descendants of American Revolution Patriots will host a celebration of the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Saturday in Dickson. The free program will be 11 am-1 pm Saturday at the War Memorial Building in downtown. Under the theme “Appreciating Freedom in America,” the celebration will feature noted Nashville eye surgeon and champion ballroom dancer Dr. Ming Wang as guest speaker. To highlight the freedoms that Americans enjoy every day provided by the Constitution, Wang will share his experiences from growing up without those same protections in a program called “Living Through China’s Cultural Holocaust.” Wang is president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of the Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group. He is a corneal refractive surgeon with degrees from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the founding director of the Wang Vision 3D Cataract and Lasik Center in Nashville. Wang will share his experiences living in China as a teenager and facing assignment to work in forced labor before learning the play the violin then meeting an American physician who assisted his immigration to the United States with a few dollars in his pocket and a Chinese-English dictionary. Also speaking will be Woodmont Bible Church pastor Lyndon Allen, who is a motivational and inspirational speaker and conference teacher with a weekly blog, YouTube channel featuring inspirational videos and host of The Total Life Victory Show on a Nashville radio station. The celebration of the Constitution also will feature musical guests and the presentation of the first Exemplary Citizen Award to be given to a person or persons who have set a commendable example of humility and humanity that deserves imitation, according to the DOARP website. Those attending Saturday’s celebration of the Constitution are urged to bring a lawn chair and can RSVP to Maury Miller at 615-446-7855. For more information, visit doarp.org.

CPA shuts down Dickson’s offense to hand Dragons first loss 26-0, CMS falls in OT 36-34

Nothing seemed to go as planned for Dickson Middle School’s trip to Christ Presbyterian Academy Thursday. The start of the game got moved several times to make sure it could be completed before darkness because it was being played on a practice field without lights or visitors’ seating. But then the officials were late arriving, which forced a later start than planned and a shortened halftime period. But most notably was the difference on the field as the previously undefeated Dragons were shut down completely in a 26-0 loss to the Lions. Dickson’s offense struggled, not picking up a first down until under a minute and a half remaining in the third period. The Dragons were unable to take advantage of CPA mistakes and their second-half drivers were killed by turnovers. CPA got on the board with a touchdown pass on fourth and goal just past the halfway point of the opening period. The Dragons recovered a Lions fumbled punt return but were unable to move the ball and had to kick it away again. A big return set CPA up at the Dickson 15-yard line and three plays later another touchdown pass just before halftime made it 12-0 as both conversion attempts failed. The Lions scored on a 13-yard pass in the third for an 18-0 lead. Dickson’s offense finally began moving the ball but an interception set the Lions up deep in Dragon territory and a three-yard run found the end zone and the conversion set the final score at 26-0. Dickson’s best offensive drive of the night ended with a fumble in Lion territory as the Dragons suffered their first loss of the season. The 4-1 Dragons will close out their regular season hosting Whitthorne next week and likely will host the Big South Conference championship game. A missed two-point conversion proved to be the difference as Hickman County pulled out a 36-34 overtime victory over Charlotte Middle Thursday. The Tigers fall to 4-2 and close out their regular season at McEwen Tuesday. Tonight, Dickson County hosts Brentwood at 7:00 and Creek Wood travels to Waverly at 7:30 in a pair of important district games that can be heard on the RFC Sports Network.

Roxanne Hagewood now interim administrator; panel to discuss hiring, early voting schedule

Roxanne Hagewood took over as Dickson County’s interim administrator of elections on Wednesday. After voting to fire Administrator Linda Medley Tuesday night, the Dickson County Election Commission voted to ask Hagewood to serve as interim administrator until a permanent administrator can be hired. Hagewood spent 15 years as a deputy in the election office, working under the late Registrar Emma Greer, Administrator Luanne Greer and briefly under Medley before joining the Dickson County Clerk’s Office in 2010 following Luanne Greer’s election. Hagewood said Wednesday her top priority is to help the office get through the Nov. 4 election. The election commission voted 3-1 to schedule a special meeting for 6 pm Monday to establish the processes and procedures it will use to find a new administrator. After opposing the firing of Medley, Democratic member Melba Isom voted against the proposal and fellow Democrat Allen Johnson had walked out of the meeting following a failed vote to retain Medley. In addition to the search for a new administrator, the special meeting will include discussion on the early voting schedule for the November election, the quarterly review of new voter registrations and the procedural locking of the ballot boxes in preparation for the next election. Garton said he will ask Accounts and Budgets Director Don Hall to present an update on the election office budget status to determine whether the board will be able to offer early voting at satellite locations next month. After the Dickson County Commission reduced the election office budget in June, Medley said there would not be enough money to offer early voting at satellite locations in Dickson and White Bluff before both the August and November elections. In July Garton said the office would proceed with its plans for early voting at Restoration Church in Dickson and White Bluff Town Hall before the August election and then assess the actual costs before determining an early voting schedule for the November election. Earlier this month the White Bluff Town Council passed a resolution thanking the election commission for adding early voting in White Bluff and asking that it be made a permanent option before all federal, state and local elections. The commission’s original proposal for the November election was to have early voting in Dickson on Wednesdays and Saturdays and early voting in White Bluff on Wednesdays during the early voting period Oct. 15-30, in addition to the required early voting at the election office in Charlotte Monday-Saturday. The Nov. 4 ballot in Dickson County will include the elections for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives for the 5th District, Tennessee Senate for the 25th District, Tennessee House of Representatives for the 69th and 78th districts, and four amendments to the Tennessee Constitution regarding abortion rights, a state income tax, the selection process for appellate judges and allowing veterans groups to conduct lotteries. There also are municipal elections in White Bluff, Burns, Vanleer and Slayden and referendums on allowing wine sales in grocery stores and liquor by the drink in Burns. The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6.

Democrats on election panel fought Medley’s hiring in 2009 and 5 years later oppose her firing

Linda Medley addresses the Dickson County Election Commission prior to her termination Tuesday.

Linda Medley addresses the Dickson County Election Commission prior to her termination Tuesday.

Five years ago, the Democratic members of the Dickson County Election Commission bitterly opposed the hiring of Linda Medley as the county’s new administrator of elections. One of the members even resigned in the months following her selection. On Tuesday night, the current Democratic members of the Dickson County Election Commission bitterly opposed the firing of Medley. One of the members even walked out of the meeting after an effort to retain her failed. Following the 2008 legislative elections, the Republican Party gained a majority in the Tennessee General Assembly. In this state, elections in all 95 counties are governed by five-member election commissions, which are appointed by the State Election Commission for two-year terms. Whichever party has the majority in the legislature gets three members on the election commissions while the minority party gets two members. The legislators from each party normally make recommendations for commission members for the counties in their districts. If one party does not have an elected legislator, then the party leadership in that county makes the recommendation. Prior to 2010, Dickson County had Democrats in the Tennessee House and Tennessee Senate (David Shepard and Doug Jackson, respectively), so the recommendation for GOP commission members came from the chairman of the Dickson County Republican Party. In the spring of 2009, the newly appointed Dickson County Election Commission consisted of Republicans Linda Chambers, Mary Jane Stark and Richard Dilbeck and Democrats Bill Caldwell and Marie Fossie. With Luanne Greer having served as the administrator for 10 years after her mother-in-law Emma Greer served more than 30 years when it was called the registrar under election commissions controlled by Democrats, the new Republican-controlled election commission decided to re-open the administrator’s job. The commission eventually interviewed five finalists, including Greer, before voting in July 2009 to hire Medley, who had been a construction manager for Dollar General Corp. The vote to hire Medley was divided 3-2 with the Republicans for and the Democrats against. The Dickson County Election Commission was just one of many across the state that made changes of administrators under new GOP control. A couple months after the selection, Caldwell resigned. At first Bob Spencer was named to replace him but he never took office because he served as treasurer of Jackson’s campaigns and election commission members are forbidden from holding or running for office or managing or serving as treasurer of a campaign. Melba Isom was then appointed as a new Democratic member in March 2010. Dilbeck resigned in 2011 due to a conflict with his job and Phyllis Burt was appointed as a new Republican member. Chambers resigned in 2012 and Garton was appointed to her seat and took over as chairman. In April 2013, the State Election Commission appointed Allen Johnson, to replace Fossie who retired after eight years, and Isom as the Democratic members and Garton, Tim White and Kory Harvey as the Republicans, with Stark and Burt not getting new terms. Harvey resigned a few months later and Tammy Kilgore was appointed in February to complete the transition to the current election commission. None of the five commissioners who were on the board when Medley was hired in July 2009 serves today as the entire membership has turned over. In an address to the commission prior to her termination Tuesday, Medley said the commission had been able to work in a non-partisan, co-operative manner from her hiring until 2013. But she said in the last year it has become “fractured” and allowed outside influences and partisan politics to leave it a “broken wheel.” “This is not the way good citizens carry on the people’s business. So if it is the decision of this commission to remove me from office, I leave with my head high and if there is any shame it is on the individuals serving underlying agendas,” Medley said. After a motion by Isom to retain Medley failed 3-2, the administrator walked out of the meeting. During discussion on a motion by Kilgore to dismiss Medley, Johnson walked out of the meeting and was not present when the commission voted 3-1 to fire her. The commission meets Monday to discuss the process for selecting a new administrator.

Humane Society of Dickson County expanding board of directors by adding 7 new members

Bobby Deal

Bobby Deal

Rydell Wesson

Rydell Wesson

Jeff Bledsoe

Jeff Bledsoe

Lorrie Pruett

Lorrie Pruett

Carrie Peery

Carrie Peery

Beth Thornton

Beth Thornton

Mitzi Matlock

Mitzi Matlock

The Humane Society of Dickson County has announced the expansion of its board of directors with the addition of seven new members. HSDC co-chairmen Phil Corbin and Amanda Russell recently introduced the seven new members who will join the non-profit organization’s existing six-member board. New board members include retired engineer Bobby Deal of Burns, Dickson City Administrator Rydell Wesson, Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, Pinnacle Financial Partners Vice President Lorrie Barber Pruett, Carrie Parker Peery, owner and broker of Parker Peery Properties, banker and realtor Beth Thornton and small business owner Mitzi Thompson Matlock. Deal was a principal partner in Deal Irwin Associates architectural and engineering firm prior to his retirement, working on several major building projects with the Dickson County school system and now is a volunteer in park projects with the town of Burns. Wesson began in the city of Dickson’s Codes Department, then became Public Works director before being named city administrator, overseeing the daily operations of the city of Dickson. Bledsoe was elected to his second four-year term as sheriff last month. He previously served as a police officer and detective with the Dickson Police Department, a narcotics detective and special deputy with the U.S. Marshal’s Service during his 24-year law enforcement career. Pruett has 34 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Pinnacle, she was office manager and senior consumer lender with TriStar Bank and an assistant vice president at First Federal Bank. A realtor since 1983 and owner of a full service realty and property management company, Peery returns to the humane society’s board of directors where she served as president during one of the organization’s biggest periods of growth. Thornton has spent 15 years in the banking and real estate fields. After starting her banking career in Memphis in 1995, she joined First Federal Bank in Dickson in 1998, serving as a teller, vault teller, customer service representative and loan processor. In 2002, she went to work for Dickson Title and then received her affiliate broker’s license from the Tennessee Real Estate Commission in 2004. After starting in her family’s successful flooring business, Matlock studied Systems Food Management and Music at David Lipscomb University. While studying abroad, she worked with non-profit organizations in the areas of fund-raising and management. Currently she owns a small business in the restaurant broker industry and works in music production, promotion and management. These seven new board members join the existing board of Corbin, Russell, Becky Moran, Linda Griffin, Vivienne Akhdary and Rachel Bradley. Founded in 1989, the Humane Society of Dickson County is an independent, non-profit organization that operates a limited intake shelter on Eno Road caring for about 40 dogs and 30 cats on a daily basis. In 2012, the shelter adopted out over 300 pets and placed another 240-plus in foster care and rescue groups. It receives limited funding from local governments but operates mainly off memberships, donations, sponsorships and annual fund-raisers. For more information on the Humane Society of Dickson County, call 615-446-PETS (7387).

Inaugural Three Star Tennessee Awards include late Dickson County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Bellar

Keith Bellar

Keith Bellar

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security honored a fallen Dickson County Sheriff’s Office deputy at its annual First Responders Award ceremony held at the War Memorial Building in Nashville on Sept. 11. Deputy Keith Bellar was one of the recipients of the inaugural Three Stars of Tennessee Awards presented to honor those who have dedicated their lives for the safety and security of all Tennesseans. Sen. Becky Duncan Massey and Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville sponsored legislation to recognize law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders who were either killed or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty. The first awards included 12 individuals, 11 of whom were killed in the line of duty. Bellar was shot June 6, 2011, when he drove up on what he thought was a traffic accident but turned out to be a domestic assault in progress between an estranged husband and wife. The husband opened fire on Bellar’s patrol car, striking the deputy in the head before he could exit. The husband then took his own life. Bellar died the following day just five days prior to his 28th birthday, leaving behind a wife and infant son. In addition to the 12 Three Stars of Tennessee Award recipients, the ceremony recognized 29 recipients of the 2014 First Responder Awards. Each of the honorees were nominated by their peers in the 11 Homeland Security districts in Tennessee as well as the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Highway Patrol. Recipients for District 7, which includes Dickson County, were firefighter Edward Baggett of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Service and David Hardin of the Houston County Emergency Management Agency. The First Responder Awards ceremony has been held every September since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Kickoff for Dragons at CPA moved up to 5 pm, Tigers and Colonels also on the road tonight

Kickoff for tonight’s Dickson Middle School football game at Christ Presbyterian Academy has been moved up to 5:00. The game will be starting earlier because the field used by the middle school program at CPA does not have lights and the coaches want to ensure there is enough time to complete the game before sundown. DMS also reminds Dragons fans making the trip to Old Hickory Boulevard that the field has no bleachers or seating as well. The 4-0 Dragons are making their final road trip of the regular season and will close out the schedule hosting Whitthorne next week before a bowl game. After spoiling homecoming for William James last week, the Charlotte Middle Tigers look for their third win in a row tonight at Hickman County. The 4-1 Tigers wrap up the regular season at McEwen on Tuesday. The 3-2 Colonels look to bounce back when they travel to Fairview tonight before home games against Cheatham Middle and McEwen to wrap up their season. Tonight’s Charlotte and William James games kick off at 6:30 pm. Dickson Dragons and CPA Lions can be heard tonight on the RFC Sports Network with the A-1 Signs Pregame Show starting at 4:45 and the new kickoff time of 5 pm. Tomorrow night, Dickson County hosts Brentwood and Creek Wood travels to Waverly in big district games.