Local News Articles

Woman Uninjured in Rollover Crash

March 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
Woman Uninjured in Rollover Crash

A woman escaped injury in a one car rollover Thursday night on Keltonburg Road (Highway 288).

Trooper Ronny Smith of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 35 year old Melissa Edmunds of Antioch Road, Smithville was traveling west in a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt when the car went off the right side of the highway, struck a dirt bank, and then overturned in a field. She was not injured.

Members of DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

THP Troopers Make Felony Drug Arrest After Pursuit

March 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
Contraband seized included seven bags of a clear rock like substance believed to be methamphetamine totaling 4.93 ounces, one bag, 6.6 grams, of marijuana, seven Xanax pills, three other pills listed as controlled substances, one .380 caliber handgun, one .22 caliber handgun, and various drug paraphernalia

A Cookeville man who failed to stop at a THP checkpoint in DeKalb County and then led State Troopers on a pursuit before crashing at Baxter Friday has been arrested.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_15.pdf (2.52 MB)

Christopher Todd Montgomery, who was found with drugs, paraphernalia, and handguns, is charged with evading arrest by use of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, possession of schedule II controlled substance for resale/delivery, simple possession of schedules II, III, IV, & VI controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, reckless endangerment, possession of a handgun while under the influence of an intoxicant, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, driving under the influence 1st offense, driving on a revoked driver’s license, reckless driving, altering a license plate, and four other miscellaneous traffic offenses.

According to THP Sergeant Greg Tramel, State Troopers were conducting a seatbelt checkpoint on State Highway 56 in DeKalb County at the Putnam County line Friday when a vehicle traveling north failed to stop for the checkpoint. At that time, the driver threw what appeared to be drugs out of the window and continued driving north on State Highway 56 into Putnam County.

Troopers Brandon Jackson and Chris Delong pursued the vehicle on Old Baxter Road until it crashed east of the Boma Community Center in Baxter. No one was injured during the crash. The driver, Montgomery, was arrested. Contraband seized during this incident included seven bags of a clear rock like substance believed to be methamphetamine totaling 4.93 ounces, one bag, 6.6 grams, of marijuana, seven Xanax pills, three other pills listed as controlled substances, one .380 caliber handgun, one .22 caliber handgun, and various drug paraphernalia

School Board to Change Policy Regarding Student Absences Due to Personal Illness

March 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
Board of Education and Director of Schools

Students will be able to receive up to five excused absences for personal illness during a school year without a doctor’s statement under a policy amendment adopted on first reading by the Board of Education Thursday night.

Under the current board policy, a doctor statement is required for all student absences due to illness in order to be excused. The amendment allows schools to accept notes from parents for up to five absences per school year. A doctor’s statement will be required for students who are absent after the fifth day of personal illness.

The amendment will be up for passage on second and final reading next month.

The board also adopted a policy on first reading which prohibits employees from accessing social media and networking sites through the schools network or by any other means (e.g. smart phones) during work hours. Passage of the new policy on second reading will be considered next month.

In other business, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps announced in his monthly report on personnel moves that Lindsey Bouldin and Nikita Johnson, both teachers at Smithville Elementary School have been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Two Local Tennessee Highway Patrol Troopers Honored

March 17, 2017
Trooper Jeremy D. S. Tramel  (left) has been named Trooper of the Year for the 6th District. THP Sergeant Dewaine Jennings has received a Lifesaver Award

Two local Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers were honored last Thursday evening at the THP Trooper and Dispatcher of the Year Ceremony in Murfreesboro. There, troopers and dispatchers were recognized for their outstanding service to the State of Tennessee.

Trooper Jeremy D. S. Tramel was named Trooper of the Year for the 6th District, citing an incident that occurred last summer.

On June 5, 2016, Trooper Tramel was at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department when a call was received for a suicidal female. THP assistance was requested due to a firearm being involved.

He arrived at 12:00 midnight to find the front door of the facility open and the lights turned off. Trooper Tramel noticed the door to the female restroom was closed and the light inside on. When he approached the door, and announced himself, the female occupant told him she had a gun up her nose and would pull the trigger if he opened the door.

He began to talk with her in an attempt to gain her trust and keep her calm, while the other officers notified dispatch to send additional resources, including a negotiator. The woman stated she needed mental help and wanted to go to Massachusetts. She also requested a friend to come to the scene; however, he was in Lawrenceburg and would not arrive for two hours.

Trooper Tramel continued to converse with the woman, who requested a cigarette. He began to slide her cigarettes under the door, trading them one at a time for bullets from her weapon. A negotiator with Putnam County Sheriff's Office arrived and determined that allowing Trooper Tramel to continue negotiations would be best since he had been doing so for nearly one and a half hours.

Three and a half hours after arriving on scene, she had just two bullets remaining, when her friend from Lawrenceburg arrived. She gave up her weapon and remained inside the door. Trooper Tramel finally got her safely out of the room, gently placed her in handcuffs, and then accompanied her to the hospital for evaluation, riding with her in the back of a DeKalb County Sheriff's Office patrol car.

THP Sergeant Dewaine Jennings was also recognized at the ceremony with a Lifesaver Award for a call he responded to last Spring.

On May, 30, 2016, at around 1:40 AM, Sergeant Jennings arrived on the scene of a boy standing on a billboard, threatening suicide. When he arrived, there were two other officers present, but none were attempting to make contact with the youth. He felt he needed to get to the teen and attempt to evaluate him and see what his needs were.

With the assistance of Trooper Al Seitner, Sgt. Jennings was eventually able to be lifted high enough to grasp a ladder on the billboard, and climb up to where the boy was located. He made contact with the teen and began conversing with him.

The boy stated that he was fed up and did not want to go on with life. Sgt. Jennings noticed blood all over the boy's arm from self-inflicted wounds. He learned that boy was 16 years old, and began to talk with him about his hobbies and school.

Sgt. Jennings conversed with the teen for approximately one hour and ultimately convinced him to go to the hospital for evaluation. The Cookeville City Fire Department responded with a ladder truck to help them get off the billboard safely. Sgt. Jennings secured the boy with a safety belt, and moved him to the platform of the ladder truck, before securing his own safety.

At the request of the boy's mother, Sgt. Jennings transported him to the hospital, in lieu of EMS, because he had developed a rapport with him, and exhibited great concern for his safety.

“Kick Butts Day” Unites Students for Anti-tobacco Campaign

March 16, 2017
“Kick Butts Day” Unites Students for Anti-tobacco Campaign
Students recognized the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids-Kick Butts Day on March 15

Thousands of youth nationwide participated in a campaign to curb tobacco use, many events took place across the state on March 15. Students at DeKalb County High, DeKalb Middle, and DeKalb West schools recognized the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids-Kick Butts Day on March 15, 2017. The event was sponsored by DeKalb Prevention Coalition, DeKalb County Health Department, Coordinated School Health, and St. Thomas Hospital.

The schools had informational booths pertaining to the consequences of tobacco, a tobacco free pledge, and games. There were many items for giveaways, including t-shirts donated by St. Thomas hospital and water bottles, frisbees, bracelets, etc., donated by The Health Department. Participants included the DeKalb County High Wellness classes, the DeKalb Middle School SADD (Students against Destructive Decisions) club, and DeKalb West Beta club. Student participation reached almost 1500 students.

Jasmine Parker of DCHS is "Classroom Champion" of the Week

March 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jasmine Parker of DCHS is "Classroom Champion" of the Week
Attorney Jim Judkins, DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant, Jasmine Parker, John Parker (father), Dwayne Page of WJLE

This week’s “Classroom Champion” award goes to DCHS student Jasmine Parker.

The award was presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE .

Jasmine is 16 years old and a Junior.

She is also a student at Motlow State Community College through dual enrollment while serving as a member in several organizations in high school including the Senior BETA, HOSA, Student Council, and FBLA clubs. Jasmine has been a member of the Student Council and FBLA for three years and is the FBLA concessions manager for the second consecutive year.

Math is her favorite subject and she hopes to major in Chemistry in college.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several months.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.

DeKalb Farm Bureau Announces Poster and Essay Winners

March 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Farm Bureau  Announces Poster and Essay Winners

DeKalb County Farm Bureau has announced the 2017 Fourth Grade Poster Contest and Seventh Grade Essay Winners.

Pictured from left to right are Cathy Officer, Farm Bureau Women’s Chair, Addison Puckett, 1st place winner of Essay Contest - $50.00, Dare Collins, 2nd place winner of Poster Contest - $25.00, William Cox, 1st place winner of Essay Contest- $50.00, and William Southard-2nd place winner of Essay Contest - $25.00. Also, Mrs. Shelly Jennings was awarded $50.00 for the most entries from her classroom in the Poster Contest and Mrs. Debra Moore was awarded $50.00 for the most entries in the Essay Contest. The posters were based on “Farm to Fork” and the essays were titled “Why is Agriculture Important?”

Congressman Diane Black to Speak at DeKalb GOP Reagan Day Dinner

March 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Congressman Diane Black to Speak at DeKalb GOP Reagan Day Dinner

Congressman Diane Black will be the guest speaker at the DeKalb County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner on Friday, April 7 at the county complex starting at 6:00 p.m.

Black has been the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 6th congressional district since 2011. In Congress, Black serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland to Joseph and Audrey Warren, Black graduated from Andover High School in Linthicum, Maryland, in 1969. She became the first member of her family to earn a college degree after graduating from Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland with an associate's degree in nursing. She received a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1991 from Belmont University.

Black worked as a registered nurse until she ran for the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1998. Later she served as an educator at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.

Before becoming a state senator in 2004, she had previously served as a state representative for six years. Black was the Assistant Floor Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee, and the Vice-Chairwoman of the Senate General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee. She was elected the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus Chairwoman in 2006.

In December, 2009, she became a candidate for Tennessee's 6th congressional district to succeed Bart Gordon, who did not run for reelection.. On August 5, 2010, Black won the Republican primary with 31% of the vote. In the November election, Black won with 67 percent of the vote. She is now in her fourth term as Congressman.

Tickets to the Reagan Day Dinner are $30 per person or $250 per table (seats 6). To purchase tickets or tables, please contact Mingy Bryant at 615-597-2600 or Jennifer Winfree at 615-477-9762.

DeKalb County Young Democrats Reorganize

March 16, 2017
Jordan Wilkins
DeKalb County Young Democrats Reorganize

The DeKalb County Young Democrats held a re-organization convention this month at the courthouse to elect leaders for the next two years. The following officers were elected: Katie Parker-President, Caleb Rowland- Vice President, Dustin Drennan- Secretary, Anna Rachel Blair-Treasurer.

Members of the organization are as follows: Baylee Phillips, Dulce Maciel, Braya Murphy, Malone Fletcher, Calon Arnold, Will Judkins, Haden Cripps, Ashley Phillips, Dailen Brown, Eleonore Atnip, Sabrina Cripps, Robin Pafford, Karleigh Atnip, Delaney Johnson, and Julia Little.

The DeKalb County Democratic Party Chair, Jordan Wilkins, released the following statement. “The Executive Committee and I are thrilled to have so many young people eager to be involved with the Democratic Party . These are our future leaders so encouraging them, and making sure they get firsthand experience of the political process, will be crucial to our party’s success. I look forward to working with all the Young Democrats and party members to help elect progressive candidates up and down the ballot in the future


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