Local News Articles

Alexandria Municipal Election Set for Thursday

August 31, 2015
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Municipal Election will be held Thursday, September 3.

Voting will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds' Kenneth Sandlin Center.

Early voting ended Saturday with only nine people having cast ballots during the two week period

The election is being held to elect three aldermen to four year terms and to fill the remaining two years of vacant or unexpired terms of mayor and two aldermen positions.

Candidates for Mayor are Tony Tarpley and Bennett Armstrong.

Those running unopposed for the two year aldermen positions are Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss.

Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs are each running unopposed for the four year alderman terms.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

August 30, 2015
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling Signs Proclamation
Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss Signs Proclamation

In the United States alone, someone dies by suicide once every 13 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. But because suicide has been considered such a “taboo” subject to think or to talk about, there are a lot of misconceptions about which individuals may be at risk, about when, how and why people might consider killing themselves, and about how best to help yourself or someone else who’s contemplating suicide.

The annual Light to Hope ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, at Cookeville Higher Education Campus (formerly the Cookeville campus of Nashville State Community College) at 1000 Neal Street in Cookeville.

The event will give friends and families the chance to honor the memory of loved ones lost to suicide, give support to the loved ones left behind, and education and awareness about a topic that is often kept in the shadows.

On Thursday, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signed proclamations designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in DeKalb County and Smithville.

In 2013, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.7 per 100,000 people, translating into three reported suicide deaths. Two of them were female. This number of suicides in DeKalb County for 2013 is the same as the previous year and the local rate is identical to the state average of 15.7 per 100,000 population for 2013 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Pickett County had the state's highest suicide rate among the state's ninety five counties at 59.1 per 100,000 with three deaths while Haywood, Trousdale, and Van Buren County reported none for 2013.

DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. DeKalb's suicide rate for 2011 was 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and 15.9 per 100,000 in 2012 with three suicides.

Again Pickett County recorded the highest suicide rate among the fourteen Upper Cumberland Counties for 2013. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest.

Pickett: 59.1 per 100,000 (3 deaths)
Overton: 45.3 (10 deaths)
White: 38.1 (10 deaths)
Smith: 26.2 (5 deaths)
Macon: 22.0 (5 deaths)
Putnam: 17.7(13 deaths)
Warren: 17.5 (7 deaths)
DeKalb: 15.7 (3 deaths)
Clay: 12.9 (1 death)
Fentress: 11.2 (2 deaths)
Cumberland: 10.4 (6 deaths)
Jackson: 8.7 (1 death)
Cannon: 7.3 (1 death)
Van Buren: 0

The proclamation is as follows:

WHEREAS, suicide is one of the most disruptive and tragic events a family and a community can
experience, with more than 900 lives lost in Tennessee each year and an estimated 8-25 attempted
suicides for each suicide death; and

WHEREAS, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of all deaths in Tennessee and the second-leading cause of
death among people from the age of 15 to 24 (source: Tennessee Department of Health); and

WHEREAS, public awareness of this terrifying problem is the key to preventing further suffering and loss
of life; and the risk for human self-destruction can be reduced through awareness, education and
treatment; and as the highest risk for suicide is among the survivors of those who died by suicide or
those who have attempted suicide; and

WHEREAS, suicide prevention has been declared a national priority by the President and Congress; and
Tennessee declares suicide prevention as a state priority and the legislature, in partnership with TSPN,
implements the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention based on the National Strategy for Suicide
Prevention; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee is a national leader in the effort to prevent suicide, being one of the first states to
develop a suicide prevention and evaluation plan covering the lifespan; and

WHEREAS, the Governor of Tennessee has appointed a Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council to
coordinate the implementation of the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention; and

WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is a grassroots collaboration of Tennesseans and
organizations working to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning
signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in our state; and

WHEREAS, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is also committed to excellence in suicide prevention, and postvention.

Now, Therefore, I, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss do hereby proclaim September, 2015 as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in DeKalb County and Smithville, and do urge all citizens to work to prevent suicide and to raise awareness and tolerance around all people affected by this tragedy"

WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" Returning Thursday

August 29, 2015
Dwayne Page
John Pryor, Jeff James, and Joe Goodwin
Ricky Atnip, Scott Brown, and Darvin Gill
Joe Goodwin, Darrell Gill, and Chad Kirby

WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" are returning for another season of college pigskin prognosticating Thursday afternoon's at 4:30 p.m. beginning September 3.

This season's regulars are Dewain Hendrixson, Scott Brown, Chad Kirby, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, John Pryor, Joe Goodwin, Darvin Gill, and Darrell Gill. A different special guest will make an appearance each week.

The "Fearless Forecasters" pick who they believe will win in fifteen of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the week.

They also make an underdog selection each week, picking a team they think will win, even though that team is not favored to win.

The program is sponsored by Liberty State Bank, DTC Communications, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company.

Catch the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE Thursday's at 4:30 p.m. starting September 3.

4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest

August 29, 2015
By: Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
DeKalb County 4-H Jr. High Outdoor Meat Cookery Team: Lily Martin, Megan Price, Grace Griffin, and Lynsey Ellis
DeKalb County 4-H Sr. High Outdoor Meat Cookery Team: Kayla Belk, Nathaniel Theriaque, Wyatt Martin, and James Mathis
Megan Price preparing her 3rd place lamb chops at the 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest.

It can be hard to resist the flavor of a good steak or pork chop sizzling on a charcoal grill, but sometimes it can be tricky to get the meat “just right.” DeKalb County 4-H members are learning how to do just that after preparing for and competing at the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery contest, held each year at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. 4-H’ers in grades 7-12 can participate in this fun contest that not only teaches them how to grill, but how to do it safely.

Each contestant must start his or her own grill, prepare the meat, and cook it to perfection. On a four person team, each member is responsible for grilling a different species of meat: beef, poultry, lamb, and pork. They are judged throughout the cooking process to make sure they start their fires properly, prepare the meat safely, and cook it to the correct temperature. The meat itself is then judged on palatability, texture, appearance, and originality of recipe.

This year, DeKalb County was represented by a team in both age groups. In the Junior High division, Megan Price placed 3rd in lamb, Lynsey Ellis was 10th in pork, Gracie Griffin 11th in beef, and Lily Martin 13th in chicken. This was all their first year to compete, and the team placed 9th overall. In the Senior High Division, everyone placed in the top ten while placing 7th overall. Kayla Belk placed 5th in beef, Nathaniel Theriaque 6th in lamb, Wyatt Martin 7th in pork, and James Mathis 10th in chicken. There were 110 contestants from the surrounding counties.

These 4-H members worked hard learning all the safety procedures of charcoal grilling and finding the perfect recipe. The skills learned through this contest will be valuable for years to come. Congratulations on a job well done! If you are interested in competing in this contest next year, please contact the 4-H office at 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions
Jr High Team :DeKalb County 4-H Jr. High Outdoor Meat Cookery Team: Lily Martin, Megan Price, Grace Griffin, and Lynsey Ellis.
Sr. High Team:DeKalb County 4-H Sr. High Outdoor Meat Cookery Team: Kayla Belk, Nathaniel Theriaque, Wyatt Martin, and James Mathis.
Megan Price preparing her 3rd place lamb chops at the 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 8.2% in July

August 28, 2015
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July was 8.2%, up from 7.9% in June but still below 8.7% in July, 2014.

The local labor force for July was 7,290. A total of 6,700 were employed and 600 were without work.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for July was sixth highest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Clay: 9.7%
Van Buren: 9.1%
Fentress: 8.5%
DeKalb: 8.2%
Putnam: 7%

County unemployment rates for July 2015 show the rates increased in 53 counties, decreased in 21, and remained the same in 21 counties.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in July at 4.9 percent, unchanged from June. Knox County was 5.4 percent in July, up from 5.3 the previous month. The Hamilton County July rate was 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 in June. Shelby County was 7.4 percent in July, up from 7.3 percent the previous month.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July was 5.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month. The U.S. preliminary rate for July was 5.3 percent, also unchanged from the unemployment rate in June.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Chamber of Commerce Presents Awards

August 28, 2015
Chamber of Commerce presents Milestone Award to Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance
Chamber of Commerce presents Community Improvement Award to Mike's Flower Shop

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has presented a Milestone Award to Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance located at 315 Public Square North, Smithville for proudly serving this area for 30 years.

Meanwhile the Chamber has presented a well-deserved Community Improvement Award to Mike's Flower Shop, Public Square East, Alexandria. Exterior improvements include a brand-new sign, new paint, and beautiful landscaping.

(TOP PHOTO) Pictured l-r:

County Mayor Tim Stribling, Owner Jackie Smith, Employee Jaya Harwell, Chamber Director Suzanne

(BOTTOM PHOTO) Pictured l-r:

Kay Prichard, Betty McMillen, Mike McMillen - owner, Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley, Stacy Baker, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Bridge in Blue Springs Community to be Replaced

August 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
Bridge on Underhill Road over Sink Creek

Construction is expected to begin next month on the replacement of a bridge in the Blue Springs community.

The bridge is located on Underhill Road over Sink Creek.

According to Road Supervisor Butch Agee, Concrete Structures, Incorporated of Charlotte, Tennessee was recently awarded a bid to be the contractor for the project. The cost is $310,729.

The project is being funded under the state's 1990 Bridge Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will pay for 98% of the costs to replace the bridge, $304, 514, and the county's portion will be $6,214 to be funded by the DeKalb County Highway Department.

The job entails the construction of a reinforced concrete box bridge and approaches on Underhill Road over Sink Creek.

Underhill Road is currently scheduled to be closed as of Monday morning, September 14 in preparation for construction. Traffic will be detoured to Jacobs Pillar Road. The targeted completion date for the bridge is January 12, 2016.

The 1990 Bridge Grant Program enables the county highway department to replace or rehabilitate certain bridges when the TDOT commissioner finds that a bridge is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Typically, the state share is no more than 80% of the approved project cost and the local government share must be at least 20%. However, the County Bridge Relief Act of 2014, provides that counties may use unexpended state-aid bridge grant funds to pay the county portion of project costs. Counties must only provide two percent of the project cost from county funds or in-kind contributions. This funding formula is available for projects initiated in fiscal years 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Other bridge projects are also expected to be funded in DeKalb County under this grant program in the coming months.

"Purple Out Day" to raise Alzheimer's Awareness

August 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
"Purple Out Day" to raise Alzheimer's Awareness

Alzheimer’s disease impacts Tennessee families in every county from west to east, and now court clerks across the state, including DeKalb County are showing their support by participating in the inaugural statewide “Purple Out Day” benefitting Alzheimer’s Tennessee, a not-for-profit organization.

“Alzheimer’s is truly devastating, and we all know how hard it is to watch a loved one begin to forget things and then eventually need care and support twenty-four hours a day. This is a brain disease that shows no mercy, and while there is no cure, we want to make sure there is hope and help available for everyone in our county,” said Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack.

From Memphis to Mountain City, 205 court clerks and their deputy clerks are expected to wear purple and participate in the first “Purple Out Day” on Friday, Sept., 18, to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, as well as raise funds to support the work of Alzheimer’s Tennessee. Circuit Court Clerk Pack has already made a personal donation of at least $50 and each deputy clerk in the office has made a $10 donation.

“If the public would like to pitch in, and other court clerks in the state make similar donations, together we can raise more than $15,000,” said Pack. "There is a competition for "Purple Out Clerk Champion" in East, Middle, and West Tennessee, and we hope to represent our county well."
Everyone in DeKalb County is encouraged to wear purple on Friday, Sept. 18, for the state’s first “Purple Out Day”.

Because Alzheimer’s disease and dementia impact at least 110,000 Tennesseans, the Board of Directors for the State Court Clerks Association of Tennessee voted to adopt and support Alzheimer’s Tennessee, a Tennessee-based 501c3 not-for-profit organization that provides support services, promotes brain health through education and champions research for better prevention and treatment strategies. Court clerks had the opportunity to learn more about the disease at their annual conferences this year.

Information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias will be available to the public at www.alzTennessee.org or by calling toll-free statewide 888-326-9888.

Thank you DeKalb County for your support in this great cause.

Sheriff's Dept Plans More Patrols in Austin Bottom Area

August 27, 2015
Dwayne Page

Residents in the Austin Bottom Community can expect to see law enforcement patrols a little more often over the next few weeks.

In response to a public outcry, the sheriff's department will be stepping up patrols at least through the end of the summer boating season. The lake site in that area may also be added next year in the contract the Corps of Engineers has with the county for the sheriff's department to provide extra patrols during the summer.

"They (public) are concerned about activities that have been going on there at the lake access at Austin Bottom. It was a pretty spirited discussion (at public meeting last Tuesday). Basically what is going to happen right now is that the sheriff is going to increase patrols out in that area. I have talked to Center Hill Lake Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla and he will try to include that area next year in our law enforcement agreement to try and provide some money for that. We have in our law enforcement agreement now where the sheriff patrols the different campgrounds. He'll (Salvilla) try to add some money there where that area can be patrolled more," said County Mayor Tim Stribling during Monday night's county commission meeting.

Last Tuesday, August 18, many residents in the Austin Bottom community of DeKalb County met with several local officials and the Corps of Engineers at the fire station there to vent their frustrations about public nuisance issues at a boat ramp in the area.

Resource Manager Salvilla took questions and comments from the group. County Mayor Stribling, Sheriff Patrick Ray, County Fire Chief Donny Green, and Fourth District County Commissioners Wayne Cantrell and Jonathon Norris were also there.

While most of the residents at the meeting said they don't want the Putco Boat Ramp (Austin Bottom Lake Boat Access Area) closed, they would like to see more law enforcement to keep undesirables out.

Complaints range from issues of illegal drug activity, public intoxication, excessive noise during the night, using the area as a camp ground, non-boaters parking on the ramp preventing access, littering the area with beer bottles, cans, etc. One person was wounded in a recent shooting there. A contributing factor is that the lake level is lower than normal due to work on the dam which exposes more beach area for patrons to congregate.

Sheriff Ray said his officers patrol the area but residents are concerned about the time it takes DeKalb County law enforcement to respond if called. Because the community is cut off from the rest of the county due to the lake, residents say it could be as much as forty five minutes to an hour before help arrives.

DeKalb County has mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties including Putnam to assist in case of emergencies.

Morgan Faith Green to Compete For Miss Teen Tennessee USA 2016

August 26, 2015
Morgan Faith Green

Morgan Faith Green, 16, of Smithville will compete for the title of Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2016 on October 8, 9, and 10, 2015 at the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.

Green is the daughter of Jon and Suzanne Harrison. She attends DeKalb County High School and is a member of “Crowns for a Cause” which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people in need. Her sponsors for the pageant ate Auto Hut, B&G Supply Company, Center Hill Nursery, City Court Clerk Dana Poss, D&S Special Tees, DeKalb County Florist, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Florence & White Ford, Industrial Machine Service, InstaCash of Smithville, jamie a. Boutique, Judge Bratten Hale Cook II, Mayor Jimmy Poss, Optimus Pest Solutions, Robert H. Jones, DDS Orthodontist, Tax Clerk Holly Anderson, and last but not least family and friends.

The Miss Tennessee Teen USA and Miss Tennessee USA pageants are the Official Preliminaries to the Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants are a Donald J. Trump venture. The young woman chosen as Miss Tennessee USA 2015 will go on to represent the state of Tennessee in the 2016 Miss USA pageant as seen Live on National television, one of the most anticipated events of the year.


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