Local News Articles

DeKalb GOP Elects New Officers

March 15, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County GOP elected new officers Saturday. Treasurer Tom Chandler, Chairman Mingy Colwell Bryant, Secretary Sharon Rhoten, Assistant Treasurer Dustin Estes, and Vice Chairman Clint Hall

Members of the DeKalb County Republican Party met Saturday morning at the courthouse to elect officers to serve for the next two years.

Local attorney Mingy Colwell Bryant was elected Chairman of the Party.

Other officers are Vice Chairman Clint Hall, Secretary Sharon Rhoten, Treasurer Tom Chandler, and Assistant Treasurer Dustin Estes. The new officers were nominated as a group and elected by acclamation with no other names placed in nomination.

Bryant thanked the party faithful for the confidence and trust they have placed in her to lead the local GOP. "I greatly appreciate this opportunity. I consider it a great honor. We have a lot of new and innovative ideas. We have a great board. We have new members as well as members who have been on for a while which is going to guide us and keep us on the right track. A lot of people, and I've seen the Democratic Party do this, they will say our goal and job is to grow our party. Well our party is big. Our party, I think is a really good size, we just need more involvement from our party. We need more structure to where we all stand together not only at the state level but also at the local level. We need more people to stand up. One person by their self will just drift away but if we can get together as a group, we can make a change. We can get the bills passed that we want passed. We just have to stand together and have our voices heard and not just wait and hope somebody else takes that torch. Thank you for all your support," she said.

Last year Bryant ran for General Sessions Judge.

State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody attended the meeting and spoke briefly on issues before the general assembly. Jennifer Winfree, State Committee Woman and former DeKalb Party Chairman was also recognized along with local elected Republican officials Sheriff Patrick Ray, Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, and Fifth District County Commissioner Jerry Adcock.

Rackley is 2015 Young Miss

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Young Miss Isabella Faith Rackley
3rd Runner-up Averie Nicole McMinn; 1st Runner-up Annabella Eleni Dakas, Young Miss Isabella Faith Rackley; 2nd Runner-up Savanna Hope Murphy; and 4th Runner-up Kenlee Renae Taylor
Miss Personality Jakayta Odom and Miss Photogenic Annabella Eleni Dakas

The 2015 Young Miss of the Smithville Women's Club's Spring Blossom Pageant is seven year old Isabella Faith Rackley.

Daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville, Isabella beat out nine other girls ages seven to nine for the crown. She succeeds last year's Young Miss Carlee Elizabeth West, the nine t year old daughter of D.J. and Megan Stewart of Smithville.

First Runner-up and Miss Photogenic in the pageant was Annabella Eleni Dakas, the eight year old daughter of John and Mandy Dakas of Smithville.

Second Runner-up: Savanna Hope Murphy, the eight year old daughter of Brian and Stephanie Leist of Smithville.

Third Runner-up: Averie Nicole McMinn, the seven year old daughter of Nathan and Amanda McMinn of Dowelltown.

Fourth Runner-up: Kenlee Renae Taylor, the nine year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville

Miss Personality: Jakayta Odom, the seven year old daughter of Rebecca Waggoner

Other contestants were Kortnee Ann Marie Skeen, the nine year old daughter of Tim and Andrea Littleton and Charles Skeen of Liberty; Allyson Roxanne Fuller, the nine year old daughter of Anthony and Amanda Fuller of Smithville; Makinzy Jenkins, the eight year old daughter of Wallace Rackley and niece of Maranda Washer of Smithville; and Layla Lynn Walker, the nine year old daughter of Edward and Penny Walker of Smithville.

Colwell Reigns as Teen Miss

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Teen Miss Sarah Anne Colwell
3rd Runner-up Shaunta Rose Koegler, 1st Runner-up Abigail Hope Taylor, Teen Miss Sarah Anne Colwell, 2nd Runner-up Shelby Maylee Sprague, and 4th Runner-up Carrie Mooneyham

Fourteen year old Sarah Anne Colwell is the new Teen Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant. She won the crown Saturday at DCHS.

Colwell, daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville, succeeds the retiring queen Morgan Faith Green, the fifteen year old daughter of Suzanne and Jon Harrison of Smithville.

Five girls were in the contest.

First Runner-up and Miss Photogenic went to Abigail Hope Taylor, the 14 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville.

Shelby Maylee Sprague was Second Runner-up. She is the 13 year old daughter of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague of Smithville.

Shaunta Rose Koegler, daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler of Smithville was Third Runner-up.

Fourth Runner-up and Miss Personality went to Carrie Mooneyham, the 13 year old daughter of Dori Keith and the late Billy Mooneyham and Curtis and Stephanie Bone of Smithville

Atnip Captures Junior Miss Crown

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Junior Miss Alexis Grace Atnip
3rd Runner-up Courtney London,  1st Runner-up Madison Rae Rackley, Junior Miss Alexis Grace Atnip, 2nd Runner-up Hannah Paige Trapp

Twelve year old Alexis Grace Atnip won Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant Saturday at DCHS.

She is the 12 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville

Four girls were in the contest sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Last year's winner was Shaunta Rose Koegler, the 13 year old daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler of Smithville

Madison Rae Rackley was the first runner-up and Miss Photogenic. She is the 11 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville.

Hannah Paige Trapp was named second runner-up and Miss Personality. She is the 10 year old daughter of Jeremy and Jenny Trapp of Smithville.

Third runner-up went to Courtney London, the 10 year old daughter of Jeff and Dana London of Smithville.

Three Seriously Injured in Saturday Crash

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
1997 Ford F150 driven by 22 year old Michael Quinton McKinley
1977 Ford pickup driven by 43 year old Timmy Hendrixson
Scene of Two Truck Crash on Highway 56 South

Three people were seriously injured in a two vehicle crash Saturday on Highway 56 south near Evins Mill Nursery.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old Michael Quinton McKinley of McMinnville was traveling north in a 1997 Ford F150 when the truck went off the right side of the highway. McKinley overcorrected and his truck then crossed the center line and made an angle impact with a southbound 1977 Ford pickup , driven by 43 year old Timmy Hendrixson of Smithville.

Hendrixson was ejected from his truck. McKinley was trapped in his pickup. Both were seriously hurt along with a 17 year old McMinnville boy who was a passenger with McKinley.

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team were summoned to help free McKinley from the wreckage.

According to Trooper Johnson, McKinley was transported by DeKalb EMS to Vanderbilt Hospital. The 17 year old boy was taken by EMS to the Smithville Municipal Airport where he was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. DeKalb EMS took Hendrixson to Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Sergeants Eric McCormick and Jimmy Jones assisted Trooper Johnson with the crash investigation. Charges are pending.

Tyra Graham is First Ever Miss Spring Blossom

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tyra Grace Graham is the first ever Miss Spring Blossom.
1st Runner-up Destiny Danielle Franklin, Miss Spring Blossom Tyra Grace Graham, 2nd Runner-up Victoria Vincent

Tyra Grace Graham is the first ever Miss Spring Blossom.

Graham, the 16 year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville, won the inaugural pageant held Saturday at DCHS sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. She was also named Miss Photogenic.

First runner-up went to Destiny Danielle Franklin, the 15 year old daughter of Jennifer Ware of Smithville.

Victoria Vincent was second runner-up. She is the 18 year old daughter of Darrin and Julie Vincent of Smithville. Vincent was also selected Miss Personality.

The pageant featured three contestants ages 15-18.

Kirksey Crowned Little Miss

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Little Miss Ella Grace Kirksey
3rd Runner-up Kaydence Shontae Johnson, 1st Runner-up Leah Elisabeth Trapp, Little Miss Ella Grace Kirksey, 2nd Runner-up Zayleigh Grace Washer, and 4th Runner-up Lakelyn Brooke Nelson
Little Miss and Photogenic Ella Grace Kirksey and Little Miss Personality Savannah Faith Stibil

The winner of the Little Miss Pageant Saturday was Ella Grace Kirksey, the four year old daughter of Graden and Sabrina Kirksey of Smithville.

Kirksey, who also won the title of Little Miss Photogenic, succeeds the retiring Little Miss, Averie Nicole McMinn, the seven year old daughter of Nathan and Amanda McMinn of Dowelltown.

Fourteen girls, ages four to six, were in the pageant held at DCHS sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Runners-up in the pageant are as follows:

First runner-up: Leah Elisabeth Trapp, the six year old daughter of Jeremy and Jenny Trapp of Smithville.

Second runner-up: Zayleigh Grace Washer, the six year old daughter of Larry and Rachel Bain of Smithville.

Third runner-up: Kaydence Shontae Johnson, the five year old daughter of Jeremy Ashburn and Trista Johnson of Smithville.

Fourth runner-up: Lakelyn Brooke Nelson, the four year old daughter of Dustin and Kristian Nelson of Smithville.

Little Miss Personality: Savannah Faith Stibil, the four year old daughter of John and Glenda Stibil of Smithville

Rounding out the top ten were McKenna Reece Miller, the six year old daughter of Charles and Christen Cox and David Miller of Smithville; Lillie Grace Young, the five year old daughter of Michael and Crystal Young of Smithville; Karah Ford, the four year old daughter of Amanda Jo Ford of Dowelltown; Kaylyn Isabelle Prichard, the five year old daughter of Andy and Chrissy Prichard of Liberty; and Ava Layne Steff, the five year old daughter of Mark and Renee Steff of Smithville.

Other participants were McKenzie Nicole Hunt, the five year old daughter of Randall and Christy Hunt of Smithville; Kaylee Garrett, the four year old daughter of Monya and Justin Garrett of Smithville; and Graciella Marie Johnson, the four year old daughter of David and Patricia Johnson of Dowelltown.

Speaks Takes Little Mister Title

March 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
1st Runner-up Abram James Koegler, Little Mister Jaxsen Theryn Speaks, 2nd Runner-up Eli Lackey

Five year old Jaxsen Theryn Speaks is the 2015 Little Mister.

Speaks, the son of Justin and Donna Speaks of Smithville, succeeds last year's Little Mister,
Skyler Chase Sullivan, the seven year old son of Charity Sullivan of Smithville and the late Jamie Sullivan.

The contest, featuring three boys, was held Saturday at DCHS sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

In addition to being named Little Mister, Speaks also received the Mister Photogenic honor.

Abram James Koegler was first runner-up in the pageant. He is the five year old son of Brian and Leticia Koegler of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Eli Lackey, the six year old son of Retta Lackey and Jason Lackey of Smithville. He was also named Mister Personality.

Smithville Police Chief Suspended Pending Termination

March 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Almost five years after being named to lead the department, Randy Caplinger's days as Smithville Police Chief may be over.

Saying he felt the department needs new leadership, Mayor Jimmy Poss placed Chief Caplinger on suspension pending termination during a meeting Friday morning at city hall. Police Commissioner Jason Murphy, who supports the move, was also at the meeting along with City Attorney Vester Parsley.

"I told Randy I didn't believe the police department was headed in the right direction, that the morale was low among the officers, and that we needed to make a change and that change was to remove him," Mayor Poss told WJLE.

According to city officials, Chief Caplinger is being given the opportunity to voluntarily resign or retire from the department and a meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen is planned for Tuesday to discuss whether to offer Caplinger a severance package if he should choose to step aside without a challenge.

"Currently it's a suspension until Tuesday and then it'll either be a resignation or firing," said City Attorney Parsley.

Should Caplinger opt not to resign, city officials say he has seven business days to request a hearing before the entire board of aldermen who has the power to sustain or overturn a termination . According to the city's new policies and procedures, which were adopted last year, a request for a hearing must be made to the mayor. The mayor then has five business days to respond. If the process were to get that far, both Mayor Poss and City Attorney Parsley say Caplinger would be granted a hearing. "My advice was to give him a hearing because in the past we have given others a hearing. That's a policy we had in place for a long time," he said.

In the meantime, Captain Steven Leffew has been named Officer in Charge of the police department.

Caplinger was named police chief in May 2010. Prior to that he was Transportation/Safety Director for Kitchen Craft of Smithville. Caplinger is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel/Major of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

WJLE spoke with Caplinger by phone for a response Friday afternoon but he preferred not to make a statement at this time.

McMillen Sentenced for Theft of Rebar from Pirtle's Nursery

March 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
James Dallas McMillen, Jr
Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr.

A Smithville man charged with stealing rebar from Pirtles Nursery on five occasions last summer and selling it at a local recycling business was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Wednesday.

66 year James Dallas McMillen, Jr. pled guilty to two counts of theft over $1,000 and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other. McMillen is to make restitution in amounts of $1,140, $1,380, and $880 to Pirtle Nursery. He was given ten days jail credit.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, McMillen is accused of stealing rebar from Pirtles Nursery in the following amounts and on these dates: 360 pounds (in one incident) and 1,140 pounds (in a second incident) on Wednesday, August 13, 2014; 880 pounds (in one incident) and 1,380 pounds (in a second incident) on Thursday, August 14; and 1,100 pounds on Friday, August 15.

Meanwhile, another Smithville man arrested in burglaries at two local businesses last summer was sentenced Wednesday.

28 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr. pled guilty to two counts of burglary and received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other but consecutively to a parole violation against him. He must serve at least 30% of the term before his release eligibility date.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department.

According to the charges, Dyal allegedly entered Cash Express located at 126 East Bryant Street on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at approximately 1:00 a.m. by taking out a window air conditioner unit and entering through the window. Dyal allegedly took a digital camera and a safe. A search warrant was served on July 5 at Dyal's residence where he was found hiding in the closet. He was in possession of stolen property belonging to the victim.

Dyal was also charged in a break-in at another business the previous week.

In that case, Dyal allegedly entered a gas station located at 627 West Broad Street at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2014 and took the following items: Approximately $850 in cash and at least four duffle bags full of cigarette cartons. The act was caught on video camera. A search warrant was served on July 5 at Dyal's residence where he was found hiding in the closet and in possession of stolen property belonging to the victim.

42 year old Patsy McCoy pled guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. McCoy has already served her time. She must also make restitution to DeKalb Community Hospital in the amount of $68.65

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