Local News Articles

Alexandria Man Seeks Support for a Garden Park

December 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ricky Harris

An Alexandria man is seeking donations and volunteers to develop a community garden park on property owned by the Town of Alexandria.

Ricky Harris has already received permission from the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen to proceed with the project. "I would like to do a revitalization of the old park behind the Osborne grocery store. Its roughly right at four acres. It's actually been untouched for a little over 20 years. It's just an overgrowth field," Harris told WJLE.

At first Harris thought about doing something on a smaller scale as a way of giving back to his community but later decided on a garden park because it would serve a greater number of people. "I serve on the Board for my church the First Baptist Church of Alexandria for Community Projects. What I was originally thinking was to reach out to four or five families and maybe try to do some yard work and that sort of thing. But it occurred to me that we had a bigger project at hand that would affect the whole community," he said.

Although work has begun to clear the property from brush and overgrowth, Harris said more help is needed. " The first phase is to get the property clear. I've actually already went in and done some clearing. We've cleared the lower bottom part of it now and opened it up. Right now I'm primarily doing it with volunteers so I'm looking for volunteers to help me. Saturday, January 2 is the actual kick-off date. That's the date we want volunteers to come out and start helping with chainsaws and clearing some more of the brush back. I figured January 2 would be a good day starting the new year," Harris continued.

Once the land is cleared, Harris hopes to develop the park for all ages to enjoy. " I want to open up the park itself for the community. The overall goal is to put in picnic tables and a walking trail with a bridge over a brook that's already there. There is a pad for basketball goals. But I would eventually like to have a place for the kids to come and be a part of a garden that we want to put in. A raised bed garden. There's actually a push that has been going on in Tennessee if you watch PBS. It's called Pick Green Tennessee. There's been projects throughout the whole state. I know one that has taken place in Chattanooga where they took some land and opened it up. They went in and re-did it putting in a garden which got kids off the street and gave them something hands on to do to help them stay out of trouble so to speak but it also gave them a place to go and reunite with others and talk about their issues. They can reap what they sow as well and help feed their families," said Harris.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or give a donation to the effort is welcome to do so. "We're actually going to reach out to local businesses and also to the public. If anybody would like to make a monetary donation or help by donating materials they can talk to mayor Bennett Armstrong. Overall, probably $4,500 is what we need to cover it. We plan to do it in phases but we would like to have it done before Easter to do a community Easter Egg Hunt. If anyone wants to help they can contact me personally at 615- 306-9033," Harris concluded.

Omega Apparel Announces the Grand Opening of New Nashville Design and Production Facility

December 21, 2015
Omega Apparel Announces the Grand Opening of New Nashville Design and Production Facility

Authentically American! Omega Apparel continues it 22-year long history of making apparel in the US with the opening of a new design and production facility in Nashville. Omega Apparel now occupies two Tennessee based facilities. A 100,000 square foot facility in Smithville and the new 20,000 square foot facility in Nashville. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 5225 Harding Place, Nashville, on Tuesday, January 12th at 10:45am. Mayor Barry will speak and participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new Nashville facility will showcase Omega’s new expanded capabilities; full service design and business consultation, and small batch production. “We are now able to service all customers large and small” shared Shelley Sarmiento, Chief Strategy Officer and Design Director. “Our newest Boutique Services model is focused on servicing the fashion community in Nashville. Our customer’s needs range from celebrity clothing lines, tactical khakis, plaid shirts, doll clothing, pet designs, and much more. Our goal is to enable our customers to go from initial concept to full production, all right here in Nashville and proudly claim 100% Made in USA.”

“The opening of Omega’s Nashville facility is a game changer for our regional fashion brands in Nashville” continued Van Tucker, CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA). “The proximity of the creative and manufacturing processes in the apparel industry is a critical component for emerging fashion brands. At every stage of development, the Omega Apparel Team have embraced our regional brands to help them find quality, affordable American manufacturing and conquer one of our key challenges as an industry.”

“The heart of our mission at Omega is creating jobs and building a great place to work. The opening of our new facility in Nashville will enable our goal of adding 1000+ jobs over the next 5-years. Omega Apparel is Authentically American and we will be a catalyst in rebuilding the US Apparel industry” proclaimed Dean Wegner, President and CEO.

Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Omega Apparel was founded in 1994 and now includes 4 Divisions: Military, Commercial, Omega Brand, and Private Label. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega operates two Tennessee based production and design facilities in Nashville and Smithville. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. Omega Apparel is both committed and proud to be 100% Made in the USA. To learn more visit http://omegaapparelinc.com/.

Candidates for School Board, City, and State Races May Obtain Petitions Starting January 8

December 19, 2015
Dwayne Page

While the first election of 2016 is the local Democratic Primary and Presidential Primary, potential candidates for August can soon pick up qualifying petitions

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, says candidates for local school board, city and state representative races can obtain qualifying petitions beginning January 8. Those petitions must be returned by Noon April 7

The DeKalb County General and Tennessee State primaries are set for August 4.

Offices to be elected locally in August along with assessor of property and constable are school board seats for districts 4, 5, and 6. W.J. (Dub) Evins, III currently serves in District 5, Doug Stephens in District 6 and Kate Miller is filling her husband’s unexpired term in District 4.

On the state level, offices up for grabs are State Representatives in Districts 40 and 46 (currently held by Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody, respectively) and 6th District Congressman, currently held by Diane Black.

Also on the ballot in August are three municipal elections—Dowelltown, Liberty and Smithville.

In Smithville, voters will elect three aldermen. The incumbents up for re-election are Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected in Dowelltown. The positions are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Kevin Kent.

Liberty voters will choose four aldermen. Three of them to serve four years and the fourth to fill the remaining one year of an unexpired term. The three positions up for election to new four year terms are now held by Jason Ray, Paul Neal, and Todd Dodd. The person elected to the fourth seat will serve the last year of an unexpired term. J.D. Bratten currently holds that position.

To close out the year, the Presidential and Tennessee General elections will be held on November 8.

Smithville Police Arrest Two in Burglary at Broad Way Market

December 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Anthony W. Hale
Jeremy W. Fenton

Smithville Police have made two arrests stemming from a recent burglary and theft at Broad Way Market.

24 year old Anthony W. Hale and 38 year old Jeremy W. Fenton are each charged with theft of property under $500 and burglary. Fenton was also charged with vandalism. Bond for Hale is $6,500. Fenton's bond is $8,000. Both will make a court appearance on January 21.

Chief Mark Collins said that at 1:56 a.m. on Wednesday, December 16 police were dispatched to Broad Way Market due to a burglar alarm. Upon arrival, officers noticed the front door broken and a large rock lying on the floor inside the store. The owner provided video surveillance footage which showed two persons making their way through the store and taking 10 cartons of cigarettes. Later that day detectives identified the men and spoke with them at their residence. Another person, 36 year old Tara Kay Campbell gave police consent to search the premises where they found the stolen carton of cigarettes taken from Broad Way Market along with two scales used in illegal drug activity and four hypodermic needles.

As a result of the investigation, Hale and Fenton were placed under arrest. Campbell was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is January 7.

28 year old Antolin Guerra Castillo was arrested Friday, December 11 for a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. Smithville Police were dispatched to the area of South Congress Boulevard and East Broad Street in reference to a possible intoxicated driver. Officers located the vehicle, unoccupied, at Kwik N Ezy and they were able to identify Castillo as the driver from store surveillance
cameras. Castillo had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. A computer check through Central Dispatch revealed Castillo's driver's license were revoked for a DUI in 2009. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is January 7.

24 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins was arrested for domestic assault on Sunday, December 13. Police were dispatched to a domestic violence call and learned that Judkins punched and choked the victim before their arrival. His bond is $1,500.

55 year old Nickey E. Cantrell was arrested for DUI on Monday, December 14. Police received a call of a driver traveling all over the highway on South Congress Boulevard. The investigating officer was informed that the vehicle had turned into Jewel's Market. He found the automobile in the parking lot of the business with a man passed out at the wheel. The officer awoke the driver, Cantrell who was confused and his speech was slow and slurred. Cantrell submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Bond is $1,500 and his court date is January 28.

42 year old Bobbie Freddie Phillips was arrested on Friday, December 18 for domestic assault. On that day police responded to a possible domestic and upon arrival spoke with the victim. After a further investigation, it was determined that Phillips and the victim had gotten into a verbal argument that became physical. According to the warrant, the victim was pushed into a corner and then fell on the floor. Phillips then got on top and hit the victim in the face. Bond for Phillips is $5,000 and the court date is January 1.

Hospital Associates Play Santa to Needy Teens

December 18, 2015
Shan Burklow
Pictured: The boys of Indian Mound Boys Home tear into gifts donated by the associates of ST Stones River and Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospitals.
Pictured: (from left to right) Saint Thomas DeKalb associates Linda Youngblood, Missy Pack, Angela Crick, along with her daughter Anslee volunteer to play Santa’s helpers to teens of the Indian Mound Boys Home as CEO Sue Conley looks on.
Pictured: Gifts are overflowing below the tree that associates decorated especially for the teens of Indian Mound Boys Home.

Saint Thomas DeKalb and Saint Thomas Stones River’s associates look forward to the holidays every year, but it’s not the holiday ham or Christmas egg nog that gets these two regional hospitals most excited. The staff works hard all year long doing whatever it takes to bring Christmas to needy teens in their area. From bake sales to ham raffles, the associates raise thousands from their own pockets ensuring that the teens of the Indian Mound Boys Home have a very Merry Christmas.

The funds raised provides a new pair of shoes, and an outfit for each teen. A special Christmas party is held in their honor, with a surprise visit from Santa. It takes nearly three dozen pizzas to feed these hungry teens. Stockings full of gifts and homemade treats from the dietary department are presented to all, along with a tin of warm cookies.

“This event is the highlight of our holiday season,” said CEO Sue Conley, “Many of these boys have no family or home to visit for the holidays, so this is the only Christmas they will have. Last year, one of the boys asked for tape so that he could re-wrap his gifts and open them again on Christmas morning. He said it was the first presents he had ever unwrapped. It’s things like this that show us how blessed we truly are.”

“I am always amazed at the outpouring of generosity that comes from our staff when we ask,” said Marketing Director Shan Burklow, “They give generously to anyone in need all year long, not just for a single event. We not only raised money to help the teens at Indian Mound Boys Home, but also adopted seventeen homeless and needy babies in our area - providing them clothes, diapers, and blankets. Our staff was so moved by their extreme needs, that they even purchased scarves and gloves for the moms as well. In a way, it’s like we are celebrating Christmas all year long,” Burklow smiled, “Helping others is what our associates do best.”

To see more photos from these holiday events, join their facebook pages: Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital / Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital

2016 Presidential Primary Ballot Now Set

December 18, 2015

Thursday marked an important milestone on the road to the White House, which will cross Tennessee during the 2016 election cycle. Secretary of State Tre Hargett has now certified the names of presidential candidates for the March 1 presidential preference primary, or “SEC Primary,” when Tennessee will join six other southern states to help decide who will be the next president of the United States.

“It is likely one of these men or women will hold our country’s highest elected office. Hopefully Tennesseans understand how much of an impact their votes will make,” Secretary Hargett said.

It’s important to note that once a candidate is certified for a party primary they are unable to appear on the November 8 general election ballot as the nominee of a different political party. Hargett presented the list of 14 Republicans and three Democrats to the State Election Commission December 1.

The following candidates will be placed on the March 1 ballot:

Republican Primary Ballot
•Jeb Bush
•Ben Carson
•Chris Christie
•Ted Cruz
•Carly Fiorina
•Jim Gilmore
•Lindsey O. Graham
•Mike Huckabee
•John R. Kasich
•George Pataki
•Rand Paul
•Marco Rubio
•Rick Santorum
•Donald J. Trump

Democratic Primary Ballot

•Hillary Clinton
•Martin J. O’Malley
•Bernie Sanders

Noon Thursday was also the withdrawal deadline for 2016 presidential delegate candidates. Delegate candidates cannot be considered qualified unless the Division of Elections received a letter from a presidential campaign identifying them. The finalized list is posted at: sos.tn.gov/elections.

Both the Tennessee Republican Party and the Tennessee Democratic Party have their own rules about how someone becomes a presidential delegate. The Republican presidential delegates are decided by election, which is coordinated through the division. The Democratic presidential delegates are decided by party rules. More information can be found here: sos.tn.gov/products/elections/qualifying-procedures-2016-presidential-delegates.

Smithville Man Found with Stolen Truck from Hamilton County

December 18, 2015
Dwayne Page
Kevin Donald Bogle
Bettye Sharron Crook
Lindsey Paulette Davenport
Nohemi Sosa Brown

A Smithville man was arrested earlier this month after having in his possession a stolen truck from Hamilton County.

41 year old Kevin Donald Bogle of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $25,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 21.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, December 8 a deputy went to a residence on Midway Road to speak with Bogle. He was detained there while a check was made for possible warrants against him. When asked to empty his pockets, Bogle produced a key to an F150 pickup and laid it on the table in the living room. Upon further investigation, officers learned that the pickup, found parked in the driveway on Midway Road, was stolen from Hamilton County. Bogle was taken into custody to be interviewed about the truck. During questioning Bogle admitted to having driven the pickup to the Midway Road residence and that he had personal belongings in the truck including a green Carhartt jacket, a Sony CD player, and a Ziplock baggie of water. He was found to be in possession of a stolen vehicle and was placed under arrest.

68 year old Bettye Sharron Crook of Winter Drive, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, December 10 Crook intentionally and knowingly got a loaded Winchester 22 caliber rifle and told her sister that she would kill her. The weapon had to be forcibly removed from Crook's possession by another family member. According to Sheriff Ray, Crook told officers that she would kill her sister. Crook was placed under arrest.

28 year old Lindsey Paulette Davenport of Woodbury Highway, Liberty is charged with introduction or possession of drugs into a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. She is under a $2,500 bond.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 12 Davenport was arrested on a violation of probation warrant. While in her jail cell, a female correctional officer saw Davenport acting suspiciously. After being removed, the cell was searched and five suboxone strips and three xanax pills were found. Davenport had produced the drugs while in the cell after apparently having concealed them on her person.

50 year old Nohemi Sosa Brown of Four Star Loop, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. She was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for travel. Her bond is $1,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 13 a deputy was traveling on Highway 70 when he spotted a red Chevy car in front of him cross the yellow line several times as well as the turning lane. After making a traffic stop the officer spoke with the driver, Brown and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Brown's speech was slurred and slow. She submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. She also took a blood/alcohol test.

CFEC Offers Reminder Concerning Agriculture Certificates of Exemption

December 17, 2015
Dwayne Page

Caney Fork Electric Cooperative is reminding farmers, timber harvesters, and nurserymen who are members of CFEC
about the Tennessee Agriculture Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption.

Every fourth year, the Tennessee Department of Revenue re-issues Agriculture Certificates of Exemption to all current exemption holders. If your exemption certificate expires on December 31, 2015, you will be mailed a renewed certificate during the latter part of December. These new certificates will have an effective date of January 1, 2016 and will expire December 31, 2019.

In order for Caney Fork Electric Cooperative to continue NOT charging you Tennessee Sales Taxes on your monthly electric bill, CFEC will
need a copy of your NEW Certificate of Exemption.

Please stop by any of the four CFEC offices for a copy to be made of your NEW Certificate for the files.

Smithville Police Treat Head Start Children to Gifts for Christmas

December 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
The Smithville Police Dept. and Mayor presented children at Smithville Head Start with gifts for Christmas Thursday. Police Chief Mark Collins shown here with student
Members of Smithville Police Dept and other special guests treated children at Head Start Center Thursday

Seventy four children at the Smithville Head Start Center were treated to bags of gifts Thursday during the annual Cops for Kids effort by the Smithville Police Department.

Police Chief Mark Collins, Mayor Jimmy Poss, and other members of the police department presented the children with the gifts. Other guests were on hand for songs and special treats.

"Today is our Toys for Tots. Each year the Smithville Police Department tries to do something around this special holiday. This year we chose the Head Start. What we do is we collect donations and presents from throughout the city and we give them to the kids. They get to interact with us. Its really enjoyable for all of us to interact with the kids, " said Chief Collins.

"The local merchants collect gifts for us and we have fundraisers. All the officers of the police department also participated in "No Shave November" and paid $40 to enter. All that money went toward this to buy presents and things for this event." Chief Collins continued.

"This is a good event for us. Its a way we can give back to the community and these kids really appreciate it and seem to enjoy it," he concluded.

Families Coping with Infant Loss Find Support Through Paislee's Foundation

December 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Wesley McCubbin, Jessica Cripps, and Tyler Cripps
Paislee's Foundation

Losing a child is unspeakably painful and perhaps the most devastating ordeal a parent could have to encounter.

Tyler and Jessica Cripps of Alexandria know what that's like. Their daughter Paislee Cheyanne Cripps was stillborn on May 3, 2013. Their hearts were broken. Their world was shattered. But during their grief they received the love and support of family, friends, church, and the community in such a way that it inspired Tyler and Jessica to help other parents mourning infant loss. As a result, Paislee's Foundation was formed by the Cripps' along with their friend Wesley McCubbin.

"It's a non-profit organization that Wesley and my wife and I started. We take up money through donations and fundraisers and we donate that to families who are going through stillbirth and infant loss up to three years of age," Tyler Cripps told WJLE .

"It started on May 3, 2013. Tyler and I lost our little girl. She was stillborn. Paislee's death was very unexpected and we were completely unprepared to deal with this type of situation. But our family, friends, church, and community lifted us up, supported us, and took care of everything we needed," said Jessica Cripps.

After some time passed, Tyler said he got the idea for starting the foundation. "I was riding through work one day and the idea popped in my head. I talked to Wesley about it and we furthered the idea until it's turned into what it is today," he said.

An approved 501c3 non-profit organization, Paislee's Foundation was formed in October 2013 and the first official fundraiser was held in January 2014.

"We have three main fundraisers which are all held at the Kenneth Sandlin Center at the fairgrounds in Alexandria. A chili supper will be held on February 6 along with a corn hole tournament. We have a 5K in May and a craft show in the fall. They have all generated pretty good amounts of money. At the 5K we have even had some of the parents (served by the Foundation) actually come to help. To see that come full circle has been great. We've had such big responses from the start and we thank our whole community for supporting us," said McCubbin.

There are no paid staff in the Foundation and all money raised is given to parents. "One hundred percent of it goes to the foundation. No money goes to anyone's pocket," said Tyler.

"We got money given to us when we lost Paislee. At the end of it all we had to buy her headstone and that was $400. We had $400 exactly left. So that's what we give people $400. They are welcome to use it for whatever they need including bills, food, groceries, headstone, burial expenses, etc. We have already served roughly 20 families," said Jessica.

Families needing support may contact Paislee's Foundation through Facebook. " They can come to us. We have a facebook page. It's already up and going. Its Paislees Foundation on facebook. The website is now online at www.paisleesfoundation.org. It has our story and how you can donate, all of our contact information, and different resources. If you want to donate a wedding dress for a burial gown for a child that link is there. Photographers who do sessions at the hospital for keepsakes, that is on there. We recently did a hoodie sale with a logo on it and that is on the website too. If you want to make a donation Paislee's Foundation has an account at Liberty State Bank. We're also working on Paypal. It's coming soon. We don't want to just be about the money. That's a big part of it. To alleviate financial stress but we also want parents to be able to have someone to talk to. We would like to eventually be able to put them in touch with grief support groups," said Jessica

"We want to thank Scott Koffman who designed our logo and our 5K shirt; Ashley McCubbin who is right there with her camera every time we need her for an event; and Nikia Vensel who has designed all our flyers and posters. They have all done this free of charge," said Tyler. Also a special thanks to the Foundation's CPA Kathy Finley.

"We want to thank everybody who has gotten behind us and given us the push to get to where we are now. That's the main thing about our foundation. It could not run without the support that we have gotten," said Tyler.


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