Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases

February 12, 2017
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for December, 2016 was 6.1%, up from 5.5% in November but lower than 6.5% in December, 2015.

The local labor force for December 2016 was 7,550. Employment was 7,100 and 460 were unemployed.

County unemployment estimates for December 2016 show the rates increased in all 95 counties.

Jobless rates for December among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:

Clay: 7.4%
Pickett: 7.2%
Cumberland: 7%
Van Buren: 6.6%
DeKalb: 6.1%
Fentress: 6%
White: 5.7%
Overton: 5.6%
Putnam: 5%
Warren: 4.6%
Smith: 4.4%

For the month of December, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.6 percent, increasing from 3.5 percent the previous month. Knox County was 4.1 percent, an increase from the previous month’s 3.9 percent. The Hamilton County rate was 4.8 percent, increasing from a previous rate of 4.6 percent. Shelby County had a 5.5 percent rate, increasing from November’s 5.3 percent.

The Tennessee and U.S. preliminary unemployment rates for December were 4.9 and 4.7 percent, respectively, increasing one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month’s revised rate.

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, opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

DeKalb/Cannon County Producers Urged to Consider Risk Protection Coverage before Crop Sales Closing Deadlines

February 12, 2017
Dwayne Page

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers who wish to purchase crop loss protection, for non-insurable crops for the 2017 crop year, of the March 15, 2017 final sales closing date for the following crops:

* mixed forage (pasture and hay) *green beans *sweet corn *tomatoes
* potatoes *pumpkins *peppers *watermelons
*cantaloupes * cucumbers *okra *squash

NAP provides catastrophic level (CAT) coverage based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50 percent of expected production at 55 percent of the average market price for the crop. The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes additional coverage levels ranging from 50 to 65 percent of production, in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Additional coverage must be elected by a producer by the application closing date. Producers who elect additional coverage must pay a premium in addition to the service fee. Crops intended for grazing are not eligible for additional coverage.

Eligible producers must apply for coverage using form CCC-471, "Application for Coverage," and pay the applicable service fee at the FSA office. The application and service fee must be filed by the application closing date. For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,875 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. Producers who elect additional coverage must also pay a premium equal to the producer's share of the crop X number of eligible crop acres X approved yield X average market price X 5.25% premium fee

For value loss crops, premiums will be calculated using the maximum dollar value selected by the producer on form CCC-471, "Application for Coverage." The maximum premium for a producer is $6,562.50 (the maximum payment limitation times a 5.25 percent premium fee).

Beginning, limited resource, and underserved farmers are eligible for a waiver of the service fee and a 50 percent premium reduction when they file form CCC-860, "Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource and Beginning Farmer or Rancher Certification."

Producers should report crop acreage shortly after planting (early in the risk period) to ensure reporting deadlines are not missed and coverage is not lost. In addition, producers must annually provide the following production information: the quantity of all harvested production of the crop in which the producer held an interest during the crop year; the disposition of the harvested crop, such as whether it is marketable, unmarketable, salvaged or used differently than intended; and verifiable or reliable crop production records (when required). The NAP crop year 2017 acreage reporting deadlines for Tennessee are as follows:

November 15, 2016: mixed forage (hay and pasture)—producers can still request to file a late-filed crop acreage report

July 15, 2017:sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, okra, peppers, squash

August 15, 2017:green beans (1st and 2nd plantings)

When a crop or planting is affected by a natural disaster, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) musts be filed within 15 calendar days of the: 1) natural disaster occurrence; 2) final planting date if your planting was prevented by a natural disaster; 3) date damage to the crop or loss of production becomes apparent to you.

For additional program details, contact the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, located at 647 Bright Hill Rd., or phone the office at 597-8225, extension 2.

Man Found with Meth in his Sock during Traffic Stop

February 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jim Thomas Flesher, III

Smithville Police arrested a man for possession of methamphetamine after finding some meth in his sock during a routine traffic stop.

20 year old Jim Thomas Flesher, III was also cited for speeding and financial responsibility. Flesher was stopped for a traffic violation on Sunday, February 5 and upon checking with central dispatch for driver license validation, the officer was informed that there was a failure to appear warrant out of DeKalb County for Flesher. He was placed into custody and upon a search incident to arrest, 0.6 grams of methamphetamine was located in his right sock. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is March 2.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_10.pdf (2.83 MB)

50 year old Mark Owen Alvis was cited for simple possession and driving on revoked license for DUI Wednesday, February 8. Police were called to conduct a welfare check on a suspicious person in the parking lot of the Department of Children Services. Upon making contact with the described vehicle, the officer spotted a man, identified as Mark Alvis, sitting in the driver's seat with the engine running. Upon receiving consent to search, nine round pills believed to be oxycodone were found in Alvis' left front pocket. No prescription could be provided. A computer check revealed that Alvis's driver's license were revoked for a previous DUI. A licensed driver was contacted to take Alvis home. His court date is March 9.

31 year old Tracy Ann Thomason was cited for theft of property on Sunday, January 29. Thomason allegedly tore tags off of clothing and put the clothes in her purse with the intent of depriving Wal-Mart of its merchandise.

35 year old Maria I Morales-Vazquez was arrested on Tuesday, January 3 for driving on a suspended license and she was cited for speeding, child restraint, and no insurance. Morales-Vanzquez was pulled over for speeding in a school zone. The officer noticed that a child in the car was not in a car seat or wearing a seat belt. Vazquez was not able to provide proof of insurance. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended in 2005, 2006, and 2015 for failure to answer/pay and for not showing proof of insurance. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is February 16.

22 year old Javier Ordaz Desirena was arrested on Saturday, February 4 for DUI and was cited for speeding, driver's license violation, registration violation, financial responsibility and implied consent. Desirena was stopped for a traffic violation and the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. His speech was slurred and his eyes were red and blood shot. Desirena was unable to perform standardized field sobriety tasks successfully and he refused to give blood. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is February 23

42 year old William Tony Wright was arrested on Monday, February 6 for disorderly conduct. Officers responded to Walmart where Wright allegedly made statements that he was going to break out Wal-Mart's windows and cut people with the glass and that he was going to fight someone there for just walking past him. Officers tried several times to get him to leave the store but he refused. For his safety and that of the public, Wright was taken into custody. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is February 23.

28 year old Justin C. Price was arrested on Wednesday, February 8 for a third offense of driving on a revoked license and he was cited for improper display. Police responded to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to take a report of an alleged assault. After obtaining the information needed, the officer checked on Justin Price through central dispatch and learned that he has an active warrant against him for a second offense of driving on a revoked license or subsequent out of DeKalb County. Price was placed into custody at that time. It was discovered that Price had driven to the Sheriff's Department and that his license are still revoked for not paying his fines and costs out of Bradley County. The tag on the vehicle Price drove to the Sheriff Department is not registered to that vehicle. His bond is $4,500 and his court date is February 23.

DeKalb Tigers and Lady Tigers to Make District Tournament Debut Monday Night

February 10, 2017
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County High School Basketball Teams will make their debut in the District 8 AA Tournament Monday night, February 13 at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center in Cookeville.

The Lady Tigers (6th seed) will meet York Institute (7th seed) Monday, February 13 at 6:00 p.m. The winner will advance to meet Smith County (3rd seed) on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:00 p.m. The winner of that game will take on Macon County (2nd seed) Friday, February 17 at 4:00 p.m.

The Tigers (7th seed) will take on Smith County (6th seed) Monday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to play Livingston Academy (3rd seed) on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will take on Upperman (2nd seed) on Friday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

The remainder of the girls bracket is as follows:

Cannon County (5th seed) will take on Central Magnet (8th seed) Tuesday, February 14 at 6:00 p.m. The winner will meet Livingston Academy (4th seed) on Thursday, February 16 at 6:00 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to face Upperman (1st seed) on Friday, February 17 at 7:00 p.m.

The girls losers bracket final for 3rd place will be Saturday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m. and the girls championship game will be Saturday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m.

The remainder of the boys bracket is as follows:

York Institute (5th seed) will take on Cannon County (8th seed) on Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will meet Central Magnet (4th seed) on Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to face Macon County (1st seed) on Friday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m.

The boys losers bracket final for 3rd place will be Saturday, February 18 at 4:30 p.m. and the boys championship game will be Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Mid-State Construction Low Bidder for College Street Bridge Repair Project

February 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mid-State Construction Low Bidder for College Street Bridge Repair Project

The contract to repair the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street over Highway 70 may go to Mid-State Construction Company, Inc.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, February 10 and Mid-State had the apparent lowest bid at $238,600.58.

The bid is expected to be awarded by mid-March and construction will follow. The completion time on the project is on or before September 30.

Sam Stout Named Jamboree President and Coordinator

February 10, 2017
Tom Duggin
Sam Stout

The Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree has a new President and Coordinator. Gainesboro native Sam Stout was elected to the position at a meeting of Jamboree board on Thursday night, February 9. Stout succeeds Jack Barton, who resigned as Jamboree President and Coordinator on February 2, after a nine-year tenure.

Born to James and the late Birdie Stout, Sam Stout grew up in a musical family that included two older brothers. At the age of 9, Stout began playing guitar and soon picked up the mandolin, as well. After high school, Stout started playing in country bands, and soon began pursuing music as a full-time career. Among his musical accomplishments during that time was serving as an opening act for guitar legend Chet Atkins and well-known Nashville songwriter Dean Dillon, who penned several of George Strait’s number-one hits. Stout also worked in Nashville in the recording industry as a demo singer, in hopes of landing a major recording contract.

After several years of struggling to make it in the country music industry, Stout returned to his first love, which was Bluegrass music. While holding down a full-time job, Stout started a Bluegrass band called Stoney Lonesome, which enjoyed a great deal of regional success. It was during this time Stout, along with Randall Clemons and Chris Neeley, launched the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour in Granville, TN. In the beginning, the Music Hour was covered by one small radio station in Thompkinsville, KY. Today, after nine years, the weekly show is now broadcast by 45 radio stations worldwide, including AM 650 WSM Radio in Nashville, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Professional and semi-professional bluegrass bands are featured on the weekly show, which also goes across both the state of Tennessee and all across the country on PBS stations.

Stout says his love for music – and the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree – runs deep. “I can never remember not being surrounded by music,” he said. “My father, James, plays the Dobro. He actually was the one who first brought me to the Jamboree before I could even play an instrument. I love the Jamboree and what it stands for. It is a true Tennessee tradition.”

Stout has competed in various Jamboree competitions in years past, but most recently, he has served as a member of the “Jamboree House Band,” a position he will resign with his new responsibilities with the festival. Stout was elected to the Jamboree board on February 2, and expressed an interest in the position of President and Coordinator with the Jamboree upon Barton’s resignation.

In addition to his passion for music, Stout - now a resident of Cookeville – also works in real estate.

SES Recognizes Students of the Month

February 10, 2017
SES Recognizes Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary has recognized the Students of the Month for February. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them all-around excellent students.

Selected as Students of the Month for February are:
Pre-K: James Mata-Guzman
Kindergarten: Yacinda Lomas
1st grade: Kenadee Pedigo
2nd grade: Marco Cuellar

(Students of the Month are pictured with Principal Julie Vincent and Assistant Principal Anita Puckett. From left to right: James Mata-Guzman, Yacinda Lomas, Kenadee Pedigo, Marco Cuellar.)

School System to use Days Missed for Sickness as "Snow Days"

February 10, 2017
Dwayne Page

The two days schools will be closed for sickness, today (Friday, February 10), and Monday, February 13 most likely will not have to be made up.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps told WJLE Thursday night that the days will be used as “snow days”

Thirteen days are built into the school calendar each year for "snow days" or inclement weather but one of those days has already been used as a so-called “stockpile” or professional development day. Students were out of school that day on Wednesday January 4th.

Schools were also closed two days in January for snow. With the two days missed today and Monday for sickness, the school system will have used a total of five snow days with eight days still remaining to be used if needed.

If more than eight days are missed between now and May 26th, the school board would have to decide how to make them up.

The remainder of the school calendar is as follows:

Schools will be closed for President's Day, Monday, February 20; and Good Friday, April 14.

Spring break will be March 20-24.

Students will not attend on Thursday, May 25. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Friday, May 26 and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 14 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home from all schools on Tuesday March 14 and Friday, May 26.

Director Updates School Board on Personnel

February 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Director Updates School Board on Personnel

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave a brief personnel report Thursday night during the monthly meeting of the Board of Education.

Dalton Hawkins, Music Teacher at Northside Elementary School replaces Kelly Birmingham.

Cindy Taylor was granted a leave of absence

Kelly Birmingham has been transferred to DeKalb Middle School to replace Alicia McCalister

Gretta Smith has resigned as Librarian at DeKalb Middle School

In other business, the board adopted on 1st reading an update of a state required policy regarding student wellness. Second and final reading will be next month.

Under the consent agenda, the board gave approval for:

*DCHS FFA students to attend the State Convention March 25-29 in Gatlinburg

*The 2016-17 Consolidated Budget amendment

*DCHS Band students to attend the TTU Festival of Winds, February 9-11 in Cookeville

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III thanked students of Northside Elementary School who sent cards and to Wilson Bank & Trust for gift cards to members of the board in recognition of School Board Appreciation Week last month.

The board voted to change the meeting date of the school board next month to Thursday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. instead of March 9 due to a conflict.

DeKalb Schools to be Closed Friday and Monday due to Illness

February 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps

DeKalb County Schools will be closed Friday and Monday, February 10 & 13 due to a high rate of absenteeism in the school system because of illness.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps told WJLE that the absentee rate shot up from 7.6% Wednesday to 14.5% Thursday due to sickness such as strep, the flu, and stomach viruses.

“We thought that once we reached 14.5% absenteeism that it was time to close schools. While schools are closed the custodians will be working hard disinfecting classrooms and door knobs and other high-traffic areas," Cripps said.

The L.B.J.& C Smithville Head Start Center will be open Friday and Monday


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