Local News Articles

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

Zoe Cripps is the latest "Classroom Champion"

February 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Zoe Cripps
Jim Judkins, Classroom Champion Zoe Cripps, DMS Principal Randy Jennings, and Dwayne Page

Zoe Cripps is the recipient of this week’s “Classroom Champion” award presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE.

The 11 year old 6th grader at DeKalb Middle School received the award and a special gift card Tuesday from Judkins.

Zoe is the daughter of Patrick and Amy Cripps of Smithville. Her siblings are Callie and Brody.

She is a member of the DeKalb Middle School Student Council, manager for the Saints football team, active member of the Smithville Church of Christ, and a member of the Girl Scouts.

Her hobbies include baking and snorkeling and she enjoys her involvement with Student Council and Girl Scout projects.

Cripps told WJLE that English is one of her favorite subjects in school and one day she would like to become an exotic animal biologist.

“Zoe is an excellent student who is always willing to help others, “said Angela Johnson, Zoe’s 6th grade teacher.

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.

Tigerette Sensation Kayley Caplinger Signs with Cumberland University

February 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigerette Sensation Kayley Caplinger Signs with Cumberland University

DCHS Softball Pitching sensation Kayley Caplinger, a senior, signed Tuesday with Cumberland University of Lebanon to play softball after she graduates here.

Cumberland is a member of the Mid-South Conference affiliated with the NAIA

Caplinger’s family, coaches, and fellow players were also there for the happy occasion.

“ I think Kayley will come in and be an impact player right away which as a freshman comes hard when you step up to the college arena but I think she will be able to come in and be able to make an impact immediately,” said Cumberland Softball Coach Heather Stanfill.

“The last couple of years we have struggled a little bit. Pitching has been one of our biggest issues but that’s why we are really grateful to bring Kayley in and have her be able to contribute so quickly. We are expecting good things this year and for the future. We’re excited,” added Coach Stanfill.

“This is huge for me. I’ve worked my whole life for this with help from my coaches and family. It’s really a big moment,” said Kayley.

Caplinger said she chose Cumberland partly because it’s close to home. “ I really love the small campus and the team really works together. I love how close it is to home. I really wanted to be able to stay at home and play,” she said.

Although she has become a star pitcher, Kayley said that’s not how she started her athletic career. “I have really had to work hard. When I was younger I never started out wanting to pitch. I was playing third base. I remember telling my dad how bored I was not getting enough balls so he asked me one day If I wanted to try pitching because I get the ball every time so from there I had to really work for it but I made it,” said Kayley.

Tigerette Coach Danny Fish said Kayley will be remembered as one of the best DCHS softball players ever. “She has a chance to go down in the record book as maybe the greatest of all time. That’s just due to her character and the work she has put in. We are very happy for Kayley. We have sent a lot of players to Cumberland and they have been successful. We’re glad she is going there. I’m sure Kayley is going to do a great job at Cumberland,” he said.

Former Tigerette Coach Danny Bond said Kayley is an all around great athlete.” She is just as capable of hitting a homerun as she is throwing a strike. She is just an all around player. She is very dedicated and her work ethic is tremendous. She works on her game almost on a daily basis. Kayley has been a cornerstone and foundation of our success for the last three years. I’m sure she will be this year also. Cumberland is getting a great player and she will do well there,” said Coach Bond.

Last year after winning the regular district season, district tournament and region tournament, the DCHS Tigerettes advanced to the state tourney, finishing in 4th place to conclude the season with a record of 35-6-1. it was the program’s third consecutive state tournament appearance and eighth in program history, but the first time the squad reached the Final Four.

Kayley was joined at the signing by her mother Jeanna Caplinger; sister Kayna, DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Fish and Assistant Coaches Melissa Ruch and Tim Jared; former Tigerette Coach Danny Bond; Cumberland Phoenix Coach Heather Stanfill; and fellow Tigerette teammates. Her father is the late Tracy Caplinger.


Jack Barton Resigns as President and Coordinator of Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree

February 7, 2017
Jack Barton

After serving the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival as its President and Coordinator of nearly 9 years, Jack Barton has resigned his position of leadership. Citing increased personal and professional commitments, Mr. Barton will now serve as a board member instead of a position of leadership. Barton, who is also a 3rd District County Commissioner, started volunteering with the Jamboree in 2004 and became the President and Coordinator in 2008.

In his letter to the board, Mr. Barton wrote that he had the utmost confidence in the board to work well together to continue the efforts of putting on this great festival. He went on to say that he was very grateful to have served as the leader of such a fine organization for the nine years he served, wishing it much success in the future.

Mr. Barton stated to WJLE, “I am confident that the board will work tirelessly as they do each year to make sure that the Jamboree sustains and grows in the rich traditions formed by all those that have served it voluntarily in the past.”

As always, those interested in volunteering to help with the Jamboree in any capacity, large or small, are always welcome to help with this important event. This year is the 46th year for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival, which will be held on June 30th and July 1st in and around the Town Square. You may reach the Jamboree at (615) 597-8500 or by message on Facebook.


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