Local News Articles

Blasting Activities at Center Hill Auxiliary Dam Extended to Saturdays

September 14, 2017
A Thalle Construction crew prepares for blasting operations near the Center Hill Auxiliary Dam July 13, 2017 in Lancaster, Tenn. The site is being prepared to construct a reinforcing berm

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces construction blasting activities at Center Hill Dam, currently taking place Monday through Friday, will also occur on Saturdays beginning Sept. 16.

The Corps of Engineers’ contractor, Thalle Construction Co., began blasting activities earlier this year to build a concrete reinforcing berm downstream of the Center Hill Auxiliary Dam. The work also includes stabilization of a previous rock cut just west of the main dam where Monday through Saturday blasts are also expected to take place beginning in December 2017.

Blasting activities are expected to occur daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists should expect delays of no more than 10 minutes. Motorists, boaters and visitors will be prohibited access within 1,500 feet of the blasting area. A variety of signs and signals will be posted and flagmen will be present to restrict access during blasting periods.

“We regret the inconvenience this may cause, but public safety is paramount,” said Resident Engineer Bill DeBruyn.

Blasting activities are anticipated to continue through the summer of 2018. The current contract is the third and final major contract for dam safety-related work at Center Hill Dam. To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Cen....

4-H Grilling Team is State Bound

September 14, 2017
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Team: Clayton Crook, Kris Barrett, Wyatt Martin, and Kayla Belk placed 3rd at Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest in Lebanon and are headed to the state competition.
Lily Martin and Hailey Bogle competed individually at the Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest. Hailey placed 3rd in the Jr. High Pork division.
Kris Barrett prepares his 3rd place lamb chops for the regional 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest.

DeKalb County 4-H members Kris Barrett, Kayla Belk, Clayton Crook, and Wyatt Martin are headed to the state competition after a very successful day at the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery contest, held each year at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. Also participating individually were Hailey Bogle and Lily Martin. The team placed 3rd overall and will be representing DeKalb County and the Central Region at the state contest in Knoxville on October 7th.

4-H’ers in grades 7-12 can participate in this fun and practical contest that not only teaches them how to grill, but how to do it safely. Each contestant must start his or her own charcoal 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 taste, texture, appearance, and originality of recipe.

At the regional contest, Kris Barrett was 3rd in lamb, Clayton Crook placed 3rd with chicken wings, Wyatt Martin 6th in pork, Kayla Belk placed 7th in the beef category, while the team placed 3rd overall in the Sr. High division. Hailey Bogle also placed 3rd in Jr. High pork with her baby back ribs.

There were 15 total counties present at the contest. Congratulations on representing DeKalb County so well. The 4-H members would also like to say thank you to Smithville Food Lion for helping to supply quality meat for the contest. If you are interested in participating in this contest next year, or any other activities, please contact the 4-H office at 615-597-4945.

Intoxicated Man Threatens Four People with Knife

September 14, 2017
Dwayne Page
Robert Lewis Judkins
Donald Gene Rigsby
Jacob Randall Stacy
Jose Antonio Soto-Guerrero

A man, believed to be intoxicated at the time, was taken into custody on Sunday after threatening four people with a knife.

54 year old Robert Lewis Judkins of Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with four counts of aggravated assault; public intoxication; and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond is $24,000 and his court date is October 5.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, September 10 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on South Judkins Lane due to a man reported to be threatening four others there with a knife. Upon arrival, the officer found the man, Judkins holding a knife. He was yelling and threatening to burn down the home. Judkins then swung the knife within inches of another man’s chest and threatened three others with the knife causing them to fear for their safety. According to the officer, Judkins appeared to be unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. The deputy concluded that Judkins was a danger to himself and to his neighbors. As the officer was placing him in custody, Judkins initially refused to put down the knife and to obey verbal instructions.

56 year old Donald Gene Rigsby of Bethel Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also cited for driving on a suspended license, driving on the wrong side of the road, and simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $3,500 and he will make a court appearance on September 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 6 a deputy spotted a red scooter traveling south in the northbound lane on South Mountain Street in Smithville. The officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Rigsby. He noticed that Rigsby’s eyelids were droopy and that his eyes were glossy and bloodshot. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. Rigsby submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest. Upon a search incident to arrest, the deputy found on Rigsby 0.23 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. The officer learned that Rigsby’s license were suspended for failure to show proof of insurance on May 29, 2016.

18 year old Jacob Randall Stacy of Carthage is charged with assault. He is under a $2,500 bond and his court date is September 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, September 7 Stacy, an inmate at the jail, punched another prisoner during an argument.

35 year old Jose Antonio Soto-Guerrero of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further cited for no insurance and driving on a revoked license. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is October 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 10 a deputy, while on patrol, spotted a silver Nissan Maxima on Highway 56 south pull over to the shoulder of the road. The officer stopped to offer assistance and found the driver, Guerrero passed out behind the steering wheel. He also noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the car. After being awakened by the deputy, Guerrero admitted to having consumed two to three beers. He also submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was unsteady on his feet and his eyes were bloodshot. Guerrero had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person.

Allison Brooke Maynard Named 2017 DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
2017 DCHS Homecoming Queen Allison Brooke Maynard
2017 DCHS Homecoming Court: Seated- Kaitlyn Cantrell, Allison Maynard (QUEEN), Kayla Belk: Standing: Leah Davis, Alley Sykes, and Callie Mulloy
Senior Attendant: Kayla Jayne Belk
Senior Attendant: Kaitlyn Elizabeth Cantrell
Junior Attendant: Callie Elizabeth Mulloy
Sophomore Attendant: Alley Elaine Sykes
Freshman Attendant: Leah Brooke Davis

The 2017 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Allison Brooke Maynard.

A senior, Maynard is the 17 year old daughter of Stacey Dickens of Smithville.

Allison is a member of the Senior Beta, Literature, Science, and Spanish Clubs, FBLA, National Society of High School Scholars Ambassador, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Alumni, and Class Vice President. She is a four year DCHS Football Cheerleader, four year DCHS Tigerette Softball player, and a member of the Extreme Fastpitch Travel Softball Team.

Maynard’s other achievements:
*Freshman Year- 8AA All District Tournament Team-Softball
*Sophomore Year- 8AA All District Honorable Mention-Softball
*Junior Year-NCA All American Cheerleader, NCA Disney World Spirit Spectacular Performer, 8AA All District Team, UTK Governor’s School for Science and Engineering
*Senior Year-DCHS Football Cheer Captain

Allison attends the Smithville First Free Will Baptist Church and has been a Remote Area Medical Volunteer

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendant – Kayla Jayne Belk, the 17 year old daughter of Chris Anne and Andrew Fults of Smithville. She has served as Student Council President, 4-H President, and FFA Reporter. She is also a member of the Beta, FBLA, FCA, Climate Crew, and Science, Literature, and Spanish Clubs. Kayla has played tennis at DCHS for three years.

Belk’s other accomplishments:

*Received the highest level of achievement in 4-H, Vol State
*Maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school
*Over 600 volunteer/service hours from volunteering at summer camps and various other things

Kayla attends the Dowelltown United Methodist Church and is an active member of their youth group.

Senior Attendant- Kaitlyn Elizabeth Cantrell, the 17 year old daughter of Blake and Teresa Cantrell of Smithville. She is a member of the Beta, FBLA, Science, and Literature Clubs, and FCA. Kaitlyn is a football manager. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and is in the 21+ ACT score group. Kaitlyn attends the First Baptist Church and actively participates in their youth group.

Junior Attendant- Callie Elizabeth Mulloy, the 16 year old daughter of Randy and Nancy Mulloy of Liberty. She is a member of the Science, Literature, Spanish, HOSA, and Senior Beta Clubs. Callie is a football cheerleader. She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and was a John W. Harris Award winner for Junior Beta in 2014. Callie attends the First Baptist Church in Alexandria.

Sophomore Attendant-Alley Elaine Sykes of Smithville, the 15 year old daughter of Robbie and Jennifer Sykes and the late Tyler Alley Sykes. She is a member of the FBLA, Climate Crew, Science, and DCHS Literature Clubs and a DCHS football cheerleader. She was an NCA All-American nominee as a Freshman and Sophomore and is a past member of a winning All-Star Cheer Team. Alley attends the Church of Trinity at Algood.

Freshman Attendant- Leah Brooke Davis, the 14 year old daughter of Kerry and Glenda Davis of Smithville. She is a member of the FBLA, Science, and Literature Clubs. Leah is a DCHS Football Cheerleader and a member of the DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Team. She is an NCA All-American Nominee and an active member of the Upper Helton Baptist Church in Alexandria.

Spirit week activities will be held September 18-22 at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon, September 22 and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. that night against Cannon County. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

Couple Sentenced to Four Years Probation for Attempted Aggravated Burglary

September 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jessica Anne Jenkins
Sonny Roman Smith

Two people charged by Smithville Police in recent burglaries were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, September 11

Judge David Patterson presided.

25 year old Sonny Roman Smith and 29 year old Jessica Anne Jenkins each entered a plea by criminal information to attempted aggravated burglary. They were originally charged with two counts of aggravated burglary.

They each received a sentence of four years on supervised probation and were given credit for 35 days of jail time served. Jenkins’ sentence is to run consecutive to a case against her in Warren County.

According to police, at approximately 9:29 p.m. on Friday, August 3, Smith and Jenkins went to their victims’ home and walked into the house unwelcomed. When one of the victims confronted Jenkins, she (Jenkins) allegedly punched her in the face and ripped her shirt. Jenkins then approached the other victim, allegedly grabbed his cell phone, and damaged it by slamming the phone on the ground. By the time police arrived, the couple had left but the victims were able to identify them. The next morning, Friday August 4 at approximately 6:55 a.m., Smith and Jenkins were observed by police hiding behind a green GMC Sonoma on property where a burglary had been reported. The homeowner told police that prior to their arrival, a man and woman, identified as Smith and Jenkins were at the back door of his residence trying to gain entry. Smith and Jenkins were taken into custody without incident and charged in the case.

Old Timers Day Returns to Alexandria Saturday, September 23

September 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Old Timers Day in 2003 (Ria Baker Photo)

After 14 years, the Old Timers Day is returning to Alexandria on Saturday, September 23 starting at 10 a.m. on the town square.

The featured entertainment is as follows:

Tom duggin, Patsy & Nick Nokes, Susan Martin, The Collins family, DeKalb Dancing/clogging, Right on Time, Three Parts Grace, Kevin Roberts, Pickin Friends, Calvary Trio.

Food : Watertown First Baptist youth, Crazy Dawgs and more.

Vendors: Mary Kay, Designs by Roberta, Two Crafty teacher's, thirty-one, Pampered Chef, Color Street, Pie's n more, Lularoe, Paparazzi, Plunder, Rebel Edge cosmetic, Scentsy, Pink Zebra, Young living oils, Tupperware, Slick Surface, and many more

DeKalb School Bus Drivers Recertified

September 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb School Bus Drivers Recertified
State Troopers Craig Wilkerson and Darryl Winningham Conduct Class
Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System

All DeKalb County School bus drivers have been recertified.

State Troopers Darryl Winningham and Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, inspectors for this district, held the driver certification class Tuesday at the School Bus Garage for all the bus drivers employed by the school system.

“The driver class covers all state guidelines and safety of the buses including any operation in adverse weather, traffic, and how to deal with issues that arise while on the route. Proper procedures for evacuating a bus in an emergency are also covered in the class,” said DeKalb County School Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague .

“All drivers are certified with the state for 12 months. We usually do this in January but they (state) changed it to September so the bus drivers can put into practice what they have learned throughout the school year,” Sprague continued.

“DeKalb County is blessed with good drivers that take pride in their jobs and truly care about the children. My drivers provide transportation for the children in the morning and afternoon and our main objective is to get them safely to and from school each day,” Sprague concluded.

The state will conduct an annual DeKalb County school bus inspection in January.

DMS Cross Country Team Competes at Wilson Invitational

September 12, 2017
Kristen Van Vranken
Photo by Kristen Van Vranken

DeKalb Middle School's Cross Country team turned over several personal records from the girls and boys teams at the Wilson Country Invitational this past Saturday.

Three members of the boys team finished in the top 20, earning medals for the 2 mile race.

Aaron Gottled 2nd, 12:33
Kaleb Spears 17th, 14:11
Jaxon Humphrey 18th, 14:12

Other PR's for the season included:
Holden Trapp 14:34
Andrew Tramel 16:43
Bryson Trapp 16:52
Robert Wheeler 17:18
Liam Wallace 17:13
Colin Dickens 19:51

For the girls, Paytn Carter finished 17th, earning a medal, with a time of:17:31
Summer Morse finished with a 17:54
Blair Gipe 19:14
Jacklyn Kleparek 19:46.

DMS will race again at Cookeville on Tuesday.

Stembridge Gets 10 Years Probation in Auto Theft, Chop Shop Case

September 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jason Douglas Stembridge

A man charged with being involved in a major auto theft and chop shop operation got a 10 year sentence on probation Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

33 year old Jason Douglas Stembridge entered a plea to one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of theft over $10,000. He received a 10 year sentence in one case and 6 years in the other to run concurrently but he was given credit for 183 days of jail time served and placed on probation. He must make restitution to the victims.

Stembridge was accused of stealing automobiles, skid steers, four wheelers, and gooseneck trailers in DeKalb and Warren County for the intended purpose of either selling them outright or dismantling them to be sold as parts or scrap metal. His sentence Monday was only for his crimes in DeKalb County.

Stembridge was arrested Tuesday, March 14 after sheriff’s department detectives found the stolen vehicles and equipment at his home and other locations in the county.

The total value of the stolen vehicles and equipment came to $221,144.

Stembridge was originally charged in DeKalb County with burglary (3 counts), theft of property over $60,000, possession of stolen property over $60,000, theft of property over $10,000, and theft of property over $1,000.

“On Monday March 13 an investigation was conducted of Jason Douglas Stembridge at his residence on Tisdale Drive in DeKalb County and it revealed several stolen vehicles, machinery and recreational vehicles that were stolen from DeKalb and Warren Counties. Some of the vehicles were found to be altered, disassembled, and destroyed by unlawful means,” Sheriff Ray told WJLE.

Items stolen in DeKalb County and recovered in the investigation included a 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck; a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup truck; a 24 foot gooseneck trailer; a 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer; and a 1999 Yamaha Banshee 4 wheeler.

Stolen vehicles and equipment from Warren County recovered included a 2017 John Deere cab skid steer; a 1983 Chevrolet Silverado pickup; a 1984 Chevy Camaro; a 1999 Chevy Z71 pickup truck, a 2003 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel flat bed truck, a 2014 Polaris Razor, and a 40 foot gooseneck flat bed trailer.

According to Sheriff Ray, Stembridge tried to deface the VIN plates and attempted to disguise some of the stolen vehicles by painting or adding decals and stickers to them.

Detectives also learned that Stembridge had broken into East Side Market in Warren County and stolen two cartons of cigarettes. Entry was made by shattering a glass door.

Sheriff Ray explained how the story unfolded. “On Monday, March 13 we received two reports of stolen property. The first one was at a business on McMinnville Highway where a 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck, a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, and a 24 foot gooseneck trailer were taken”.

“A short time later we received a report that someone had found the 2004 Chevy Silverado flatbed pickup truck and gooseneck trailer in a field on Pine Creek Falls Road. Then another report came in concerning the theft of a 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer off of Jefferson Road,” said Sheriff Ray.

“Detectives began working the case and developed Stembridge as a suspect. On Monday, March 13 detectives went to his home and spotted the stolen 2016 John Deere 323 cab skid steer from DeKalb County at his residence. Other vehicles were also there along with a 2017 John Deere cab skid steer. Upon running the VIN plates of those vehicles and the other skid steer we learned that they were stolen out of Warren County including a 1983 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, a 1984 Chevy Camaro, a 1999 Chevy Z71 pickup truck, a 2003 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel flat bed truck, a 2014 Polaris Razor, a 40 foot gooseneck flat bed trailer, along with a 1999 Yamaha Banshee 4 wheeler reported stolen in DeKalb County in 2003.
Detectives later located the 2006 Chevy pickup stolen off McMinnville Highway in the parking lot of Pates Ford Marina,” added Sheriff Ray.

Stembridge was later charged with theft of property over $1,000. According to Sheriff Ray on December 27, 2016 Stembridge allegedly took 2016 Polaris Razor seats valued at $1,144.

Again the total value of the stolen vehicles and equipment was estimated at $221,144 including $98,144 in DeKalb County and $123,000 in Warren County.

The warrants against Stembridge alleged that on Monday, March 13 he entered an enclosed John Deere 323E Cab Skid Steer and stole it from a location on Jefferson Road in DeKalb County. He was also found to be in possession of a stolen 1984 Chevrolet Camaro; a 1983 GMC pickup truck, a 2017 John Deer Skid Steer, a 2014 Polaris Razor, a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, a 2003 GMC 2500 flatbed pickup, and a 40 foot Hank gooseneck trailer stolen out of Warren County valued at $125,000. The day before, on Sunday March 12, Stembridge allegedly stole a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, a 2004 Chevy Silverado, and a 24 foot gooseneck trailer, valued at more than $10,000 all taken from a business on McMinnville Highway.

"Purple Out Day" Friday to Raise Awareness About Alzheimer’s Disease

September 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
"Purple Out Day" Friday to Raise Awareness About Alzheimer’s Disease

DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and her staff will bring lots of color to their office on Friday, September 15 and they are inviting you to participate in "Purple Out Day," too to show support for Alzheimer's Tennessee.

The statewide campaign was first launched in 2015 through a partnership between the State Court Clerks Association of Tennessee and the nonprofit organization Alzheimer’s Tennessee.

Alzheimer’s disease impacts Tennessee families in every county from West to East, and now Court Clerks across the state, including DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk Pack, are showing their support by participating in the 3rd Annual Statewide “Purple Out Day” benefitting Alzheimer’s Tennessee, a not-for-profit organization.

“Seeing our state turn purple to show support to the hundreds of thousands of families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is incredibly powerful. I know many understand what it’s like to slowly lose a loved one to this brain disease that steals both memories and dignity. I hope our loved ones will inspire all of us to come together again and make this month’s Purple Out Day even more memorable," said Circuit Court Clerk Pack

Along with displaying your purple spirit, you may make a donation. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Tennesseans.Please make checks payable to Alzheimer's Tennessee. You may bring your donation to the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk’s office or mail it directly to the Alzheimer’s Tennessee Main office at 5801 Kingston Pike, Knoxville TN 37919. To make an online donation go to http://www.alztennessee.org/donate

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.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee has been based in the state since 1983 and has the following mission: To serve those facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, to promote brain health through education, and to champion global prevention and treatment efforts. Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. coordinates support groups and answers HelpLine calls for resource referrals and information, offers community and professional education, advocates for the needs and rights of those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and funds research. For more information visit www.alzTennessee.org.


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