Local News Articles

Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1 on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace

November 1, 2017

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) reminds consumers that Open Enrollment for insurance coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) begins Nov. 1, 2017. As the enrollment period is shorter than in years past, Tennesseans are strongly encouraged to review their options and begin preparation for the new policy year.

Tennessee consumers will have access to marketplace coverage for 2018 no matter where they live. However, consumers in 79 of 95 counties will only have one carrier option. The 2018 marketplace will include:

·Cigna providing coverage in Memphis and surrounding counties.

·Cigna and Oscar providing coverage in Nashville and surrounding counties.

·Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) providing coverage in Knoxville and surrounding counties.

·BCBST and Cigna providing coverage in Johnson City and surrounding counties.

·BCBST will be the only exchange carrier providing coverage in parts of the state not mentioned above.

Humana will no longer be in the Tennessee individual market. In addition, BCBST, Cigna, and Oscar will be the only Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant individual market options for consumers purchasing coverage outside of the FFM.

“Tennessee’s individual insurance market remains challenged,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “However, it is important to remember that health insurance coverage is available everywhere in the state. We continue to encourage consumers to shop for the best available plan for their individual situations and preferences. Our Department has a team ready to answer any questions about the insurance-buying process. Current Humana consumers, in particular, should review coverage options as the federal government may auto-enroll them in a new policy with a new carrier if they have not enrolled in a plan before the end of open enrollment.”

Tennesseans may preview 2018 plans and prices today. And to help consumers with enrollment or payment issues or network questions, TDCI has posted contact numbers for each of the carriers on the FFM on its website. The Department has also made available carrier presentations that overview their 2018 plan benefits on its website.

The Department emphasizes the need for consumers to carefully review plan networks. If you like your physician, make sure he/she is included in the plan network and check carrier directories for local hospitals to ensure easy access to ‘in-network’ services, where possible. Several plans provide tight networks and/or limited out-of-network benefits. To avoid unexpected and unpleasant balance bills, always see network providers.

Important dates:

November 1, 2017: First day to enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan.

December 15, 2017: Open Enrollment ends.

January 1, 2018: 2017 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.

Questions about Open Enrollment? Contact us at 1-800-342-4029 or (615) 741-2218.

Chamber Announces "Best Halloween Costumes" Winners

November 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
1st Place – A-1 Salon – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
2nd Place – Smithville Police Department and Smithville City Hall – Disney characters
3rd Place – DeKalb Recovery Court

Winners have been announced for the “Best Halloween Costumes for Downtown Smithville businesses/offices sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

•1st Place – A-1 Salon – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

•2nd Place – Smithville Police Department and Smithville City Hall – Disney characters

•3rd Place – DeKalb Recovery Court

“A big thanks to the Smithville Police Department, City of Smithville, DeKalb Courthouse offices, Smithville Fire Department, Justin Potter Library, and downtown Smithville businesses for participating in the Halloween on the Square event. A special recognition to the Halloween event coordinator, Beth Adcock,” said Chamber Director Suzanne Williams.

DeKalb Fire Dept Reminds You to Change Your Clock and Change Your Battery

November 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lieutenant Brian Williams

Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 5 and while you are changing your clocks, the DeKalb County Fire Department wants to remind you to change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms also. The message is simple and it’s easy to do. Please take a few minutes to make sure life-saving alarms have fresh batteries so you, your family, and your home are protected.

Lieutenant Brian Williams, the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, reminds DeKalb County residents that after batteries are changed in alarms, take a few extra minutes to test your alarms and remind family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. Not all smoke alarms have batteries that have to be replaced each year. Some newer model alarms have batteries that last up to 10 years. However, it is still very important to test and clean your alarms. You can clean and maintain them simply by using compressed air to remove dust residue that accumulates on alarms that can cause the alarm’s sensor to not operate properly.

Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that can be prevented. Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms, and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. “The vast majority of our house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” said Lt. Williams. “Smoke alarm installation and maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

"A working smoke detector doubles your chance of surviving a home fire. So, why would you not want you and your family to have this protection?" For more information about fire safety, visit the DeKalb County Fire Department’s FaceBook Group page or the department’s website at www.dekalbfire.com.

Road Supervisor Butch Agee Not to Seek Re-Election

October 31, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Butch Agee

DeKalb County Road Supervisor Wallace Butch Agee told WJLE Monday he will not seek re-election in 2018. Agee’s current term runs through the next County General Election on August 2, 2018. His official last day in office will be August 31, 2018.

“After much prayerful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election,” Agee said. “It has been a true honor and privilege to serve the residents of DeKalb County as their Road Supervisor. Being an elected official has been a wonderful experience, but I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and enjoying my retirement. I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support, and all of the staff at the Road Supervisor's Office. They are professionals and serve our county well.”

Agee, a Republican, was elected in 2014 to succeed longtime Road Supervisor Kenny Edge. During Agee’s term, the county has received numerous grants for road improvement. He also focused on improving many of the county roads that needed repair. Agee is married to Cynthia Agee. They have two sons, Joey (Casey) and Josh (January), and three grandchildren.

Prior to being elected to this position, Agee served seventeen years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation including thirteen years as a TDOT supervisor.

The position of Road Supervisor is one of seven county wide offices to be up for election in 2018.

The election commission will begin issuing petitions for the following offices on November 17: Road Supervisor, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and Trustee and for the county commission in each of the seven districts (two per district for a total of 14).

DeKalb County Democrats will be nominating candidates for county offices in a primary set for May 1, 2018.

Democratic nominees will face any Republican and or Independent challengers in the August, 2018 general election. The DeKalb County Republican Party will be choosing its nominees by caucus. The qualifying deadline for all candidates will be the same, NOON February 15, 2018.

DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter to Open Monday, No Grand Opening Date Yet Set

October 31, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter Director Megan Moore and President Marsha Darrah
DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter to Open Monday, No Grand Opening Date Yet Set

The long awaited DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter will open for business on Monday, November 6.

No ribbon cutting or grand opening date has yet been set.

“We’re calling this a soft opening until we have our official grand opening but we will be open starting Monday, November 6. We will begin taking in animals from the people who have already been in contact with us that need to re-home those stray animals,” said Megan Moore, Director of the local shelter in an interview with WJLE.

“We will be open to the public from noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We will be taking animals in between noon and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. People who want to adopt need to call first at 615-597-1363,” said Moore.

As for the grand opening, Coalition President Marsha Darrah said the date will be set once the engraved bricks, purchased by supporters of the shelter have arrived and are laid. “We are supposed to get those on November 1st. We want those down before we do our Grand Opening. They will be placed in the front of the building around the walk way,” said Darrah.

The new shelter has 20 runs for dogs and 12 cages for cats. “We have 20 runs. Depending on compatibility and the size of animals, if they are all big dogs, we can have 20 dogs. If they are little dogs, compatible we can possibly have up to 40. We also have 12 cages for cats. Hopefully that will be expanded within the next couple of years. We also have a quarantine area for animals if we are not sure of their medical condition,” said Moore.

A city employee, Moore will have a part time assistant, James Wilkerson helping her at the shelter. Volunteers and donations are also needed. “As always, we appreciate your donations. We accept monetary donations and we encourage you to sign up as a volunteer," said Moore

DCHS Recognizes Students Excelling in ACT Readiness

October 31, 2017
21+ Club –
29+ Club –

DeKalb County High School is working to recognize students making strides on the ACT test. As part, of the TN Department of Education’s Tennessee Succeeds initiative, the state is working to increase the state average for student ACT scores to 21 by the year 2020. The current ACT average at DCHS is 18.8. The ACT serves as a gateway to college and career readiness in Tennessee, determining students’ eligibility for the HOPE scholarship, requirements for postsecondary remedial or developmental coursework, and sometimes entry-level salary. At DCHS, they have created a 21+ Club for students that have met the ACT readiness benchmark. This club currently contains 103 students. They also have a 29+ club which includes 7 students that have scored a 29 or higher on their ACT. The are very proud of these students and wish to recognize their hard work.

21+ Club (TOP PHOTO)
Row 1: Mackenzie Partridge, Maggie Robinson, Abby Evans, Kayla Belk, Hannah Brown, Gage Delape, Emily Burklow, Madison Cripps, Jasmine Parker, Will Stephens.

Row 2: Justin Trapp, Tyree Cripps, Brady Driver, Savannah Belcher, Hunter Jennings, Colter Norris, Emme Colwell, Maddison Parsley.

Row 3: Olivia Fuson, Ethan Jenkins, Trey Fuston, Lance Davis, Hailey Redmon, Savannah West, Jaimie Alexander, Jayla Angaran, Madison Whitehead, Callie Mulloy, Anna Rachel Blair.

Row 4: William Dowling, Ami Patel, Andrew Fuson, Marshall Evins, Seth Pack, Ana Amaya, Laiza Martinez, Allison Maynard, Hannah Evans, Logan Painter.

Row 5: Mark Mace, Nathaniel Snell, Jarad Henry, Kyle Justice, Hunter Speaks, Hannah Willingham, Mya Ruch, Carly Vance, Meghan Brandt, Kelsie Merriman.

Row 6: Zachary Atnip, Griffin Goldstein, Ethan Jennings, Kaitlyn Cantrell, Kyleigh White-Turbeville, Kayli White, Hannah Anderson, Sophie Cripps, Chloe Sykes, Madison Judkins.

Row 7: Lee Randolph, Pablo Juarez-Garcia, Ethan Dies, Lydia Brown, Madi Cantrell, Macy Hedge, Dulce Maciel, Malone Fletcher, Braya Murphy.

Row 8: Derek Young, Isaac Walker, Ethan Cantrell, Bradley Miller, Braxton Linder, Nicholas May, Cody Hale, Holly Evans, Daniel Puckett.

Row 9: Trey Jones, Faith Judkins, Robin Pafford, Austin Johnson, Breanna Gibson, Makayla Cornett-Bain, Santanna Ferrell.

Row 10: Gage Bowman, Adrian Lucci, Billy Carpenter, Jacob Frazier, Ethan Martin, Grace Godowns, Eleonor Atnip.

Not pictured: Jaynee Angaran, Dailen Brown, Noah Byrge, Hayle Cantrell, Wesley Carpenter, Kiersten Griffith, Dalton Norrod, Megan Redmon, Taylor Reeder, Nick Staley, Devin Vanatta, Kaylee Whitefield.

29+ Club –
Front row: Madison Cantrell, Jasmine Parker, Kelsie Merriman.
Back row: Kyle Justice, Ethan Jenkins, Daniel Puckett, Jacob Frazier.

Two Involved in Tuesday Morning Crash

October 31, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
2017 Dodge Caravan, driven by 34 year old Sarah Ferrell
THP Trooper Bobby Johnson Stand By 2004 Ford Crown Victoria driven by 54 year old David Resto

A Smithville man was cited for failure to exercise due care after a two vehicle crash this morning (Tuesday) at the intersection of Highway 146 and Tabernacle Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 54 year old David Resto was driving a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria when he turned left onto Highway 146 from Tabernacle Road and into the path of a 2017 Dodge Caravan, driven by 34 year old Sarah Ferrell of Smithville who was traveling south on Highway 146. Ferrell’s vehicle struck Resto’s car on the driver side toward the rear.

Neither Ferrell nor Resto were seriously injured. According to Trooper Johnson, Resto was not transported to the hospital and Ferrell went on her own to Cookeville Regional Medical Center to be checked out.

Members of DeKalb EMS and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Inmate Breaks His Own Arm Hoping to Get an Early Release from Jail

October 31, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joey Phillip Phelps
Byron Bud Gibbs
Marco Antonio Granados
Jared Robert Pyles
James Matthew Maynard
Chase Adam Williams
Mark Thomas Williams

An inmate has been charged with filing a false report after breaking his own arm while incarcerated and blaming it on other prisoners hoping to get an early release from jail.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 10/23/2017 Thru: 10/30/2017)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_45.pdf (2.49 MB)

37 year old Joey Phillip Phelps of Windy Cut Street, Dowelltown is under a $3,000 bond and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Phelps, who is serving 100 days for a child support violation, was taken to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Thursday, October 26 for a broken arm.

Phelps told a detective and correctional officer at the hospital that while incarcerated, two other inmates held him down and broke his arm after threatening him. But after a further investigation, the detective learned that Phelps had made up the story. When questioned again later, Phelps admitted to the detective and a jail sergeant that he had broken his own arm, hoping it would get him out of jail.

32 year old Byron Bud Gibbs of Gin Alley, Alexandria is charged with aggravated assault and vandalism. His bond is $14,500 and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 19 Gibbs rammed his truck into another vehicle on New Hope Road at Alexandria causing the victim to fear for his life and causing more than $1,000 in damages to the victim’s automobile.

25 year old Marco Antonio Granados of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville is charged with a domestic related aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 28 a deputy responded to a report of a physical domestic at a residence on Cecil Hale Road. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with both Granados and his girlfriend. She said that Granados came home drunk and that he began arguing and slapped her on the face. She claims Granados then pushed her down on the couch and tried to choke her but stopped after she told him she was going to call the police. The woman was found to have red marks on her left cheek and around the area of her neck. Granados was placed under arrest.

19 year old Jared Robert Pyles of Bratten Street, Liberty is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 28 a deputy was patrolling on Highway 70 west in Dowelltown when he noticed a car parked on the side of the road with its hazard lights on. The officer stopped and spoke with the driver, Pyles and noticed that his eyes were red and glossy and that his speech was slow and slurred. Pyles submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He admitted to having taken a pill earlier.

39 year old James Matthew Maynard of Switchboard Road, Brush Creek is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence. He was further cited for driving with no insurance and violation of the open container law. His bond is $6,500 and he will be in court on November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 28 a deputy responded to Cookeville Highway due to a vehicle accident involving two cars. Upon arrival the officer spoke to one of the drivers, Maynard who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were red and watery and he was unsteady on his feet. Maynard refused to perform field sobriety tasks as requested. He also refused to give a blood sample. Maynard admitted to having consumed a few drinks and that he had smoked some marijuana. A search warrant was then obtained for a blood withdrawal. Two open cartons of beer were found in his vehicle.

32 year old Chase Adam Williams of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with being an habitual driving offender. His bond is $6,000 and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, October 25 a deputy conducted a traffic stop on West Bryant Street in Smithville knowing that the operator of the vehicle he was stopping, Williams was driving on a revoked license and is an habitual offender in Bradley County. Williams’ original habitual offender revocation was February 27, 2012. Williams has two prior offenses for driving as an habitual offender.

43 year old Mark Thomas Williams of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with violation of an order of protection. His bond $3,000 and his court date is November 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, October 25 a deputy responded to a residence on Cookeville Highway due to an unwanted guest complaint. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Williams and learned that he is under an order of protection to keep away from the petitioner but that he had violated it by contacting the victim only three days after having been served with the order.

“Cheese Wagon Chili” A Double Winner at Habitat Cook-Off

October 30, 2017
Winner for "Best Chili and Best Decorated Booth" "“Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb Board of Education Transportation Department-Shara Cowan, Baylie Davis, Jimmy Sprague, Lori and Trinity Gallagher, and Michael Agee
The Golden Spoon Award Winner: “Bobby Ray Detachment 1377 - Marine Corps League” from the Marine Corps League-John Hummer, Carol Brown, Janet and Mike Allen
“Liberty and Chili For All” from Liberty State Bank took second place for “Best Chili”: Denise Barrett, Rhonda Caplinger, Roy N. Pugh, Lisa Garrison, and Trina Graham
Third place chili honors went to “The Courthouse Gang”: Tish Summers, Katherine Pack, Lisa Cripps, Jeff McMillen, Ronda McAbee, Makenzy Gash, Melissa Yarbrough, Tim Stribling, Butch Agee, Shannon Cantrell, Patrick Ray, Sean Driver
Second Place for “Best Decorated Booth”:  Team MTNG-Cooking with Gas” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas-April Gray, Dana London, Greg Vinson, Brenda Gay
Third Place for “Best Decorated Booth”:  "The Bean Counters” from Janney & Associates, CPA’s-Josh Tramel, Kevin Huff, Tom and Patricia Janney, Lindsay and Cathy Finley,Jessica Leiser, Mark McCowan and Brenda Dorsey

“Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County School System Department of Transportation took top honors for both “Best Chili” and for “Best Decorated Booth” during Friday’s 14th annual Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale.

This crowd pleasing event held on the Town Square was another great success with $5,300 raised for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, according to the Chili Cook-off Committee. The weather couldn’t have been better and approximately 400 folks came out to enjoy the day.

In just their second year participating, “Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County Department of Transportation took Top Chili Honors, with “Liberty and Chili For All” from Liberty State Bank coming in second place. Third place chili honors went to “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials.

The Best Decorated Booth Award also went to “Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County Department of Transportation, with “Team MTNG – Cooking with Gas” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas coming in second place and “The Bean Counters” from Janney and Associates, CPA’s placing third.

The Golden Spoon Award went to newcomer team “Bobby Ray Detachment 1377” from the Marine Corps League, who raised $143.00 for Habitat in cash donations at their booth.

Rounding out the eleven participating teams were “Volunteers for Justice” from the DeKalb County Bar Association, “Hot Momma’s” from Federal Mogul Motorparts, “Burning Down the House” from Smithville Storage, “Evins Mill Chef’s Chili” from The Inn at Evins Mill, and “Hot Checks Chili” from Wilson Bank and Trust.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County thanks each of these teams for their enthusiasm and support of the event; all those who donated the delicious baked goods; city and county officials and Smithville Electric for facilitating the event space; and all the fine folks of the community who came out to support Habitat and this great community event.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181 or find them on Facebook @HFHDeKalb TN.

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