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County Seeks Court Injunction to Have Gate Removed from Road

June 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Seeks Court Injunction to Have Gate Removed from Road

The county is preparing to take a landowner in the Belk Community to court for blocking a county road with a gate.

During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the county commission voted to file a lawsuit against the landowner, Grant Manning, seeking an injunction to keep him from having an obstruction (gate) across Sunset Drive which is located off Allen Bend Road in the Belk Community.

Last November, The county commission went on record to direct the Road Supervisor to take the necessary action to have the gate removed.

The gate was later taken down but it has been erected again.

Manning disputes the county’s claim that Sunset Drive is a county road and in an email response to WJLE last fall, Manning said the gate had been up for over four years and that he had maintained the road since 1990.

County Attorney Hilton Conger met with County Mayor Tim Stribling and the county commissioners in closed session last Thursday evening to give them legal advice about what to do in resolving this case going further. During Monday night’s meeting, Stribling said Conger gave three options; to do nothing and let the affected property owner deal with it himself by possibly filing a lawsuit against Manning; for the county to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction for Manning to remove the gate; or for the county to seek a declaratory judgment from the Chancery Court on whether Sunset Drive is a county road and if so the length and width of the road.

Sixth district commissioner Betty Atnip made a motion to exercise the second option for the county to seek a court ordered injunction against Manning. Second district commissioner Joe Johnson offered a second to the motion. Sixth district commissioner Jeff Barnes asked if another solution could be reached to avoid the county having to pay expensive legal fees over this issue. He said the other affected landowner, Bart Lay, has apparently agreed to help develop another road into the area and bypass Sunset Drive if the county would put down the gravel.

But Atnip and Johnson said such action would set a precedent the county might later regret. “Are we going to do that every time somebody blocks a county road? Build another one around it? I think we’d be setting a precedent here. I think we need to go (to court) even if it costs us a little money. We’ve got to stop blocking county roads,” said Johnson.

The county commission adopted Atnip’s motion to take Manning to Court.

In other business, the commission approved the re-appointment of Jane Hobson, Betty Pankey, and Jan Thomas to the DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees and Bobby White to the Regional Library Board. Each appointed term is for three years.

The commission adopted a continuing budget resolution to keep county government operating past July 1 until the new budget is adopted for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

A one year lease renewal was also approved for the Tennessee Opportunity Programs which operates out of one room at the county complex for $200 per month. The program seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farm workers and other disadvantaged persons to achieve economic self sufficiency by providing services that address their individual needs.

The commission will soon have to fill another judicial commissioner vacancy. County Mayor Stribling said Harvey Barnes has announced his resignation effective July 31. Barnes has served since his appointment last September. The judicial committee will review the applications still on file from the last time there was a vacancy and make a recommendation to the county commission. The opening will be re-advertised if necessary.

Courthouse Repairs from Recent Fire Prove Costly

June 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
SERVPRO workers discarding old ceiling tiles from courthouse

The cleanup and repairs at the courthouse in the aftermath of the fire earlier this month have proven to be costly.

During Monday night’s County Commission meeting, County Mayor Tim Stribling said SERVPRO’s cost alone to the county’s insurance provider could be as much as $75,000. But there will be other costs as well to replace ceiling tiles and the courthouse fire alarm system.

“SERVPRO came in and stayed for about a week and their initial scope of work to the insurance company was about $115,000 but has been reduced to about $75,000. We still have sheet rock to put in the (first floor) vestibule and ceiling tiles. We’re working with the insurance company on that to find the proper ceiling tiles that are fire rated to put back in. That estimate is going to be somewhere around $15,000 to $20,000,” said Stribling.

“As far as the fire alarm, it was noted that the fire alarm did not work. It is a fire alarm for the building. It does not alert the fire department. I had some fire alarm people to come down Friday. The same people who service our fire alarms at the county complex. They will be giving us some quotes to replace the fire alarms because this one is no longer serviceable. It was put in during 1970 and they can no longer get parts for it. I went back to try and find the last time it was checked or serviced but we don’t have a record of that. The elevator is checked every month. It has smoke detectors tied to it and they did work. But as far as the fire alarm, we’re going to get it repaired,” said Stribling.

The next day after the fire on Tuesday, June 14, Smithville Police charged 52 year old Gary Wayne Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown with aggravated arson for intentionally setting the fire in the courthouse first floor vestibule. He is is under a $75,000 bond and will appear in General Sessions Court on June 30

County to Make Emergency Purchase to Replace Wrecked Landfill Truck

June 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
County to Make Emergency Purchase to Replace Wrecked Landfill Truck

The County Commission Monday night voted to make an emergency purchase of a new landfill truck to replace the one involved in an accident on Broad Street at the College Street bridge on Monday.

“The truck is totaled and it also did quite a bit of damage to the bridge. We have contacted our insurance provider. We’ll need to replace that truck. We have insurance and the claim has already been set up. I will be talking with the auditor about making an emergency purchase,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The commission voted to make the emergency purchase and to bypass the regular bid procedure. However bids from the last truck purchase will be reviewed in an effort to shop for the best price. “We had a bid two years ago. Western Star got the bid. I think we had two or three trucks that were bid at that time,” Stribling said.

Two From DeKalb Seriously Injured in White County Crash

June 28, 2016
Dwayne Page

Two people from DeKalb County who were involved in a White County crash last week remain in the intensive care unit of Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

61 year Patrick Craig Woodside and 59 year old Susan Reynolds were seriously injured in a rollover accident on the Old Kentucky Road, about 50 feet north of the Smithville Highway intersection according to the Sparta Expositor. Both Woodside and Reynolds were airlifted to Erlanger.

The crash occurred at 4:04 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22

Sergeant Jimmy Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that Woodside and Reynolds were in a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe traveling south on Old Kentucky Road. Although Woodside owns the vehicle it wasn’t clear at the time of the crash investigation which of them had been driving. A witness reportedly told troopers that he had been following behind the vehicle for some time and noticed that it was "all over the road."

The witness reportedly said that just before the crash, the Tahoe crossed over the centerline and narrowly missed hitting another vehicle head on. Woodside's Tahoe merged back into the proper lane of travel but then began merging right, traveling off the right side of roadway just before the Smithville Highway intersection.

The Tahoe overturned, coming to final rest on its top, and both Woodside and Reynolds were unrestrained. Jones states that while they were not ejected, both were flung into the back of the vehicle, and troopers were unable to tell who was driving the vehicle when it crashed.

According to Jones, he believes that wearing their seat belts would have had a major impact on the severity of the injuries Woodside and Reynolds suffered.

Troopers say they do not know what caused the erratic driving. There were no signs of alcohol involvement, Jones reports.

Troopers are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.

Trooper Cody Roberts is the crash investigator.

Along with THP, Cassville Volunteer Fire Department, Sparta-White County Rescue Squad, White County Emergency Medical Services and White County Sheriff Department also responded to the scene to assist, according to the Sparta Expositor.

Inmate Charged with Vandalism After Urinating on Floor and Wall of Courtroom

June 27, 2016
Dwayne Page
Joshua Wayne Goff
Sarah Nicole South
Matthew Adam Cubbins
Johnny Darrell Murphy

An inmate at the DeKalb County Jail was charged with vandalism last week after urinating on the floor and wall of a courtroom while waiting to make an appearance before a judge in a separate courtroom.

35 year old Joshua Wayne Goff of R. Arnold Road, Smithville is under a $2,500 bond and he will be back in court on this charge June 30.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the offense occurred on Thursday, June 23 in a room of the courthouse where prisoners from the jail are kept while waiting to be called into another courtroom for their scheduled appearance before the judge.

Goff allegedly contaminated the room by urinating on the wall and floor. Both the wall and floor had to be sanitized.

Two days before on Tuesday, June 21, Goff was arrested for a fourth offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $5,000 in that case and he will be in court on July 21. Sheriff Ray said that during routine patrol, a deputy spotted a white truck traveling in the middle of the roadway. After conducting a traffic stop, the officer found that Goff was the driver. Goff handed the deputy an identification card instead of a driver license. A computer check revealed that Goff’s license were suspended. Goff already has three convictions for driving on a suspended license without reinstatements. He was placed under arrest.

31 year old Sarah Nicole South of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with criminal impersonation. She is under a $5,000 bond. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 21 a deputy stopped a vehicle for a driving violation. South was a passenger of the automobile. After asking all the occupants to produce a driver license or identification, South gave another name and date of birth, other than her own. During the investigation, central dispatch was notified that South had used a fake name. Dispatch then informed the deputy. He confronted South, calling her by her real name, and she answered. South told the officer that she gave the wrong name fearing that she may have active warrants against her. In fact, she did not.

21 year old Matthew Adam Cubbins of Toad Road, Dowelltown, charged last week with ten counts of forgery, has been charged with two more forgery counts. His bond on these charges is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on July 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, June 13 Cubbins allegedly passed two checks stolen from a family member in the amounts of $200 each at the Liberty Stop N Buy Market. Cubbins is under a $25,000 bond on the other ten counts of forgery which occurred from May 25 through June 7.

45 year old Johnny Darrell Murphy of Hayes Street, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and bringing contraband into a penal institution. His bond is $6,500 and he will be in court June 30. Sheriff Ray said that on May 29 Murphy allegedly stole a 1990 WW two horse trailer valued at $1,200 and sold it. The trailer was later recovered. Meanwhile on Thursday, June 23 while reporting to jail for another offense, a Correctional Officer noticed that Murphy had a lump in his sock. The officer asked Murphy to remove his sock. He complied and handed the sock to the officer. Inside the sock was a small plastic bag containing a substance believed to be marijuana.

County Landfill Rollback Garbage Truck Hits College Street Bridge Overpass (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 27, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Landfill Garbage Truck Hits College Street Bridge
Damage to College Street Bridge After County Landfill  Garbage Truck Hits It.
County Landfill Truck Totaled after Hitting College Street Bridge

The Veterans Memorial Bridge (overpass) on College Street that crosses Broad Street is closed to traffic after a DeKalb County Landfill rollback garbage truck, with the lift up, struck the underneath of the bridge this morning. There was no dumpster on the truck at the time.

The driver of the 2013 Western Star truck, 54 year old Roger Chapman of Sparta, was injured and taken to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital for treatment. Trooper T.J. Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, told WJLE that Chapman was not seriously hurt. He suffered a few minor bumps, bruises, and cuts.

The accident caused major damage to the underside of the bridge and the truck was totaled. Chunks of concrete from the bridge fell onto the eastbound lanes of Broad Street. Traffic was routed to the other side of the highway during the crash investigation, cleanup, and inspection of the bridge by TDOT. Broad Street is now completely open but College Street at the bridge remains closed.

According to Trooper Withers, Chapman had just dropped off a dumpster prior to the accident but the roll back lift did not come down as he had thought.

In addition to the THP, members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and the City of Smithville Public Works Department.

Chapman was cited by Smithville Police for speeding, traveling 57 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone.

18th Annual Fiddler 5K & One Mile Fun Run Coming Saturday, July 2

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor
18th Annual Fiddler 5K & One Mile Fun Run Coming Saturday, July 2
New Fiddler 5K Race Shirt

The 18th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County will be Saturday, July 2. All proceeds from the race will be used in building another Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.


Scan0006_2.pdf (527.43 KB)

The race will begin promptly at 7:00 a.m. RAIN OR SHINE. The course will continue along the same path as last year beginning and ending on Church Street in Downtown Smithville. "We will be able to run the same course as we always do down town hill, by the pool, and over by the hospital, and back up Main Street. The City of Smithville has been very accommodating to us. We will have a few little obstacles along the course that we don’t normally have but it will be the same 3.1 mile course. We are also being chip timed again by Tennessee Race Timing out of Cookeville. They do a great job with our results. Its a fun course. Its a challenging course to run with the hills but we were happy to keep the same course this year with city construction going on,” said Race Director Tecia Puckett Pryor.

“We encourage anybody who is interested in doing either the one mile fun run or the 5K to go to www.fiddler5k.com where you'll find a printable registration form that provides all the details of registration and a link to online registration," she said.

The deadline for online pre-registration is Wednesday, June 29 and paper registrations must be submitted no later than Monday, June 27. "If you want to register by paper go online and print out a registration form and mail it in or bring it by my office by Monday at 312 West Broad Street. By pre-registering you guarantee yourself a really neat race shirt. This year we have shirts with a little different fabric. Its a cotton and polyester blend. Its very light weight and popular.Its ice blue with a really nice design. So guarantee a shirt by pre-registering. Another perk of pre-registering is that you may come on Friday night to pick up your race packet early from 5-7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center. You may also pick up your packet on race morning. Those who haven’t pre-registered may still register on the morning of the race at 6 a.m. If you have pre-registered and didn’t pick up your packet come by about 6:15 a.m. We’ll be in the parking lot of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home which is where we do all our pre-race activities on Saturday morning and our post race activities,” Pryor continued.

Participants may sign up on race day but it costs a little more."The cost of race day registration is $30 and $25 for those age 18 and younger. Again, for early registration it's $25 for adults age 19 and older and for youth its $20 for ages 18 and younger so you save a little bit of money by pre-registering," Pryor said.

“We’re looking forward to a great 5K and Fun Run. We hope all you kids or adults who just want to walk the race will do the One Mile Fun Run which is all in town and really doesn’t have any of the hills that the 5K course has” .

“We encourage anybody who is interested in doing either the One Mile Fun Run or the 5K to go to www.fiddler5k.com where you'll find a printable registration form that provides all the details of registration and a link to online registration”.

"For our awards, we give an overall male award and a female award for the fastest runners. We also give a Masters award which is for the fastest male and female age 40 and older. We present the top three awards in the age categories of nine and younger, and then go up from there in five year increments. We give ribbons for those categories. For the Fun Run, we only give awards for children who are age twelve and younger. We give overall awards for male and female and then we do the top three. Everybody gets a nice ribbon and the overall winners get medals," said Pryor.

Funds raised through the Fiddler 5K support Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. "This of course is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. This is one of the main fund raisers for Habitat all year and we hope lots of people will come out and support us”.

“I want to say a special thank you to the race tee shirt sponsors. Our head line sponsors are DeKalb Dental Center and Dr. Mitchell Tatum, Wilson Bank & Trust, First Bank, Janney and Associates, Stonehaus Winery, CPA Glenda Davis, Tenneco, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, and Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church,” Pryor concluded.

Chamber Announces "Jamboree Project Welcome Mat" Winners

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Winner of People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
People's Choice Winner-Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
Winner of Most Original –Liberty State Bank
Most Original Winner-Liberty State Bank
Best Worded-Wilson Bank & Trust
Wilson Bank & Trust Awarded for Best Worded Sign

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2016 "Project Welcome Mat" in time for the Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival July 1 & 2.

This year's winners are as follows: People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; Most Original –Liberty State Bank ; and Best Worded-Wilson Bank & Trust.

"We want to thank all the businesses and churches for participating in the 15th Annual Chamber of Commerce “Jamboree Project Welcome Mat” contest and using your message signs to welcome Jamboree visitors. It’s vitally important to make sure that our guests know how appreciated and important they are," said Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Middle Tennessee Natural Gas received the Chamber’s “People’s Choice” award for helping to promote the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival with its “Jamboree 45” message and its encouragement for our leaving visitors to “turn around” and head back to the Jamboree.

The Chamber of Commerce presented the Jamboree Project Welcome Mat award for “Most Original” sign to Liberty State Bank for providing imaginative messages on both sides of their sign.

The Chamber of Commerce presented the Project Welcome Mat’s “Best Worded” award to Wilson Bank and Trust as they creatively promote the Jamboree, Fiddler 5K, and WCTE broadcast on their highly visible sign.

Winner of People’s Choice – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
Pictured l-r:
MTNG Employees Becky Thompson & Eugene Adkins, MTNG Chief Executive Officer Mr. James E. Hodges, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Pictured l-r:
Becky Thompson, Eugene Adkins, Mr. James E. Hodges, Kathy Hendrixson, Suzanne Williams

Winner of Most Original Sign – Liberty State Bank
Pictured l-r:
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Chamber Board Member Connie Tjarks, Liberty State Bank employees – Charlene Adcock, Lisa Garrison, Amanda Hasemann, Denise Barrett, Trena Graham, & Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson

Pictured l-r:
Kathy Hendrixson, Trena Graham, Amanda Hasemann, Denise Barrett, Lisa Garrison, Charlene Adcock, Connie Tjarks, Suzanne Williams

Winner of Best Worded – Wilson Bank and Trust
Pictured l-r:
Chamber Board Member Connie Tjarks, Wilson Bank & Trust employees – June Keith, Laura Stone, & Christal Pistole, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Pictured l-r:
Suzanne Williams, Kathy Hendrixson, Laura Stone, June Keith, Christal Pistole, Connie Tjarks

Darvin Gill Named Head Girls Basketball Coach at Rhea County High School

June 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Darvin Gill

DeKalb County native Darvin Gill has been named the head basketball coach of the girls program at Rhea County High School located near Dayton Tennessee at Evansville.

The longtime local radio and TV sports broadcaster and assistant girls basketball coach at DeKalb, Cannon, and White County told WJLE this week that he is thrilled to have this opportunity. “I am super excited. The new school building (at Rhea County) has only been built for three years. It has tremendous facilities. I have a young team and the middle school team, my main feeder program to the high school is the state sectional champs in the TMSAA. I’m excited to be part of a really strong Rhea County athletic administration and program,” said Coach Gill.

In addition to his basketball coaching duties, Gill will be an educational assistant at the school and may serve in other coaching positions. “It looks like I will be an assistant coach in a few of the other female sports, probably volleyball and softball. I’ll be asked to help and I’m glad to do so. That’s part of my work ethic. I want to be able to help where I can,” Gill continued.

From 2007 to 2015, Gill was an assistant to head girls basketball coach Michael Dodgen at Cannon County High School before the two of them left for White County High School in the same roles this past season. Prior to joining the Cannon County program, Gill served as an assistant to former DCHS girls head basketball coach Victor Harrison in 2004-05.

Gill is a 1994 graduate of DCHS and he furthered his education at MTSU earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in coaching and recreation administration.

Over the years Gill has been a play by play announcer and color commentator for high school sports on WJLE. He has also been part of the DTC TV Sports team covering area high school football games on Friday nights. And he has worked for his brother Darrell at DeKalb Tire and Service. But Gill’s first love is coaching and he has high expectations for his program. “This is really what I believe I was put here to do. That’s why I’m so excited. To be able to put my own stamp on a program. Rhea County is a community like what I’m used to. It’s a small tight knit community. They enjoy their athletics. They have a tremendous football program which is the standard bearer for all athletics there. I hope I can make the girls basketball program something as prideful for the community as the football program is,” said Coach Gill.

Bluegrass Pickin’ Preview to Kick-Off Jamboree

June 24, 2016
Clyde Nokes and the Short Mountain Boys

To kick off the Jamboree, the Bluegrass Pickin’ Preview will be on Thursday, June 30th from 6:00 to 8:30 PM at Evins Park (across from the Smithville Post Office and Justin Potter Library). The performance schedule is as follows:

*Community Chorus from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

*The Smithville Square Dancers and Cloggers led by Mary Ann Puckett from 7 PM to 7:30 PM

*The super-talented Clyde Nokes and the Short Mountain Boys from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Parking locations for the Bluegrass PIckin’ Preview will be provided after 5 PM by the Smithville Review, 106 So. 1st St., Smithville and Dr. Starla Meigs, OD, 107 N. Congress Blvd, Smithville. Bring a lawn chair, and come enjoy some great entertainment!

The Jamboree You Love Just Keeps Getting Better!


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