Local News Articles

Susan Conley Appointed CEO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital

September 4, 2012
Susan Conley

Susan (Sue) Conley, FACHE, has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for DeKalb Community Hospital (DCH) and Stones River Hospital (SRH) by the Upper Cumberland Healthcare Initiatives (UCHI) Board and Capella Healthcare in consultation with the hospital’s Board of Trustees. She begins the new position on Monday, October 1.

“With over 20 years of experience in a variety of healthcare leadership roles, Sue brings outstanding qualifications to this role,” said Mark Medley, President of Hospital Operations for Capella. “With the opportunities ahead of us I, along with the board members, believe Sue is the right leader to help these hospitals reach their fullest potential. We all have great confidence in Sue’s ability to work with all of the hospitals’ constituents to lead both organizations through the transitional years ahead.”

Conley comes to DCH and SRH from Van Buren, AR, where she has been serving as CEO of Summit Medical Center, a 103-bed acute medical/surgical hospital. Prior to this, she served as CEO at Mesa Vista Regional Hospital in Mesquite, NV; and as COO at a number of hospitals including 492-bed Sparks Health System in Fort Smith, AR; Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado, AR; and Brownwood Regional Hospital in Brownwood, TX. She also served as an Assistant Administrator and Laboratory Supervisor after beginning her healthcare career as a Medical Technologist.

Conley earned a B.S. degree in biology (cum laude) from Hardin Simmons University, Abilene, TX; and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX. She has earned Fellowship status in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

Conley will be moving to the area in the next month with her husband Allen. She has two grown children, a daughter JoBeth who lives in Sacramento, California, and a son Michael who lives in London, England. She has two grandchildren.

About DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals

DCH and SRH are a part of the Capella-Saint Thomas system of hospitals, a joint venture between Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health, along with sister hospitals Highlands Medical Center in Sparta and River Park Hospital in McMinnville. There are approximately 80 physicians on the combined medical staffs, representing nearly every medical specialty. Both are accredited by The Joint Commission. Established in 1969, DCH is a 71-bed hospital located in Smithville. The hospital offers 24-hour emergency services and comprehensive diagnostic, medical, surgical and rehabilitative services. The hospital has enjoyed a long history of medical excellence having been named one of the 100 Top Hospitals® in America by Thomson Reuters (formerly Solucient) for five years. Established in 1980, SRH is a 60-bed hospital located in Woodbury. The hospital provides 24-hour emergency care as well as surgical procedures, same day outpatient services, cardiac rehabilitation services, and comprehensive imaging services. Through the Riverside Center, a full range of mental health services for older adults is available, with intensive inpatient services at a 14-bed gero-psychiatric unit at the hospital.

About Capella Healthcare and Saint Thomas Health

Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care and exceptional service. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Capella owns and/or operates 15 acute care and specialty hospital facilities in seven states. For more information, visit www.CapellaHealthcare.com Saint Thomas Health is the market share leader in Middle Tennessee with 6,500 associates serving the region. Saint Thomas Health’s regional health system consists of five hospitals – Baptist and Saint Thomas Hospitals and The Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro and Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures in diagnostics, cardiac services and ambulatory surgery as well as medical practices, clinic and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit www.sths.com.

Sheriff's Department Finds Meth Lab While Serving Warrant, Makes Arrest in the Case

September 4, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Danny Ray Murphy
James Allen Hesson
Gregory Eugene Neal
Michael Brandon Redmon
Cory Lee Crabtree
Virginia Dawn Ayala
William Elton Eisenmann

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department found a meth lab while serving a warrant at a residence on Evins Mill Road last week.

31 year old Danny Ray Murphy of Shady Drive, Smithville is charged with the initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on September 13.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 30 sheriff's department deputies and a drug detective went to the residence on Evins Mill Road to execute a warrant on someone there. As officers arrived, they saw three or four people running from the home into the woods. While officers were searching the property, Murphy emerged from the field. As the drug detective spoke with Murphy, a deputy saw smoke coming from the field where Murphy had been and alerted the detective, who went to investigate and found a meth lab. Two, one pot bottles and numerous components were also found along with empty Mucinex D blister packs. Murphy's car was searched and a bag containing an empty draino can was found inside the trunk and an empty box of Mucinex D. Murphy was taken to the jail for an interview and but he told the drug detective that he had nothing to say at that time.

35 year old James Allen Hesson of Bethel Road, Smithville is charged with violation of the sex offender registry law. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court September 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 31, Hesson violated the sex offender registry law by being on school property where children were present. Hesson was told to leave the school grounds due to his being a sex offender and that he was not to be within one thousand feet of the school property line. Shortly thereafter, Hesson was found in the back yard of property adjoining the high school where he was watching children at play during a sports event after regular school hours. Sheriff Ray said that Hesson is well aware that he is not to be near school property

31 year old Virginia Dawn Ayala of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a revoked license. Her bond is $6,000 and she will be in court September 13. She was further issued citations for simple possession of methamphetamine and hydrocodone. Sheriff Ray said that a sheriff's department drug detective observed a vehicle traveling in the middle of the roadway on East Bryant Street in Smithville. The automobile was stopped on Walker Drive. Ayala was the driver. Upon speaking with her, the detective noticed that her speech was very slow and slurred. She could not keep her eyes open. Ayala submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. She was very unsteady on her feet. Ayala submitted to a blood alcohol test. She had a prior DUI against her on April 25, 2008. A check of her license showed that they were revoked for DUI. Her prior offense of driving on revoked was on July 8, 2009. A female correctional officer was summoned to the scene to search Ayala and found on her a plastic baggie containing one hydrocodone pill and another baggie which held a white rock substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine.

42 year old Gregory Eugene Neal of Sparta Highway, Sparta is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and theft under $500 for possession of stolen property. His bond is $9,000 and he will be in court on September 20. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and failing to change the address on his license.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 1 a sheriff's department deputy was called to investigate a hit and run traffic accident on Hurricane Bridge, in which one vehicle exiting the bridge had sideswiped another stopped at the traffic light there. The outside mirror on the victim's automobile was gone and the driver's side exterior was scratched from the impact. The officer spotted the vehicle that left the scene and stopped it at Northside Elementary School. Neal was the driver. The outside mirror on the driver's side of Neal's vehicle was broken. Upon speaking with Neal, the deputy noticed that his speech and movements were slow and he was unsteady on his feet as he got out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tasks. He submitted to but performed poorly on all tasks. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol/drug test. Neal did not have any proof of insurance and the officer learned that Neal had moved but hadn't changed the address on his license. Meanwhile, when a computer check was made of the tag on Neal's vehicle, it revealed that the tag had been stolen. Sheriff Ray said that a further investigation found that the tag was stolen on the same day, September 1 on East Broad Street. Earlier in the day, Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant had taken a report from the victim who reported that the tag was removed from his truck.

28 year old Michael Brandon Redmon of Holcomb Road, McMinnville is charged with aggravated burglary and violation of an order of protection. His bond is $13,500 and he will be in court on September 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 26 Redmon allegedly entered the residence of a family member on McMinnville Highway with the intent to commit a theft and assault. Entry was made by breaking out glass in a door. He then kicked open the door. Sheriff Ray said Redmon has an order of protection against him and is aware that he is not to be near this residence. The victim said he has tried to avoid Redmon because he is afraid of being assaulted by him. Redmon broke into the home, even while he was being ordered by the victim to leave.

45 year old William Elton Eisenmann of Hurricane Creek Road, Woodbury is charged with criminal impersonation and his bond is $2,500. He is being held without bond for failure to appear in court on a probation violation in General Sessions Court. He will be in court on September 20.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy responded to a call of a suspicious man in the Liberty area on Sunday, September 2. Central dispatch informed the officer that the man was last seen on Tubb Street. The deputy spotted the man walking along Highway 70 in Liberty and knew him to be Eisenmann. He also knew that Eisenmann had warrants against him. The officer spoke with the man but he said his name was actually Mark Anthony Eisenmann and that his date of birth was June 10, 1983. After the deputy was provided a booking sheet, Eisenmann confessed that he had lied about his real name.

32 year old Cory Lee Crabtree of Rosewood Lane, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court September 20. He was also issued citations for failing to heed a traffic control device and violation of the implied consent law. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 2 a deputy saw a vehicle run a stop sign at the intersection of Jefferson and Keltonburg Road. The automobile then crossed the fog line and center line several times. The deputy stopped the vehicle, which was driven by Crabtree who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Crabtree admitted to having been drinking. The officer asked him if he thought he had drank too much to drive. Crabtree's response was "yes". Crabtree submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He was very unsteady on his feet and he refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

High Speed Pursuit Results in Arrest of Wilson County Burglary Suspect, Second Man Remains at Large

September 4, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Davien Brown

A 33 year old Lebanon man is in custody but DeKalb and Wilson County authorities have been unable to find a second person following this morning's high speed pursuit which ended after the suspects ran their Jeep Cherokee into a corn field and fled on foot shortly after 1:00 a.m. near the intersection of Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) and Highway 83 (New Home Road).

The man arrested, Davien Brown of Oak Dale Drive, Lebanon, and the other man, who may have already left the area, are suspects in a burglary overnight at L& C Market in Watertown. A cash drawer from the store, containing money was found in the Jeep Cherokee along with boltcutters, believed to have been used to break into the store. The suspects are believed to have committed nine burglaries within the last seven days in Wilson County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the suspects were almost caught red handed this morning after Wilson County authorities responded to a call alerting them to the Watertown break-in. As officers arrived, the Jeep Cherokee sped away, but they got in behind the vehicle and started a pursuit.

According to Sheriff Ray, his department received a call at 12:52 a.m. from Wilson County authorities notifying them that the pursuit was approaching DeKalb County. Sheriff Ray said one of his deputies took over the pursuit on Highway 70 near DeKalb West School at 12:56 a.m. and the chase continued east at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour until the Jeep Cherokee turned right on New Home Road near Kilgore's Restaurant. As the suspects reached the end of New Home Road, they ran the Jeep across the intersection of Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) and through a corn field, before stopping. The suspects baled out of the Jeep and fled on foot at 1:05 a.m. Six minutes later, at 1:11 a.m., Sheriff Ray said a call came in from the 5000 block of Short Mountain Highway. The residents there reported that they had heard the sirens and got out of bed to see what was happening. About that time, they heard someone trying to open their back door. They turned on the back porch light and saw a man holding a flashlight running away from the home.

Sheriff Ray said DeKalb and Wilson County Sheriff's Department deputies and detectives converged on the scene to begin the search. A Wilson County K-9 was brought in and a call was placed for a THP aircraft, but no aerial search could be arranged due to weather conditions. A reverse 911 call was made to residents within a two mile radius alerting them about the search for the missing suspect. At 2:54 a.m. one of the suspects, Brown, was taken into custody after he was located in the corn field by the Wilson County K-9. He was not armed. To make sure Brown was not seriously hurt by the K-9 bites he received, DeKalb EMS was called to the scene to check him out.

State Readies for Fifth Round of Standard Spend Down

September 3, 2012

The TennCare Standard Spend Down program will again offer open enrollment opportunities to new applicants on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 beginning at 6 p.m. CST.

Standard Spend Down is available through a waiver to the Medicaid program for a limited number of qualified low-income individuals, or those with high, unpaid medical bills who are aged, blind, disabled, or the caretaker relative of a Medicaid eligible child. Eligible individuals must have enough unpaid medical bills to meet the "spend down" threshold to qualify for coverage.

"We are pleased to once again open enrollment in the Standard Spend Down program to Tennesseans who need additional assistance," said Department of Human Services Commissioner Raquel Hatter. "This service certainly benefits people with high medical bills who are not already receiving TennCare benefits."

A special call-in phone line through DHS has been set up for interested applicants. The only way to request an application is by calling the toll-free number -- 1-866-358-3230 -- which will be open between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. CST on Sept. 13. Operators will close the phone line once 2,500 applicants call in. In previous open enrollment periods, 2,500 calls had been taken within one hour. If 2,500 calls are not received on Sept. 13, the phone lines will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on subsequent weekdays until 2,500 interested applicants call in.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to check eligibility qualifications before calling in. More information on the Standard Spend Down program and more detailed eligibility criteria are available here.

The toll-free number system is used to ensure equal access to Tennessee citizens interested in this program. DHS will send applications to all callers who are not already on TennCare and will review their eligibility for any open Medicaid categories and the newly opened Standard Spend Down category. Advanced notifications will be made to the public and other stakeholders prior to subsequent openings of the application request line.

Standard Spend Down Eligibility:
•In addition to being aged (65 or older), blind*, disabled,* or a caretaker relative,

•An individual must meet certain income restrictions, or be able to "spend down" qualifying unpaid medical bills to that limit. (*To be considered blind or disabled, an individual must meet standards set by the Social Security Administration.)

The following shows the income limits:
Household Size 1 (Monthly Income $241)
Household Size 2 ( Monthly Income $258)
Household Size 3 (Monthly Income $317)
Household Size 4 (Monthly Income $325)
Household Size 5 (Monthly Income $392)
Household Size 6 (Monthly Income $408)

Applicants also must not have resources that:
•Exceed $2,000 for a family of one and $3,000 for a family of two with an additional $100 added per additional individual in the family.

•A person's unpaid medical bill must have been accrued within the past 90 days. Medical bills paid by the applicant within the past 30 days may count towards meeting an applicant's spend down requirement.

Pregnant women and children still are eligible for the Medically Needy Spend Down program.

The ONLY way to request an application for the TennCare Standard Spend Down Program is through the toll free number 1-866-358-3230. Individuals interested in accessing the Standard Spend Down call-in line who are deaf/hard of hearing/speech impaired and using a TTY (text telephone) device should first call the Tennessee Relay Service at 1-800-848-0298. They will be prompted to enter the number they are trying to reach (the call-in line #) and a communications assistant will act as the go-between. Those wishing to apply for other TennCare categories should contact their local DHS county office, call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287 during normal business hours, or visit www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/.

Record Turnout Expected for November Elections

September 2, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Officials say a record turnout is possible both locally and statewide for the November 6 Presidential/Tennessee General Election.

"The November balloting is clearly on the minds of the voters," said DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, Dennis Stanley. "Based on the number of people registering to vote in the last two months, and the comments voters have made, it is obvious they want to make sure they are eligible to vote in November. And state officials are predicting a record
turnout for the state as a whole."

In 2008, over 7,000 votes were cast locally in the Presidential race with 55% of those cast during the early voting period compared to only 42% in 2004 and 31% in 2000. "We hope that trend continues," said Stanley. "Voting early is always a good choice and much more convenient. If a majority of voters wait until election-day, there could be long lines at some of the precincts."

"For the August election, the local election commission voted to have a second day of "afternoon voting" and I expect the commission to do the same for November," Stanley continued. "We want to make it as convenient as possible for the voter and with the projected overall turnout, it would
make sense to vote early."

Early voting begins October 17 and runs through November 1. The exact hours will be announced later.

Data from the last decade also shows older voters come out in larger numbers than young-to-middle age voters and more women than men vote.

In the 2008 presidential election, nearly six out of every 10 voters were over age 50. A further breakdown shows there were 3,911 voters over age 50 cast ballots in November 2008, 2,038 between the ages of 31 to 50, and only 575 age 30 and under.

Regarding gender, the numbers are close, but historically more women cast
votes. In 2008, for example, nearly 400 more women voted than did men.

"All of these numbers are interesting and do provide a picture of who will likely vote in November," Stanley said. "But the real question is 'how many will vote?' All indications are the number will be big, thus making the early voting period even more important this time."

Lewis and Clark Circus Coming to Alexandria

September 2, 2012

The excitement of the circus comes to Alexandria on September 22 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds, with showtimes at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Lewis and Clark Circus is a one-ring European-style circus under the Big Top featuring continuous action in the center ring.

Two of the featured acts will be performed by Jose and Elizabeth Ayala. Jose will stack round cylinders seven high and show his balancing skills as he stands on a platform on top of all of those cylinders. If you watched this years America's Got Talent, you may have seen a young man try this act and was not successful. Jose Ayala is the only performer in the United States that performs a seven high Rolla Bolla act successfully on a daily basis. Elizabeth Ayala will show her acrobat abilities high above the ground. The grace, skill, and beauty she shows is outstanding, but what will amaze audiences of all ages is that she does all of this hanging by her hair only.

Plus families attending the show can expect to see; hi-flying trapeze artists, high wire artist, amazing acrobats, juggling, zany clowns, horses, camels, performing goats plus much more circus excitement. The circus midway will be open prior to show time featuring pony and camel rides, concessions, a free petting zoo and much more.

Tickets for Lewis and Clark Circus can be purchased online at www.lewisandclarkcircus.net.

Advance ticket prices are $12 for those ages 15 and above. Children age 14 and under can receive free admission with a special coupon available at www.lewisandclarkcircus.net and at local merchants. Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $17 each for adults and $5 for children age 14 and younger.

Burglary Under Investigation at Dowelltown Post Office

September 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dowelltown Post Office

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is investigating a break-in at the Dowelltown post office Thursday night.

Someone broke into and ransacked the post office, going through some of the mail, and taking items from the building.

A postal inspector was notified of the burglary.

No arrests have been made in the case

Tigers Get Third Shutout Winning 42-0 at Cannon County

August 31, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers notched their third consecutive shutout of the season Friday night with a 42 to 0 spanking of the Cannon County Lions at Woodbury in the district opener.

Will Molander, after returning the opening kick to the 14 yard line, caught a 14 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips to put the Tigers on the board with 11:41 left in the first period. Ben Driver connected on the P.A.T. and DC led 7-0.

Quarterback Lucas Phillips hooked up with Sonni Fullilove on a 26 yard touchdown pass play with 1:22 left in the first quarter. Driver's P.A.T try was no good but the Tigers led 13 to 0.

Devonta Milan scored on a 50 yard punt return with one second left in the first quarter. Quarterback Lucas Phillips scored on the two point conversion to open up a 21 to 0 lead heading into the second period. Milan was injured in the second half and carted off the field. He was reportedly taken to a hospital to be examined.

After a Cannon County turnover at their own two yard line early in the second quarter, DC cashed in as Lance Ball caught a two yard touchdown pass from quarterback Phillips. The P.A.T. by Driver was good and Tigers were up 28-0.

Chris Chapman scored on an 8 yard touchdown run with 5:13 left in the half. Driver's P.A.T. put DeKalb County out front 35 to 0.

Jacob Parsley got the final score of the night covering 58 yards on a touchdown pass reception from quarterback Phillips. The PA.T. by Driver was good and DeKalb County led 42-0.

Neither team scored in the second half.

With the win, the Tigers go to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in the district. They will travel to Sparta next Friday night, September 7 to face the White County Warriors at 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Scott Cantrell Takes Oath as Assessor of Property

August 31, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell Takes Oath as Assessor of Property
Constables Take Oath of Office
School Board Member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III Takes Oath of Office
School Board Member Doug Stephens Takes Oath of Office

His term doesn't officially begin until Saturday, September 1, but DeKalb County's new Assessor of Property, Scott Cantrell recited the ceremonial oath of office Friday morning at the courthouse.

County Mayor Mike Foster administered the oath.

M2U00823 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Cantrell, who succeeds Timothy (Fud) Banks in the office, told WJLE that the three employees who worked for Banks, Pamela Hale, Kenneth Pinegar, and Jarrod Dodd will all keep their jobs.

The office will be closed Monday, Labor Day.

Meanwhile, all five constables elected in August were also sworn into office by County Mayor Foster including Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, Carl Lee Webb in the sixth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district.

Fifth district school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III was sworn into office by County Mayor Foster to begin his new term.

County Mayor Foster administered the oath of office to sixth district school board member Doug Stephens on Friday afternoon.

The terms of each office is four years.

DCHS golfer Mallory Sullivan Shoots Course Record at Jackson County

August 30, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan

DCHS golfer Mallory Sullivan reached another milestone Tuesday having shot a 35, one under par for a course record at the Cumberland Bend Golf Course in Jackson County

She was competing against Clay County. "On the girls side, we played at Jackson County on Tuesday against Jackson County and Clay County and Mallory shot the course record," said Coach Joe Pat Cope. "She shot a 35 up there, one under par which is a sports records for girls high school golf there. They framed her score card and put that up. We're pleased with where we're at right now," he said.

Meanwhile, the DCHS boys golf team remains undefeated in district play. "They haven't lost a district match in the last two seasons," said Coach Cope. "We have three seniors, Zach Martin, Hayden Ervin, and Corey Kijanski and they have all been shooting in the mid 30's. They have played really well. Ethan Roller has shot under par six rounds this year. I am tickled to death the way the guys are playing," he added.

"We have five more matches left including Livingston, which is also undefeated in the district, and we'll play them next Tuesday, September 4. If you can come out and support the Tigers and Lady Tigers, that would be huge, Coach Cope continued. "That's always a battle. We've been fortunate enough to beat them the last couple of years, but anytime Livingston comes to town it's going to be tough. They've got four really good guy golfers and their scores are real similar to ours so it should be a good match," he said.

"We have our district tournament coming up in a couple of weeks. The girls will play Monday, September 24 at Ironwood and the boys will play Tuesday, September 25 at White Plains Golf Course in Cookeville. We look forward to seeing everybody out at the matches," said Coach Cope.

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