Local News Articles

Fire Claims Dowelltown Home

May 20, 2016
Dwayne Page
Ben Close Home on Banks Street in Dowelltown
Fire destroys shed behind home on Keltonburg Road Thursday

A fire Friday morning claimed the home of Ben Close on Banks Street in Dowelltown.

A passerby spotted the fire around 7:12 a.m. and reported it. Close was not home at the time. He had left minutes earlier.

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, firefighters arrived on the scene within five minutes of the call and found flames coming through the roof. He said the fire apparently started from an upstairs bedroom. The cause is undetermined though not suspicious.

Firefighters were able to salvage some of Close’s antiques, appliances, and other personal items. No one was injured.

Members of the Liberty, Main Station, and Temperance Hall stations responded along with the tanker truck . DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Meanwhile, county firefighters were called Thursday afternoon to a fire at 2666 Keltonburg Road where a shed caught fire. The shed, located behind a residence, was destroyed but it did not spread to the house.

No one was injured.

Lomas Gets Six Year Sentence for Forgeries

May 20, 2016
Dwayne Page
Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas

A Smithville man charged in a rash of forgeries last summer was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 20.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

23 year old Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas of Bright Hill Road, Smithville entered a plea to three counts of forgery and received a two year TDOC sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of six years. He must make restitution to four victims totaling $1,349. He will be furloughed to drug court.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 6, 2015 Lomas stole a check from the glove box of a truck. He was charged with theft in that case.

Lomas then passed forged checks to another individual for $150 on Tuesday, July 7 and for $130 on Friday, July 10. In at least one case, white out was used as Lomas changed the amount of the check.

Meanwhile on Thursday, July 16, Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $120 and $80 at Kwik N Ezy.

Five days later on Tuesday, July 21 Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $100 & $65 to Discotienda Latina, $100 to Kwik N Ezy and $100 to Mercadito Chabelita. In some cases the checks were flagged as stolen and returned to the merchants.

38 year old James Allen Hesson of Big Hurricane Road entered a plea by information to violation of the sex offender registry. He received a two year sentence with one year to serve and the remainder suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a DeKalb County General Sessions Court Violation of Probation he is currently serving.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 25 two deputies responded to a residence on Big Hurricane Road to do a welfare check on two children who were staying at this home. Upon arrival the officers observed a 13 year old boy coming out of a room where Hesson was sleeping. A two year old and a 14 year old were also staying at this residence. Hesson, a convicted sex offender is not to have minor children living with him. That's a violation of the sex offender registry.

31 year old Sara Nicole South entered a plea to theft over $10,000 and received a six year sentence suspended to supervised probation except for six months to serve. She was given credit for time served and must make restitution of $24, 125 making monthly payments of $350 to the victims as a condition of probation.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, August 8, 2014 South allegedly took several pieces of jewelry from a home on Sparta Highway. The jewelry was valued at $24,125. She allegedly admitted to taking a watch and a ring from the residence. Several other pieces of jewelry were recovered from the apartment where South was staying. That jewelry was identified by the victim as being some of the missing items.

54 year old Max Teeples entered a plea to manufacture of a schedule VI drug and possession of a weapon by a felon and received a two year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with other cases against him in Putnam County.

William Hunter Hendrixson entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and violation of the implied consent law. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to probation. He will lose his driver license for one year and he must participate in an alcohol and drug assessment program and follow the recommendations.

Pow Wow in the Park at Edgar Evins State Park

May 20, 2016
Dwayne Page
Native American and storyteller Dennis Clause to appear at Pow Wow
Pow Wow in the Park at Edgar Evins State Park Saturday and Sunday

Edgar Evins State Park is hosting a two-day American Indian educational and cultural event tomorrow and Sunday. Pow Wow in the Park will take place on May 21 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and May 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Attendees can enjoy a drumming and singing exhibition, intertribal dances, storytelling, native foods, artisans and vendors, and more. Presented by Hurricane Marina, Citizens Bank and Indigenous Intertribal Corp and with Boy Scout Troop 875, the event offers an opportunity to learn more about Native American cultures and histories. Guests are invited to sing, dance and drum along with the exhibitors.

Admission is $3. Children five and under, and all active military and first responders, are free. Tennessee Tech University students get in for $2 with valid ID. For more information, call (931) 644-0221.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000 acre park provides many recreational opportunities and acommodations on one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Tennessee. The park features 34 economy suites and 60 tent and trailer campsites. For more information, visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-evins.

Graduates Say Their Goodbyes to DCHS (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

May 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant Presents White Rose Awards to Seth Wright and Tyra Graham
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant Presents Citizenship Award to Morgan Vickers

Graduating seniors are now looking toward the next chapter in their lives after saying their goodbyes to DCHS as students during Thursday night's commencement.

Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Seth Wright and Tyra Graham while the Citizenship Award was presented to Morgan Vickers.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the senior class with strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community and exemplary moral character. The Citizenship Award is given to a student in the senior class who exemplifies strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community. The honors, distinction, and top rank students were also recognized during the program.

The 152 graduates received their diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands and posing for pictures with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant as their names were called by Assistant Principal Jenny Norris.

In her remarks, Valedictorian Ashli Chew urged her classmates to aspire to make a mark on the world. “ In 1963, mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz hypothesized that a single butterfly could flap its wings and set enough molecules of air into motion that were capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the world. Naturally, scientists all over the world laughed at his idea. It was mocked and ridiculed for more than thirty years until a collaboration of physicists concluded that his hypothesis was, in fact, valid and viable. Scientists have concluded that the so-called “butterfly effect” is true for all forms of matter, including people,” said Chew.

MAH00042 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

“Each person should aspire to make his or her mark on the world. After all, that is what the butterfly effect is all about, but it is more important to be open to all the different things that are in the world,” she continued.

“I hope that each and every one of you allow yourselves to be changed for the better while also having your own kind of butterfly effect. Rumi once said, Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself,” said Chew.

“Any Andrews said it best. You have been created with the ability to change the world. Every single choice you make, every single action you take, matters. But remember, the converse is also true. Every choice you do not make, every action you do not take, matters just as much. It is my hope that you all choose wisely. Choose happiness. Choose to live a life that is nothing short of your absolute best. Congratulations Class of 2016,” Chew concluded.

Chloe White, Class President, admonished her friends to never forget the many memories of their high school years as they move on to an unknown future. “Graduation is an exciting time. It’s both an ending and a beginning. It’s warm memories of the past and big dreams for the future. Soon we will all be moving on to the unknown. We will be starting our new lives at college, jobs, or in the military. While some will be practically in their own backyards, others will be across the world starting adventures we can only dream about. Although our lives will be vastly changing, we will never forget the many memories we have all made together. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for all of us. God bless, and congratulations Class of 2016,” said White.

The program featured an Invocation by Alex Rhody of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Music by the DCHS Band and Chorus. DCHS Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick introduced the honors and distinction students. Guidance Counselor Shelly Painter recognized the Top Rank students in the class. The Benediction was delivered by Andrew Cornelius , member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

DCHS Graduation Tonight on Football Field (VIEW PHOTOS OF SENIORS HERE)

May 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
Ashli Chew
Chloe White

Graduation for the Class of 2016 at DeKalb County High School will be tonight (Thursday, May 19) at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field. The program had been set for Friday but was rescheduled due to the threat of rain.

The commencement program will feature the presentation of the White Rose and Citizenship Awards to members of the Class, a performance by the DCHS Chorus, and remarks by the Class Valedictorian Ashli Chew, Class President Chloe White, and DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant. Honor students will also be recognized including those who have earned top rank, honors, and distinction status. The DCHS band will perform “pomp and circumstance” as the graduates file onto the field. Bryant will present the class to Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, who will then award diplomas to the graduates as their names are called.

A total of 163 students make up the Class of 2016 at DCHS.



Meanwhile scholarships and other awards will be presented to members of the Class of 2016 at DeKalb County High School during the annual Senior Awards program Monday night, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. in the DCHS gymnasium.

Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations will make the presentations. WJLE plans LIVE coverage on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE STREAMING at www.wjle.com.

Ashli Chew is the Class Valedictorian. The Salutatorian is Max Pafford.

The following students have met requirements for top Rank:

Ashli Chew, Maxwell Pafford, Frank Oliver, Mariah Lynch, Kirkland Smallwood, Noah Parsley, Morgan Vickers, Mackenzie Keaton, Caitlin Turner, Alexander Rhody, Hailey Walker, Seth Wright, Hannah James, Christopher Bryant, Hannah Leach, Kyra Slager, Tyra Graham, Hannah Walker, Anna Malone, Jaidyn L. Huggins, Harley Johnson, Chloe White, Carlee White, Hannah Lasser, Carl Mooneyham, Jr., Caitlin Jacobs, Matthew Wright, Amber Montgomery, Hayden Plymel, Gabriella Nokes, Katherine Parker, Delaney Johnson, Haden Cripps, Elijah Hendrixson, Nicklas Patterson, Katelynn Hall, Roberto Mata, Noah Byford, and Carly Moss.

To be considered for top Rank, students must take at least 10 honors, dual enrollment, and AP courses and students must have a 21 or higher ACT composite score.

The following students have met the requirement for Tennessee State Distinction:

Jailyn Bolding, Jerica Braswell, Chase Bryant, Kaylene Ferguson, Tyra Graham, Elijah Hendrixson, Jaydin Huggins, Caitlin Jacobs, Hannah James, Delaney Johnson, Mackenzie Keaton, Hannah Lasser, Hannah Leach, Mariah Lynch, Anna Malone, Taylor Marshall, Keeley McKay, Carly Moss, Alexis Nokes, Eli Oliver, Max Pafford, Katie Parker, Noah Parsley, Hayden Plymel, Austin Poss, Alex Rhody, Kyra Slager, Kirkland Smallwood, Caitlin Turner, Christian Turner, Morgan Vickers, Hailey Walker, Hannah Walker, Carlee White, Chloe White, Matthew Wright, and Seth Wright.

Students with Distinction have met at least one of the following:
*Earned a nationally recognized industry certification
*Participated in at least one year of the Governor's Schools
*Participated in one of the state's All State Musical Organizations
*Been selected as a National Merit Finalist or Semi-Finalist
*Attained a composite score of 31 or higher on the ACT
*Attained a score of 3 or higher on at least two Advanced Placement (AP) exams
*Earned 12 or more semester hours of postsecondary (dual enrollment credit)

The following students have met the requirements for graduating with Tennessee State Honors:

Chase Bryant, Ashli Chew, Elijah Hendrixson, Mackenzie Keaton, Mariah Lynch, Anna Malone, Roberto Mata, Eli Oliver, Max Pafford, Hayden Plymel, Alex Rhody, Kyra Slager, Kirkland Smallwood, Caitlin Turner, and Seth Wright.

Tennessee State Honors students have met all of the ACT subject area readiness benchmarks. The benchmarks are: English-18, Reading-22, Math-22, and Science 23.

The DCHS Class of 2016 includes the following students:

Curtis Tyler Ackerson, Jesse Alan Adams, Juan Diego Alvarez-Tinajero, Kelly Michelle Armour, Meranda Kay Atnip,

Courtney Devonne Bain, Troy James Bodie Bain, Briana Nicole Bandy, Jennifer Mae Ann Barnes, Jasmine Kiera Beaty, John Michael Belosic, Jessica Nicole Billings, Kerra Necole Blackwell, Justin Michael Blair, Tara-Lyn Bockoven, Jailyn Paige Bolding, Jerica Elaine Braswell, Benjamin Franklin Brooks, III, Christopher Chase Bryant, Jonah Mark Burke, Noah Dallas Byford,

Alexis Paige Caldwell, Matthew Hunter Caldwell, Tavia Gayle Cantrell, Jennifer Caroline Caplinger, Brittney Lynn Carpenter, Diana Berenice Carrillo, Gavin Lee Carter, Morgan Mackenzie Castorena, Ashli Elizabeth Chew, Colby Ray Clark, Leah Payton Clark, Dakotah Raine Cool, Andrew Dwayne Cornelius, Haden Grant Cripps, Ana Karen Cuellar, Billy Lane Curtis,

Robert Lane Davenport, Erick Lee Dodd, John Gage Duggin, Miranda Lea Dyer,

Kayla Dawn Ervin, Vernon Gage Ervin, Tabitha Georgette Kelly Estes,

Kaylene Marie Ferguson, Hannah Josephine Ferrell, Aspen Nicole Flarity, Wendy Flores Amado, Kaylyn Faith France,

Caleb Mason Gantt, Krisann Rene Garmer, Rachel Nicole Gash, Sy James Gohs, Casey Dillon Gooch, Tyra Grace Graham,

Katelyn Ann Hall, Chandler Bryce Haynes, Joshua Calvin Hembree, Elijah Lee Hendrixson, Bobby Wayne Dillon Hicks, Levi Austin Horton, Jaidyn Lynn Huggins,

Caitlin Blair Jacobs, Hannah Elizabeth James, Courtney Lynn Johnson, Delaney Louise Johnson, Deveen Dakato Johnson, Garrett Drake Johnson, Harley Jade Johnson, Isabella Dae Johnson, Bruno Juarez Ramirez,

Mackenzie Danielle Keaton, Clara Talpha Knowles,

Michael Ryan LaFever, Alexander Kalb Lasser, Hannah Ashton Lasser, Hannah Elizabeth Leach, Kyle Louis Lemons, Ryan Patrick Lincoln, Ethan Cole Lomas, La-Kota Wade Luna, Mariah Nicole Lynch,

Anna Bess Malone, Taylor Nicole Marshall, Roberto Carlos Mata, Jonathan Stacy Matthews, Emerald Marie Ann McClanahan, Azya M’Kia Caperise McCoy, Keely Denise McKay, Samuel Lee McMillen, Danielle Alise Meadows, Kelly Nicole Meeks, Turner Lynn Merryman, Antonio Luis Miranda, Mary Belle Mofield, Amber Nicole Montgomery, Joseph Daniel Moon, Carl Anthony Mooneyham, Jr., Nathan Allen Moore, Tyler Allen Morton, Allison Brooke Mosley, Carly McKenna Moss, Luis Abraham Munoz-Aldino,

Gabriella Alexis Nokes,

Frank Eli Oliver, Sergio Daniel Ortiz, Ferrin Mae Outley,

Maxwell Colin Pafford, Ashley Michelle Parker, Katherine Belle Parker, Noah Scott Parsley, Nicklas Lane Patterson, Damian Clark Payne, Morgan Leanne Pedigo, Erin Nicole Perry, Katlyn Nichole Pinegar, Hayden Dewan Plymel, Alanna Marie Porras, Austin Wayne Poss, Jeff Rayburn Prisock, Braxton Darce Pugh, Jared Robert Pyles,

Maribel Lynn Quintero,

Miguel Angel Ramirez-Celaya, Daisy Vanesa Resendiz, Kaitlin Makenzie Rhea, Alexander James Rhody, Shelby Nicole Roberts, Mason Amanda Hunter Robinson, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Esai Rey Rodriguez, Emily Rose Romo,

Brooklyn Kay Seifert, Kyra Makay Slager, Kirkland Alexander Smallwood, Haley Nicole Smith, Jorden Tyler Smoot, Emily Nicole Snider, Angeles Socorro Soto, Skyler McKenzie Stewart, Megan Elizabeth Strayn, Hailey Marie Summers,

Nathaniel Theriaque, Allen Dale Thompson, Caitlin Brooke Turner, Christian Blaire Turner,

Zackery Lane Underhill,

Yosadara Vicente, Morgan Marie Vickers,

Hailey Lynnette Walker, Hannah Renea Walker, Chelsey Ann Waters, Carlee Colvert White, Chloe Colvert White, Jordan Allan Whitehead, Brooklynn Leann Wilkerson, Hunter Eugene Wilkins, Samara Mae Williams, Hunter Lane Woods, Matthew Sheldon Wright, and Seth Ashton Wright.

DCHS Tigerettes Claim Region Tournament Championship

May 18, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DCHS Tigerettes claimed the Championship of the Region 4AA Softball Tournament with a 4-1 win over Livingston Academy Wednesday in Smithville at the Danny Bond Field.

DeKalb County will host Redbank at 4:00 p.m. Saturday in the Sub-State at the Danny Bond Field.

The Tigerettes scored 4 runs on 6 hits and made 2 errors. Livingston Academy scored 1 run on 4 hits and made 1 error.

DeKalb County scored 1 run in the 1st inning and 3 runs in the 4th. The Lady Wildcats scored 1 run in the 7th inning

Kayley Caplinger was the winning pitcher.

Tyra Graham had a homerun and 2 singles. Myranda Bailiff, Hannah Walker, and Jonie Robinson each had 1 single.

D.A.R.E Graduation Held at Northside Elementary School

May 18, 2016
Dwayne Page
D.A.R.E. Essay Winner McKenzie Sanders with Sheriff Patrick Ray, DARE Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson and General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook II
D.A.R.E Class Essay Winners Xharia Lyons, Ryder Miller, Micah Bogle, McKenzie Sanders, Jenna Wright, Melody Beltran, Abby Ludwig, and Mario Matias

Fifth graders at Northside Elementary School received certificates during the annual D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony held Wednesday.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by D.A.R.E. Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded. This year's essay winners at Northside are:

Mario Matias from Amy Raymond's class
Jenna Wright from Amanda Griffith's class
Xharia Lyons from Carrie Gottlied's class
Abby Ludwig from Kristen Hankal's class
Micah Bogle from Alisha Day's class
Ryder Miller from Josh Odom's class
McKenzie Sanders from Melissa Hale's class
Melody Beltran from Cheryl Vandagriff’s class

McKenzie Sanders was the over-all winner and she read her essay during Wednesday's program. In addition to the award, prizes, and recognition, Sanders gets to keep "Daren the Lion" the D.A.R.E. Mascot. General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II presented Sanders a check for $50.

D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the DeKalb Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County School System, parents, and the community.

Other officials present for the ceremony were Northside Principal Karen Knowles, Assistant Principal Beth Pafford, Guidance Counselor Dr. Linda Bush, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell. Other members of the Sheriff's department were also in attendance along with Sheriff Patrick Ray and Chief Deputy Adamson.

Annual All Day Gospel Singing in Alexandria Saturday

May 18, 2016
Dwayne Page
Three Parts Grace will be one of the featured groups at the All Day Singing Saturday
David Turner and Friends will appear at the All Day Gospel Singing Saturday
Right on Time to appear at All Day Gospel Singing in Alexandria
Terri Lynn Weaver to perform at All Day Gospel Singing
The Calvary Trio to perform at All Day Gospel Singing

The Annual All Day Gospel Singing will be Saturday, May 21 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. WJLE will broadcast LIVE.

The lineup is as follows:

*Malone's Chapel Baptist Church: 10 a.m.

*Debbie McMillen and Family: 10:30 a.m.

*Bethany Harrison: 11:00 a.m.

*Connie Smith Rodriguez: 11:30 a.m.

*Tristan Pope on the piano: Noon

*Resurrection: 12:30 p.m.

*Terri Lynn Weaver: 1:00 p.m.

*Short Ridge Sisters: 1:30 p.m.

*Truly Blessed: 2:00 p.m.

*Calvary Trio: 2:30 p.m.

*Right on Time: 3:00 p.m.

*Three Parts Grace: 3:30 p.m.

*Jason Sanders: 4:00 p.m.

*Faith Singers: 4:30 p.m.

*Dessa Ray: 5:00 p.m.

*Suzanne Winfree: 5:30 p.m.

*Doug Collins and Family: 6:00 p.m.

*David Turner & Friends: 6:30 p.m.

Wilson Bank & Trust Hosts Luncheon for DCHS Students

May 17, 2016
Dwayne Page
Wilson Bank & Trust Hosts Luncheon for DCHS Students

Wilson Bank & Trust’s Smithville office recently hosted a luncheon in honor of DeKalb County High School’s top ten students.

The event featured guest speaker Ashley Barnes, a former top ten student.

Pictured (L-R) are Barnes; WB&T’s Chad Colwell; DCHS students Ashli Chew, Max Pafford, Mariah Lynch, Eli Oliver, Morgan Vickers, Noah Parsley, Caitlin Turner, Kirkland Smallwood and Mackenzie Keaton; WB&T’s Clark Oakley; and DCHS assistant principal Jenny Norris.

Smithville Work Camp Seeks to Help Neighbors Repair and Beautify their Homes

May 17, 2016
Dwayne Page
Work Camp Volunteers Sealing Driveway of Home on Holmes Creek Road in 2013
Church Group Building Handicapped Ramp for Resident on Bright Hill Road in 2014
Karen Jacobs at Work on Jackson Street in 2014

Members of the Smithville Church of Christ will be rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help show their Christian love for others during the congregation's fourth annual Work Camp scheduled for June 13-16.

(CLICK LINKS BELOW TO VIEW “Homeowner Application” and Release Forms)

Scan0005.pdf (221.93 KB)

Scan0004.pdf (338.76 KB)

The Work Camp is an annual home rehabilitation/beautification project organized by the Smithville Church of Christ. The church began the work camp as a means of helping less fortunate residents of the county do some fix up and cleanup projects around their homes and it has proven to be quite productive.

“We are concerned about the quality of life in our community. One of the ways we can address our concerns is by helping repair/beautify residences of homeowners who have special needs but have limited resources. When we help persons live safely and securely in their own homes, we feel that we are doing God’s work by helping our neighbor,” said a work camp organizer.

The Smithville Work Camp concentrates its efforts in the Smithville-DeKalb County area.

If you would like to have your house considered for the repair/beautification project, you may fill out a “Homeowner Application” and Release Form and return them to: Smithville Work Camp, P.O. Box 397, Smithville, TN 37166. The deadline to return the forms is Wednesday, June 1.

For more information call 615-597-4159


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