Local News Articles

DCHS Students to Get Chrome Books

August 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
All DCHS students will get a chrome book like the one shown here with Technology Director Greg Frasier, Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Kathy Bryant, and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps
Chrome Books being prepared for the high school
School Technology Director Greg Frasier loading Chrome Books into carts where they are stored under lock and key
All DCHS Students to get a Chrome Book

Ninth through 12th graders at DeKalb County High School will soon see modern technology in the classrooms — and in their hands.

Chrome Books will be issued to each of the students at the high school to begin the new school year. Sixth to 8th graders at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School will get Chrome Books later in the school year.

Through these one to one laptop devices, students will be able to access the Internet, digital course materials and digital textbooks. By providing students their own notebook computer or tablet, the school is making it possible for students to find information instantly to produce rich multimedia content.

“We’re excited. We set as a goal to make available to our students the technology they need in the classroom. We hope this will keep students engaged and give them more opportunities to expand their learning and critical thinking,” Director of Schools Patrick Cripps told WJLE Friday.

While Chrome Books will not totally replace textbooks, they will add a new dimension to the students’ learning experience. “A textbook is just a resource and it shouldn’t be the only guide we use. That’s why we are excited about this new technology because it brings more resources into the classroom. For example, I sat in a third grade class (in another district) where the students, as part of their lesson, got to experience what it is like to take a plane ride to travel to a different country and learn its culture. They got to experience that through this technology. It gives it a different spin than just reading it in black and white in a textbook,” Director Cripps said.

Students will be assigned a Chrome Book through all their years at the high school, but for now they will not be allowed to take them home. Students will pick up their Chrome Books each morning and turn them back in at the end of the school day. “ These are laptops. They are portable so the students will be taking them from class to class. At this time we are going to keep them (devices) at school. We are discussing the possibility of letting the students take them home at night but for now we’re baby stepping this,” said Director Cripps.

The laptops use Google Classroom, a blended learning platform developed by Google for schools that simplifies creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. Google Classroom combines Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Documents, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling. Each class creates a separate folder in the respective user's Drive, where the student can submit work to be graded by a teacher. Teachers can check the progress of each student through the technology, and after being graded, can return work, with comments, for the student to revise and improve the assignment. Teachers who must miss a school day due to sickness or other reasons can have a lesson plan prepared using the technology for a substitute to carry out in their absence. Go Guardian software also enables teachers to monitor student activity online and to filter any potentially harmful or distracting content.

According to Dr. Kathy Bryant, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, the Chrome Books have arrived at a good time in that all high school students will be state tested on-line for the first time this year. “We must have a device for each of them in order to go through the testing,” she said.

“This is what the students are going to be tested on so they need to become familiar with that device so that when it comes time to test they will be able to take that device and not be intimidated with it. They don’t need to be working with a computer they have never touched before. This will be their computer. They will be assigned this device and it will be their baby for the four years they are in high school,” added Director Cripps.

“We are actually doing a pilot with our 9th grade Algebra I classes and we’re anxious to see if that turns our test scores around in the Algebra classes with the addition of the new technology,” he said.

Director Cripps said he would like to see the schools eventually offer “flipped classrooms”, an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. “This has really got me intrigued but it would require us to send them (Chrome Books) home. I am really interested in this concept of “flipping the classroom” which would allow the teacher, instead of sending homework home, to lecture on-line at night while the student is at home and have the student do their work during the day at school while they are with the teacher”.

As with textbooks, students and parents will be responsible for the Chrome Books and could be required to pay for replacing them if they are damaged through carelessness or neglect. They will be asked to sign an agreement adhering to the proper use and care of Chrome Books assigned to them.

“We don’t have them (Chrome Books) insured. Everybody we’ve talked to has told us the cost to maintain and repair them is cheaper than the cost of keeping them insured. But we have talked to other districts and they have said you would be amazed how careful the kids are with those devices because they appreciate having them,” said Director Cripps.

Dr. Bryant said students who don’t have access to a computer or the Internet at home should not be concerned. “I know parents will have a lot of questions, such as how can you expect my child to do homework, without a device at home? We are working with our teachers to be mindful of that and to understand that there are students who don’t have a computer or access to the Internet at home. We are working through all of that and we won’t require students to do anything they don’t have access to. We will not limit them in that way,” she said.

The school system spent $300,000 from the 2016-17 budget to purchase 900 Chrome Books for the high school. This year’s budget includes technology funds to buy Chrome Books for 6th to 8th graders to be provided later in the school year.

“It’s an expense but we’re excited that the school board and the county commission allowed us to purchase them. The county mayor also worked with us to buy these computers to help our students. We are appreciative to all of them and for the support of our teachers and community,” said Director Cripps.

Man Facing Theft Charge for Selling Utility Trailer He Didn't Own

August 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Photo of suspect's truck taken from video

The Smithville Police Department has taken a theft charge against a 19 year old man who has admitted to selling a utility trailer that didn’t belong to him.

Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE Friday that Colton Gene Young of 307 Hardaway Street, McMinnville will be served with a warrant for theft of property over $1,000. He is currently in the White County Jail on separate charges. Although his address is listed as McMinnville, Chief Collins said Young has actually been living in Sparta.

The theft of the 18 foot black heavy duty dual axle trailer with a wooden floor occurred on Saturday, July 29 and was reported on Monday, July 31.


According to Chief Collins, Young spotted the utility trailer setting behind F.Z. Webb and Sons Pharmacy on South Congress Boulevard and stopped to take a picture of it. He then posted the photo on facebook marketplace advertising the trailer for sale. After getting a response from a man in Rutherford County, Young set up a meeting with the unsuspecting customer at the trailer to make the sale. The customer paid for the trailer, hooked it up to his truck and drove away.

After the theft was reported, Smithville Police launched an investigation and discovered that the transaction between Young and the buyer was captured on video from a nearby business. Police later asked for the public’s help in solving the crime by posting on the department’s Facebook page a still frame photo from the video showing Young’s truck.

Chief Collins said police then got a break in the case. “We had a ton of responses from that facebook posting. One man called in and said he had seen that vehicle in Sparta. We called the Sparta Police Department and they went to that location and found the vehicle,” said Chief Collins.

Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes then went to Sparta and interviewed Young who admitted to having committed this theft and others. “When we got there he told us he had seen our facebook post and was spray painting his truck to change the color from black to blue. He said when he saw a trailer setting somewhere, he would take a picture of it and list it online for sale on the facebook marketplace. People would contact him through facebook if they were interested. They would call him and he would say ‘I’ll be there in five minutes’. He would meet them at the trailer, get the money and then they would hook up the trailer and drive off with it thinking they had bought it,” said Lieutenant Detective Holmes.

“Through our interview with Young we were able to obtain the name and location of this guy who came to buy the trailer. Young said the trailer was in Rutherford County. We sent a Rutherford County deputy to that residence to see if the trailer was there. The following day we went and recovered the trailer. It was still there but again we don’t think he (buyer) was aware of what was going on and he has not been charged,” said Chief Collins.

“Through our investigation, Young became a suspect in thefts discovered in White County. We believe this guy is responsible for trailer thefts in multiple jurisdictions,” he added.

Chief Collins thanked Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes for his work in helping solve the case and to the man who provided the tip. Because of his helpful information, the caller will get a cash reward from Crime Stoppers.

Chief Collins cautions anyone who is looking to buy through an on-line post to” be sure to check what you are buying. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” he said.

Family of Daniel Alexander Donates Photo to Alexandria Library

August 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Photo of Daniel Alexander, Founder of Alexandria
Alexandria Mayor Bennett Armstrong, Mac Willoughby, Betty Pankey, Kathy Hendrixson, Tommy Webb, Ria Baker, Sue Corley, Amanda Bain, and Jan Thomas

A special tribute was paid to the founder of Alexandria Friday morning.

A large framed photograph of Daniel Alexander was placed on permanent display at the Alexandria Public Library. It was recently donated to the library by Alexander’s great great great grandson, Paul Randy Alexander, Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina.

DeKalb County Historian Thomas G. Webb hosted the observance and was joined by librarians, library board members, and local public officials.

In an historical account of Alexander and the birth of the town, Webb wrote that “The founder of Alexandria, DeKalb County’s second oldest town, was Daniel Alexander, who named the town for himself. Daniel Alexander was born on January 23, 1773 in Maryland, son of James Alexander. He married on August 14, 1800, in Charlotte, Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, his cousin Sarah (Sallie) Alexander, daughter of David Alexander. They moved immediately to Tennessee, where they built and operated for several years a log tavern and inn on the Walton Road near present day Algood, Tennessee. By 1806, he owned a large tract of land on Hickman Creek in Smith County, and on April 15, 1820, Daniel Alexander divided that land into 24 lots, each 66 feet wide and 165 feet long. He reserved for himself lots 1, 2, and 3 (where Alton and Grace Close recently lived). That lot had on it a log two-story house, with a fine spring of water behind it which is still running. The business district was approximately where it is now. Daniel Alexander later moved to Rutherford County, where he died on October 20, 1857. He and his wife are buried near Christiana, Tennessee.

Test Drive a Ford TODAY to Raise Money for DCHS Football

August 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Coach Steve Trapp, Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford, and DCHS Quarterback Club President Darrell Gill

Florence & White Ford and the Ford Motor Company are again offering DCHS Football the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars with their annual test drive program on Friday, August 4. Tiger football fans can earn money for the DCHS football program by simply test-driving a new Ford at the school.

Fans are invited to come out as early as 1:00 p.m. to enjoy a meal and to test drive a new Ford vehicle by the Florence & White dealership in Smithville. For every valid test drive, Ford will donate $20 to the football program. The more fans who come out and test drive a new Ford vehicle, the more money will be made for DCHS football. Last year’s event raised $6,020.

“Barbeque meals will be available for sale but we’ll give a free barbeque meal to anyone who participates in the test drive event,” said Tony Cross, member of the Quarterback Club.

The Tigers will compete in a pre-season Jamboree at Upperman against Clay County on August 11.

The season kicks off with two straight road games for the Tigers starting with Warren County on August 18th followed by Upperman on August 25. The first home game is against Stone Memorial on September 1. All games start at 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage each week.

The DCHS 2017 Football Schedule is as follows:

August 18: Warren County- McMinnville 7 p.m.
August 25: Upperman- Baxter 7 p.m.
September 1: Stone Memorial*-Smithville 7 p.m.
September 8: Watertown-Watertown 7 p.m.
September 15: Grundy County-Smithville 7 p.m.
September 22: Cannon County-Smithvillle (HOMECOMING) 7 p.m.
September 29: Livingston Academy*-Livingston 7 p.m.
October 6: Smith County-Smithville 7 p.m.
October 13: Macon County*-Smithville 7 p.m.
October 20-BYE WEEK
October 27: Cumberland County* Crossville 7 p.m.

2017 JV Schedule:
August 21: White County-Smithville 6 p.m.
August 28: Upperman- Smithville 6 p.m.
September 11: Watertown-Smithville 6 p.m.
September 25: Cannon County-Woodbury 6 p.m.
October 9: Smith County-Carthage 6 p.m.

DCHS Seniors Urged to Sign Up for ACT Retake Day

August 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
Dr. Kathy Bryant

Seniors at DeKalb County High School planning to retake the ACT exam should let their intentions be known to the administration as soon as possible.

Dr. Kathy Bryant, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, told WJLE Thursday that DCHS will offer the ACT Retake on Tuesday, October 3.

“This is the first time the state has ever offered this. They are offering the opportunity for any senior who took the ACT last year as a junior to retake it again as a senior for free, which is a $42.50 value. They (seniors) need to be signing up for it now. It will be administered at school during the school day on October 3 but we have to order the exams within the next few weeks. If parents will encourage their seniors to take this opportunity to retake the ACT for free during the school day, they need to tell their student to go see Mrs. Jenny Norris at the high school and she will put them on a list and we will order them a test,” said Dr. Bryant.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced last month that the state is expanding its ACT Senior Retake Day to all Tennessee public high school students in the class of 2018, totaling nearly 70,000 students. In addition, the department is making it easier for public school seniors to retake the ACT this fall by offering this second opportunity during the school day in students’ own schools.

These changes will give all students equal access to take advantage of the opportunity. Unlike in the past, students do not need to sign up to retake the test – it will automatically be provided. School districts have been empowered to choose the testing date that is best for their students and causes the least disruption for those not taking the exam. Districts may offer the retake on Oct. 3, Oct. 17, or on both days.

“Tennessee is once again a national leader in education as the first state to offer an ACT retake opportunity to all public school seniors,” McQueen said. “By expanding our retake day, we send a strong signal that our state is committed to further increasing access, especially among students who stand to benefit the most from this opportunity.”

October 2016 was the first time Tennessee offered public high school seniors the chance to retake the ACT for free, but it was only available to students who had previously taken the ACT as juniors and who were able to take it on a weekend testing date at a testing center. Of those who participated in the 2016 retake, nearly 40 percent increased their overall score.

The department’s research shows that students have a high likelihood of increasing their score when they take the college entrance exam a second time. Higher composite scores not only provide access to state scholarships, but they also make a student more competitive for entry into higher education institutions and for institutional and private scholarships. In the first year of the state offering a free ACT Retake Day, an additional 1,300 students earned a composite score of 21 or above on the ACT, providing them access to $21 million in additional HOPE scholarship funds.

Higher scores also allow students to enroll directly into credit-bearing postsecondary coursework, avoiding non-credit-bearing remedial classes that take students’ time and money and can discourage their progress. On the 2016 ACT Retake Day, thousands of students improved individual subject scores in math, English, science, and reading, allowing them to avoid mandatory remediation courses in postsecondary. This is significant for Tennessee’s seniors, because last year over half of Tennessee community college students required remediation.

Also, the department posted additional resources about the ACT, including an ACT Retake Guide and ACT Toolkit, on its website. To learn more about the ACT Retake Day, contact Jerre Maynor, director of student readiness, at Jerre.Maynor@tn.gov. For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov.

Aly Griffith Named "Classroom Champion"

August 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler, Mindy Griffith, Aly Griffith, and Attorney Jim Judkins

This week’s “Classroom Champion” award goes to Aly Griffith, a rising seventh grader at DeKalb West School.

The award was presented in the spring by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins.

Aly is the daughter of Ron and Mindy Griffith.

A student last year in Jessica Antoniak’s class, Aly is a sports-driven girl. She played third base this past season for the DeKalb Middle School softball team, was a member of the Junior Varsity for the Lady Bulldogs, and played in the travel league for the DeKalb County Diamonds. She also helps coach her brother’s coach pitch team. A member of the Junior Beta and FCA Clubs, Aly wants some day to work in the medical profession as a Physical Therapist or Pharmacist.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.

DCHS Girls Soccer Play Day Scheduled

August 3, 2017
Dwayne Page

DCHS Girls Soccer will kick off with a pre-season play day on Saturday, August 12 in Smithville.

Admission is $5.00 and concessions will be available for sale.

Five teams will compete including DeKalb County, Cannon County, Upperman, White County, and Livingston Academy.

Teams will play four games. Each game will be 30 minutes with no halftime.

Point system: Winner of the game will receive 3 points. Losing team will receive no points. If a game ends in a tie each team will receive one point. The two teams with the most points will play in the championship game. The third and fourth place teams will play for third place.


1. DeKalb County vs Cannon County: 9 a.m.

2. Cannon County vs Upperman: 9:40 a.m.

3. Upperman vs White County: 10:20 a.m.

4. White County vs Livingston Academy: 11 a.m.

5. Livingston Academy vs DeKalb County: 11:40 a.m.

6. DeKalb County vs Upperman: 12:20 p.m.

7. Cannon County vs White County: 1 p.m.

8. Upperman vs Livingston Academy: 1:40 p.m.

9. White County vs DeKalb County: 2:20 p.m.

10. Livingston Academy vs Cannon County: 3 p.m.

11. 3rd vs 4th: 3:40 p.m.

12. 1st vs 2nd: 4:20 p.m.

DeKalb 4-H Health Rocks Joins Youth Leaders at TN Teen Institute

August 2, 2017
DeKalb 4-H Health Rocks Joins Youth Leaders at TN Teen Institute

The DeKalb County 4-H Health Rocks team joined 440 youth leaders from across the state at the Tennessee Teen Institute.

The Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (JACOA). This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee. The program addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities. The DeKalb County 4-H Health Rocks teen leaders do after school programs during the school year which address many of these issues for youth. TTI is a comprehensive program that trains, mobilizes and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers. TTI prepares students to not only make positive changes, but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals, while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because TTI is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance free lifestyle.

Held on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus in Martin, Tennessee, June 18-23th, TTI 2017 hosted approximately 440 teen leaders, adult advisors, and TTI staff. These participants leave motivated not only to make healthy decisions in their own lives, but also committed to work so that others are making healthy decisions as well.

For more information about the Tennessee Teen Institute visit www.tnteeninstitute.net.

"Coach to Coach" Returns to WJLE

August 2, 2017
Dwayne Page
"Coach to Coach" Returns to WJLE

"Coach to Coach" returns to WJLE

You are invited to the weekly coach's meeting for the coach's view of every Tennessee Football game. "Coach To Coach" is your weekly connection to your favorite team. The program will air again this college football season on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7 Fridays at 5:00 p.m. and will repeat Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

The first program airs this weekend, August 4 & 5.

Former coaches Phillip Fulmer and Doug Mathews go "Coach To Coach" every week with one hour of intense football discussion. It’s just like you’re in the coaches’ meeting, talking offense and defense with the men who called the plays to win the big games.

Share the lessons from last week's game. Breakdown the SEC slate. Talk about the issues inside college football. "Coach To Coach" comes your way every weekend, hosted by one of the state’s premiere sports broadcasters, Larry Stone.

Get inside the 2017 Tennessee football season. Go "Coach To Coach" with Phillip Fulmer and Doug Mathews.

Solar Eclipse Downtown Block Party to be held

August 2, 2017
Dwayne Page

You’re invited to get a Moon’s Eye View from Downtown Smithville. The Solar Eclipse Downtown Block Party will be on Monday, August 21st.

Children’s Solar Eclipse Activities led by Helen Sefsik will be from 10 AM to 12 PM at the Justin Potter Library. Then right across from the library starting at 12:30 PM, come to Evins Park Open-Air Stage where free Solar Eclipse Glasses will be given away while they last. First come/First serve.

The City of Smithville will be providing Moon pies & the library & DeKalb County Government will be providing water. Bring a lawn chair and set up in the county lot where everyone will watch it together!

Hope you can come & experience the 2017 Eclipse with us! Sponsored by the Justin Potter Library, Smithville-DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb Co. Govt., & the City of Smithville.


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