Local News Articles

Second Graders Learn Names of All U.S. Presidents and States

May 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Students in Janet Woodward's second grade class at Smithville Elementary School have learned the names of all the U.S. Presidents in the order in which they served.

The children recited the President's names for WJLE Thursday afternoon in their classroom.

The children also learned a song naming all the states in the country.

Members of the class pictured in this video are:

SEATED LEFT TO RIGHT: Kerri Vandyne, Alia Hawkins, Madison Dawson, Suzzeth Martinez, Maleah Ruch, and Kandice Whitson

STANDING LEFT TO RIGHT: Braxton Walden, Aaron Hatfield, Cameron Caballero, Samuel Gaspar, Ian Colwell, Briz Trapp, Brayden Summers, Cooper Love, and Kholton Melton. (Not pictured-absent: Toni Atnip)

In addition to the video presentation here, you can listen to the children weekday mornings May 19-23 following the 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. morning local news on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7.

Preschool Donates Bears to DeKalb Community Hospital

May 15, 2014
by: 
Shan Burklow
Preschool Donates Bears to DeKalb Community Hospital

The students and teachers of First United Methodist Preschool of Smithville, TN donated over 300 homemade teddy bears to patients of DeKalb Community Hospital recently. The bears were stuffed with love and signed by each student.

Volunteers Bessie Jones and Sheila Kirby stitched the bears to final completion.

CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital accepted the bears with gratitude, “We are so excited to be able to offer these bears as comfort to patients who come to our hospital. This small token means so much to a patient who is sick or scared. I’d like to thank each little boy and girl who worked so hard on something they are willing to give away. We have such a caring community.”

Farmers Market Partners with Library and Hospital

May 15, 2014
by: 
Shan Burklow
Farmers Market Partners with Library and Hospital

The DeKalb Farmers Market Committee met recently to plan upcoming demonstration days. The DeKalb County Farmers Market has partnered with Justin Potter Library and DeKalb Community Hospital to offer live cooking, canning and craft demonstrations throughout the month of June. The market offers fresh fruits and vegetables to the public along with artisan crafts, homemade jams and jellies, smoked barbeque (year ‘round) and home grown herbs.

Open to the public each Saturday now through November from 6am to 1pm. “Supporting your farmers market ensures that you get the freshest garden varieties available while impacting your local economy in a positive way. We look forward to seeing our regular customers week after week, and encourage new customers to come see what it’s all about.”

For upcoming demonstration dates, join their facebook page: DeKalbFarmersMarket

DCHS Baseball Game Postponed until Friday

May 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers will compete in the Region baseball tournament at Central Magnet in Murfreesboro Friday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m.

The DCHS Tigerettes' game at Sequatchie County was suspended with no score in the first inning Wednesday and will be completed today (Thursday, May 15) in the Region Softball Tournament at 3:00 p.m.

Terms of Two DUD Board Members To Expire

May 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Roger Turney
Jimmy Womack

The terms of two members of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners are expiring this year and the DUD will meet next month to begin the process of either reappointing those members or selecting new ones.

According to a published legal notice for Commissioner Appointment, the term of Roger Turney, serving Cannon County on the DUD's board will expire on August 31, 2014. Jimmy Womack's term will expire on October 31, 2014. Womack is one of three members on the board who serve DeKalb County.

The DUD board of commissioners will meet on Thursday, June 5 to certify a list of three nominees to the Cannon County Mayor and DeKalb County Mayor to fill these vacancies. A customer may also submit a name for consideration by the DUD board for the list of nominees. Any names to be considered should be provided to the District's General Manager at least one week before the June 5 meeting. State law provides for qualifications for nominees.

The general provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated (State Law) TCA § 7-82-307 provide that the utility board members must submit three nominees, listed in order of preference, to the county mayor (where the vacancy exists). The county mayor has the authority to appoint one of the nominees to the vacant position on the board or reject all of the nominees. If the county mayor rejects all three nominees, then the board of (utility) commissioners has to submit three additional nominees to the county mayor for consideration. If the county mayor rejects these nominees, then the process would continue until the position is filled. There are, however, exceptions to these general provisions in the statute. Any order either appointing or rejecting a list of nominees shall be entered of record on the minutes of the county legislative body and a certified copy of the order shall be furnished to the board of (utility) commissioners and to the appointee; provided, that upon the rejection of any entire list of nominees by the county mayor, the board of (utility) commissioners shall continue to submit new nonidentical lists of three (3) nominees to the county mayor within sixty (60) days after each such rejection until such procedure shall result in the vacancy being filled for the remainder of the term or for the new term, as provided in this section.

The DUD Board is made up of five members, three from DeKalb County, one from Cannon, and one from Smith County. The terms are staggered.

Smithville Electric System Plans Power Outage

May 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Electric System will have a planned city-wide power outage starting at midnight Saturday, May 17 for two to four hours to do some work at the sub-station. Service will be restored either by 2:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning, May 18. This will affect only Smithville Electric System customers

It's Official! Turnbill Granted Parole with Conditions

May 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Melvin Eugene Turnbill at Parole Hearing (Dwayne Page Photo)

It's now official

A man serving a twenty five year prison sentence in a 2002 DeKalb County murder case could be a free man within a year.

Members of the Tennessee Board of Parole have voted to release 42 year old Melvin Eugene Turnbill to parole supervision. However, prior to release, Turnbill will have to complete a nine to twelve month substance abuse program called "Therapeutic Community", and get a release plan approved. The board also voted that Turnbill receive a substance abuse after-care referral upon leaving prison, and that he be assessed for substance abuse treatment once he is under parole supervision. The assessment will be completed by TDOC staff.

As WJLE first reported almost two weeks ago, parole board member Tim Gobble, after a hearing on Thursday morning May 1, voted to parole Turnbill with the aforementioned conditions. The hearing was held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, where Turnbill is incarcerated. Gobble was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from another location. After the hearing, the file was sent to other parole board members, who reviewed it and cast their votes. Three matching votes were required for a final decision in the case.

In September 2003, Turnbill received a twenty five year sentence after pleading guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court to facilitating the first degree murder of Joshua Murphy, who was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Turnbill and a co-defendant, Christopher Nicholas Orlando suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando, the triggerman in the killing, was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004. Orlando, serving a 45 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder, is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. Orlando was denied parole following a hearing in March, 2013. He will be up for parole again in 2016.

Turnbill's sentence is due to expire on October 15, 2022. He has served eleven years and seven months of the term. This was Turnbill's second parole hearing. He was denied release two years ago following his last hearing due to the seriousness of the offense.

In making his plea for parole, Turnbill told Gobble that he has a new outlook on life. "I believe I have changed. I believe my attitude has changed. I know for sure that I'm not going back in any kind of drug activity. I know I can honestly say that. I just wish I could be given a second chance," said Turnbill.

DUD Approved for $5.25 Million in Low Interest Loans For Water Plant

May 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DUD Board of Directors

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced that DeKalb Utility District has been approved to receive $5.25 million in low interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

“It’s great to see local governments using this important program to help address critical drinking water and wastewater needs. Making these infrastructure improvements will benefit the health of the communities and economic growth,” Haslam said.

The funding paves the way for DeKalb Utility District to complete a proposed water treatment plant. In a letter to DUD Chairman Roger Turney dated May 5, 2014, Sherwin N. Smith, Director of the State Revolving Fund Loan Program wrote that the DUD’s Facilities Plan for the project has been approved.

The facilities plan provides recommendations to construct a new 2.0 million gallon per day water treatment plant and upgrade the existing water treatment system serving the DeKalb Utility District (DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson Counties). The total estimated project cost is $12,000,000. The DeKalb Utility District will receive two Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans totaling $5,250,000 to fund this project. The first loan is for $2,500,000 with a $2,000,000 loan and $500,000 in principle forgiveness that will not have to be repaid by the DeKalb Utility District. The second DWSRF loan is for $2,750,000. Additional funding includes a Rural Utilities Service loan for $5,000,000, a Rural Utilities Service grant for $1,250,000, and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for $500,000".

“With the two loans from the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, the savings for DUD customers has improved dramatically. The $12 million project will be funded with a $2.25 million grant including a forgivable loan, $4.75 million with a 20 year loan at .60% and the final $5 million with a 40 year loan from Rural Utilities Services at 2.75%. Because of the low interest rate on this completed financial package, issuing bonds with a higher interest rate will not be necessary” stated DUD manager Jon Foutch.

The project provides for the construction of a new raw water intake structure and raw water pump station on the Holmes Creek Embayment of Center Hill Reservoir (Caney Fork River); an 18-inch diameter raw water transmission line from the raw water pump station to the new 2.0 million gallon per day water treatment plant located along Holmes Creek Road; an 18-inch diameter finished water transmission line along Holmes Creek Road, Allen’s Ferry Road, and U.S. Highway 70; and new 8-inch diameter water distribution lines along Big Rock Road, Dry Creek Road, Game Ridge Road, Turner Road, Tittsworth Road, and Walker Lane. A finished water pumping station will be constructed to deliver water from the Snow’s Hill Water Tank to the Short Mountain Water Tank. The new water treatment plant will also include clarification, mixed media filtration and backwash systems, and a 250,000 gallon clear well.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in March found that the proposed DUD water treatment plant would not significantly affect the environment but the public had until April 28 to make comments before a final decision was reached on whether the project should go forward. There were no significant public responses posing objections.

In the letter to Turney, Smith wrote that "The documents associated with the Facilities Plan have been reviewed in accordance with appropriate state rules, policies, regional guidance, and technical publications. Based on our review, a Finding of No Significant Impact was issued on March 28, 2014. The 30 day comment period for the FNSI has expired, and no significant public objections have been received. Therefore, full approval of this Facilities Plan is now granted."

Vance Sentenced in Warren County Theft

May 13, 2014
Comer T. Vance

A Smithville man, who stole a car from the parking lot of a factory in Warren County, was sentenced recently on a Grand Theft charge.

43 year old Comer T. Vance pleaded guilty to a charge of grand theft in Warren County Circuit Court. Judge Bart Stanley sentenced Vance to serve one year of a ten year sentence. Part of his time may be served under in house drug treatment. Vance has reportedly been accepted in the Adult Recovery Program, which is an intensive 18 month rehabilitation under the supervision of the court.

According to the Southern Standard, Vance took a 2000 Dodge Stratus from the parking lot of Yorozu. After the vehicle turned up missing, authorities were notified.

A Sheriff's Department Investigator viewed a surveillance tape from the factory and saw the car leaving the parking lot. A security guard told the investigator that she had seen Vance looking into vehicles on the lot prior to the theft. When she approached , Vance told her that he was waiting for a ride. Later, she saw the car leaving the parking area.

Upon being questioned about the theft, Vance denied it, but then confessed after being told about the surveillance video and the security guard's account of what happened.

Vance claimed to have sold the car to someone in White County for $250. He said he was desperate for money because of his hydrocodone addiction.

Family Dollar to Close Smithville Store

May 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Family Dollar in Smithville to Close by end of June

The Family Dollar Store in Smithville will be closing next month.

The local store, which has been in operation since 1986, will be among 370 underperforming Family Dollar stores across the country that will be closing as the company looks for ways to improve its financial performance. Prices are being reduced on about 1,000 basic items.

According to reports, the company reported a drop in second-quarter earnings and also revised their outlook for the year. The closings will affect 4.6 percent of the company's 8,100 locations in 46 states and will generate as much as $45 million in savings, beginning in the third quarter.

The Matthews, North Carolina based retail chain will look to reduce corporate overhead and slow the pace of new store openings. The company will open 350 to 400 new stores in fiscal 2015, down from about 525 new stores in fiscal 2014.

According to a store employee, the Smithville Family Dollar is expected to close by the last week in June.

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