Local News Articles

Foundation for Education Grant Winners Named

May 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ally O'Connor, Cassandra Binkley, Jenny Norris, and Amanda Dakas

The recent DeKalb County Foundation for Education Classroom Grant winners have been announced from each school.

The winners are:

DCHS: Jeanine Cantrell, and Jenny Norris,

DeKalb West School: Lori Pryor

DeKalb Middle School: Cassandra Binkley, Suzette Barnes, and Amanda Dakas.

Smithville Elementary School: Ally O'Connor.

The DCFE is committed to excellence and education. The mission is to improve the education opportunities for our students. DeKalb County Schools appreciates the continued support of the Education Foundation and Barry and Lisa Butler.

Picture L-R
Ally O'Connor, Cassandra Binkley, Jenny Norris, and Amanda Dakas

TNDP Chair to Speak at DeKalb Election Season Kickoff Rally

May 27, 2015
Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) Chair Mary Mancini

Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) Chair Mary Mancini will be the speaker at the DeKalb County Election Season Kickoff Rally to be held Saturday, June 6. The rally marks the start of the 2016 Election Season and will be held at 10 a.m., at the DeKalb County Courthouse basement, One Public Square, Smithville.

“We are thrilled to have Chair Mancini in attendance to help us kick off this Election Season,” said Jordan Wilkins, DeKalb County Democratic Party Chair. “This event is to bring like-minded people who share Democratic values together and discuss ways to show support for each other while strategizing on how we can be better represented whether it’s on the city council, county commission, at the legislature, in Congress or in the White House.”

Mancini will focus her speech about her vision to seat more state, county and local leaders.

“At the TNDP, we are working on engaging Democrats from all over the state and from all walks of life to get fired up and ready to go to register people to vote, knock on doors, call on their neighbors and friends to be an active participant in the Democratic process and be a part of our Get Out The Vote programs,” said Mancini. “The way GOP lawmakers voted this past legislative session shows we need a change in the legislature and this election cycle we will be focused on shoring up Democrats and engaging voters so we have elected officials who will advocate on behalf of Tennessee’s families on issues such as access to affordable health care, raising the minimum wage, retirement security and greater accountability in the public and private sectors.”

Smithville Police Department to Host Identity Theft Class

May 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew

The Smithville Police Department will host an identity theft class on Monday June 1st at 6:00 pm at the County Complex in the UT Extension room on South Congress Boulevard in a continued effort for public awareness.

The class will be instructed by Homeland Security. The class is open to the public and is free of charge. "Its heartbreaking when people come to the police department and they have been scammed out of the money that they have worked hard for," said Captain Steven Leffew. "We welcome everyone to come out and get some ideas on how to better protect you and your family".

Protecting Your Identity – What You Should Know, What You Should Do

Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. It affects millions of victims each year and results in billions of dollars in losses for consumers, businesses, and financial institutions. It takes years to build one’s identity, but it could be destroyed very quickly if it is misused by someone.

This 1 hour presentation is intended to explain some common methods used by identity thieves, how to safeguard your identity, and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft

(UPDATED) Body Recovered From Center Hill Lake Identified as Justin Nicholas Roper

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Justin Nicholas Roper

The body recovered from Center Hill Lake Memorial Day morning has been identified as the remains of a man reported missing on Saturday.

Dead is 31 year old Justin Nicholas Roper of Smithville.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Central Dispatch was notified at 9:16 a.m. Monday by the TWRA that a body was found in the lake close to the Holiday Haven area. The body was recovered from the lake shortly thereafter by TWRA and a Detective from the Sheriff's Department.

A search began Saturday afternoon after a woman reported that her husband had gone missing at the Holiday Haven Boat Ramp. "On Saturday May 23rd at 12:05 p.m. DeKalb Central Dispatch received a call of a missing man at the Holiday Haven Boat Ramp. The complainant was the wife of the missing man. She reported that on Friday night, May 22nd she and her husband had spent the night in their vehicle at the boat ramp. According to the woman, her husband had walked down toward the boat ramp to go swimming and never returned. Deputies and a Detective with the Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene and started a missing person investigation. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the Corps of Engineers were also notified and assisted in the search.

The case remains under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

DeKalb Farm Bureau Announces Poster Contest and Essay Winners

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Poster Contest Winners
Essay Contest Winners

DeKalb Farm Bureau has announced the 2015 4th grade Poster Contest and 7th grade Essay Winners.

Poster Contest Winners for local 4th graders in the event titled "Where does our food come from?". Left to right: Cathy Officer, DeKalb Farm Bureau Women's Chairman, Ryder Miller - 1st Place winner of $25.00, Jacklyn Kleparek- 2nd place winner of $20.00, and Gloria Pinegar, Farm Bureau Secretary. (Not pictured: Jeanine Boody - 3rd place winner of $15.00) This is an annual contest open to all 4th graders. Ryder Miller's poster was submitted to the state contest to be judged in June.

Essay Contest Winners for local 7th graders. The subject for the essay was "What is a Farmer?" Pictured from left to right: Cathy Officer, Farm Bureau Women's Chairman, Creston Bain -1st place winner of $25.00, A. J. Crips - 2nd place winner of $20.00, Kayley Padilla-3rd place tie-winner of $15.00, Caden Close - 3rd place tie- winner of $15.00, and Gloria Pinegar, Farm Bureau Secretary. Creston Bain's essay was submitted to the state contest to be judged in June.

Nelson Enters "Best Interest" Plea to Coercion of Witness

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

A 37 year old man charged with coercion of a witness was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 22 after entering a best interest plea under a negotiated settlement.

Judge David Patterson presided.

Steven Anthony Nelson received a sentence of two years, all suspended to supervised probation by community corrections. He was given jail credit from July 8, 2014 to May 22, 2015. The term will run concurrently with a Grundy County sentence against him. His bond conditions shall be lifted to allow contact with a family member.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 a deputy was dispatched to the hospital where he spoke with a woman who reported that her husband, Nelson had come into her home while she slept. When she awoke, the woman found Nelson standing over her. Nelson allegedly got the woman out of bed and threatened her, saying that if she did not drop domestic assault warrants against him, his father would come to her home and shoot her in the face. Nelson continued making threats against the woman until she left the residence.

Nelson was previously arrested on Thursday, July 3, 2014 for the domestic assault of his wife.

37 year old Jason Cripps pled guilty to aggravated domestic assault and auto burglary. He received a four year sentence for the assault and two years for the burglary to run concurrently for a total of four years. The sentence has been suspended to supervised probation. Cripps was given jail credit of 228 days served. He is barred from having any contact with the victim.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 5, 2014 a deputy was dispatched to Cripps' residence on a domestic assault complaint. The officer spoke with a woman who said when she came home, her husband, Cripps was passed out on the back porch. After waking up, Cripps came into the house and an argument started. Cripps grabbed his wife by the neck, slammed her into the wall, and started choking her, causing red marks on her neck. He then left the house. Cripps was later arrested and charged with domestic assault and brought to the jail for booking.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police said that on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 officers responded to DeKalb Specialty Clinic on a complaint of an intoxicated person who had showed up at a doctor's office there. Upon arrival, the officer was told that Cripps had left but was seen walking toward the hospital.

The officer heard an auto alarm and found Cripps who had allegedly entered a Jeep Cherokee and was going through personal belongings and papers in the vehicle without the owner's consent. According to police, Cripps' speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Cripps was placed under arrest.

37 year old Gary Ashford pled guilty to sale of a schedule III drug and received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The term is to run consecutive to his current probation. Ashford was fined $2,000 and he must make restitution of ten dollars to the Alexandria Police Department. He was given jail credit from December 1, 2014 to January 25, 2015.

20 year old Thomas Nix was granted judicial diversion for two years after entering a plea to possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. The sentence is to be suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000.

37 year old Stacey Ashford was granted judicial diversion for three years after entering a plea to delivery of a schedule IV drug. She was fined $2,000 and given jail credit from December 1, 2014 to January 21, 2015. Ashford will be on supervised probation.

32 year old Anthony Hawkins pled guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation.

34 year old Justin Lavaughn Westbrook pled guilty to driving on a suspended license and received a six month sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The case is to run concurrently with a Wilson County case against him.

Livingston Man Seriously Hurt in Motorcycle Crash

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page

A Livingston man was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash near Sligo Bridge Sunday afternoon only minutes after his passenger fell off the bike as the two were traveling on Highway 70 east near Adcock Cemetery Road.

46 year old Troy Walker was airlifted after the accident.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Walker was operating a 2005 Harley Davidson east on Highway 70 when he lost his male passenger near Adcock Cemetery Road without noticing he had fallen off.

Walker kept going until he reached the west end of Sligo bridge, where he lost control of the motorcycle and crashed, hitting a concrete barrier severely injuring his arm on a road sign. Walker came off the Harley in the roadway, and the bike continued several hundred feet through the construction zone at the bridge before coming to rest when it wedged itself between a parked Jeep Cherokee and a rock outcropping.

Walker, suspected of being intoxicated at the time, could be facing charges . His passenger was not seriously injured in the fall from the bike.

Memorial Day Observance Held to Remember Fallen Soldiers

May 25, 2015
Dwayne Page
Don Rigsby (left) who served over 31 years of active and reserve military service with the USAF was the guest speaker at Monday's Memorial Day Program. Pictured here with William Edmonds
American Legion Post #122 Commander William Edmonds (second from left) joins WWII Veterans Guy Mathis, Edward Frazier, and Doyle Taylor in placing wreath at Veterans Monument on Memorial Day

To commemorate the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes, the American Legion #122 held its annual Memorial Day remembrance Monday morning at the county complex.

The program featured patriotic songs by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, Victoria Vincent performing the national anthem and a poem about a World War II veteran authored by the late Ben Herman and read by Susan Hinton. Members of Scout Pack #347 posted Colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Judy Redman, President of the American Legion #122 Women's Auxiliary recognized Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star spouses.

"This morning I want to remember those men and women, who gave their lives for our freedom. I would also like to remember the families of those who gave their lives. I know they too have sacrificed, "said Don Rigsby, keynote speaker for the program.

Rigsby retired from the United States Air Force on July 1, 1998 after more than 31 years of active and reserve military service including duty in Southeast Asia in 1968 through 1969. Upon his retirement from the Air Force, Rigsby was the Recruiting and Retention Supervisor for the Tennessee Air National Guard.

In his remarks, Rigsby spoke of the freedoms we enjoy in America because of our veterans and he referred to a poem to help illustrate the point.

"It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag."

He also quoted British philosopher John Stuart Mill in saying that "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling is much worse. A person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight is a miserable creature ."

"There are some things worth fighting for. Our freedom to live in America and our freedom to worship God. I say to you this morning, God Bless the USA. God Bless those who have fought and died for our freedom. Let us never forget them," Rigsby concluded.

Following the program, a wreath was placed at the site of the Veterans Memorial Monument on the south side of the courthouse.

DeKalb West School Observes Eighth Grade Graduation

May 25, 2015
Bill Conger
Abbey Parchman and Zachery Cothern didn't miss a single day of school this year. They were presented with an award for Perfect Attendance. (Photo by Tonya Ellis)
A.J. Gaskill receives the Mrs. Georgia Young award from Sherry Williams, the oldest daughter of the late DWS Cafeteria Manager (Photo by Tonya Ellis)
Cheyenne Maxwell (left) performed best in English Language Arts (ELA) with a 97% average in Cynthia Preston's Class. Callie Mulloy earned top honors in Karen Pelham France's class for highest average in ELA with 97%, History (97%), Math (98%), and Science (98%) (Photo by Tonya Ellis)
Citizenship awards, which were chosen by their peers went to Phillip Coats, Ashley Reynolds, Cheyenne Maxwell, and Dillon Sullivan (Photo by Tonya Ellis).
Ashley Reynolds (third from left)  tied with Callie Mulloy (far right) in Math with a 98% finish in Cynthia Preston's class while Lydia Brown (far left) and Addison Oakley (second from left) tied in Math with 97%. Oakley also tied with Josh Martin in Science with a 98% average.
In Cynthia Preston’s class,  Josh Martin was tops in History with a 98% finish. He also tied with Addison Oakley (center) in Science with a 98% average.

The 8th grade class at DeKalb West said its final good-bye on May 21 when 40 students picked up their certificate of completion.

DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver, the keynote speaker and father of 8th grader Garrett Driver, encouraged the graduating class to conquer adversity. A double amputee who has undergone five different operations, credited his faith in God with helping him to make it through the tough times. He and his wife, school nurse Christie Driver, who has faced cancer the last year, also rely on each other for strength.

"She suffers, I suffer," Driver told the students. "We attack this adversity with faith in God, and He is in control. In His word, he says he will never leave me."

Nicknamed Smiley in high school, Driver urged the students to turn to Success, Ministry, Intelligence, Loyalty, and Encouragement to overcome the troubles that will come their way.

"Do what is best for you and others, you can say no, have faith God will bring you through, family and friends are so important."

Homeroom teachers Cynthia Preston and Karen Pelham France handed out awards to students who excelled in the classroom this year.

Callie Mulloy dominated in France’s class as she picked up top honors for highest average in English Language Arts (ELA) with 97%, History (97%), Math (98%), and Science (98%). Ashley Reynolds tied with Mulloy in Math with a 98% finish.

In Preston’s class, Cheyenne Maxwell performed best in ELA with a 97% average. Josh Martin was tops in History with a 98% finish. Lydia Brown and Addison Oakley tied in Math with 97%. Oakley also tied with Martin in Science with a 98% average.

Peers elected a boy and girl from each classroom for the Citizenship award. In Preston's homeroom, students chose Dillon Sullivan and Cheyenne Maxwell, and in France’s homeroom, Phillip Coats and Ashley Reynolds received the special honor. A.J. Gaskill was selected for the annual Mrs. Georgia Young Award, named in memory of the DWS Cafeteria Manager who never allowed a child to go hungry.

Graduating from DeKalb West for the 2014-2015 school year were John Arthur Biggerstaff, Natasha Bosenbark, Lydia Ann Brown, Noah Byrge, Shelby Elizabeth Clayborn, Phillip Nathaniel Coats, Zachary M. Cothern, Cedric Anthony Cruz, Jr., Kendall Cryer, Garrett Driver, Dakota Lee Fathera, Angelo Gaskill, Justin James Gohs, Tesa Campbell Hall, Samantha Haugh, Peyton Lemons, Keaton Tyler Lowery, Joshua Martin, Zoe Hannah Evelyn Maynard, Cheyenne Lee Maxwell, Callie Elizabeth Mulloy, Jeremy Rae Nabors, Joyce Neubacher, Addison Grace Oakley, Abbey Nicholle Parchman, Grayson Micheal Redmon, Ashley Nicole Reynolds, Justin William Reynolds, Emily Danielle Roehner, Ashton Cole Sensing, Harley LeighAnn Sloan, Sarah Michelle Starnes, Dillon Sullivan, Caleb Taylor, Austin Wayne Tittle, Diego Morales Vazquez, Destiny Vincent, Kayleigh West, Austin Winningham, and Alanna Renee Woodham.

Smithville Electric System Plans Citywide Power Outage

May 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
SES to upgrade equipment at the Smithville Substation

Smithville Electric System will have a citywide power outage at midnight on Saturday, May 30th for 2 to 4 hours, to upgrade equipment at the Smithville substation.

Power to be turned off affecting the entire city will be back on sometime early Sunday morning May 31st as soon as the upgrades have been completed.

Smithville Electric System understands that this power outage is an inconvenience to everyone, but is necessary to insure reliable electricity to the City of Smithville. Customers who are on oxygen or have special medical needs should make preparations for this event. If customers have any questions or concerns, call the SES office at 615-597-4735.

This outage is dependent upon good weather, so continue to listen to WJLE for further announcements.


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