Local News Articles

Public meeting set for Center Hill Dam Modification Study

April 23, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is hosting a public scoping meeting 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 3, 2018 at the Buffalo Valley Community Center to present information to the public regarding a current Dam Safety Modification Study (DSMS) to further reduce risk at Center Hill Dam. The center is located at 2717 Buffalo Valley School Road, Buffalo Valley, Tenn.

Since 2008 the Nashville District has worked to reduce risk at Center Hill Dam from a foundation seepage issue.

“More recently, however, operability issues have been identified with the 70-year old main dam spillway gates that add project risk during a large flood event” said Corps Project Manager, Linda Adcock.

In the early 1990’s a self-eroding structure called a ‘fuse plug’ was built into the top of the saddle dam to add the ability to safely pass a rare, extreme flood downstream.

“If the main dam spillway gates don’t operate as intended, the fuse plug on the saddle dam could operate at a smaller flood than intended,” Adcock added.

Currently, risk of this occurrence is higher than the Corps deems acceptable. A study is underway to evaluate spillway gate repair alternatives and potential changes to standard gate operations during a large flood. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the Corps of Engineers is initiating scoping and preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support the DSMS. The study will produce a recommended plan to reduce potential project risk. The Corps seeks public input on the array of alternatives being considered.

Examples of measures, either individually or in combination, that have potential to affect structures or operations of the dam may include:

a) Replacement of the current gate machinery with hydraulic machinery that can operate under water;

b) Addition of equipment to the current spillway gates to keep them open if the operating machinery is underwater;

c) Modification of the spillway gates or gate machinery to allow operation from the top of the dam;

d) Relocation of the gate operating machinery to the road level, which would require raising or relocating Highway 96 that crosses over the dam;

e) Modification of the emergency operations plan in the water control manual that determines how to manage floods at Center Hill Dam; and

f) Other measures as identified by on-going engineering studies, the public, and agencies.

The announcement seeking public input is located on the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/20/2018-08291/intent-t.... This announcement includes information on how to provide comments to the Corps of Engineers regarding this study.

To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Cen... . For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake , and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.

Car Hits Entrance to Post Office Building

April 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Car Hits Entrance to Post Office Building

An accident at the Smithville Post Office Monday morning caused some damage to the front entrance but no one was injured.

According to Smithville Police, 77 year old Marilynn Shea was pulling up to park at the post office in a 2008 Hyundai Accent and attempted to apply the brake when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator pedal causing the car to hit the front of the post office building.

Shea was not hurt.

After the accident, a sign was posted on the front door directing patrons to a side entrance to the building.

Luke Willoughby Passes Tennessee Bar Exam

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
Luke Willoughby of Alexandria took the oath Thursday, April 19 administered by Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy of the 20th Judicial District.

A DeKalb County man is beginning his law practice after recently passing the Tennessee Bar Exam.

Luke Willoughby of Alexandria took the oath Thursday, April 19 administered by Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy of the 20th Judicial District.

Willoughby, a lifelong resident of DeKalb County, is the son of Mark and Marilyn Willoughby of Alexandria. He graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2009 and furthered his education at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City. After graduating in 2013, Willoughby attended the Nashville School of Law where he earned his Doctorate of Jurisprudence.

He will be associated with attorneys Michael Castellarin, Chris Hofstetter, and Michelle Poss in Nashville at 95 White Bridge Road, Suite 509.

“I am very honored to be associating with such well regarded attorneys. All three of them are top notch in their respective fields. Working with Michelle has been a wonderful experience especially with us both being from DeKalb County. She is a 1987 graduate of DeKalb County High School and I have worked with her throughout law school over the past 4 years. Even though our practice is based in Nashville we would both love to assist the folks of DeKalb County with their legal matters,” said Willoughby.

“Becoming a lawyer is an exciting time in my life, but I could not have made if it were not for others who helped me out along the way. Both the DeKalb County 4-H program and FBLA at DeKalb County High School shaped me into the person I am today. I am very thankful that Ron Rogers, Steve Officer and Amanda Brown saw that a loud mouth kid from Alexandria needed to compete in public speaking contests. It is because of them I found my passion for advocating for people and their rights,” he concluded.

Alexandria Mayor and Challenger to Run Write-In Campaign

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page

Two persons have filed the necessary paperwork to run as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Alexandria in the Municipal Election on Thursday, August 2.

Incumbent Mayor Bennett Armstrong will be a write-in candidate for re-election but he will face a challenge from write-in candidate Donna Davis.

No one qualified by the April 5 filing date to get their name on the ballot to run for Mayor.

Meanwhile only one candidate qualified to run for alderman in Alexandria, Lloyd Dyer. Three full term alderman seats are to be filled along with two unexpired vacant alderman positions in the August 2 election.

“In order for write-in ballots to be counted, a form must be filed no later than noon on the 50th day before the election with the local election commission office,” said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.

DeKalb Jail Again Meets Minimum Standards for Certification

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the TCI recently performed an inspection of the Jail and the Annex.


News Release.pdf (457.99 KB)

In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote " the TCI recently inspected the facilities. The inspection revealed that this facility meets all applicable minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the board of control at its next meeting. After approval from the board of control, you will receive a certificate of certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.

Detention Facility Specialist Joe Ferguson, in the report wrote that the jail was not overcrowded and no deficiencies were found.

The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds including 78 for men and 24 for women. The average daily population is 91 (3 months). There were 70 inmates incarcerated on the day of the inspection.

Sheriff Ray says the jail has maintained certification each year of his terms as sheriff and he gives credit to members of his staff for helping him achieve this accomplishment.

Turnout Light For Early Voting with One Day Left

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page

Turnout for early voting has been light so far for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary compared to four years ago.

As of Wednesday, April 25, a total of 968 people have cast ballots during the first 13 days of early voting with one day left. On Wednesday, 90 voted including 88 in person and 2 by absentee. Four years ago a total of 1,612 voted either during the 14 day early voting period or by absentee for the election and 1,701 cast ballots on election day for a total turnout of 3,313 in the 2014 May Democratic Primary.

This year voters are making their choices as to who will represent the Democratic party as nominees in the August General Election for the offices of Road Supervisor, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and for the county commission in each of the seven districts. There is no Democratic candidate for Trustee.

The primary will feature two county wide contested races for County Mayor and Circuit Court Clerk. There are four contested county commission district primary races including in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th districts.

Early voting runs through April 26 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse

Early voting days and times are as follows:
Wednesday—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday—2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Election day voting at all 15 precincts in the county will be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1.

WJLE will have exclusive LIVE coverage of the local election returns starting at 7 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

Evins and Colwell Win Most Coveted DCHS Basketball Awards, Evans Named MVC

April 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
2018 DCHS Basketball Most Valuable Cheerleader Hannah Evans and Most Valuable Basketball Players Marshal Evins and Emme Colwell
DCHS Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Nathan Atkins, Marshal Evins (MVP), Tanner Poss, Colter Norris, Dallas Cook, Alan Munoz, Trey Jones, and Austin Johnson
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Kenzie France, Mya Ruch, Lydia Brown, Emme Colwell (MVP), Megan Walker, Maddison Parsley, Sophie Cripps, and Mallori Hart.
DCHS Basketball Cheerleader Award Winners: Holly Evans, Amelia Patterson, Malia Stanley, Hannah Evans (MVC), Olivia Winter, Zoe Maynard, and Madison Mick

Senior Marshal Evins was named the DCHS Tiger basketball Most Valuable Player Friday night at the annual team banquet, while sophomore Emme Colwell received the Lady Tiger MVP honor. Senior Hannah Evans is the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were sponsored by Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory of Allen D. Hooper.

In addition to being named MVP, Evins received the team's Best Defender, Hustle, and Smartest Player award. He was also named to District 8AA All Defensive Team and made 3rd team All-District. Colwell was named Best Shooter for the Lady Tigers, made the 2nd Team All-District and was named the District’s Most Improved Player in addition to the Team MVP honor.

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers ended with a loss to Watertown in the District 8AA Tournament at Cookeville. The Tigers finished with an overall record of 13-14. The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Cumberland County in the Region 4AA basketball tournament. They closed out the campaign with a record of 12-19.

Other individual cheerleading awards included:
MVC: Hannah Evans
Most Spirited: Olivia Winter
Best Stunts: Zoe Maynard
Best Jumps: Malia Stanley
Best Dancer: Holly Evans
Best Cheer: Amelia Patterson
STAR Award (Spirit, Team, Attitude, Respect): Madison Mick

Other Lady Tiger basketball awards were as follows:
MVP: Emme Colwell
Best Shooter: Emme Colwell
Best Defensive Player: Mya Ruch
Best 6th Man: Mallori Hart
Best Free Throw Shooter: Lydia Brown
Smartest Player: Maddison Parsley
Best Rebounder: Megan Walker
Most Improved: Kenzie France
Best Passer: Maddison Parsley
Best Ball Handler: Mya Ruch
Best Practice Player: Mallori Hart
Best Attitude: Sophie Cripps
Best Athlete: Mya Ruch
Toughest Player: Megan Walker
Mya Ruch also earned a spot on the District 8AA’s All Defensive Team and she received All District Honorable Mention
Lydia Brown also received All-District Honorable Mention.

For the Tigers,
MVP: Marshal Evins
Best Offensive Player: Tanner Poss
Best Defensive Player: Marshal Evins
Best Athlete: Tanner Poss
Best Rebounder: Trey Jones
Most Improved: Dallas Cook
Best Free Throw Shooter: Colter Norris
Best Ball Handler: Colter Norris
Smartest Player: Marshal Evins
Best Practice Player: Alan Munoz
Hustle Award: Marshal Evins
Best Passer: Colter Norris
Best Sixth Man: Austin Johnson
Best Attitude: Trey Jones
Best Playmaker: Nathan Atkins
Tanner Poss was named to the 1st Team All-District 8AA.
Marshal Evins was selected to the All District Defensive Team and made the 3rd Team All-District.
Trey Jones earned All District Honorable Mention.

DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for April 28

April 20, 2018
DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for April 28
Lisa Cripps, local Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, April 28th. As part of this major health and safety initiative, the DeKalb Prevention Coalition will host this take-back event at Smithville City Hall around the Town Square from 10am till 2pm.

According to the DEA’s Atlanta Division, formerly Tennessee’s field division, a record 34 tons (68,053 pounds) of drugs were collected in Tennessee during the October 2017 Take-Back Day. On that one day, Tennesseans turned in more drugs than Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio combined.

“Fifty-three percent of Americans who use prescription drugs recreationally got them from a friend or relative according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Lisa Cripps, local Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition. “Take-Back Days are a safe and easy way to protect your loved ones and to get these drugs out of your home.”

“With 64 percent of Tennesseans’ knowing someone who has become addicted to prescription pain medication, we want to provide more opportunities for people to safely dispose of their medications,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day occurs twice a year, so we can better prevent these addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands.”

If you can’t make it to this take-back event, our county has two drop boxes in the following locations: City Hall in Alexandria and City Hall in Smithville.

We hope to see you on Saturday, April 28th from 10am -2pm to help you dispose of any unused, out of date, or unwanted medication. We will have FREE t-shirts, pens, and lock boxes for those bringing medication to this event.

Thank you for your continued support of Count It! Lock It! Drop It!

DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Clean Up

April 19, 2018
DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Clean Up

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Mayor’s office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up on Saturday, May 5th. The DeKalb Clean Up event will be held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful initiative going on across the country.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says, “We invite people to come out and help clean up around our communities and highways. Folks are welcome to pick up litter at places of their choice, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for you.”

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the County Complex parking lot.

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to stop by the DeKalb County Complex on May 5th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags, rubber gloves, and bottles of water. We will be taking a group picture at 9:30 AM for the media if you like to participate in that.

For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber, located in the Courthouse, Room 201, anytime during regular office hours by May 4th to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 615-597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together to make our communities safer, healthier and more livable!

DeKalb Middle School Students Participate in Math Competition at Tech

April 19, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Ian Colwell, Evan Sprague, Richard Martinez, Sheridan O’Connor, Jacob Hendrix, and Tiana Clark; Front Row: Jordan Blackwell, Ryder Miller, Haidyn Hale, Evan Carmichael, Madelyn Ray, Kathryn Hale.

Several students from DeKalb Middle School recently participated in the Upper Cumberland Mathematics Competition at Tennessee Tech on April 12, 2018.

These students were chosen by their teachers to represent the school. Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Ian Colwell, Evan Sprague, Richard Martinez, Sheridan O’Connor, Jacob Hendrix, and Tiana Clark; Front Row: Jordan Blackwell, Ryder Miller, Haidyn Hale, Evan Carmichael, Madelyn Ray, Kathryn Hale.


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