Local News Articles

Northside Elementary Observing Family Reading Summer Days

June 11, 2018
Dwayne Page
Pictured: Kaydence Johnson, Retired Teacher Carolyn Adcock, Chrystal  Reed, Tristan Reed, Northside Elementary Librarian Libby McCormick, Taylor White, and Hayden Reed

Children and their families are spending quality time together reading this week at Northside Elementary School.

Family Reading Summer Days are underway through Thursday this week from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Smithville Elementary School hosted a similar event last week as part of the Accelerated Reader Program. Children and family members from any school in the system may participate.

DeKalb West School started its Family Read Days Monday and will continue on Friday, June 15 from 8-11 a.m.; Monday, July 9 from noon until 3 p.m.; and Monday, July 16 from 9 a.m. until noon with special activities at 10 a.m.

“Through the summer reading program, family members including parents, grandparents, guardians, aunts, uncles, or older siblings can come to Northside and read books with their children. The students are tested later through the accelerated reader program and the points they accumulate go toward AR Awards for the first nine weeks of school,” said Libby McCormick, Librarian at Northside Elementary School.

In addition to the Family Reading Summer Days at the end of the school year, the schools host Family Read Night events during the school year as an extension of the school day.

Accelerated Reader is a computerized program that tests reading comprehension. Students select books on their reading level, read independently, and take an independent comprehension test on the computer. Each book is worth a certain number of points based on its length and reading level. Students get a percentage of these points based on how many of the test questions they get right. The program tracks their progress over the course of the school year.

“Its nice for parents because they can actually see their children’s growth in reading by participating with them,” said Dr. Danielle Collins, Federal Programs Supervisor for the school system.

Pictured: Kaydence Johnson, Retired Teacher Carolyn Adcock and grandparent, Chrystal Reed, Tristan Reed, Northside Elementary Librarian Libby McCormick, Taylor White, and Hayden Reed

Community Chorus to perform at Fiddlers Jamboree (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 9, 2018
Dwayne Page

The Community Chorus will make a return appearance during the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Friday evening, July 6

The chorus will be performing a variety of patriotic songs featuring children and adults alike.


The program begins at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, July 6 from the Jamboree stage. You can also catch another performance on Thursday evening, July 5 at Evins Park behind city hall and across from the post office at 6 p.m. followed by the Sassy Smithville Stompers at 7 p.m.

Bring your own chair and come enjoy seeing our local folks perform on Thursday, July 5 at Evins Park.

Sample Ballot for August Elections Now Available (VIEW BALLOT HERE)

June 9, 2018
Dwayne Page

Want to know who is running for the various offices in the August 2 elections?

A sample ballot can now be viewed by clicking on the link below and at www.dekalbelections.com

DekalbTN-PG18-Infinity999-4-C.pdf (37.83 KB)

Winners in the state party primaries will square off against each other in the November election.

Those who win in the DeKalb County General Election will take office on September 1.

Winners in the four municipal elections will take office based on the date specified in their respective city charters.

Meanwhile the deadline to be a “write-in” candidate for any of the local races is Noon June 13.

Early voting in the August elections is set for July 13 through July 28 (with exact hours to be announced later). The last day to register to vote is July 3 and that applies also to property rights voters.

Ninety Seven Youngsters Participate in Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo

June 9, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jadyn Young
Youngsters up to age 15 participated in the annual Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo held Saturday at the big pond in the Pea Ridge Wildlife Management Area  as part of Free Fishing Day in Tennessee.

A total of 97 youngsters up to age 15 participated in the annual Pea Ridge Kids Fishing Rodeo held Saturday at the big pond in the Pea Ridge Wildlife Management Area as part of Free Fishing Day in Tennessee.

Snacks, soft drinks, and prizes were made available to the kids.

Jadyn Young had the most success of any angler in the Fishing Rodeo Saturday.

Free Fishing Day is held each year in June to give anyone an opportunity to fish free without a license in Tennessee’s public waters.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provides the annual free day in hopes of increasing interest in fishing. The day allows anyone the opportunity to try this great outdoor sport, especially children to celebrate fishing as a wholesome and healthy recreational option. Children ages 15 and younger may continue to fish without a license through Friday, June 15

20th Annual Fiddler 5K and Fun Run Set For July 7 (ACCESS REGISTRATION FORM HERE)

June 9, 2018
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor
20th Annual Fiddler 5K and Fun Run Set For July 7
Sean Edwards of Carmel, Indiana was the overall winner of the race in 2017. He ran the course in 19:27 (Bill Luton Photo)
Brooklyn Edwards of Carmel, Indiana won the race among females in 2017. She ran the course in 19:46. (Bill Luton Photo)
Construction underway on Home for Habitat Partner Family. Pictured: Jayde Stanley, Desmond Nokes, Jamie Nokes, Tayvian Nokes, and Justis Nokes

The 20th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County will be Saturday, July 7. All proceeds from the race are used in building another Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.



In February, a groundbreaking celebration was held for the sixth Habitat for Humanity home locally.

Committee and Board members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County joined the new partner family, Jamie Nokes and her family Jayde Stanley, Tayvian Nokes, Desmond Nokes, and Justis Nokes for the brief ceremony at 204 Hayes Street. Construction is now underway.

The Fiddler 5K is a qualifying race for the “Run the Cumberland Medal Series”

Last year the Fiddler 5K and Fun Run featured 295 runners.

Sean Edwards of Carmel, Indiana was the overall winner of the race in 2017. He ran the course in 19:27. Meanwhile Brooklyn Edwards of Carmel, Indiana won the race among females. She ran the course in 19:46.

The race on Saturday, July 7 will begin promptly at 7:00 a.m. RAIN OR SHINE. The course will continue along the same path as last year beginning and ending on Church Street in Downtown Smithville.

“We’re in year 20. We had a race back then when there were not a lot of races around. The Fiddler 5K is really a fun race. It’s very festive. People dress up in patriotic colors. Lots of families come out for the race. We encourage everyone to come out and join the fun with us. We have a good time. Be a part of it or come out and cheer the runners on. Its an exciting way to start your Saturday morning,” said Race Director Tecia Puckett Pryor.

Anybody who is interested in participating either in the one mile fun run or the 5K may go to www.fiddler5k.com where you'll find a printable registration form that provides all the details of registration and a link to online registration. A course map is also available there.

The deadline for online pre-registration at itsyourrace.com is midnight Wednesday, July 4 and completed paper registration forms must be received in the mail by Monday, July 2.

“You may mail in the registrations to our P.O. Box 750, Smithville Tennessee 37166 or you may drop them off by Monday afternoon, July 2 at my law office at 312 West Broad Street next to Griffin’s Fruit Market,” said Pryor.

Participants may sign up on race day, July 7 starting at 6:00 a.m. (please bring your completed form) in the parking lot of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home near the finish line on Church Street but it costs a little more. The cost of race day registration is $30 and $25 for those age18 and younger. For early registration it's $25 for adults age 19 and older and for youth its $20 for ages 18 and younger. Pre-registered participants receive a commemorative t-shirt. All participants receive free refreshments and are eligible for door prize giveaways before the awards ceremony.Strollers are welcome in the race but should line up at the rear. No pets allowed.


“A perk of pre-registration is that you can show up on Friday night, July 6 from 5-7 p.m. at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center and pick up your packet which includes your bib and t-shirt. That way you don’t have to get up quite as early on Saturday morning to check in. But you can check in as early as 6:15 a.m. Saturday morning if you pre-register,” Pryor continued.

"For our awards, we give an overall male award and a female award for the fastest runners. We also give a Masters award which is for the fastest male and female age 40 and older. We present the top three awards in the age categories of nine and younger, and then go up from there in five year increments. We give ribbons for those categories. For the Fun Run, we only give awards for children who are age twelve and younger. We give overall awards for male and female and then we do the top three. Everybody gets a nice ribbon and the overall winners get medals," she said

The course is certified, chip timed and professionally managed by Tennessee Race Timing of Cookeville.

For more information call 615-597-7370, email director@fiddler5k.com, visit www.fiddler5k.com, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/HFHDeKalbTN.

THP Sergeant Dewaine Jennings Promoted to Lieutenant

June 8, 2018
Dwayne Page
Sergeant Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He was recognized in a formal pinning ceremony at the THP Training Center in Nashville conducted by Colonel Tracy Trott.
THP Captain R.C. Christian, Commissioner David Purkey, Lieutenant Dewaine Jennings, Colonel Tracy Trott, Lieutenant Commissioner Dereck Stewart, and Major Cheryl Sanders

Sergeant Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant

He is now supervisor over Cumberland, White, and Van Buren Counties

For the last four years, Jennings has served as Sergeant for Putnam County.

From 2007 when he joined the THP until his promotion to the rank of Sergeant, Jennings worked in DeKalb County as Trooper.

Lieutenant Jennings received his latest promotion in May and was recognized in a formal pinning ceremony at the THP Training Center in Nashville conducted by Colonel Tracy Trott.

Lieutenant Jennings is a U.S. Navy veteran and he logged twelve and a half years as a law enforcement officer before joining the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Since becoming a member of the THP, Jennings has been named three times as the Cookeville District Trooper of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2012 and he was Trooper of the Year for the entire State in 2009. In 2017 Lieutenant Jennings received the THP Life Savers Award.

He is a Crash Reconstructionist, Radar Instructor, District Field Training Officer Coordinator, Supervisor of Strike Team 6, Drug Recognition Expert, and a member of the THP Honor Guard.

Jennings is a graduate of Bethel University where he received a degree in criminal justice

Bert Driver Nursery Adds Beer Garden

June 8, 2018
Dwayne Page
Bert Driver Nursery Adds Beer Garden
The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Tap House

For years it has been a wholesale Retail Garden Center for plants, trees, and shrubs and while that is still the main focus of the business, Bert Driver Nursery has added a beer garden and serves as an occasional entertainment venue.

The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Tap House is located at the former drive-in theater building inside of Bert Driver Nursery. It opened with an event celebrating Earth Day, April 21 serving Calf Killer Beers, made in Sparta, and Theoretic Ales produced locally by Alex Von Seitz, who operates a licensed in-home brewery at his residence in DeKalb County.

“As we discussed with them how they make beer and learned what they are all about, we decided to feature their craft beers because it was here local in Smithville and DeKalb County so after doing some research we decided to open a beer garden here at Bert Driver Nursery. It is inside the same building as the former DeKalb County Drive-In Movie Theatre so the history of the concession stand has been a drive-in movie theatre, a nursery, and now a beer garden,” said Driver.

“We are featuring seven taps both from theoretical ale from here in Smithville and Calf Killer beer out of Sparta. Those are the two beers we feature at any time through the week. During our normal nursery business operation hours we will be glad to let you taste the beers or even purchase them and fill growlers. We do have extended tap room hours on Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays we’ll stay open until 8 p.m.,” said Driver.

The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Tap House will also serve as host to music and entertainment events this summer including a Summer Solstice celebration on June 23.

“Along the way we have been trying to feature local music as well. We have had a couple of events here. In fact we have one upcoming on Saturday, June 23. That will be a summer solstice celebration here at the nursery in the burlap room. We will have four bands and food trucks. Its kid friendly and pet friendly. There might even be a sno-cone truck here. There is a $15 cover charge but children ages 12 and younger can get in free. We will have local featured artists ranging from blues music to reggae, Americana rock, to singer-songwriter so we would love for you to come join us on that day to celebrate the summer solstice,” Driver said.

Baxter Man Killed in Pickup Truck Crash

June 7, 2018
Dwayne Page
State Trooper Surveys Scene of Fatal Pickup Truck Crash
County Fire Chief Donny Green and other Firefighters and EMS personnel access truck after it was pulled away from a tree where it came to rest on its side
The driver of this GMC Canyon lost his life in crash Thursday on Medley-Amonette Road

The driver of a pickup truck died in a crash Thursday afternoon on Medley-Amonette Road (State Highway 96) near the Putnam County line.

Dead is 56 year old Morris D. Carr of Baxter.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carr was traveling north in a red GMC Canyon when the truck exited the roadway to the right and traveled for around 100 yards before it flipped onto its side where the passenger side compartment was pinned against a tree near a rock bluff. The driver was pinned in the passenger compartment in between the truck and tree. Carr was not wearing his seatbelt. He died at the scene.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Team and Liberty Station responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash was investigated by Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol

Bobby Charles Martin Inducted Into Tennessee School Bus Driver Hall of Fame (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 7, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Sprague, Bobby Charles Martin, and Audrey Martin

Former DeKalb County school bus driver Bobby Charles Martin has been inducted into the Tennessee School Bus Driver Hall of Fame.

The addition of Martin to the Hall of Fame was announced Tuesday at the Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation President’s Awards Dinner in the Symphony Hall at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.

Martin retired two years ago after driving a school bus for 49 years. He was nominated for the award by Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System.

In making the nomination, Sprague said Martin began his bus driver duties with the DeKalb County Board of Education in 1968 on a route that encompassed the Dry Creek area. During almost five decades as a school bus driver, Martin logged 1.6 million miles without having been involved in a single accident.

The TAPT School Bus Driver Hall of Fame was created to recognize and honor Tennessee School Bus Drivers who have made outstanding contributions to their local school transportation department and who, by virtue of those contributions, are considered to be among the industry’s most dedicated individuals.

Induction into the TAPT Hall of Fame represents one of the highest honors that TAPT can bestow on an individual. Honorees must meet the highest standards of personal and professional integrity, including distinguished service to the school children in their school district.

Inductees must have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment of time and energy to the safe transportation of our Tennessee school children.

In addition to his bus driver duties, Martin has been a minister for 33 years. He began his affiliation with the United Methodist Church as a pastor in 1986 and has served many churches over the years. Martin was also manager of the Dowelltown/Liberty Water Department for more than 30 years. Martin is a US Army veteran and served for the Ground Observance Corps of the US Air Force during his teenage years.

He and his wife Audrey reside in Liberty. They have been married for 24 years.

Martin has fond memories as a school bus driver and he made many lasting friendships.

“Over the years of driving, Bobby was proud to tell me that he treated all children equally and built many relationships with the children and their parents,” said Sprague.

“He still has people who tell him they remember him as their bus driver and how they still love him for the kindness and consideration he showed them,” he added.

Martin said he is honored to have been inducted into the Tennessee School Bus Driver Hall of Fame and is thankful to Sprague for nominating him.

Several Vehicle Break-Ins Reported at Various Center Hill Lake Locations

June 7, 2018

As the summer recreation season gets into full swing, Center Hill Lake becomes a popular destination for many Middle Tennessee residents. The lake’s 18,220 square miles of water, multiple campgrounds, marinas, and recreation areas are a significant attraction for tourists, locals, and… criminals alike.

Over the past month Center Hill Lake has seen an increase in visitor activity as well as over 15 motor vehicle break-ins at various locations, including Hurricane Marina, Edgar Evins State Park, Buffalo Valley Boat Ramp, Big Rock Market, Happy Hollow Boat Ramp, and Betty’s Island Boat Ramp.

All break-ins have occurred during daytime hours at relatively busy locations. Unattended vehicles with visible valuable items such as purses and wallets have been targeted. In each case, the window was broken with a crowbar and visible belongings stolen.

In light of these incidents, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District encourages lake-goers to use caution when heading out on the water. If any valuables must be left in the vehicle, be sure doors and windows are locked and belongings are placed in a secure location that is not visible.

If a crime is witnessed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges visitors not to engage the culprit, but instead call 911 immediately. Visitor safety is paramount to Center Hill Lake staff both on and off the water.

Anyone with knowledge of the break-ins are encouraged to call the Corps Watch Hotline at 866-413-7970 with any information that could aid in the prosecution of persons committing crimes against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property. Callers can remain anonymous and may receive up to a $1,000 reward for their assistance.


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