Local News Articles

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Needs Donations for Holidays

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

Once again the Christmas season is approaching.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Many of these children may wonder if Santa Claus has received their new address and if he will be bringing gifts this year.

There are currently more than 734 children in the Upper Cumberland area who are in state’s custody and approximately 86 of those children are from DeKalb County. These children need your help.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with funds for the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund Account. This account provides assistance to foster and underprivileged children all year. If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please contact Annette Greek at 615-597-5023 or make your check payable to the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund and send it to Annette Greek, 1101 South College Street, Smithville Tennessee 37166.

Tigers to Host Macon County on Senior Night

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers to Host Macon County on Senior Night

The DCHS Tigers will host the Macon County Tigers in their last home game of the regular season tonight.

Kick-Off is at 7:00 p.m.



It’ll be a region showdown.

While Macon County has several playmakers, Tiger Coach Steve Trapp said quarterback Seth Carlisle is the straw that stirs the drink.

“He definitely is a great football player. He has already signed to go play at Tennessee Tech. I don’t know if that is for quarterback or not. He plays defense as well. Our guys just have to gang tackle. They have to be motivated to play against a really great football player. Deep down inside if you are a guy that rises up to a challenge then this is where you want to be. You want to play against good football players. You want to play against guys who are going to the next level just so you can leave your mark in your moment. That is the thing we’ve talked about. I feel like our guys have practiced well. The “R” in Tiger Pride is about resilience. We’ve talked a lot about that, being able to bounce back from a very poor performance. A very poor week. We were bad Monday through Friday last week and it showed up a lot on Friday but it has been better this week and I think we’ll have a better performance tonight,” said Coach Trapp.

DeKalb County is 2-6 with losses to Warren County 26-10, Upperman 49-27, Stone Memorial 38-16, Watertown 59-21, Livingston Academy 29-18, and Smith County 53-21. Their wins have been over Grundy County 27-7 and Cannon County 42-0.

Macon County is 6-1 with wins over Westmoreland 10-7, White House Heritage 28-26, Cumberland County 49-13, Trousdale County 42-20, Stone Memorial 28-16, and Portland 36-7. Their only loss was to Smith County 39-22 in the season opener.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the football game on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby.

WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.

“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at 6:00 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches interviews.

“Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger players Isaac Cross, Hunter Fann, Bradley Miller

The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with play by play coverage on WJLE with John Pryor and color commentary by Luke Willoughby

School Board Responds to Teachers Concerns about Health Insurance Costs

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School Teacher Tena Davidson Addresses Board of Education
Board of Education
Several teachers attended Thursday night's Board of Education meeting
Teachers concerned about rising health insurance premiums attend School Board meeting

The Smithville Elementary School Cafeteria was filled with teachers Thursday night where the monthly meeting of the Board of Education was held.

These teachers who have health insurance through the school system offered by the state are facing higher premiums soon and that has them concerned because the extra out of pocket expense will affect their take home pay.

Last month the board voted to approve a rate hike as mandated by the state but since the school system did not absorb the increase in the plan in which most teachers are enrolled, the higher costs are being passed on to them. Of the 274 plus employees taking insurance, 146 are enrolled in the “limited ppo” plan that took the hardest hit. The state requires that the school system pay 45% toward its teachers’ health insurance, but according to Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, “we have been paying well over that, 55% and more depending upon the plan teachers have,” he said.

Under the Federal Affordable Care Act, the school system must offer at least one plan that is affordable for its lowest paid employees based on federal poverty guidelines. To meet that mandate, the school system provides a Consumer Directed Health Plan with Health Savings Account.

Since last month, the board of education has heard from teachers who say this extra expense will place a heavier burden on them financially. Some are concerned that many good teachers here will be forced to leave the system and take better paying jobs and health insurance benefits elsewhere if they don’t get more help.

Tena Davidson, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School, addressed the board Thursday night during its workshop with a suggestion.

“My compromise is for the school system not to absorb all the increase, but just the same percentage you absorbed last year. That is what I thought would be a fair compromise. The example for me is that if the school continued to pay the same percentage of my insurance as you did last year, because last year 70% was paid, my insurance, if I keep the same insurance, it would go up from $323 per month to $408, which is a 26% increase. That is manageable. However with the school only covering 57.5% of the insurance this year instead of 70% last year, my premium will go up from $323 per month to $579 per month, which is a 79% increase. That is out of my check. The end result on my paycheck will be monthly I am going to be bringing home $284 less per month and my husband and I will be getting $3,408 less this coming year. That’s a whopping big cut in my pay. But I am just one of many (teachers). We’re all in this together. I am just asking you to do what you can,” said Davidson.

In an effort to ease that burden, the Board, following its one hour workshop on the issue, voted during the regular meeting to add another $50 per month to each teacher who has insurance through the school system . The vote was 5 -1-1.

Second District Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson “passed” saying the board was acting in haste and should take more time to deliberate in another meeting or workshop. “This is a serious matter ladies and gentlemen. I’ve told you before when I got on this board not to try and ram something down my throat. This is just ramming it down our throat. We have not had enough time to study it. We need to set down, meet in a workshop and study this before you pass it. You don’t need to do it on the spur of the moment. I just want these people in the audience (teachers) to know why I’m voting no tonight. I have nothing against none of you. I wish we could pay 100% of your insurance.I am for you getting every dime you can get but I’m not going to have nothing run down my throat. I said that when I got on the board. I still say it and that’s the way I stand,” said Johnson.

Fourth district member Kate Miller said teachers needed a decision from the board because they are facing an open enrollment deadline this month by which time they must decide whether to keep their current health insurance plan or make changes. “I have had this information for several days and have been looking at it and studying it, really comparing the figures. I feel like it is reasonable. Its not as much as I wish we could do. I wish we could afford to pay the entire increase,” said Miller.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens told WJLE later that while he is concerned for the teachers, the board’s action Thursday night would only add to potential budget deficit issues for the school system and not fix the problem of rising health insurance costs, which is beyond the school board’s control.

Still, Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said it is a start toward addressing the teachers’ worries.

“It’s a lot of money but it seems like its no help at all. It’s a start. It’ll be real close to what we paid last year. I hope that (extra expenditure) doesn’t get into reserves but if it does, it does. In my opinion it’s better than nothing but at least it’s a start. We have to give people (teachers) time to make decisions on whether this is enough additional money to keep them from having to choose a different plan ” said Chairman Evins.

“Within the budget realms we have, we crunched the numbers and tried to fit this within our budget. We will go back (to the county commission) and ask for more (money) next year,” said Director Cripps.

In other business, Director Cripps updated the Board on personnel moves since last month.

Those employed are:

Janie Johnson, bus driver
Roger Gaw, custodian
Rochelle Johnson, deaf interpreter at Northside Elementary School

Julie Hale from educational assistant to an art position at DeKalb Middle School/DeKalb West School

Ricky Edwards, bus driver
Jennifer Sykes, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary would like to recognize our Students of the Month for October. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for October are:

Pre-K: Anna Fulcher

Kindergarten: Aubree Bruno

1st grade: Braxston Carter

2nd grade: Cassidy Orcutt

Local CNA’s Honored

October 13, 2017
(L to R: Maria Amaya, Danna Fults, Clint Hall, Opal Parker, Pam Sims, Brooke Goodson, Brittany Bogle, Cassie Dyer, Melinda Wilson, and Mike Ussery. NOT PICTURED: Susie White)

Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) provide essential care in healthcare settings by assisting patients with activities of daily living. Seven area residents were recently recognized as CNA’s of the Year at NHC Smithville. Maria Amaya, Danna Fults, Opal Parker, Pam Sims, Brooke Goodson, Brittany Bogle, and Cassie Dyer visited the Chattanooga Aquarium with a day of fun and a banquet. Ms. Susie White of Smithville was also an honoree but unable to attend. They celebrated with other honored CNA’s from NHC HealthCare Centers throughout Middle and Eastern Tennessee.

The honorees were evaluated on knowledge and performance of their duties, among other key factors. Mrs. Pam Sims was further recognized as NHC Smithville’s nominee for CNA of the Year for all NHC centers in the Central Region. NHC Smithville Director of Nursing, Melinda Wilson, said, “Each of these CNA’s are hard-working, professional, compassionate, caring, honest, understanding, and highly skilled. They are a tremendous asset to NHC Smithville and we are truly fortunate to have them as valued partners.”

NHC Smithville offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and long-term basis. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

PHOTO (L to R: Maria Amaya, Danna Fults, Clint Hall, Opal Parker, Pam Sims, Brooke Goodson, Brittany Bogle, Cassie Dyer, Melinda Wilson, and Mike Ussery. NOT PICTURED: Susie White)

City Completes $2.8 Million Upgrade to Waste Water Treatment Plant

October 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Sewer Plant Operator Anthony Hasemann Points to New Monitoring System of the Sewer Plant
New Headworks and Pump Station
Pumping System
Bar Screen
Bar Screen and Grit Classifier

Work has been completed on a $2.8 million upgrade at the Smithville Waste Water Treatment Plant.

In August, 2016 the Smithville Aldermen voted to award a bid to the W & O Construction Company, Incorporated of Livingston to do the work as recommended by the city’s consulting engineer, the J.R. Wauford Company. The bid was $2,794,000 for the project which included a new headworks and pump station, a new electrical building to power the system, a new bar screen used to remove large objects, such as rags and other debris from wastewater, and a new grit classifier that separates rock, sand, and grit from screened wastewater and a new SCADA automation and monitoring system which the operators use to help maintain efficiency of the system.

"The new headworks is designed to hold 8 million gallons a day to run through it. We're operating an average of 1 to 1.2 million gallons a day so we have a lot of room for growth," said Anthony Hasemann, one of the sewer plant operators.

To help pay for the cost of the project, the City of Smithville was awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $525,000 from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Although the grant funded part of the costs, the bulk of the funding to pay for it was appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus.

DCHS Climate Crew Collecting Clothing Donations for Next Tiger Boutique

October 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Climate Crew Collecting Clothing Donations for Next Tiger Boutique

Clothing donations are being accepted now for the next Tiger boutique, sponsored by the Climate Crew at DCHS.

“ We are accepting gently used clothing with no tears, rips, stains, or odors. Also, we are accepting shoes and accessories now through October 25 here at the high school. Anyone interested in donating can contact Sara Halliburton or Sara Young at DCHS. Call 615-597-4094,” said Sarah Halliburton, DCHS Biology Teacher.

Hundreds of clothing items were given away to students in need at DCHS during the second “Tiger Boutique” held during the spring.

Members of the Climate Crew collected donations of name brand clothes and set up shop for one day only in the DCHS library for other students to take advantage of for free.

The DCHS Climate Crew is made up of students who have a desire to change the school culture at DCHS. “The DCHS Climate Crew is a group of kids that I started a couple of years ago that just want to make a positive impact here at DCHS. We saw a need for students to have clothing,” said Halliburton.

Plans are for the “Tiger Boutique” to become a twice a year event

State Law Requires Burn Permits Oct. 15-May 15

October 11, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is observing National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 8-14) by reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Oct. 15.

Burning permits can be obtained from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday by calling the DeKalb County office of the Division of Forestry at 615-597-4015. In Smithville phone 615-215-3000. Burning permits can be obtained after hours and on weekends by visiting www.burnsafetn.org.

“It’s important, and required by law from October 15, 2017 to May 15, 2018, that citizens call for a burning permit and follow outdoor burning safety recommendations,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “Tennessee experienced a historic fall fire season last year due to exceptional drought conditions. Fortunately, that underlying condition does not exist this year, but we’re not going to let our guard down. The permit system helps us communicate to the public when and where it is safe to burn and focuses attention on safety. We need all Tennesseans to volunteer to prevent wildfire.”

The online burn permit system is free, fast and simple. If you are burning a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, log on to www.BurnSafeTN.org for approval. More than 300,000 permits are issued each year, and the online system provides a quick and efficient way to apply.

Burn permits are only issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with your municipality before you burn.

To learn what materials may not be burned, check the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Open Burning Guidelines at https://tn.gov/environment/article/apc-open-burning.

Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, please call 1-888-891-TDEC.

Visit www.BurnSafeTN.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.

The Division of Forestry promotes the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality and collecting forest inventory data. The Division also works to promote primary and secondary forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy. Visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/section/forests for more information.

DeKalb County Fall Baseball Camp Set for October 28

October 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Come meet professional baseball player Steven Jennings

The 2017 DeKalb County Fall Baseball Camp will be Saturday, October 28 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the DCHS Baseball Field for ages 5 to 14.

Come meet professional baseball player Steven Jennings. Get valuable instruction, autographs, and play games with Jennings.

Camp skills:
*Learn the proper mechanics for throwing and catching
*Learn the proper fundamentals for pitching, playing infield, and playing outfield
*Learn correct fundamentals of hitting
*Learn numerous drills for all aspects of baseball

What to bring:
*Cleats, tennis shoes, baseball pants, hat, gloves, bat (catchers gear)
*Snacks and drinks for breaks, (water will be provided)

*Cost of the camp is $40
*Registration will be October 28 from 8 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. at the DCHS Baseball Field

All proceeds will go to the DCHS baseball program.

Dailey and Vincent Celebrate Our Nation’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ in New Video (VIEW VIDEO HERE FEATURING SEVERAL PEOPLE FROM DEKALB COUNTY)

October 10, 2017
Dailey and Vincent

The award winning bluegrass group Dailey and Vincent has premiered a new music video from their stellar eighth album Patriots and Poets and the multi-instrumentalists are giving fans a deeper look at the inspiration behind their song “Unsung Heroes.”

The video features real-life veterans and first responders, an important reminder that kindness and selflessness are still a familiar scene across the country and reflected in those we encounter every day.

Local fans of Dailey and Vincent will take a special interest in this video because it includes appearances by several people from DeKalb County including Edward and Edsel Frazier, Jerry Lee Cantrell, Tommy Webb, Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, Smithville Fire Lieutenant John Poss, Smithville Police Officer Brandon Donnell, THP Sergeant Charlie and Rhonda Caplinger, Kenny Bly, Donald Gilbert, Paul Robinson, Alan Stengel, Donnie and Kathy Kelly, Valeshia Pedigo, members of Vincent's family, among others. A large portion of the video shoot took place downtown Smithville in August.

Written by Jamie Dailey, Bill Anderson and Jimmy Fortune, “Unsung Heroes” shines a light on everyday acts of courage and love by those who serve the public. In the wake of the hurricanes that wreaked havoc on Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas last week, the video offers a message of hope.

Directed by Jennifer Bonior, the video was filmed in Darrin Vincent’s hometown of Smithville, Tenn. and features a cameo from country star Aaron Tippin.

Jamie Dailey says it’s important not to lose sight of all the good being done across the country in these trying times.

“It’s easy to look at these events and lose hope,” said Dailey. “But in the midst of the horror, strangers began reaching out to one another to help. In areas hit hard by hurricanes, volunteers came in droves to help the cleanup and the rebuilding of lives. In Las Vegas, during the shooting, there are countless stories of strangers risking their own lives to save others. Some people stood in line for 3 — 4 hours to donate blood. These people did this with no thought except helping one another. They didn’t even expect a thank you. These are our everyday angels. They are unsung heroes.”

Darrin Vincent says he witnesses these acts of kindness and the impact they have everyday.

“I live in a small community in Tennessee, and I see it all the time,” Vincent says. “People who are suffering one way or the other are raised up by their neighbors who give their time and energy and sometimes money, just to help. It’s really remarkable how the smallest thing can mean so very much to someone in need. We all have the chance to be one of these heroes.”

Patriots and Poets, released in March, features appearances by Steve Martin, Bela Fleck, David Rawlings and Doyle Lawson, among others. Dailey and Vincent are currently on tour across the U.S.


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