Local News Articles

New Emergency Medical Responders Graduate

July 28, 2014
New Emergency Medical Responders Graduate

The latest class of Emergency Medical Responders graduated July 1.

This class is made up of members of Smithville Police Department, DeKalb County Fire Department, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, Alexandria Fire Department, 911 Dispatch, and Rock Island-Campaign Volunteer Fire Department. This program is a vital part of Emergency Medical Services at DeKalb EMS. These students, once certified, will be dispatched to different medical emergencies. They are completely volunteer, and live throughout the county, especially in the areas where EMS has a lengthy response time. They are often first on scene and can provide Basic Life Support, such as CPR, stabilizing fractures and gathering vital signs before EMS arrives. This can save time and lives. The program
consists of 76 hours of classroom and hands on skills practice, and a grade average of 80 or above. The next step for these students is to be certified through National Registry.

Pictured are: 1st row L-R: Ashlee Gunter, Chase Ferrell, Anthony Johnson, Lyndon Powell, Chip Avera, 2nd row: Hoyte Hale DeKalb County EMS Director/Instructor, Ashley Bryant, Jerry W. Johnson, Brian Partridge, Andy Pack, Jessica Pack, Mark Stewart, and Kristie Johnson Lead Instructor

Liberty Man Walks Away from Crash with Only Minor Injuries

July 28, 2014
Dwayne Page
Liberty Man Walks Away from Crash
Friday Night Truck Crash on Highway 96 near Cove Hollow
John Strayn Escapes Serious Injury in Truck Crash

A Liberty man walked away from a horrendous pickup truck crash Friday night on Highway 96 near Cove Hollow.

Trooper Troy Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old John Strayn was driving south in a 2001 GMC Sierra extended cab pickup when he went off the right side of the road and lost traction in the grass. The truck turned sideways, struck a tree in the passenger side, and then went on to crash into another tree. The impact forced the truck to overturn and it skidded across the highway on its side before turning upright as it left the road and struck another tree.

After DeKalb EMS, Sheriff Department officers, and DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters arrived and found no wreck victim at the scene, members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad were summoned to help conduct a search.

According to Trooper Withers, Strayn was found hours later at a residence near the crash scene. He claimed to have only suffered some scratches and bruises in the accident. Strayn was reportedly taken by family to the emergency room of the hospital where he was treated and released.

Trooper Withers, who was assisted in the investigation by Trooper Bobby Johnson, said the accident remains under investigation.

Over 2,000 Vote Early

July 27, 2014
Dwayne Page

A total of 2,048 persons have cast ballots during twelve days of early voting for the August 7 elections. That's 1,917 in person and 131 by absentee.

Of the 2,048 voters, a total of 745 have voted in the Tennessee Republican Primary, 600 have voted in the Tennessee Democratic Primary, and 703 have voted only in the DeKalb County General Election without voting in either state primary.

Early voting continues for two more days, Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until noon in the first floor courtroom of the courthouse.

WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night

One Killed in Saturday Night Crash

July 27, 2014
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old man lost his life in a one car crash Saturday night on Highway 146.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Roberto Cruz was traveling east on Highway 146 in a 2003 Nissan passenger car, when he went off the right side of the road and overturned several times. Cruz, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.

The crash, which occurred around 11:30 p.m. near the intersection with New Home Road, was investigated by Troopers Jeremy Wilhite and Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Others on the scene were members of the Short Mountain Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

Toddler Winners at the DeKalb County Fair

July 26, 2014
Dwayne Page
Boys (13 to 18 months) Levi Bryson Nixon (left) Braxton Levi Knowles
Girls (13 to 18 months) Izzabella Mai Boner (left) Allionna Marie Rench
Boys (19 to 24 months) Zayne Ryan Thomas (left) Daniel Crew Adams
Girls (19 to 24 months) Lillian Rose Dillard (left) Mekazya Waggoner
Boys (25 to 30 months) Billy James Clark (left) Jacob "Jake" Trenton Sprague
Girls (25 to 30 months) Zoie Dee Ashburn (left) Brylee Key
Girls (31 to 36 months) Charley Loren Prichard (left) Emily Grace Roberts
Boys (37 to 47 months) Adonis Cooprider (left) Grayson Dean Brown
Girls (37 to 47 months) Emily Danielle Johnson (left) Mia Nicole Hall
Twins (13-47 months) Emma and Will Marshall

Winners of the annual Toddler Show were announced Friday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

First place winners received a blue ribbon. Red ribbons went to those receiving second place.

This year's recipients are as follows:

Twins (13-47 months)
Emma and Will Marshall, the 30 month old children of Melonie and Jason Marshall of Liberty

Boys (13 to 18 months)
Winner: Levi Bryson Nixon, the 14 month old son of Nathan and Jessica Nixon of Smithville
Runner-up: Braxton Levi Knowles, the 15 month old son of Justin and Mary Knowles of Smithville

Other participants: Brantley Cole Wilkey, the 15 month old son of Kellyie Wilkey and Josh Anderson of Smithville; Raymond Lippart, IV, the 17 month old son of Raymond and Ashley Lippart of Smithville; Silas Hale, the 15 month old son of Connie and Josh Hale of Liberty; Turner Reece Stanley, the 16 month old son of Matt and Jessica Stanley of Alexandria; and Noah Bradley Hall, the 16 month old son of Bradley and Lacy Hall of Alexandria

Girls (13 to 18 months)
Winner: Izzabella Mai Boner, the 15 month old daughter of Robert Askew and Kia Boner of Smithville
Runner-up: Allionna Marie Rench, the 16 month old daughter of Jackie Gibbs and David Rench of Dowelltown.

Other participants: Jordyn Annabeth Shinabery, the 18 month old daughter of Friday and Marie Shinabery of Smithville; Kynlee Jade Griffith, the 17 month old daughter of Danielle Farler and Billy Griffith of Liberty; and Averi Gracella Speaks, the 13 month old daughter of Justin and Donna Speaks of Smithville

Boys (19 to 24 months)
Winner: Zayne Ryan Thomas, the 22 month old son of Zoe Whaley and Devin Thomas of Smithville
Runner-up: Daniel Crew Adams, the 19 month old son of Blaine and Kayla Adams of Smithville

Other participants: Conner Alexander Robinson, the 20 month old son of Heath and Tiffany Robinson of Dowelltown; Nicholas Adon Lackey, the 23 month old son of Linda Bain and Jason Lackey of Smithville; and Cooper Stanfield, the 19 month of son of Hunter and Nicole Stanfield of Smithville

Girls (19 to 24 months)
Winner: Lillian Rose Dillard, the 23 month old daughter of Anna and Edward Dillard of Dowelltown
Runner-up: Mekazya Waggoner, the 23 month old daughter of Rebecca Waggoner of Smithville

Other participants: Arraya Jenae Taylor, the 22 month old daughter of Angie Taylor and Michael Owens of Smithville; Averie Cheyanne Winchester, the 23 month old daughter of J.J. and Amanda Winchester of Dowelltown; and Hillary Michel Walker, the 21 month old daughter of Ed and Penny Walker of Smithville.

Boys (25 to 30 months)
Winner: Billy James Clark, the 27 month old son of Nikki and Bryan Clark of Smithville
Runner-up: Jacob "Jake" Trenton Sprague, the 28 month old son of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague of Smithville

Girls (25 to 30 months)
Winner: Zoie Dee Ashburn, the 30 month old daughter of Jeremy Ashburn and Trista Johnson
Runner-up: Brylee Key, the 28 month old daughter of Shannon and Holly Key of Alexandria

Other participants: Kimber Davis, the 26 month old daughter of Jared and Kelli Davis of Smithville; Nevaeh Adriana Herron, the 27 month old daughter of Gregory and Chrishanna Herron of Smithville; Alexis Nicole Graham, the 27 month old daughter of Derek and Andria Graham of Smithville; Lyra Dell McMinn, the 28 month old daughter of Nathan and Amanda McMinn of Dowelltown; and Kayleigh Ramirez, the 29 month old daughter of Tasha and Luiz Ramirez of Smithville

Boys (31 to 36 months): NONE

Girls (31 to 36 months)
Winner: Charley Loren Prichard, the 35 month old daughter of Andy and Chrissy Prichard of Liberty
Runner-up: Emily Grace Roberts, the 34 month old daughter of Kevin and Tonya Roberts of Liberty

Boys (37 to 47 months)
Winner: Adonis Cooprider , the 43 month old son of Rebecca and Heath Cooprider of Liberty
Runner-up: Grayson Dean Brown, the 42 month old son of Stacy and Jamie Brown of Smithville

Girls (37 to 47 months)
Winner: Emily Danielle Johnson, the 45 month old daughter of Clint and DeDe Johnson of Smithville
Runner-up: Mia Nicole Hall, the 39 month old daughter of Bradley and Lacy Hall of Alexandria

Other participants: Allie Nevaeh Tarpley, the 38 month old daughter of Steven and Mandy Tarpley of Smithville; Cora Marie Cox, the 40 month old daughter of Brandon and Whitney Cox of Smithville; India Aja Herron, the 42 month old daughter of Gregory and Chrishanna Herron of Smithville; Teagan Mae McCormick, the 44 month old daughter of Steven and Brelle McCormick of Dowelltown; Jo Cool, the 37 month old daughter of Sarah Lincoln and Aren Cool of Liberty; Caitlyn Lee Adcock, the 40 month old daughter of Jessie and Tia Adcock of Smithville; and Kenli Faith Fish, the 45 month old daughter of Tiffany Pedigo and Cody Fish of Smithville

DeKalb County Fire Department Awarded Assistance to Firefighters Grant

July 25, 2014
DeKalb County Fire Department Awarded Assistance to Firefighters Grant

DeKalb County Fire Department was contacted today by Senator Lamar Alexander’s office notifying Chief Donny Green that the department’s grant application in the amount of $52,300 has been approved. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The approved application funds firefighting equipment that will be placed in each of the DeKalb County Fire Departments 11 fires stations across the county and includes fire hoses, ventilation fans, water supply equipment, flashlights, and a portable generator. The Federal share is $49,685 and the local matching share, to be provided by the DeKalb County Government, is $2,615 (5% of $52,300).

Chief Green says that this award will have a huge impact on the department’s daily operations and will be instrumental in allowing the department to maintain and/or improve the county’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating; a rating that directly influences the amount of insurance premiums charged to property owners in DeKalb County.

“We are really excited about getting this new firefighting equipment that will allow us to add new equipment in our operation, and will replace equipment that is no longer safe or effective. Our grant application aligned perfectly with AFG’s purpose of the grant—“to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards”—and our county will soon be getting the benefit of $52,300 for cost to our local government of only $2,615,” said Chief Green. Using a competitive process, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

Chief Green says that he wishes to express the DeKalb County Fire Department’s sincere thanks to County Mayor Mike Foster, the DeKalb County Commission, and Senator Lamar Alexander for their loyal support of the department’s application for this grant.

Helping End Senior Hunger in the Upper Cumberland Area Locally

July 25, 2014
Glenda Davis
Smithville Senior Director Wanda Poss and members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 2103 Carly Vance, Leah Davis, and Hannah Willingham

According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (April 2013), Tennessee ranked second in the nation in senior hunger or food insecurity. The Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability located in Cookeville, Tennessee is making this issue a top priority. For DeKalb County/Smithville, Tennessee, the 5th Grade Junior Girl Scout Troop 2103 will partner with the Smithville Senior Center. The Troop will work toward the Girl Scout Bronze award by collecting non-perishable food items at local food drives and assist in packaging the food baskets. The Smithville Senior Center will work with UCDD and UCHRA to coordinate the delivery of the food to those Senior Citizens in need.

Food drives will be held on Saturday August 2nd, from 10 – 2 at Food Lion in Smithville and on Saturday, August 9th from 10 - 2 at Prichard’s Foods in Alexandria. Members of Girl Scout Troop 2103 will provide shoppers with a list of recommended items and collect any donated items at checkout.

Wal-Mart in Smithville donated $150.00 in store credit. The Girl Scouts will use the donated gift cards to purchase non-perishable food items to add to the food boxes.

If anyone would like to donate items for the food drive, a collection box will be also be available at the Smithville Senior Center, now through Monday, August 11th.

Thank you for your support in our effort to end hunger for Senior Citizens in DeKalb County.

(Pictured above: left to right- Smithville Senior Director Wanda Poss and members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 2103 Carly Vance, Leah Davis, and Hannah Willingham)

Baby Show Winners Awarded at the Fair

July 25, 2014
Dwayne Page
Boys (1 day to 3 months):Isaac Ray Caldwell (left) Everett Grey Bryant
Girls (1 day to 3 months):Annalyn Elyse Garrett (left) Lakelynn Renee Taylor
Boys (4-6 months):Brylan Douglas Hutchings (left) Spencer Allen Nix
Girls (4-6 months):Eden Marie Donnell (left) Ireland Beth Hobbs
Boys (7-9 months):Carson Ryan Maynard (left) Abram Gray Bratten
Girls (7-9 months):Katy Jo Bowen (left) Shaniya Bates
Boys (10-12 months): Parker McKain Ward (left) Nathan Neal Blankenship
Girls (10-12 months): Kirsten Cheri Orcutt (left) Kloe Judkins

Babies from one day to twelve months old were the center of attention during the annual Baby Show held Thursday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners (blue ribbon first place and red ribbon runner-up) are as follows:

Boys (1 day to 3 months)
Winner: Isaac Ray Caldwell, the three month old son of Marcus and Sheri Caldwell of Smithville
Runner-up: Everett Grey Bryant, the two month old son of Travis and Chelsie Bryant of Smithville

Girls (1 day to 3 months)
Winner: Annalyn Elyse Garrett, the two month old daughter of Ryan and Erica Garrett of Alexandria
Runner-up: Lakelynn Renee Taylor, the eight day old daughter of Allison Taylor and Josh Rushing of Smithville

Other participants: Marley Leigh Pyburn, the twenty three day old daughter of Jake and Kelly Pyburn of Alexandria
Clara Ruth Cox, the thirteen day old daughter of Brandon and Whitney Cox of Smithville

Boys (4-6 months)
Winner: Brylan Douglas Hutchings, the six month old son of Jeremy and Kristin Hutchings of DeKalb County
Runner-up: Spencer Allen Nix, the four month old son of Braxton and Kristina Nix of Smithville

Other participants: Bryson Zander Bragg, the five month old son of Justin and Morgan Bragg of Smithville
Elliott Bunch, the six month old son of Richard and Aleisha Bunch of Smithville
Davion Alexander Adams, the six month old son of Jennifer Hamilton and Anthony Adams
Landon David Ray, the four month old son of Jessica Ray of Alexandria
Terrance Joe Bain, the four month old son of Terry Bain and Ashley Pack of Smithville.

Girls (4-6 months)
Winner: Eden Marie Donnell, the five month old daughter of Amber Scurlock and Travis Donnell
Runner-up: Ireland Beth Hobbs, the four month old daughter of Ashley Hobbs of Smithville

Other participant in this category: Taliah Paige, the six month old daughter of Terry Barnes and Tamaron Pleasant

Boys (7-9 months)
Winner: Carson Ryan Maynard, the nine month old son of Tommy and Tosha Maynard of Smithville
Runner-up: Abram Gray Bratten, the eight month old son of J.D. and Mollie Bratten of Liberty

Other participants in this category: Logan James George, the nine month old son of Rusty and Stacy George of Alexandria
Zaxtin Kolby Skinner, the seven month old son of Cassondra and James Skinner of Smithville

Girls (7-9 months)
Winner: Katy Jo Bowen, the eight month old daughter of Joseph and Kimberly Bowen of Smithville
Runner-up: Shaniya Bates, the nine month old daughter of Ada Martinez of Smithville

Other participants: Cheyann Nicole Petty, the nine month old daughter of Kelly Judkins and Tony Petty of Smithville
Serenity Rayne Foster, the eight month old daughter of Justin Foster and Shea Matthews
Willow Rose Jackson, the seven month old daughter of Jamie Jackson and Nick Byrge
Ayla Shae Brown, the seven month old daughter of Karah and Dustin Brown
Adalyn Elizabeth Cook, the seven month old daughter of Dustin and Cora Beth Cook of Smithville

Boys (10-12 months)
Winner: Parker McKain Ward, the ten month old son of Kim Ward of Smithville
Runner-Up: Nathan Neal Blankenship, the eleven month old son of Samantha Blankenship of Alexandria
Other participant in this category: Ace River Tarpley, the ten month old son of Steven and Mandy Tarpley of Smithville

Girls (10-12 months)
Winner: Kirsten Cheri Orcutt, the twelve month old daughter of Jessica and Robert Orcutt of Smithville
Runner-Up: Kloe Judkins, the eleven month old daughter of Will and Britni Judkins of Smithville

State Supreme Court Justice Receives Support from Local Attorneys

July 24, 2014
Dwayne Page
Local Attorneys Present Resolution Supporting State Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark and other Justices

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia "Connie" Clark visited DeKalb County Thursday morning campaigning to keep her seat on the state's highest court.

Clark, along with Justices Sharon Lee and Gary Wade, are on the August 7 ballot. Voters across the state will be asked whether to "retain" or "replace" these three justices along with twenty appellate judges in Tennessee.

Most members of the DeKalb County Bar Association met with Justice Clark at the courthouse and presented a resolution to officially demonstrate their support for her and the other justices.

Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said he was contacted recently by former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell about setting up a meeting between Justice Clark and members the local bar association and he was glad to help. "Bill asked me to set up this meeting with Justice Clark and others. I explained to him that the bar here, I felt like, was all for retention (of the justices). I also felt like it was a shame that politics was getting involved in it and that we have some folks who, just because they disagree with an opinion that you (justices) give in a case, that was their reason for getting rid of you. I feel like we need to have justices who are fair and impartial and follow the law and that's what I feel like Connie Clark and others have done," said Parsley

The resolution, presented by General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Hale Cook, II, President of the DeKalb County Bar Association, reads as follows:

"The DeKalb County Bar Association recognizes the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary, and the need for ensuring that the elections of Appellate Court Judges in the State of Tennessee are exercised in a manner that maintains the fairness and impartiality of the courts. Therefore, the DeKalb County Bar Association hereby resolves to officially support the retention of the judges on the Tennessee Supreme Court in the August 7, 2014 judicial retention elections, as recommended by the Tennessee Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission."

"Therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Bar Association encourages its members to vote in favor of the retention of the Supreme Court Justices in the August 7, 2014 judicial election and further encourages the citizens of DeKalb County to vote accordingly."

"There are persons inside Tennessee and persons and interest money from outside Tennessee that have decided that they would like for judges to be chosen or retained on the basis of things other than the oath that we take," said Justice Clark.

"We have very strict ethical rules and I cannot promise you anything. I can't promise that I will fix your tickets. I can't promise that any case that you bring into this court will be decided in your favor. I can promise you really just one thing and that is I will uphold the oath that I have taken. The oath which says that I will obey and enforce the laws of this state, the Constitutions of this state and of the United States. That's a very simple and narrow thing but it's also a very broad and all encompassing thing. Partisan politics has no place in the courtroom. I'm not a politician but I'm pretty sure I know that you want fair and impartial courts like I do and above all things that justice is not for sale in Tennessee," Justice Clark concluded

Justice Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 2005 by former Governor Phil Bredesen and was elected to a full eight-year term in August 2006. On September 1, 2010, she was sworn in as chief justice, becoming the second woman in Tennessee history to serve in that role. Wade became Chief Justice in September, 2012

(PICTURED ABOVE: Local attorneys Hilton Conger, Jon Slager, David Lawrence, Keith Blair, Sarah Cripps, Sue Puckett Jernigan, Justice Connie Clark, Gayla Hendrix, Vester Parsley, Jr., Judge Bratten Cook II, Frank Buck, Lena Buck, Brandon Cox, and Jeremy Trapp)

FSA County Committee Nomination Deadline Approaching

July 24, 2014
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director for the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, reminds DeKalb County and Cannon County farmers that the deadline to nominate candidates to serve on USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee is August 1.

“County committees play a vital role in the administration of federal farm programs and the positive effect they have on rural communities. Effective January 1, 2014, the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee transitioned to a 5-member committee composed of representatives from both counties. This new committee structure is the result of the office consolidation that became effective in October 2012.

DeKalb County nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 which generally covers the western section of DeKalb County including Alexandria, Temperance Hall, Liberty, Dowelltown, Wolf Creek, Snow Hill, Dry Creek, Pea Ridge, and portions of Short Mountain communities.

Cannon County nominees must reside in LAA # 4. LAA # 4 is the area of Cannon County east of Hwy. 53.

Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections.

Producers should remember the following dates regarding the upcoming county committee elections. Producers can request, complete, and submit nomination forms through August 1. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by November 3. The deadline to return ballots is December 1. Elected committee members and alternates take office on January 1, 2015.


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