Local News Articles

Federal Mogul Copper Thief Sentenced in Criminal Court

September 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Martin Riley, III

One of three men accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of copper and brass from Federal Mogul in Smithville over an eight month period last year entered a plea and was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

48 year old Martin Riley, III received a five year sentence after pleading guilty to theft of property over $10,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with another sentence he is now serving. Riley will be eligible for probation after serving 35% of the sentence as a range II multiple offender. He has been given jail credit since October, 2013. Riley must also make restitution.

The other two men, 57 year old Billy Joe Rigsby and 30 year old Corey Dickens were sentenced in February. Rigsby pled guilty to theft over $60,000 while Dickens entered a plea to theft over $10,000. Rigsby received a ten year sentence to serve at least 30% as a range one offender before parole eligibility. He was given jail credit of almost six months from August 13, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Rigsby also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of delivery of a schedule II drug and received a three year sentence in that case to run concurrently with the theft offense. He received a drug fine of $2,000.

Dickens received a five year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He was given jail credit of almost six months from August 1, 2013 to February 21, 2014. Dickens and Rigsby are to make restitution jointly and severally to Federal Mogul in the amount of $109,771.

According to Smithville Police, the thefts occurred multiple times from December 2012 to August 2013 during the middle of the night after the second shift when no one else was at the plant. The intruders went under and over a fence, entered through an unlocked door at the receiving area behind the building, and loaded carts with 50 pound bags of almost pure grain copper, which is used in the manufacture of brake pads at the facility. In some cases, pieces of EDM brass were also stolen.

According to Lieutenant Matt Holmes, the investigation began after police first received a tip and then a formal complaint by an official of Federal Mogul. "We spoke to a representative of Federal Mogul who advised us that they had been suspecting some copper was being stolen. They placed a hidden camera out there. He (Federal Mogul official) provided us with some video. When we watched the video and through investigation, we were able to identify the two subjects on the video as Martin Riley and Billy Joe Rigsby," he said.

"They way they were doing it was after hours they were entering the building, loading up carts while no one else was there, and wheeling the carts out the back door. They would go during the times they (plant) were closed during the middle of the night and take anywhere from 10 to 25 to 30 bags at a time or however many they could get loaded and feasibly get out of there with. They went under the fence and loaded their truck," said Lieutenant Holmes.

After committing the thefts, the men allegedly sold the copper and brass at the Southern Central business in McMinnville. "He (Federal Mogul official) initially didn't know how much copper had been taken but they were working on doing an inventory so we started calling around, trying to locate the copper. We learned the copper had been sold to Southern Central in McMinnville," he said. "They would take the copper and brass to the scrap yard. In some cases, they transferred the copper from the bags they came in to totes to transport it to the scrap yard," said Lieutenant Holmes.

The investigation revealed that Rigsby and Dickens were allegedly partners in the crimes from December, 2012 to March, 2013, until Dickens was arrested on a separate charge. Rigsby then allegedly continued with the thefts from the plant and was allegedly joined by Riley, on at least one occasion, through August 4, 2013.

Riley's warrant stated that on August 4, 2013 at Federal Mogul, Riley was seen on video taking multiple bags of copper from the back door. This activity has been going on from June 1, 2013 to August 4, 2013. An estimated 45 bags of copper has been taken all valued at $18,000.

The case was investigated by Chief Randy Caplinger and Lieutenant Holmes.

In other cases, 31 year old April Anderson pled guilty to theft over $500 and received a one year sentence, suspended to community corrections. The term is to run concurrently with her Grundy County sentence. She is also to make restitution to the victim in the amount of $2,200.

51 year old Robert Jeffery League pled guilty to attempted sale of a schedule I drug and received a six year sentence. He was given jail credit of 242 days and will be on judicial diversion probation. His fine is $2,000.

57 year old Gary E. Woodard pled guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation except for 48 hours to serve. He was fined $360 and he will lose his driver's license for a year.

58 year old Johnny Trapp pled guilty to a fourth offense of driving under the influence. He received a two year sentence to serve and he will lose his license per Department of Safety rules. Trapp was fined $3,010 and given jail credit of 188 days.

41 year old Terry Burton pled guilty to reckless driving and received a six month suspended sentence and was fined $50. He will be on unsupervised probation.

Free college! Tennessee Promise deadline set for Seniors to Register

September 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps
Lori Myrick

Imagine being able to go to college free of tuition and mandatory fees!

The State of Tennessee is making it possible for seniors at DeKalb County High School and across the state through Tennessee Promise. The program, proposed by Governor Bill Haslam and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year provides two years of tuition-free education. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program. After graduating from a community college, if students choose to attend a four-year school, the state’s transfer pathways program makes it possible for those students to start as a junior. By getting their first two years free, the cost of a four-year degree would be cut in half.

Interested students must apply for Tennessee Promise on line by no later than November 1 at www.TNPromise.gov.

Tennessee Promise is part of Governor Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school. According to the Governor, 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree to get a job in 11 years, while today, only 32 percent of Tennesseans qualify.

"We see this as an awesome opportunity for our graduating class. This can affect 185 students at DCHS. For many students who may not have even had higher education as a goal, we hope this will be their goal now since it's going to be funded," said Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 in the DeKalb County School System in an interview with WJLE Monday.

Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover all costs of tuition and mandatory fees not met by Pell grants, Tennessee Education Lottery (HOPE) Scholarship, and TSAA funds. As part of the program, students will be paired with a partnering organization and a mentor who will support them during the college application process. Students must participate with the partnering organizations to access Tennessee Promise funds.

All Tennessee Promise recipients must meet certain requirements, such as completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), meeting satisfactory academic progress, and completing eight hours of approved community service each semester. Applicants must be a Tennessee resident and a graduate from en eligible Tennessee high school or have completed the Tennessee home school program. Applicants may have obtained a GED or HiSet diploma prior to reaching their 19th birthday and still be eligible for Tennessee Promise. Students are not required to have attained a particular ACT score or GPA to qualify for the program.

To explain Tennessee Promise in more detail, Ann Massa, Regional Coordinator for TN Achieves will be at the high school on Thursday, September 18 at 9:20 a.m. to meet with all seniors. DCHS will also host a Financial Aid/College Planning Night and a Pre-FAFSA workshop on Monday, September 29 at 5:00 p.m. in the DCHS cafeteria. The guest speakers will be Ann Massa and Sam Mullins, Outreach Specialist with the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation."We will be providing support at the high school for students who need help with college applications or FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), or their Tennessee Promise application," Lori Myrick, DCHS Guidance Counselor told WJLE.

Beyond the Tennessee Promise application, students must meet the following deadlines and requirements:

*Apply by November 1. Students must apply for the Tennessee Promise scholarship at www.TNPromise.gov.

*File the FAFSA by February 15. Students must file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15 at www.fafsa.gov. "Realizing that many of them (students) don't have their income taxes filled out (filed) by that time (February 15) they can estimate according to their tax dollars from the year before," said Cripps.

*Attend mandatory meetings by March 1 and May 31. Students are required to attend the first and second mandatory meetings at DCHS.

*Students will need to complete eight hours of approved community service for each semester they receive Tennessee Promise funding, including the summer before they begin college. Students should check with their partnering organization for specific community service deadlines.

*Apply to and register for classes at an eligible program. Before the fall semester begins, students will need to apply to a community college, college of applied technology, or eligible program at a four year institution. Partnering organizations may ask students to apply to an eligible college program by February 15. Scholarship funds will be paid directly to the school once their enrollment is confirmed.

DCHS students in grades 9-12 and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend the Financial Aid/College Planning Night and Pre-FAFSA Workshop on Monday, September 29 at 5:00 p.m. at the high school in order to receive important information concerning college/technical school application, financial aid, and scholarships including the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship. Mullins will also be conducting a Pre-FAFSA Workshop during this event. Students and parents must fill out the FAFSA in January of the student's senior year in order to apply for state and federal financial aid including the lottery scholarship. This workshop is designed to help students and parents prepare for FAFSA filing. "The FAFSA can sometimes be intimidating to students and families who have not filled that out before. If parents and students will attend on September 29, Mr. Mullins will let everyone know every step they need to follow to complete their FAFSA at this workshop. The deadline for completing the FAFSA for Tennessee Promise is February 15 but I want all my students to fill out their FAFSA in January or as close to January 1 as they possibly can. There is a state grant called the Tennessee Student Assistance Award and that is first come, first served for students based on income eligibility so I encourage all my students to fill out their FAFSA if they can as close as possible to January 1," Myrick said.

Students and parents are advised of other important dates:

"On Tuesday, September 30 during first, third, and fifth block, Ms. Walteen Parker has graciously opened up her English 12 classroom. Any student who needs help with a scholarship essay is welcome to come to Ms. Parker's classroom during those times to get some tips on essay writing. It is very important that students have someone proof read their essay," said Myrick.

"On Wednesday, October 1 , Ms. Shelly Painter and I will have a college application workshop in the counseling office. We will have a computer lab in the counseling office as we will the day before in Ms. Parker's classroom, and students are welcome to come there or they may bring their own mobile device or computer to get their college applications done. We will help them with that," Myrick continued.

"Our Parent-Teacher conference night is October 7 from 3-6 p.m., Ms. Painter and I will be in the library at DCHS to help any student who has not completed their college or Tennessee Promise application by that time. Also on October 7, Motlow Community College at their McMinnville campus will have a Tennessee Promise Information Night starting at 5:30 p.m. and any student interested in going to Motlow, if they go to Motlow that night to complete their Tennessee Promise application and their Motlow application, Motlow will waive the student's twenty five dollar enrollment fee" said Myrick.

"All of our community colleges and technical colleges in the state are having a Tennessee Promise information event. They are in the process of getting the events posted on their websites so we encourage students and parents to visit the campus of the college where they are interested in going and attend the Tennessee Promise events that are scheduled," she said.

Again, a Tennessee Promise Scholarship must be used at one of the state community colleges or state technical colleges or Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. "There are also private community colleges and some four year colleges that have two year programs where Tennessee Promise money can be used. If students choose to participate in Tennessee Promise and go to one of the eligible private community colleges or four year college programs, the entire cost will not be covered. You only get the money for what it would cost to go to one of the state schools. Tennessee Promise is also different from the Lottery Scholarship. The Lottery Scholarship is still in effect. Students who meet eligibility based on GPA and ACT are still eligible for the Lottery Scholarship should they choose to go to a four year college versus a two year college. If students use Tennessee Promise to earn an Associate's Degree, they are still lottery eligible if they meet guidelines once they get to the four year colleges if they want to go on for a Bachelor's Degree," Myrick concluded.

For those interested in being a mentor to Tennessee Promise students, contact Graham Thomas at 615-604-1306 or by email at graham@tnachieves.org. Background checks are required for mentors.

Meanwhile, in support of the Tennessee Promise initiative, Justin Potter Library will commit to the following actions:

1. Starting Sept 25 through Oct. 30, Justin Potter Library will provide computers and quiet space each Thursday from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. for our high school seniors to go online at www.TNPromise.gov to apply for the Tennessee Promise scholarship, for adults to sign up as mentors and or community members for find out more information about this initiative.

2. Dec. 4 through Jan 15, those computers and space can be used Thursdays from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the students' college applications.

3. Starting Jan 22 through Feb 26, TNPromise scholars can complete their eight hours of community service as volunteers at Justin Potter Library on Thursdays between the hours of 3:00 - 5:00 pm.

Habitat in Search of Next Partner Family with Dream of Home Ownership

September 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Latest Habitat Home on Hayes Street Almost Complete

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is seeking low income families in substandard housing who would like to realize the dream of homeownership.

Area residents are invited to get information about this program and to learn how to apply during a meeting on Thursday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Smithville First United Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center, which is located across from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Applications must be postmarked by Tuesday, September 30.

Habitat is accepting applications from those wishing to become the next partner family in DeKalb County. "We're having this meeting with the hope of choosing a family," said Marie Blair, member of the Habitat Family Selection Committee.

The purpose of Habitat is to build homes and then sell them to eligible families at no interest and for no profit. Habitat is looking for families who could not otherwise afford a home.

For families to qualify, they must meet basic qualifications, need for housing, ability to pay, and a willingness to partner. Families must have been residents of DeKalb County for a least one year prior to September 1, 2014 and they must be a United States citizen or have permanent resident alien status.

"They may be living in overcrowded housing. It may be that they are spending more on their rent and utilities, more than 30% of their income. They may not have a house. They may be staying with others. They may be living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. That's how we determine need," said Blair.

"The second qualification is ability to pay. Some people have the mistaken idea that it's a free house. It's not a free house. It's interest free. But when we actually sell the house to the person they are expected to pay the amount of the cost of the house without any interest, which if you've ever made a mortgage payment or a payment on anything you know that is a huge savings," said Blair.

For a family of four, the maximum allowable annual income is $26,510 which is 55% of the median income for families in DeKalb County. If you are age 60 or have a special needs household member, the maximum allowable annual income level for a family of four is $28,920. The income levels vary according to family size.

Partner families making payments now on their homes are helping to subsidize the next home to be built. "All of the families who are making payments now, and we have four families who are already living in houses, pay that money back to Habitat through their payments each month and that builds the fund so that we're able to build another house. We're not self sustaining yet because we don't have enough houses but we're told that when we have ten houses, that will be enough so that we won't have to be so concerned about fundraising every time we get ready to build a house," according to Blair.

Eligible families must be willing to do volunteer work and learn basic home repair and maintenance practices and budgeting. "To be a partner family with Habitat you have to earn "sweat equity". It's hours that you work. You can work on someone else's house. You can do community service projects. Whatever your skill level is you can earn "sweat equity" by doing that job. The partner families must perform a certain number of "sweat equity" hours. I believe the total is 500 hours over the entire time before they move into their house. But they actually must have 100 hours before ground is broken," said Blair.

"We also expect all of our partner families to attend an education course. We have a committee called "Family Support" that works on budgeting issues and home maintenance. If you rent a house and something goes wrong you call your landlord. If it's your house there is no landlord to call. You have to know the things you can do and the things you might need to seek professional help for. We want our families to learn how to do that before they jump into home ownership without realizing all the responsibilities that go with it," Blair continued.

Habitat will conduct screens and criminal background checks on applicants. "Once a family passes all the milestones, we screen them for income. We will verify employment and other income and have a credit check completed to determine if they are truly in need or can afford a house. One of the last things we do before approving a partner family, we have a group who makes a visit to the home where they live now but that is not to do a white gloves test. It's announced and planned with the family when it's convenient for them. We're really looking at what are their housing needs. Our Family Selection Committee will then make a recommendation to our board of directors. The board is the group that ultimately approves the family, Blair concluded.

If you can't attend the meeting on Thursday, September 25 or need more information call 615-215-8181 and leave your name, address and phone number.

Dowelltown Man Charged with Child Rape For Sexual Contact with Niece

September 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Everett Jay
Michael Dusty Hollis
Eric Wayne Tramel
Johnathan Nelson Sandlin
Jessica Renee Scruggs
Jason Alexander Sturdivant
William Paul McGee
 William Drane Smallwood, II
Jeffery Allen Fults
Christopher Neil Patterson
Jeffery Lynn Hendrix

A Dowelltown man has been charged with two counts of child rape for allegedly touching his eight year old niece in a sexual manner on two occasions within the past two weeks.

20 year old Jonathan Everett Jay of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is under a $150,000 bond and he will be in court October 9.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 11 a Sheriff's Department Detective responded to a residence on Snow Hill Road regarding a sexual assault of an eight year old girl. According to the mother, the child said that her uncle (Jay) had touched her inappropriately. The detective and a member of the Department of Children's Services spoke with the child and she confirmed what her mother had reported. When confronted Jay agreed to speak with the detective at the Sheriff's Department. After reading Jay his rights, the detective began the interview during which time Jay allegedly admitted to having had sexual contact with the child on two occasions, Wednesday August 27 and Thursday, September 11.

18 year old Michael Dusty Hollis of Hunt Hollow Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, September 4 Hollis allegedly took a cell phone belonging to a member of the school staff at DCHS. The phone is valued at $350.

29 year old Eric Wayne Tramel of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy saw Tramel walking on College Street in Dowelltown. Having prior knowledge that Tramel had active warrants out of Smith County for his arrest, the officer stopped and spoke with Tramel who identified himself as Anthony Tramel and gave a false date of birth. Tramel was positively identified by his tattoos. When confronted about his true identity, Tramel admitted to giving the officer a false name.

32 year old Johnathan Nelson Sandlin of Clear Creek Road, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Clear Creek Road for a possible domestic. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Sandlin and a woman. She reported that Sandlin got in her face screaming and yelling and then pushed her toward the couch and punched holes in the wall. The woman told the officer that Sandlin's actions caused her to fear for the safety of herself and her children who were in the home. Sandlin suffered a cut on his finger apparently from punching the wall.

26 year old Jessica Renee Scruggs and 28 year old Jason Alexander Sturdivant both of Page Drive, Smithville are each charged with theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each is $7,500 and they will be in court on October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on or about Monday and Tuesday, September 8th & 9th Scruggs and Sturdivant allegedly took several pieces of steel from the Sligo construction site. They were allegedly found with some of the steel. The rest of the steel, valued at over $1,000, was taken to a local recycling business.

38 year old William Paul McGee of Morrison is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. He was further issued a citation for driving an off road vehicle on the highway. His bond on the driving on suspended license charge is $4,500 and he will be in court on October 2. He will make a court appearance on the citation October 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy was dispatched to the end of Lowery Road to speak with someone who had been involved in an assault. While there, the officer saw McGee drive down the road on a four wheeler. Having prior knowledge that his license were suspended, the officer stopped McGee. A computer check revealed that McGee's license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

33 year old William Drane Smallwood, II of Lebanon is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for reckless driving and violation of the seatbelt law. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court October 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy spotted a white Dodge pickup pulling from a business location on Highway 70 west. The truck entered the highway in a reckless manner causing the rear end to slide back and forth across the lanes putting other drivers on the road in harm's way. The officer conducted a traffic stop and found the driver to be Smallwood. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The officer asked Smallwood how many beers he had consumed. He replied about ten beers. Smallwood performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. A computer check revealed he had a prior DUI in 2012. Smallwood was placed under arrest.

39 year old Jeffery Allen Fults of Big Hill Road, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court October 9. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 13 a deputy saw a white truck leave its lane of travel. After stopping the truck, the officer spoke with the driver, Fults and found him to have slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Fults also had an odor of alcohol on him. Fults, who was unsteady on his feet, told the officer that he had been drinking throughout the day. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and submitted to a blood test. Fults was placed under arrest.

45 year old Christopher Neil Patterson of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 14 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Big Hickory Court on a domestic disturbance call. The officer spoke with a woman who was very upset. The woman reported that she and her husband, Patterson had been in an altercation. She claims Patterson pinned her down on the bed with his knees causing bruising to her arms. He also allegedly tried to choke her. According to the woman, Patterson had threatened to kill her if she got up. Sheriff Ray said the woman's injuries were consistent with her statement. After an investigation, Patterson was determined to have been the primary aggressor. He was placed under arrest.

27 year old Jeffery Lynn Hendrix of Livingston is charged with assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 14 Hendrix, a prisoner at the jail, got into an argument with another male inmate. A correctional officer investigated and found them fighting. Video from the surveillance camera system revealed that Hendrix and the other prisoner pushed each other and then walked away. Hendrix then came up behind and assaulted him.

33 year old Juan Espinoza Vasquez of McMinnville is cited for driving on a suspended license, violation of the financial responsibility law, and failure to maintain lane of travel. He will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 9 a deputy saw a red truck leave its lane of travel on Highway 56 south. After stopping the truck, the officer spoke with the driver, Vasquez. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended on February 12 for failure to provide financial responsibility.

34 year old Candace Rochelle Guidry of Nashville is cited for violation of the light law, simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax), and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 10 a deputy stopped a white car for no brake light. The officer spoke with the driver, Guidry and received consent to search the vehicle. He found in Guidry's purse a pill believed to be xanax and a cut straw containing white powder. Guidry told the deputy that the items found belonged to her.

40 year old Lynn Jay Jones of Miller Road, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. He will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, September 11 a deputy saw Jones walking on New Home Road. The officer stopped and spoke with Jones, who had a warrant against him for violation of probation. While making the arrest, the deputy found two hypodermic needles on Jones.

School Board Honors Former DWS Principal and Cafeteria Manager

September 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Georgia Young
Danny Parkerson

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to honor two persons who served DeKalb West School for many years.

Second District Member Jerry Wayne Johnson made a motion that a plaque be placed in the new cafeteria in memory of the late Georgia Young, who served as cafeteria manager until her death three and a half years ago. Young worked in the school system for almost 40 years.

Johnson also moved that a plaque be placed in the new safe wing at the West School in honor of former Principal Danny Parkerson in recognition of his 37 year education career.

"As you know, the board before us added onto the West School. We're very proud of it and it is very nice. And as all of you know we had a cook over the whole cafeteria for years, Mrs. Georgia Young. I'd love to see us put a plaque up in her memory in the cafeteria. And Mr. Parkerson has retired. He taught in the school system for 37 years. I'd love to see a plaque put up in his honor in the safe wing. I put that in the form of a motion," said Johnson.

The school board unanimously adopted Johnson's motion.

According to her daughter, Young started working for the school system in the cafeteria at the Liberty Elementary School in the fall of 1972. She became cafeteria manager at DeKalb West School from the time the school opened in the fall of 1974 until she died on March 15, 2011. Young started the 2010-11 school year but became ill in August 2010 and had to leave her job. She never officially retired and was still an employee at the time of her death.

Parkerson's first teaching job was in Smith County. " I started out for two years at Forks River in Smith County. I came to DeKalb West in the 1978-79 year," Parkerson told WJLE. After joining the staff at DWS, Parkerson became the girls basketball coach and later took on the boy's program as well. Parkerson became principal of DWS during the mid 1990s.

WJLE: A Golden Celebration to air on DTC3

September 15, 2014
Former WJLE Managers Tony Glen Rast and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE Announcer Bill Austin
Former WJLE Announcers Elaine Rigsby and Tom Miller
Former WJLE Announcers Jack Atnip and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE Announcers Dennis Stanley and Karl David Smith
Former WJLE Announcers Jeff Barnes (left) and Trent Miller (right) with WJLE's Dale Carroll
Former WJLE Announcer Shawn Jacobs with Dwayne Page and Ralph Vaughn
Former WJLE employee Dean Estes with Dale Carroll
Former WJLE Announcers Darvin Gill, Ginger Wenger, and Tom Duggin
WJLE's Brian Lehan with former Announcers Nick Nokes, Darvin Gill, and Deana Ruth Cantrell Colwell

In April, 1964, WJLE Radio in Smithville first went on the air as an AM only station at frequency 1480. Some seven years later, WJLE added an FM frequency at 101.7, and this year, 2014, WJLE Radio is celebrating it's 50th anniversary on the air.

On July 26, 2014, the station held a golden anniversary celebration, in which many of the station's former personalities, managers, employees and friends stopped by to reminisce about their years and memories at WJLE.

The event, hosted by former station manager, Ralph Vaughn, and current station manager, Dwayne Page, was filmed by DTC TV, and will be aired on DTC3 and DTC3 HD (channel 303), beginning Saturday, September 27. Three one-hour episodes were produced from the all-day radio special, featuring interviews with former WJLE employees, as well as other friends of the station. The episodes will air multiple times during late-September and October, exclusively on DTC3.

Episode 1 features interviews with the following people:
- Phillip "Fluty" Cantrell
- Bill Austin
- Bro. Royce Moore
- Coach Harold Luna
- Jeff Barnes
- Former TWRA officer Ben Franklin
- Tom Miller
- Trent Miller
- Elaine Rigsby
- Tim Harvey

Episode 1 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 30 - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 8 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 2:00 p.m.

Episode 2 features interviews with the following people:
- Dean Estes
- Bro. Ricky Arnold
- Randy Vaughn
- Shawn Jacobs
- Tony Glen Rast
- Wanda Redmon
- Ginger Fedak Wenger
- Jack Atnip
- Bradley Johnson
- Deana Cantrell Colwell
- Plus the WJLE Birthday cake cutting ceremony

Episode 2 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 1 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 7 - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 5:00 p.m.

Episode 3 features interviews with the following people:
- Ken Underhill
- Karl David Smith
- Dennis Stanley
- Tom Duggin
- Darvin Gill
- Nick Nokes
- Jeff Nokes
- Ronnie Young

Episode 3 will air on the following dates and times on DTC3:
Saturday, September 27 - 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 1 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4 - 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 5 - 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 8 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11 - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 12 - 1:00 p.m.

Other interviews that were not included in any of the episodes will be released prior to the airings each week.

Again, WJLE: A Golden Celebration will air on DTC3 and DTC3 HD, available exclusively on the DTC TV service

New Member Elected to DTC Board of Directors

September 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Terry McPeak of Norene, Jean Chumbley Ferrell of Woodbury, and Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton

Members of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (DTC Communications) have elected a new member to the Board of Directors.

Jean Chumbley Ferrell defeated Incumbent Greg Rogers from the Woodbury Exchange in the director election. The results of the voting were announced Saturday during the annual membership meeting held at the fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Two other incumbent members up for re-election, Charles Dwight Vinson of the Milton Exchange and Terry McPeak of the Norene Exchange ran unopposed.

Ferrell, who qualified to run by petition, received a total of 456 votes to 256 for Rogers.

Vinson had 421 complimentary votes and McPeak garnered 391 votes.

Here's how the votes break down for each candidate at the four early voting locations and on election day:

WOODBURY EXCHANGE:
Jean Chumbley Ferrell: Alexandria-61, Gordonsville-27, Smithville- 143, Woodbury- 96, Paper Ballots- 2, and Election Day at Alexandria-127 for a total of 456 votes

Greg Rogers: Alexandria- 9, Gordonsville- 20, Smithville -13, Woodbury- 137, Paper Ballots-10, and Election Day at Alexandria- 67 for a total of 256 votes

MILTON EXCHANGE:

Charles Dwight Vinson: Alexandria-46, Gordonsville-28, Smithville-68, Woodbury-147, Paper Ballots-7, and Election Day at Alexandria-125 for a total of 421

NORENE EXCHANGE:

Terry McPeak: Alexandria-44, Gordonsville-28, Smithville-62, Woodbury-123, Paper Ballots- 6, and Election Day at Alexandria-128 for a total of 391.

All three directors elected will serve for three years.

The DTC Communications Board of Directors, in addition to McPeak, Vinson, and Ferrell are Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, , Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, Roy Nelson Pugh of Auburntown, David Parker of Woodland, and James Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville.

Merriman to Receive Stipend as Volunteer Assistant Soccer Coach (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Rhonda Merriman, who has been a volunteer assistant Girls Soccer Coach at DCHS for several years, will now be paid a stipend for her services.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby asked the school board Thursday night for a vote to reflect in the minutes that Merriman is to receive a stipend but that she continue to be classified as a volunteer assistant coach.

Merriman receives an hourly wage as a support staff employee at DCHS.

To ensure that Merriman would not be due overtime for her assistant coaching duties, Willoughby consulted with an official of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Willoughby said his concern was based on an issue that arose several years ago when the county was forced to pay more money to certain employees who had accumulated a significant amount of overtime.

"After our last board meeting, I contacted the federal wage and hour labor office. About ten years ago there was a lot of overtime that was paid in DeKalb County and it really got sticky at that time so that's what we were checking out. Ms. Rhonda Merriman has been doing this job as a volunteer assistant soccer coach for a long time. She does an excellent job and is an excellent employee. She is a super person. But according to Nathaniel Powell with the federal wage and hour labor office (who researched the issue), we need to specify in our board minutes that the money that she receives (from coaching) would be a stipend and her title would need to be (in the minutes) a volunteer assistant coach. We are not to ask her to do anything concerning the outside activities during the forty hours that she works," he said.

According to Willoughby, the overtime concern was the only reason for the delay in naming Merriman as a paid assistant. "There was nothing against trying to keep Ms. Rhonda Merriman from doing this. It's just that financially I did not want to get the county in a bind. There's no telling how many hours the coach actually puts in and we could have had to pay her or anybody else overtime approximately $18 per hour but I think the problem has been worked out if we can have a motion to classify the money that she receives as a stipend and her title as a volunteer assistant coach," said Willoughby

The board unanimously voted to follow Director Willoughby's recommendation.

Last month, Brooke Roller, a member of the DCHS girls soccer team addressed the Board of Education asking that Merriman be kept as a paid assistant. Roller delivered a brief prepared statement in support of Merriman.

The school budget includes funding for additional coaching supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570.

Proposal to Outsource School Custodial Services Dropped

September 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County School System will not be outsourcing its school custodial work to the GCA Services Group

During Thursday night's regular monthly school board meeting, Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III brought up the subject saying he wanted to "get a conclusion drawn on our custodial services so our custodians will know whether we're going forward with this or not. Is this an issue we're eliminating so our custodians can know that their jobs are secure and everything is back to normal"?

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he no longer intends to pursue an agreement with GCA. " I've had a couple of people ask me about that. A couple of board members. I have no intention of bringing it back up unless there is a board member that asks me to. That's dead in the water. If a board member asks me to check into it again I will. If not I won't," he said.

GCA officials had sought to contract with the school system to provide custodial services for $400,000 for the first year with annual renewal options for at least up to four additional years, a move intended to save the district money. All current custodial staff working for the school system, recommended by the principals would have been hired by GCA. All chemicals, equipment, and consumables would also have been provided by GCA for maintaining the buildings year round. But the proposal became controversial as questions arose about GCA's hiring practices and whether the school system would actually save money over time.

Smithvillle Police Department Awarded K9 Ballistic Vest

September 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
K9 Leo wearing ballistic vest

The Smithville Police Department has been awarded a ballistic vest for K9 "Leo" thanks to a non profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

A total of $16,595.00 has been donated to the charity from the “K9 Kota Campaign” to provide vests for seventeen K9s in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, California and Indiana.

The “K9 Kota Campaign” held an online event selling over 1,350 tee shirts for the cause.

K9 Kota is a law enforcement dog with the Winchester Police Department in Virginia that sustained a work related injury on January 3, 2014. The dog fell through an attic floor onto a hardwood floor while detaining a suspect. Although the injury was severe to his right front leg, Kota climbed back up the flight of stairs to continue the fight. After months of surgery and physical therapy his return to police work is still unknown.

Locally, K9 Officer James Cornelius and K9 Leo of the Smithville Police Department have been working together for over three years. Officer Cornelius has been in law enforcement for four years. K9 Leo is a five year old Dutch Shepherd that has been working for four years. K9 Leo had one handler prior to Officer Cornelius. K9 Leo and Officer Cornelius were paired in March of 2011 and completed 120 hours of initial training with Dean Hunter of Canine Command. They continue to attend monthly maintenance training with Hunter and recertify yearly with the USPCA.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially life saving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 930 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $880,000.

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Massachusetts, who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michigan.

New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. was named as a charity partner in March of 2014 in a nation wide Groupon Campaign which raised over $335,000 in 19 days. The non profit will be providing over 350 law enforcement dogs nationwide with the protective body armor in memory of K9 Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department who sacrificed his life in the line of duty in January of 2014. All vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, "In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Police Department".

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations are accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org.

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