Local News Articles

Early Morning Fire Causes Damage to Sullivan Residence

September 7, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sullivan Home
Fire Damage to Sullivan Home

An early morning fire Sunday caused extensive damage to a portion of the James and Tonya Sullivan residence at 104 Shady Lane.

The Sullivan family, at home asleep when the fire started, were awakened by smoke detectors, and safely made it out of the house.

The fire apparently started in a newer portion of the residence, added in recent years, which included a family room, bathroom, and a garage. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, who were called to the scene, battled the blaze and kept it from spreading to the rest of the house

Michael and Amanda Lattimore, who reside in an apartment complex in the area on West Main Street, smelled the smoke from where they live and set out on foot to see where it was coming from.

When the Lattimores reached the Sullivan residence, members of the Sullivan family were already coming out of the house. The Lattimores called 911 around 4:00 a.m.

No one was injured.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says it appears the fire started in the attic and the cause may have been electrical, although the investigation as to the cause is not complete.

DeKalb County Whips Greenbrier Bobcats 46-27

September 5, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers defeated the Greenbrier Bobcats 46-27 Friday night in Smithville, and put to rest the program's longest-running losing streak to an opponent. The Tigers had lost 14 straight to the Bobcats and had not beaten Greenbrier on the football field since 1979. With the win, DeKalb County's record is now 3-0 overall and 1-0 in Region 4-3A.

Hunter Poteete accounted for 360 yards of total offense for the Tigers, and tallied six touchdowns, four through the air, but DeKalb County had to overcome an early deficit to keep their season record perfect.

Zack Ziegler gave Greenbrier the lead to open the contest, as he took the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers answered, however, as Poteete threw a 48-yard touchdown to Abram Edwards, and a four-yard scoring pass to Matthew Lawrence, which gave DeKalb County a 13-7 lead. The Bobcats went back on top in the final minute of the first quarter, as Cody Elder's 10-yard touchdown run made it a 14-13 game after the extra point kick.

Only one score went on the board in the second quarter, and that was put up by the Tigers, who scored on Poteete's 40-yard strike to Edwards. The two-point conversion pass attempt was no good, but DC had a 19-14 lead, which they took into the locker room at halftime.

The Bobcats struck first in the second half, as Ziegler took off on an 81-yard touchdown dash with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass attempt failed, but the visitors forged ahead, 20-19. It would be Greenbrier's final lead of the contest, however, as Travon Johnson recovered a Bobcat fumble on their next drive, and the Tigers converted the turnover into an 11-play, 51-yard drive which ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Poteete. The conversion pass failed, but the Tigers went ahead, 25-20.

John Curtis forced a fumble on the ensuing Greenbrier possession, but the Tigers came away empty-handed on the following drive. Lawrence, then, forced yet another Bobcat turnover on the next drive, as he jarred the ball loose from quarterback, Mason Head. Logan Roller recovered the pigskin for the Tigers, who scored on the very first play from scrimmage after the turnover on a 53-yard run by Poteete. Zach Taylor kicked the extra point to give DeKalb County a 32-20 lead.

The DeKalb defense forced a Greenbrier punt on the next possesion, and the offense put the game away on the following drive. Poteete dumped a screen pass to Ryan Leiser, who broke through the Bobcat defense for a 74-yard touchdown. Taylor kicked the extra point to make it a 39-20 Tiger lead.

Greenbrier would answer on a 54-yard sprint to paydirt by Elder, but Lawrence snagged the on-side kick attempt in the air to give the ball back to the Tigers. Lawrence put the icing on the victory with a two-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the game.

Poteete finished the night 14-of-28 through the air, with 270 passing yards and four touchdowns, In addition, he rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries and scored two more touchdowns. Lawrence carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards and had both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Edwards also had two receiving touchdowns for the Tigers.

DeKalb County will have a bye next week, and will host Station Camp for Homecoming on Friday, September 19th. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m., and WJLE will have live coverage.

Other Region 4-3A scores from Friday night: Macon County upset Pearl-Cohn in Nashville, 6-0, for their first win of the season. Both Macon County and Pearl-Cohn are 1-2 on the season. Station Camp knocked off Sycamore, 28-13. The Bison and the War Eagles are both 2-1 on the season. Station Camp opens up 1-0 in Region play. Meanwhile, White House was dealt a 41-6 setback by Alcoa for their first loss of the season. The Blue Devils were ranked #5 in Class AAA in this week's AP poll.

Among other DeKalb County opponents, Warren County lost to Franklin County, 30-12. The Pioneers fall to 1-2 overall, this season. Watertown was whipped by Trousdale County, 45-7. Trousdale is ranked #1 in the State in Class A. The Purple Tigers fall to 1-2 with the loss. Cannon County was handed a Region loss by York Institute, 27-7. The Lions drop to 0-2, after losing their season opener to Sequatchie County, 16-13, last week. Upperman, meanwhile, fell to Westmoreland, 25-0. The Bees are now 1-2 on the season.

Over $23,000 Raised During Thursday Night Benefit for Michael Hale

September 4, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael and Tara Hale
Dailey & Vincent Perform at Hale Benefit

More than $23,000 was raised during a benefit for Michael Hale called "A Time to Shine" at DeKalb County High School Thursday evening.

Hundreds enjoyed a barbeque meal in the cafeteria and a concert of gospel and bluegrass music in the gymnasium by "Holy Crossing', "Right on Time", and Dailey & Vincent". After the music, a benefit auction was held.

Spokesperson Casey Agee says a total of $23,200 was raised just on that one night alone from ticket sales to the supper, sales of tee shirts, the auction, and from donations.

All the money raised during the benefit goes to Michael Hale who is struggling to recover from the Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a disease he has suffered from since May.

Hale, who is on oxygen, attended the benefit and tearfully greeted well wishers throughout the evening.

Hale told WJLE that he is slowly getting better. "On Monday night, May 19th, I was fine at nine o'clock but at ten o'clock that night, it came on me. I went in the hospital on May 20th. It's been a tough three and a half months but the good Lord has been with us all the way. I'm slowly getting better. I'm still going through physical therapy. I'm having some issues with my heart, my lungs, and other things. I'm on oxygen but I'm getting better everyday and I know it's because of the prayers and the good Lord. We're going to make it on through."

"As far as recovery, the doctors are saying it'll take probably 18 to 24 months, but I'm hoping to be back out soon. They say that the nerves heal back at the rate of an inch per month so that tells you how slow the healing process of Guillain-Barre is. I've been able to go to church. I've had the opportunity to preach four times at church. As far as the funeral home (DeKalb Funeral Chapel), I've been able to be at three funerals, but it just really drains me. I'm slowly getting to come back and to see the people."

Hale says he and his family are touched by the tremendous show of love and support from the community. "No words could ever say how Tara and I feel for everything that's been done for us, for the money that's been given, the presence of the people here today, the cards, food, their continued support of the funeral home, and our ministry. The people of DeKalb County have been wonderful to us and there's no way we could ever repay or express how much it means to us."

Michael's wife Tara also expressed her gratitude to the community." I just want to thank the people for their support and their love. We couldn't have done it without them but most of all we couldn't have done it without the good Lord."

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the Peripheral Nervous System. Characterized by muscle weakness, paralysis of the limbs, and breathing muscles, onset of the disorder is sudden and unexpected. It can develop over hours or days, or may take up to a month. Though possibly life threatening due to symptoms , most patients will recover from even the most severe cases.

Enrollment up by 70 Students in DeKalb School System

September 4, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Clay Farler

Student Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System, as of the 20th day of school, is up by 70 students compared to this same time period last year.

Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, told WJLE Thursday that system-wide, DeKalb County has an enrollment to date of 3,006 (pre-k to 12th grade) compared to 2,936 after the 20th day of school last year.

Enrollment is up by 13 students at DeKalb County High School, up by 9 students in the Adult High School, up by 16 students at DeKalb Middle School, up by 72 students at Northside Elementary School, down by 36 students at Smithville Elementary School, and down by four students at DeKalb West School.

Farler explained the reason the enrollment is significantly higher at Northside and lower at Smithville Elementary is because four- second grade classes were moved to Northside to help relieve overcrowding at SES.

The enrollment numbers to date for 2008 and 2007 at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Year 2008- 824
Year 2007- 811

Adult High School
Year 2008- 21
Year 2007- 12

DeKalb Middle School-
Year 2008- 545
Year 2007-529

Northside Elementary-
Year 2008-598
Year 2007-526

Smithville Elementary School-
Year 2008-616
Year 2007-652

DeKalb West School-
Year 2008-402
Year 2007-406

Nashville Man Injured at Burgess Falls State Park

September 3, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Man Injured in Fall (photo to WJLE by Norman Christensen)

A Nashville man fell some 25 feet while climbing a ledge at Burgess Falls State Park Tuesday.

19 year old Caleb Tuck was seriously injured in the fall.

According to a report in the Herald-Citizen of Cookeville, Tuck suffered a broken jaw, a possible broken leg, and other injuries after landing on some rocks.

Members of the Putnam and White County Rescue Squads hiked down to Tuck and then carried him out in a basket.

He was treated at the scene by the Putnam County EMS and later airlifted by helicopter ambulance to a Nashville hospital.

Tigers ranked 12th in State in latest AP poll

September 3, 2008

The DeKalb County Tiger football team - off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 17 years - is ranked in this week's Associated Press poll. The Tigers garned 17 votes for the top ten in Class 3A, which was good enough to place them at number-12 in the weekly poll. The poll was released by the Tennessean newspaper on Wednesday morning.

The ranking is believed to be the first for the Tiger football team since being ranked in the Nashville Banner's top 5 early in the 1991 season.

David Lipscomb is the top-ranked team in Class 3A. Lipscomb pulled in 11 first place votes and 134 total points to earn the top spot just ahead of Knoxville Catholic, who had three first place votes and 127 total points. Lipscomb beat the Tigers' opponent for this week - Greenbrier - 42-3, last Friday night. McMinn Central, Giles County and DeKalb's Region 4-3A foe, White House, round out the top five.

Teams six through ten are as follows: Dyersburg, Knoxville Fulton, Jackson South Side Anderson County and Austin-East. Marshall County earned 19 points to earn the number-11 ranking, just two points ahead of the Tigers at number-12. Sheffield and Mitchell round out the poll's top 14 spots.

Meanwhile, Tiger quarterback Hunter Poteete is the top-rated passer in the mid-state according to staistics collected by the Tennessean. Poteete is credited for 491 yards on 29-of-61 passing, with six touchdowns. Poteete is also listed among the mid-state's rushing leaders with 146 yards on 38 carries and two touchdowns. J.J. Herriott and Abram Edwards are also ranked in the top ten in the mid-state in receiving. Herriott has nine catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Edwards has six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Logan Roller and Matthew Collier are also mentioned among the tackle leaders. Roller is listed with 11 tackles, while Collier has 10 for the season.

The Tigers will welcome Greenbrier to the VanHooser Stadium, this Friday night, for the Region 4-3A opener for both teams. DeKalb County will be looking to snap a 14-game losing streak to the Bobcats, a team the Tigers have not beaten since the 1979 season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night, and WJLE plans live coverage.

Hixon Found Dead in Missouri

September 3, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nicholas Hixon

One of the men the Tennessee Highway Patrol and others spent two days looking for in the Temperance Hall area almost two weeks ago is dead.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Wednesday, August 27th, Nicholas Hixon was at his home in Independence, Missouri, where he was found dead by a family member. Hixon apparently died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.

The Examiner, a Missouri newspaper, reports that the funeral for the 19 year old Hixon will be tonight (September 3rd) at the Mount Washington Chapel Mausoleum in Independence, Missouri

Hixon and Kirk Douglas Fincher, who were spotted by the THP on Interstate 40 Saturday, August 23rd, bailed out of the stolen car they were in near the Walker Creek Bridge at Temperance Hall after leading officers on a pursuit from Smith County into DeKalb County.

Fincher showed up at a residence in the area on Sunday and was held at gunpoint by a private citizen until officers arrived.

The search continued for Hickson, who authorities initially thought was still at large in the area.

However, Sheriff Ray says the TBI later learned that Hixon left the area enroute to Missouri. He apparently caught a ride to Nashville on Sunday morning, August 24th and used someone's cell phone to call his mother in Missouri.

The TBI has also learned that Hixon got someone to check him into the Knight's Inn on Spring Street in Nashville using a ficticious name Sunday evening where he spent the night.

He was last seen at a Greyhound bus terminal in Nashville Monday night, August 25th. His picture was captured at 6:01 p.m. Monday on a video tape from a surveillance camera at the bus station.

Sheriff Ray says Hixon was facing charges in Tennessee, but not in DeKalb County.

Labor Day Crash Claims Two Lives, Injures Four Others

September 2, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bryan Timothy Walker
Casaundra Rena Maple

Two from DeKalb County lost their lives and four others were injured in a two vehicle crash Monday afternoon in Warren County.

Dead are 22 year old Bryan Timothy Walker and 19 year old Casaundra R. Maple both of Smithville.

The accident occurred around 4:14 p.m. on Highway 56 at the intersection of Capshaw Road.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 20 year old Miranda L. Maple of Dowelltown was driving north on Highway 56 in a 1995 Nissan Maxima when she attempted to make a left turn onto Capshaw Road and turned into the path of a loaded southbound 1990 Dodge one ton roll back wrecker, driven by 59 year old Charles Larry Pack of McMinnville. After impact, both vehicles went off the highway, over an embankment and into an open field where they came to rest about 50 feet off the highway.

Both Bryan Walker and Casaundra Maple were passengers in the Nissan Maxima along with 15 year old Brittany Smith also from Smithville.

Miranda Maple was airlifted from the scene by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital while Smith, who had to be cut from the wreckage by emergency workers, was airlifted by Life Force and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Walker and Casaundra Maple died at the scene

A 13 year old boy of McMinnville was a passenger of the Pack vehicle. Both Pack and the juvenile were injured and transported by EMS to River Park Hospital where they were treated and released.

The crash was investigated by Trooper Bruce Pryor and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol along with the THP Critical Incident Response Team. The North Warren Fire Department and the Warren County EMS were also on the scene.

All DeKalb County Pre-K Classes Full This Year

September 1, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Pre-K Teacher Jennifer Peek with Students at SES
Pre-K Students at Smithville Elementary

All pre kindergarten classes are full this year, but you can have your named placed on a waiting list if or when there is a vacancy.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade says around 100 students are being served by the pre-k program this year. "Several years ago we were able to receive a pre-k program. It was referred to as a pilot program. We received that at Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. At that time, we could take three and four year olds into the programs. With the success that was shown across the state with the pre-k programs, we were able to expand. At the present time we have four pre-k classrooms at Smithville Elementary and one at DeKalb West School. We have completely filled our classrooms for this school year and we're really excited about that because all the children are coming in, we're all starting at the same time of the year, and the teachers are getting to know an entire class. It's just absolutely wonderful that our community has taken advantage of the pre-k programs. We had several packets picked up on registration day that have not been returned to us. Even though our classrooms are completely full we have started a waiting list and that simply means that when you turn in your application, your child's name will go on a list, and if we have a spot to open up in the pre-k classrooms, we will call the parents on that list and ask them if they would like to add their child to the class at that time."

Burklow says all instructors are certified and the curriculum is well structured. "We can have up to 20 students in a classroom. All of our pre-k teachers are certified. They hold a teaching certificate in pre-k. They also do the 30 hours of in-service, professional development training each year. They are CPR and first aid trained and certified. As far as our educational assistants, we do have to keep a one to ten ratio in the pre-k classrooms so each classroom has an educational assistant. The educational assistant is highly qualified under No Child Left Behind guidelines. The first year that they are with us, they complete 18 hours of training. After that first initial year then they only have to complete 12 hours of training, but they too are CPR and first aid certified. Just like the regular school day, our pre-k day is the same. The children are given an opportunity to ride the bus each day. We have a seven hour day. We have an "OWL" curriculum, it's called "Opening the World of Learning" that we use as our main curriculum. We have the letter people, which is introducing the alphabet to the children through puppets and inflatable people. We also use Frog Street Press as supplements to this curriculum. Concerning the pre-k curriculum, the children are not at a table all day long. The state requires that the children go to centers and are given an opportunity to choose a center for two and a half hours a day. They may decide to go to dramatic play or they may decide to go to blocks or an art activity. They may choose to do a puzzle. So there's two and a half hours a day that the children choose what they would like to go into and to socialize with their peers."

For more information, call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107, Clay Farler at 215-2101, or call Smithville Elementary or DeKalb West School.

Local Man Injured in Truck Accident

August 31, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 25 year old Smithville man was seriously injured in a pickup truck wreck late Friday night on Highway 70 east on Sligo hill.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Bryan Officer was traveling west in a 1988 Chevy pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, overcorrected, and over turned. The truck came to rest upright on it's wheels. Officer was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

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