Local News Articles

Potential Candidates Already Inquiring about 2014 Elections

August 25, 2013
Dennis Stanley

While the first election in 2014 is months away, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said potential candidates have already begun to ask questions about various offices.

“We have had people already ask what they need to do to become a candidate,” Stanley said. “Even though it is a little bit early, certain issues could come into play now, depending on the circumstances.”

It is likely a primary election will be called by one of the local political parties for May 6, 2014. As a result, the qualifying deadline for all candidates will be Noon February 20th. Petitions will be available November 22, 2013.

“Since petitions are not available until November 22, 2013, potential candidates may wonder how they can declare or announce they are running before November,” Stanley said. “Individuals may be announced candidates and may begin soliciting campaign funds at any time before the election. That is a political strategy issue and each candidate must make that decision.”

“However, before a candidate raises or spends money, the candidate needs to file an “Appointment of Political Treasurer” with the Election Commission. This form is available at http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/forms/ss-1120.pdf or can be obtained at our office. You can print it out online and bring it to us. We must have the original, so a fax or email will not work.”

”You may file the Appointment of Political Treasurer at any time, but it must be filed before you raise or spend money,” Stanley continued. “The Registry of Election Finance has said that “incidental” expenses while you are thinking about running do not count. There are different regulations for judicial candidates, so please ask us before soliciting campaign funds.”

Once a candidate files an Appointment of Treasurer form, the candidate is required to file periodic disclosure reports. The reports are to be filed quarterly during the election year and semi-annually in either the year(s) before or after. Additionally, a report is due 10 days before any election. The report dates can be found at http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/cand/cand_filing.htm or you can obtain a copy at the local election office.

“The State Registry of Election Financial (615-741-7959) or http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/contact.htm has jurisdiction over election financial issues,” Stanley said. “The DeKalb County Election Commission merely files the reports and makes them available to the public. The state office can answer any question you have about financial reports or requirements.”

More information about the petition process, including additional deadlines for Road Superintendent and Sheriff candidates, can be obtained at the election commission office on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse or by logging on to www.dekalbelections.com.

DeKalb Records Second Lowest July Jobless Rate in Upper Cumberland Region

August 24, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for July was 8.2%, down from 8.7% in June but up slightly from 8.1% in July, 2012.

The local labor force for July, 2013 was 9,850. A total of 9,040 were employed and 810 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for July was second lowest in the Upper Cumberland Region. Here's how the fourteen counties ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett County: 12%
Van Buren County: 12%
White County: 11.3%
Clay County: 10.5%
Warren County: 10.4%
Overton County: 10.3%
Jackson County: 10%
Fentress County:9.8%
Cumberland County: 9.2%
Macon County: 9.1%
Cannon County: 8.4%
Putnam County: 8.4%
DeKalb County: 8.2%
Smith County: 7.3%

County unemployment rates for July 2013 show the rate decreased in 79 counties, increased in 12, and remained the same in four counties. Specific county information is available on the Internet; enter http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/LaborJULY2013.pdf.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.7 percent, down from 7.0 percent in June. Knox County’s July rate decreased to 7.0 from 7.3 percent. Hamilton County decreased to 8.6 percent from 8.8 the previous month. Shelby County was 9.8 percent, down from 10.3 percent in June.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July is 8.5 percent, which is unchanged from the June revised rate. The national unemployment rate for July 2013 was 7.4 percent, down two tenths of one percentage point from the previous month.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Six Seek Judicial Commissioner Appointments

August 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Adams
Hoyte Barrett
Oscar Boyd
McClure Cantrell
Taft Hendrixson
Richard Jennings

The DeKalb County Commission is looking to fill a vacant judicial commissioner position and to add another one during Monday night's regular meeting.

The county currently has two judicial or warrant commissioners. Jerry Taylor holds one of the positions. Tammy Ashburn held the other but she recently resigned. Until that vacancy is filled, Taylor has the responsibilities all to himself except for the services of Rod Higham, who fills in on a part time basis as needed.

Currently, each of the two judicial commissioners is on call for two weeks and is off for two weeks. The positions pay $890 per month.

During Thursday night's "All-Committees" meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster said he would like to create a third judicial commissioner position. "What I'm thinking is, we could have three on call. Rotate weekly. It's going to add $10,000 a year to the operation of the office but they (each judicial commissioner) could work a week and be off two weeks but still be on call in case one of the others got sick," he said.

Since funds are not already budgeted for a third judicial commissioner, Foster said the county commission would have to adopt a budget amendment to pay for it.

Meanwhile members of the county commission Thursday night interviewed six applicants for the positions, Mark Adams, Hoyte Barrett, Oscar Boyd, McClure Cantrell, Taft Hendrixson, and Richard Jennings.

Two of those applicants will likely be appointed by the county commission Monday night, one to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ashburn, and the other to fill the newly created position.

Other issues on the county commission agenda Monday night are as follows:

Budget amendments/Quarterly Reports

Discuss an emergency purchase for addition and improvement to high school football bleachers for the DeKalb County Board of Education per Phone Poll

Discuss a resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligation school improvement bond of DeKalb County resolution for detailed repayment.

Discuss authorization of agreement with DeKalb County Road Supervisor Kenny Edge for the county to purchase oil, etc. for improvement of convenience sites by the Road Department.

Discuss TDOT project status report

Discuss recycling transfer station plans and future plans. Discuss possible agreement with Smithville.

Discuss invitation to bid-Omega roof, gym, completion of surveillance cameras for the county complex

Discuss commission and committee vacancies

Any other business properly presented


The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

DCHS Amputee Football Player Hopes to Inspire Team

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dillon Williams

A DCHS Football player is hoping for a chance to help his team do battle against the Warren County Pioneers in the season opener tonight in McMinnville. But six months ago, Dillon Williams was facing a different kind of battle....a fight for his life after he lost a portion of his right leg in an accidental shooting.

"I was showing my girlfriend a gun I had gotten for Christmas and when I was handing it to her, it went off in the process," said Williams in an interview with WJLE Thursday.

Williams was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville but the wound was so serious that his leg had to be amputated below the knee. The teen has since been fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Though not a starter on the football team, Williams, now a senior, got to see some action last season and was hoping for more playing time this year. "On offense (last year) I played center and on defense I played tackle. I played in the first five games (last season). I also got to play in the (state) play-off game we had here at home," said Williams.

During his recovery, Williams said he has worked to get stronger so that he might be able in some way to contribute to the team this season. "I was at physical therapy the other day and he (therapist) told me I could play. He (therapist) said he wanted me to start padding up and get a feel for hitting. He said I wouldn't be able to do everything everyone else does but I could do some stuff," Williams said.

"I am hoping to play a little bit of special teams because I think that would be the easiest for me. But even if I don't get in the game, I just want to hit somebody," he said.

Williams said his hope is that he can be an inspiration to others, especially his teammates in overcoming adversity. "If they see me out here on the field, maybe they will say if he can do it I can to".

"For us he is a true inspiration," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. " He (Williams) has been at every practice since he has been able to get out and move around. He is an inspiration for all of us to keep fighting and working toward what you expect to achieve," he said.

Since losing his leg, Williams said an uncle has quoted for him a passage of scripture which he thinks of often. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Every time I get down I think about that and it lifts me up."

Four Persons Interview for Vacant County Commission Seat

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Rick Cantrell
Steven Cantrell
Eugene LaFever
James Young

The county commission Monday night is expected to name someone to fill the unexpired term of John Green in the fifth district.

Green resigned from the county commission in April because he had moved his residence to White County. Green had served on the county commission for eleven years. He was first elected in 2002 and then re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

During an "All-Committees" meeting Thursday night, County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission interviewed four applicants for the position, Rick Cantrell, Steven Cantrell, Eugene LaFever, and James Young.

Two others had also applied, Hunter Hendrixson and Anita Puckett, but they recently withdrew their names from consideration.

The appointee selected during the regular monthly meeting Monday night will serve on the county commission from the fifth district until the end of Green's term, which expires August 31, 2014.

The following is a summary of each interview:

"I was born and raised in the fifth district. I have been on the (DeKalb County Regional) Planning Commission since 1995. Eighteen years. I have lived in DeKalb County all my life. I went to school here. I have worked for BFN Operations for thirty eight years, formerly Knowles & Sons Nursery. It's in the fifth district. I am one of the managers there," said Cantrell.

"One thing I'd like to throw out there is that I have no vendetta. I am just here to work with you all for the whole county. I have no personal gains or reasons whatsoever involved here. If I feel like I am correct (on an issue) and it's the right thing to do, that's the way I'll vote," he said

When asked if he would run for the office in the next election, Cantrell replied "That's a possibility. If the people of the 5th district ask me to, I would. I will address that when the time comes," he said

"I graduated in 1982 from DCHS and in 1987 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville," said Cantrell. " In the different jobs I've had over the years, I worked with the Extension Service over in Rhea County for a year and a half. I then taught at Scott High School in East Tennessee for half a year. I then taught over here (DeKalb County) for about six years. Now I'm working at a place called Bonnell between Carthage and Gordonsville," he said.

Cantrell was elected to the DeKalb County Commission during the 1990's representing the fifth district. "Right before I went over there (Bonnell) I was on the county commission with some of you all for a little while. I was on the committees for agriculture, education, and law enforcement when I was on the county commission before. I ended up moving out of the county so I didn't run again for that. I am back in this district, where I have lived most of my life. I just got interested in coming back to the commission when I saw that (position) opening up," said Cantrell.

" I'd like to try to do some things for the county and help out somewhat. I'm not looking to oppose anyone in a certain way. I have no hidden agenda or anything like that. I just enjoy the service because I did a lot of volunteer work with 4-H," he said.

"I was born and raised in DeKalb County. I live in Hillcrest Hills Subdivision on the east side of the county. My dad is U.L. LaFever. We owned Center Hill Sports Marine over on that side of the county all my life growing up until 2005 when we sold out. I went to school here and I've got a daughter in high school here now. I've always had dealings here in the county in some form or another. I have worked with several of you on different projects over the years. I do a couple of things now. I work with my uncle. We do sound jobs. We do the sound for the Fiddlers Jamboree. We do about twenty five festivals a year. I also work with a couple of attorneys out of town. I'm a process server on the side a little bit along the lines. I don't do any work here in DeKalb County much but outside of the county I do a little of that along in the winter time," said LaFever.

"I'm looking forward to an opportunity of maybe helping the county out a little bit along the lines. I was married to Dana LaFever for several years. She passed away three years ago. She worked for the sheriff's department. I had intended to run (for this position) before but because of the situation I was going through the time wasn't right. The time would be right for me to run now. I had intended to run and would intend to run," he said.

"I live down in the Four Seasons area. It used to be Young Bend. I attend an old Baptist church down there. I was born and raised there (Young Bend Community). I stayed gone for twenty years in Nashville. I moved back here in 1974. I have lived around DeKalb County since. I lost my first wife in 2001. I am married again to Jeanette Smithson. I'm retired. I retired from Timers, after twenty seven and a half years. Before that I did maintenance work in Nashville for twenty years. I am interested in what happens to DeKalb County now and future generations. We've got young people coming on and it concerns me," said Young.

Spacious New DCHS Football Fieldhouse Now Completed

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Spacious New DCHS Football Fieldhouse Now Completed
New Weight Room
New Locker Room

The new DCHS football field house is now completed in time for the season.

The facility is a 100' x 52' structure complete with a weight room, locker room, head coach's office, two other offices that the assistant coaches share, a utility/taping room, larger bathroom and shower areas, and an equipment room all under one roof.

"It's a blessing," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. "We're so much more efficient in the weight room. We've got so much more space. All new equipment. Our locker room is spacious. We can all fit in there without stepping on top of each other. The showers are large and we have tripled the bathroom size. Each coach has an office. I have one for myself. The others have to share a couple. Everything is under one roof," he said.

Coach Trapp said the facility has been in the making for four years and he is thankful for the support of the community and his staff. " It's been four years in the making. It got started by Coach Ed (the late Clay Edwards). Darrell Gill and the Quarterback Club and Junior Pro have done wonders. All those guys that just left (graduated) and their parents the last couple of years have done wonders raising money. The parents that we have now have done wonders raising money. It's just something we're very proud to have and its all the result of the people supporting us," said Coach Trapp

"As far as working on the building, the coaching staff did so much. We framed it ourselves inside and out. We had a few subs (contractors) doing the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Mike Ellis and his crew and A Degree Above and their crew helped us out and did a great job for us. Mark David Construction, I can't tell you how much he helped us out with concrete and just fixing a lot of things. We had some guys come in and put up the rest of the metal when spring ball started because we couldn't. But for the most part we did everything. Ronnie Neal did the dry wall but other than that, it was the coaches and just a few subs. The players would come out. I'd make them clean up. Pick up trash and things like that," he said.

"Everything was funded through people coming and watching DeKalb County football. They see us in these new uniforms. They see us with beautiful turf on our field. They see us with a new field house. It is because of them (public). We may have a dream or vision for what we want to do but if they don't come and watch us nothing gets done so everything that we've got is because of the people of DeKalb County," said Coach Trapp.

The older field house will still be used as a weight room for other sports and will serve as the locker room for visiting teams on game nights.

WJLE's Fearless Forecasters Return Next Thursday

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
John Pryor, Jeff James, Joe Goodwin
Ricky Atnip, Scott Brown, Darvin Gill
Joe Goodwin, Darrell Gill, Chad Kirby

WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" are returning for another season of college pigskin prognosticating Thursday afternoon's at 4:30 p.m. beginning August 29.

This season's regulars are Scott Brown, Chad Kirby, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, John Pryor, Joe Goodwin, Darvin Gill, and Darrell Gill. A different special guest will make an appearance each week. Joey Reeder will be our guest on the first show.

The "Fearless Forecasters" pick who they believe will win in fifteen of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the week.

They also make an underdog selection each week, picking a team they think will win, even though that team is not favored to win.

The program is sponsored by Liberty State Bank, DTC Communications, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, Pizza Hut, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company.

Catch the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE Thursday's at 4:30 p.m. starting August 29.

General Assembly Recognizes Chamber for 50 Years of Service

August 21, 2013
Dwayne Page
General Assembly Recognizes Chamber for 50 Years of Service

The 108th Tennessee General Assembly has recognized the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce for half a century of service.

The resolution, adopted by both the State Senate and House of Representatives and signed by the Governor is as follows:

"WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should salute those organizations that, through the extraordinary efforts of their members, have improved the quality of life for Tennesseans and contributed enormously to economic development; and

WHEREAS, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is one such estimable organization that is celebrating 50 years of excellence within the community; and

WHEREAS, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce came into being with House Bill No. 468 in the Tennessee General Assembly, which became Chapter No. 84 of the Private Acts of 1963, signed on March 12, 1963 by Governor Frank Clement; and

WHEREAS, the steering committee members were Merle Meyers, Bill Dyer, George LeFevre, Norval Webb, Glen Nichols, Dr. N.R. Atnip, and James G. "Bobo" Driver; and

WHEREAS, throughout its half-century of existence, this august body has been mission driven to lead the partnership between a strong commerce and a thriving community, promoting the growth and involvement of its members in economic development, education, recreation and culture, and safety and respect for the beautiful county of DeKalb; and

WHEREAS, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce represents the business community at work, and it serves as a central agency for community development for industry, the professions, and all civic interest – doing jobs no individual or single entity can do alone and rendering many services that benefit all citizens; and

WHEREAS, numerous examples exist of important initiatives that the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has spearheaded; early on, construction of a new courthouse and health center, the addition of curbs and sidewalks, and the development of a local airport and new industrial park were incredibly important accomplishments which wrought great benefits for the entire DeKalb County community and drew accolades from then Congressman
Joe L. Evins who was in attendance at the December 1970 Chamber Board meeting; and

WHEREAS, a hallmark accomplishment of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce was the initiation of the annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival in 1972. The first two-day Jamboree attracted 714 musicians representing 16 states, and now some 40 years later, audiences approach 150,000 ardent fans of bluegrass, old-time, and gospel music who gather yearly to bask in the delightful ambience of DeKalb County and relish the cultural talents of nationally and internationally great string music artists and craft artisans
who have made this venue legendary; and

WHEREAS, another monumental accomplishment of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce made midway through the decade of the 1970s was the establishment of a county-wide fire protection program, which secured four fire engines that provided emergency fire services to locales throughout rural DeKalb County, and the county’s capacity to respond and protect citizens’ lives and property from destruction by fire has been faithfully
supported by the Chamber ever since; and

WHEREAS, 1998 marked the genesis of the Leadership DeKalb Program; for more than a decade this program, which has remained under the able leadership of Director Jen Sherwood, has greatly enriched the leadership corps of DeKalb County and contributed directly to remarkable improvements throughout the county; and

WHEREAS, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been the catalyst in bringing the Tennessee Downtowns Program to DeKalb County; in 2012 and 2013, many exterior improvements to downtown Smithville buildings have been accomplished. Additionally, a new open air stage located at Evins Park will be used for outdoor concerts and other community events; and

WHEREAS, currently, the Smithville–DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is guided by president Janna Gillard, past president Kathie McGlamery, vice-president Julia Cantrell, secretary Valerie House, treasurer Jeff Crips, and board directors Kathy Hendrixson, Tony Luna, Lori Manns, Shea Colwell, Craig Gates, Charlotte Parsley, Susan Young, Sue Conley, Raul Ramirez, Sherry Harris, and Stein Prichard; and

WHEREAS, through the dedicated service of its members, the chamber has been and continues to be an ambassador of excellence for the community and has proven vital to growth and well being throughout all of DeKalb County; and

WHEREAS, this General Assembly finds it appropriate to pause in its deliberations to acknowledge and applaud the members and staff of the Smithville–DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce for their 50 years of demonstrated dedication to their county and its respective communities; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we hereby honor and congratulate the members and staff of the Smithville–DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce upon their celebration of 50 years of
excellent service to DeKalb County and extend to them our best wishes for every future success.

(Pictured Above: Chamber President Janna Gillard, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, Senator Mae Beavers, County Mayor Mike Foster, Chamber Past-President Kathie McGlamery, Chamber V.P. Julia Cantrell)

Supicious Fire Under Investigation

August 20, 2013
Dwayne Page
Supicious Fire Under Investigation on Cookeville Highway
Monday Night Fire at Duplex on McMinnville Highway

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Division are investigating a suspicious fire which occurred Thursday morning, August 15 at 3612 Cookeville Highway, the residence of Doris Colwell and her son Eddie Colwell. Both were reportedly home at the time but were not injured.

Central dispatch was notified at 10:48 a.m.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, and Tanker Truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded.

The fire was quickly brought under control apparently without major damage but smoke spread throughout the home.

DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Again, investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, county volunteer firefighters quickly contained a small fire at the residence of Jackie Linder on the McMinnville Highway Monday night, August 19

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, the structure is a duplex and the fire started in a utility room off the back porch on the side of the duplex where Linder resides. "The fire burned up the wall and got partially into the attic. We pulled the ceiling down from inside and put out the fire in the attic before it could spread to the living quarters," said Chief Green.

The fire caused extensive damage to the utility room. Smoke spread to other areas of the residence, causing minimal damage.

"While the fire is not suspicious, the cause is under investigation," said Chief Green.

Captain Anthony Boyd said while Linder is a resident there, he was not at home when the fire started. His nephew, David Linder was there but he was not injured. The owner of the dwelling is Frazier Weisley, Jr. of Murfreesboro.

Members of the Keltonburg, Belk, and Blue Springs stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker and equipment truck. DeKalb EMS and officers of the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

TDOT Commissioner Opens Hurricane Bridge in DeKalb County

August 20, 2013
TDOT Commissioner Opens Hurricane Bridge in DeKalb County

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer joined with state and local officials today (Tuesday) to celebrate a milestone in the major bridge rehabilitation project on the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County. After being down to only one lane for over two years to allow the contractor to safely work on the bridge, the project had progressed enough that the bridge can now be reopened to two lanes of traffic.

**NEW!!** Photos of the Hurricane Bridge when it was constructed in 1949, as well as photos of the newly reconstructed bridge can be found here:

"The Hurricane Bridge is very important to the DeKalb County area and the entire region," said Commissioner Schroer. "I am pleased to be here today to join with our state and local partners to celebrate the reopening of the bridge to two lanes of traffic."


Work began in February 2011 on the project to fully rehabilitate the 1954 Truss bridge, which was showing signs of aging. The structure has undergone a full rehabilitation, including truss strengthening, steel repair, painting, and bridge deck removal and replacement. The prime contractor for the $28.1 million project is OCCI, Inc. from Fulton Missouri, and the original contract completion date is October 31, 2013.

Even though the bridge has reopened to two lanes, the contractor still has some remaining work to do and will be working in the area until all remaining work is completed.

Senator Mae Beavers, Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and Representative Mark Pody represent DeKalb County in the Tennessee General Assembly and have been instrumental in bringing this important project to the area.

Among those on hand for the ribbon cutting in addition to Commissioner Schroer, Senator Beavers, and Representative Weaver were County Mayor Mike Foster, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis, and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree