Local News Articles

Chamber Presents Community Improvement Award to Alexandria Fire Department

June 10, 2015
Chamber Presents Community Improvement Award to Alexandria Fire Department

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently presented a Community Improvement Award to the Alexandria Fire Department.

The fire department has undergone a complete interior renovation including walls, floors, ceiling, signage, new furnishings and a new TV for weather emergency information and for training purposes. Recently, the ISO Rating for Alexandria dropped from a 7 to a 4 which may translate into lower residential and commercial insurance premiums.

The Alexandria Fire Department also has a 2nd engine now.

(PICTURED): Alexandria Alderman David Cripps, FF Rebecca Partridge, FF Lorrie Merriman, Asst. Chief John Partridge, FF Chris Cavin, FF Justin Avera, Capt. Brent Davis, Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley, Chief Brian Partridge, FF Chris Henderson, Alexandria Alderman Bennett Armstrong, Alexandria Alderman John Suggs and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams

Joe Foutch Term Soon to Expire on DUD Board

June 10, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joe Foutch

Joe Foutch's term as a member of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners is expiring August 31.

During its regular monthly meeting Thursday, July 2 the DUD board is expected to certify a list of nominees to the county mayor to fill the position which may also include the name of Foutch for reapppointment. A DUD customer may submit a name to the District General Manager for consideration on the nominee list at least one week prior to the July 2 meeting

As WJLE first reported last year when DUD board members Jimmy Womack and Roger Turney were up for reappointment, by law the DUD board must submit the names of three nominees to fill each position, listed in order of preference.

Under the law, a customer may also submit names for consideration by the DUD board for the list of nominees.

The general provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated (State Law) TCA § 7-82-307 provide that the utility board members must submit three nominees, listed in order of preference, to the county mayor (where the vacancy exists). The county mayor has the authority to appoint one of the nominees to the vacant position on the board or reject all of the nominees. If the county mayor rejects all three nominees, then the board of (utility) commissioners has to submit three additional nominees to the county mayor for consideration. If the county mayor rejects these nominees, then the process would continue until the position is filled. There are, however, exceptions to these general provisions in the statute. Any order either appointing or rejecting a list of nominees shall be entered of record on the minutes of the county legislative body and a certified copy of the order shall be furnished to the board of (utility) commissioners and to the appointee; provided, that upon the rejection of any entire list of nominees by the county mayor, the board of (utility) commissioners shall continue to submit new nonidentical lists of three (3) nominees to the county mayor within sixty (60) days after each such rejection until such procedure shall result in the vacancy being filled for the remainder of the term or for the new term, as provided in this section.

The DUD Board is made up of five members, three from DeKalb County (Jimmy Womack, Joe Foutch, and Hugh Washer), one from Cannon (Roger Turney), and one from Smith County (Danny Bass). The terms are staggered. All terms are for four years.

Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Coming July 3 & 4

June 9, 2015
Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Coming July 3 & 4

Come one, come all to downtown Smithville for the 44th Annual Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival. This year's event will be held Friday, July 3rd and Saturday, July 4th. The Festival begins at 9:00 am each day, and continues until the final competition has been awarded. With over 35 music and dance categories, streets full of hand-made crafts, and over a dozen food booths, there is something for everyone at the Jamboree.

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 3:

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (Solo); Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Old-Time Appalachian Folksinging (Duet, Trio, Quartet); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event (Spoon Clacking, Jug Blowing, Washboard, Tub, Saws-Appalachian Related Only); Autoharp, Gospel Singing (Solo); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Youth Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers); Gospel Singing (Duet,Trio, and Quartet); Mandolin; and Old Time Fiddle Band.

The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.

All first place winners get $125, except the Old Time Fiddle Band, which gets $525 for first place and Youth Square Dancing which is awarded $300.
Second place winners get $100 and third place winners receive $75. The Old Time Fiddle Band second place winner gets $425 and $325 for third place. The Youth Square Dance second place team is awarded $200 and $100 goes for third place.

A United States flag and a Tennessee State flag will be presented on Friday evening. The flags, which have flown over the state capitol, go to the persons who travel the greatest distances, both from inside and outside the country, to get here. The flags will be presented by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody.

Fiddler's Jamboree Craft Awards will be presented during the weekend for "Best of Show", "Best Appalachian Craft", "Best Newcomer", and "Best Craft Display"

On Saturday, July 4, preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Flat Top Guitar; Contest Fiddle for the Neil Dudney Award; Bluegrass Band; Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers).

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.

Prize money in most categories is $125 for first place; $100 for second place; and $75 for third place. Awards for Junior Fiddlers and Senior Fiddlers are $225 for first place; $175 for second place; and $150 for third place. Prizes for Bluegrass Band are $525 for first place; $425 for second place; and $325 for third place. Awards for Square Dancing are $400 for first place; $300 for second place; and $200 for third place.

The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival. The winner gets $300.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon, July 4 during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.

Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.

Prizes are $100 for first place, $75 for second place; and $50 for third place. One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer Trophy Award and $125 and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy and $175.

In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature many crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.

WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.

To learn more visit http://smithvillejamboree.com/

Board Amends School Calendar

June 9, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County School Calendar for the 2015-2016 year has been amended to correct a mistake.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW AMENDED SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR 2015-16)

1321_001.pdf (54.18 KB)

"Due to an oversight when we were adding up the days for the school calendar we made a mistake. We counted the days wrong. So instead of the last day of school being May 24 we'll have to add two days which would make May 25 the administrative day and the last day of school will be May 26," said Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder.

The Board of Education voted to make the change during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting.

Under the new calendar, registration for all students will be Monday, August 3.

Tuesday, August 4 will be an administrative day for teachers only

The first full day of school for all students will be Wednesday, August 5

A system wide in-service day will be Tuesday, July 28

All teachers will report to their individual schools on Wednesday and Thursday July 29 and July 30

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 7.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 12-23

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 25, 26, & 27 and for the Christmas break December 21 through January 1. Friday, December 18 will be the last day students attend before Christmas break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Monday, January 4 will be a stockpile day for teachers. Students will return after the holidays on Tuesday, January 5.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18; for President's Day, Monday, February 15; and Good Friday, March 25.

Spring break will be March 28 through April 1

Stockpile Days will be Friday, September 4 and Monday, January 4.

Students will not attend on Wednesday, May 25. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 26 and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 6 and Thursday, March 17 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 8 and Tuesday, March 22 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

DCHS report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 5 and Tuesday, March 15 and at all other schools on Tuesday, October 6 and Thursday, March 17. All schools will send home report cards on Thursday, January 7 and on Thursday, May 26.

(UPDATED) Body of Man Recovered from Center Hill Lake (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Body of Man Recovered from Center Hill Lake at Floating Mill

After a search that lasted more than four hours, the body of 57 year old Timothy Majors of Ashland City was pulled from Center Hill Lake near Floating Mill Monday afternoon.

Majors is believed to have drowned but an autopsy will be performed to confirm the cause of death.

The man had been with three other family members on a pontoon boat they had rented Monday morning at the Floating Mill Camp ground. After launching the boat, Majors and two others on board decided to go swimming. The pontoon was about 100 yards off shore when they jumped into the lake.

A woman who remained on the boat tossed life jackets to all three but Majors went under before he could reach his. He never resurfaced alive.

Central dispatch received the call of a possible drowning at 10:33 a.m. and members of the TWRA, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers converged on the scene to begin the search using sonar and underwater cameras. Once the body was found, a diver from the Rescue Squad went down to bring it to the surface. The discovery was made in about twenty five feet of water at around 3:15 p.m.

The search was only temporarily halted due to a passing thunderstorm during the afternoon.

DeKalb EMS was also on the scene.

Woman Arrested for Selling Pills to Off Duty Drug Detective

June 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Stephanie Marie Jagneaux
Michael Brandon Redman
Forest Andrew Mathias
Jim Thomas Flesher, III
Travis Lee Baisden
Nathan Joe Trapp
Tisha Elaine Burns
Laura Ann Smith-Gaskins

A woman trying to sell drugs picked the wrong customer with whom to do business, an off duty Sheriff's Department drug detective.

43 year old Stephanie Marie Jagneaux of Student's Home Road, Smithville is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Percocet), sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug (Xanax), and sale and delivery in a drug free zone. Her bond totals $75,000 and she will be in court August 13.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Jagneaux approached the detective Sunday night, June 7 not knowing who he was and asked if he wanted to purchase some Percocet and Xanax pills she was trying to sell. The detective, who also didn't know Jagneaux, arranged to meet her early Monday morning in the parking lot of PeKing Restaurant where the transaction took place within 1,000 feet of the Smithville Elementary School building. After selling the detective three Percocet and two Xanax pills, deputies quickly arrived on the scene and took Jagneaux into custody.

Meanwhile, a prisoner has been charged with assaulting a correctional officer in the jail annex.

30 year old Michael Brandon Redman of McMinnville is under a $2,500 bond and he will make a court appearance June 18.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, June 8 Redman put a covering over a surveillance camera after he was placed in the holding tank following his involvement in an altercation inside the annex.

Redman refused when asked by a correctional officer to uncover the camera. Redman then grabbed the officer from behind his head when he entered the cell leaving scratches on his neck.

21 year old Forest Andrew Mathias of McMinnville is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $2,000 and he will make a court appearance August 27.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, June 1 a deputy stopped a white car for a light law violation. The driver, Mathias, could not produce a driver license. A computer check confirmed that his license were suspended for a truancy law violation on March 21, 2011. Mathias also has two previous violations for driving on a suspended license in DeKalb County.

19 year old Jim Thomas Flesher, III of Village Place, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance June 18.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, June 3 a deputy was dispatched to Redman Road on a public disturbance complaint. Upon arrival, the officer found Flesher hiding in the woods. Flesher had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was staggering while walking and his speech was slurred. For his safety of that of the public, Flesher was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

28 year old Travis Lee Baisden of Eagle Creek Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 4 a deputy was dispatched to Eagle Creek Road on a physical domestic complaint. Upon arrival he spoke with Baisden's mother and another man who said that Baisden had assaulted her. According to the mother, she and Baisden began arguing. After he spat in her face three times, she grabbed him by the throat and they started fighting. The woman had several marks and bruises on her head and body. Baisden was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest.

32 year old Nathan Joe Trapp of Magness Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law and driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 27.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 6 a deputy stopped a white vehicle traveling east on Highway 70 due to a traffic violation. After stopping the vehicle the officer spoke to the driver, Trapp. His speech was slurred. He admitted to having taken Suboxone. Trapp submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He refused to take a blood test.

44 year old Tisha Elaine Burns of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with evading arrest. She is further cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court June 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, May 26 a deputy conducted a traffic stop on J. Hutchings Road. Burns jumped out of the automobile and ran in an attempt to escape from law enforcement. The officer caught up with her and placed her under arrest. In addition to the evading charge, she was served with another active warrant against her. During a search of Burns' pocketbook, the officer found a small amount of methamphetamine.

46 year old Laura Ann Smith-Gaskins of Floyd Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched to Floyd Drive on Wednesday May 27 in reference to a verbal domestic complaint. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Gaskins and her mother. As the officer read Gaskins her rights, Gaskins allegedly made statements to the deputy about wanting to kill the children that were there.

City Installing New Automated Read Water Meters

June 8, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Matthew Johns of Advanced Utility Services (left) and City employee Riley Bullard (right) installing new automated read water meters
City Installing New Automated Read Water Meters

The City of Smithville is in the process of replacing all customer water meters with new automated read meters.

In January, the aldermen accepted a bid from Advanced Utility Services of North Little Rock Arkansas to supply approximately 2,500 new meters at a cost of $532,600. The project is funded under a USDA Rural Development grant/loan program.

The new meters are expected be more accurate to help prevent water loss. According to city officials, the system is expected to save the city time, money, and wear and tear on city vehicles. "Instead of taking seven working days to have two men read meters, it will only take one day with these meters. Labor wise it will save a lot of money over time. From what we understand in talking to other utility districts, automated meters are a lot more accurate and usually revenue increases," said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

The new system also keeps a 90 day history of customer's water usage and sensors are on the meters to alert city officials in the event of tampering or unusually large amounts of water usage.

Any city employee no longer needed to read meters will be reassigned to other positions in the public works department. No one will lose his job due to the new system.

City officials also stress that no increase in water or sewer rates would be needed to pay for it.

According to City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson, Advanced Utility Services has until August 16 to complete the project under terms of its contract, but work is ahead of schedule.

Eight Year Old Boy Seriously Injured in Boating Accident

June 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

An eight year old White County boy was seriously injured in a boating accident Friday afternoon on Center Hill Lake.

According to the TWRA, the boy was with family and friends aboard a moving pontoon boat when he fell into the water and was struck by the propeller as the vessel traveled over him. The accident reportedly occurred about a mile downstream of the Ragland Bottom Recreation area.

The boy was placed back on the pontoon and brought to shore at Ragland Bottom where he was picked up by DeKalb EMS and transported to a helicopter landing zone set up just east of Sligo bridge in a field off the highway. From there he was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital.

The youngster reportedly suffered several serious injuries and at last report was still critical but stable.

The accident was investigated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad and the Midway and Johnsons Chapel Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Community Remembers Colten May with Candlelight Vigil and Balloon Release

June 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Balloon Release in Remembrance of Colten May
Candlelight Vigil held to Remember Colten May

Just four days shy of what would have been his second birthday, caring members of the community joined friends and family of Colten May in a remembrance program Saturday evening.

The observance, held downtown at Evins Park, featured prayers, words of encouragement from Chris Moore of the Smithville Church of God, and LIVE music, along with a candlelight vigil and a balloon release in remembrance of Colten and to promote child abuse awareness.

Colten died on Sunday, May 17. His mother's boyfriend, 23 year old Cody Key was indicted two days later for felony murder and aggravated child abuse in the death of the child. Colten's mother, 19 year old Jessica May was indicted on a charge of aggravated child neglect.

"I don't want you to walk away from here today just with a heavy heart and say I've done my part because I attended this service. I want you to find your courage," said Jennifer Wilkerson, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center, who was the keynote speaker for the program.

"I challenge each and every one of you to get involved. To contribute in some way. Ask yourselves what can we do and how can we prevent this from happening again? Find the courage to educate yourself about the signs and the symptoms of abuse. Find the courage to get involved with programs in the community. Find the courage to develop the prevention programs in your community. Talk to your children and listen to what they have to say. Most of all I encourage you to report abuse. The law in Tennessee says that any person who has a suspicion that child abuse is occurring is required by law to report that abuse. If you suspect that something is going on with a child, report it. If you report it, you could possibly save a life. This is how we can honor Colten May," said Wilkerson.

Woman and Two Children Injured in UTV Rollover Accident

June 6, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Woman and Two Children Injured in UTV Rollover Accident
Three Hurt in Polaris UTV Rollover Accident on Dry Creek Road

A 60 year old woman and two children were injured in a UTV rollover accident Friday afternoon on Dry Creek Road near Dowelltown.

Barbara Poss of Dowelltown was operating a Polaris UTV heading south with two children passengers aboard when she went off the right side of the road and plunged down a steep embankment. As the UTV overturned, the children, both girls ages 10 and 11, were thrown off. Poss was trapped underneath the UTV as it came to rest upside down. A passerby and two county volunteer firefighters, who arrived in their own vehicles, came to the aid of Poss and were able to lift the UTV off of her as the county fire department's rescue truck was enroute. Poss and the children were brought back up to the road and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

The accident was investigated by Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene. Poss was issued several traffic citations.

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