Local News Articles

DTC Board Members Win Re-Election (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Incumbents Bennie "Buck" Curtis of Alexandria, Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, and Randy Campbell of Liberty were re-elected Saturday to the DTC Communications Board of Directors.

Incumbents Ronnie Garrison, Bennie "Buck" Curtis, and Randy Campbell have all been re-elected to the DTC Communications Board of Directors.

The results of the election were announced Saturday during the annual meeting of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative or DTC Communications at the fairgrounds in Alexandria

The closest race was between Curtis and his opponent Mark Willoughby for the directorship of the Alexandria Exchange. Curtis won 476 to 463, a 13 vote margin.

Garrison, Smithville Exchange member, received a total of 652 votes defeating challenger Paul Cantrell who had 291 votes.

Randy Campbell of the Liberty Exchange defeated Danny Lynn Hale 512 votes to 429.

All three directors elected Saturday will serve for three years.

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

Bennie "Buck" Curtis: Alexandria-91, Gordonsville-39, Smithville- 166, Woodbury- 58, and Election Day at Alexandria-122 for a total of 476 votes

Mark Willoughby: Alexandria- 67, Gordonsville- 40, Smithville -175, Woodbury- 47, and Election Day at Alexandria- 134 for a total of 463 votes

Randy Campbell: Alexandria-101, Gordonsville-33, Smithville-188, Woodbury-63, and Election Day at Alexandria-127 for a total of 512

Danny Lynn Hale: Alexandria- 62, Gordonsville-43, Smithville-149, Woodbury-45, and Election Day at Alexandria-130 for a total of 429

Ronnie Garrison: Alexandria-123, Gordonsville-64, Smithville-230, Woodbury-53, and Election Day at Alexandria-182 for a total of 652.

Paul Cantrell: Alexandria-38, Gordonsville-12, Smithville-120, Woodbury-46, and Election Day at Alexandria-75 for a total of 291

The DTC Communications Board of Directors, in addition to Curtis, Garrison, and Campbell, are Terry McPeak of the Norene Exchange, Charles Dwight Vinson of the Milton Exchange, Jean Chumbley Ferrell of the Woodbury Exchange, Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, Roy Nelson Pugh of Auburntown, David Parker of Woodland, and James Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville.

Congressman Black Visits DeKalb County and Speaks of Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Loree Hall, DeKalb GOP Vice Chairman Clint Hall, Congressman Diane Black, and DeKalb GOP Chairman Mingy Bryant at DeKalb GOP Picnic Saturday

Appearing at a DeKalb County GOP sponsored picnic Saturday at Greenbrook Park, Congressman Diane Black spoke of the U.S. House vote Friday to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood for a year and to curb some abortion practices.

The Planned Parenthood "de-fund" bill, sponsored by Congressman Black, passed 241-187, on a nearly party-line vote.

The debate over Planned Parenthood’s federal funding stems from a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that show high-ranking officials discussing the alleged sale of fetal tissue and body parts of aborted babies.

"I am a nurse. I have been a nurse for almost 45 years now. I was young and out of nursing school when the decision was made by Roe v Wade. For the last almost 43 years I have been fighting for life. What we saw happen on the floor (U.S. House of Representatives) just yesterday (Friday) was something that I have been waiting to see for over 42 years. We were able to get a vote on the floor to at least put a moratorium on Planned Parenthood's funding so that we can do the investigations to tell whether there really has been laws that have been broken behind the curtain called Planned Parenthood," said Congressman Black.

"As a nurse I look at those films and I see three things that are pretty definitive that shows the law has been broken but we will have hearings. We've also asked Loretta Lynch, who is our U.S. Attorney General to do those investigations. But we're doing our investigations. Here are the three things. One is the NIH Revitalization Act that says you cannot alter a procedure for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue separately from what you would do in an ordinary case . We can see very clearly that is being done. You cannot sell fetal tissue for a profit and we see the haggering over the price and that is also against the law. And the third is partial birth abortion and we see clearly that there are, at least from those films, some suspicions that this is what is going on," Congressman Black continued.

The bill would place an immediate moratorium on all federal funding to Planned Parenthood while Congress investigates the organization for potentially illegal actions. Under the legislation, funds would be reallocated to the more than 13,500 clinics nationwide that provide primary care to low-income and underserved populations and do not perform abortions. Additionally, the bill, as amended, would increase funding to community health centers by $235 million during this one-year period.

While the measure was adopted in the U.S. House, Congressman Black said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated he won't even try to bring the measure to the Senate floor. "Mr. McConnell has said he will not bring this up in the Senate. We're putting a lot of pressure on him and just yesterday we had a couple of our senators come out and say they are going to put pressure on the leader to bring this up. We've got to keep the pressure on. If you would like to call our senators and let them know you want them to put the pressure on McConnell do so. But it is going to be my job for the next month to beat the drum and say bring it up. Let's get a vote and then let's put it on the President's desk and I dare him to veto something that is showing illegal activity. He is in love with Planned Parenthood and he will veto it. But it's worth the fight," said Congressman Black.

McConnell said in an interview Friday he will back a plan to fund the government into December with no conditions, but rejected calls from within his party to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a larger budget bill.

“It’s an exercise in futility," the Kentucky Republican said of a strategy that would likely provoke a government shutdown. "I’m anxious to defund Planned Parenthood" but "the honest answer of that is that’s not going to happen until you have a president who has a similar view."

Metro Police Arrest Former Smithville Man in Midnight Nashville Burglary

September 18, 2015
Dwayne Page

A former Smithville man is among three people arrested in a Nashville convenience store burglary this morning (Friday) on McGavock Pike across from Opryland in which $240 was stolen.

35 year old Jason Donnie Pack has been charged with burglary, theft of property, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The other two persons were reportedly employees of the store.

WJLE contacted Metro Nashville Police for a statement and mug shot of Pack.

In the affidavit sent to WJLE, police report that "On Friday, September 18 just after 12:30 a.m., police received a call at 2471 McGavock Pike, Nashville (BP Station) stating that there was a cart pushed through the front door. Upon arrival, officers observed the front door had been shattered and money was laying at the entrance. The business owner, Joe Hobbs, responded to the scene and accessed surveillance video footage. Blood evidence was located behind the counter of the business, during the on scene investigation."

"Surveillance video showed a bald male white subject wearing a long sleeve dark colored shirt, Khaki pants, and dark shoes with light colored laces, bust the front door window and enter the business. Upon entering the store, the subject fell into a short wall, on the glass. The subject ran directly to where the money drawers were stored, grabbed cash from the drawers and then fled the store. A large white colored four-door sedan could be seen leaving the business moments later, from the direction the subject was seen running."

"At 2:39 a.m., Hermitage Flex officers conducted a traffic stop on a light colored Lincoln sedan for having a tag light out. The defendant (Pack) was in the passenger seat of the vehicle. During the stop, the defendant (Pack) had claimed ownership of the vehicle. A search of the vehicle produced a plastic bag containing 2 hypodermic needles and 1 dilaudid pill from the pocket of the front passenger door where the defendant was seated. The defendant was wearing a short sleeve black shirt, and khaki pants. The defendant had a large amount of cash, in $1 and $5 denominations, in his pocket. One of the $5 bills had a paperclip on it, which is how the store had the money separated. The defendant also had a recent, still blood smeared cut on his lower left leg. Located in the rear floorboard of the vehicle was a long sleeve black t-shirt, that appeared to have blood on it. The defendant was taken into custody. He was determined to be too intoxicated to be interviewed".

According to the report, "the estimated amount of money stolen from the business is about $240, at this time".

Caplinger Case Against City set for October 14

September 18, 2015
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Former Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger will have his day in court against the City of Smithville next month.

In court documents obtained by WJLE, Judge Amy Hollars has scheduled a final hearing and oral argument in DeKalb County Circuit Court on Wednesday, October 14 at 9:00 a.m. on Caplinger's lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment

Caplinger's attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox filed the lawsuit on Thursday, June 4.

"We are seeking to have Chief Caplinger restored to his rightful position as chief. We are also asserting that he is entitled to receive all accrued back pay and every other benefit to which he would be entitled had this unlawful suspension and termination never occurred," Cripps told WJLE when the lawsuit was filed.

In the lawsuit, Cripps and Cox are asking for a declaratory judgment "to construe the charter for the City of Smithville and to determine which provision controls and governs the number of votes required by the Board of Aldermen to ratify or confirm the mayor's decision to remove an employee of the city". Cripps and Cox are also urging the court to find that the Board of Aldermen violated a section of the charter by not convening a meeting to ratify the mayor's suspension of Caplinger without pay prior to the due process hearing. They are further asking that the court "hold and declare that Caplinger's suspension without pay effective March 13, 2015 is invalid, and hence, a nullity" and that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause".

In the answer, filed Monday, July 6, city attorney Vester Parsley and Nashville lawyer Mark E. McGrady of Farrar & Bates, LLP claim that Caplinger was validly suspended and terminated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and that he is not entitled to back pay from the City.

Briefs have been submitted to the court and the attorneys for both sides are to make oral arguments before the judge on the day of the hearing. Judge Hollars could decide the case that day or submit a written ruling later.

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, May 8 the Smithville Aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger.

But the vote itself became an issue and is one of the key components of the lawsuit.

Cripps and Cox insist that the city's charter (Section 3.01) requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination.

But during the due process hearing City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. The aldermen followed Parsley's recommendation to follow this section of the charter.

Rep. Pody, Senator Beavers File “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act”

September 18, 2015
Mark Pody
Mae Beavers

State Rep. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) and Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), who represent DeKalb County filed legislation Thursday calling for Tennessee to defend current state law and the constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2006 specifying that only a marriage between a man and a woman can be legally recognized in the state.

The “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” rejects the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry and calls on the attorney general and reporter to defend any state or local government official from any lawsuit to the contrary.

House Bill 1412 / Senate Bill 1437 also aims to protect court clerks and ministers who have religious objections to marrying same sex couples from prosecution or civil action.

“This decision defies constitutional authority and is one of the most glaring examples of judicial activism in U.S. Supreme Court history,” said Rep. Pody. “It not only tramples on state’s rights, but has paved the way for an all-out assault on the religious freedoms of Christians who disagree with it. This bill calls for Tennessee to stand against such unconstitutional action in hopes that other states will stand with us against an out-of-control court legislating from the bench.”

“Natural marriage between one man and one woman as recognized by the people of this state remains the law, regardless of any court decision to the contrary,” said Senator Beavers. “The Obergefell case is clearly and blatantly an overstep of the Supreme Court’s Authority and it is time that states, like Tennessee, stand up against the judicial tyranny of which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently warned. This legislation deems that any court decision purporting to strike down the state’s definitions of natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, is void in Tennessee.”

She said Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, "Whenever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."

The legislation says, “No state or local agency or official shall give force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s laws protecting natural marriage.” It also says, “No state or local agency or official shall levy upon the property or arrest the person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding natural marriage within Tennessee.”

“Our clerks and Tennessee’s clergy need protection to exercise their religious beliefs,” added Senator Beavers. “This law would help protect them from prosecution or civil actions.”

Tennessee’s marriage protection amendment specifying that only a marriage between a man and woman can be legally recognized in the state was approved by 81 percent of voters, the officials said.

The General Assembly will take up the bill upon convening the 2016 legislative session in January.

Hannah Renea Walker Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Hannah Renea Walker Named DCHS Homecoming Queen
DCHS Homecoming Court: Seated- Kaylene Ferguson, Hannah Walker (Queen), Jailyn Bolding; Standing-Breanna Gibson, Kaitlyn Roller, and Lynlee Judkins

The 2015 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Hannah Renea Walker.

A senior, Walker is the 17 year old daughter of Scott and Misty Walker of Smithville. Walker is a member of the Student Council and the FBLA, Beta, Spanish, Literature, and Science Clubs. She is also a member of the Tigerette Softball team and a DCHS Football Cheerleader. Walker has been Class Secretary for three years and is a nominee for the All-American Cheer Squad.

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendant -Jailyn Paige Bolding, the 17 year old daughter of Lori and Bradley Hendrix and Brad and Mary Bolding of Smithville. She has been a member of the Beta Club and Literature Club for two years, and the Science Club for one year. Bolding is a starting point guard for the Lady Tiger Basketball Team and a four year football manager. Bolding has been selected as one of the 20 outstanding seniors. She was a homecoming attendant her freshman year and was chosen for the Coaches Award the past two years. Bolding received the Defensive MVP award as a Junior in Basketball. She attends the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Senior Attendant- Kaylene Marie Ferguson, the 17 year old daughter of Diane and Rickey Hale and James Ferguson of Smithville. She has been a member of the Science Club for two years. She has also been a four year Captain of the basketball cheer team and a football manager for two years. Ferguson was a STAR Award winner her freshman year of cheering and has been selected as one of the top 20 outstanding seniors. Ferguson was also a homecoming attendant her Junior year. She attends the Smithville First Free Will Baptist Church.

Junior Attendant- Kaitlyn Elizabeth Roller, the 16 year old daughter of John Roller and Michele Roller of Dowelltown. She is a member of the Spanish and Literature Club and an active member of her youth group. Roller has been a DCHS Football Cheerleader for three years. She has also been an All-Star Cheerleader since her 7th grade year and is currently on the level-5 team at Premiere Athletics in Franklin. Roller won the NCA Nationals in Dallas, Texas her first year cheering in 2012 and has received NCA All-American honors all three years of her high school career. She has also received the Jump Award the last two years. Roller attends the New Life United Pentecostal Church and has volunteered for the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure.

Sophomore Attendant- Breanna Leigh Gibson, the 15 year old daughter of Shelly Gibson and Erin Gibson of Dowelltown. Gibson is a member of the Science, FBLA, and Spanish Clubs and is a DCHS Football Cheerleader. She was named Freshman Class Favorite and is the Sophomore Class Secretary. Gibson has also received the Citizenship Award and is a 2015 All American Team member. She is a member of the Salem Baptist Church Youth Group.

Freshman Attendant- Lynlee Taryn Judkins, the 14 year old daughter of Shana Judkins of Smithville. She was elected Class Favorite this year. Judkins attends church in Cookeville at the River Community Service. She also attends the Rising Above Ministries Service each month.

Spirit week activities will be held September 21-25 at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon, September 25 and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. that night against Macon County. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

DCHS has released the following schedule to WJLE:

Monday: Camouflage or Plaid Day

Tuesday: Hippie/Tie-Dye

Wednesday: Punk vs Prep/ "on Wednesday we wear pink"

Thursday: Tacky Tourist/Vacation (souvenir) T-shirt; Bonfire at 7:00 p.m. and Homecoming Dance

Friday: Black, Gold,& White; Field Competitions, Parade and Downtown Pep Rally, Homecoming Game vs Macon County at 7:00 p.m.; Presentation of Queen and Attendants at 6:30 p.m.. Cheerleaders will be selling spirit items and spirit chains during lunch. The parade lines up at 12:20 p.m. at DCHS. Parade leaves DCHS at 12:40 p.m. The band performs at Northside Elementary School at 12:45 p.m., The parade arrives at Smithville Elementary School at 1:00 p.m. The parade arrives at Northside Elementary School at 1:20 p.m. The band leads the parade to the city square. The parade arrives at the square at 1:50 p.m. A pep rally and band performance will follow on the square.

Penny Wars- Classes compete against each other to see who can collect the most pennies. Silver coins and dollars will cancel out pennies. The class with the most pennies at the end of the week will get to keep the money in their jar.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in each event. Support your class, your team, and your school.

DCHS to host College Application Week

September 17, 2015
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School will host College Application Week September 28-October 2. All DCHS seniors who have not already applied to college or technical school are encouraged to do so during that week. If you need assistance, please visit the counseling office.

The schedule is as follows:

*Monday Sept. 28 – College Planning / Financial Aid Information Night – 5:30PM Cafeteria
Students from all grade levels, bring your parents to this event. Guest speakers will be discussing college admissions, financial aid and scholarships, and TN Promise.

*Wednesday – September 30 – College Shirt Day
All faculty, staff, and students are invited to wear your favorite college shirt.

*Thursday, October 1 – Scholarship / College Essay Lab - Mrs. Walteen Parker’s Classroom – 1st and 5th Blocks
Any senior who is not enrolled in Mrs. Parker’s English classes this semester who would like to sit in on this lesson is welcome to sign up to attend during 1st or 5th blocks. Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Lori Myrick will co-teach a lesson on how to write a well-written scholarship essay. A well written essay greatly increases your chances of winning a scholarship. Please take advantage of this assistance.

*Friday - October 2 – College / TN Promise Application Lab - Library – 1-5th Blocks
The counselors along with Sam Mullins from TSAC and Jonathan Graham from MSCC will set up a college/technical college applications lab in the library. Students may come to the lab during the school day for assistance with college applications. In order to provide better service to students and gage how many volunteers are needed, students are asked to come to the counseling office and sign up for a time-slot. If anyone needs assistance with the TN Promise Application, help can be offered at this time. Computers will be available for student use, but feel free to bring your own computer.

DCHS is also hosting a couple of events the week after College Application Week

*Tuesday, October 6 – College Applications Lab – Library – 3:00-6:00PM during Parent/Teacher Conference
Any student who has not already applied to college/technical college or the TN Promise Scholarship may complete applications during this time. Parents are invited to this event also. Jim Gray from TTU is assisting with this event. Please sign up in the counseling office so it's known how many to expect.

*Friday, October 9 – DCHS 2015 College & Career Fair – 8:35-11:10
All DCHS students will have the opportunity to visit with college and career representatives in the gym.

Fire Destroys Mobile Home (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Mobile Home

A fire destroyed an unoccupied mobile home Thursday morning at 760 Pine Orchard Road.

The property owner is Marlene Anderson.

Members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, and Midway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the Sheriff's Department.

The cause of the fire is undetermined but under investigation.

Woman Sentenced in Kidnapping Case

September 16, 2015
Dwayne Page
Samantha Devault
Thomas Braxton Nix
 James Michael Tatum

A 27 year old woman pled guilty to being an accessory to kidnapping Monday, September 14 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

Samantha Devault received a six year TDOC sentence to run concurrently with a Davidson County sentence against her. She was given 344 days of jail credit.

Devault and three others were named in Grand Jury sealed indictments in December, 2013 for allegedly participating in the kidnapping and rape of a woman they thought stole money and Suboxone strips from them in October, 2013. The case was investigated by the Smithville Police Department.

Meanwhile, 20 year old Thomas Braxton Nix entered a plea by information to the charge of schedule II meth and violation of probation in a previous drug case. Nix received an eight year sentence in the meth case suspended to probation. However, the term is to run consecutive to a two year sentence in the previous conviction against him for possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. Nix's probation in the previous drug case was revoked and though he was given jail credit of 55 days, Nix must finish the 180 day mandatory sentence through the 13th Judicial District Drug Court program.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 20 a sheriff's department detective stopped a red Grand Am on Terrell Road after observing the car weaving on Highway 70 east. As he approached the vehicle, the detective noticed that the driver (Nix) was moving around inside. The officer asked Nix to exit the vehicle. When Nix got out of the driver's seat, the detective spotted a cellophane pack containing four alprazolam pills. After Nix gave consent for a search of his person, the detective spotted a small piece of ICE (meth) on the ground and behind the vehicle was a baggie containing ICE (meth). Inside of Nix's wallet were seventeen- 7.25 milligram Hydrocodone pills. During a search of the vehicle, the detective also found a blue and black bag that held two Mason jars. One of the jars was full of marijuana and the other had two marijuana buds. Two digital scales, several baggies, and a marijuana shredder were also found in the bag. Nix had a total of 23.4 grams of meth, 2.66 ounces of marijuana, four alprazolam pills, and seventeen hydrocodone pills along with $853 cash. Nix admitted selling meth and he was placed under arrest.

48 year old James Michael Tatum pled guilty by information to aggravated burglary and aggravated assault and received a four year sentence suspended to probation. He was given jail credit of 31 days.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 31 Tatum broke into a home at Wilson Hollow Road in Liberty and knowingly pointed a Glock .45 caliber handgun at the homeowner. Tatum camouflaged his face in an attempt to keep the victim from identifying him. Tatum was later arrested after an investigation by a sheriff's department detective.

30 year old Ellissa Howard pled guilty to sale of a schedule II drug and received a three year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. She is requesting Judicial Diversion. Howard was fined $2,000 and given five days of jail credit.

24 year old Sonny Alan Stults pled guilty to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation.


September 16, 2015
Dwayne Page
Portion of  Old Sligo Bridge Comes Down (Photo by TWRA Officer Tony Cross)

Two fifths of the Old Sligo Bridge is now gone.

A portion of the bridge on the Smithville side was demolished late Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the bridge remains standing but will soon come down as well.

"They are shooting it up in pieces and when it falls in the water then they have to retrieve it out. They will put the pieces on barges and ship it out for waste or scrap metal," said Larry Langford, Operations Technician for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.


A portion of the concrete piers supporting the old bridge will also be removed. "They will shoot the piers down into the water but not all the way to the bottom of the lake. The Corps will do a final sonar of the bottom of the lake and anything (piers) that is above elevation 600 feet (mean sea level) has to be removed so the concrete piers will actually remain in the water. They won't shoot them out all the way to the bottom of the lake," Langford said.


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