Local News Articles

Election Commission Releases Sample Ballot for August Elections

June 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell
Mason Carter

The DeKalb County Election Commission has released a sample ballot for the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries, the DeKalb County General Election, and the Dowelltown and Liberty Municipal Elections set for Thursday, August 2.

Early Voting is set for July 13-28.


DekalbTN-PG12-NEWSPAPER.pdf (33.05 KB)

The ballot appears as follows;


United States Senate:
Fred R. Anderson
Mark Twain Clemens
Bob Corker
Brenda S. Lenard
Zach Poskevich

United States House of Representatives 6th Congressional District:
Diane Black
Lou Ann Zelenik

Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District:
Terri Lynn Weaver

Tennessee House of Representatives 46th Representative District:
Mark A. Pody


United States Senate:
Mark E. Clayton
Larry Crim
Gary Gene Davis
Dave Hancock
Park Overall
T.K. Owens
Benjamin Roberts

United States House of Representatives 6th Congressional District:
No candidate

Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District:
Wesley Duane Hodges
Sarah Marie Smith

Tennessee House of Representative 46th Representative District:
No candidate


Assessor of Property
Mason Carter- Republican Nominee
Scott E. Cantrell-Democratic Nominee

School Board Member 5th District
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III- Independent
Kevin Hale-Independent

School Board Member 6th District
Doug Stephens-Independent

Constable 1st District
No candidate

Constable 2nd District
No candidate

Constable 3rd District
Wayne Vanderpool- Democratic Nominee

Constable 4th District
Paul Cantrell- Democratic Nominee

Constable 5th District
Mark Milam-Democratic Nominee

Constable 6th District
Carl Lee Webb-Democratic Nominee

Constable 7th District
Johnny King-Democratic Nominee

Mayor-Town of Dowelltown
Gerald Bailiff

Aldermen-Town of Dowelltown
Joe L. Bogle

Aldermen-Town of Liberty (Vote for Three)
Dwight Mathis
Paul M. Neal
Jason H. Ray

Judicial Retention Question
Court of Criminal Appeals

Shall Jeffrey S. Bivins be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)

Judicial Retention Question
Court of Criminal Appeals

Shall Roger A. Page be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)

DekalbTN-PG12-NEWSPAPER.pdf (33.05 KB)

Businesses Urged to Participate in Project Welcome Mat

June 22, 2012
DeKalb Community Bank
Liberty State Bank
Liberty State Bank2

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all local businesses to help welcome visitors to the 41st annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival by participating in the 11th annual "Project Welcome Mat"

Businesses having changeable signs or marquees are asked to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors. The wording may be only a simple "Welcome to the Jamboree" or as elaborate as you choose. Executive Director of the Chamber, Suzanne Williams, says, "With thousands of visitors coming into town, every effort should be made by the local merchants to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business. The program has been successful over the past years with many businesses participating. Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the DeKalb County / Smithville area can be!"

All businesses may participate in "Project Welcome Mat." There will be recognition awards in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award." Plaques will be presented to winners along with media recognition.

If your business would like to participate in the contest, email the Chamber at dekalbtn@dtccom.net or call 597-4163. Wording should be in place no later than Monday, June 25th.

Smithville Thunder Headed for the BPA State and World Series Tournaments

June 22, 2012
Smithville Thunder

The Smithville Thunder is an elite 9U travel team comprised exclusively of local players. They have competed in travel tournaments throughout the middle Tennessee area and are headed for the BPA state and World Series tournaments at the end of the season.

“We just wanted to provide a process which would enable some of our better young athletes to experience the world of travel baseball without having to join a team from another community,” says head coach Danny Jenkins. “Being able to go and play with your friends instead of having to try to fit in with unfamiliar people and surroundings really enhances the experience for our guys.”

The team was organized by local parents and completely funded by local businesses and fundraisers at no cost to the players’ families. Coach Jenkins encourages everyone to look for the team’s plaque in area businesses and support those civic minded organizations.

Recent data indicates that almost ninety per cent of starters on high school baseball teams nationwide played on a travel team at some time. Coach Jenkins points to this trend as one of the primary reasons for the team’s existence.
“Our parents are aware that if their kids want to move ahead in baseball, this is their best opportunity in this small community where municipal recreation options are non-existent,” he says.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 7.8% in May

June 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May increased to 7.8%, up from April's rate of 7.5%, but well below the rate for May, 2011 of 10.3%

The local labor force for May was at 9,930. A total of 9,160 were employed and 780 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May was third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank highest to lowest

Picket County- 12.3%
White- 11.2%
Van Buren-11%
Clay- 9.5%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for May 2012, released today, show the rate decreased in three counties, increased in 87 counties, and remained the same in five counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for May rose to 7.9 percent, up from the April revised rate of 7.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for May 2012 was 8.2 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the April rate.

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.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.0 percent, up from 5.8 percent in April. Davidson County was 6.7 percent, up from 6.5 percent in the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.4 percent, up from 7.0 percent, and Shelby County was 8.8 percent, up from the April unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.

Pastor Donnie Kelly to Begin New Radio Program

June 21, 2012
Donnie Kelly

Pastor Donnie Kelly of the Smithville First Assembly of God will begin a new radio program next week.

The program will be called “Inspirations For Today” with the purpose to inspire and encourage all those who listen in their “daily walk with Christ.” The program will air Monday through Friday at approximately 7:45 A.M. right after the 7:30 A.M. news.

The program will consist of devotions from God’s word as well as songs of inspiration. The musical selections will include soloist, choirs, praise and worship teams, and instrumental ensembles from the First Assembly of God and other churches in the community. Church and community activities and special events will also be announced on a timely basis.

A personal note from Pastor Kelly: “It is so great to be able to once again have a radio program on WJLE. It is also wonderful to be back in Smithville a community I enjoy ministering to so very much.”

“Thanks to all who have extended such a warm welcome to me and my family. Thanks to the Smithville First Assembly of God for inviting me to come and be their pastor, and for sponsoring this broadcast.”

“Please listen in to the broadcast of “Inspirations For Today” starting this Monday, June 25th at 7:45 A.M.”

Grand Opening of DeKalb Community Center Set for Saturday

June 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Game Room (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)
Fitness Room (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)
Wii and Xbox games (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)

A Grand Opening of the DeKalb County Community Center is set for Saturday, June 23 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

County Mayor Mike Foster said everyone is invited to stop by to see the complex which includes a spacious new stage and auditorium, complete with a state of the art sound system and lighting; a game room for kids, a fitness room, a gym for playing basketball or volleyball, and a community kitchen called the "Internet Café"

Tony Luna, Assistant Complex Director, said refreshments and snacks are being donated by Bumpers Drive-in (Shrek to make an appearance) and there will be lots of door prizes including a few free memberships to be given away. "We'll give away five free monthly memberships and a yearly membership to some lucky guy or gal who signs up. In our auditorium, we'll have some LIVE entertainment at the stage. Starting at 10:00 a.m., my daughter, Mercedes Luna and Daniel Martin will start first. They play a lot of acoustic stuff and I think you will really like it. Right after Mercedes and Daniel, we'll have another local band 11:00 a.m., Burning Years. They will take the stage and play for us about an hour or so. After that, we'll have another LIVE band around 12:45 p.m. 61 Seconds, which is a local band and they will close us out. All of these bands are local people and it's free," said Luna.

"The whole facility is going to be open on the community center side of the building," said Luna. " If you haven't seen the game room, we've got it altogether now. I would love for you to come out and see it. Our fitness room is up and going. We've booked over ninety members now. They've just hooked up surround sound, so you never know what kind of music we'll be pumping in there for you to work out to. Come see our Internet Café. Eventually we'll have a concession stand, where people who work out or just people who want to come and hang out can do that. We'll have a TV in there. You'll be able to buy snacks and drinks out of the community kitchen.. Everybody come out and see us. Like us on facebook. We do have a facebook page. Its DeKalb Community Center and fitness room," said Luna.

Management Restructuring Announced for Upper Cumberland Capella-Saint Thomas System

June 20, 2012
Bill Little
Bob Luther

A management restructuring has been announced for the four hospitals that are now part of the Capella-Saint Thomas health system, according to Mark Medley, President of Hospital Operations for Capella Healthcare.

“In May, we celebrated the new partnership between Saint Thomas Health and Capella’s four Upper Cumberland hospitals, launching our first steps towards creating a dynamic health system to expand services and access in the Upper Cumberland. This week, we’re initiating a management restructuring that will help us move to the next level.”

Effective immediately, Bill Little is full-time CEO for Highlands Medical Center (HMC) in Sparta (formerly White County Community Hospital). With the hospital’s million dollar renovation project starting later this year, the growing hospital needed the focus of a full-time executive. Little served as CEO for DCH and SRH for several years, adding HMC in July.

“Bill has done an excellent job dividing his time between the three hospitals and now we want to take full advantage of his expertise at HMC,” Medley said. “This enables the hospital to move forward without delay with the significant opportunities ahead,”

Effective Monday, June 18, Bob Luther became Interim CEO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital. Physicians, hospital employees and community members may remember Luther as he previously served as CEO for DCH and SRH for three years, from 2006-09. Prior to that, he was with Attentus Healthcare as Senior Vice-President for Regional Operations, with responsibilities for five rural hospitals. He has also served as CEO for a number of other facilities including 300+ bed Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ; 194-bed Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, SC; and 25-bed Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, CA.

“We’re delighted Bob has agreed to lead these two hospitals during this transitional time. He is a seasoned healthcare executive and will help us continue to make progress even as we are seeking the right person to take us into the future,” Medley said.

Additionally, Medley announced the creation of a new position, Market Chief Financial Officer (CFO), which will serve all four facilities. A nationwide search to identify the ideal candidate for this role as well as the new Chief Executive Officer for DCH and SRH has been launched this week.

“This restructuring and the creation of these new positions will help us fully realize the opportunity before us as we work together to continue expanding access to physicians and services, improving quality of care, and enhancing patient satisfaction for people throughout the Upper Cumberland region.”

About Capella Healthcare

Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care. With the philosophy that all healthcare is local, Capella collaborates with each hospital’s medical staff, board and community leadership to take care to the next level.

Capella and Saint Thomas Health formed an innovative joint venture partnership in May of 2012 to improve healthcare throughout Middle Tennessee. Based in Nashville, Saint Thomas Health includes five hospitals affiliated with Ascension Health Ministry, a Catholic Ministry that is the largest non-profit health system in the United States. Capella Healthcare, based in Franklin, operates 13 hospitals in seven states, including five in Tennessee. Together through Capella-Saint Thomas, they jointly own four hospitals in the Upper Cumberland region of Middle Tennessee, including River Park Hospital in McMinnville, Highlands Medical Center in Sparta (formerly White County Community Hospital), DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. Capella is the managing member and the majority partner as well as the exclusive development partner for Saint Thomas Health across Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.

TWRA Announces Operation Dry Water Weekend for June 22-24

June 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
TWRA Announces Operation Dry Water Weekend for June 22-24

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in Operation Dry Water, June 22-24. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.

Members of the TWRA, Sheriff's Department, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met Wednesday morning at Hurricane Marina on Center Hill Lake to make the local announcement.

Operation Dry Water is held on a weekend near the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard and the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Operation Dry Water is being held for the fourth year after being launched by the NASBLA in 2009.

TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Our TWRA officers attempt to identify and apprehend impaired operators throughout the year to ensure our waterways stay safe," said Matt Majors, Investigator for TWRA's Boating and Law Enforcement Division. "Without their dedication to perform this task, it would be certain that many more boating accidents would occur. Our officers will be out in force night and day, looking for people who did not heed the warning to ‘Never boat under the influence.' "

Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.

Statistics show that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

(Pictured left to right: TWRA officers Nick Luper, Marty Griffith, Tony Cross, Chief Deputy Don Adamson, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Gary Bruce of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and TWRA officers Jon Ryan, Jason Miller, and Kyle Walling)

Poss elected Mayor, Stribling and Murphy Win Aldermen Seats, City Voters Say No to Liquor

June 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling, Jason Judd Murphy, and Jimmy Poss

The City of Smithville has a new Mayor and two new Aldermen.

After serving three terms as Mayor of Smithville, Taft Hendrixson was defeated by challenger, Jimmy W. Poss in Tuesday's Municipal Election. Poss tallied 415 total votes (52.53%) to Hendrixson's 375 votes (47.47%) to claim the mayoral seat.

Meanwhile, Tim Stribling and Jason Judd Murphy won seats on the city board, defeating incumbent Stephen White and fellow challenger, Scott Davis. Stribling earned 541 total votes (38.56%) - the most of any candidate on the ballot - while Murphy was next with 463 votes (33%). White finished a distant third with 313 votes (22.31%), while Davis totaled 84 votes (5.99%) in the council race. Incumbent Alderman Cecil Burger chose not to seek re-election.

Two-year terms for Poss, Stribling and Murphy will begin on July 1. They will be sworn into office within the next two weeks.

Smithville city voters also denied an attempt to place liquor by the drink in qualifying city restaurants. By a vote of 402 (54.69%) to 333 (45.31%) city voters said "No" to the liquor by the drink referendum, which would have given city restaurants the opportunity to apply for a license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve wine and other mixed alcoholic beverages to its patrons.

Poss had to overcome a deficit on Election Day, however, to win the election. Hendrixson held an 11-vote edge after the early and absentee votes were totaled. Hendrixson won 296 early and absentee votes, while Poss only garnered 285 early and absentee ballots. Poss made up the deficit on Election Day, however, garnering 130 votes to Hendrixson's 79 votes to claim the mayoral seat. Hendrixson has served as Smithville Mayor since 2006. "I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people that helped me through this campaign," said Poss. "I really appreciate them. I can't call all of their names. We had a good race. Whether it's one or a hundred, it's a good win. I look forward to serving the people. I wish to do a lot of things for Smithville. Kids is a priority. It has been all through my campaign. If we can work with the kids and parents, we have a body (city council) that we can work with. There's a lot of things out there that we need to work on. I'm ready to go to work. We've got good people to work with. The good people of Smithville. I want to see downtown grow. A lot of people do but we've got to have some people come in and open businesses up. We've got to have something for them somewhere," said Poss.

Mayor Hendrixson thanked the people of Smithville for the privilege of having served them for six years. "I would like to say that I have enjoyed the past six years serving as your mayor. A lot of things have happened in Smithville that I am proud of. I congratulate Mr. Poss. I know he'll do a good job. I know our two aldermen-elect will do a good job. Just bear in mind to keep the welfare of the city at all times in your hearts. I appreciate the good turnout today and I appreciate the ones that voted. I appreciate the ones who voted for me. I thank you for being your mayor for six years. I've done the best I know how. Thank you," said Hendrixson.

Meanwhile, Stribling and Murphy carried the ticket, both in early and absentee voting and on Election Day in the race for the City Council. Stribling had 413 early and absentee votes, while claiming 128 votes on Election Day. "I just to thank everybody who came out and voted today," said Stribling. " This is the process that the City of Smithville has. The people have spoken. I'm just very proud that the people have elected me. I'll try to do what's right. We're not going to make everybody happy all the time. We all know that. But we'll just try to move the city forward and go from there," he said

Murphy tallied 339 early and absentee votes and 124 on Election Day. White garnered 225 early and absentee votes and 88 votes on Election Day, while Davis tallied 50 early and absentee votes and 34 votes on Election Day. "I'm very excited," said Murphy. "I'm very thankful. I'd like to thank everybody that supported me. My family and my friends. The people that voted for me. Even the people that didn't vote for me. I'm glad they voted because I think voting is very important. I hope everybody will say a prayer for me and all the others on the city council that we continue to make smart decisions and carry the city forward in the future. I hope to help move the city more into the 21st century and to improve the life of citizens of the City of Smithville," said Murphy.

White was denied a seventh term on the Smithville City Council. He was first elected to the council in 2000. "I want to thank everybody that has supported me down through the years,' said White. " I'm disappointed tonight but that's the way it goes. The public spoke. I've always, the whole time I was on there (city council) did what I felt in my heart was right. I always stood up for family morals and other things like that. I always promoted Smithville. I love Smithville. Its my home. I plan on it being my home forever. I was born here. I really have no regrets. I've fought for what I thought was right. That's the only thing that we can do. I want to congratulate the others. They will be in my prayers. They will be leading the city forward and they're going to need it (prayers)," said White.

A total of 817 Smithville voters cast ballots in Tuesday's Municipal Election. 597 of those voters cast early or absentee ballots, while 220 city voters voted on Election Day.

The new city government leaders will include Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Tim Stribling, Jason Judd Murphy, Danny Washer, Shawn Jacobs, and Gayla Hendrix. The seats of Washer, Jacobs, and Hendrix will be up for election next June.

Justice Dept Transfers 1,000 Acres of Land in Cannon County to State of Tennessee

June 19, 2012

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice has transferred to the state of Tennessee approximately 1,000 acres of undeveloped land in Cannon County, Tenn., as a result of a federal criminal conviction of two individuals for distribution of marijuana.

The transfer was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Special Agent in Charge Harry S. Sommers of the Atlanta Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Marshal Denny W. King for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The land, located on Short Mountain in Woodbury, Tenn., will be managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and will be known as the Headwaters Wildlife Management Area. Short Mountain is a critical habitat for plant and animal species, and contains the headwaters for three Tennessee watersheds. The property will be open to the public for small game hunting, hiking and wildlife viewing.

The land was forfeited to the United States as part of the 2007 federal criminal convictions of Morris Roller and Jeffory Carl Young for distribution of marijuana. Roller and Young are currently serving federal sentences of 200 and 224 months, respectively. The transfer was made under a law that allows the Justice Department to convey forfeited property to states for public use for recreation or conservation purposes upon request by the governor or chief executive officer of the state.

The Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division coordinated the transfer. The federal criminal investigation was assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Alcohol Control Board; Warren County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Department; Hamilton County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Department; and Chattanooga, Tenn., Police Department.

“This land transfer highlights the benefits of asset forfeiture as a crime-fighting tool,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Our law enforcement efforts put an end to illegal drug production on this land and secured its preservation for years to come.”

“The transfer of this property was accomplished through the cooperative efforts of local, state and federal government agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Killian. “This historic conveyance of forfeited property, which is the largest transfer for conservation purposes in the past 15 years by the federal government to a governmental entity, will leave a lasting legacy of this wildlife management area for the state of Tennessee and its citizens. Now, rather than being used for growing marijuana or violating other laws, it will be used for recreational activities such as hiking, fishing and hunting. Russ Dedrick, my predecessor as U.S. Attorney, is to be congratulated for arranging this donation of land.”

A dedication ceremony was held last Wednesday on the land.

The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program allows for the transfer of federally forfeited real property to serve various purposes including: supporting state recreational, preservation or historic purposes; supporting a continuing federal purpose; and assisting a state or local government, or a non-profit entity, in carrying out educational, drug treatment, rehabilitation, housing and other community-based initiatives. Through these real property transfers the Asset Forfeiture Program contributes to our communities nationwide.


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