Local News Articles

DeKalb Countians Join the Fight for a Cure

June 3, 2011
Dwayne Page

Sounds of music and celebration filled the air at Greenbrook Park Friday evening as caring neighbors from throughout our community gathered to rally support for cancer survivors and to raise money in the search for a cure and for patient services during the 14th annual Relay for Life.

As of midnight, a total of $54,836 dollars had been raised with more money still expected to come in.

This year's theme was "Together We Fight...Together We Win!

Cancer Survivors Walk from dwayne page on Vimeo.
An hour of music preceded the opening ceremony. During the program, members of Boy Scout Troop #347 presented the colors as Suzanne Slager performed the National Anthem. The invocation was delivered by Michael Farr, Minister of the Smithville Church of God.

Cancer survivors then took center stage during the opening ceremony to give a personal testimony as to just how long they've been a survivor and then they took the first lap around the track as the evening's activities got underway and Shelly Cross and Bonnie Rigsby performed a special song in honor of the cancer survivors followed by a prayer by B.J. Thomason, Minister of the Calvary Baptist Church.

Entertainment continued through midnight from various groups and soloists along with local church drama teams. Elvis even made an appearance.

Shelly Cross and Bonnie Rigsby Performing at Relay for Life from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The walking track around Greenbrook Park was lined with luminaria and a group of torches on the grounds were lit in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer, and those people were given special recognition later in the evening.

Cancer Survivors from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, the people who have faced cancer first hand are honored, and those who have been lost to this disease are remembered.

40th Annual Fiddler's Jamboree Set for July 1 & 2

June 3, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton Presents Top Fiddling Award to Bill Birchfield

The 40th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, July 1 & 2

Jack Barton, Fiddler's Jamboree Coordinator, said this year's festival promises to be a little extra special with the 40th anniversary, but don't expect much change in the program.

In addition to hundreds of crafts displayed along many of the downtown streets, the Fiddler's Jamboree will once again offer plenty of delicious foods for sale at local food booths, lots of shade tree picking, and great on-stage music and dancing competitions.

Visit the Fiddler's Jamboree website for more details at www.smithvillejamboree.com

Last years Grand Champion Fiddling Title went to Bill Birchfield of Roan Mountain, Tennessee.

(Click here to see video clip of 2010 Fiddling Champion Bill Birchfield of Roan Mountain, Tennessee)

Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday, July 1 starting at 9:00 a.m.

Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Youth Square Dancing, Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin.

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.

On Saturday, July 2 starting at 9:00 a.m., preliminaries will be held in the following categories:

Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); 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; Bluegrass Band; Bluegrass Fiddle, Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing. The winner of the Bluegrass Fiddle will receive the Neil Dudney Award, named for the former longtime President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon 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.

One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy.

WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE and on-line at www.wjle.com.

Recent DeKalb County Schools Art Exhibit Well Received

June 3, 2011
Louann Hendricks, DCHS, won “Best of Show” and 1st place in her category

On May 1st, over 225 parents and friends strolled through the 303 Building on the square to view local student artists’ work from DeKalb County. Approximately 175 pieces were exhibited done in oil, pen & ink, crayon, watercolors, chalk, ceramics, tempera, and a photographic mosaic. Artwork from Smithville Elementary, Northside Elementary, DeKalb West, DeKalb Middle, DeKalb High School, the Adult School, Christian schools and home schooled were represented. Justin Potter Library loaned a piece done by their library art program, also. Study Club President Dianne Hawkins hosted the event with the help of the membership. Piano music was played for the afternoon by Study Club member, Susan Hinton.

The idea for the show was started when a member of the Smithville Study Club noticed there was no end-of-year art show to honor the artistic talents of DeKalb County youth. The Club proposed to have an art exhibit in early May 2011 to showcase these students’ work. Schools and principals were contacted in October of 2010, and work began to culminate in this show on Sunday, May 1st. Special thanks go to the art teachers - Ms. Carol Tripp, Mr. Mike Littrell, and Ms. Walteen Parker - for their support and collection of artwork for the show.

From the interest and attendance shown by parents, grandparents, and community leaders, it is hoped that the show will be an annual affair for the Smithville Study Club to host each May. Every student will receive a certificate of participation and a ribbon. Louann Hendricks, DCHS, won “Best of Show” and 1st place in her category Grades 9 through Adult School with her painting of a dog.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 9.6% in April

June 2, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for April was at 9.6%, up slightly from the revised rate for March of 9.4% but still well below the rate of 10.3% in April, 2010

The local labor force for April was 10,090. A total of 9,120 were employed and 970 were unemployed.

Among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County tied for the third lowest jobless rate for the month of April. Here's how the counties rank from highest to lowest in the Upper Cumberland:

Pickett County- 14.7%
Van Buren- 12.1%
Clay- 11.7%
Fentress- 11.5%
DeKalb- 9.6%
Cannon- 9.1%
Putnam- 9.0%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show that the rate decreased in 46 counties, increased in 41 counties, and stayed the same in eight counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for April was 9.6 percent, up 0.1 from the March rate. The national unemployment rate for April 2011 was 9.0 percent, 0.2 percentage point higher than the March rate.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, up from the March rate of 6.1 percent, followed by Williamson County at 7.0 percent, up from 6.4 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 22.1 percent, up from 21.8 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 14.9 percent, down from the March rate of 15.0 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, up from 7.0 percent in March. Hamilton County was 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.8 percent, up from 8.3 percent in March, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, unchanged from their March unemployment rate.

Retired Hendersonville Fire Captain Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Crash

June 1, 2011
Dwayne Page
Hendersonville Man Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accident

A 64 year old retired Hendersonville fire captain was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash on Highway 96 near Center Hill Dam Tuesday.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Larry Deen was riding alone on a 1997 Harley Davidson motorcycle traveling north on Highway 96 when he lost control and went off the right side of the road. The bike wrecked and rolled over on top of Deen. The helmet Deen was wearing also reportedly came off his head as he was thrown from the motorcycle.

An Air Evac helicopter ambulance was summoned to the scene but Deen was instead transported by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital after his condition worsened. After being stabilized at the hospital, Deen was later flown by a helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville where he reportedly was being treated for fractures, a punctured lung, and other injuries.

Deen was among a group of mid-state area motorcyclists who were in the area on a visit to
Camp Phoenix at the Indian Creek Youth Camp, where several children are spending the week thanks in part to the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation, Inc.

The foundation operates and provides funding for a summer camp experience for children who are all burn survivors. Camp Phoenix is staffed mainly by professional and enthusiastic volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The camp program provides safe and fun outdoor programs for kids ages 6-17. The goal is to promote healing of the heart and mind, personal enrichment and new friendships.

Deen and other motorcyclists were reportedly preparing to take the children on a ride later this week at Edgar Evins State Park.

(Photo above provided as a courtesy of Trooper Dewaine Jennings)

Two Hundred Eighty Seven Cast Ballots So Far In Smithville Municipal Election

June 1, 2011
Dwayne Page

Two hundred eighty seven people have cast ballots so far during early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election.

Here's how the vote breaks down for each day

Wednesday, 7
Thursday, 32
Friday, 15
Saturday, 22 (20 in person, 2 absentees)
Monday, 15
Tuesday, 22
Wednesday, 17
Thursday, 31
Friday, 23
Saturday, 24 (20 in person, 4 absentees)
Monday, 10 (8 in person, 2 absentees)
Tuesday, 32 votes (31 in person, 1 absentee)
Wednesday, 37 votes (27 in person by machine, 1 absentee, 9 Nursing Home)

The early voting period will be through June 16 in the basement courtroom of the courthouse on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m..

The city election day is Tuesday, June 21st. Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term beginning July 1st.

Candidates are incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White and challengers Gayla Hendrix, Cordell Walker, and Danny Washer.

Voters may now apply for absentee ballots for the Smithville Municipal election through June 14th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray: Scammers on the Prowl Again

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

Scammers are on the prowl again in search of victims. Sheriff Patrick Ray is issuing a warning to beware.

"I have had several phone calls within the last month about scams throughout the county. Some of these scams consist of people calling and claiming to be credit card companies wanting to give the consumer a cheaper interest rate. What they do is try to get personal information from the person who they've called. Those (would be victims) who have called me have said they have not provided the callers any kind of information. In many cases the callers become hostile, if they don't get cooperation from the persons being called (would be victims). Sometimes they will given cuss them out and try to threaten them to provide the information. I just want to tell anybody who has received those phone calls that if this should happen again please don't provide any information. Tell the caller not to phone you again and to remove you from their call list. Then hang up. Don't give them any personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, check writing number, credit card number, or anything like that. This time of year is when we see a lot of scams from people who are trying to get money from innocent people, especially the elderly. Sometimes they (scammers) will call and say they are giving a senior discount if you will subscribe to their credit card or loan," said Sheriff Ray

"We also have some people who are receiving lottery information through the mail. The mailing claims the recipient (would be victim) has won so much money through a lottery. The recipient (would be victim) is instructed to cash a check (they have received) in their bank and then to wire back cash money. Those checks are no good. Those checks are mainly out of Canada and other countries. Don't try to cash those checks. If you get such a check, rip it up and dispose of it but don't cash it because it is a fake," said Sheriff Ray.

Donny Green: County Fire Department Doesn't Solicit Funds Over Telephone

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, is issuing a public announcement on behalf of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department:

“Our department has received several inquiries from DeKalb County residents about telephone solicitations asking for donations to help the local fire department. DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department does not use telephone solicitation to ask for donations, nor does the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department hire private fundraising companies to solicit on behalf of the department.”

Chief Green says that the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department only raises funds through community efforts like fish fries, auctions, or food booth at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree.

If you receive one of these telephone solicitations, you should thoroughly question the caller about what department they represent and then follow up by contacting the fire department to make sure these efforts are legitimate.

Grants Awarded to DeKalb County Libraries for Technology Upgrades

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson, Terri Lynn Weaver, Kathy Hendrixson, Mae Beavers, Mike Foster

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Senator Mae Beavers presented checks to DeKalb County Library Director Kathy Hendrixson on Thursday for upgrade technology.

The presentation was made at Justin Potter Library. Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and County Mayor Mike Foster were also on hand for the occasion.

As WJLE reported on May 9th, DeKalb County is one of more than 70 communities across Tennessee that are receiving grants to upgrade technology at rural libraries.

These grants, which total more than $1.2 million, are the product of a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development in a quest to strengthen rural communities by developing libraries.

The county will receive $16,076 to be used at the Alexandria Branch Library and another $16,076 to be used at the Justin Potter Library.

Hendrixson said "the focus of these grants are to help the community in the difficult times with developing computer skills, resume building and teaching the public how to set up online e-mail,etc. Justin Potter Library and Alexandria Library will each receive a laptop computer lab in order to provide computer classes to the public. We appreciate this grant and the opportunity it gives the libraries to bring these services to the community," said Hendrixson.

"Libraries in rural areas play an especially important role in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are oftentimes isolated to urban areas," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "These grants will go a long way toward providing vital access to computers and the Internet, which is particularly helpful in some of the areas that were hit the hardest by the recession."

Grants may be used to cover costs for computer equipment, new training, educational opportunities, Internet access and other enhancements approved by the USDA.

"These grants will help people access information on employment opportunities, job training, small business development and education here in DeKalb County," said state Sen. Mae Beavers. "This will help level the playing field in the job market and eliminate the need for some people to drive to big cities to get Internet access."

"When people have trouble getting Internet connections or cannot afford a home computer, our public libraries fill a void," said state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. "Our community is extremely grateful for the help of the Office of the Secretary of State, ECD and USDA Rural Development."

DeKalb Countians Pause to Reflect on Memorial Day

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page

A group of patriotic citizens joined members of the American Legion POST 122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars POST 7623 in remembering those who have died in our nation's service during a Memorial Day program Monday morning at the 303 building downtown Smithville.

The service featured gospel and patriotic music by George Storie and 4 the Lord, an opening prayer by American Legion Commander Edward Frazier, Doyle Smith leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and remarks by the guest speaker, minister Bobby Thomason of the Covenant Baptist Church

Bobby Thomason Speaks at Memorial Day Program from dwayne page on Vimeo.
At the conclusion of the observance, a wreath was placed at the site of the Veterans Memorial Monument located on the south side of the courthouse by American Legion leaders Edward Frazier, Ronnie Redman, and Carlton Miller.

In 1971, Congress expanded the Memorial Day tradition to include all those who have died in service to our nation and the last Monday in May was officially designated Memorial Day; a day of remembrance on which we honor those who fell in defense of freedom through solemn observances.

On this important day, communities all across Tennessee stopped to honor the great sacrifices made by our men and women who served and continue to serve in harms way. Even though there is sadness in remembering the fallen, Memorial Day stands as a celebration of hope that the ideals of peace, freedom and posterity will shine forever in the life of our nation. There are approximately 500,000 veterans currently residing in the State of Tennessee.


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