Local News Articles

WJLE Radio Shopper Returns January 21

January 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
WJLE's Dale Carroll will co-host the RADIO SHOPPER program with Dwayne Page Thursday Morning, January 21

WJLE and participating local businesses are giving you a chance to bid on and buy merchandise at a discount in the RADIO SHOPPER on Thursday, January 21.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines for you to bid on various items from F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, DeKalb Farmers Coop, Kilgore's Restaurant, Bumpers Drive-In, Cantrell’s the home of Fluty and Fluty’s Shoes, and more to be added!

WJLE will set a minimum bid on each item and continue the bidding until the item is sold. The program on Thursday will be limited to around three hours. If we have more items to sell, the program will resume on another day.

If your business would like to participate, contact Dwayne Page at 615-597-4265.

It’s going to be fun and exciting! Be sure to be by your radio and your telephone on Thursday, January 21 at 9:00 a.m. and call in a bid to RADIO SHOPPER on WJLE. The program will also be streamed LIVE at www.wjle.com.

Law Requiring Insurance Verification for Vehicle Registration Not Yet in Effect

January 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss

Contrary to some recent media reports the James Lee Atwood Law (also known as the Insurance Verification Law) has not yet gone into effect.

According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue insurance verification for vehicle registration DOES NOT go into effect now. There are parts of the law that are in effect now, such as increased fines for not showing proof of insurance to a law enforcement official when a person is pulled over for a violation.

"Many news channels reported that effective January 1 County Clerks were required to have proof of insurance prior to vehicle registration. Currently County Clerks are not required to verify insurance prior to registration. However the state law for having insurance and providing proof to law enforcement is in effect," said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

The Department of Revenue is still in the planning phase of developing a system for insurance verification. The law as it is currently written requires that the system be functional by January 2017.

New City Bridge May Not Be Completed Until Next Fall

January 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Holmes Creek Road Bridge Closed over Fall Creek

It may be next fall before a new bridge is in place on Holmes Creek Road over Fall Creek in Smithville.

Until then residents in the area and other motorists will have to continue making a detour by way of Riley Avenue or Allen's Ferry Road.

The bridge, at the bottom of town hill behind Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, has been closed since October 30.

The state forced the City of Smithville to close the bridge due to a Tennessee Department of Transportation Evaluation Report which detailed various bridge deficiencies making it potentially unsafe.

The project is being funded under the state's 1990 Bridge Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will pay for 98% of the costs to replace the bridge. The local matching portion is 2%.

During Monday night's meeting the Mayor and Aldermen discussed the project with Public Works Director Kevin Robinson and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

"I talked to Kyle Hazel probably two or three weeks ago. He is the engineer over the bridge. It's in the design phase right now. They're projecting it to be done maybe by late summer or fall," said Robinson.

"The way this came about was every other year they (state inspectors) come through and do an inspection and send us a report telling us what we need to do. Usually it's just clearing sediment from underneath the bridge and checking on the signed tonnage that's allowed to cross it. Right before Halloween this year they issued a statement saying the bridge would be closed in two weeks. There was nothing we could do about it. They (state) are paying for 98% of it but it is still a big inconvenience for anybody living in that area. Unfortunately it (project) is going to move slowly. They've got to do site tests and core samples. They also have to obtain a permit from the Corps of Engineers because the creek is a tributary to the lake. Then they have to bid it out and whoever is awarded the contract will have 120 days to complete the project. It's a long process," said Hendrixson.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix, who has long pushed for the construction of sidewalks on that street leading from town to the golf course area, asked if the bridge could be made wide enough to allow for pedestrians should sidewalks later be built on the street. "While they are refurbishing the bridge, it would be really great if they could add sidewalks to the bridge, you know, expand it then maybe we could tie into it (later)," she said.

"I can ask the engineer and see", replied Robinson.

"I've already asked that question and I didn't exactly get an answer," said Mayor Jimmy Poss.

"They are promising to try and straighten it up (street) and take some of that curve out of it. That needs to be done.

"As far as the sidewalks, he said we already have 33 feet (bridge width) including two twelve foot lanes so it will be wide enough (for pedestrians)," Mayor Poss added.

The new bridge and a portion of the street around it are also expected to be striped.

Early Voting Hours Set for March 1 Primaries (VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT HERE)

January 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Early voting hours for the March 1 Presidential Preference Primaries and DeKalb County Democratic Primary have been set by the DeKalb County Election Commission.



Following a plan that has been in place the past few years, the Commission voted to set the following early voting hours:
Mondays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. to Noon.

Early voting will be held at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Smithville and the voting days are February 10-23 except President’s Day (February 15) when the courthouse will be closed.

“The Commission is always interested in arranging the schedule to accommodate a wide range of voters,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “This schedule does that as there are two periods of afternoon voting times to accommodate those who work, along with the Saturday hours.”

“This is a lengthy ballot due to the number of presidential candidates and the Republican delegate candidates,” Stanley continued. (see ballot pdf) “Voters are encouraged to take advantage of the early voting opportunities so the lines will not be as long on election day.”

Meanwhile, “In an effort to create a pleasant, non-disruptive and orderly atmosphere without undue delays for all voters, the legislature passed a new law effective this month concerning using cell phones in the polling place,” Stanley said. “The law prohibits using mobile electronic or communication devices by voters for telephone conversations, recording or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place. The law also allows for the silencing of cell phones.”

“The Tennessee Division of Elections has created an ‘app’ called GoVoteTn which contains a lot of voting information individualized for each voter,” Stanley continued. “Voters will be able to access this ‘app’ or others if needed for informational purposes, but phone conversations are not allowed, the phones must be silenced and any election content on the phone cannot be shown to other voters.”

“This ‘app’ is a great tool to use in order to be prepared when you step into the voting booth,” Stanley added. “When voters are unprepared, they slow down the entire voting process for all voters and may have their time in the voting booth limited pursuant to T.C.A. 2-7-118(a).”

Kiosk Remains Down for Maintenance in County Clerks Office

January 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss

The self-service Kiosk in the DeKalb County Clerk's Office remains unavailable until further notice due to system maintenance.

Kiosk service was discontinued December 30 at 4:30 p.m. but was to be operational again by Monday, January 4 at 8:00 a.m. "The Kiosk remains out of service until further notice. We have had numerous unsuccessful attempts Monday and today (Tuesday) with several calls inquiring as to the availability of using the machine," said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has announced that Tennesseans may now renew their driver license every eight years instead of five years. The change will include all classifications of driver licenses and identification licenses.

The legislation to increase the renewal years was proposed during the 2015 legislative session. Senator Nicely and Representative Goins introduced the bill to help decrease wait times and improve customer traffic flow at driver services centers.

“This is another step to improve the quality of our driver services and help better serve the existing population as well as plan for future growth here in Tennessee,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “It’s our goal to enhance our driver services and provide convenient options for our customers.”

The new eight year license will include all forms of driver licenses and identification licenses, including commercial driver license and motorcycle license.
“We are pleased with the support of the Governor and the members of the General Assembly who continue to work with our department to improve our driver services division to better serve our growing state,” Gibbons said.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security regrets the inconvenience with the Kiosk

Pace Charged with Assaulting Man with Hammer

January 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
Charles Gary Pace, Jr.
Jerrod Curtis Sims
Joseph Michael LeClaire
Aimee Deanne Jobe

A DeKalb County man has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly hitting another man in the head with a hammer.

42 year old Charles Gary Pace, Jr. of Green Hill Road, Smithville is under a $2,500 bond and he will be in court January 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, December 31 a deputy responded to a 911 open line call of screaming and yelling at a residence on Green Hill Road. After speaking with everyone involved, the officer determined that Pace had allegedly assaulted another man by hitting him in the head with a hammer. Pace admitted to having the hammer during the altercation. The victim was transported by ambulance to the emergency room of St Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

33 year Jerrod Curtis Sims of Snow Hill Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance January 7.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, December 29 Sims allegedly assaulted his wife by trying to strangle her about the neck. He further allegedly took from her a cell phone that she was using to contact law enforcement. The woman had physical marks on her neck.

37 year old Joseph Michael LeClaire of Short Mountain Road, Woodbury is charged with a tenth offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court January 28.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 30 a deputy spotted a vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed on Highway 53 (Woodbury Highway). The officer stopped the automobile and spoke with the driver, LeClaire. A check of his license revealed they were suspended. He had previously been arrested for the same offense (DSL) on March 3, 2015; August 10, 2014; December 17, 2014, February 10, 2007; February 21, 2008; November 21, 2005; April 6, 2006; and June 4, 2005 all in Rutherford County; and on June 25, 2014 in DeKalb County.

45 year old Aimee Deanne Jobe of Lavergne Street, Alexandria is charged with public intoxication. She was also issued a citation for simple possession. Her bond is $1,000 and she will make a court appearance on January 7.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 3 Jobe was walking in the middle of the roadway on Highway 70 east (Sparta Highway). A deputy responded and found that Jobe was unsteady on her feet, her speech was slurred, and her eyes glassy. Due to her intoxicated state Jobe was placed in custody for her safety. Jobe was also found to have 36 Lyrica pills along with one and a half suboxone pills in her possession. Jobe said she had no prescription for the drugs.

UCEMC Members Continue to be Targeted by Utility Scams

January 4, 2016

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC) cautions members to be on alert for scams that continue to plague UCEMC’s service areas.

Scam artists are calling or visiting homes and businesses posing as utility workers. Callers may threaten to shut off service unless the consumer provides immediate payment using a credit card or money order. The caller may also request that members call a 1-888 number to provide their credit card information. “Calls sound official, and the caller ID may even display the utility name,” says Jimmy Gregory, General Manager of UCEMC. Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiver of a call that the originator of the call is a station other than the true originating station. For example, a Caller ID display might display a phone number different from that of the telephone from which the call was placed. The term is commonly used to describe situations in which the motivation is considered malicious by the speaker or writer. “This scam is particularly harmful to consumers because there is no way to track or recover the money.”

Officials stress that UCEMC will:

• NEVER call members to request credit card, banking or other financial information over the telephone.

• Although all forms of payments are accepted, UCEMC will NEVER call members demanding a specific payment method be used.

• NEVER call members requesting payment when UCEMC offices are closed.

• NEVER ask to enter your home unless you initiate the request for co-op personnel to perform a specific service. Co-ops do this only by appointment and with a member’s prior knowledge.

“We are asking co-op members to be wary of any phone calls,” Gregory says. “If in doubt, hang up immediately, and contact your local UCEMC District Office at: Carthage 615-735-2940; Cookeville 931-528-5449; Gainesboro 931-268-2123; Livingston 931-823-1213 or the Corporate Office 615-735-3208 or 800-261-2940. Whether by phone or in person, be certain you are dealing with an official representative of the Cooperative. UCEMC personnel carry company identification and vehicles are plainly marked with the UCEMC official logo.”

UCEMC is a Cooperative owned by its members. It distributes electric power through more than 4,500 miles of lines to more than 48,000 meters located primarily in Jackson, Overton, Putnam, Smith Counties and northern DeKalb County, with additional members served in the fringe areas of Clay, Fentress, Macon, Pickett, White and Wilson. Visit www.ucemc.com to learn more.

Free High School Equivalency Class Begins This Month

January 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
Linda Huddleston and Carol Prichard

If you never completed high school and would like to obtain an equivalency diploma you have that opportunity in January.

A Free High School Equivalency Class Orientation will be January 19 & 20 at the County Complex at 722 South Congress Boulevard. Enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College Doors. Participants Must Attend All Sessions which begin each day at 5:00 p.m.

Linda Huddleston, Supervisor of Adult Education, and Carol Prichard, Counselor and Recruiter for the Adult Education Program urge you to participate. Mary Anne Carpenter is the class instructor

According to Huddleston, between 1,700 and 2,000 people in DeKalb County currently lack a high school diploma.

"We offer high school equivalency classes free to anybody 18 years of age and older who may lack a high school diploma. In this day and age a high school diploma is needed for anyone to go on to further training, college, university, or any kind of vocational certification. This is a pathway that many can use to finish what they once started. It (diploma) can be used to get promotions or apply for jobs. It opens a lot of doors that have never been an opportunity before for those folks who lack a diploma," said Huddleston.

"We serve people from 18 to 70 years old. Some people come back just for the fulfillment of it. Something they didn't have a chance to do before but it's been a lifelong dream. Some people do it as an example for their kids. They know how important education is. They've lived it and they want to make sure their kids know how important it is that they finish. They want a better way to make a living. They want a family sustaining wage. That's really our goal is to help them to get to that point," she said.

"We offer on-going classes in DeKalb County. The classes are held in the county complex building on South Congress Boulevard. You enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College doors. We have a classroom in that section of the building. Anyone interested is asked to participate in the orientation process which gets them registered. It also gets them a placement test and lets us know how to begin to help them. Everything we do with them is free and all the instruction materials are free. But it is based on need. We need people participating in order to continue offering services in this area," Huddleston continued.

" We meet twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings. We have a class that meets from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and another class that meets from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Once we see where someone tests in at the placement level we can determine if they would be in the earlier class or the later class," she said.

"We want to fill in the gaps so we don't try to spend a lot of time teaching what people already know. We look for what people need and focus our instruction that way. We monitor their progress and when they are ready, we will get them out as quickly as we can so they can test as soon as possible," said Huddleston.

"We send them to a testing site once they're ready and we help them get registered. They take the exam and then the company that makes the exam sends in the results. The state will then issue the high school equivalency diploma," she said.

"The two closest testing sites are the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McMinnville and the Applied Technology Center in Crossville but there are locations all across the state. Most of the people from DeKalb County go to McMinnville," said Prichard.

"On occasion the testing dates at those sites may not work for you. If so the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers testing at their office in Nashville so if you are willing to make the trip and a Saturday schedule works best for you then we will help you get registered for that site as well," added Huddleston.

"There is a cost to take the test but there is no cost for any of our services or instruction. For the Hi-Set test right now the cost is $75.00 which includes a sitting fee for the testing site. But the state of Tennessee has appropriated money and if you qualify under certain predictor tests criteria then the state will pay for your test at no cost to you. Essentially, you can come back to school for free and receive free instruction and materials and get your tests paid for if you meet all the criteria. Part of that criteria is that we give you a predictor test when you are ready for it and if you make certain cut off scores the state will pay for that test for you," Huddleston said.

Anyone interested in taking the class may contact the Putnam County Adult Learning Center at 931-528-8685. "You may get in contact with us and we can tell you the dates of our next registration. That helps us plan for how many students we can anticipate when we come down here for the classes. We usually offer this once a month. If no one is in the office to answer the phone, just leave a message and we will call you back," said Prichard.

"Our next orientation registration will be January 19 and 20. All you have to do is call and get on our list and we'll give you the details and be ready to work with you when you come," Huddleston concluded.

"Reeling in the Years" Returns Saturday Night on WJLE

January 4, 2016
"Reeling in the Years" Returns Saturday Night on WJLE

Many of us have often had a longing for the past, a yearning for yesterday.

With nostalgia in mind, the Winter edition of “Reeling in the Years” will air on WJLE the night of January 9.

Former WJLE announcers Dennis Stanley and Shawn Jacobs host the program that will feature the pop/rock music and artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

“We’ll be playing many of the songs that many listeners will remember as teens and young adults,” said both Jacobs and Stanley. “The music you will hear on our show will bring back many fond memories. We’ve made sure our playlist includes a few songs that were popular during 1976, which was 40 years ago, ad songs that were on the Pop Charts during the early part of January throughout the 70s. It’s those little details we usually incorporate into our show to make it even more enjoyable.”

The program will also showcase the diversity of the pop/rock music scene during a time of transition in the lives of our listeners and in the world.

“During the days we were ‘disc jockeys,’ WJLE and radio stations throughout the country were playing music that ranged from soul, rock, southern rock to disco music. All of those genres were mixed within the same program, and ironically, it worked,” said Jacobs and Stanley.

The January 9 program will air from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WJLE FM and will be the first of four shows planned for 2016.

Omega Apparel Names Shelley Sarmiento, Chief Strategy Officer and Design Director

January 4, 2016
Omega Apparel

Omega Apparel has a 20+ year history of producing dress uniforms for the US military and has a best-in-class reputation for quality, timely delivery, and customer service. But, does Omega Apparel really know fashion? They do now with the appointment of Shelley Sarmiento as Chief Strategy Officer and Design Director. Shelley is a 35-year fashion and apparel industry veteran who brings Omega instant credibility. One of Shelley’s signature accomplishments in her career is the founding of the White House Black Market Women’s Clothing Chain. Shelley grew the chain from 0 to 140 stores before selling to Chico’s in 2003. After selling to Chico’s, Shelley served as an Executive for Limited Brands/Victoria Secret. Shelley is also an alumnus and professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. FIT was recently ranked 3rd, as one of the most globally influential fashion universities. Shelley has local fashion connections in TN as well. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the O’More College of Design in Franklin and is an active member of the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA).

“Shelley is a rock star and we are incredibly fortunate to have her as an executive on the Omega Team” exclaimed Dean Wegner, President and CEO of Omega Apparel. Shelley was given 3 lofty challenges in her new role at Omega: build a full service design team to serve the fashion community, launch the Omega Brand contemporary fashion line, and build strong partnerships with the local colleges and universities. “Shelley is knocking it out of the park” continued Dean Wegner. “Not only are we servicing the local fashion industry in Nashville, but we have global customers like VF, Alfred Dunner, Golf Locker, Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James brand, and Kelly Slater’s OuterKnown brand, who are eager to partner with Omega.”.”

“I never thought I would be this excited to work for another company” shared Shelley Sarmiento. “For my entire career, I have sourced apparel overseas. I now have the opportunity to be a catalyst and help rebuild the US apparel industry, and launch a new Omega Brand that truly stands for being ‘Authentically American.’”

Shelley will share more about Omega Apparel’s strategic plans for becoming a major player in the fashion industry at the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Omega Apparel’s new Nashville facility on Tuesday, January 12th. Nashville Mayor Barry will speak and participate in the ceremony.

Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Omega Apparel was founded in 1994 and now includes 4 Divisions: Military, Commercial, Omega Brand, and Private Label. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega operates two Tennessee based production and design facilities in Nashville and Smithville. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. Omega Apparel is both committed and proud to be 100% Made in the USA. To learn more visit http://omegaapparelinc.com/.


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