Local News Articles

Run for Your Mama Kicks Off ‘Run the Cumberland’ Medal Series on May 12. Fiddler 5K a Qualifying Race

April 26, 2018
 Run the Cumberland Race Series Committee: Front Row:  Kelly Swallows, Run for Your Mama 5K; Avery Hutchins, Sam Chambers and Becky Magura, WCTE; Back Row: Brant Wheeler, Haunted Half Marathon; Robert Woodard, Run 4 Don; Tecia Puckett Pryor, Fiddler 5K; and Ali Bagci, Summer Splash 5K

On Saturday, May 12, WCTE’s Run for Your Mama Double Pump 5K kicks off the Run the Cumberland Medal Series. Runners who participate in the first race in the series, Run for Your Mama, and the last race in the series, the Haunted Half Marathon. plus two of the three races in the middle, including the Summer Splash 5K in Cookeville, the Fiddler 5K in Smithville and the Run 4 Don in Gainesboro, will receive an exclusive Run the Cumberland medal at the completion of the Haunted Half on October 20.

Details of each race are listed below:

•Run for Your Mama Double Pump 5K – Saturday, May 12 in Cookeville starting at the Dogwood Park Pavilion at 7am, benefitting WCTE’s Educational Outreach. For more info visit www.wcte.org/5k

•Summer Splash 5k, Saturday, June 23 at 6pm starting at the Dogwood Park Pavilion. Proceeds from the Summer Splash 5K will go toward the Cancer Care Fund at Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation. For more info visit http://cookevilleregionalcharity.org/5k

•20th Annual Fiddler 5k in downtown Smithville, July 7 beginning at 7am, benefitting Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. For more info visit http://www.fiddler5k.com/index.html .

•Run 4 Don will be September 15 beginning at 7:30am in Gainesboro to raise awareness and money to research ALS. For more info visit http://run4don.com/

•WCTE’s 10th Annual Haunted Half Marathon Saturday, October 20 7am, start and finish at Tennessee Tech University, benefitting WCTE. For more info and registration visit http://runhauntedhalf.com/

Early registration for Run for Your Mama is available until Friday, May 4th, sign up to be guaranteed a performance t-shirt. Join us this year for our Inaugural Kids 1.5 Mile Trail Fun Run that will be held at the Cookeville High School Cross Country Trail beginning at 9:35am. This race is for kids age 12 and under, $10, per child. Early registration ends May 4th, to be guaranteed a kids t-shirt. Clifford the Big Red Dog will be a special guest at both the road run and trail run. Bring out the whole family and celebrate your mama, with Run for Your Mama!!

DCHS Virtual Enterprise Program Competes in New York

April 26, 2018
 Virtual Enterprise students traveled to New York City recently to compete at the Virtual Enterprise International Youth Business Summit. Pictured here with Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America

Six Virtual Enterprise students traveled to New York City recently to compete at the Virtual Enterprise International Youth Business Summit. Virtual Enterprise is a program in which students run a virtual business and conduct several business activities such as advertising, promoting, and accounting. Over 500 virtual enterprise firms exist worldwide, all come to New York City each spring to compete against other firms in various competitions. Firms market their virtual product or service and sell to other firms, no actual money or product changes hands, students just go through the process.

The DCHS firm earned honorable mention in Elevator Pitch, Company Branding, and Company Newsletter and top 25 in Company Website. The students were able to buy and sell from other firms while attending the summit as well as form contracts with other firms in order to boost virtual sales upon returning home. Students visited over 500 booths from countries all over the world to gain insight into international trade and currency conversion.

Additionally, while in NYC, students were able to use networking, communication, leadership, teambuilding, public speaking skills from the summit in everyday fashion while exploring the sites of New York. Two students were interviewed by Tom Kelly, Good Morning America audience coordinator regarding their virtual enterprise company, Orion. Seeing Wall Street, the charging bull, the New York Stock Exchange, the World Trade Center complex, and other places along the financial district really put what the students are learning into perspective.

Students who attended are as follows: Tyree Cripps, Mackenzie Partridge, Eli Cantrell, Parker Gassaway, Ealy Gassaway and Raiden Martin. The group would like to extend a special thank you to Lee Foster for securing us a tour of the Electric Lady Studios.

DeKalb County Recognized as "Healthier Tennessee" Community

April 26, 2018
Dwayne Page
Pictured from left to right: Lisa Cripps, Helen Sefsik, Megan Kinslow, Colleen Wright, Elise Driver, Mandy Lawson, Norene Puckett, Shan Burklow, Kristi Paling, and Sheriff Patrick Ray.

DeKalb County has been honored by the Governor of Tennessee for its steps toward creating a healthier community.

The Governors Foundation has recognized DeKalb County with the Healthier Tennessee designation for 2018 including a highway sign and plaque presented to the DeKalb County Wellness Commission, Community Advisory Board, and the DeKalb Health Adventure Program for their work in helping to provide healthy opportunities for the residents of DeKalb County.

The Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative is a grassroots approach to improving Tennesseans’ health by engaging citizens and local leaders in cities, towns, counties, neighborhoods, and college campuses across the state.

To be designated, the communities established wellness committees and developed sustainable community-wide events and activities that support physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco abstinence. They then tracked and measured outputs and accomplishments of the programs.

The Foundation launched the Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative in March 2015 with nine pilot communities. Today, more than 100 communities, neighborhoods, and college campuses are engaged with the program, and 59 have received the designation.

Pictured from left to right: Lisa Cripps, Helen Sefsik, Megan Kinslow, Colleen Wright, Elise Driver, Mandy Lawson, Norene Puckett, Shan Burklow, Kristi Paling, and Sheriff Patrick Ray.

Thursday is Your Last Chance to Vote Early for May 1 Primary

April 25, 2018
Dwayne Page

Thursday, April 26 is your last chance to vote early for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

Voting Thursday will be from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

As of Wednesday, April 25, a total of 968 people have cast ballots during 13 days of early voting. On Wednesday, 90 voted including 88 in person and 2 by absentee. Four years ago a total of 1,612 voted either during the 14 day early voting period or by absentee for the election and 1,701 cast ballots on election day for a total turnout of 3,313 in the 2014 May Democratic Primary.

This year voters are making their choices as to who will represent the Democratic party as nominees in the August General Election for the offices of Road Supervisor, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and for the county commission in each of the seven districts. There is no Democratic candidate for Trustee.

The primary will feature two county wide contested races for County Mayor and Circuit Court Clerk. There are four contested county commission district primary races including in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th districts.

Election day voting at all 15 precincts in the county will be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1.

WJLE will have exclusive LIVE coverage of the local election returns starting at 7 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

Community Urged to Support Benefit for Family of Officer Joseph Bowen

April 25, 2018
Dwayne Page
Community Urged to Support Benefit for Family of Officer Joseph Bowen

The community is invited to rally in support of the Joseph Bowen family on Saturday, April 28 for a benefit men softball tournament and male beauty contest featuring emergency personnel. All proceeds will go to the family of Officer Bowen, who lost his life in a tragic traffic accident in March.

Fourteen teams will be taking to the field, including seven each at the Bill Page and Joe L. Evins Softball Fields to compete starting at 8 a.m. “We chose a softball tournament because a favorite pastime of Joe’s was to play softball on the weekends with family and friends,” said Event Sponsorship Director Chris McMillen.

Organizers are hoping for a big turnout and have prepared well having received donations of many concession items including hamburgers, hotdogs, barbeque, nachos, soft drinks, and more.

Ten or more vendors will also be selling a variety of merchandise from their booths which will be set up near the Bill Page Ball Park.

Make plans to spend this Saturday enjoying a fun event while showing your support for the Bowen family.

For more information call McMillen at 615-417-0217 or Tournament Director Kenneth Whitehead at 615-464-7038.

Also check out Chris McMillen’s video promoting this event at

DUD Now Serving 30 New Customers

April 24, 2018
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Utility District recently began serving 30 new customers in a portion of the county that previously did not have “city” water.

The $915,543 project was funded through a $500,000 Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Block Grant and $415,543 in funding allocated by the DeKalb Utility District.

Under the program, the DUD extended water lines to families on Tramel Branch Road, Oakley Road, Carter Lane and the Alexandria to Dismal Road.

Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning & Consulting, the grant administrator, briefly addressed County Mayor Tim Stribling and the County Commission Monday night to report that a public hearing was held prior to the commission meeting as part of the grant process to give the public an opportunity to comment before the project is closed. No comments were offered. However, Mainord said several of the new customers have contacted her since getting water service to express their appreciation.

“I am pleased that these residents who have needed potable water for so long are now being served thanks to this water line grant and the DUD with the support of the county commission. I have also heard from these residents who are so pleased to now have water in the area where they live. This was a successful project. And now that this project has been completed the county will be eligible to apply for the next round of CDBG grants,” said County Mayor Stribling.

“We have never had a project where the people have shown more gratitude than this one,” DUD manager Jon Foutch told WJLE Tuesday.

The DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners last September awarded bids to two contractors to extend water lines in the targeted areas. The board accepted a bid of $392,865 from Flo-Line Contracting of Monticello, Kentucky to do the work on Alexandria to Dismal Road and for $294,345 for the project on Carter Lane and Oakley Road. Mofield Brothers Construction of Carthage got the bid for $148,580 to extend water lines on Tramel Branch Road.

County Mayor Stribling brought the resolution to the DeKalb County Commission in January, 2016 authorizing the filing of the grant application, which was approved.

The county had applied for and been denied the grant twice before within the preceding two years. But the last time in order to improve its chances, the county asked for a little less grant money while the DeKalb Utility District committed to ante up more in its local match commitment.

DeKalb Prevention Coalition Receives $3,000 donation from Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival

April 24, 2018
Dwayne Page
Carl Massaro; Ashley Anderson, Lisa Cripps, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator; Norene Puckett , DPC Community Outreach Liaison; and Stephen McCord

A check for $3,000 was presented to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition Tuesday morning by representatives of the Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival.

Making the presentation were Carl Massaro of Cherry Hill Farm at Silver Point; Stephen McCord; and Ashley Anderson, Marketing Director for the Festival.

The Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival, a “first-of-its-kind all- day outdoor community event, was held at Cherry Hill Farm last October to celebrate music, art, the natural beauty of Center Hill Lake, and the gorgeous Caney Fork River.

This event featured an artisans fair showcasing the area’s best in visual arts and crafts, outdoor and recreational vendors, a “KID ZONE” (4,800 square feet of kid rides and activities) a wide variety of tasty food and beverage vendors, and a full day of live music performances by the region’s best folk, bluegrass, and blues artists.

In addition, the festival hosted instrument workshops for all aspiring musicians by some of the areas top ranked musician instructors.

Finally, the festival also played host to a “live” celebrity auction event that took place throughout the day including the sale of a guitar autographed by country music star George Strait.

All the proceeds of the day’s events went to benefit the DeKalb Prevention Coalition’s Health Adventure which provides free healthy activities that promote physical and emotional health including: yoga classes, art instruction, martial arts, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, senior chair volleyball, senior chair yoga, walking clubs, nutrition education, along with classes provided for teens and adults with disabilities.

Pictured: Carl Massaro; Ashley Anderson, Lisa Cripps, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator; Norene Puckett , DPC Community Outreach Liaison; and Stephen McCord

County to Re-Bid Four Seasons Fire Hall Project

April 24, 2018
Dwayne Page

Too High!

Construction of a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community will have to wait a while longer after the County Commission Monday night voted to re-bid the project concluding that the two bids received were too high.

Bids were opened for the fire hall on March 29 and two were received including one for $284,000 from Preston Brothers of Woodbury (minus $11,000 if the county put the gravel on the parking lot) and $197,000 from FTM Contracting of Cookeville (deductive alternate of $2,400).

Members of the county budget committee met April 9 and voted 4 to 1 to recommend to the county commission that the project move forward with the lowest bidder and that it be funded using $100,000 already allocated for the fire hall plus an additional $100,000 from the capital projects fund which has $588,000 in available money from the unrestricted fund balance account.

“I think those bids are way high. I have done some research and talked to three contractors and they have all told me the same thing. I even called a company and their bid (not turnkey) to do the building, the slab, do the insulation, and the doors is $32,768. I think we could save the county a lot of money if we re-bid this. I just believe it is out of line. The way they have it on the low bid figures at $90 per square foot. I just think it’s too high,” said 2nd District Commissioner Jimmy Midgett.

According to County Mayor Tim Stribling, plans call for the fire hall to be 40’ x 55’ in size consisting of two bays, a restroom, shower, and a small meeting room. He said while the plans do not include any frills it will be a turnkey project with all the work including construction, concrete pad, septic tank, etc all to be done under one contract.

Midgett made a motion that the project be re-bid. All members present voted in favor of Midgett’s motion.

Plans are to advertise for new bids as early as next week with a projected bid opening date of May 24 and then to present the recommended bid to the county commission for final approval by the next monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 29 after Memorial Day.

A new fire station at Four Seasons would be the 12th station in the county operated by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The other fire halls are on Short Mountain Highway, Midway Community, Belk, Keltonburg, Cookeville Highway, Austin Bottom Community, Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, Johnson Chapel, and Blue Springs.

In other business, three members of the DeKalb County Beer Board were re-appointed to new two year terms and one new member has been named to fill a vacancy.

The County Commission Monday night approved the reappointment of Beer Board members Myron Rhody in the 2nd District, Robert Rowe in the 4th District, and Leonard Dickens in the 6th District. A new member, John Hummer will succeed Rhonda Caplinger in the 5th District. She recently resigned after having moved out of the 5th District. Hummer will serve out the remaining year of Caplinger’s term and will be up for reappointment to a two year term next year.

In 2016, the commission voted to set terms for members of the beer board. All seven members serve as appointees and the terms are staggered with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th district positions being appointed in odd years. The 2nd, 4th, & 6th district seats are filled in even years. The beer board is to re-organize (name officers) every year.

Members of the beer board are Jim Stagi in the 1st district, Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Edward Frazier in the 3rd district, Robert Rowe in the 4th district, John Hummer in the 5th district, Leonard Dickens in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district.

Man Charged with Trespassing on Neighbors' Property

April 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Brian Edward Clark
Hadley Anne Tucker
Jennifer Nicole Harvey
Vickie Lenae Alvis
Amy Renee Ford

A man has been charged with aggravated criminal trespassing after allegedly entering the home of his neighbors without permission.

38 year old Brian Edward Clark of Patterson Road, Smithville is under a $5,000 bond and his court date is May 2. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, April 22 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Patterson Road due to a suspicious person. Upon arrival he spoke with two women who reported that their neighbor, Clark entered their residence without permission. Clark was found at another home on Patterson Road and placed under arrest.

23 year old Taylor Nicole Hensley of Floyd Drive, Smithville was cited for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance after detectives conducted a probation search of her at a residence on Lee Homer Road, Smithville Friday, April 13 and found 0.01 gram of a substance believed to be methamphetamine. Her court date is April 26.

20 year old Hadley Anne Tucker of South Rutherford Boulevard, Murfreesboro is charged with no drivers license and cited for expired registration, no insurance, and violation of the light law. Her bond is $3,000 and her court date is May 3. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 17 while traveling on Highway 70 a deputy spotted a vehicle with a light not working and conducted a traffic stop. He spoke to the driver, Tucker who produced an identification only issued by the state. Tucker said she did not have a driver license and that she had been in trouble before for the same offense. A computer check verified that she had no license. Her registration expired on May 30, 2017.

33 year old Jennifer Nicole Harvey of Nashville Highway, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on May 3. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 17 a deputy was dispatched to a residence and upon arrival spoke to a man who said his wife, Harvey had grabbed his cell phone from his hand while he was trying to record her yelling at him. As he tried to get the phone back from her, she threw it across the room causing physical contact between them which he found extremely offensive and provocative.

46 year old Vickie Lenae Alvis of High Street, Alexandria is charged with a 3rd offense of driving under the influence and a 4th offense of driving on a revoked license. Alvis’ bond is $10,000 and her court date is May 3. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, April 18 a detective was traveling east on Highway 70 when he spotted a vehicle in front of him cross over several times into the opposite lane of travel. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Alvis. He smelled the odor of alcohol on her person and noticed an open beer in the vehicle. Alvis performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. Her prior DUI offenses were in 2011 and 2013. A computer check revealed that her license were revoked for a DUI in 2013 and that she had prior driving on revoked charges against her in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

39 year old Amy Renee Ford of Chumbley Hollow Road, Watertown is charged with assault. Ford’s bond is $3,000 and her court date is May 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 20 a correctional officer heard shouting coming from the cell where the females are housed at the jail and went to investigate. The officer witnessed Ford hitting another female inmate in the face several times with an open hand. Ford was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was arrested for assault.

Public meeting set for Center Hill Dam Modification Study

April 23, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is hosting a public scoping meeting 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 3, 2018 at the Buffalo Valley Community Center to present information to the public regarding a current Dam Safety Modification Study (DSMS) to further reduce risk at Center Hill Dam. The center is located at 2717 Buffalo Valley School Road, Buffalo Valley, Tenn.

Since 2008 the Nashville District has worked to reduce risk at Center Hill Dam from a foundation seepage issue.

“More recently, however, operability issues have been identified with the 70-year old main dam spillway gates that add project risk during a large flood event” said Corps Project Manager, Linda Adcock.

In the early 1990’s a self-eroding structure called a ‘fuse plug’ was built into the top of the saddle dam to add the ability to safely pass a rare, extreme flood downstream.

“If the main dam spillway gates don’t operate as intended, the fuse plug on the saddle dam could operate at a smaller flood than intended,” Adcock added.

Currently, risk of this occurrence is higher than the Corps deems acceptable. A study is underway to evaluate spillway gate repair alternatives and potential changes to standard gate operations during a large flood. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the Corps of Engineers is initiating scoping and preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support the DSMS. The study will produce a recommended plan to reduce potential project risk. The Corps seeks public input on the array of alternatives being considered.

Examples of measures, either individually or in combination, that have potential to affect structures or operations of the dam may include:

a) Replacement of the current gate machinery with hydraulic machinery that can operate under water;

b) Addition of equipment to the current spillway gates to keep them open if the operating machinery is underwater;

c) Modification of the spillway gates or gate machinery to allow operation from the top of the dam;

d) Relocation of the gate operating machinery to the road level, which would require raising or relocating Highway 96 that crosses over the dam;

e) Modification of the emergency operations plan in the water control manual that determines how to manage floods at Center Hill Dam; and

f) Other measures as identified by on-going engineering studies, the public, and agencies.

The announcement seeking public input is located on the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/04/20/2018-08291/intent-t.... This announcement includes information on how to provide comments to the Corps of Engineers regarding this study.

To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Cen... . For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake , and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.


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