Local News Articles

Leadership DeKalb Supports Schools Through “Tools for Education”

October 19, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School Prinicipal Randy Jennings Receives Donation
Smithville Elementary Principal Julie Vincent Receives Donation

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2014 adopted a project named “Tools for Education.” The class’ goal was to support the Physical Education, Music, and Art teachers in our five schools, providing them with supplies and equipment that are not budgeted by the school board. Several area businesses and individuals were generous to donate to the cause, that was coordinated with The DeKalb County Foundation for Education, Inc., a 501 (C) 3 organization.

The class collected over $2,000 plus balls and hula hoops for PE classes and art supplies. The checks and equipment were presented in the local schools on Thursday, October 16th. Class President Shannon Atkins, Project Chairman David Barrett, and Project Coordinator Lisa Cripps made the presentations on behalf of the class.

Other 2014 Leadership DeKalb members are Emmaly Bennett, Jordan Wilkins, April Martin, Alejandra Cisneros-Conohan, Raul Ramirez, Eli Gill, and Shannon Jones. Jen Sherwood is the Director of Leadership DeKalb.

(Article by David Barrett/pics by Suzanne Williams)

Carl Halfacre to Retire as Manager of Edgar Evins State Park

October 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Carl Halfacre to Retire as Manager of Edgar Evins State Park
Carl Halfacre

Carl Halfacre, longtime manager of Edgar Evins State Park, has announced his retirement.

He will be leaving next month. " My last day at work here at Edgar will be November 14 and my last official day with the state parks will be November 30. I have better than 40 years of service with the State of Tennessee and 36 of those years I have been here at Edgar Evins State Park. But I feel that the time is nigh for me to retire and hand it over to a newer person. It's really been an enjoyable career. DeKalb County is one of the best counties I ever worked in. The cooperation I have received has been unbelievable from the Chamber of Commerce to WJLE and all the other local media. You have always been very supportive and I really appreciate that. It has made my job a lot easier. I have a lot of friends around Smithville. I will be moving to Baxter but I'll keep in touch," said Halfacre in a recent interview with WJLE.

Even as a teenager, Halfacre said he had hopes of one day working at the park. "As a teenager I worked at the dam my Junior and Senior years with the Corps of Engineers as a seasonal worker. We would mow the "Ike Park" which is gone now because of the guys who are doing the drilling (dam rehabilitation project) and then we would mow at Cove Hollow. I would sit over there at Cove Hollow and look across the lake during lunch and see them working on the roads (Edgar Evins State Park). At that time they were just building the roads and the boat ramp (developing the park). I told some of the boys there that I would like to work in that park once they get it open and then lo and behold several years later I was able to do that," he said.

Halfacre, a native of Baxter, got his wish to work in the park shortly after graduating from Tennessee Tech University. "I graduated in December 1977 and started at Edgar January 21, 1978. I worked in maintenance until August of that year and then I was promoted to Park Ranger I. I worked in that position for about three years. At that time there were Park Rangers I and II. A Park Ranger II was considered to be a supervisor over the Ranger I's. The Ranger II at that time was Kenny Daniel. He got a promotion and went to Montgomery Bell State Park and after he left I was able to move up into the Park Ranger II position where I remained until 1996. Our Park Manager Murray Crow got a promotion and he left the park. I didn't have any idea I was going to be considered for the job but I interviewed and got the job. I've been here as Park Manager since 1996," said Halfacre.

Halfacre said he was pleased to see some of goals for the park become a reality during his years as manager. "I had two or three goals in mind when I became Park Manager. One of those was to get a scout troop involved with the park that would do volunteer work for us. We've been able to realize that. Ranger Wayne Morrison got the Boy Scouts and the Tennessee Trails Association interested in the park and those two things led into the Friends of Edgar Evins being formed and also Boy Scout Troop 875 that is chartered by the Friends group, they come in and camp with us and they do work. They've done upwards of a thousand hours of volunteer work here in the park each year for the last three years. I feel very fortunate I've been able to reach some of my goals," he said.

Halfacre said he is looking forward to retirement. "I have 30 acres at Baxter that have just about reverted to jungle. I've got to clean that up. I've got to get it fenced and hopefully get some cattle in there in the next couple of years. I've got to do a little bit of work on the house. I've got two antique tractors and a couple of old cars setting around and I hope to be able to get those running. I've got plenty to do if I just get up and get with it," Halfacre concluded.

Applications Sought for Angel Tree Project

October 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Applications will be available for the 19th Annual Angel Tree Project from Monday, October 27th through Monday, November 3rd.

Spokesperson Laura Stone said that the application turn in date has been set for one day only. "Applications can be picked up October 27th through November 3rd. You will continue to pick up your applications at the Department of Human Services, but the application must be returned in person on November 4th at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center," she said.

"Completed applications will have to be returned to the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center Building in downtown Smithville (on the corner across from First Baptist) on Tuesday, November 4th from 9am to 7pm. Applications not returned to the Church LEC Building on this day WILL NOT be accepted. There are no exceptions to the requirements of the application process. It is very important that you understand we will only accept applications this one day only," said Stone.

"Applications can only be picked up at the Department of Human Services on October 27th through November 3rd and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 4th. In addition to bringing the completed application, applicants must provide photo identification of the person applying and social security cards and birth certificates for ALL children listed on the application. We will only be keeping the application; all other documents will be returned to the applicant. If an applicant cannot appear in person, their application can be submitted by a family member as long as all of the required information is presented." Stone continued.

"Eligible children must live in DeKalb County and be no older than age 12 by December 25, 2014. The Department of Human Services will only be passing out the applications. Nothing will be returned to them and any questions should be directed to Laura Stone at 615-464-7135". DO NOT contact DHS or anyone at the LEC pickup location under any circumstances; you may jeopardize your application," she said.

Stone adds that "the Angel Tree has been such a tremendous success in the past and with economic times extremely tough for many in our area, we want this years Angel Tree to be no exception. The Angel Tree helps so many families who are struggling to make ends meet. It is sad to think about, but many of these children would not otherwise have a single present for Christmas. With the economy still struggling, we are expecting demand to be high."

School Spirit on Display during DCHS Homecoming Parade (View Video Here)

October 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Senior Float Wins First Place in Homecoming Parade with theme "DeKalb Rises Above Macon"

DeKalb County High School students celebrated the last day of Spirit Week with a Homecoming Day parade Friday afternoon.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night is the Macon County Tigers and the floats in the parade had a Tiger versus Macon County theme.

The parade featured Homecoming Queen Kamien Sparks and her attendants, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, lots of decorated cars and trucks, county and city law enforcement officers, and fire fighters, among others. The event concluded with a pep rally on the square led by DCHS Football cheerleaders.

Winners in the Float Competition were:
First Place: Senior Class- "DeKalb Rises Above Macon"
Second Place: Tiger Media
Third Place: Freshman Class-"Taking Macon by Storm"
Fourth Place: Junior Class- "DeKalb Makes Bacon Outta Macon"
Fifth Place: Sophomore Class-"DeKalb Creams Macon"

Best Decorated Automobiles:
First Place: McKenzie Gann
Second Place: Austin Tittle
Third Place: Caroline Caplinger

FCCLA Best Decorated Business
First Place- Cantrell's the home of Fluty
Second Place- Savy's Scrubs and PTS
Third Place-The Flower Box

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Needs Donations for Holidays

October 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Christmas season is drawing near. Remember what Christmas was like when you were young? The family gathered together to give and receive blessings and gifts.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Local children who are in foster care need assistance. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes or sent away from their family by the Juvenile Court system may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Your help is needed to make sure their needs are met during the holidays.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with Christmas gifts for local children who are in foster care with the Department of Children's Services. If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please send them to Annette Greek, Treasurer of the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund. "We are rounding up money for the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund. These are the children who have been removed from our county. We have approximately 50 children and we need money" said Greek.

Since the ages of these foster children vary, a cash donation is preferable to gifts. " We try to do Christmas and birthdays for these kids. It could be $100 to $150 per child. We also do special things if we're made aware of it like graduation gifts. We've bought evening gowns for contests. We've bought football uniforms. I always try to get the money (all collected) by the beginning of December in plenty of time for Christmas," said Greek

You may send your donation to: Annette Greek, in care of F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, 400 West Public Square, Smithville TN 37166. For more information call 615-597-4186.
Greek says she will also be glad to accept your cash donation directly at the store.

Women's Golf Captures the APSU Intercollegiate; Sullivan Finishes Second

October 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
2014 APSU Intercollegiate Champions (Mallory Sullivan 2nd from left)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Playing a wet course in very windy conditions, the Belmont women's golf team posted one of their lowest team scores in program history on Tuesday to win the APSU Intercollegiate held this week at Clarksville Country Club in Clarksville, Tennessee. In addition, freshman Mallory Sullivan of Smithville finished second in the individual standings.

Belmont posted a team score of 295, tied for the third lowest in school history, in Tuesday's final round to win the team title with a 36-hole mark of 596. They finished seven strokes ahead of second place Murray State (603) and nine shots ahead of third place Tennessee Tech (605). It's the program's fifth team championship and the first since the 2011-12 season.

"I am really proud of the team this week," said Lissa Bradford, Belmont's head coach. "We had some tough conditions to play in the past two days, but everybody stuck to the game plan and that led us to our victory."

Freshman Mallory Sullivan finished in second place after losing a three-hole playoff to Maddi Everts of Tennessee Tech. After each bogeyed the first playoff hole and parred the second, Everts won medalist honors by parring the third playoff hole. Sullivan, a Smithville, Tennessee native, got into the playoff by carding a one-under par 70 on Tuesday to finish the tournament at 144. It's her first top-five finish of her collegiate career.

Two other Bruins finished among the top-10. Senior Evin Edens finished in a tie for fourth place with a score of 147. She posted a career-best 72 in Tuesday's final round. Freshman Katie Story also continued her solid start as a Bruin as she placed sixth at 150 after shooting a 75. Other Belmont scores from the event included: senior Sydney Hudson (T-13, 155) and sophomore Abbie Gregory (T-32, 161).

Two BU golfers competed as individuals and each posted top-20 finishes: sophomore Megan Heath (T-11, 154) and sophomore Alexi Bevans (T-16, 156).

The women's golf team will be back in action next Monday and Tuesday at the MTSU Blue Raider Invitational in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Two Involved in Thursday Morning Crash

October 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
1997 Nissan Altima driven by 43 year old Joe Ferrell
1989 Nissan pickup driven by 45 year old George Byford

Two people were involved in a crash this morning (Thursday) at the intersection of Highway 83 and Holmes Creek Road.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 43 year old Joe Ferrell of Smithville was traveling south on Highway 83 in a 1997 Nissan Altima when he lost control while negotiating a curve and made a driver side impact with a northbound 1989 Nissan pickup, driven by 45 year old George Byford of Smithville.

Both Ferrell and Byford were taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital.

Ferrell was later taken by ground ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were also on the scene.

263 Cast Ballots During Early Voting

October 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 263 persons have cast ballots during the first three days of early voting in DeKalb County.

Eighty five voted in person and sixteen by absentee on Wednesday; eighty four voted on Thursday including 82 in person and two by absentee; and 78 voted on Friday including 77 in person and one by absentee

Voters can cast early ballots through Oct. 30 at the DeKalb County Courthouse on the square in Smithville. Early Voting will be available six days a week during the following hours: Mondays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays 9 am. until 1 p.m., Wednesdays 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. until noon.

Election day is Tuesday, November 4

Man Charged with Child Rape

October 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jacky Lynn Fults

A 52 year old Smithville man is charged with child rape.

Jacky Lynn Fults is under a $150,000 bond and he will be in court November 6.

Fults is accused of committing anal penetration with his finger on a seven year old girl at his Foster Road residence on September 28. According to the warrant, the child was examined by Our Kids in Nashville on September 29 and doctors did find evidence consistent with abuse. The child did give disclosure on September 30 at the Child Advocacy Center in Cookeville.

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department

Tenneco Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Smithville

October 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
  Jeff Starkey - Plant Manager, Kevin Robinson -City Public Works Director, Jimmy Poss - City Mayor, Tim Stribling - County Mayor, Anthony Cantrell - Plant Controller

Tenneco recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary of doing business in Smithville as well as National Manufacturer's Day on October 3rd.

Employees enjoyed a plant-wide cookout on all shifts. Also invited to attend were City and County Officials as well as the Industrial Board. Tenneco Plant Manager Jeff Starkey and Plant Controller Anthony Cantrell presented the officials in attendance with a plaque thanking them for their commitment to Tenneco's future growth.

Tenneco has hired approximately 100 team members in 2014 and will be adding approximately 100 more jobs in 2015.

(Pictured: Left to right: Jeff Starkey - Plant Manager, Kevin Robinson -City Public Works Director Jimmy Poss - City Mayor, Tim Stribling - County Mayor, Anthony Cantrell - Plant Controller)

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