Local News Articles

Races for Sheriff and Smithville Mayor Expected to be Contested

January 18, 2018
Dwayne Page

It now appears that the race for DeKalb County Sheriff and Mayor of Smithville will be contested in August.

Michael Agee picked up a petition Thursday to run for Sheriff in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary on May 1. The democratic nominee will face Republican incumbent Patrick Ray in the DeKalb County General Election on August 2 although Ray’s nomination won’t be official until the local GOP caucus is held on February 11.

Meanwhile Josh Miller obtained a petition Thursday to seek the office of Smithville Mayor on August 2. Miller is currently serving as alderman. He plans to run against Incumbent Mayor Jimmy Poss, who picked up his petition earlier this month to seek re-election.

Smithville voters will be electing a mayor and two aldermen in August. The aldermen seats are currently held by Jason Murphy and Gayla Hendrix and they obtained their petitions earlier this month to seek re-election. Miller’s alderman term expires in 2020.

The qualifying deadline for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary is February 15. The deadline for candidates to get in the Smithville election along with other city races and the school board is April 5

Power Supply Alert Lifted

January 18, 2018

UPDATE: The Power Supply Alert for the TVA service territory has been terminated. At this time, Caney Fork Electric Cooperative would like to sincerely thank all of you for helping to save power during this crucial time. We work hard at keeping your lights and heat on! This morning's peak power demand was approximately 32,513 megawatts at a system average temp. of 14 degrees at 8 a.m. CST. That is higher than yesterday and is the sixth highest winter peak in TVA history. The team at your local power company together with TVA delivered more energy on Wednesday than any other day in our history. When families count on staying warm, reliability matters! Thank you again for your efforts in this matter.

Couple Involved In Pursuit and Wreck Now Charged in the Case

January 18, 2018
Dwayne Page
Charles Robert Wilmoth
Amber Madison Rhea
Charles Robert Wilmoth being taken into custody after fleeing scene of wreck in Smithville Saturday morning
Charles Robert Wilmoth and Amber Madison Rhea flee after their 2005 Dodge Neon ran over a stop sign at South Mountain and Hayes Street

A couple trying to elude authorities in White County and later arrested in Smithville early Saturday morning after wrecking their car and fleeing the scene on foot have now been charged in the case.

According to officials of the White County Sheriff’s Department, Charles Robert Wilmoth and Amber Madison Rhea both of White County are each charged with evading arrest, possession of schedule II drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Wilmoth also has warrants against him for two counts of violation of probation, evading arrest in a motor vehicle and reckless endangerment.

Wilmoth and Rhea were in a 2005 red Dodge Neon when they crossed into DeKalb County from White County, trying to elude officers of the White County Sheriff’s Department, who were looking to serve warrants on Wilmoth for a violation of probation. After White County officers terminated their pursuit, local law enforcement were advised to be on the lookout for the car at 1:56 a.m. and Smithville Police found it abandoned at the intersection of South Mountain and Hayes Street at 2:10 a.m. The car had knocked over a stop sign and the occupants of the vehicle had fled on foot.

Members of the Smithville Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, and White County officers converged on the scene and began looking for the couple. They were found in the area shortly thereafter, taken into custody, and transported back to White County.

The White County Sheriff’s Department has released the following statement about the incident.

“Sergeant Justin Cunningham attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a red Dodge Neon in White County in the area of Highway 111. The vehicle was occupied by Charles Wilmoth and Amber Rhea. Sergeant Cunningham had prior knowledge that Wilmoth had outstanding warrants out of White County. They refused to stop. A pursuit ensued that ended up at the DeKalb County line. Due to the treacherous road conditions, for officers’ safety and the public’s safety White County terminated the pursuit and a short while afterwards it was discovered that fled the vehicle in DeKalb County. They were both found hiding under a boat and were apprehended”.

Center Hill Park Rangers Awarded for Water Safety Efforts

January 18, 2018
By Mark Rankin,Nashville District Public Affairs
Col. Paul Kremer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division acting commander, presents the division’s water safety team award for 2017 to (left to right) Jody Craig, Center Hill Dam superintendent; park ranger Sarah Peace; Teresa Upchurch, administrative assistant, Center Hill Lake Resource manager’s office; Center Hill Lake park rangers John Malone and Tyler Ferrell, Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake natural resource manager; park rangers Terry Martin and Gary BruPhoto by Leon Roberts

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District park rangers from Center Hill Lake received the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division 2017 Water Safety Award during a ceremony Dec. 6, 2016.

Col. Paul Kremer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division acting commander, presented the award on behalf of Operations Division Chief, William R. Chapman III, which recognized (left to right) Jody Craig, Center Hill power plant superintendent; Park Ranger Sarah Peace; Col. Paul Kremer; Teresa Upchurch, office administrator, Center Hill Lake Resource manager’s office; Center Hill Lake park rangers John Malone and Tyler Ferrell, Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake natural resource manager; Park Rangers Terry Martin and Gary Bruce; Tony Crow, Center Hill Lake facility manager and not pictured: Volunteers Patti and Ed Abel for their work to spread the water safety message to people of diverse age groups and backgrounds.

“This is a great award that represents the team physically getting out there and educating the public on wearing their life jacket and helping folks understand the dangers of drinking and boating - it makes a big difference and we are proud of you,” said Kremer.

Salvilla said he is extremely proud of the achievements the staff has reached over the year and the importance of their efforts to help save lives. He noted that his staff works closely with the Center Hill power plant operators to coordinate water flow when boaters are in the water downstream.

Park rangers helped save the lives of 15 stranded kayakers and boaters in 2017. During the summer boaters and kayakers either overturned or circumstances led to an accident. He said every year the park rangers strive to reach and impact over 13,000 people a year with water safety education to prevent such water incidents.

“Water safety is paramount and a primary mission of the overall visitor assistance program to provide the public the safest recreational environment that we can provide to help eliminate water accidents.” said Salvilla. “It is common practice of our staff to educate through programs, schools visits and especially during the spring and summer months when the public is out on the lake recreating.”

Salvilla said to better promote public safety awareness, park rangers maintain a daily presence on the lakes, campgrounds and recreation areas throughout the year and interact with the public in these areas during the recreation season.

"It feels great that our staff is recognized and it proves to that our work we do to educate the public hasn’t gone unnoticed and gives us momentum to continue to help visitors learn about water education and make it a year round goal,” said Park Ranger Sarah Peace, natural resource specialist.

Peace said last year park rangers provided water safety education programs at local schools, fishing tournaments, the local County fairs and summer programs along with boat patrols and driving thru the recreation areas and campgrounds.

Nashville District park rangers have the ability to enforce federal boating regulations. They routinely engage the public recreating on Corps lakes to promote good water safety practices when boating and recreating.

Center Hill Lake, which is a reservoir project and is located in the Cumberland River Basin, on the Caney Fork River, and covers parts of DeKalb, Putman, White, and Warren Counties in Tennessee. It controls the runoff from a drainage area of 2,174 square miles. It is an 18,220 acre lake that features 255 miles of shoreline. The lake was created by the construction of a dam across the Caney Fork River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction in 1942 and completed construction in 1948.

The lake provides varied outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of visitors each year. Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities to choose from including fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking, wildlife watching, scuba diving, swimming, sailing wakeboarding, jet skiing, water skiing and many others.

WJLE Radio Shopper Next Thursday

January 17, 2018
Dwayne Page
Cantrell’s Furniture and Appliances: Rocker/Recliner Upholstered Chair by the Washington Manufacturing Company
DeKalb County Ace Hardware: Living Accents 10 ft x 10 ft pop up gazebo

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 25.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines for you to bid on various items from local businesses.

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. For bidders, they have a chance to buy merchandise or services at a discount. For the businesses, they get ads on WJLE just for putting items up for bids.

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 25 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.

Here's what we've lined up for the auction to date:

White Possum Grille: 4 trips to the lunch hot bar (meat & 2) with fountain drinks. Value $28.32 (tax not included); 25 chicken tender family pack. Value $19 (tax not included); 2x all you can eat catfish dinners with 2 fountain drinks. Value $25.16 (tax not included); 2x chicken alfredo pasta dinners with fountain drinks. Value $21.16 (tax not included); 2x spaghetti plates with salads and fountain drinks. Value $21.16 (tax not included); 2x South of the Border taco salads with fountain drinks. Value $23.16 (tax not included). 2x chicken stir fry dinners with side salads and fountain drinks. Value $23.16 (tax not included); burgers & fries and fountain drinks for a group of 4. Value $30.32 (tax not included). 2x veggie lo me in stir frys with salads. Value $21.16 (tax not included); triple appetizer frenzy (fried pickles, spinach drip, and cheesy fries). Value $18. (tax not included)

Son Rise Diner: Western Omelette with biscuit and gravy or toast and jelly (no drink). Value $7.99 (2 to be sold), and All you can eat fish dinner (FRIDAY NIGHTS ONLY 5-8 PM) with fries, hush puppies, white beans, and cole slaw. (no drink). Value $9.99 (2 to be sold)

DeKalb Market Deli: Certificate for a 12 inch pizza. Value $10.96 (2 to be sold), Certificate for 2 lunch plates. Value $10.95, Certificate for 2 breakfast plates. Value $8.76

Evins Mill Resort: Dinner Package (one couple) includes light Hors d’ Oeuvres, Four Course Dinner, soup du jour and salad, choice of two entrees, delicious dessert, non alcoholic beverage. Value $100. Valid from January 26, 2018 until January 31, 2019. (Must make reservation). Number to call is 615-269-3740. Web site is www.evinsmill.com.

DeKalb Farmers Coop: Life Smart Stove Log Infrared Electric Heater. Valued $89.99

Angie’s Diner: 2 (2 lunch bars with drinks valued at $15); 2- (2 breakfast specials includes drinks valued at $11.50)

Bryan’s Auto Repair and Towing: 6 quart oil change and filter valued at $50 (2 to be sold)

Bumpers Drive-In: 2 Biggie Bags (2 Bumpers Burgers, 2 Large Fries, 2 Large Drinks, & 2 Apple Turnovers. Valued at $13.00 each; and 2 Catfish Dinners (4 pieces of catfish, fries, toast, and drink. Valued $10.00 each.

DeKalb Tire & Service: Certificate worth $300 toward purchase of a new set of tires.

DeKalb Funeral Chapel: Set of Cemetery Vases valued at $200.

Cantrell’s Furniture and Appliances: Rocker/Recliner Upholstered Chair by the Washington Manufacturing Company. ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE COLOR RED. Suggested retail value at $399.00.

DeKalb County Ace Hardware: Living Accents 10 ft x 10 ft pop up gazebo. Valued $189.99

Cantrell’s the Home of Fluty and Fluty’s Shoes: 1 Enro No Iron Shirt $79.50, 1 Bra-llelujah Bra by Spanx, $68 size 32 to 38, 1 Spanx Higher Power Panty, A-F $36., Alegria ladies shoes, $115, Man suit up to $200 value
F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy Soda Fountain Certificates: 1 Coke or Root Beer Float, 1 Bowl of Soup, 1 Soup and Sandwich Meal, and a Waffle Bowl

Kilgore’s Restaurant: 3- $25 certificates

Mary Kay Products: 2-$25 certificates by Vonda Brown

Sir Pizza Express Certificates

Quick and Clean Laundry Service is Smithville's only wash and fold laundry service offering free pickup and delivery inside city limits: 2 sets of 3 free loads of laundry services includs pickup, wash, fold, and delivery inside the City of Smithville. Value $30 (2 to be sold). Check out website for full details at: quickandcleanlaundryservice.com.

Man Threatens Police Officer During Domestic Assault Investigation

January 17, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jonathon D. Wann
Tabitha D. Wann

A Smithville man is in trouble with the law for threatening an officer as his mother was being arrested for domestic assault.

28 year old Jonathon D. Wann of 726 Gentry Avenue is charged with assault and resist stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. His bond totals $6,000 and his court date is February 1.

Meanwhile, Wann’s mother, 51 year old Tabitha D. Wann of 726 Gentry Avenue is charged with domestic assault for scratching Jonathon on the face during an altercation between them and it was that incident that prompted a response by Smithville Police on Thursday January 4.

According to the police report and arrest warrant, it was while Tabitha was being placed under arrest that Jonathon tried to intervene.

“Upon informing Jonathon that I would be taking his mother into custody for domestic assault, Jonathan approached me aggressively, almost in my face, stating that I would not be arresting his mother. I ordered him to back away from me, and he did not comply. I then moved Jonathon away from me. Jonathon then grabbed me and attempted to come at me. Officer Dillon Hulse, and Sgt James Cornelious and myself took him to the ground and handcuffed him,” wrote Officer Tyler Patterson

Jonathon was trying to prevent the arrest of Tabitha, his mother even though she allegedly assaulted him.

According to the police report and arrest warrant, “She did assault Jonathon Wann, her son by scratching him to his face causing him to bleed. Tabitha Wann was found to be the primary aggressor and arrested for domestic assault,” wrote Officer Patterson.

She is under a $2,500 bond and will make a court appearance on February 1.

Smithville Police Arrest Georgia Man for Identity Theft

January 16, 2018
Dwayne Page
Nigel Thompkins-Wilson

A 28 year old Georgia man has been charged with identity theft after trying to purchase three iPhones at the Verizon store in Smithville using someone else's personal information. He was also cited for criminal impersonation and evading arrest

Nigel Thompkins-Wilson is under a $10,000 bond and he will make a court appearance on January 25.

According to the police report and arrest warrant, Thompkins-Wilson used the name, date of birth, and pin number of a Montgomery, Alabama man on Sunday, January 7 in trying to purchase three IPhones from Russel Cellular (Verizon) in Smithville. Inside Wilson’s wallet was an Alabama drivers license with his picture on it but with the victim’s name. Wilson showed this license to the Verizon employee in trying to purchase the iPhones and have them charged to the account of the victim. When police confronted Wilson, he tried to escape on foot but officers caught him. Wilson gave them the victim's name when identifying himself. A computer check confirmed Wilson's true identity. Wilson did knowingly use someone else’s personal information to try and buy the three iPhones valued at $3,000. The victim was contacted by police about the incident.

Colwell Leads Police on Short Pursuit Before Crashing Stolen Van

January 16, 2018
Dwayne Page
Michael Brandon Colwell

The driver of a stolen van is facing several charges after he led Smithville Police on a short pursuit before crashing the vehicle.

33 year old Michael Brandon Colwell of Tisdale Drive is charged with theft of property over $1,000, evading arrest by a motor vehicle, and a second offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for speeding and driving on a revoked license.

His bond totals $18,000 and he will make a court appearance January 25.

The incident occurred at around 9:32 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2.

According to the police report and arrest warrant, Sergeant Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department attempted to stop a white Nissan Quest van for speeding 53 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone. “I attempted to stop the van for a traffic violation. I did observe the van increase its initial speed after I initiated both lights and sirens on my marked patrol vehicle. The vehicle did not stop and continued to flee until the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed at the intersection of Dearman Street and Bright Hill Road. The driver, Colwell was arrested without incident.

"Colwell was found to be unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. Colwell stated he had drank a lot of alcohol. Colwell had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and person. Due to the circumstances of the stop, field sobriety was not administered,” according to the complaint.

During the crash investigation, police learned that the van was stolen.

“Colwell said he took the van without consent or knowledge of the owner. The owner discovered her vehicle missing and notified law enforcement of the theft on January 3 at 9:45 a.m. The van was crashed when Colwell attempted to flee from law enforcement on January 2. The vehicle was recovered with major damage. The value of the van is estimated at $5,000,” according to the complaint.

McMinnville Woman Charged with Statutory Rape

January 16, 2018
Dwayne Page
Summer Irene Roach
Jamie Carol Ramos
Gary Wayne Ponder

A McMinnville woman has been arrested for having sex with a minor.

21 year old Summer Irene Roach of McMinnville is charged with statutory rape. Her bond is $3,500 and she will make a court appearance on February 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on November 9, 2017 Roach knowingly engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse with a male juvenile. She is more than four years older than the victim.



The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

30 year old Jamie Carol Ramos of Delong Road, Smithville is charged with two counts of domestic assault after allegedly hitting both her sister and mother. Bond for Ramos is $10,000 and her court date is February 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 12 a deputy responded to a residence on Delong Road due to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Ramos’ mother and sister, victims of an assault by Ramos. The mother stated that her daughter, Ramos struck her with an open hand about the face and head while the two argued over personal belongings. Ramos’ sister claims that she (Ramos) hit her in the mouth with her fist as the two argued over personal belongings.

54 year old Gary Wayne Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is February 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 14 a deputy was called to a residence on Old Mill Hill Road due to a physical domestic. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a man who said that he and his father, Ponder had gotten into an argument and that Ponder tried to hit him (son) with his fist. Ponder was placed under arrest.

TVA Ask Consumers for Voluntary Reduction in Power Use

January 16, 2018

An extreme cold front has moved through Tennessee that will cause temperatures to drop into the single digits overnight. The cold temperatures are expected to continue over the next few days.

The extreme cold weather has caused a critical power supply situation, and TVA is asking all electric power consumers to reduce their use of electricity as much as possible until further notice.

Voluntary reduction is needed to help ensure a continued supply of power to essential services throughout the Tennessee Valley and to avoid interruptions in service.

TVA is using all available resources, including the purchase of available power form neighboring utilities. TVA and local power companies are working around the clock to make power available to consumers.

TVA and local power companies also have cut back on power usage in their facilities by adjusting thermostats, reducing lighting and taking measures to reduce electricity consumption.

Officials of the 155 local power companies in the Tennessee Valley are asking all electric power consumers- residential, commercial and industrial- to cooperate in reducing power usage during this critical situation.

Consumers should:

Postpone using electric appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, and cooking equipment.

Reduce the use of heating by adjusting thermostats down below 65 degrees.

Turn off nonessential lights, appliances, and other electrical equipment.

TVA will continue to monitor this situation and notify the local power companies of any further notices or cancellation of curtailment warnings.

Temperatures should return to a more normal state over the next few days and this consumer alert will be terminated.

TVA and your local power companies appreciate your help during this critical situation.


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