Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 3.7%

October 29, 2017
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in September, down from 4.4% in August and well below the 6% rate recorded in September 2016.

The local labor force for September 2017 was 7,790. A total of 7,500 were employed and 290 were without work.

Jobless rates for September among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:

DeKalb: 3.7%
Clay: 3.6%
Fentress: 3.6%
Van Buren: 3.4%
Cumberland: 3.3%
Overton: 3.2%
White: 3.2%
Pickett: 3%
Warren: 3%
Putnam: 2.8%
Cannon: 2.7%
Macon: 2.7%
Smith: 2.6%

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that in September 2017, for the first time ever, the jobless rate was below 5 percent in every county across the state. This is the second consecutive month rates have declined in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

September also marked the fourth consecutive month Tennessee experienced a historic low statewide unemployment rate. At 3 percent, Tennessee has the lowest unemployment in the southeast and the eighth lowest rate in the nation.

“With every county seeing unemployment rates below five percent and with a record statewide unemployment rate, Tennessee’s fiscal strength is clear and the investment in our workforce is paying off,” Haslam said. “Employers know that Tennessee is a place where they can find skilled workers, so they continue to expand and relocate here.”

Williamson County reported Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate in September at 2.1 percent, down from 2.7 percent in August. Davidson County recorded the second lowest rate at 2.2 percent, falling from 2.7 percent the previous month. Rutherford, Cheatham, Wilson and Sumner Counties all have a September rate of 2.3 percent, down more than 0.5 percent from August.

“Many of the most notable decreases in September took place in counties with the highest unemployment rates, pointing out the economic growth and opportunity in some of Tennessee’s most distressed counties,” Phillips said.

Rhea County continued to have the highest percentage of unemployed workers in Tennessee, but in September its rate fell from 6 percent to 4.9 percent. In January, Rhea County recorded a 10.2 percent unemployment rate. Each of the counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state saw similar decreases in September.

This is the fourth time in 2017 unemployment rates have decreased in all 95 counties. Rates also dropped in every county during February, April and August.

The improved county statistics for September follow the fourth consecutive month Tennessee experienced a record low statewide unemployment rate, which was 3 percent, down 0.3 percent from August. The national unemployment rate also dropped in September to 4.2 percent.

The statewide and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, but the county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.

Additional information about Tennessee’s labor statistics, as well as job search resources and postings, can be found at Jobs4TN.gov.

Applications for Angel Tree Project Available Monday, October 30

October 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Applications for Angel Tree Project Available Monday, October 30

Applications will be available for pickup for the 22nd Annual Angel Tree Project from Monday, October 30th through Friday, 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 30th 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 Thursday, November 9th at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center," she said.

"Completed applications must be returned to the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center Building in downtown Smithville (on the corner across from First Baptist) on Thursday, November 9th from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Applications not returned to the Church LEC Building on November 9th 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 30th through November 3rd and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 9th. 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, 2017. 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 anyone at the Department of Human Services or First Baptist Church or anyone other than Laura. Your application will be denied if these directions are not followed. 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."

Tigers Bound for State Playoffs

October 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers Bound for State Playoffs

The DeKalb County Tigers have punched their ticket to the TSSAA Class 4A Playoffs after defeating the Cumberland County Jets 16-8 at Crossville in the last game of the regular season Friday night.

The Tigers (3-7 overall, 1-3 region), who finished 4th in Region 3, will travel to Lewisburg next Friday night to take on Marshall County (7-3 overall, 5-0 region) who finished 1st in Region 4.



The only score of the first half Friday night came on a 45 yard touchdown pass play from Tiger quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Bradley Miller. Andrew Fuson added the extra point and DeKalb County led 7-0 with 11:49 left in the 2nd period.

The Tigers scored twice in the 3rd period. Andrew Fuson booted a 32 yard field goal to give DeKalb County a 10-0 advantage. Grayson Redmon then caught a touchdown pass from Tyler Cantrell good for 79 yards. The extra point try was no good but DeKalb led 16-0 with 2:08 left in the 3rd period.

After a fumbled punt, the Jets scored on their next possession with 11:44 left in the 4th period on a 27 yard touchdown run by Jacob Kerley. They added 2 more points on the conversion but DeKalb County went on to win 16-8.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage next Friday night, November 3 from Marshall County. Kick-off will be at 7:00 p.m.

GOP Fall Picnic set for November 4

October 27, 2017
Mingy Bryant

The DeKalb County Republican Party will be hosting a FREE Fall Picnic at Green Brook Park on Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 11:00AM-1:00PM. All DeKalb County residents are invited to come and share in fellowship and hear from our Republican candidates and campaigns.

Candidates/Representatives from the following campaigns have been invited to attend and introduce themselves: Mae Beavers for Governor, Diane Black for Governor, Randy Boyd for Governor, Beth Harwell for Governor, Bill Lee for Governor, Marsha Blackburn for US Senate, Andy Ogles for US Senate, Stephen Fincher for US Senate, Judd Matheny for Congress, John Rose for Congress, Mark Pody for State Senate, Terri Lynn Weaver for State Representative, Chad Williams for State Representative, Menda Holmes for State Representative, and Clark Boyd for State Representative. In addition to these federal and state candidates, local elected officials and candidates have also been invited to attend. This includes Sheriff Patrick Ray, Trustee Sean Driver, Road Superintendent Butch Agee, and Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell.

“2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for Republicans in Tennessee,” GOP Chair Mingy Bryant said. “We are expecting record Republican turnout in DeKalb County in 2018 and this picnic is a great way to learn about the candidates. This also serves as a get out the vote event for the Special Election for State Senate, District 17. We look forward to doing all that we can to help elect Mark Pody as our next State Senator on December 19.”

Voter registration will be available. Again, this is a free event and open to all residents of DeKalb County. For more information, go to our Facebook Page at DeKalb County Republican Party.

Smithville Head Start Welcomes Community During Open House

October 27, 2017
Dwayne Page
Kids Face Painting
Kids enjoy hot dogs and other snacks and special treats
Head Start Teacher Vicki Corley gets flu shot during Open House Friday

Children, parents and family members participated in an afternoon of activities and fun during the annual Open House at the LBJ &C Smithville Head Start Center Friday.

Director Cathy Shehane and staff organized the event to better educate families in the community about the facility.

Parents and visitors were encouraged to visit the educational booths set up for their convenience. Booths distributing both information and literature and other guests were: Justin Potter Library, Adult Education, Tennessee Reconnect, the DeKalb Health Department, Tennessee Early Intervention, Legal Aid, ACTS, DeKalb Prevention Coalition, UT/TSU Extension, Genesis House, a Face Painting Booth, Healthier Beginnings, Board of Education, Smithville Police, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss.

Food including kid-friendly snacks and desserts were available throughout the afternoon. Health department staff administered flu immunizations.

State Senate Candidate Addresses Local Democrats (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 27, 2017
Dwayne Page
Executive Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party Jason Freeman, Mary Alice Carfi candidate for State Senate,  State Representative Jason Powell of Nashville,  DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins.

State Senate candidate Mary Alice Carfi was in Smithville Thursday night to greet local Democrats and to speak at a potluck dinner held at the high school.

Carfi, a Wilson County attorney, is the lone candidate for the Democratic nomination in the November 7 special primary for the 17th District State Senate seat formerly held by Mae Beavers, who gave it up to run full time for Governor. Carfi will face the Republican candidate, Mark Pody in the December 19 general election. The winner will serve out the remaining months of Beavers’ unexpired term.

Prior to addressing local Democrats Thursday night, Carfi spoke with WJLE about her background, reasons why she chose to seek the office, and issues of which she is concerned. (VIEW VIDEO BELOW)

Carfi grew up in Smith County, the daughter of Don and Phyllis Eckel of Gordonsville. She is the granddaughter of the late Pete and Evelyn Watts, who owned Watts Angus Farm. Pete Watts was a well-known building contractor in Middle Tennessee and owner of Pete Watts Construction.

She has one daughter, Alexia, 9, and is a member of the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Jamie, are both members of the Bert Coble Singers in Lebanon. She also serves on the Bert Coble Singers Leadership Team.

Carfi is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association. She is a graduate of Smith County High School and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Nashville School of Law.


Tigers Still In The Hunt for State Play-Off Berth

October 27, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers Still the Hunt for State Play-Off Berth

The DCHS Tigers will travel to Crossville tonight to face the Cumberland County Jets in the final game of the regular season. But a win for the Tigers would qualify them for the state play-offs starting next week.

It’ll be a region showdown. Both teams have struggled this season. DeKalb County is 2-7 but Cumberland County is 0-9.

“This is the third year we will have played them and they have had a different offense every time. They are on the Wing T now. That is basically what they are doing. They have a big fullback and a real good speedy guy. We’ll have to be ready to gang tackle their big full back and be ready to make sure we have good leverage and angles on their speedy guy. They have a couple of pass concepts that if your eyes are wrong and you’re not paying attention to them then they can look really good. Its really up to us again to make sure we are mentally ready to go for the task at hand,” said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp.

“Defensively, again this is the third year we’ve seen them and its going to be the third different defense they have had. Its basically the same defense that Livingston ran against us. I like what we could potentially be able to do if they stay in what they have been showing. But just because there is a lot of opportunity there doesn’t mean it will be easy. We still have to pass protect. We have to run block and make good decisions with the football and we have to protect the ball. It may be wet. We have some opportunities to do some things but are we going to be consistent at being inconsistent or are we going to click and have this thing rolling?”

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the football game on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby.

WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.

“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at 6:00 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches interviews.

“Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger players Nick May, Tyler Cantrell, and Jesse Smith.

The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m.

College Street Bridge Open Again

October 27, 2017
Dwayne Page
College Street Bridge Reopens

After 16 months being closed the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street is back open again.

Bridge repairs were completed this week by Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. of Livingston, the contractor for the project.

The bridge had been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck hit it causing major damage. After it was closed, the bridge was hit twice more this year, once by a freightliner car hauler in July and in August by a truck pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller.

The project was initially delayed through the bidding process. In the February 10 letting, Mid-State bid $238,600.58 but there were no other bids and TDOT rejected it as too high. TDOT let bids for the project again on Friday, May 12 and Mid-State was the only bidder. In June, the Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded the contract to Mid-State for $222,894.68.

Former Store Clerk Accused of Stealing Lottery Tickets

October 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Melody Ann Bandy
 Patty Sue Tatrow
Michael Brandon Redmon
Rhonda Joy Goff
Sonny Roman Smith
Christopher Michael Denney
Jennifer Mathis
Eva Louise Dover
Caleb Mason Gantt
Xochitl Silva Escobedo
John Wilfred Colenso

A former employee of Kwik N Ezy was arrested on Friday, October 13 for theft of property over $10,000 after allegedly stealing over $18,000 in lottery tickets from the store.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_45.pdf (2.49 MB)

Smithville Police report that 45 year old Melody Ann Bandy is under a $20,000 bond and will make a court appearance on October 26.

According to the warrant, while working as an employee at Kwik N Ezy, Bandy committed the offense of theft of property by taking without paying or without consent of the store owner lottery tickets valued at approximately $18,717.00 between July 1 and October 11, 2017.

A woman was found with methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia during a police welfare check last week.

42 year old Patty Sue Tatrow was arrested on Wednesday, October 18 for possession of methamphetamine for resale and she was cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. After observing a vehicle stopped in the road way, police stopped and conducted a welfare check. Both the driver and passenger, Tatrow said that they were on probation and consented for the officer and a county deputy to do a search. In Tatrow’s possession, the officers found 2.8 grams of a clear crystal substance which field tested positive for methamphetamine along with .112 ounces of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Tatrow also had 19 baggies, two glass pipes, and a set of digital scales in the same container with the methamphetamine and marijuana. She was then taken into custody without incident. Her bond is $15,000 and her court date is November 9.

33 year old Michael Brandon Redmon was arrested on Thursday, October 12 for theft after he took a trash container belonging to the City of Smithville from a residence on Dry Creek Road without permission. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is October 26.

A woman accused of assaulting the family member of a state witness in a court case and then fleeing the scene of the fight to avoid being arrested has been charged with retaliation for a past action and evading arrest.

33 year old Rhonda Joy Goff was arrested on Saturday, October 14 and is under a $10,500 bond. Police were called to Wal-Mart and upon arrival found that a fight had broken out in the parking lot between several females. Upon identifying all the parties involved it was determined that Goff was the aggressor and that she had committed the offense of retaliation for a past action by assaulting and causing bodily injury to a family member of a State witness at an official proceeding. Goff was ordered to the ground but she fled the scene. Goff was later located in a wooded area near Easterly Motors on Highway 70.

25 year old Sonny Roman Smith was arrested on Wednesday, October 4 for public intoxication and cited for vandalism. Police received a call that Smith was breaking out a window at his apartment to get inside. He was later reported to be intoxicated and walking toward Jackson Street. The officer found Smith on Jackson Street and observed him to be unsteady on his feet. He also learned that Smith had used a pipe to break out the apartment window. Smith was taken into custody for his safety and that of the public. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is November 2. One week later on Wednesday, October 11, Smith was cited for criminal trespassing after he was found to be on the property of the Smithville Housing Authority. He was banned from the premises on Friday, October 6.

Three people have been charged with theft of property over $1,200 after allegedly stealing a single axle trailer.

37 year old Christopher Michael Denney, 37 year old Jennifer Mathis, and 48 year old Eva Louise Dover are each under a $5,000 bond and will make a court appearance on October 26.

According to police, the victim reported the theft on Monday, October 9 stating that the trailer had been parked beside Lack's Muscle Shack. A witness informed the victim that a man and woman in a black Chevy dually diesel with a rebel flag on the back had taken the trailer. When the witness approached the couple, they informed him that they had purchased the trailer. Video surveillance from a nearby business showed a black dully backing up to where the trailer was located and then driving off with the trailer. Upon investigation, police learned that the truck belonged to Denney, who is from Lebanon. Wilson County authorities were notified and went to Denny's home where the truck and trailer were found. Denny and his girlfriend, Mathis were confronted at the residence and told officers they had permission to borrow the trailer from Dover. Text messages between Mathis and Dover revealed that Dover told Mathis that "he (the victim) said you could use it". Dover said that she may have said that but she was only joking.

19 year old Caleb Mason Gantt was arrested on Saturday, October 14 for disorderly conduct. Police were called to Hardees Restaurant due to a large crowd assembled in the parking lot which is posted with a no loitering sign. Upon arrival, the officer observed a large crowd in the parking lot, filling most every parking space on the east and north sides with vehicles blocking passage around the building. Some people began to leave after the crowd was informed by the officer that no loitering was permitted in the parking lot but Gantt, who was sitting on a tailgate of a parked vehicle, refused. Gantt began arguing with the officer stating that he was not leaving and that the officer couldn't make him. After several unsuccessful attempts to get him to leave, the officer took Gantt into custody for disorderly conduct. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is October 26.

37 year old Xochitl Silva Escobedo was arrested on Wednesday, October 25 for driving while suspended and cited for expired license and failure to maintain lane of travel. Police observed a vehicle changing lanes multiple times without using a signal and crossing the white center line twice. An officer conducted a traffic stop and identified the driver as Escobedo. A check through Central Dispatch verified that Escobedo doesn't have a valid license as it was suspended in Mount Juliet City Court for failing to pay fines and costs. She also has a failure to appear warrant against her in Smithville City Court. She was taken into custody due to the likelihood that she would continue to drive without a valid license and possibly would not appear in court. Her bond is $3,000 and her court date is November 9.

37 year old John Wilfred Colenso was arrested on Wednesday, October 25 for domestic assault. According to police, Colenso and his victim met in McDonalds parking lot to exchange custody of their child when Colenso started a verbal altercation and threatened to stab her (victim) in the neck with a key. All the while the victim was recording the incident with her phone. When Colenso realized that he was being recorded he lunged at the victim in an attempt to get the phone from her causing an injury to her fingernail. Bond for Colenso is $3,000 and his court date is November 9.

Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday, November 11

October 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Volunteers place food directly in vehicles in Mobile Food Pantry pickup line
Pick up line for Drive Through Mobile Food Pantry in past events has extended from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church on College Street to Greenbrook Park

As part of its community outreach ministry, the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church is again sponsoring a drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning, November 11 rain or shine.

In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the church plans to prepare enough food boxes to serve up to 300 families regardless of their income status, on a first come, first served basis. Families will receive enough food to last them for a full week. Second Harvest will bring in pallets of food on trucks. The food will then be off loaded and organized in preparation for the distribution.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the food will be delivered from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Unlike most food distributions, those being served by the mobile pantry will not have to get out of their automobiles. They will drive thru in a pickup line and volunteers will deliver the food directly to their vehicles, placing the food boxes either in the back seat or trunk. Cars will line up facing north on College Street across from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

"It's a mobile food pantry but it's also a drive thru. The recipients will stay in their cars. They will line up starting at 8:00 a.m. on College Street and when we have everything prepared and organized we'll start the line moving, hopefully around 9:00 a.m. Recipients will drive through. As they enter in we'll have a team there to put a box of food in their cars, either in their back seat or trunk," said spokesperson Teresa Trapp Brown.

"We will line up right across from the church (Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church) on College Street. We'll start registration at 8:00 a.m. We'll need the name of the recipients and how many families are being served. We're limited to two families per vehicle to make sure we have enough food," added Isaac Gray, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Others who wish to volunteer may show up Saturday, November 11 or call for more information at 615-464-7896 or 615-597-4197.


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