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Local News Articles

DeKalb School System Offering Kids Free Summer Meals

May 28, 2016
Dwayne Page

Schools in DeKalb County are now closed for the summer. And while most students have left their classrooms happy for the break, some parents may fret about how to feed their children without meals provided through schools.

To make sure children get healthy meals for the next two to three weeks when they aren’t in school, the DeKalb County School System will be providing meals free of charge to those ages 18 and younger.

The meals will be served at DeKalb County High School and DeKalb West School May 27 through June 10 and at Northside Elementary and DeKalb West School May 27 through June 17.

Meal times are:
Breakfast: 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. (DWS-7:45 to 8:15 a.m.)

Lunch: 11:00 a.m. to Noon (DWS- 11:30 a.m. to Noon)

For more information call 615-215-2104

DCHS Announces New Golf and Tennis Coaches

May 27, 2016
Dwayne Page
John Pryor
Seth Willoughby

The new DCHS Golf Coach is John Pryor while Seth Willoughby is taking over coaching duties for the Tennis program. Both positions were formerly held by Joe Pat Cope.

Pryor has been a math teacher at DCHS for eight years. He is a 1993 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a B.S. in Business Administration. Pryor also graduated from law school in 1997 and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.

“I have played golf since I was nine years old and over the years I have played on some great courses across the country. I love the game of golf and look forward to a lot of fun and success with the high school program,” Pryor told WJLE.

When he is not teaching or coaching, Pryor serves as the WJLE play by play broadcaster for football, basketball, baseball and softball.

Willoughby, a 2010 graduate of DCHS, has just completed his first year as a biology teacher at the high school.

“I am glad to have this opportunity to coach tennis. It’s a fun sport and I really enjoyed playing it in high school. I’m happy to be back here at the high school coaching the same sport that I once played,” Willoughby told WJLE.

Willoughby has a B.S. Degree in Wildife and Fisheries Science from Tennessee Tech University and is working toward obtaining a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction.

As during the past season, Willoughby will continue to serve as an assistant to DCHS Tiger Basketball Coach Lynus Martin.

Kennard Named DCHS Girls Basketball Coach

May 27, 2016
Dwayne Page
Nathaniel (Nate) Kennard
Andrew Dixon

DeKalb County High School has a new girls basketball coach.

Nathaniel (Nate) Kennard has been named to replace former Coach Joe Pat Cope. Meanwhile, Andrew Dixon, DCHS Computer Science and Math teacher, will be an assistant to Kennard.

Kennard, who teaches U.S History and World History at DCHS, served as an assistant to Tiger basketball coach Lynus Martin this past season. He has just completed his first year at DCHS.

“It’s my first year of teaching. I was in retail for a while. I also did some volunteer assistant coaching at Livingston Academy for five years prior to coming to DeKalb County. I finally finished up my degree at Tennessee Tech last May and was looking for a teaching job. DeKalb County High School gave me my first opportunity,” Kennard told WJLE.

A resident of Rickman, Kennard received a B.S. degree in Secondary Education-History from Tennessee Tech University in May 2015. His teaching license endorsement is in History and Geography 7-12.

Kennard began his 13 year coaching career at Hilham Middle School in Overton County as the Boys Basketball Coach from 2003-2010 where he was responsible for all aspects of the boys basketball program involving the 6th and 8th grade teams. During those years, the program won two county championships and had five final four state tournament finishes compiling an overall record of 100-85.

From 2010 to 2015 Kennard served as an assistant boys basketball coach (non faculty position) at Livingston Academy. During those years, Livingston Academy had one final four finish, three state tournament appearances, five sectional appearances, three regional championships, and three district championships with an overall record of 128-48.

Prior to his coaching stints, Kennard worked at Food Lion in Livingston as assistant store manager from June 2003 to June 2006 and then store manager from June 2006 to March 2013. He became assistant manager for Houchens Industries in March 2013.

Kennard and his wife Erin are the parents of two sons, 16 year old Benjamin and 7 year old Cooper.

Coach Kennard told WJLE he has gotten to know a lot of people his first year here and is looking forward to next season. “I really like this community. Being from Livingston and driving to Smithville, I didn’t know a lot of people here at first. But they have been very good to me,” he said.

“I have found that the girls coming in next season are very eager to learn. They are very respectful and easy to coach so far and I’ve just had them in tryouts. I’m very excited . I think this is a program on the verge of really blossoming. I think it’s on the verge of a lot of success. Over the last couple of years they have had successful seasons if you look at the record. I am ready to continue that and hopefully move it into the direction that we can go deeper in tournaments in the future,” said Kennard.

“As far as my coaching style, we plan to play an up tempo game. We will be fun to watch and they will have fun while playing,” Kennard said.

DCHS in Search of New Baseball Coach

May 27, 2016
Dwayne Page
Former DCHS Baskeball Coach Tracy Slone

Another DCHS Coach has lost his job.

Baseball Coach Tracy Slone will not return as teacher or coach next season. Slone was hired three years ago as a wellness teacher and coach.

In his three seasons, Slone compiled an overall record of 53-50. His district mark was 26-16 and 8-7 in the post season.

The position is posted as follows on the TSSAA website:

DeKalb County High School is seeking Head Baseball coach. Current teaching positions available: Secondary Math, World History/Geography and PE. If you are interested, contact Kathy Bryant: (615) 597-4094 or

Nomination Period Underway for FSA County Committee Election

May 27, 2016
Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Executive Director, has announced that the nomination period for the 2016 Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee Election is underway. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2016.

"I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Green. "We are counting on as much participation as possible, because county committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have seen a trend in recent years of increased nominations of minority, beginning farmers, and women producers and we hope that will continue."

Committees apply their judgment and knowledge to make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other farm program-related issues. Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area (LAA) for which they are seeking to be elected. For the 2016 Election, the DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Committee Election will conduct elections in LAA-3 (DeKalb County). Below is the description of the LAA that will be conducting elections this year:

Local Administrative Area # 3, the portions of DeKalb County described as following:

East of Hwy. 56 South beginning at the DeKalb/Warren county line, following Hwy. 56 in a northern direction to the intersection of Highway 56 and Highway 70; south of Highway 70 East to Center Hill Lake; following Center Hill Lake north and northwest to the Caney Fork River thence to the Smith County line; south of the Smith County line and west of the Putnam County line to the White County line; west of the White County line to the Warren County line; north of the Warren County line following the county line back to Highway 56 South at the DeKalb/Warren County line.

Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at:

Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in LAA # 3 on November 7, 2016. Completed ballots must be returned, either in person or postmarked, no later December 5, 2016. For more information about FSA county committees, visit the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center or call 615-597-8225, extension 2.

Child Labor Laws Guide Employers Looking to Hire Teenagers for Summer Jobs

May 27, 2016

Students across Tennessee are down to the final days of the school year and they are preparing for the summer months ahead. Many of those teenagers will trade time in the classroom for time on the job during their break.

Tennessee has child labor laws to guide both teen workers and their employers, through the process of helping young people become an important part of the state’s workforce.

Students can start working for Tennessee employers, on a limited basis, at age 14. State law governs the time a young person can spend in the workplace. When school is not in session, teens aged 14 and 15 can work eight hours per day, 40 hours per week, but cannot work after 9:00 p.m.

Those 14 and 15-year-olds are not permitted to work without supervision, they are not allowed to cook, including prep work, and they cannot operate any machinery other than office equipment.

Teens who are 16 and 17 can work until midnight when school is not in session but must have written consent from a parent to stay on the job until that hour.

State law prohibits minors from working several types of jobs including; taking orders, serving intoxicating beverages or working at an establishment where more than 25% of the gross receipts come from the sale of those beverages, working in occupations that involve pornography, participating in door-to-door sales, and working jobs declared hazardous.

Teens are not permitted to operate motor vehicles or heavy equipment as part of their job nor may they work with any type of explosives.

Tennessee law does allow exemptions for some prohibited work for student-learners and apprentices, under certain circumstances.

State law mandates break requirements for teenagers and employers must maintain records of those breaks. Employers must also keep proof of the minor’s age in the employee’s file.

Employers may be subject to an on-site child labor inspection if a minor is hurt on the job, there is a complaint against the employer, or for a routine inspection.

If an inspector finds violations, the employer could receive a warning for an unintentional violation or a penalty ranging from $150 - $1,000 per violation.

More information about the Child Labor Act in Tennessee is available at
- See more at:

DCHS Tigerettes Finish State Tournament Run in Final Four

May 26, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DCHS Tigerettes run in the TSSAA Class AA Girls Softball Tournament ended Thursday with a 5 to 2 loss to White House Heritage in Murfreesboro.

The Tigerettes finished tournament play in the final four and concluded the season at 35-6-1.

White House Heritage scored 5 runs on 9 hits and made 2 errors. DeKalb County scored 2 runs on 4 hits and made 3 errors.

White House Heritage scored 3 runs in the 4th inning and 2 runs in the 7th inning. DeKalb County scored 1 run in the 5th and 7th innings, both on solo homeruns by Tyra Graham.

In addition to Tyra Graham's 2 homeruns, Katie Hall and Dani Meadows each had a single.

Kayley Caplinger gave up 5 runs on 9 hits. She struck out 3 and walked none.

After defeating Dyersburg in the first round game of the tournament 5 to 3 on Tuesday, the Tigerettes lost to Waverly Central 6 to 2 on Wednesday night and then advanced in the loser's bracket Thursday morning beating Chester County 5 to 1 before being eliminated Thursday afternoon by White House Heritage 5 to 2.

Tigerettes Defeat Chester County in State Softball Tournament

May 26, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DCHS Tigerettes defeated Chester County 5 to 1 today to advance in the losers bracket of the TSSAA Class AA Girls Softball Tournament at Murfreesboro.

DeKalb County will play either White House Heritage or Dyersburg today at 4:00 p.m. at the Starplex #2 field in Murfreesboro.

The Tigerettes scored 5 runs on 6 hits and made no errors. Chester County scored 1 run on 4 hits and made 2 errors.

DeKalb County scored 3 runs in the 1st inning and 2 runs in the 3rd inning. Chester County scored 1 run in the 3rd inning.

Kayley Caplinger gave up 1 run on 4 hits through 7 innings. She struck out 5 and walked 5.

Tyra Graham had a single and double. Hannah Walker had 2 singles and Katie Hall and Myranda Bailiff each had a single.

Chamber Conducts Ribbon Cuttings

May 26, 2016
Dwayne Page
Chamber recently had a Ribbon Cutting for Dr. Kimberly Tabor of Saint Thomas Medical Partners
Chamber also recently had a ribbon cutting for the Smithville Sleep Center

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently had a Ribbon Cutting for Dr. Kimberly Tabor of Saint Thomas Medical Partners. Her new office is located at 518 West Main St., Suite A, Smithville, next to DeKalb Specialty Clinic, in front of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Dr. Tabor is a family practice physician who is now accepting new patients. Dr. Tabor formerly had her practice in Cookeville and now resides in Liberty on her family farm. For more information, call 615-215-5270.

The Chamber also recently had a ribbon cutting for the Smithville Sleep Center announcing their new location at 1190 West Broad St., Smithville. Hours of operation are Mon thru Sat from 10 AM to 8 PM and Sundays from 10 AM to 6 PM, For more information, call 615-318-1045.

Pictured l-r:
Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Angela Crick, Deb Agee, Gordon Ferguson, Sue Conley, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Keishia Poss, Alan Sharp, Myra Reffue, Dr. Kimberly Tabor, Ashlie Tabor, Melanie Nistad, Karen Weaver, Chris Asbury, Lauren Nelson, Shannon Atkins, Jessica Etz, Angie Boyd-Chambers, and Shan Burklow

Pictured l-r:
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Smithville Sleep Center owners Kyle Casper and Chris Wyke, SSC employee Andrew Fittis, and Chamber Board Member Shannon Atkins

Tigerettes Fall to Waverly Central 6-2 in State Tournament

May 25, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DCHS Tigerettes lost to Waverly Central 6 to 2 in the second round of the TSSAA Class AA Girls Softball Tournament in Murfreesboro Wednesday night.

DeKalb County scored 2 runs in the 3rd inning but Waverly scored 5 runs in the 4th inning and 1 run in the 5th inning. The game was halted in the bottom of the 5th inning for a one hour rain delay.

The Tigerettes scored 2 runs on 4 hits and made 4 errors. Waverly scored 6 runs on 4 hits and made 1 error.

Kayley Caplinger and Myranda Bailiff each had a single. Katie Hall had 2 singles.

Kayley Caplinger gave up 6 runs on 4 hits through 7 innings. She struck out 2 and walked 2.

The Tigerettes will meet Chester County (28-16) in the losers bracket of the tournament Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. at Starplex #2 field Murfreesboro. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

If the Tigerettes win, they will face either White House Heritage or Dyersburg at 4:00 p.m. at the same location.


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