Local News Articles

Neal Charged with Burglaries and Theft

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Gregory Eugene Neal

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has charged a Smithville man with two counts of burglary and one count of theft.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_36.pdf (2.03 MB)

47 year old Gregory Eugene Neal of Andrew Street, Smithville is under a $15,000 bond and his court date is September 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 24 Neal allegedly entered a black Ford Ranger, a red Chevy Blazer, and a shed on Adcock Cemetery Road and took property valued at $990.

The case was investigated by detectives of the Sheriff’s Department.

College Street Bridge Struck Again

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller
2012 Kenworth truck pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller (PHOTO TAKEN AFTER TRUCK AND TRAILER WERE MOVED FROM CRASH SCENE)

It has happened again.

Another truck has hit the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street, which crosses West Broad Street (Highway 70).

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, this accident occurred at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday as 45 year old Jody Martin of Decherd, Tennessee was traveling east on US 70 in a 2012 Kenworth tractor. The truck was pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller. The top of the asphalt roller struck the underside of the bridge as the tractor trailer tried to travel underneath it.

Martin was not injured but he was cited for failing to exercise due care.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Danielle Neal.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments also responded along with TDOT officials.

This is the third truck which has struck the bridge within the last fourteen months. The bridge has been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck first hit it causing major damage. Another truck hit the bridge last month.

TDOT recently awarded a bid to Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. of Livingston to repair the bridge at $222,894.68. The project is scheduled to begin next week after Labor Day.

VOLS to Open Season Against Georgia Tech Labor Day

August 27, 2017
The Tennessee Volunteers are set to open the 2017 season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 4.

The Tennessee Volunteers are set to open the 2017 season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 4.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage on the VOL Network starting with the Kick-Off Call-In Show at 5:30 p.m. The game gets underway at 7:00 p.m. Listen LIVE on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7

The Labor Day Monday night game follows the Florida State-Alabama clash at the same venue two nights earlier as part of the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game doubleheader.

"I can't think of a better way to officially open the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium than with an ACC-SEC rivalry game in a sold out atmosphere in the Capital of College Football," Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc., said in a release.

"To host two great traditional football powers in Georgia Tech and Tennessee, while also honoring Hall of Famer Bobby Dodd, who was an All-American at Tennessee and a national championship coach at Georgia Tech, is a very special way to end the first weekend of college football."
Tennessee holds a 24-17-2 series lead against Georgia Tech, but the two former SEC rivals haven't played since 1987.

The Vols beat N.C. State in their only other appearance in the opening-week game in 2012, when the game was played in the Georgia Dome.

The SEC has won seven of the eight meetings against the ACC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which has sold out 10 of its 13 matchups. According to the release, the game has averaged an attendance of 67,645 and features an average payout of $4.7 million. The capacity for the new stadium in Atlanta is 71,000.

The 2017 Tennessee schedule is as follows:

*Tennessee vs Georgia Tech: September 4 (Atlanta)

*Tennessee vs Indiana State: September 9 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Florida: September 16 (Gainesville)

*Tennessee vs UMASS: September 23 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs Georgia: September 30 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs South Carolina: October 14 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Alabama: October 21 (Tuscaloosa)

*Tennessee at Kentucky: October 28 (Lexington)

*Tennessee vs Southern Miss: November 4 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Missouri: November 11 (Columbia, Missouri)

*Tennessee vs LSU: November 18 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs Vanderbilt: November 25 (Knoxville)

One Injured As Car Clips Utility Pole

August 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
One Injured As Car Clips Utility Pole
63 year old Judy Bullard injured as car hits utility pole on Highway 56 south
2002 Buick Regal went off Highway 56 south and clipped a utility pole

A Smithville woman was injured in a one car crash Saturday afternoon on Highway 56.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 63 year old Judy Bullard was traveling south on Highway 56 in a 2002 Buick Regal when the car went off the left side of the highway and clipped a utility pole.

Bullard was taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Members of the Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Ronnie Goodwin Retiring from Liberty State Bank

August 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Liberty State Bank in Smithville held reception Friday for VP and Branch Manager Ronnie Goodwin who is retiring after 19 ½ years with the bank. Greeted here by Sherry Bush
Cake served up at retirement reception for Ronnie Goodwin at Liberty State Bank. Goodwin is a hot rod car collector
Ronnie Goodwin surrounded by co-workers Rhonda Caplinger, Lisa Garrison, Charlene Adcock, Annette Jacoby, Trina Graham, Rachel Alexander, and Denise Barrett
The Goodwin's blue 32 Roadster at the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show

A reception was held Friday afternoon at the Smithville office of Liberty State Bank, where Ronnie Goodwin has served as Vice President and Branch Manager for several years.

Goodwin recently announced his retirement from the bank. His last day will be August 31.

“The time was right. I started thinking about it three or four years ago and put things in place so that when the time felt right I could make the decision,” Goodwin told WJLE.

Many friends and long time customers stopped by to wish Goodwin well in his retirement and to enjoy refreshments including cake, cookies, and punch served up by the staff at the bank.

Although his association with Liberty State Bank goes back almost 20 years, his banking career began in 1988 at the former Citizens Bank of Smithville (now known as First Bank). In 1995, Goodwin joined the staff of the former City Bank & Trust (now known as Regions Bank). He left there for Liberty State Bank in 1998.

After completing his education, Goodwin had an opportunity to work for the U.S. Justice Department. “I was recruited out of college by the U.S. Justice Department but I didn’t do that. I did entertain it again back in the mid 1980s. I went to Washington and stayed a while. But there are a lot of sacrifices those people have to make. They have to travel a lot so we (my wife Deborah and I) decided together that wasn’t what we needed to be doing so I came back here to work at Citizens Bank,” said Goodwin.

Before his banking career, Goodwin taught school at DCHS and then entered the political arena, serving as DeKalb County Trustee from 1978 to 1986.

The Goodwins have two grown sons, Scott and wife Amanda, who live here, and Matthew who resides in Portland Oregon. The Goodwins have two grandsons, Cooper and Kipton.

Ronnie has also been a hot rod car enthusiast for many years and owns four hot rods of his own. “I have a guy in Shelbyville who builds them, Michael Young (Street Rods by Michael). He is very gifted and has a great shop full of guys who are unbelievably talented and have done some great, beautiful cars for us,” said Goodwin.

Over the years, the Goodwins have entered their cars in hot rod shows across the country. “We didn’t build all the cars to compete but some have competed and done extremely well especially on the west coast and in Detroit, Chicago, and Las Vegas,” he said.

“There are a dozen car owners each year from all over the world that get asked to Los Angeles to compete in America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. In 2014 we were picked to do that with our blue 32 Roadster and finished second to one of Mr. Chip Foose’s cars. We had a good time. We got to meet him and have gotten to talk to him over the years,” Goodwin continued.

Foose is an American automobile designer and the star of Velocity's reality television series Overhaulin'.

Goodwin said he will miss his customers and co-workers at the bank and he wishes them well.

“Some of the best friends I’ve got and the nicest people I know are because of the business they have been kind enough to let me take care of for them at this and other banks I have worked at. I will miss seeing those folks on a regular basis and the people I have worked here with every day,” said Goodwin.

Ronnie said he plans to spend more time with family in retirement. “There are things Deborah and I want to do. I like to read and we want to travel some. I’ll get to be a kid again and play with my hot rod car collection. We’ve got two mischievous grandsons to keep us busy too so we’ll jump into the next adventure and see what happens,” Goodwin concluded.

Tigers Lose "Battle of Center Hill" to Upperman

August 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers Lose "Battle of Center Hill" to Upperman

The Upperman Bees won “The battle of Center Hill” and reclaimed the oar after overrunning the DeKalb County Tigers at Baxter Friday night 49-27.

The oar, a trophy instituted two years ago between these two schools, is affectionately nicknamed “The Battle of Center Hill,” because the teams are on opposite sides of Center Hill Lake. The Tigers have kept the oar for a year after beating Upperman last year.

Upperman is now 1-1 after falling to Cookeville last week 52-7.

DeKalb County, now 0-2, will play their home opener and first region game next Friday, September 1 hosting Stone Memorial in Smithville at 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Stone Memorial is 1-1 with a season opening loss to East Ridge 35-14 at home and a road win at Scott County 21-14 Friday night.

Although the Tigers scored more points this week than last in the game against Warren County, they gave up more points, finding it difficult to stop the Bees, especially on the ground.

The Tigers got the first points of the game off a blocked Upperman punt as Braxton Linder raced 25 yards for a score. Andrew Fuson booted the extra point and DeKalb County led 7-0 with 10:14 left in the 1st period.

Upperman answered on a 25 yard touchdown pass from Duke Maresh to Donoven McCallister with 8:08 left in the 1st period. Chandler Street added the extra point and the game was tied 7-7.

DeKalb County covered 71 yards in two plays to regain the lead. After quarterback Tyler Cantrell rambled for 70 yards on the first play of the drive, Colton Seifert scored on a 1 yard TD run and with Fuson’s extra point, the Tigers jumped back in front 14-7 with 7:19 left in the 1st period. That would be DeKalb County’s last lead of the game.

The Bees tied the game on a 2 yard TD run by Blake Metzgar with 5:49 left in 1st period. Street kicked the extra point and the score was 14-14.

Metzgar found the endzone again with 15 seconds left in the 1st period on a 13 yard TD run. Street’s PAT attempt was blocked but the Bees held a 20-14 lead.

The Tigers threatened to get on the scoreboard again in the 2nd period but Fuson missed on a 37 yard field goal attempt.

The only score of the 2nd period came on a 28 yard field goal by Chandler Street with 3:46 left to extend the Upperman lead to 23-14

DeKalb County went to the air to get its next points on a 44 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Bradley Miller. Fuson booted the extra point and the Tigers cut the Bees’ lead to 23-21 with 10:06 left in the 3rd period.

Upperman widened the gap with 8:03 left in the 3rd period on a 1 yard TD run by Duke Maresh. Street added the extra point and the Bees led 30-21.

Metzgar added another 1 yard touchdown run for the Bees with 2:53 left in the 3rd period. The PAT attempt was no good but Upperman had stretched its advantage to 36-21.

With only four seconds left in the 3rd period, Maresh rambled 45 yards for another Upperman touchdown to put the Bees out front 43-21 with Street’s PAT.

The Tigers found pay dirt once more in the game on a 19 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Bradley Miller with 9:34 left in game. The try for the extra point failed but Upperman’s lead was cut to 43-27.

Upperman added the exclamation point with 7:33 left on a 45 yard TD run by Metzgar. Street’s PAT attempt was no good but the Bees prevailed winning 49-27.

Local Youth Attend Annual TN 4‐H Roundup

August 25, 2017
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Caitlyn Lawrence, Caleb Taylor, and Kayla Belk after the awards banquet at State 4-H Roundup held at UT Martin.
Kayla Belk received the highest honor a TN 4-H member can receive: Vol State Award

4‐H members from across Tennessee gathered at the University of Tennessee at Martin for State 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference. The 94th anniversary of the event, which took place July 24‐28, recognized the outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments of senior high 4‐H members. Approximately 300 high school age 4‐H’ers from across Tennessee met for several days on the UT Martin campus.

4‐H’ers competed in projects such as communications, livestock, computers and technology, and photography for college scholarship money and trips to National 4‐H Congress in Atlanta. The State 4-H theme in 2017 is “Tennessee 4‐H: Made From Scratch.” The idea is that a 4-H’er grows personally and professionally in their time with the organization and always strives to be a better person.

Representing DeKalb County at State 4‐H Roundup this year were Kayla Belk, 12th grade, Caleb Taylor, 11th grade, and Caitlyn Lawrence who graduated this past May. All three students attended as an All-Star member and completed service hours at a local nursing home. They helped clean up and wash windows at the facility as well as play games with the residents.

Kayla also received the Vol State Award, the highest level of recognition a 4-H member can be awarded. This award is only given to current or incoming high school seniors.

Teens from all over the state came together, competed in their project areas, learned life skills such as leadership and citizenship, made lifelong friends and had a great time at Discovery Park in Union City. They also enjoyed a banquet, dance, and learning sessions, as well as campus tours. Roundup is one of the highlights for Tennessee’s 4‐H program. Delegates who attend have spent years of work in their respective project areas. Delegates to the 2017 Tennessee 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference were also asked to collect toiletry items for families at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“UT Martin and northwest Tennessee welcome 4-H members from around the state for this traditional event,” said Dr. Keith Carver, university chancellor. “4-H does an exceptional job preparing young people for future leadership roles. Our university is a perfect setting for hosting project competition and recognizing the accomplishments of these top 4-H members.”

4‐H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee State University. 4‐H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 168,000 youth in 4th through 12th grades. 4‐H also has more than 6,000 adult volunteers. For more information about DeKalb County 4-H, please call 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions:
Round Up 17: Caitlyn Lawrence, Caleb Taylor, and Kayla Belk after the awards banquet at State 4-H Roundup held at UT Martin.
Kayla Vol State: Kayla Belk received the highest honor a TN 4-H member can receive: Vol State Award

County Expected to Make Decision on Cherry Hill Community Center Property

August 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Cherry Hill Community Center

The county has received an official notice from the Tennessee Department of Transportation establishing a fair market value of $7,200 for the Cherry Hill Community Center property on Cookeville Highway.

County Mayor Tim Stribling briefed the county commission on the matter Thursday night during an all committees meeting at the courthouse. The issue is expected to be discussed during the regular monthly meeting of the county commission Monday night, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse.

It will be up to the county commission whether or not to purchase the property. The county has until October 3 to send payment of $7,200 to TDOT .

The excess land committee of TDOT’s Right of Way Division met in January and granted approval for the sale of the land clearing the way for the county’s outright ownership of the property.

Although the state deeded the 0.24 acre site to DeKalb County in August, 1981, a restriction currently requires the county to use the property for public purposes. After taking control of the site in the 1980’s the county constructed the Cherry Hill Community Center there. In recent years community interest in the center has waned and the building is now in need of repairs. Members of the county commission have expressed an interest in either disposing of the property or leasing it.

In order to have the “public use” deed restriction removed and for the county to assume total control of the property, the county commission several months ago authorized County Mayor Stribling to file with the Tennessee Department of Transportation an application for “Conveyance of Interest of Surplus TDOT Right of Way”.

County Mayor Stribling explained that through this process the county requested the state to ascertain the fair market value of the property should the county decide to purchase it.

“The committee has determined that the public use restriction can be released if fair market value is paid by the county. After all necessary approvals have been obtained you will be issued and executed a release of all restrictions,” according to a letter to the county from TDOT’s Right of Way Division.

“If we do buy the property at fair market value then that restriction for public use will be removed from the deed,” said County Mayor Stribling.

The county is not required to buy the property from the state.

In other business Monday night, the county commission agenda is as follows:

*Local option sales tax report to be given

*Action taken on budget amendments

*Annual financial reports to be spread on the minutes

*Discuss payment of fair market value for state owned real property at the Cherry Hill Community Center

*Discuss a phone system upgrade for the ambulance service and contract with DTC

*Discuss Jones Lane

*2018 Fiscal Year budget approval letter from the state

*Discuss library board appointment

*Approval of notaries

*Any other business properly presented.

September Proclaimed Suicide Prevention Month

August 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss sign proclamations designating September Suicide Prevention month. TSPN members Lena Higgins and Mark Allison look on

In Tennessee, an estimated 950 men, women, and children die by suicide each year.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of all deaths in Tennessee and the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15-24. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,065 recorded suicide deaths in the state in 2015, at a rate of 16.1 per 100,000 people. That's up from 14.4 per 100,000 in 2014.

On Thursday, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signed proclamations designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in DeKalb County and Smithville.

In 2015, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 26.1 per 100,000 people, translating into five reported suicide deaths. That is up from 15.6 per 100,000 people or three reported suicide deaths in 2014.

The DeKalb suicide rate is also higher than the state average of 16.1 per 100,000 population for 2015 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Clay County had the highest suicide rate among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland Region and the state of Tennessee at 51.4 per 100,000 with four deaths. Smith County had the lowest rate in the Upper Cumberland at 5.2 per 100,000 with one reported suicide in 2015.

Moore County was the only county in the state to report no suicides in 2015.

DeKalb County's suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. DeKalb's suicide rate for 2011 was 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and 15.9 per 100,000 in 2012 with three suicides and 15.7 per 100,000 in 2013 with three deaths.

In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, any race or ethnicity, and any economic status. The average suicide death leaves behind six survivors—family and friends of the deceased—all of whom are at increased risk for a suicide attempt themselves. As if the emotional and psychological toll were not enough, suicide and suicide attempts cost the state of Tennessee $1 billion a year in medical treatment, lost wages, and lost productivity.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) and its allies in the public health, mental health, and social service fields are joining forces to recognize the month of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During this annual observance, TSPN and its allies arrange several educational and memorial events across Tennessee. These projects help teach the general public about the problem of suicide and how it can be prevented. They also provide an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide; to encourage survivors of suicide, survivors of suicide attempts, and people who have triumphed over mental illness; and to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to suicide prevention efforts in our state.

Details about the Suicide Prevention Awareness Day observance and other events planned across the state will be announced on the TSPN website (www.tspn.org). Additional information about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is available from the TSPN central office at (615) 297-1077 or tspn@tspn.org.

DCHS Tigers Travel to Upperman Friday Night (LISTEN TO TIGER TALK HERE)

August 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Listen for Tiger Talk Friday night at 6:30 p.m. featuring:  SEATED-  Gage Delape (Tiger Player), John Pryor (Voice of the Tigers) STANDING- Andrew Fuson (Tiger Player), Coach Steve Trapp, and Nick May (Tiger Player)

The DeKalb County High School Tigers will hit the road again tonight (Friday, August 25) as they visit the Upperman Bees at Baxter.



Coach Steve Trapp, speaking on WJLE’s Tiger Talk program, said he is hoping his team will bounce back after a disappointing 26-10 season opening loss at Warren County last Friday night. “When you play as badly as we did last week that’s not the tone we want to have for the rest of the season but these guys have an opportunity tonight to make it right. As far as what areas need improvement, that’s all of them. There is no area that cannot be improved. It’s the whole program,” said Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp.

Upperman is stinging from a 52-7 season opening loss last week at Cookeville.

“Offensively they (Upperman) return their quarterback but they have a lot of new skill position guys and linemen. It looks like they are doing some similar things they have done in the past. Last year they came down here and started doing some different stuff with the Wildcat using some of the bigger running backs that they had so we’ll have to be ready for something like that. Defensively it looks like they are still running that 4-2-5. We just have to make sure our guys understand that and are ready to play mentally. That’s been the biggest thing we’ve harped on all week,” said Coach Trapp.

Kick-off is at 7 p.m. and WJLE will have LIVE coverage 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 Gage Delape, Nick May, and Andrew Fuson.

The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with play by play coverage on WJLE with John Pryor and color commentary by Luke Willoughby.

WJLE thanks our sponsors of Tiger football:

*Absolute Kobota
*DeKalb Dental Center
*Dairy Queen
*Wilson Bank & Trust
*Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
*Gill Automotive (DeKalb Tire & Service)
*Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company
*DTC Communications
*Adams Dental
*Liberty State Bank
*DeKalb Funeral Chapel
*Curtis Supply
*St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital
*Three Star Mall
*Bert Driver Nursery
*Alexandria Auto Parts
*Woodbury Insurance Agency
*Bumpers Drive-In
*Optimus Pest Solutions

Tiger Talk sponsors:
*Woodbury Insurance Agency
*Kilgore’s Restaurant
*Jim’s Tire & Alignment
*A Degree Above Heating & Cooling
*Belk Grocery and Sporting Goods

“Coach to Coach sponsor:
*Stonehaus Winery


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