Local News Articles

City to Close Bridge on Holmes Creek Road over Fall Creek for Future Replacement

October 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
City to Close Holmes Creek Road Near Bridge over Fall Creek

The City of Smithville will be closing the bridge on Holmes Creek Road over Fall Creek as of Friday, October 30 due to a Tennessee Department of Transportation Evaluation Report which details various bridge deficiencies.

The bridge is to be replaced once plans are developed and bids are let for the project which could still be months away.

According to Kevin Robinson, the city's public works director, a portion of Holmes Creek Road near the bridge on both sides will be closed next Friday and will remain closed until a new bridge is built. "I got an email Tuesday from the state saying we have two weeks to close Holmes Creek bridge down town hill behind Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. So Friday, October 30 we will be closing it down for traffic and it will be closed for months. After we close the bridge, there will only be two ways around it either by way of Riley Avenue or Allen's Ferry Road," Robinson told WJLE.

"It's not a short term process. The city can't build the bridge so the engineers will draw it up (plans) and they will send it (plans) off to the state to get it approved. Once they approve it, the engineers will put it out for bids (to contractors). If we have enough state aid it will cost the city two percent (in matching funds to help fund the bridge replacement)," said Robinson

The Holmes Creek Road Bridge is 42 feet and five inches long and 33 feet and six inches wide. The structure consists of one simply supported steel I-beam span with a concrete deck and an asphalt wearing surface. The substructure consists of concrete abutments.

At the time of the last inspection, the bridge was posted for a gross weight limit of three tons for all vehicles.

Due to the noted deficiencies, TDOT has recommended closing the bridge to all traffic with proper signs and barricades; replacing all steel I-beams, replacing the concrete deck; installing proper diaphragms or cross frames between all steel I-beams at supports and at one third point of the span; repairing the scour blowhole near abutment 2 and protecting from future scour; repairing the bridgerail on the right, and replacing the missing paddleboard on the left side of approach 1.

After the steel I-beams and concrete deck have been replaced, the bridge will need to be re-inspected and re-evaluated in order to determine its load carrying capacity and a weight limit posting, if required.

Fire Destroys South College Street Home (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys South College Street Home

A fire early this morning (Friday) gutted a home at 513 South College Street near the intersection with Oak Street.

Central dispatch received the call at 2:50 a.m.

According to Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, the home was fully engulfed in flames by the time the fire was discovered and could not be saved. At the time, firefighters were not sure who owns the property or if anyone was living there but no one was there when the fire started. It appeared the home was in the process of being remodeled. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department fought the fire and the Smithville Police Department was also on the scene.

Alexandria Senior Citizens Center Has New Director

October 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
Sandy C. Brown

The Alexandria Senior Citizens Center has a new director.

Sandy C. Brown, a former substitute rural mail carrier for the Dowelltown Post Office, was named to the position last month.

"I started on September 14 and I'm still feeling my way in but I am having a ball. The folks there have been extremely helpful. The governing board has answered all my questions. I haven't done anything quite like this. They are a 501c3 and I have experience with that but at this level there are different things I have to handle," said Brown.

Although the center serves a small number of seniors, Brown hopes to offer activities to attract more people. "The active members who come in on a regular basis is right at around 18 or 19. It's a small group but we're looking to build that up a little bit. We're also shooting for the new seniors. The baby boomers who are coming in now. We are going to bring back the exercise programs and the art programs. I am looking for someone to teach ceramics and painting. The computer classes are starting slowly because the computer equipment has to be updated but we can do one on one with somebody if you want to bring in your laptop or Ipad," she said.

As part of her seniors listening tour, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver will be visiting the center on Monday. "She will be coming out on Monday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. She will do some singing and have a question and answer from the folks who are there," she added.

"Remember we're open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. but you can reach me at seniors@dtccom.net. We're also going to start up a facebook page," Brown concluded.

Brown also hosts a radio show on WJLE the first Saturday of each month at 8:00 a.m. called "Voices of the Community"

Smithville Police Department to Block Traffic for Fun Run

October 22, 2015
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police will block off one lane of traffic on West Broad Street Saturday morning for the DCHS Tiger 5K Zombie Run and 1 Mile Fun Run to benefit Project Graduation.

The run begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration starting at 7:30 a.m.

According to Captain Steven Leffew, the run will begin at DeKalb High School, to Tiger Drive by the health department, left on Allen's Ferry Road and then left onto West Broad Street. The runners will make their way down Broad Street before turning left onto Ervin Street (near O'Reilly Auto Parts) and then left onto West Main Street back to the high school.

"As a safety precaution, one west bound lane on West Broad Street (approximately from O'Reilly Auto Parts to Kilgore's Restaurant) will be temporarily closed during the run," said Captain Leffew

Should anyone have any questions concerning the Project Graduation Fun Run contact Charlotte Parsley at 931-265-8398

City Removes 51 Year old Water Tank (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 21, 2015
Dwayne Page

It has been part of the Smithville landscape for 51 years but after today (Wednesday) the water tower on Kendra Drive near Mountain Street will be gone.

A subcontractor for the city spent the better part of the day dismantling the water tank.

"The tank has been out of service for four years so we decided to take it down", said Kevin Robinson, Public Works Director for the City of Smithville.

"There's no need for it anymore. We have two million gallons worth of water in storage," said Robinson. The city maintains three other water tanks including one on Miller Road, on Highway 70 near the high school, and one near the airport.

The Kendra Drive tank, which stood 119 feet tall and had a water capacity of 100,000 gallons, was erected in 1964.

Two Teens Injured in Rollover Crash

October 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Two Teens Injured in Rollover Crash
Two Teens Involved in Rollover Wreck on Highway 146

Two teens were injured in a rollover crash Tuesday night on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway).

Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 16 year old Rachel Patterson of Smithville was traveling north in a 1998 Honda Passport and lost control after she passed another vehicle. After completing the pass, Patterson overcorrected and went off the road. The vehicle overturned and came to rest on its side in a corn field just off the highway.

Both Patterson and a passenger, 16 year old Richard Perry of Smithville were injured. Patterson was airlifted from near the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Perry was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Trooper Tramel said charges are pending.

Applications Available Next Week for Angel Tree Project

October 20, 2015
Laura Stone
Angel Tree Project

Applications will be available for the 20th Annual Angel Tree Project from Monday, October 26th through Monday, November 2nd.

Spokesperson Laura Stone said that the application turn in date has been set for one day only. "Applications can be picked up October 26th through November 2nd. You will continue to pick up your applications at the Department of Human Services, but the application must be returned in person on November 3rd 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 3rd from 4:30pm 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 26th through November 2nd and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 3rd. In addition to bringing the completed application, applicants must provide photo identification of the person applying and social security cards and birth certificates (Mothers copy is okay) for ALL children listed on the application. Court paperwork for temporary custody placement is acceptable. 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, 2015. 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."

Pam Redmon Named Director of Smithville Senior Citizens Center

October 20, 2015
Dwayne Page
Pam Redmon Named Director of Smithville Senior Citizens Center.

Pam Redmon has been named the new Director of the Smithville Senior Citizens Center.

She began her duties there almost a month ago. "I am really excited about the opportunity," said Redmon.

Prior to taking this position, Redmon worked with UCHRA. She is also owner of the Flower Box on Walnut Street. "I worked at Lakeside Resort for four years as the catering manager and then I became a nutrition project director for the Upper Cumberland through UCHRA serving fourteen counties. We did the home delivered meals and the congregate meals at eighteen senior sites. In the process of that, my daughter and her friend got me into the flower business (Flower Box)," said Redmon in an interview with WJLE.

During her four weeks on the job, Redman has seen activity pick up at the center. "They were kind of at a standstill for about a month but we're picking up and moving forward. We have several things scheduled. This week we're going to go to the senior expo in Cookeville. We're taking a group on a UCARTS bus. We have our first dance this Saturday night, October 24. Everybody is welcome. We're having it at the senior complex. We have a covered dish scheduled for the next Thursday night, October 29 and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver is going to be here. She will be our guest speaker. We're also looking at possibly taking a day trip to Woodbury to the arts center or to the Cumberland Mountain State Park. We'd like to do a fall excursion before the leaves fall and maybe do a day trip to Sequatchie Valley to look at the leaves and have lunch," she said.

The center also features several regular activities. "We have recreation everyday with cards. They put puzzles together. There's a card game they call hand and foot which they are very active with. They play dominoes. I would like to have a weeklong rook tournament. We'd ask that people grab a partner and come in and start practicing for a rook tournament. The seniors walk daily and we have available the exercise equipment that they can use," Redmon continued.

Redmon's goal is to continue improving services at the center. "We are going to try and move our level up. I am new to this job and that's why I am excited because I like a challenge. We're going to move this center up to a higher level. We're at the bottom right now. I'd like to move it up to be in comparison with Cannon County, Jamestown, Cookeville, etc. because I think we have a need and we have lots of seniors who are so active and enjoy getting out so I am going to try and participate in all the requirements that will move us up a level," said Redmon.

In addition to the Smithville Senior Citizens Center, Liberty and Alexandria also have centers. Nancy Goad is the Director of the Liberty Senior Citizens Center and Sandy Brown is Director of the Alexandria Center.

Wiggins Arrested for Aggravated Child Abuse

October 20, 2015
Dwayne Page
Charles J. Wiggins

A Smithville man was arrested for aggravated child abuse Monday night after an infant was brought to Cookeville Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

Charles J. Wiggins, an acquaintance of the child's mother, is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse. Wiggins is under a $500,000 bond and he will be in court on October 29.

In a prepared statement, Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew said, "On Monday, October 19 at approximately 6:07 p.m., Cookeville Regional Medical Center contacted Smithville Police in regards to an infant that was severely injured and had been brought into their facility for treatment. The injury was believed to have occurred in the jurisdiction of the City of Smithville".

"Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Sergeant Brad Tatrow responded and upon arrival spoke with medical staff who advised that the infant had sustained obvious severe injuries. Officers quickly developed Charles J. Wiggins as a suspect and upon investigation Smithville Police arrested Wiggins for two counts of aggravated child abuse. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from his office as well as the Department of Children Services responded to the scene. At this time the infant remains in stable condition awaiting possible surgery."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Cases like this are very stressful and bothersome. I want to commend all officers involved in this investigation for their professionalism" added Captain Leffew.

Liberty Man Charged with Assaulting his Mother

October 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Benjamin Theodore Taylor
 Bryce John Beaver

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a Liberty man Friday for domestic assault.

36 year old Benjamin Theodore Taylor of Troy Cripps Road, Liberty is under a $3,000 bond and he will be in court October 29.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, October 16 a deputy responded to a residence on Troy Cripps Road due to a domestic in progress. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Taylor whose speech was slurred. He admitted to having consumed four or five beers. According to Taylor, his mother got mad at him because he was drinking. Taylor's mother told the deputy that Benjamin slapped her in the face and struck her on the back, hands and legs leaving bruises. Taylor was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest.

40 year old Bryce John Beaver of Sparta is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for having a tail light out on his vehicle. Bond for Beaver is $2,500 and he will be in court October 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 17 a deputy spotted a Ford car with a tail light out and pulled it over. Beaver was the driver. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol. Beaver's speech was slurred. He admitted to having consumed several beers.

He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood/alcohol test.


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