Local News Articles

DMS Teams Place Second in DeKalb Cross Country Invitational

September 20, 2017
Kristen Van Vranken
The boys and girls middle school teams placed second overall at the DeKalb County Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 16th.
Aaron Gottlied (Photo by Kristen Van Vranken)

The boys and girls middle school teams placed second overall at the DeKalb County Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 16th.

This was DeKalb's first time hosting a cross country meet. Five middle schools and thirteen high schools attended the event from around middle Tennessee.

The meet turned out to be a huge success with personal records being set by both the middle school and high school teams.

Three of DeKalb's middle school boys and two of the girls earned medals by placing in the top 15: Aaron Gottlied, Cameron Miller, Cooper Brown, Emily Mildner, and Patyn Carter.

The 1.92 mile middle school course turned over some fast times:

Aaron Gottlied, 3rd overall: 11:32
Cameron Miller: 7th: 12:18
Cooper Brown: 15th: 13:02
Jaxon Humphrey: 16th 13:02
Kaleb Spears: 17th 13:03
Holden Trapp: 21st 13:28
Andrew Tramel: 36th 14:48
Bryson Trapp: 37th 14:53
Liam Wallace: 46th 15:36
Robert Wheeler 49th 14:43

Emily Mildner: 3rd overall: 13:50
Patyn Carter: 14th 14:52
Summer Morse: 17th 15:14
Maleah Ruch: 23rd 15:56
Darrah Ramsey: 27th 16:59
Blair Gipe: 31st 17:16
Jacklyn Kleparek: 34th 17:41

(UPDATED) Teachers Concerned About Rising Health Insurance Premiums

September 19, 2017
Dwayne Page

Teachers who have health insurance through the school system offered by the state will soon be paying higher premiums and that has many of them concerned because the extra out of pocket expense will affect their take home pay.

The board of education last Thursday night voted to approve a seven percent hike as mandated by the state. But since the school system is not absorbing the increase, the higher costs will be passed on to teachers.

About 40 educators met Tuesday evening at the Smithville First Assembly of God church to share their concerns. The teachers would like the school board to reconsider its decision and come up with the funds to cover the increase. The school system already pays up to 60% toward a certified employee’s single or family plan.

The teachers will ask Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III to convene a workshop and or special meeting of the board soon before the rate hike takes effect.

“We are talking unbelievable increases. My family plan will increase 79%. Not seven percent. That means my net pay is going to be $3,060 less this year. An individual plan will increase 109%. Teachers just can’t take that hit. We need help,” said one teacher who asked not to be identified.

“We are concerned that our school board or county is not putting forth any extra money this year to cover that increase. We feel the school board did not understand when they voted last week how this will affect us and we just want this revisited. We are afraid that many teachers will be leaving this county because they cannot live on what this county is paying us with all the things that come out of our check. That is the basic concern,” said the teacher.

“It needs to be revisited soon because we have to make our decisions by October 30 as to what health plans we get and they will start taking that amount of money out of our checks December 5th. That’s when the big hit comes and we are stuck with that for an entire year. It would be a major financial blow to every educator in this county,” the teacher added.

In response, Board Chairman Evins released the following statement to WJLE in a text message:

“I have been in touch with at least one of the members of the school system who has called me out on Facebook and I have ensured her that we were looking at any options that we could come up with. She has contacted past State Senator Mae Beavers, who explained to her that until Obama Care is repealed that the one issue that makes the Affordable Care Act not so affordable is the fact that the state cannot cross state lines to get competitive quotes for better insurance rates. We were told it (rate hike) would be an average of 7% and that is what we had to work with. As I stated, we have been working on a solution since this matter was revealed but some find fault with the board and we are not the funding body. We are continuing to work for the entire staff to come up with a solution as best we can,” said Board Chairman Evins.

DCHS Golfers Advance to Region Tournament

September 19, 2017
John Pryor
 Anna Chew  (John Pryor Photo)
Isaac Walker  (John Pryor Photo)

Two DCHS golfers will compete in the Region 3 Tournament starting Monday, September 25 at Bear Trace Cumberland Mountain Golf Course in Crossville.

Isaac Walker and Anna Chew qualified to advance for their performance in the District 6 Tournament also at Bear Trace on Monday, September 18. Both Walker and Chew earned 1st Team All-District honors.

In boys action, Walker, a junior shot 73, which tied for 2nd out of 48 golfers.

On the girls side, Chew, a sophomore carded a 99, which was the 5th best score out of 19 golfers.

The Tiger boys team finished 4th out of 9 teams. They lost to White County by one stroke preventing the Tiger team from advancing to the Region.

For the boys, Marshal Evins shot 87. Jadyn Young, 94. Ethan Jennings, 95 and Lance Davis, 100.

The Tigers finished the season 20-11-1.

Chew was the medalist girl in all the dual matches except one.

DCHS Class of '77 Remembers Tommy Pugh

September 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tommy Pugh

A former DCHS football standout will be remembered when the Class of 1977 holds its 40 year reunion next month.

Tommy Pugh, a member of the class, played linebacker at DeKalb County High School from 1974 to 1977. During his years as a Tiger, Pugh received several honors including Weekly All Mid-State, 1st Team All-Mid State Class AA, and 2nd Team All State Class AA. He passed away in 2010.

A plaque with a photo of Pugh is being presented in his memory by the Class of 1977 to be hung in the field house built 40 years ago. The recognition will be held during halftime of the DeKalb County-Smith County Football Game on Friday night, October 6 in Smithville.

Members of the DCHS Class of 1977 are encouraged to attend the game as part of the reunion weekend and then be at the Craft Center the following night, Saturday, October 7 at 4 p.m. for a dinner at the Blue Water Grille On The Hill and a time of reminiscing. The cost is $50 per person.

Make your check to Kim Luton and send it to Dewain Hendrixson at 702 South Congress Boulevard. Please respond by Saturday, September 30.

For more information contact Luton at 615-597-5615 or Hendrixson at Ace Hardware 615-597- 4154 . Also, visit facebook: DCHS Class of '77 TN or email dchsclassof77@gmail.com

Killer Drug Fentanyl is Fueling the Opioid Epidemic Death Rate

September 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Fentanyl in powder form

Fatalities related to the synthetic opioid fentanyl—a drug 10 times more powerful than heroin--are soaring in many parts of the country.

Law enforcement and health workers now face an unprecedented situation, with a burgeoning street trade in both the legitimate and illicitly manufactured fentanyl—often sold in pill form and made to look like OxyContin, a far less powerful narcotic. The drug, also available in liquid and powder form, is increasingly being used laced with cocaine and heroin, dramatically boosting their potency, often with fatal consequences. In many cases, authorities say it’s killing both inexperienced users and hardened addicts.

Prescribed by doctors for cancer treatments, “Fentanyl is an opioid medication and the most potent pain killer on the market,” said Sheriff Patrick Ray. “Although it has been around since the 1960’s, it is now being made illegally and sold on the streets mixed with other drugs. It delivers a super high and far too often causes many deaths.”

“Drug dealers are lacing oxycodone, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine with fentanyl. It can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 10 times more potent than heroin,” he said. “Drug users generally don’t know when their heroin is laced with fentanyl so when they inject their usual quantity of heroin, they can mistakenly take a deadly dose substance. Also, while dealers try to include fentanyl to improve potency in heroin and other drugs, the dealers’ measuring equipment usually isn’t fined tuned enough to ensure that they will stay below the levels that could cause the user to overdose.”

He went on to explain that “Heroin and fentanyl look identical and when these drugs are purchased on the streets you don’t know what you’re taking. Its like playing Russian Roulette with a gun with one shell missing out of the gun’s cylinder.”

What does fentanyl look like?

“It can come as a small piece of film that can be dissolved under the tongue or a pill meant to be lodged inside the cheek. It can be ingested, snorted, smoked or injected into the body when abused. It is lethal in small doses and can be absorbed through the skin,” Ray said. “Fentanyl is highly addictive and often requires medical detox and opioid replacement medications to safely process the drug out of the body.”

Fentanyl also will affect the users’ breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs.

“Some of the signs to look for in someone using fentanyl are dizziness, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, severe constipation, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, headache, difficulty seeing, depression, hallucination, difficulty sleeping, sweating, and shaking,”he continued.

According to authorities, the drug is so powerful, the general public along with safety and medical personnel, also face health dangers.

“It is so potent, people might accidentally touch or breathe a tiny amount of it and overdose,” the sheriff said. “People like law enforcement, EMTs, forensic lab technicians, and even funeral directors can die from an accidental overdose. A puff of fentanyl dust from closing a plastic bag is enough to send a full grown man to the emergency room. Fentanyl can also be absorbed through the skin and be lethal in very small doses as little as 0.25 milligrams, which isn’t very much,” he added.

Narcan Nasal Spray is recommended for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.

“Narcan is a medication used to block the affects of opioids, especially in overdoses. It can be sprayed into the nose of a person who has overdosed and it usually takes about two minutes to work,” sheriff Ray said. “After administering Narcan to someone who has overdosed, the person will regain consciousness and at times might be aggressive. We have been told that it may take two or more times of administering Narcan to someone who has overdosed on fentanyl before we can revive them.”

The sheriff hopes to soon have the medication made available free of charge for use by his office.

“I have applied for a grant for the purchase of Narcan for the sheriff’s department and jail. We hope to have at least two units of Narcan per patrol car and two units of Narcan in every first aid kit in the jail. This grant will provide Narcan to us for free,” he explained. “This is not only for the people we come in contact with who has overdosed on fentanyl but for my employees and people out in the public who might accidentally touch a bag or breathe the contents of a bag that contains any drug, especially fentanyl.”

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and to celebrate the people who recover. The annual theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.

State Senate GOP Primary to be Contested

September 19, 2017
Dwayne Page

The race to fill the unexpired term of State Senator Mae Beavers will be contested .

State Representative Mark Pody and conservative Army veteran Steve Wilson both of Lebanon have announced plans to seek the Republican nomination in the special election primary on November 7. The General Election will be December 19. No Democrat has yet announced.

According to the Lebanon Democrat, Wilson said he is a longtime member of Immanuel Baptist Church and cites his military experience as a good qualification for the job. He spent more than 40 years in the U.S. Army and the Tennessee National Guard and retired as a colonel of field artillery.

Wilson’s wife, Rita, currently serves in the Tennessee National Guard. The couple has two sons, Cory and Clint, who both serve in the National Guard and three grandchildren. Wilson also has relatives in DeKalb County.

Pody and his wife of 41 years, Barbara, moved to Wilson County more than 30 years ago to raise a family. They have two daughters and twelve grandchildren.

He and his family are very active in their local church.

Mark, an owner of a small business which specializes in financial planning and insurance solutions, has multiple business locations throughout Tennessee. He is also a member of Gideon, Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Cannon County Chamber of Commerce, Private Pilot and the Rotary.

Pody has served the 46th district in the Tennessee House of Representatives since first being elected in 2010. He will be completing his fourth term in 2018. He currently represents Cannon and a portion of Wilson and DeKalb Counties.

Tennessee’s 17th Senate District includes Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Clay, Smith and Macon counties. State Senator Beavers, who recently announced her bid for governor, represented District 17 until her resignation September 1.

Man and Woman Arrested for Six Counts of Forgery

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Blake Lydell Brown-Nichols
Courtney Danielle Decker
Shannon Ray Herman
Gregory Eugene Neal
Christopher Tyler Young

A man and woman have been arrested for passing six forged checks at two local businesses.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_39.pdf (3.07 MB)

23 year old Blake Lydell Brown-Nichols of Piney Woods Road, Smithville and Courtney Danielle Decker of South Tittsworth Road, Smithville are each charged with six counts of forgery. Bond for each is $15,000 and their court date is September 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Nichols and Decker passed forged checks on the same victim six times at the following places:

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Walmart in the amount of $282.56

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $200

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson & Bank & Trust in the amount of $100.

*Forgery: On June 8, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $100

*Forgery: On June 9, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $200.

*Forgery: On June 13, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $150

The cases were investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

33 year old Shannon Ray Herman of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 (having possession). His bond is $5,000 and his court date is October 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 16 Herman was found to be in possession of a stolen 1987 Dodge pickup truck, which was reported stolen in Smith County on Sunday, September 10. When questioned about the vehicle, Herman admitted to the deputy to having possession of the truck but he wouldn’t say where he got it.

47 year old Gregory Eugene Neal of Andrew Street, Smithville is charged with vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is September 28.
Sheriff Ray said that on August 24, Neal cut wires, headliner, and other parts of a vehicle on Adcock Cemetery Road with the intent to damage and destroy the automobile causing $725.69 worth of damages.

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

31 year old Christopher Tyler Young of Old Smithville Highway, McMinnville was arrested on Tuesday, September 12 and charged with driving while licensed revoked. He was also cited for no insurance, violation of the light law, leaving the scene of an accident, and failing to give immediate notification of an accident. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is September 28. Sheriff Ray said that on July 25 a deputy was patrolling on McMinnville Highway when he passed a green Honda Accord traveling northbound committing a traffic violation. The officer tried to make a traffic stop but he lost sight of the automobile after it turned onto South Tittsworth Road in Smithville. He later found it wrecked at the intersection of South Tittsworth and Cantrell Cemetery Road but the driver had left the scene. After an investigation it was discovered that Young was the driver and that his license are revoked for driving under the influence on November 3, 2011.

Homeless Couple Charged in Rash of Burglaries and Thefts

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Joshua Dewayne Brown
Ashley Nichole Tittle

A homeless couple who went around stealing from homes, outbuildings, barn, and a church in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown areas has been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.



31 year old Joshua Dewayne Brown and 24 year old Ashley Nichole Tittle are charged with 10 counts of burglary, 3 counts of aggravated burglary, 4 counts of vandalism, 10 counts of theft under $1,000, and 3 counts of theft over $1,000. Brown is also charged with 1 count of evading arrest.

Brown is under a $126,000 bond. Tittle’s bond is $122,500. Both will make an appearance in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on September 28.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Brown and Tittle were found living under a tent in an old outbuilding on Wilson Hollow Road at Liberty. They had targeted 11 victims in their crime spree including one who was victimized three times.

Sheriff’s Department Detectives have recovered some of the stolen property. “I commend my detectives. They have been busy working on these and other break-ins. It has taken a long time and many hours during the past few weeks getting these suspects into custody but I want to commend my detectives on a job well done,” said Sheriff Ray.

The crimes against the two are as follows:

*Aggravated Burglary and theft under $1,000: On March 15, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on Alexandria to Dismal Road and took $1,000 in change.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 5, Brown and Tittle entered a building on Eckles Heights in Liberty and stole a weed eater and air compressor valued at $600.

*Burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On August 8, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Johnson Erwin Drive by forcibly prying open a door and took a Stihl chainsaw and Husqvarna chainsaw valued at $700. Damage to the building was less than $500.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 15, Brown and Tittle entered a vehicle on New Hope Road in Alexandria and took a Rock Island Armory 45 caliber handgun, a box of ammo, and extra magazines to the handgun valued at $539.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 15, Brown and Tittle entered a vehicle on New Hope Road in Alexandria and took a green purse, cash, and a check book valued at $230.

*Burglary and theft over $1,000: On August 20, Brown and Tittle entered the Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Lower Helton and took 2- 32 inch Sanyo LCD TVS, A 50 inch Sanyo LCD TV, 2 mounting brackets, and a flat top guitar valued at $1,330.

*Burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On August 29, Brown and Tittle entered a building on East Main Street in Dowelltown and stole various medications valued at $60. They caused $100 in damage to a window and window frame

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 29, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Maulden Street in Liberty and stole a Poulan chainsaw valued at $150.

*Burglary and theft over $1,000: On August 30, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Lower Helton Road and stole a Stihl farm boss chainsaw, Stihl HS-46C hedge trimmer, a Dewalt saw, Milwaukee drill set, and Ruger 22 caliber rifle valued at $1,290.

*Aggravated burglary and theft under $1,000: On September 4, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on Alexandria to Dismal Road and took a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun valued at $175.

*Burglary (2 counts) and theft under $1,000: On September 9, Brown and Tittle entered a barn and a shed on the same property at Liberty to Dismal Road and stole a compound bow (from the barn) and Stihl chainsaw (from the shed) valued at $600.

*Theft over $1,000 and vandalism: On September 10, Brown and Tittle took a 2006 Honda recon 250 cc 4 wheeler from East Main Street in Dowelltown and damaged the ignition switch. Total damage less than $1,000.

*Aggravated burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On September 11, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on the Alexandria to Dismal Road and stole a laptop computer, cigarettes, and pellet gun valued at $710. They caused $100 in damage to the back door of the home during the burglary.

* Evading Arrest: On September 12, Brown attempted to flee by failing to obey law enforcement commands to stop.

Juveniles Sentenced for Joyriding on Nursery Golf Carts

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page

Six minors made an appearance in Juvenile Court last Thursday after recently taking golf carts from a local nursery for the purpose of joy riding.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that detectives at the Sheriff’s Department received reports on July 15 and July 17 that two golf carts had been taken from a nursery off Four Seasons. Another golf cart was taken from there on September 4.

Through an investigation, a detective learned that five of the juveniles were involved in taking two of the carts on July 15. Four participated in taking two carts on July 17, and three of the kids took one of the golf carts from the nursery on September 4.

Sheriff's Department Detectives took petitions against all six of the kids on Wednesday, September 6 charging them with the delinquent act of joyriding

All six juveniles entered a plea to the offenses. Each is required to perform hours of community service, send an apology note to the victim and is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim's nursery.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Receive Federal Grants

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Smithville and Alexandria Police Departments are each getting a $5,000 federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support local highway safety initiatives.

The announcement was made today (Monday) by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (TDOSHS) in partnership with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO). Approximately 400 grants exceeding $18 million will be distributed statewide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the THSO for the 2017-2018 Federal Fiscal Year (FFY).

“Highway safety enforcement and education initiatives are critical components to preventing highway fatalities,” said Commissioner David W. Purkey of the TDOSHS. “We cannot lower statewide fatality numbers without strong partnerships within our local communities. That is why these funds are so important.”

Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, District Attorneys’ offices, and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding through grant applications offered by the THSO. Applicants who meet the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are awarded grant funds to support the THSO’s mission to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“Our highway safety partners are dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to protect Tennessee roadways every day,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “The THSO grant funding provides essential highway safety training and equipment for law enforcement agencies, sophisticated crash data collection analysis technology, specialized DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response personnel, and educational tools to help improve driver behavior.”


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