Local News Articles

Mentors Needed in DeKalb County for the Tennessee Promise Program

November 1, 2016
Dwayne Page

Community volunteers are needed in DeKalb County to mentor students taking part in the Tennessee Promise program.

Tennessee Promise allows any Tennessee high school graduate the opportunity to attend a community college, Tennessee College of Applied Technology or to get an applicable associate’s degree from a four-year institution, tuition free. Mentors are assigned to students within their county and help students eliminate the barriers of accessing post-secondary education.

In DeKalb County 20 mentors are needed for the 2017 school year, and only nine have applied so far. The deadline to apply as a mentor is November 20.

Mentors must be 21 years or older and willing to invest 10-15 hours annually assisting five to ten high school seniors with post secondary success. Mentors are not asked to assist with school work, only to help students meet program deadlines and requirements through email and text communication.

All mentors are subject to a minimum background check. Mentors must apply online at www.tnachieves.org by November 20, 2016. Mentors will not be paired with students until spring 2017.

For more information on Tennessee Promise, visit www.tnpromise.gov.

New Early Voting Record Set

November 1, 2016
Dwayne Page

A new early voting record has been set in DeKalb County.

As of Wednesday, a total of 3,520 have cast ballots for the November 8th elections. That eclipses the previous record set in 2012 when 3,217 voted early for the November balloting.

A total of 203 cast ballots on Wednesday, including 191 in person and 12 by absentee.

If you are registered and haven’t voted early, you have one more day to do so.

Early voting ends Thursday, November 3. Hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse at the election commission office.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at all precincts in the county.

WJLE will have LIVE Election return coverage starting Tuesday night when the polls close at 7:00 p.m. Listen to WJLE AM 1480/ WJLE FM 101.7 or LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com

4-H’ers Succeed at Regional Poultry Contest

November 1, 2016
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
 DeKalb County 4-H Jr. Teams placed 4th and 8th at the Regional Poultry Judging Contest in Lebanon. Macey Cox was 4th high Individual. Front Row: Westin Wright, Kolton Slager, Kyra Baker, and Ella Pack. Back Row: Macey Cox, Caleb Taylor, Luke Magness, and Colby Barnes.
2nd Place: The Dekalb County Senior High Poulty Judging Team placed 2nd in the Regional Contest: PJ Ray, Caitlyn Lawrence, and Caleb Taylor. Caitlyn Lawrence was high individual.
Luke Magness gets ready to evaluate a hen at the Central Region Poulty Judging Contest

The Poultry Project is quickly becoming one of DeKalb County’s most popular 4-H activities. In addition to the Chick-Chain project where youth raise chickens, anyone can be involved in poultry judging even if they can’t raise the birds at home. DeKalb County was recently represented by 11 members at the Central Region contest held in Lebanon. There were a total of 122 participants from across middle Tennessee.

The junior team of Colby Barnes, Macey Cox, Luke Magness, and Westin Wright placed 4th overall. The junior team of Kyra Baker, Ella Pack, and Kolton Slager placed 8th. Macey Cox was 4th high individual. Caleb Taylor competed as an individual in the Jr. High division. The senior high division placed 2nd in the contest and consisted of Caitlyn Lawrence, PJ Ray, and Caleb Taylor. Caitlyn was 1st high individual.

During the contest, there are three classes where eggs are graded on quality: candling, broken out, and exterior. Contestants must know the parts of an egg and how it deteriorates over time when candling. A light is held to the eggs in order to see the interior. The shell is then graded in the exterior quality class, and contestants look for defects and abnormalities. Egg whites and yolks are graded in the broken out class. A class of four, live White Leghorn hens is judged on their egg laying ability. This is determined by the pigment of their skin and abdominal capacity. Senior High members must give oral reasons on this class to defend their decision. Finally, meat parts are identified and carcasses are graded in the ready-to-cook poultry classes.

Many of our poultry judgers have chickens of their own, and the knowledge gained through this contest will help them better care for their birds and market their eggs. Congratulations to these young people on a job well done!

If you are interested in poultry judging or any other 4-H activity, please call 615-597-4945. 4-H is a proud part of UT Extension, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and TSU Cooperative Extension. UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments.

Photo Captions:

Team: DeKalb County 4-H Jr. Teams placed 4th and 8th at the Regional Poultry Judging Contest in Lebanon. Macey Cox was 4th high Individual. Front Row: Westin Wright, Kolton Slager, Kyra Baker, and Ella Pack. Back Row: Macey Cox, Caleb Taylor, Luke Magness, and Colby Barnes.

2nd Place: The Dekalb County Senior High Poulty Judging Team placed 2nd in the Regional Contest: PJ Ray, Caitlyn Lawrence, and Caleb Taylor. Caitlyn Lawrence was high individual.

Luke Magness gets ready to evaluate a hen at the Central Region Poulty Judging Contest.

Hatfield Charged with 15 Counts of Fradulent Use of Credit Cards

November 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Jeff Mark Hatfield

A DeKalb County man has been charged with fifteen counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

26 year old Jeff Mark Hatfield of Adcock Cemetery Road is under a $37,500 bond and his court date is November 17.

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

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Hatfield allegedly stole credit/debit cards and used them to withdraw money from his victim’s account fifteen times at four different ATMs in Smithville.

Amounts were withdrawn on the following dates:

Friday, September 30: $122.95 and $202.95

Saturday, October 1: $102.95, $162.50, and $202.50

Sunday, October 2: $82.50, $182.50, and $162.50

Monday, October 3: $142.50 and $182.50

Tuesday, October 4: $102.50

Wednesday, October 5: $100, $23.50, and $102.

Thursday, October 6: $130.

Local Soldier Wanted by U.S. Marine Corps for Military Desertion

November 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Daniel Lynn Johnson
Joshua Lee Underwood
Matthew Dewayne Griffith

A local soldier, wanted by the U.S. Marine Corps for military desertion, has been arrested by the Sheriff’s Department.

20 year old Daniel Lynn Johnson of Meridian Drive, Smithville is charged with military desertion from the U.S. Marine Corps. Johnson was arrested Tuesday, October 25 after officers were called to his residence due to an unrelated incident. After conducting a background check, they learned Johnson is wanted by the U.S. Marine Corps. He is to be picked up at the Sheriff’s Department by the Marines. He is being held without bond with no court date scheduled.

25 year old Joshua Lee Underwood of Murfreesboro is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 17. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, October 24 a deputy was called to a residence on Big Hurricane Road where a brother and sister were arguing. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the woman who said that her brother had Cannon County warrants against him. The man identified himself to the deputy as Joshua Spurlock, born in 1994. An ID found in his wallet confirmed his identity as Underwood and his sister and a friend verified it. Underwood was placed under arrest.

31 year old Matthew Dewayne Griffith of Short Mountain Road Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance November 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, October 25 a deputy responded to a residence on Adcock Cemetery Road in reference to a tip about a stolen vehicle. The officer spoke with Griffith, who admitted to having possession of a 1993 Ford Ranger, which had been entered into the National Crime Information Center database as stolen out of Cannon County. Griffith was placed under arrest.

DeKalb Fire Dept Reminds You to Change Your Clock and Change Your Battery

October 31, 2016
Lieutenant Brian Williams

Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, Nov. 6, and while you are changing your clocks, the DeKalb County Fire Department wants to remind you to change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms also. Our message is simple and it’s easy to do! Please take a few minutes to make sure life-saving alarms have fresh batteries so you, your family, and your home are protected.

Lieutenant Brian Williams, DeKalb County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, reminds DeKalb County residents that after batteries are changed in alarms, take a few extra minutes to test your alarms and remind family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. Not all smoke alarms have batteries that have to be replaced each year. Some newer model alarms have batteries that last up to 10 years. However, it is still very important to test and clean your alarms. You can clean and maintain them simply by using compressed air to remove dust residue that accumulates on alarms that can cause the alarm’s sensor to not operate properly.

If your home is not furnished with smoke alarms, or if your alarms are older than 10 years old, DeKalb County Fire Department will install new smoke alarms in your home free of charge. There’s simply no reason anyone should lay down to sleep at night without having a working smoke alarm in their home! All you have to do is contact Lt. Brian Williams at (615) 330-4066 and provide your name, address, and phone number to get your free alarms installed.

Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that can be prevented. Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms, and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. “The vast majority of our house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” said Lt. Williams. “Smoke alarm installation and maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

A working smoke detector doubles your chance of surviving a home fire. So, why would you not want you and your family to have this protection? For more information about fire safety, visit the DeKalb County Fire Department’s FaceBook Group page or the department’s website at www.dekalbfire.com.

Two Runaways from Boys Home Admit to Burglaries

October 31, 2016
Dwayne Page

Two runaway teens from the New Frontier Boys Home at Dowelltown were taken into custody recently after allegedly committing break-ins and attempted thefts.

The boys, ages 15 and 17, are now in state custody. Their names were not released because they are minors.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the boys ran away from the home on Sunday, October 16. The following day, the Sheriff’s Department received a report that someone had broken into and tried to steal a vehicle on Hannah Branch Road in Liberty. A package of chewing tobacco had also been taken from the automobile.

Later that day, Monday October 17, the Sheriff’s Department received a report of two boys trying to steal a four wheeler on Wolf Creek Road. After being spotted, the boys ran away but a deputy found them later. The officer conducted a search of the boys and found a pack of chewing tobacco in one of their back packs. During questioning, the teens admitted to the vehicle break-in on Hannah Branch Road and another burglary at the Mount Zion Baptist Church on Lower Helton Road, where they entered the church building and took food and water. The boys caused some damage to both the vehicle and church during the burglaries.

The case was investigated by Sheriff's Department Detectives.

County Clerk Office to Offer New Service

October 30, 2016
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss

Anyone wishing to renew boat registrations or to purchase hunting and fishing license through the county clerk’s office will soon have that opportunity.

Thanks to the TWRA’s Tennessee R.E.A.L. system, persons may make transactions electronically over the internet. The county clerk’s office plans to make the service available in DeKalb County in November.

“Since beginning as County Clerk, our office has received numerous requests for watercraft vessel renewals and to purchase Hunting & Fishing license. Beginning this Monday October 31, 2016, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is launching a new system called Tennessee R. E A. L. This system will operate directly through the internet; from the same computer we currently perform all other transactions,” said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

“In recent conversations with TWRA and fellow clerks this new method is expected to be more efficient and user friendly from the previous method. Although this service isn’t mandated it does provide a convenient service for many while generating income to the county. However, Due to DeKalb County closing its previous account in June 2011 we will not be eligible to provide this service until mid-November,” Poss continued.

“I am currently working with TWRA in order to reestablish a new entity ID number. Also, our software provider is completing adjustments for receipting and transferring funds electronically. When adding any new service to an already concern of staffing it’s not as appealing or without concern. However; in attempt to offer this convenience I’m willing to make the effort with optimism and a desire to provide this service. Once we’ve met requirements in full, have received our entity ID and are ready to begin processing I will make it public,” Poss concluded.

Early Voting Ends Thursday, November 3

October 30, 2016
Dwayne Page

If you are registered and haven’t voted early, you have four more days to do so.

“Through Saturday, 2,943 votes had been cast (that number includes absentee ballots) and that’s 274 less than the entire early voting period in 2012,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

On Saturday, 243 voted including 237 in person and 11 by absentee.

Early voting ends Thursday, November 3. Hours are: Monday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Thursday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse at the election commission office.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at all precincts in the county.

Tigers' State Play-Off Run Begins Next Friday

October 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
Tigers' State Play-Off Run Begins Next Friday

The DeKalb County Tigers shutout the Cannon County Lions 42-0 at Woodbury Friday night to close out the regular season 7-3 overall with a 5-1 record and a 2nd place finish in region play.

The Tigers will host a first round TSSAA Class 3A Play-Off game next Friday night, November 4 against East Ridge at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville.

After a Bradley Miller interception, DeKalb County got its first score of the night on a 4 yard touchdown run by Matthew Poss with 1:39 left in the 1st period. Poss added the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0.

The Tigers’ next score came as time ran out in the 1st period. A bad snap on a Cannon County punt sailed over the kicker’s head and into the endzone. DeKalb County’s Devin Bain recovered the ball for a Tiger touchdown. Matthew Poss booted the extra point and DeKalb County led 14-0.

DeKalb County extended its lead with 2:23 left in the 2nd period on a 14 yard touchdown run by Colton Seifert. Matthew Poss added the extra point and the Tigers led 21-0.

With 5:14 left in the 3rd period, Tiger Quarterback Tyler Cantrell found Isaiah Jones on a 24 yard touchdown pass play. The P.A.T by Matthew Poss was good and DeKalb County led 28-0.

The Tigers added another score with 11:09 left in the 4th period on an 18 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Matthew Poss and with the extra point by Poss, DeKalb County took a 35-0 lead.

DeKalb County’s last touchdown of the night came on an 18 yard run by Colton Seifert with 39 seconds left in the game. Andrew Fuson kicked the extra point and the Tigers won 42-0.

The Tigers' next opponent, East Ridge finished the regular season 5-5 and 3-2 in region play.

East Ridge defeated Brainerd 34-6, Signal Mountain 35-28, Chattanooga Central 13-6, Howard 13-7, and Chattanooga Christian 39-28. Their losses have been to Polk County 35-28, Red Bank 22-10, Hixson 7-0, Notre Dame 50-26, and Loudon 16-13.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game between the Tigers and East Ridge with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby on WJLE AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com at 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 4 in Smithville. Our pre-game shows begin with Coach to Coach at 5:00 p.m. and Tiger Talk at 6:30 p.m.


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