Local News Articles

Early Morning Fire Destroys Home on Magness Road (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

February 20, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Early Morning Fire Destroys Home on Magness Road

A fire destroyed a residence at 238 Magness Road this morning (Monday) off Highway 56 South (McMinnville Highway).

Central dispatch received the call at 3:57 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said members of the Main Station, Keltonburg, Blue Springs, and Belk Stations responded but the fire was well underway by the time it was spotted and reported and the home could not be saved.

According to Chief Green, the house belongs to Chad Hale. No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Two White County Teens Injured in Rollover Crash

February 19, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Two White County Teens Injured in Rollover Crash on Bright Hill Road
Two 16 Year Old Girls Injured in Saturday Crash

Two teenage girls from White County were treated and released from the hospital Saturday after a one vehicle roll over on Bright Hill Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that the two 16 year old girls, one from Sparta and the other from Doyle were traveling west on Bright Hill Road in a 2003 Sierra pickup when they lost control in a curve, rotated, and slid sideways off the right shoulder. The truck hit an earthen embankment and overturned on the passenger side.

Both teens were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. The names were not made available because they are juveniles.

DCHS Climate Crew Hosts "Tiger Boutique" for Students in Need of Clothing

February 19, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Students Shopping at "Tiger Boutique"
Students at DCHS checking out the "Tiger Boutique"

Students in need of clothing at DCHS will be treated the first week of March during the second “Tiger Boutique” organized by the Climate Crew.

Members of the Climate Crew will be collecting donations of name brand clothes and setting up shop for one day only in the DCHS library for other students to take advantage of for free.

“Last fall we gave away 1,600 items of clothing and shoes to students in need at the high school. We need donations once again including gently used clothing without any odors, stains, or tears. Our boutique will be held at the high school the first week of March. We are accepting donations in the DCHS library. We especially need prom dresses, accessories, jewelry, and spring clothing for girls who can’t afford a dress,” said DCHS Librarian Lisa Craig.

The DCHS Climate Crew is made up of students who have a desire to change the school culture at DCHS. “We want to do a lot of good things for kids because there is so much negativity in this world and we just want to help change lives,” Craig concluded.

Youth Substance Use Declining in Tennessee

February 19, 2017

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is proud to announce that youth substance use trends are declining in Tennessee according to a new report from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. (Source: SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2006-2008; 2008-2010; 2010-2012; and 2012-2014).

“It is very encouraging to see that in all substance use areas our young people are using substances less; this means prevention efforts are working,” said Marie Williams, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “Youth substance use can take a tremendous toll on individuals, families, and communities. Most Tennesseans know someone’s family who has been impacted by the unfortunate reality of adolescent substance use. For those that have struggled with, been impacted by youth substance use, or been part of the prevention efforts, these new indicators give us hope.”

Substance use declined among Tennessee youth from 2004-2006 to 2012-2014:

·Illicit drug use dropped from 6% to 3%

·Alcohol use declined from 14% to 10%

·Misuse of pain relievers dropped from 9% to 5%

·Cigarette use declined from 13% to 7%

Tennessee’s youth substance use trends have been decreasing at a faster rate than the national average. Tennessee youth illicit drug use has declined and is now at or below the national average. Fewer Tennessee youth (6%) used marijuana in the past month than compared to the United States youth (7%). The full report outlines many positive trends in Tennessee related to youth substance use.

“The Department places an emphasis on education, prevention, treatment and early intervention efforts directed specifically at Tennessee youth,” said Rodney Bragg, TDMHSAS Assistant Commissioner of Substance Abuse Services. “The earlier we can identify and engage youth that are more susceptible to substance use, the more effective our efforts will be.”

“The fact that these key substance use indicators are declining among our youth in Tennessee provides great hope for the future of our State,” said Commissioner Williams. “Our hope is that the culture is changing in Tennessee and that we will also see a decrease in adult substance use trends in the future as well.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, call Tennessee REDLINE (1-800-889-9789) or visit http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help.

No Protests at State Lawmakers Open Meeting

February 17, 2017
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Senator Mae Beavers at Smithville Town Hall Meeting Friday on Governor's Proposed Gas Tax Hike
State Representative Mark Pody at Smithville Town Hall Meeting Friday on Governor's Proposed Gas Tax Hike
Good Crowd but no Protests at Friday's Town Hall Meeting in Smithville by State Lawmakers Terri Lynn Weaver, Mark Pody, and Mae Beavers
State troopers lined up after meeting so lawmakers could get to their vehicles without hassle

Under tight security, state lawmakers held a public meeting here Friday to discuss the governor’s proposed gas tax increase. And while the meeting went off without shouts of protests and signs, the crowd was mixed in their views on the topic.

Earlier in the week State Senator Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody held a news conference at Legislative Plaza on bills unrelated to the gas tax and were interrupted by protesters and followed out of the event, resulting in Rep. Pody having to be escorted by troopers to the parking lot.

Due to that event in Nashville, coupled with a reported “call to action” via social media, there was heavy speculation protesters would try to disrupt the meeting in DeKalb County. One reported social media post encouraging a turnout in Smithville stated, “If you bring signs it’s probably best to conceal them until you get inside”

Over a dozen uniformed State Troopers, Sheriff’s deputies and Smithville police officers lined the meeting room at the County Complex and then the Troopers lined an exit from the building after lawmakers concluded the meeting. In the end, no one was shouted down and no signs appeared openly in the meeting room.

Beavers, Pody and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver told the audience they believed there were other ways to fund the state’s transportation department without raising the gasoline tax, as proposed by Governor Bill Haslam. That proposal also calls for the tax to be tied to the Consumer Price Index in future years.

“I think the most egregious part of the proposal is that it is tied to the Consumer Price Index and the legislature will not have to vote to raise the tax (in the future),” said Senator Beavers. “There are other plans out there”

“People are telling me in emails we are taxed enough,” said Weaver. “I think it would be unconscionable to ask people to ante up (more tax money) when we (the state) have a large surplus” in the general fund.

“There are numerous plans out there, but the one I like is one that would take .25 cents of the state sales tax and designate that only for transportation,” she added.

Rep. Pody made it clear there would be numerous plans to consider in the coming weeks and that his goal was to provide a consistent source of revenue for the department so that local governments could count on future funding.

Many local Democrats attended the meeting and made it clear they were in favor of the tax hike. Republican members of the audience voiced the opposing view.

When lawmakers asked for a show of hands of “for” and “against,” the crowd was almost evenly divided.

The lawmakers assured the audience they would consider their views as they prepare to vote on various pieces of legislation relating to the tax hike.

Fred's Pharmacy Closing

February 17, 2017
 Fred's Pharmacy in Smithville to close February 21

A local pharmacy is closing its doors next week. Fred's Pharmacy will close February 21 and prescriptions have been transferred to another business.

In a recent letter to Fred's customers, Walmart actually announced the Fred's closing and said that records would be available at the Walmart Pharmacy at 515 West Broad Street in Smithville.

It was also stated in the letter that Walmart is committed to making a smooth transition for the former Fred's customers.

Motlow to host Home School Night

February 17, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page

Motlow State Community College is holding a “Motlow for Homeschoolers” information night on Thursday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m. on the McMinnville campus at 225 Cadillac Lane.

The event is open to all homeschool parents and students who want to learn about critical information regarding attending college.

The program will cover multiple topics including the admissions process, high school dual enrollment opportunities at Motlow, Tennessee Promise eligibility, financial aid, scholarship basics, and the Motlow honors program. Students and parents will have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session.

Students and parents planning to attend are asked to contact Sally Pack by February 28 at spack@mscc.edu or call 931-668-7010 extension 2133.

1st Annual “Spring Into Action” Blood Assurance Blood Drive Coming Soon

February 16, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss

DeKalb County’s public safety and elected officials will be challenging employees of the DeKalb County School System in a battle for a good cause on Monday, March 6 in the 1st annual “Spring Into Action”” Blood Assurance Blood Drive. DeKalb County Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

The “Spring into Action” blood drive, sponsored by DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss will be held inside the Bloodmobile at the senior citizens room in the county complex building on Monday, March 6 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

To schedule an appointment go to: www.bloodassurance.org/dekalb or contact Trudy Cody @ 931-239-9411 or TrudyCody@bloodassurance.org

Prior to Christmas, Blood Assurance coordinated a local blood drive through County Clerk Poss. After its success and because of the everyday need for blood donations, Blood Assurance is again working with County Clerk Poss who has agreed to sponsor and commit to this event annually.

“Our community and communities adjoining us need our support. I've been asked to sponsor a much needed blood drive and accepted the challenge. We wanted to have a little fun so all Public Safety, Elected Officials will challenge the entire DeKalb County School System. We want to get as many involved to help others as we can and have a little local fun,” said County Clerk Poss.

“Approaching is the season of spring and we encourage everyone to “Spring Into Action” and participate. Please give a gift that is of no cost to you but one that those in need cannot buy. I concluded on the title “Spring Into Action” thinking of the upcoming season and so many in our community who provide daily commitment and service to our families. Regardless of your dedication and work within our communities we are challenging our local school system to enjoy a friendly competition against public safety and elected officials,” Poss continued.

“The public safety and elected officials will include employees, friends, and family members of DeKalb EMS, DeKalb & Smithville Rescue Squad, Smithville City Fire & Police, DeKalb County Fire & Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Clerk, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, Assessor of Property, Road Supervisor, General Sessions Judge, County Commissioners, and DeKalb 911,” said Poss.

“The DeKalb County School System includes employees, friends, and family along with School Board members, all employees of DeKalb West School, DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb County High School, Northside Elementary School, Smithville Elementary School, Board of Education, and the School Bus Garage,” added Poss.

“Remember this is a public event and is open to all. We ask at the time of your donation to please choose which team you would like your donation to be accredited to, whether it be employee, friend, or family member. We want this to be a fun competition and hope it encourages many to “Spring Into Action” for those in daily need of blood,” he said.

The team accredited with the most donations will be awarded a trophy and an engraved plaque to remain with them from year to year.

All blood collected from the Cookeville Blood Assurance Center services the needs of local community hospitals including DeKalb County, White County, Putnam County, Overton County, and others.

All donors will be given a FREE “Always Be Prepared” t-shirt! Donate & be entered for a chance to win a tent, sleeping bag & grill from “The Happy Camper”. Drinks and snacks will be also be provided.

Abortion, Highways Among Bills Filed by DeKalb State Lawmakers

February 15, 2017

With the filing deadline passed, the three state lawmakers that represent DeKalb County have numerous bills up for consideration by the Tennessee General Assembly.

Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) have jointly filed a bill in the respective chambers that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except to preserve the life and health of the mother.

Generally under present law, if all other requirements for a lawful abortion are met, an abortion may be performed as follows:

(1) During the first three months of pregnancy, if the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed with the pregnant woman's consent and pursuant to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician;

(2) After three months, but before viability of the fetus, if the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed with the pregnant woman's consent, by the pregnant woman's attending physician, pursuant to the attending physician's medical judgment; or

(3) During viability of the fetus, if the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is performed with the pregnant woman's consent and by the pregnant woman's attending physician, in a hospital; and if, prior to the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage the physician has certified in writing to the hospital in which the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is to be performed, that the abortion or attempt to procure a miscarriage is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

This bill revises the above provisions to make the provisions in (2) applicable "after three months, but before 20 weeks or viability of the fetus" and to make (3) applicable to abortions performed "after 20 weeks or during viability," so that under this bill abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy will be allowed only when necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman.

The two have also filed legislation that would authorize county road superintendents to expend state-aid funds for roads that are not part of the state-aid highway system.

Present law authorizes the commissioner of transportation to designate highways and roads for the state-aid highway system. The local authorities having authority over the selected highways and roads submit an annual program to the department specifying the type of work to be performed, including the planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, construction, improvement, and rehabilitation of roads and bridges. With the commissioner's approval, funds are allocated to the local agencies and expended on the designated highways and roads. No funds will be either obligated or expended unless the local agency agrees to match the proposed expenditures in an amount of 25 percent.

Present law additionally authorizes, until July 1, 2017, a county with remaining funds to use the unexpended balance, in whole or in part, to provide a portion of the local agency share; however, the county must provide at least 2 percent of the approved project costs from county funds or in-kind project work approved by the commissioner, or both. The county must initiate the project during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Under this bill, once the local governments within a county have addressed the project priorities established by the commissioner, the county road superintendent or other similar highway official may expend funds allocated for the state-aid highway system for other roadway purposes, including other roads and highways that are not part of the state-aid highway system. The commissioner's approval will not be required for the expenditure, and no conditions will be imposed by the commissioner in conjuncture with the expenditure.

Senator Beavers and Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) have filed a measure that would require students in public schools and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that shown on the students' birth certificates.

The two have also filed bills that would enact the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act," which states the policy of Tennessee to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.

Rep. Pody is also co-sponsoring a bill that prohibits state employees from lobbying for 12 months following departure from office or employment.

All the bills sponsored or co-sponsored by the three lawmakers can be found at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/.

Mya Ruch Receives "Classroom Champion Award"

February 15, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mya Ruch Receives "Classroom Champion Award"
Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins, DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant, Classroom Champion Mya Ruch, her mother Melissa Ruch, and WJLE's Dwayne Page

This week’s “Classroom Champion” award goes to DCHS student Mya Ruch.

The award was presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE .

Mya is the 14 year old daughter of Joe and Melissa Ruch of Smithville.

As a freshman, she is involved in many clubs and sports, and has also achieved a 4.5 weighted GPA for her first semester. While on the Cross Country team, she was a member of the all Mid-State team and was the first DCHS runner to go to a TSSAA state meet. Here she came in 15th place in the Division I, A-AA meet, and was recognized as being on the All State team. She is also a member of the DCHS Basketball team. Mya is a member of the Smithville Church of Christ and enjoys being very involved in their youth group.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several months.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.

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