Local News Articles

Woman Found Nude and Intoxicated

June 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Amanda Lynette Davis
Jeremy Arron Bilbrey
Eddie Lee Smith

A woman found drunk and naked near McMinnville Highway last week will make a court appearance next month for public intoxication and indecent exposure.

37 year old Amanda Lynette Davis of Lee Homer Road, Smithville is under a $3,000 bond and her court date is July 6.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, June 15 a deputy responded to McMinnville Highway to do a welfare check on a woman standing near the road. Upon arrival he learned that the woman was Davis. She was standing in the front yard naked and picking grass. While speaking with her, the officer noticed that Davis was unsteady on her feet and that her speech was slurred and her pupils were watery and dilated. She submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Davis was arrested for her safety and that of the public.

42 year old Jeremy Arron Bilbrey of Winter Drive, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 6 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Winter Drive due to a possible domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who said that she and her boyfriend, Bilbrey got into an argument over her leaving with the children due to his being under the influence. The woman said as she tried to leave, Bilbrey wouldn’t let her go. He grabbed her, trying to get her car keys causing injuries to her elbows, hands and knees.

26 year old Eddie Lee Smith of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 13 a deputy observed a Honda Civic traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 56 south. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Smith. He noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Smith told the officer that he had just purchased a beer and had thrown it out the window before he was pulled over. His eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet. While submitting to field sobriety tasks, Smith told the deputy that he was too drunk to complete the exercise because he had consumed more alcohol than he had previously stated.

Two More Picked Up on Grand Jury Sealed Indictments

June 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mark Alan Goodson
Jamie Renee Ashford

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has picked up two more people who were named in sealed indictments returned during a special session of the Grand Jury last month.

51 year old Mark Alan Goodson and 46 year old Jamie Renee Ashford both of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville are each indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). They were arrested on Monday, June 12. Bond for each is $50,000 and they will be arraigned on June 20.

A total of 37 people have now been rounded up as a result of the grand jury sealed indictments stemming from an undercover investigation by the Sheriff’s Department mostly involving the sale of illegal narcotics.

Randy Jennings Named Principal of DeKalb County High School

June 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Randy Jennings and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

DeKalb County High School will be under new leadership as of July 1.

Randy Jennings, who has been Principal at DeKalb Middle School for 13 years, has been named by Director of Schools Patrick Cripps to succeed Dr. Kathy Bryant as DCHS Principal. Dr. Bryant has transferred to the position of Supervisor of Instruction for grades 6-12.

“I am excited about the move to the high school. First I’d like to thank Mr. Cripps for having the confidence in me to be the leader of DeKalb County High School. I want to get settled in and get with the assistant principals. There will be a lot of things similar at the high school compared to the middle school but a lot of things will be different too. The CTE (Career Technical Education) I have never had to deal with at the middle school level so that will be a new venture for me. There’s just a lot of things I’ll have to get in there and look at and become familiar with before going too much further,” Jennings told WJLE.

"Randy has done a good job and we’re excited about where he can take the high school. It’s a big challenge he is facing but he has a good staff who will support and work with him to do whatever needs to be done to make sure our kids are being educated," Director Cripps told WJLE.

Jennings said he enjoyed his years at DeKalb Middle School and will miss working with the students and teachers there. “I have really enjoyed my time at the Middle School. I have had a wonderful faculty and staff over those 13 years. I am going to miss working with those people. I’ll also miss working with the kids at that age. We’ve always tried to provide a good academic foundation but even as important, I hope that I have made a positive impact on the kids' lives. Now I will get a chance to continue doing that but at a little later time in their lives,” he said.

Jennings began his teaching career at DeKalb West School in 1995. “I was there for 2 years as an 8th grade math, science and social studies teacher and I also coached both the boys and girls basketball teams,” said Jennings.

“ In the fall of 1997, I accepted a teaching position at Watertown High School and was the head baseball coach and assistant boys basketball coach. The following year I was named the head girls basketball coach and remained in that capacity for 2 years,” he continued.

“In the fall of 2000, I came back home to DeKalb County as the principal of Smithville Elementary School. I served in that capacity for 5 years from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, I was transferred to DeKalb Middle School as principal where I have served for the past 13 years,” said Jennings.

A 1989 graduate of DeKalb County High School, Jennings earned an Associate of Science degree at Motlow State Community College in 1991. Three years later Jennings earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Middle Tennessee State University. In 1998, Jennings furthered his education obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University followed by a Specialist in Education degree in Instructional Leadership from TTU in 2005.

Randy and his wife Jill are the parents of 21 year old Cori and 18 year old Steven Jennings.

Jennings is the 12th principal at DCHS since 1963. His predecessors are Amon Snyder, Jim Butler, Tucker Hendrix, Ernest Ray, Dr. Charles Collier, Larry Johnson, Dr. Barry Roberts, Weldon Parkinson, Kathy Hendrix, Patrick Cripps, and Dr. Kathy Bryant.

DCHS Assistant Principals are David Gash and Jenny Norris.

"We’re really going to push the ACT at the high school. I know the state tests are important but the ACT is where kids get money to go to school. The state has set an ACT goal and we plan to meet and exceed it. We have already made great strides in the last couple of years on the ACT as well as the 90% reading goal. We’re catching up. The elementary level has done a wonderful job and the high school has done a wonderful job in the RTI. That is something we will keep working on. We want to challenge our top students and we want to get those students who are struggling to get them up toward reading on grade level", said Cripps.

Director Cripps has not yet named a new principal at DeKalb Middle School to succeed Jennings. Applications are currently being taken for the position and interviews will follow.

DeKalb Neighbors Helping Neighbors Blood Drive Wednesday

June 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Casey Agee was among those who donated blood during the Spring into Action drive

Cookeville Blood Assurance and DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss are teaming up again for another “DeKalb County Neighbors Helping Neighbors” blood drive and several elected and appointed county officials are joining the effort in support of local senior citizens centers.

The blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the county complex senior citizens center inside the bloodmobile and for every blood donation collected, these county officials will donate $2.00 to the senior citizens centers to be divided equally between the Smithville and Alexandria Centers.

“I have received commitments from Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Trustee Sean Driver, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Sheriff Patrick Ray, and General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook, II along with Clerk and Master Deborah Malone and Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley,” said County Clerk Poss.

“All blood collected from the Cookeville Blood Assurance Center will supply the needs of hospitals in our communities first including DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, Wilson, White, Putnam, Warren, Jackson, and Overton Counties,” Poss continued.

Those who wish to schedule an appointment may go online at www.bloodassurance.org/dekalb or contact County Clerk Poss or Blood Assurance Coordinator Trudy Cody at 931-239-9411 or TrudyCody@bloodassurance.org.

Please remember to eat a good meal, drink additional water and bring a photo ID.

All donors will be given a FREE “Life Saving Journey” t-shirt and all donors will be entered for a chance to win a Recliner and a Vacation Giveaway valued at $1,500.

Nomination Period Underway for County Committee Election

June 18, 2017
Donny Green
Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Executive Director, announces that the nomination period for the 2017 Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee Election is underway. The nomination period continues through August 1, 2016.

"I encourage all producers to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Green. "We are counting on as much participation as possible, because county committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have seen a trend in recent years of increased nominations of minority, beginning farmers, and women producers and we hope that will continue."

Committees apply their judgment and knowledge to make decisions on county commodity price-support loan eligibility, establishment of allotments and yields, conservation programs, disaster programs, employment and other farm program-related issues. Nationwide, there are more than 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to five members who are elected by eligible local producers.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

Nominees must reside in Local Administrative Area (LAA) for which they are seeking to be elected. For the 2017 Election, the DeKalb/Cannon County FSA County Committee Election will conduct elections in LAA-2 (DeKalb County) and LAA-4 (Cannon County). Below is the description of the LAA’s that will be conducting elections this year:

Local Administrative Area # 2, the portions of DeKalb County described as following:

West of a line where Hwy. 146 crosses the Cannon County line following Hwy. 146 north to Hodges Rd.; thence north to Tabernacle Rd.; following a line from Tabernacle Rd. to Dry Creek Rd.; west of Dry Creek Rd. to Hwy. 70 West; north of Hwy. 70 to Hwy. 96 North (Dale Ridge Rd.); west of Hwy. 96 North to Hwy. 141 (Wolf Creek Rd.);West of Hwy. 141 to Center Hill Dam; thence following the Caney Fork River north/northwest to the Smith County line; thence south of the Smith County line; thence east of the Wilson County line to the Cannon County line; northwest of the Cannon County line back to the intersection of Hwy. 146 and the DeKalb/Cannon County line.

Local Administrative Area # 4, the portions of Cannon County described as following:

That portion of Cannon County that lies east of Highway 53 (a state highway that runs south from the DeKalb County line and north from the Coffee County Line).

Individuals may nominate themselves, or others, as a candidate. In addition, eligible candidates can be nominated by community-based and other organizations in the county where the election is being held before the close of the nomination period, especially groups representing socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Nominations and elections are open to all eligible candidates and voters without regard to race, color, religion, nation origin, age, sex, marital status or disability. The nomination form (FSA-669A) is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections

Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in LAA’s # 2 and # 4 on November 6, 2017. Completed ballots must be returned, either in person or postmarked, no later December 4, 2017. For more information about FSA county committees, visit the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center or call 615-597-8225, extension 2.

DeKalb County Fair to Honor Veterans

June 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Fair Returns July 17-22
DeKalb County Fair to Honor Veterans, Also Launches New Website

The 161st edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South is set for Monday through Saturday, July 17-22 and this year a tribute is being paid to all veterans. It’s even included in the theme, “Celebrating 161 years of the DeKalb County Fair as a Veterans Affair.

A special recognition program will be Monday night, July 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion and a special Veterans Exhibit on “Memory Lane” at the fairgrounds will showcase photos, names, and other military information to honor local veterans. Liberty State Bank is helping the fair with this new exhibit which will be open each night of the fair from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Meanwhile, if you would like to include photos or other information about a veteran in this exhibit contact Ria Baker at 615-529-2840.

Smithville Police Arrest Woman on Meth Charge

June 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Shauna Renee Taylor

Smithville Police arrested a woman last Friday, June 9 after finding meth and a glass pipe in her purse while investigating a shoplifting complaint.

46 year old Shauna Renee Taylor is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell and she was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Police responded to a shoplifting call but the suspect had already left upon their arrival. An officer later found the suspect and her vehicle. He was given consent to search and found in her purse were less than a half ounce of methamphetamine and a glass pipe. She was taken into custody. The shoplifting allegation was determined to be unfounded. Bond for Taylor is $5,000 and her court date is June 29.

52 year old Kanday Kay Fish was arrested on Friday, June 2 for driving under the influence. An off duty officer observed Fish crossing the yellow and white lines on South Congress Boulevard He was able to get her to pull over into the parking lot of the Discount Tobacco Outlet where he contacted an on duty officer. Upon arrival, police spoke with Fish and observed that she was unsteady on her feet. She consented to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is June 15.

41 year old Anna Swiney Warren was arrested on Saturday, June 3 for domestic assault. Police were called to a residence where an assault had taken place. Upon investigation police determined that Warren had been drinking and that she and her victim got into an argument which became physical when Warren pushed the victim into a door frame leaving a bruise on the right side of the victim's head. The victim also had a bruise on the left elbow from the attack. Warren’s bond is $1,500 and her court date is June 15.

50 year old William Ray Cantrell was arrested on Tuesday, June 6 for driving while revoked and he was cited for driver license, light law, and financial responsibility violations. Police initiated a routine stop for a traffic violation and spoke with the driver, Cantrell. A computer check revealed that Cantrell's license were revoked indefinitely due to a DUI in 2015. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 22.

48 year old Lou Ann Sanders was arrested on Thursday, June 8 for domestic assault. Police responded to a complaint of a domestic assault and spoke with the parties involved. Upon investigation police determined that the parties were arguing when Sanders grabbed the victim by the arms and neck and dragged him outside of the residence leaving visible marks on his neck, arms, and chest area. Bond for Sanders is $2,500 and her court date is June 29.

36 year old Rickey Lynn Martin was cited for shoplifting on Saturday, June 10. Police responded to Wal-Mart where it was discovered that Martin had pulled the tags off a new pair of boots and put them on. He walked around inside of the store for approximately 40 minutes wearing the boots before police were contacted. The boots that Martin had worn into the store were found hidden under a shoe shelf. His court date is July 13.

37 year old Angelina Marie Farley was arrested on Sunday, June 11 for aggravated assault. Police responded to a domestic incident in which it was determined that Farley knowingly put the victim in fear for his life by producing a knife and threatening to stab him. Bond for Farley is $5,000 and her court date is June 29.

33 year old Steven Darrell Bly was cited on Wednesday, June 14 for criminal trespass after he was discovered at a residence on Bell Street. He had been informed earlier not to be on the property. His court date is June 29.

44 year old Gerald R Kier was arrested on Thursday, June 15 for theft of property. Kier was observed on Wal-Mart video surveillance removing a blue tooth speaker and earphones from the original packaging and then hiding the merchandise in his pants. He was also observed on video surveillance trying unsuccessfully to remove a wireless speaker although he did damage the packaging. Kier’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 29.

Pody Visits Smithville to Announce his Candidacy for State Senate (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 16, 2017
Dwayne Page

State Representative Mark Pody made several stops in Smithville today (Friday), a week after announcing his plans to run for the State Senate next year.

Pody, who is in his fourth term as Representative of the 46th district, is hoping to succeed State Senator Mae Beavers of the 17th district who will be running for Governor next year. He will be seeking the Republican nomination for the office in August 2018. The General Election will be in November, 2018.

Representative Pody, a businessman and insurance agency owner, told WJLE during an interview Friday that he will focus on two priorities if elected to the State Senate. The first is conservative fiscal policies. “We need to limit the size and scope of government. Not every good idea should be a government idea,” said Pody. “Many good ideas are best done by individuals, church and non-profits, not by state government.” Pody believes government has a limited role and taxpayer money needs to be spent effectively on only programs that fit that role of government. The second priority for Pody is bringing high paying quality jobs to the district. He feels the best way to gain these high paying jobs is to create an environment in the state where businesses want to relocate and expand. This is done by having a highly educated work force, commonsense regulations, and favorable tax policies for incoming businesses.

Pody’s 46th district is made up of a portion of Wilson and DeKalb Counties and all of Cannon County. The 17th State Senate District includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson Counties.

Grant Provides Improvements to Senior Nutrition Program

June 16, 2017
 Kay Lane, a home-delivered-meal volunteer for UCHRA, uses a new jumbo electric high efficiency thermal bag to deliver meals in the Cookeville area.

The Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability (UCAAAD) was awarded the Community Foundation’s Serving Tennessee’s Seniors grant in January in the amount of $23,964 for the Aging Nutrition Program – a program that provides healthy meals for seniors in need across the fourteen-county Upper Cumberland region.

The grant funds were used to purchase equipment for the nutrition program, including: 55 jumbo electric thermal delivery bags, a 4-well hot table and 8 Cambro pan carriers. The additional equipment is being used to ensure meals are delivered to seniors at a safe temperature and has allowed the program to expand to meet the growing demand of seniors in need.

UCAAAD contracts with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) to provide home-delivered and congregate meals through the Aging Nutrition Program. In fiscal year 2016, 495 homebound clients received 89,497 home-delivered meals. In the same year, 82,600 congregate meals were served to 1,643 seniors from 17 meal site locations in the Upper Cumberland.

UCHRA currently has more than 70 home-delivered meal routes across the Upper Cumberland. With the jumbo electric high efficiency thermal bags, each delivery vehicle is equipped to maintain the proper food temperature to the most outlying areas of the district.

In addition to home-delivered meals, food is also transported to nutrition sites in bulk. The 8 Cambro portable pan carriers assist in maintaining food temperature through transport and until the meal is served.

The nutrition program is already seeing improvements from the new equipment. UCAAAD Quality Assurance monitoring reports show that the use of the electric thermal bags in combination with the new Cambro bulk food transporters have helped to hold the hot food temperatures at a higher level than before, even for the last stops on the delivery routes.

The grant not only provided improvements to the existing service area but allowed the program to expand to serve more seniors in Smithville. With the purchase of the new 4-well hot table, congregate meals are being served at the Smithville Senior Center four days per week. From April 3 to May 31, this addition has allowed UCHRA to serve 709 meals to 70 seniors in Smithville.

Funding of Serving Tennessee’s Seniors was provided by the Chancery Court and administered by The Community Foundation through the settlement of a lawsuit initiated by Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper against both SeniorTrust and ElderTrust.

The Area Agency on Aging and Disability(AAAD), a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District, connects older adults and adults with disabilities in the 14-county Upper Cumberland region with services and resources to improve their quality of life. Find AAAD on the web at www.ucdd.org and at facebook.com/UCDDconnect. For more information about the Aging Nutrition Program, contact UCAAAD at 1-866-836-6678.

"Meet & Greet" Cody Puckett TODAY (Friday)

June 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
"Meet & Greet" Cody Puckett TODAY (Friday)

A “Meet & Greet” for former DCHS Tiger and Middle Tennessee Blue Raider pitching star Cody Puckett will be held today (Friday, June 16) from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Northside Elementary School.

Selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday, Cody is expected to be leaving for Arizona this weekend and later to the A’s rookie camp in Vermont. Family and friends invite you to stop by during today’s “Meet & Greet” for photos with Cody and to wish him well as be begins this new venture in his baseball career.

Puckett has spent the last two years as a Middle Tennessee Blue Raider after transferring from Columbia State Community College. Cody was also a standout for the DCHS Tigers during his high school years.

In an interview with WJLE Thursday, Puckett said MLB scouts first began taking notice of him last summer during the Northwoods competition, a collegiate summer baseball league comprising teams of the top college players from North America and beyond.

“Scouts were there to watch another player but then they saw me pitch. Later there was another summer showcase of the top 100 prospects in the Northwoods and I got invited to that. But it really started to pick up around the pro day in the fall. After that I started getting interest from a lot of different teams. Toward the beginning of the spring, several scouts came out to watch me and then I knew I had a pretty good shot at the draft,” said Puckett.

Becoming a major league player has been a dream of Cody’s since he was a child. “I remember watching the Little League World Series and Major Leaguers play. Its always something I told myself I’m going to do one day. I have always dreamed about it since I was probably five years old or ever since I could walk and know what baseball is,” Cody continued.

Puckett said as the draft began this week, a couple of teams contacted him but he became a bit discouraged as nothing panned out right away. “I was kind of thinking of being drafted in the 15th to 25th rounds but on Tuesday I got a call from the Phillies in the 8th round saying they were going to take me in the 9th or 10th round. I was kind of disappointed though when they never called back. On Wednesday I got a call from the Royals and they made me an offer but right after I got off the phone with the Royals, the Oakland A’s called me and congratulated me on being drafted,” said Puckett.

The left hander, was selected by the A’s in the 30th round with the 861st pick on Wednesday.

While his goal is to make the majors, Cody said it would be nice to get some playing time in his home state with the Nashville Sounds, a minor league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

“I know the Nashville Sounds are their Triple-A team so that would be pretty cool If I made it to that level in my home state. That would be nice,” he said.

Although he would have liked to have been taken higher in the draft, Cody said he is pleased with this opportunity. “It would have been nice to have been a top ten rounder but really I just want the opportunity to prove myself and make the most of it and hopefully I can advance to the minor league system and make it to the majors,” Puckett said.

“I appreciate all the support from the people back home and hopefully I can make you proud,” he concluded.


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