Local News Articles

DeKalb County Fire Department Receives Elite Award

August 22, 2017
Donny Green

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, for the ninth consecutive year, has been recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for outstanding training achievement.

Of the 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both volunteer and paid, the DeKalb County Fire Department ranks # 17 for 2016-17 training achievement by the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy. Considering the ranking among departments that operate with 100% volunteer staff in the state, the DeKalb County Fire Department ranks # 2; only 13 hours short of the # 1 spot.

Last year, the department was the #4 volunteer fire department in Tennessee for training hours. This year, the department logged 2,908 training hours at the state fire academy and was recognized as a Gold Level fire department in Tennessee for 2016-17. The Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy presented the department with a Certificate of Training Achievement.

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling commended the department’s members and leaders for continuing to make the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s training program a legacy of excellence. “Our county takes great pride in the level of commitment and service that we continue to see year after year from our volunteer firefighters who work hard and train hard to make sure our citizens have good fire protection here in DeKalb County.

Getting this kind of statewide recognition for the ninth consecutive year makes it very clear that we have an excellent group of committed men and women who sacrifice many hours to be prepared to respond to the emergency needs of our citizens,” says Mayor Stribling. Chief Donny Green says he wants to personally commend Captain Brian Williams, the department's Training Officer, for his leadership in planning and coordinating the
department's training activities in a manner that consistently spotlights our training program as one of top in the state; volunteer or career. In addition to the 2,908 hours at the Academy, Captain Williams coordinated over 3,000 man hours of in "in-house" training.

Chief Green says that without the support of County Mayor Tim Stribling, the County Commission, the families of our volunteer firefighters, and the citizens of DeKalb County, the department could not have achieved such prestigious recognition. “Properly trained firefighters are the best tools available to any fire department. Without proper training, the best and most expensive equipment is useless. However, good training coupled with good equipment is priceless,” says Chief Green. Training performance and documentation are core elements in the Insurance Services Office's (ISO) property protection that determine how much property owner's have to pay in homeowners insurance premiums. The DeKalb County Fire Department's proven commitment to training and emergency response has resulted in a dramatic improvement to DeKalb County’s Public Protection Classification Rating of Class 6 for all areas of DeKalb County located within 5 road miles of one of the department’s 11 stations.

If you are interested in learning more about the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, or would like information on how to be a member of our team, you can visit the Department’s website at: www.dekalbfire.com, or call 615-464-7176. You can also visit the Department’s FaceBook group page.

Elite Club 2016-2017

Johnson City Fire Department 11,062
Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue 10,126
Bartlett Fire Department 7,552
Franklin Fire Department 6,118
Cleveland Fire Department 5,110
Memphis Fire Department 4,172
Gallatin Fire Department 4,157
Dyersburg Fire Department 4,100

Hendersonville Fire Department 3,998
Lebanon Fire Department 3,788
Brentwood Fire & Rescue 3,719
Kingsport Fire Department 3,684
Smyrna Fire Department 3,526
Wilson County EMA 3,388
Clarksville Fire & Rescue 3,078
Seymour Volunteer Fire Department 2,921
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department 2,908
Elizabethton Fire Department 2,864
Crossville Fire Department 2,860
Rural/Metro Fire Department 2,758
Hardin County Fire Department 2,694
Williamson County Fire & Rescue 2,690
McMinnville Fire Department 2,668
Maury County Fire Department 2,641
Pigeon Forge Fire Department 2,529
Williamson County Rescue Squad 2,509
Blount County Fire Department 2,488
Lawrenceburg Fire Department 2,455
Columbia Fire Department 2,414
Sevierville Fire Department 2,349
Jefferson City Fire Department 2,196
Germantown Fire Department 2,195
Knoxville Fire Department 2,126
Martin Fire Department 2,090

Tullahoma Fire Department 1,920
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue 1,878
Putnam County Fire Department 1,825
Manchester Fire Department 1,604
Fairview Fire Department 1,557
Cookeville Fire Department 1,544
Signal Mountain Fire Department 1,535
Fire Department of Mt. Juliet 1,520
Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department 1,489
Goodlettsville Fire Department 1,477
Jackson Fire Department 1,412
Shelbyville Fire Department 1,403
Karns Volunteer Fire Department 1,401
Decatur County Fire Department 1,352
Gatlinburg Fire Department 1,317
Madison County Fire Department 1,304
Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department 1,283
Morristown Fire Department 1,274
White House Community Volunteer Fire Dept. 1,272
Rhea County Fire Department 1,265
LaVergne Fire Department 1,236
Bristol Fire Department 1,235
Cumberland County Fire Department 1,208
Loudon Fire Department 1,202
Henderson County Fire Department 1,199
Millington Fire Department 1,180
Oak Ridge Fire Department 1,171
Greeneville Fire Department 1,143
Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department 1,139
Pleasant View Volunteer Fire Department 1,064
Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Dept. 1,048
City of Athens Fire Department 1,039
Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department 1,020

Opal Parker celebrates 20 Years as CNA at NHC Smithville

August 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mark Pody, Opal Parker, and Greg Bidwell

NHC Smithville recently held a celebration for Opal Parker on the anniversary of 20 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at NHC Smithville. A reception was held on Friday, August 18 at NHC where Mrs. Parker received some special gifts and a service pin celebrating her 20 years. As an additional honor, Mrs. Parker was presented with a Proclamation from State Representative Mark Pody. The Proclamation congratulated Mrs. Parker on her years of devoted care to her patients as well as her service to NHC. The Proclamation was also signed by State Senator Mae Beavers and Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell. Mrs. Parker began working as a CNA in 1997.

“It was an honor to come and celebrate this occasion with Opal,” Rep. Pody said. “My wife Barbara was a CNA, so caregivers have a special place in my heart. Opal represents the best of the best and her commitment to her patients is evident.”

“Opal has long been an important part of the NHC team and we are so grateful for her selfless service to the patients, families, and partners of NHC Smithville,” NHC Senior Vice President Greg Bidwell said.

Administrator Clint Hall added, “She is a very caring, compassionate, and reliable person. Her dedication to patients and her fellow partners are second to none and serves as an example to others. We are fortunate to have her as a part of the NHC family.”

Opal Parker is a native of DeKalb County and is married to Danny Parker. They have 3 children and attend Hensley Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.

Skygazers from Across the Country Flock to Smithville to View the Solar Eclipse (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

August 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Matt Johnson of the NASA Space Center in Huntsville, Ala. came to Smithville’s Green Brook Park to view the solar eclipse. He does guidance, navigation, and control for the SLS Space Launch System
Scott and Lamanda Taylor of Franklinton, Louisiana found a spot at the scenic overlook on Cookeville Highway to view the solar eclipse. They arrived Sunday just for this viewing
Many  enjoyed free goodies and entertainment while waiting for the eclipse during the Downtown Block Party  hosted by the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Justin Potter Library, St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital, the DeKalb County Government, and the City of Smithville.
Solar eclipse expedition group flies in from Texas
The Smithville Airport was a busy place Monday with plane after plane arriving bearing tourists, astronomers, photographers, and others to see the solar eclipse. This man flew in from Waco Texas
Spectators from states across the country, including NASA researchers and astronomers flew in at the Smithville Municipal Airport.
Motorists coming from I-40 lined up on Buffalo Valley Road Monday morning waiting to enter Edgar Evins State Park to get good place to view the Solar Eclipse
People of all ages gathered at Evins Park for Solar Eclipse Downtown Block Party
Groups like this one gathered at Greenbrook Park Monday waiting to view the solar eclipse

Skygazers got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a rare total solar eclipse as it swept across a narrow corridor of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina on Monday afternoon.

For a few moments, DeKalb County was in the path of near total darkness just before 1:30 p.m.

Spectators from states across the country, including NASA researchers and astronomers drove hundreds of miles to DeKalb County. Some flew in at the Smithville Municipal Airport.

“We’ve never had this many airplanes in Smithville before,” said Joe Johnson, Operator of the Smithville Municipal Airport.

“By noon we had approximately 34 landings and we had about 30 more who had called wanting to come in and we’re trying our best to park them. We can handle about 75 to 80 aircraft by parking them in the grass,” he said.

“We’ve had them fly in here from Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and more,” Johnson added.

Stephanie Osborne from Huntsville, Alabama was among those who flew in at the airport. She is an astronomer who has worked 20 years at NASA.

"It’s darn near smack on the center line of the totality path,” when asked why she chose to come to Smithville to view the eclipse.

Greenbrook Park was also filled with people from across the country who gathered there for the viewing. Among them was Matt Johnson, also a NASA employee.

“ I came here because I wanted some place that was out of the way off the main highway to avoid traffic,” he said.
Johnson explained what he does for NASA.

“The Space Shuttle is getting a replacement called the SLS and I work on GNC, Guidance Navigation Control. I make sure it goes where it is supposed to go,” said Johnson.

Many enjoyed free goodies and entertainment while waiting for the eclipse during the Downtown Block Party hosted by the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Justin Potter Library, St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital, the DeKalb County Government, and the City of Smithville.

Center Hill Lake and Edgar Evins State Park were also places to be for the solar eclipse. Motorists coming from Interstate 40 were lined up on Buffalo Valley Road Monday morning waiting to enter the park to get a good spot for this once in a lifetime event

Visitors also gathered at the scenic overlook on Highway 56 north (Cookeville Highway) including some from Pennsylvania, New York, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Scott and Lamanda Taylor of Franklinton, Louisiana were among those at the overlook. They arrived in DeKalb County Sunday after an eight hour drive from home.

Although Scott has an uncle with a cabin on Center Hill Lake, this was the Taylors' first visit here and their sole purpose in coming was to get the best view of the solar eclipse. They were among those parked at the scenic overlook.

“Its something that doesn’t happen too often that we in this country have an opportunity to see. Its something I didn’t want to miss,” Scott told WJLE.

“We are very excited about this,” added Lamanda.

After the big event, the Taylor’s said they planned to head back home. “We’re going to head on back. Gotta go back to work tomorrow,” said Scott.

Woman Injured in Monday Morning Wreck

August 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
2007 Nissan Titan driven by 36 year old Daniel Lee Hullett of McMinnville
2003 Buick LeSabre driven by 69 year old Imelda Venton of Smithville

A Smithville woman was transported by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital after a crash Monday morning at the intersection of South Mountain and Hayes Streets.

According to Smithville Police, 69 year old Imelda Venton was driving east on Hayes Street in a 2003 Buick LeSabre when she crossed the path of a 2007 Nissan Titan driven by 36 year old Daniel Lee Hullett of McMinnville. He was traveling north on South Mountain Street.

The truck hit the car in the passenger side.

Hullett was not injured.

The crash was investigated by Patrolman Andy Snow. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Man Charged in Kentucky Murder Faces Theft Charge in DeKalb County

August 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Justin A. Denihan
Jessica Denise Dyal
Gregory Michael Patton
Robert Allen Hutchins
Jamie Clinton Lynn
Dontavius Quartez Warren

A 23-year old Bowling Green, Kentucky man charged with killing a woman there on Saturday was in DeKalb County on Friday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Justin A. Denihan was arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, August 18 at 12:27 p.m. for theft of property under $1,000. He was released at 8:57 p.m. Friday night after posting a $3,500 bond. His court date is August 31.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_35.pdf (2.44 MB)

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched to Edgar Evins Marina on Friday due to a complaint of a suspicious man there. The officer found the man, Denihan, and transported him back to his truck which was parked on Dale Ridge Road. A Jimenez Arms Inc. 22 caliber handgun was found on the front seat of his truck. A computer check revealed the handgun had been stolen in Davidson County.

On Saturday, August 19 Denihan was arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky after he claimed to have murdered a woman and stuffed her body in a tote. The woman’s body was found taped inside a tote at a residence on Pleasant Place Way in Bowling Green, Kentucky at around 12 noon Saturday. The deceased is thought to have been a resident of that home and Warren County, Kentucky authorities said there were signs of trauma on the body. Kentucky authorities said Denihan was at the home and told them that he killed the woman and put her body in the tote. Denihan is in the Warren County, Kentucky Regional Jail charged with murder.

In other cases locally, the girlfriend of a man charged in recent burglaries and thefts is now facing charges of her own for knowing about certain crimes he allegedly committed and not reporting them to authorities.

32 year old Jessica Denise Dyal of Floyd Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft under $1,000. Her bond totals $10,000 and her court date is August 31.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Dyal, the girlfriend of 28 year old Corey Alan Bradford, stood to benefit from the July 19 theft of a 50 inch Samsung television (valued at $550) from a home on Blackberry Hill Road and a gold single diamond necklace and a cluster ring made into a necklace, valued at $675 taken in another theft.

41 year Gregory Michael Patton of Oak Place Drive, Smithville is charged with forgery, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession or casual exchange, criminal impersonation, and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond totals $18, 500 and his court date is August 31.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 3 a deputy conducted a traffic stop on Highway 70 west. A passenger in the vehicle identified himself as James Patton. He was found to have in his possession a hypodermic needle and a single glass pipe containing residue believed to be from marijuana. The deputy also found a container that held small crystals (under 0.5 grams) which field tested positive for methamphetamine.

He was issued a citation at that time under the name James Patton for possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession or casual exchange. Patton signed the citation as James Patton and he was then released.

Officers later learned that Patton had lied to them about his name and date of birth and that his actual name is Gregory Patton. Warrants were taken against him for forgery, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession or casual exchange, and criminal impersonation.

Another deputy ran into Patton on Thursday, August 17 at a residence on Laverne Street in Alexandria while serving an arrest warrant on another person. The officer informed Patton that he was wanted on active warrants against him. Patton turned and fled through the house and escaped through a bathroom window. Patton was found and arrested later that day and served with the warrants along with a charge of resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search

23 year old Robert Allen Hutchins of Smithville Highway, McMinnville is charged with domestic assault and violation of an order of protection. His bond is $7,000 and his court date is August 31.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 17 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Snow Hill Road for a physical domestic. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who said that her husband, Hutchins had assaulted her and then left the scene. The woman said Hutchins had been drinking and began arguing with her before shoving her down causing redness and scrapes to her left elbow. The victim also alleged that while she was calling 911, Hutchins threatened to slit her throat if she didn’t hang up the phone. After a further investigation including statements from witnesses, Hutchins was determined to have been at the scene in violation of an order of protection against him. He is not to have any contact with the woman (victim) in this case. He was placed under arrest.

34 year old Jamie Clinton Lynn of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on August 17 a deputy was dispatched to the sheriff’s office in reference to a possible physical domestic. Upon arrival the officer met with a woman who reported that she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, Lynn at a residence on Short Mountain Highway. The officer learned that Lynn had allegedly head butted the woman causing a red mark above her right eye. He also allegedly struck her on the face causing a busted lip and had thrown an object leaving a scratch on her side.

28 year old Dontavius Quartez Warren of McMinnville was arrested for driving under the influence, possession of a handgun while under the influence, and evading arrest. He was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of the implied consent law for refusing to submit to a blood test. His bond totals $10,000 and his court date is September 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 19 a deputy was dispatched to the area of Nashville Highway due to a reckless driver in a maroon Ford Escape. The vehicle had run the complainant off the road on Highway 53. The officer spotted the automobile traveling at a high rate of speed near Dry Creek Road and tried to make a traffic stop. The officer activated his blue lights but the driver continued to evade for another two miles before finally pulling over. While speaking with the driver, Warren, the officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from his person. Warren’s eyes were also red, glossy, and bloodshot. Warren submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest. During an inventory search of Warren’s vehicle, the deputy found in the center console a Taurus 380 caliber pistol and a glass marijuana pipe.

Hickman Man Injured in Motorcycle Crash

August 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
James Bullington of Hickman injured in Motorcycle Crash on Dale Ridge Road
1998 Harley Davidson Wrecks on Dale Ridge Road

A 68 year old Hickman man suffered a leg injury in a motorcycle crash on Dale Ridge Road Sunday afternoon.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that James Bullington was traveling north on State Route 96 (Dale Ridge Road) on a 1998 Harley Davidson when the motorcycle ran off the right side of the roadway, laid over on its left side, and slid to rest. The accident occurred in a curve near the intersection of Davis Hollow Road and close to the Memorial Baptist Church.

Bullington, who was wearing a helmet, was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. He was cited for failing to maintain his lane of travel.

The crash was investigated by Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Members of the Liberty Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

DTC Communications to Host Annual Meeting

August 21, 2017

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 16, 2017, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in the Milton, Norene, and Woodbury exchanges. The Nominating Committee has qualified the following candidates by nomination: Jim Vinson - Milton, Terry McPeak – Norene, and Jean Chumbley Ferrell – Woodbury. One candidate, Michael Alexander, qualified by petition in the Woodbury exchange.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 16 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 11-13. The last day to make changes to your membership for the 2017 election is Thursday, Sept. 7.

Hours and locations for early voting include:
Early Voting Hours

*Mon., Sept. 11 ............... 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
* Tues., Sept. 12 .............. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
* Wed., Sept. 13 ............. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Early Voting Held at DTC Store Locations

* 111 High Street – ALEXANDRIA
* 200 Walmart Drive – SMITHVILLE
* 106 West High Street - WOODBURY

On Saturday, Sept. 16, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 3 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 3 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present proper photo identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

For additional information about membership and voting, call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Two Found Dead in Mobile Home

August 20, 2017
Dwayne Page
51 year old Douglas Ray Ferrell and 45 year old Angel Dawn Ferrell were found dead Sunday in this mobile home in the Jefferson Community on South Judkins Lane

The bodies of a man and woman were found Sunday afternoon inside a mobile home on South Judkins Lane, Smithville in the Jefferson Community

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Central Dispatch received the call at 2:16 p.m. and deputies arrived at 2:28 p.m. and found the two bodies inside the mobile home. Detectives from the Sheriff's Department were summoned to the scene along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney General's Office, and the County Medical Examiner Investigator.

The deceased have been identified as 51 year old Douglas Ray Ferrell and 45 year old Angel Dawn Ferrell. The bodies have been sent for an autopsy.

No other information was immediately released.

Sunday Fire Leaves DeKalb County Family Homeless (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

August 20, 2017
Dwayne Page
Sunday Fire Leaves DeKalb County Family Homeless
Fire Destroys Home on Lower Helton Road

A Sunday evening fire has left a DeKalb County family homeless.

The residence of Nathan and Kim Hale at 5093 Lower Helton Road near Alexandria was destroyed by the blaze which was reported at 6:02 p.m. about an hour after the family had left to attend a church service in Carthage. The owner of the home is Garland Hale.

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that a neighbor spotted the fire and reported it but the home was fully engulfed in flames and could not be saved. All the family’s belongings were lost in the blaze. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Members of the Liberty, Main Station, and Cookeville Highway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck. The Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid backup with a fire truck and manpower.

Members of the Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

There were no injuries.

Man Dies In Lawn Mower Accident In Austin Bottom Community

August 20, 2017
Dwayne Page

A man lost his life in a lawn mowing accident Sunday afternoon on Askin Lane in the Austin Bottom area of DeKalb County.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:08 p.m. and a deputy responded.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the man was on a standard size riding mower when the accident occurred as he was mowing his yard. The man was found dead about 40 feet down an embankment by his yard.

DeKalb EMS responded along with the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad and the County Fire Department. The man's name has not been released.


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