Local News Articles

DCHS Band Wins More Trophies

October 16, 2017
Bill Conger
DCHS Band Wins More Trophies (Bill Conger Photo)

The DCHS Fighting Tiger Marching Band added several more trophies to the walls after this past weekend’s competition.

Under the direction of Tracy M. Luna and Dalton Hawkins, the band won 2nd place in its division Saturday (Oct. 14) at the Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship in Chapel Hill.

“Their performance was perhaps their best of the season with all units firing on all cylinders,” Luna said. “All six in the panel of judges offered critiques that help in the preparation of the final competition. Performing in the late afternoon at 4:15, the band was in a tough class of three bands, facing the formidable Houston County and Hickman County Scarlet Regiment. Making this competition unique was the fact that there were 16 other bands in the entire field within Division 1, 2, and 3.”

For at least the third year in a row the band came home with the coveted Spirit Award. Field Commander Junior Ingram walked away with second place honors as did the percussion section. The DCHS Color Guard held its own with third place by a slim margin.

The band has an off week during fall break with three weeks to prepare for the final competition of the season, the Division 2 State Band Championship at Stewart's Creek High School in Smyrna.

One Killed, Nine Injured including Children in Saturday Night Crash

October 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
1995 Toyota driven by 63 year old Judy L. Bullard of Smithville
2015 Dodge Jou driven by 30 year old Virginia R. Carrier of Smithville

One person died and nine others were injured in a two vehicle crash Saturday night on Highway 56 near WJLE.

Dead is 63 year old Judy L. Bullard of Smithville.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Bullard was driving south on Highway 56 in a 1995 Toyota Tercel when the car drifted into the northbound lane of travel and sideswiped a 2015 Dodge Journey van driven by 30 year old Virginia R. Carrier of Smithville. Carrier’s van came to rest on the right side but off the highway while Bullard’s car came to a final stop in the roadway.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to the scene to extricate Bullard, who was entrapped in her vehicle. Others on site were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Smithville Police Department, and DeKalb EMS. A helicopter landing zone was set up near the crash scene on Highway 56.

Bullard was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Two passengers with Bullard, 65 year old Mary C. Miller and a 7 year old boy were injured and taken to the hospital.

Carrier was injured along with her six passengers including boys ages 1 year old, 5 years old, and 10 years old and three girls, two of them ages 13 years old, and the other who is 2 years old. All were transported to the hospital.

According to the THP, all ten crash victims were properly restrained. No charges or citations have been filed.

The crash, which occurred at around 8:18 p.m. was investigated by Trooper William Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

DeKalb Schools Closed for Fall Break

October 15, 2017
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will be closed this week for fall break October 16-20.

After this week, the next time off for students will be for Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving break has traditionally been for three days, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. This year, schools will be closed for an entire week for Thanksgiving, November 20-24. Those two extra days off for Thanksgiving will be made up at the end of the school year in 2017-18. The last day of school was originally set for Tuesday May 22, 2018 but has now been changed to Thursday, May 24, 2018.

The Christmas break will be December 21 through January 3.

Wednesday, December 20 will be the last day students attend before Christmas break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Wednesday, January 3, 2018 will be a stockpile day for teachers.

Students will return after the holidays on Thursday, January 4.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 26 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home from all schools on Tuesday, October 24

Early Voting Begins Wednesday

October 15, 2017
Mary Alice Carfi
Mark Pody

Early voting begins Wednesday (October 18) for the Special 17th Senatorial District Republican and Democratic primaries, set for November 7th.

The election is the result of a vacancy created in the district when State Senator Mae Beavers resigned to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. The District includes DeKalb, Smith, Macon, Cannon, Clay and Wilson counties.

Only one candidate is on the ballot for both primaries. State Representative Mark Pody is looking to move to the upper chamber and is on the Republican primary ballot. Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi is the lone candidate on the Democratic primary ballot. They will face each other in the General Election set for December 19th.

Early voting hours for the primaries are as follows: Mondays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Wednesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. until Noon and Saturdays 9 a.m. until Noon. All early voting will be held on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The special senatorial elections are just the beginning of what will be a busy political season in 2018 starting with the DeKalb County Democratic Primary. Candidates may pick up a qualifying petition beginning November 17th at the election commission office.

The primary winners will take on any Republican and Independent candidates in the August DeKalb General Election. Independent candidate petitions will also be available beginning November 17. Republicans will choose their August candidates by caucus. The qualifying deadline for those offices is Noon, February 15.

Meanwhile, there will also be five non-partisan school board seats on the August 2018 ballot. Candidates for school board in districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 can pick up petitions beginning January 5, 2018.

All four cities in the county will also have August elections. The first day candidates in those races can pick up petitions is also January 5.

Macon County Takes Down Tigers 62-34

October 14, 2017
Dwayne Page
Macon County Takes Down DCHS 62-34

The Macon County Tigers took down the DeKalb County Tigers 62-34 on Senior night in Smithville Friday evening.

DeKalb County drops to 2-7 on the season (0-3) in the region. Macon County improves to 7-1 (3-0).

The last game of the regular season for the Tigers will be in two weeks, Friday October 27 as they travel to Cumberland County. A win would get them in the state play-offs.

In the game Friday night, Macon County struck first on a 53 yard quarterback keeper by Seth Carlisle for a touchdown with 9:56 left in the 1st period. The PAT attempt was no good but Macon County led 6-0.

Macon County’s Chris Oliver intercepted a DeKalb County pass and returned it 20 yards for a pick six. The PAT was good and Macon County led 13-0 with 9:37 left in the 1st period.

After a Macon County miscue on a punt attempt, DeKalb County took over on the visitor’s 20 yard line and scored two plays later on a 1 yard run by Jesse Smith. Andrew Fuson booted the PAT and DeKalb County trailed 13-7 with 6:38 left in the 1st period.

Macon County struck again, this time on a 79 yard touchdown pass play from Carlisle to Ethan Jenkins with 5:42 left in the 1st period. The PAT was good and the visitors led 20-7.

Macon County got a safety after sacking DeKalb County quarterback Tyler Cantrell in the end zone late in the 1st period and went up 22-7

The first score of the 2nd period came on a 14 yard touchdown strike from Carlisle to Chris Oliver. The PAT attempt was no good but Macon County extended its lead to 28-7.

DeKalb County drew closer on a 7 yard touchdown pass from Tyler Cantrell to Braxton Linder. Fuson added the extra point and the home team trailed 28-14

Macon County took a 35 to 14 lead with 3:29 left in the 2nd period on a 3 yard touchdown run by Noah Likens. The PAT was good.

The visitors got one more score before the end of the first half on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Carlisle to Curtis Oliver. The PAT was good and Macon County led 42-14.

Macon County took a 48-14 advantage on a 60 yard quarterback run by Carlisle with 9:40 left in the 3rd period. The PAT attempt was no good

DeKalb County closed the gap on a touchdown pass from Tyler Cantrell to Grayson Redmon. Fuson added the extra point and the hometown Tigers trailed 48-21.

Macon County then scored on a 5 yard touchdown pass from Carlisle to Curtis Oliver. After the conversion, the visitors led 56-21.

DeKalb County scored twice in the 4th quarter, the first on an 11 yard touchdown pass from Cantrell to Paxton Butler. Fuson tacked on the extra point and DC trailed 56-28.

The last touchdown of the game for DeKalb County came on a 19 yard pass from Cantrell to Christian Ferrell with 3:45 left. The PAT attempt was no good. The score was 56-34.

Macon County added its last score on a 44 yard touchdown run with 1:13 left. The PAT try was no good and the final score was 62-34 in favor of Macon County.

Inmate Charged with Vandalism

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Nathan Joseph Wilbert
Ronnie Martinez, Jr.
Donna Faye Campbell
Lynn Jay Jones
Zachary Tyler Adams
Eric Dewayne Judkins

An inmate at the DeKalb County Jail has been charged with vandalism.

37 year old Nathan Joseph Wilbert of Vandergriff Hollow Road, Dowelltown is under a $2,000 bond and his court date is October 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, October 8 at approximately 6:49 a.m. while incarcerated at the jail, Wilbert damaged a sprinkler head in the holding cell of the jail annex where he was being housed. Wilbert pulled on and broke the sprinkler head which caused water to flood the cell and surrounding area. The charge was brought against Wilbert by a correctional officer.

23 year old Ronnie Martinez, Jr. of Adcock Cemetery Road is charged with criminal trespassing. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is October 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 5 a deputy was called to investigate a trespassing complaint on Adcock Cemetery Road. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the complainant who said that Martinez, who lives at another address on Adcock Cemetery Road, keeps trespassing on his property. Other homeowners in the area reported that before the deputy arrived they saw Martinez go into the woods onto the complainant’s property. The deputy and other officers searched the area and found Martinez back at his own home. Martinez admitted to having been on his neighbor’s property even after the complainant had warned him at least twice to keep off his property. Martinez was placed under arrest.

36 year old Donna Faye Campbell of Nashville is charged with disorderly conduct. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on November 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 6 after leaving a courtroom at the DeKalb County Courthouse, Campbell began screaming and cussing while in the hallways and didn’t stop even after being given a direct order to be quiet and to leave the building. Campbell was placed under arrest.

26 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins of Hendrixson Road is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. He was further cited for no insurance and for failure to carry a registration on his vehicle. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is October 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 7 a deputy spotted a black Ford car, driven by someone who had possibly been involved in a domestic on Tubb Street. The officer stopped the car and spoke with the driver, Judkins and found his license to be suspended. A computer check confirmed his license were suspended for a truancy law violation on April 27, 2007. The deputy learned that Judkins has two prior offenses for driving on a suspended license.

43 year old Lynn Jay Jones of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and driving while license revoked. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is November 2. He was further cited for no insurance and for violation of the light law. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, October 8 a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 west for no rear tail lights. The officer spoke with the driver, Jones who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on him and his speech was slurred. His eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet. Jones submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He admitted to having consumed two quart sized beers and non-prescribed morphine earlier in the day. The officer learned that Jones’ license were revoked for an unsatisfied judgment in DeKalb County on May 27, 1999 and have not yet been reinstated.

21 year old Zachary Tyler Adams of Adams Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, October 8 a deputy was dispatched to the 1200 block of Four Seasons Road due to a one vehicle accident. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Adams who said he was the driver of the 2006 Dodge truck which left the roadway and hit a light pole. Adams was unsteady on his feet. His eyes were bloodshot and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Adams admitted to having consumed too much alcohol to have been driving and he performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Needs Donations for Holidays

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

Once again the Christmas season is approaching.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Many of these children may wonder if Santa Claus has received their new address and if he will be bringing gifts this year.

There are currently more than 734 children in the Upper Cumberland area who are in state’s custody and approximately 86 of those children are from DeKalb County. These children need your help.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with funds for the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund Account. This account provides assistance to foster and underprivileged children all year. If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please contact Annette Greek at 615-597-5023 or make your check payable to the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund and send it to Annette Greek, 1101 South College Street, Smithville Tennessee 37166.

Tigers to Host Macon County on Senior Night

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers to Host Macon County on Senior Night

The DCHS Tigers will host the Macon County Tigers in their last home game of the regular season tonight.

Kick-Off is at 7:00 p.m.



It’ll be a region showdown.

While Macon County has several playmakers, Tiger Coach Steve Trapp said quarterback Seth Carlisle is the straw that stirs the drink.

“He definitely is a great football player. He has already signed to go play at Tennessee Tech. I don’t know if that is for quarterback or not. He plays defense as well. Our guys just have to gang tackle. They have to be motivated to play against a really great football player. Deep down inside if you are a guy that rises up to a challenge then this is where you want to be. You want to play against good football players. You want to play against guys who are going to the next level just so you can leave your mark in your moment. That is the thing we’ve talked about. I feel like our guys have practiced well. The “R” in Tiger Pride is about resilience. We’ve talked a lot about that, being able to bounce back from a very poor performance. A very poor week. We were bad Monday through Friday last week and it showed up a lot on Friday but it has been better this week and I think we’ll have a better performance tonight,” said Coach Trapp.

DeKalb County is 2-6 with losses to Warren County 26-10, Upperman 49-27, Stone Memorial 38-16, Watertown 59-21, Livingston Academy 29-18, and Smith County 53-21. Their wins have been over Grundy County 27-7 and Cannon County 42-0.

Macon County is 6-1 with wins over Westmoreland 10-7, White House Heritage 28-26, Cumberland County 49-13, Trousdale County 42-20, Stone Memorial 28-16, and Portland 36-7. Their only loss was to Smith County 39-22 in the season opener.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the football game on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby.

WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.

“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at 6:00 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches interviews.

“Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger players Isaac Cross, Hunter Fann, Bradley Miller

The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with play by play coverage on WJLE with John Pryor and color commentary by Luke Willoughby

School Board Responds to Teachers Concerns about Health Insurance Costs

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School Teacher Tena Davidson Addresses Board of Education
Board of Education
Several teachers attended Thursday night's Board of Education meeting
Teachers concerned about rising health insurance premiums attend School Board meeting

The Smithville Elementary School Cafeteria was filled with teachers Thursday night where the monthly meeting of the Board of Education was held.

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

Last month the board voted to approve a rate hike as mandated by the state but since the school system did not absorb the increase in the plan in which most teachers are enrolled, the higher costs are being passed on to them. Of the 274 plus employees taking insurance, 146 are enrolled in the “limited ppo” plan that took the hardest hit. The state requires that the school system pay 45% toward its teachers’ health insurance, but according to Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, “we have been paying well over that, 55% and more depending upon the plan teachers have,” he said.

Under the Federal Affordable Care Act, the school system must offer at least one plan that is affordable for its lowest paid employees based on federal poverty guidelines. To meet that mandate, the school system provides a Consumer Directed Health Plan with Health Savings Account.

Since last month, the board of education has heard from teachers who say this extra expense will place a heavier burden on them financially. Some are concerned that many good teachers here will be forced to leave the system and take better paying jobs and health insurance benefits elsewhere if they don’t get more help.

Tena Davidson, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School, addressed the board Thursday night during its workshop with a suggestion.

“My compromise is for the school system not to absorb all the increase, but just the same percentage you absorbed last year. That is what I thought would be a fair compromise. The example for me is that if the school continued to pay the same percentage of my insurance as you did last year, because last year 70% was paid, my insurance, if I keep the same insurance, it would go up from $323 per month to $408, which is a 26% increase. That is manageable. However with the school only covering 57.5% of the insurance this year instead of 70% last year, my premium will go up from $323 per month to $579 per month, which is a 79% increase. That is out of my check. The end result on my paycheck will be monthly I am going to be bringing home $284 less per month and my husband and I will be getting $3,408 less this coming year. That’s a whopping big cut in my pay. But I am just one of many (teachers). We’re all in this together. I am just asking you to do what you can,” said Davidson.

In an effort to ease that burden, the Board, following its one hour workshop on the issue, voted during the regular meeting to add another $50 per month to each teacher who has insurance through the school system . The vote was 5 -1-1.

Second District Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson “passed” saying the board was acting in haste and should take more time to deliberate in another meeting or workshop. “This is a serious matter ladies and gentlemen. I’ve told you before when I got on this board not to try and ram something down my throat. This is just ramming it down our throat. We have not had enough time to study it. We need to set down, meet in a workshop and study this before you pass it. You don’t need to do it on the spur of the moment. I just want these people in the audience (teachers) to know why I’m voting no tonight. I have nothing against none of you. I wish we could pay 100% of your insurance.I am for you getting every dime you can get but I’m not going to have nothing run down my throat. I said that when I got on the board. I still say it and that’s the way I stand,” said Johnson.

Fourth district member Kate Miller said teachers needed a decision from the board because they are facing an open enrollment deadline this month by which time they must decide whether to keep their current health insurance plan or make changes. “I have had this information for several days and have been looking at it and studying it, really comparing the figures. I feel like it is reasonable. Its not as much as I wish we could do. I wish we could afford to pay the entire increase,” said Miller.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens told WJLE later that while he is concerned for the teachers, the board’s action Thursday night would only add to potential budget deficit issues for the school system and not fix the problem of rising health insurance costs, which is beyond the school board’s control.

Still, Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said it is a start toward addressing the teachers’ worries.

“It’s a lot of money but it seems like its no help at all. It’s a start. It’ll be real close to what we paid last year. I hope that (extra expenditure) doesn’t get into reserves but if it does, it does. In my opinion it’s better than nothing but at least it’s a start. We have to give people (teachers) time to make decisions on whether this is enough additional money to keep them from having to choose a different plan ” said Chairman Evins.

“Within the budget realms we have, we crunched the numbers and tried to fit this within our budget. We will go back (to the county commission) and ask for more (money) next year,” said Director Cripps.

In other business, Director Cripps updated the Board on personnel moves since last month.

Those employed are:

Janie Johnson, bus driver
Roger Gaw, custodian
Rochelle Johnson, deaf interpreter at Northside Elementary School

Julie Hale from educational assistant to an art position at DeKalb Middle School/DeKalb West School

Ricky Edwards, bus driver
Jennifer Sykes, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

October 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary would like to recognize our Students of the Month for October. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for October are:

Pre-K: Anna Fulcher

Kindergarten: Aubree Bruno

1st grade: Braxston Carter

2nd grade: Cassidy Orcutt


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