Local News Articles

Two Involved in Thursday Wreck

February 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Two Involved in Thursday Wreck

Two people were involved in a traffic accident late Thursday afternoon on Highway 70 at the intersection of Hurricane Ridge Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 55 year old Darlene Caplinger of Smithville, driving a 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix, turned left on Highway 70 from Hurricane Ridge Road and crossed into the path of a 2003 Kia Spectra, driven by 39 year old Misty Walden of Dowelltown, who was west on Highway 70.

Walden was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Flu and other Health Problems Claim Local Minister

February 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Matt Long

The flu combined with other health problems claimed the life of a local minister last weekend.

55 year old Matt Long, pastor of the Dowelltown, Pisgah, and Fullers Chapel United Methodist Churches in the Dowelltown Charge, died on Saturday night at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

According to family members, Long, a diabetic, became sick with the flu on Thursday and he was taken to Smith County General Hospital after his sugar began to spike that afternoon. He was airlifted Friday night by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and died on Saturday in a diabetic coma.

A resident of Brush Creek, Long is survived by: wife, Angela Long; children, Johnathon (Hoss) Long of Lebanon, Brandi Ann Hays and husband Ryan of Gordonsville, Josh Gregory and wife Michelle of Gordonsville, Casey Rainey of New Middleton, Jacob Gregory of New Middleton; father and mother-in-law, Eddie and Rita Montgomery of Pleasant Shade; wife's grandparents, Johnny and Wilma Montgomery of Watertown; siblings, Kevin Long of Lebanon, Sherell White and husband Ray of New Middleton, Mary Roberts of Carthage, Carrie Long of Kentucky, Rene' Johnson of Lebanon; 7 grandchildren.

The funeral was held Wednesday, February 19 at the Carthage Chapel of Sanderson Funeral Home. Burial followed in the Brush Creek Cemetery.

Governor Bill Haslam to Speak at GOP Reagan Day Dinner

February 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Governor Bill Haslam

Governor Bill Haslam will be in Smithville next week to speak at the DeKalb County Republican Party's Reagan Day Dinner.

The fund raising dinner will be Thursday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the county complex.

Haslam, former Mayor of Knoxville, is in his first term as Governor, having been elected in 2010.

Born in Knoxville, Haslam is a graduate of Emory University. He began his career in business, joining his father, Jim Haslam, who was the founder of Pilot Corporation. Haslam rose to the rank of President of Pilot Corp in the 1990s after his brother Jimmy became the company's CEO. Haslam then left Pilot and from 1999 to 2001 was the CEO of the E-Commerce and Cataloging division at the high-end department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue. He then became a consultant at Saks, served on the board of directors at Harold's Stores, Inc. and still remains a co-owner of the minor league baseball team the Tennessee Smokies.

Entering a career in politics, Haslam was elected to serve as Mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and was then elected to a second term in 2007. After Governor Phil Bredesen was term-limited and prevented from running for reelection, Haslam declared his candidacy for Governor in January 2009. He defeated Representative Zach Wamp and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey in the Republican primary and went on to defeat Democratic businessman Mike McWherter in the general election.

Having celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary in 2013, Bill and his wife, Crissy, have also been blessed with three children, a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law and a new grandson. For 28 years, Bill and Crissy have been members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Knoxville and for 22 of those years Bill has served as an Elder.

Haslam is expected to seek a second term as Governor this year.

Tickets to the dinner are $30.00 per person or $250.00 for a table of six. For ticket information email loveboatlovefish@yahoo.com.

Primary to Feature Four Contested Races for County Offices

February 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Tim Stribling
Mike Clayborn
James L. "Jimmy" Poss
Bratten H. Cook, II
Margie Rigsby Miller
Michael Agee
James "Jimmy" Sprague
Katherine Pack
Jeff McMillen

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary on May 6th will feature four contested county wide and five district county commission races. Today (Thursday) at noon was the qualifying deadline.

County Mayor Mike Foster will be seeking his fourth term but will be challenged in the primary by Smithville Alderman Tim Stribling. The winner will face Republican nominee Chris Smithson and Independent Chris Bratcher, II in the August 7th County General Election.

Three term incumbent County Clerk Mike Clayborn will be looking for his fourth term. He faces a challenge from James L. (Jimmy) Poss. The winner will face Independent Candidate Daniel Critser in August.

Incumbent General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Hale "Butch" Cook, II is running for his third-eight year term. His primary opponent is local attorney Margie Rigsby Miller. The winner will meet Republican challenger Mingy Colwell Bryant in August. She is also a Smithville attorney.

In the race for Sheriff, Michael J. Agee and Larry Flair, Sr. will face off for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face two term Republican Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray in August

James D. (Jimmy) Sprague is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Road Supervisor but he will face Republican nominee Wallace M. (Butch) Agee in the August General Election. The winner will succeed six term incumbent Kenny Edge, who is not seeking re-election.

Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and Register of Deeds Jeffrey McMillen, both incumbents, will be unopposed in the May Democratic Primary as well as in the August General Election. Pack is seeking her fourth term. McMillen is looking for his eighth term.

Democrats will not have a candidate for Trustee. Republican incumbent Sean Driver will be unopposed for this third term in the August General Election.

County commission Democratic Primary races on May 6th will be contested in the second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh districts.

The candidates for the county commission in each district are as follows (Two will be Nominated/Elected from each District)

Bennett Armstrong and Elmer Ellis, Jr. are unopposed in the Democratic Primary. They will be the Democratic Nominees in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Mason Carter (TWO TO BE ELECTED).

Jerry Hutchins, Jr., Clarence Trapp , Joe N. Johnson, and Frank D.Thomas are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two Democratic nominees will run in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Bobby Joines and Independent Candidate James "Jimmy" E. Midgett. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Bradley Scott Hendrix, Jerry D. Scott, and Jack E. Barton are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be running in August along with Independent Candidate Wesley Nokes. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Wayne Cantrell, David McDowell, Bobby R. Taylor, Jonathan Norris, and Anthony "Tony" Poss are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be unopposed in August (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Anita Puckett and Rick Cantrell are unopposed in the Democratic Primary. They will be the Democratic Nominees in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Jerry D. Adcock (TWO TO BE ELECTED).

Betty Jean Atnip, Jeff Barnes, and Marshall Ferrell are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be running in August along with Independent Candidate Danny McGinnis (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Larry A. Summers, Kevin Robinson, and David Agee are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be unopposed in August. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Chad Curtis will be unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He will face the Republican nominee Lee Plummer in the August General Election

There is no Democratic candidate for constable in the second district. In August, Republican Chris Tramel will face Independents Tony D. Lawson and Jonathan Low

There is no Democratic candidate for constable in the third district. In August, Independent candidates Travis Bryant and Lou Ann Sanders will be in competition for the position.

13th Judicial District to have Three Contested Primary Races

February 20, 2014
Dwayne Page

GOP primary races will be contested in the 13th Judicial District on May 6th for the offices of District Attorney General, District Public Defender, and Circuit Court Judge, Part I. The 13th Judicial District is made up of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

Noon today (Thursday) was the qualifying deadline.

Republicans Shawn Fry and Bryant Dunaway, both of Cookeville will be vying for the GOP nomination on May 6th for District Attorney General. The winner will face Tony Craighead of Cookeville in the August General Election. Craighead will be unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In the race for Criminal Court Judge, Part I, Republicans Wesley Bray and Gary McKenzie, both of Cookeville will be seeking the GOP nomination on May 6th. The winner will take on William Fred Roberson, Jr. of Cookeville in August. Roberson is unopposed for the Democratic nomination on May 6th.

Craig P. Fickling and Edwin G. Sadler, both of Cookeville, and John Meadows of Sparta are in the race for the Republican nomination for District Public Defender on May 6th. The winner will try to unseat Democratic incumbent David N. Brady of Cookeville in August. Brady is unopposed in the primary on May 6th.

Others who are unopposed in their respective primaries on May 6th are as follows.

Circuit Court Judge, Part I:
Amy Hollars of Livingston, Democratic Incumbent

Circuit Court Judge, Part II:
Randy York of Crossville, Democrat
Jonathan Young of Cookeville, Republican

Criminal Court Judge, Part II
David A. Patterson of Cookeville, Republican Incumbent

Ronald Thurman of Cookeville, Democratic Incumbent
J. Lee Burgess of Cookeville, Republican

Winners of each primary will face off in the August General Election.

Two Bodies Found in Center Hill Lake, Victims of Boating Accident

February 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

The bodies of two persons, a man and a woman, were found in Center Hill Lake overnight, the apparent victims of a boating accident.

Names of the victims have not yet been released.

"A call was made Wednesday at 5:14 pm by a fisherman who said he found a body in the water. Through an investigation, we learned that two people had gone fishing earlier in the day around the Holmes Creek Boat Ramp off of Holmes Creek Road in Smithville," said Sheriff Patrick Ray in a statement to WJLE.

"A second body was found in the lake around 4:28 a.m. this morning (Thursday) after the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, using their sonar system, spotted an image of interest. The TWRA then used a submersible sonar, equipped with a camera and grab hook, to retrieve the body," said Sheriff Ray.

Along with the Rescue Squad, the Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were assisted in the investigation by the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency.

FBLA Students Compete in Region

February 19, 2014
FBLA Students Compete in Region

The DeKalb County High School Chapter of Future Business Leaders of America competed February 13 in Region competition. We would like to congratulate the following students on placing in their competitive event at FBLA Regionals. They will be advancing to state competition in April.

1st place:
Bailey Redmon, FBLA principles and Procedures

2nd place:
Kelsey Hedge: Healthcare Administration
Julia Little: Public Speaking II
Crystal Vickers: Agribusiness
Hannah Walker: Spreadsheet Applications

3rd Place:
Casey Vickers: Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure
Carlee White: Spreadsheet Applications

4th Place:
Bailey Hayes: Public Speaking II
Nic Linder: Agribusiness

Center Hill Dam Generators to Undergo Renovations

February 19, 2014
Center Hill Dam

The Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans a $1 billion project to improve hydroelectric generators at dams in the region.

The Tennessean reported work could begin this year at the Center Hill Dam where plans call for three aging generators to be renovated.

Jamie James, a program manager for the district, says the refurbished generators will mean that more low-cost energy is on the market.

“More efficient generation equates to lower costs,” James said.

After work on the generators at Center Hill Dam is completed, crews will begin renovating generators at the Old Hickory Dam near Nashville.

The generators are being worked on one at a time so that there won’t be a big effect in its ability to supply energy to the power grid. The entire project is expected to take about 20 years.

“The goal of what we do — and even the pace that we’re doing these — is to maintain the low cost of the electricity and avoid anything that’s going to contribute to a rate increase,” James said.

Most of the dams were built more than five decades ago. James said the generators are designed to have a useful life of about 35 years.

“Even with the best care, electrical equipment gets old,” James said. “We are well past the design life of these units.”

The project should give the generators 30 to 40 more years of life.

Hydroelectric power is the cheapest source of energy compared with sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas. The Army Corps sells its power to an intermediary and some of it is purchased by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides energy for much of Middle Tennessee.

David Mistakovich, the district’s chief of hydropower, says the work will also allow the generators to provide more aeration to the water, which will reduce the environmental impact.

Kelsey Evins Named Valedictorian at DCHS

February 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Kelsey Evins
Ashley Barnes

DeKalb County High School has released the names of students in the Class of 2014 Top Academic Ranking including the Valedictorian Kelsey Evins and the Salutatorian Ashley Barnes.

Evins is the daughter of W.J. (Dub) and Edie Beth Evins. Barnes' parents are David and Suzette Barnes.

Beginning with the Class of 2014, students must have completed more challenging honors and advanced placement courses in order to be eligible for Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and the top academic ranking. Their ACT scores and attendance are also factors. In order to meet the new standards, students must have taken ten or more honors classes and have a minimum 21 ACT composite. Students receive more quality points toward their grade point average for taking honors classes. Students who do not meet the new standards are ranked according to their GPA after all the other students who are ranked and do meet the standards. A student must have attended DCHS for two years to be eligible for becoming the Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

Students in the Class of 2014 Top Academic Ranking are as follows:

Kelsey Evins, Ashley Barnes, Justin Wiser, Peter Antoniak, Joshua Davidson, Danielle Tyson, Courtney Caldwell, Kayna E. Caplinger, Crystal Vickers, Kalab Ferrell, Travis Ferrell, McKenzie Poteete, Laura Reed, Emily Snow, Lauren Medlin, Connor Giddens, Elizabeth Mason, Chelsey Brannon, Courtney Rice, Kelsey MacDonald, Steven Laxton, Samantha Sircy, Erika Brown, Tyler Monette, Hannah Ball, Seth Gerringer, Mallory Sullivan, Alexis Cornelius, Hunter Eckert, Taylor Cantrell, William Dougherty, Elizabeth Lasser, Katlin Emme, Roger Sharp, Brittany Wilkerson, Eli Gill, Evan Ward, Julia Armendariz, Karem Bain, Kalynn Thompson, Austin Frazier, and Lauren Colwell.

Sheriff's Department Investigating Church Vandalism

February 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Graffiti Vandalism at Church (Photo Courtesy of Jeania Poss)
Graffiti Vandalism now removed from Church (Photo Courtesy of Jeania Poss)
Lisa Lue Ray
Patrick Jess Gilliam

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is investigating a vandalism discovered Thursday night, February 13 at Buckner's Chapel Church on Cookeville Highway.

Someone painted graffiti on the side of the church building.

No arrests have been made as yet.

Meanwhile in a separate case, the Sheriff's Department has charged a woman with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail.

41 year old Lisa Lue Ray of Cookeville Highway, Smithville, charged with possession of contraband in a penal institution, is under a $10,000 bond and she will be in court on Thursday, February 20. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, February 12, Ray was brought to jail on a separate warrant. During a strip search conducted by a female corrections officer, a pill bottle fell from Ray's body cavity. The bottle contained two- half oblong white and blue speckled pills, a schedule IV drug; one blue diazepam pill, a schedule IV drug; and a pack of Suboxone strips, a schedule III drug. According to the warrant, Ray did knowingly and unlawfully intend to take controlled substances into a penal facility where prisoners are quartered.

19 year old Patrick Jess Gilliam of Rogersville, Tennessee is charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment and felony evading arrest. His bond is $25,000. He was also issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. Gilliam was arrested on Tuesday, February 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on October 16, 2013 two Sheriff's Department Detectives responded to an unwanted guest call on Highway 56 north. They stopped a vehicle and checked for warrants on the two persons in that automobile. The passenger had an active warrant against him out of Hawkins County. The detectives approached the vehicle, opened the door, and asked the passenger to get out. The driver, Gilliam, then took off at a high rate of speed on Highway 56 north endangering the lives of the two detectives.

39 year old Autumn Danielle White of Dowelltown is charged with driving on a suspended license. White was also issued a traffic citation. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 13 a deputy was dispatched to check out a complaint of a possible drunk driver on Short Mountain Highway. The officer spotted the car in question on Midway Road, crossing over to the other lane of traffic. The deputy conducted a traffic stop and found the driver to be White. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended. She was placed under arrest and brought to the jail for booking.


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