Local News Articles

Ambrose Named Fellow at Quail Hollow Golf Club

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page

Smithville native, Russell Ambrose, has been named a Fellow in golf course management at the Quail Hollow Golf Club at Charlotte, North Carolina where the PGA Championship is being held this week.


Ambrose participated in a pilot program earlier this year at the Quail Institute, introduced by John Deere and the Quail Hollow Golf Club, a first-of-its-kind, world-class, fellowship program focusing on the skills and competencies required to fully develop golf industry leaders. This one-year program begins in 2018 and includes three fellows in the areas of agronomy, golf operations and club management, according to the “Golf Course Industry” publication

“The Quail Institute strives to create and perpetuate a vibrant and diverse learning environment that helps develop the next generation of leaders in golf, while fostering innovative best practices in golf management,” said Ren Wilkes, tactical marketing manager, John Deere Golf. “We’re committed to developing a sophisticated pipeline for this industry, and the Institute is the perfect avenue.”

An initial pilot program was conducted this year, with two fellows – Russell Ambrose, whose focus is golf course management, and Rachel Nesbitt, whose focus is on club management. Through this experience, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club validated the need for a fellowship program to inspire young industry professionals and provide them with real-world experiences to grow their careers.

The 2018 program, will go beyond current club curriculums, challenge each fellow to think critically, analyze and assess practices and create, lead and implement change. Over the course of the year, the three fellows will participate in six different modules enabling them to understand both the macro and micro challenges of their sector and the wider club industry. As part of the curriculum, the fellows will have access to the following:

--Major tournaments and championships
--Operations in a world-class private club
--Cross training in all disciplines within the club business
--Unique exposure to the John Deere and Quail Hollow Club brands
--Academic project and thesis development
--Career development, public speaking and crisis management training

The program doesn’t stop after one year. As fellows graduate from the program and become alumni, there were be additional opportunities for the fellows to participate as mentors for future events. The Quail Institute will also track the successes of the alumni to be documented and communicated to help inspire current fellows.

The Quail Institute will be set up as a 501C3 non-profit organization to help encourage participation. As the founding members of the program, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club hope to grow the number of sponsors involved, and expect other companies, foundations, etc. in the industry see the value in participating and supporting this program.

Further information about the program and the application process will be announced in fall 2017.

Wilson Sentenced for Aggravated Assault

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Daniel Ray Wilson

A man charged in an assault almost a year ago was sentenced Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

33 year old Daniel Ray Wilson entered a plea to aggravated assault and received a six year sentence suspended to probation. He was given jail credit of eight days. Wilson must undergo domestic violence counseling.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, September 14 2016 Wilson allegedly assaulted a woman by pulling her hair, striking her in the face with his fist, and trying to strangle her. Due to the assault, the woman suffered injuries to her face and red marks on her throat.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Nathan Myers entered a plea to two counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (hydrocodone and hydromorphone) and one count of simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total of almost three years but suspended to probation. He was fined a total of $1,750. The offenses occurred on March 28, 2016.

29 year old Randi Renee Atnip entered a plea to sale of hydromorphone and received a three year sentence on TDOC probation. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $90 to the Smithville Police Department. The offense occurred on February 29, 2016.

TWRA Announces Upcoming Hunter Education Course

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
TWRA Announces Upcoming Hunter Education Course

A Classroom Hunter Education Course will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 26 & 27 at the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Main Station at 782 King Ridge Road.

Classes will be held Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. TWRA Officer Joe Fortner will be the instructor. The course is offered free of charge. Participants must register on-line at www.tnwildlife.org and follow the prompts or click the link below.


Under state law, every person born on or after January 1, 1969, before hunting, shall possess, in addition to all other licenses and permits required, proof of satisfactory completion of an agency approved hunter education course.

Those under 10 years of age do not need a Hunter Education certificate, but must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device.

The basic Hunter Education Course provides firearms safety training and introduces students to their responsibilities in the fields of hunter ethics and wildlife management. The main objective of the Hunter Education Program is to reduce the potential for hunting accidents and ultimately reduce the number of hunting injuries. The course is taught according to standards established by the International Hunter Education Association. By meeting these standards the Tennessee Hunter Education program is recognized by all states, Canada, and Mexico.

The basic course is free of charge and consists of a minimum of ten (10) hours of classroom participation. Most classes generally last 12-16 hours. Students must successfully pass a written test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions. All students are required to participate in a live fire exercise. Students must attend all classes. Students need to bring their Social Security Number and a #2 pencil to the class.

Course content includes:

*Hunter ethics

•Hunter responsibility toward wildlife, the environment, landowners and the general public

•Archery and the history of modern day bowhunting

•Tree stand safety

•History of firearms

•Blackpowder and muzzleloading firearms

•Knowledge of modern firearms and ammunition

•Proper gun handling and storage

•Marksmanship fundamentals

•Hunt preparation: specific laws and various equipment

•Principles of wildlife management and wildlife identification



•First aid

Saints to Open Season Thursday Night under New Head Coach

August 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Saints Head Coach Justin Poteete with DMS Principal Amanda Dakas

The DeKalb Saints Football Team will open the season at home Thursday night against Avery Trace under the leadership of a new head coach.

Justin Poteete was recently named to the position after former head coach Tad Webb was promoted to Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School.

Poteete is a math and science teacher at DeKalb Middle School. He graduated from DCHS in 2009 and furthered his education at MTSU where he earned a degree in elementary education.

Poteete is no stranger to the program having served the last seven years as an assistant to Coach Webb.

“I am excited. I am really and truly blessed. I feel like this is where God wants me to be. I’m just trying to go out each day with these kids and give them some life lessons along the way and compete in this football league,” Coach Poteete told WJLE.

“I am trying to do big things here. We have a good solid team this year, especially on the defensive side. Offensively we’re going to line up and run it right up the middle so we’re looking to go downhill and be a physical football team,” he said.

Coach Poteete will have Jacob Hale and Chris Chapman helping him coach. “Jacob Hale will be handling the offense and defensive line and Chris Chapman will work with the secondary and running backs,” Poteete said.

The Saints will play six regular season games with an eye toward competing in the cross conference tournament later in the year.

Thursday night’s game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at the high school field.

Smithville Rolling Out New Garbage Collection Service

August 9, 2017
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is phasing in the use of its new automated side loader garbage truck.

The truck is already being used to collect garbage on the Monday and Tuesday routes and it will begin serving residents and businesses on the Wednesday routes starting next week.


“Once we get that route going for two or three weeks, then we’ll set up the Thursday route. It’s being done in phases,” said City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson.

During Monday night’s meeting, the Smithville Aldermen adopted on first reading an ordinance establishing general standards for the new service. Second and final reading of the ordinance is scheduled at the September meeting.

All city residents are being provided one 96 gallon roll out container at no charge to properly store one weeks accumulation of garbage. Those who need more than one container may purchase an additional can for a one time user fee of $100 with a 50% refund should the container be returned to the city in proper condition. Residents must use only the trash containers provided by the city for this new service.

Unlike the city's older garbage trucks, this new one is being manned only by the driver and equipped with an automated side loader for picking up curbside residential household garbage. The side loader can extend up to 12 feet in grabbing a garbage can and lifting it up for disposal into the truck.

For homes on narrow streets, the city has retrofitted two of its existing garbage trucks with rear loaders. Under this system, operators will place the trash cans at the rear of the trucks and the loaders will lift the cans and dump the garbage into the trucks.

Although the city is mailing residents and business owners written copies of the regulations, Robinson said it will take time for them to get used to the new service. “We’ve already had problems with people not setting the cans in the right place, turning them backward or sideways. We are sending an extra guy on the routes right now to make sure the cans are set in the right place and he is placing a tag on the cans to instruct the residents on how the containers are to be placed for the truck to be able to pick them up,” he said.

Those who don’t yet have a new trash container from the city will be getting them soon.

The new ordinance states in part as follows:

*All residents shall be provided one 96 gallon roll out container at no charge to properly store one week’s accumulation of refuse

*Residential households who regularly exceed 96 gallons of garbage a week may obtain an additional container for a one time fee of $100 with a 50% refund should the additional container be returned to the City of Smithville in proper condition. When returned to the city the container is not to be painted, abused, mutilated, altered, or modified in any manner.

*Only refuse in the container shall be collected. Additional refuse left on the ground will not be picked up.

*Household material that will not fit into a roll out container such as appliances, furniture, large boxes, etc. may not be set out with the regular garbage.

*The refuse container shall not be filled to overflowing as to prevent the lid from fully closing. Container lids are to be closed for collection. If the overflow of refuse is regular, the city shall notify the resident to obtain an additional container.

*All residents shall place their refuse containers at curbside or at the edge of the street no later than 7:00 a.m. on the day of collection. Containers must be removed from the curb, street, or alleyway no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of collection.

*The container shall be placed in such a manner as not to interfere with overhead power lines or tree branches, parked cars, vehicular traffic, or in any other way that would constitute a public hazard or nuisance. Containers are to be at least four feet from any tree, pole, mailbox, fire hydrant, etc. and at least ten feet away from any cars parked in the street.

*Each resident shall be responsible for keeping the container clean and sanitary in compliance with health and sanitation requirements and shall keep container lid closed at all times.

*All diapers, animal feces, cat litter, and similar wastes shall be placed in durable plastic bags adequately sealed before being placed in the roll out container.

*Paints, stains, and similar materials still in their liquid form shall not be placed in refuse containers and shall not be collected by the department of public works as a part of regular collection.

*Highly flammable, combustible, explosive, or hazardous materials shall not be placed in refuse containers and shall not be collected by the department of public works as a part of regular collection. Such materials shall be disposed of as prescribed by state and local laws.

*All syringes and other medical waste shall be placed in sealed, puncture proof containers prior to being placed in a refuse container for collection by the department of public works or the authorized collector.

*The container is not to be painted, abused, mutilated, altered, or modified in any manner.

*Scavenging and salvaging is unlawful. No person shall remove or attempt to remove materials from any refuse container belonging to another person or business. All materials placed in a refuse container shall be the property of the City of Smithville or authorized collector.

*Each resident or owner shall be responsible for replacing the container if it is damaged or destroyed by the resident or owner as a result of his negligence, by the payment of current market value plus 20% replacement fee to the city.

*The city shall replace any container that is worn out by normal wear and tear, or if it is stolen or damaged by a person other than the resident to whom it is assigned.

*Residents that are not in compliance with the city’s roll out container rules and regulations will be notified by placement of a sticker on the container. The sticker will be clearly marked what compliance is not being met. If the resident does not meet the compliance by the next week’s collection day, the container will not be emptied.

*Any resident moving to another location within the city limits, or out of the city limits, shall be responsible for notifying the public works department. The roll out container shall remain at the original assigned location. Additional containers shall also remain at the original assigned location unless the resident is moving to another location inside the city limits or may be returned to the city for a 50% refund of the $100 fee assessed for the additional container.

*No person shall deposit refuse in a privately or publicly owned container without the expressed permission of the owner of said container.

Fiddlers’ Jamboree President Performs at Ryman Auditorium

August 9, 2017
Sam Stout (left) played accompaniment guitar to fiddle player Jimmy Bilbrey of Cookeville

Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Smithville Jamboree and Crafts Festival, was recently awarded the honor to play at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Stout played accompaniment guitar to fiddle player Jimmy Bilbrey of Cookeville, Tennessee. Bilbrey was recently named the winner of The Annual Uncle Jimmy Thompson Bluegrass Festival Fiddle Competition for 2017. As part of the award, Bilbrey was asked to perform at Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman Auditorium, choosing Stout to play accompaniment to the tune Ashokan Farewell. Bilbrey and Stout performed just after intermission, prior to Dailey & Vincent taking the stage to perform the second half of the show.

Jimmy Bilbrey is a well know bluegrass performer with bluegrass bands across the Upper Cumberland. Both Bilbrey and Stout are also one of the weekly announcers of the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour Bluegrass Dinner Show at Sutton General Store in Granville, Tennessee.

“This was an unbelievably humbling experience,” said Stout, “Thinking about all of the great entertainers and artists that have performed on that stage at the Ryman is simply incredible. It was a privilege to play alongside my good friend Jimmy Bilbrey. He is such a talented musician, and we had a wonderful time. It was an additional honor to perform on the same night as Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, and we appreciated the warm welcome and hospitality that was shown by all.”

Every summer for more than two decades, Ryman Auditorium has celebrated their distinction as the birthplace of bluegrass music with their signature Bluegrass Nights summer series. When the the Grand Ole Opry put down roots there in 1943, the world would never be the same as the live radio and TV show brought the likes of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff to the stage and into living rooms around the country for thirty one years. For more information on the Ryman, go to: ryman.com

Knoxville Couple Identified in Monday Lake Tragedy

August 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Knoxville Couple Identified in Monday Lake Tragedy, 84 year old Lendon Welch and 83 year old Charlotte Welch, both of Knoxville.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has released the names of the elderly couple found dead on Center Hill Lake Monday.

According to Lieutenant Jimmy Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the deceased are identified as 84 year old Lendon Welch and 83 year old Charlotte Welch, both of Knoxville. He is a former Farragut High School Coach.

In a statement to WJLE via email, Lieutenant Neal described the scene as Troopers arrived Monday afternoon at Floating Mill Campground located off Floating Mill Lane in DeKalb County.

“When Troopers arrived on scene, they noticed the top of a white vehicle a 2000 Toyota Tundra in the water. Attached to the vehicle, a boat was floating above and behind the vehicle. Troopers were advised that a male subject and a female subject were discovered floating in the lake. Prior to the Troopers arrival, those two subjects were removed from the lake and placed in a DeKalb County EMS ambulance”.

“Troopers were advised by DeKalb County EMS the male subject had in his possession a TN driver license. The male subject was identified as Lendon Welch deceased age 84 from Knoxville TN. The female was identified as Charlotte Welch deceased age 83 from Knoxville TN.”

“When the wrecker pulled the vehicle out of the lake, the vehicle's transmission was identified to be in the reverse position. Also, the vehicle's emergency brake had been partially applied. The boat was secured in the front to the trailer by the strap,” the statement concluded.

City Hires Animal Shelter Director

August 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Megan Moore
New Animal Shelter to Open Soon

A director has been hired to operate the new animal shelter, which will open soon.

During Monday night’s meeting, the Smithville aldermen voted to employ Megan Moore, upon the recommendation of the board of directors for the DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

Under terms of the city’s 99 year lease with the coalition, Moore will be a city employee and she will have a part time assistant, although that position has not yet been filled.

Moore has worked as a veterinary assistant at DeKalb Animal Clinic in Smithville since September, 2014. From May to September, 2014 Moore was a veterinary assistant for PAULS Spay and Neuter Clinic in McMinnville.

A 2009 graduate of DeKalb County High School, Moore earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal Science in 2013 from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.

In her application, Moore wrote “Through my employment at DeKalb Animal Clinic and my degree in Animal Science, I have gained the experience and confidence needed to be an asset to this business and the public”.

Finishing touches are being made to the new animal shelter and an opening will soon be announced. It is located on a four acre site near the solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of Highway 70 east.

The shelter will serve as a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.

The City of Smithville and DeKalb County each appropriated $75,000 for the erection of the facility. The animal coalition has paid for the rest of the costs through fundraisers, grants, etc. The new shelter will take the place of a smaller one which has been in existence for years on county property but operated by the city behind the DeKalb County Highway Department Headquarters off Smith Road.

In addition to funding the director and part time assistant position, the city will also provide an animal control vehicle.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs, during Monday night’s meeting, asked what type of vehicle will be provided saying “what we had before (an old pickup truck with a kennel in the back), I was ashamed of it. It doesn’t reflect well on the city,” he said.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson said the city would provide an older cargo van with a kennel in back to keep the animals out of the weather during transport.

(UPDATED) Couple Loses Their Lives in Unusual Accident on Center Hill Lake (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

August 7, 2017
Dwayne Page
Couple Loses Their Lives in Unusual Accident on Center Hill Lake
Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad uses diver (Dustin Johnson) to attach Tow Chain to Submerged Toyota Tundra
Gill Automotive pulls Toyota Tundra and Boat from Lake
Truck and boat belonging to victims pulled from the lake

Two people lost their lives in an unusual accident on Center Hill Lake Monday afternoon at a Floating Mill camp ground boat ramp

The bodies of a man and woman were found floating in the water near their submerged Toyota Tundra pickup truck with a fishing boat and trailer still attached to the vehicle. The truck and boat were only a few feet from shore in about seven feet of water.

The accident is under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the names of the victims have not yet been released.

The couple had either been trying to launch the boat or pull it out of the water when the tragedy occurred.

Dustin Johnson, Captain of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad told WJLE that his crew was summoned to the lake at 2:47 p.m. and upon arrival found the bodies of the man and woman floating in the water several feet from their truck and boat. He said the medical examiner was notified and came to the scene. The bodies were recovered, brought to shore in a rescue squad boat, and then transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Others on the scene were members of the TWRA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team, and several officers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

A wrecker from Gill’s Automotive was used to pull the truck and boat & trailer back up the ramp to shore.

Johnson dove down to attach the tow chain to the truck. The rescue squad later used sonar to make sure there were no other victims.



Earl Judkins Golf Classic to Benefit Karen Jacobs

August 7, 2017
Bill Conger
Karen Blair Jacobs

Life was going along as usual for Karen Blair Jacobs last year. Happily married to Smithville City Councilman and longtime radio broadcaster Shawn Jacobs, she had recently experienced the mixture of joy and sadness as their daughter, Caitlin, graduated from DeKalb County High School. A veteran teacher at Northside Elementary School, Jacobs also enjoyed watching her son, Justin Nokes, as he continued excelling in the education profession as a teacher and soccer coach. But life began to take a turn for the worse, when she went to the doctor to find out why she had not been feeling well for the last 3 to 6 months.

“In the fall, I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer,” Jacobs says. “Unlike a lot of the other types of cancer it doesn’t just hit in one area. It appears that mine began in the lung and metastasized to spots on the liver.”

For now, this particular type of cancer is incurable but treatable.

“I was blessed to be healthy enough to participate in a clinical trial with Tennessee Oncology in Nashville, which could slow growth and perhaps maybe someday help find a cure.”

Jacobs goes for treatment two days a week for three weeks with the next week off. The cycle then repeats. After a leave of absence part of last school year, Jacobs will return to the classroom to teach the other three days that she isn’t undergoing treatment.

“So far, I am stable, and I will continue the treatments until they tell me differently,” she said.

To help offset medical costs, the Cantrell Cancer Foundation will donate all proceeds from the 6th Annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic on Saturday, August 26 to Jacobs and her family.

The golf tournament began in 2012.

“The year prior was when we found out about Amy’s cancer, and I wanted to do something for her,” explains Tyler Cantrell. “This was one of the ways I felt I could give back to her, and I knew we could continue it years after for other families as well.”

“I think what the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation is doing is a very excellent way to help others and honor Tyler’s sister, Amy Cantrell Miller.

Originally, Relay for Life held a golf tournament in honor of Cantrell’s late great uncle Earl Judkins. When they hosted the tournament, the foundation picked it up as a way to honor him and help others.

“Since having the golf tournament, we have had five different recipients all of which vary in age and condition, including two under the age of 5,” Cantrell said. “We have raised close to $20,000 in proceeds that have gone back to the families, thanks to the help of Modern Woodman, which is a company who has been able to match up to $2,500 for a few of those tournaments.”

Besides the financial assistance, Karen’s friends, family, and colleagues have rallied around her with prayers and support.

“My heart breaks for her having to go through this,” says Annette Davis, a friend of 46 years. “She is a rock and such a strong woman, and she is there for anyone in need.

“She is a kind, compassionate person,” says Kim Young with whom Karen has shared a friendship since Kindergarten. “She is very thoughtful. She loves her family and friends. You can always depend on her. She is very strong in her faith and in her relationship with God. In this battle, she is giving it all she has. If it be God’s will, she will win.”

“She is a person that has made my life better by just being a part of it,” says Angie Young Thomas, longtime friend, college roommate, and fellow softball player. “I truly love her with all my heart and I feel a deep pain in my chest at the thought of what she is going through. I so wish I could be there to help support her. No matter how many miles there are between us or how much time goes by without us talking, I know that I can always count on her and that I will always think of her as one of my best friends.

Deadline to enter the golf tournament is August 18. For more information on the tournament or to become a sponsor contact Tyler Cantrell at centerhillcrossfit.com or 931-239-5948 and Riverwatch Golf Club at 931-761-8124. Entry fee is $75 for individuals and $300 for teams. Donations may be made to Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation at 625 Foster Road, Smithville.

“I would like to take this time to thank everyone for all of their thoughts and prayers as I go through this journey,” Karen said. “I have felt each and every one of them, and they help me get through the day. It also makes it a lot easier for my family. Please continue to pray for my family and me as we continue the fight!”


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