Local News Articles

Woman and Infant Escape Serious Injury in Rollover Crash

February 3, 2014
Dwayne Page

A woman and an infant escaped serious injury Sunday in a rollover crash on Smith Fork Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old Ada Martinez was driving a Chevy Impala north on Smith Fork Road when she ran off the left side of the road while negotiating a curve. The car struck a utility pole and overturned down a steep embankment. An eleven week old child was in the car with Martinez.

They were taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital. They were not believed to have been seriously hurt. Martinez is a resident of Florida who is visiting family here.

Three People Involved in Sunday Wreck

February 3, 2014
Dwayne Page

Three people were involved in a Sunday traffic accident at the intersection of Highways 146 and 83 (New Home Road).

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 58 year old Linda Fite of Smithville was north on Highway 146 in a 2011 Ford Fiesta, turning left onto Highway 83 when she pulled into the path of a southbound Ford Focus, driven by 35 year old Amanda Arnold of McMinnville. The impact of the crash forced the Fiesta into a Kia Sorento, driven by 22 year old Emilee Anderson of Smithville, who was stopped on Highway 83 at the intersection. A 17 year old passenger was with Anderson.

According to Trooper Johnson, Fite was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by private vehicle. Arnold was transported to the hospital by DeKalb EMS. The others were apparently uninjured.

Fite was cited for failure to yield and for misuse of registration for having a tag on her car not registered to that vehicle.

Police Chief Warns SES Customers of Scam

February 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Chief Randy Caplinger

At least two business customers of Smithville Electric System were recently targeted in a scam in which callers demanded payment of their bills under threat of having their power turned off.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger cautions customers not to be taken in by the scam.

"A couple of customers have said they were called from a company saying that their electric bill had not been paid.," said Chief Caplinger. " When Smithville Electric learned of the scam, a representative of SES called this company and acted like she was with the business (victim). The girl (SES representative ) said the man told her that he was an employee of Smithville Electric and he said if the bill wasn't sent in immediately to the address ( he provided), her electricity was going to be cut off," he said.

Chief Caplinger said both the Smithville Police Department and Smithville Electric System want you to know this is a scam and that if you should be targeted, please don't send any money to this company and notify police.

Farm Service Agency Releases County Committee Election Results

February 1, 2014
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb FSA and Cannon FSA County Committees met in regular session on Tuesday, January 21 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2013 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3, # 4, and # 5 County Committee Elections. The deadline to return ballots was January 17.

In DeKalb County’s LAA-3 election, R.V. Billings, Jr. was elected to serve as Committee Member and Carl Douglas Cantrell was elected to serve as 1st. Alternate. In Cannon County’s LAA-4 election, Javin Fann was elected to serve as Committee Member, James Joyner was elected to serve as 1st. Alternate, and David George was elected to serve as 2nd. Alternate. In Cannon County’s LAA-5 election, Charles Brown was elected to serve as Committee Member and Robert Barton was elected to serve as 1st. Alternate. All elected members will begin their terms on February 18, 2014. Alternates elected by write-in ballots will not officially be elected until they have submitted their written agreements to serve.

The 2013 election was a transitional election resulting from the October 2012 closing of the Cannon County FSA Office. Beginning on February 18, 2014, DeKalb and Cannon counties’ farmers will be represented by one 5-member committee (two LAA’s in Cannon County and three LAA’s in DeKalb County), instead of two 3-member committees. The DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee will meet on February 18, 2014 for its Organizational Meeting. The Committee will select a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson from among the members. The Committee meets quarterly at the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center located at 647 Bright Hill Rd.

Green says that the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee and office staff wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA’s # 3, # 4, and # 5 who participated in the elections by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes," added Green.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency’s web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 6.8% in December

February 1, 2014
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for December was 6.8%, down from 7.1% in November and below the 7.2% rate for December 2012.

The local labor force for December was 9,430. A total of 8,780 were employed and 650 were without work

County unemployment rates for December 2013 show the rate decreased in 51 counties, increased in 29 counties, and remained the same in 15.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for December was fifth lowest in the Upper Cumberland Region. Here is how the fourteen counties ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett: 12.1%
Clay: 9.8%
Van Buren: 9.7%
White: 9.6%
Jackson: 8.9%
Fentress: 8%
Overton: 7.9%
Warren: 7.6%
DeKalb: 6.8%
Putnam: 6.6%
Smith: 6.2%
Macon: 6.1%
Cannon: 5.6%

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.7 percent, down from 5.8 percent in November. Knox County’s December rate was also 5.7 percent, down from 5.8 percent the previous month. Hamilton County was unchanged at 7.3 percent. Shelby County was 9.1 percent, down from 9.4 percent in November. Tennessee’s unemployment rate for December is 7.8 percent, which is three tenths of one percentage point lower than the November revised rate. The national unemployment rate for December 2013 was 6.7 percent, down three tenths of one percentage point from November.

WJLE Launches New Website

January 31, 2014
Dwayne Page

Welcome to the new WJLE website.

(NOTE: Most are having no problem viewing the new website but if you are experiencing difficulties with our new site not displaying correctly on your computer in Internet Explorer, please click the link below and follow the directions for turning the COMPATIBILITY MODE OFF for the WJLE website. Our site like most sites will look and perform better if using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Try looking at the site using another browser.)


As WJLE begins its 50th year of broadcasting, serving the people of Smithville-DeKalb County, we have also updated our website with a number of significant improvements.

To keep up to date with technological advances in a mobile society, the most significant change to the site is the responsive design: The new WJLE Radio website will automatically adjust itself to display properly whether you are visiting from a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet device like an iPad, or a browser on a smartphone. The page layout will adjust depending on your device to provide the ideal interactive experience, yet all devices will share the same content.

Viewers will no longer find local news stories at the bottom of the home page. The new site allows viewers to click the link for "News Headlines"
located in the top center of the homepage for a specific local news story or to read ALL local news, click the "News" link located directly below the "WJLE" banner in the upper left hand corner. Local news and sports stories will also continue to include occasional pictures and videos to help enhance our coverage.

To further enhance viewership and provide a service to the business community, the new WJLE website will feature videos of community events on the right side of the page near the top, while on the left side advertisers will have an opportunity to promote their businesses through commercial videos. The new website also offers more space for placement of advertisements, both along the left and right sides of each page as well as at the top of each page.

On the left side of the page near the top, viewers will see links under "Community" where announcements can be found for "Church News", "Classifieds", and "Community Calendar", along with audio links to the "Old Time Country Community Radio Show" and other programs as well as video links

"Obituaries" are on the top right side of the homepage.

As with the old site, the new WJLE.com offers a pictorial slideshow on the home page as well as a weekly web poll, a program guide and audio archives (in drop down box under WJLE Home) and a "Search" box near the top right side of the page where viewers can perform a word search to find older news, sports, or obituary announcements.

"LIVE Streaming" of talk programming on WJLE AM-FM such as local news, high school sports, Election return coverage, Smithville City Council, DeKalb County Commission, and School Board meetings, Chamber Chat, Sunday religious programs, and other events may be accessed next to the "Weather" link near the top center of the homepage.

“We appreciate the fact the WJLE web site is so popular, as evidenced by the over 40,000 unique or unduplicated (counted only once) visitors it receives per month,” said General Manager Dwayne Page. “The timing was right to do an upgrade to meet the needs of the public. As with any major change like this, we expect to be making adjustments over the weeks ahead, and look forward to your feedback during that process.”

Send your comments to wjle@dtccom.net or call 615-597-4265.

We hope you enjoy this new look and continue to visit wjle.com and listen at WJLE AM 1480 or FM 101.7 as we celebrate our golden anniversary of service to this community.

Candidates May Qualify for School Board and Smithville Municipal Elections

January 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Matt Boss
Gayla Hendrix

While most of the attention has been focused on the May primary elections, petitions for the non-partisan school board seats and the Smithville Municipal Elections on August 7th are now available.

Matthew Boss has picked up a petition from the election commission office to run for the School Board in the First District.

A petition has also been issued to Gayla Hendrix for Smithville Alderman.

Five school board seats are up for election including the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Seventh Districts. Each term is for four years. Those positions are currently held by John David Foutch in the First District, Charles Robinson in the Second District, Kenny Rhody in the Third District, Billy Miller in the Fourth District, and Johnny Lattimore in the Seventh District.

The other two positions are held by W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the Fifth District and Doug Stephens in the Sixth District. They are currently in mid-term and won't be up for re-election until 2016.

A Mayor and two Aldermen will be elected on August 7th in the City of Smithville, each to serve a four year term. Those positions are currently held by Mayor Jimmy W. Poss and Aldermen Tim Stribling and Jason Murphy. Stribling will not be running for re-election. He is seeking the County Mayor's office.

The qualifying deadline for the school board and City of Smithville is NOON April 3.

Meanwhile, petitions are still available for all the races that will be on the ballot for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary and the 13th Judicial District Democratic and Republican Primary elections. The qualifying deadline for those candidates is NOON February 20th.

Drunk Driver Crashes into Porch of Short Mountain Road Home

January 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Drunk Driver Crashes into Porch of Home (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)
SUV Knocks Porch off Foundation (PHOTO BY KEN UNDERHILL)
Franklin Rigsby

A drunk driver wasn't seriously hurt but he caused damage for at least three property owners in a traffic accident Wednesday night on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Road).

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 36 year old Franklin Rigsby of Smithville has been charged with driving under the influence and cited for failure to maintain his lane of travel.

Sergeant McCormick said Rigsby was driving south on Highway 146 in a Ford Explorer and was near the intersection with Tabernacle Road when he failed to negotiate a curve and left the road.

According to Assistant DeKalb County Fire Chief David Agee, Rigsby's SUV first tore down a fence and gate on property belonging to Eddie Taylor and then ran through the front yard of Mary Chapman at 9088 Short Mountain Highway, damaging yard furniture and demolishing her well house. Rigsby's SUV continued through a thicket of woods, struck a fence on property belonging to Herbert Rose, and then damaged a yard swing before crashing into the front porch of Rose's home at 9126 Short Mountain Highway, knocking the porch off its foundation.

Both Chapman and Rose said they were awakened by the noise of the crash outside their homes.

Rigsby, who suffered only minor injuries, was taken into custody.

Clark Boyd Announces Bid for State Senate

January 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Clark Boyd Announces Bid for State Senate

Lebanon small business owner and Wilson County Republican Party Chairman Clark Boyd announced his candidacy for State Senate in Tennessee's 17th district.

He is running against Incumbent State Senator Mae Beavers.

"After much discussion, prayerful consideration, and encouragement from people around the district, I have decided to seek this opportunity to serve Tennessee in the State Senate," said Boyd. “People from all around our region have made it clear that they are looking for fresh, new, conservative leadership in Nashville. With Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature, we as conservatives have a historic opportunity to advance our ideals and affect meaningful change, but only if we set aside differences of the past and move forward together on the principles that unite us as a party."

Tennessee’s 17th district includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and Wilson Counties.

"While Washington continues to grow the size of government and chip away at our freedoms, Tennessee must continue on the right path. If given the opportunity to serve our district at the state Capitol, I will work tirelessly to grow our economy, work with local leaders to attract businesses and industry to our district, and defend our proud Tennessee values," said Boyd.

In anticipation of his state Senate bid, Boyd contacted executive committee members of the Wilson County Republican Party (WCRP) to inform them of his plans to step down as Chairman, avoiding any potential conflict of interest.

“Clark is a natural leader,” said past WCRP chairman Kevin Foushee. “With his energy and charisma he brought new life into the Republican Party. He is very well liked and respected. During his time as chairman people easily identified with and supported his ideas”

During his time as WCRP Chairman, Clark oversaw an increase in membership, implemented precinct level organizational planning and included high school young Republicans in the annual WCRP Reagan Day Dinner held at the Capitol Theater.

Background: Clark Boyd is a small business owner and State Farm agent in Lebanon, TN. A graduate of East Tennessee State University, Clark served for 11 years in the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve before being medically discharged in 2007 at the rank of Captain. Locally, Clark has served as President of the Wilson County Habitat for Humanity, President of the Rotary Club of Lebanon, and is a member of the National Rifle Association and the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. Clark is married to his wife of 12 years, Jada, who is a teacher and school counselor. Together they have two children: Wilson (age 5) and Blair Ellen (age 2). They are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon, where Clark serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.

Concerned Residents Attend Community Meeting on Plan for Liberty Post Office

January 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Concerned Residents Attend Community Meeting on Plan for Liberty Post Office
Community Meeting Held Concerning Plans for Liberty Post Office
Tennessee District Post Office Operations Manager Scott Tinsley

Daily operating hours of the Liberty Post Office may soon be reduced in a cost saving measure by the U.S. Postal Service.

Scott Tinsley, Post Office Operations Manager for the Tennessee District, held a community meeting at the Liberty Post Office Wednesday to explain the changes. About twenty concerned postal customers in the area showed up to learn more about the plan.

"Today we discussed the changing of hours of the Liberty Post Office, basically going from a full eight hour a day office down to six hours a day at the retail window," said Tinsley. "The hours currently at the Liberty Post Office are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.. They close for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and then they reopen at 1:00 p.m. and close at 4:00 p.m. Saturday hours are 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. What we have proposed is for the Liberty Post Office to be open Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. with a two hour lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.. Saturday hours would be from 7:45 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. It's not a big change for the community. They will just see a reduced amount of time there where they can buy stamps and purchase other postal products," he said.

The current staff will remain in place including Postal Support Employee, Sharon George along with the two postal carriers and substitute. The current mail routes will also remain unchanged. "Everybody will still see their carrier probably about the same time everyday out on the route and the carriers can still sell them stamps and pick up their packages. All those things remain the same," said Tinsley.

Liberty postal customers recently received surveys outlining four different options for the Liberty Post Office. A total of 987 customer surveys were mailed and 219 of them were returned. Eighty eight percent of the respondents (193 customers) said given the options they preferred a realignment of the hours.

The Postal Service will make its final decision on the change soon. "The decision will be made no sooner than thirty days after today (Wednesday). Typically about sixty days out. We'll post a notice in the lobby of the Liberty Post Office letting all the customers know the date the new hours will go into effect," said Tinsley.

Many smaller Post Offices across the nation are being affected by cost saving initiatives being implemented by the U.S. Postal Service. "When the smaller facilities get vacated by Post Masters across the country, we're going in and reducing the hours a little bit where we can. We're looking to save about $500 million a year from implementing these changes nationwide. We're doing this instead of closing Post Offices so that we can keep them in communities," Tinsley concluded.


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