Local News Articles

Celebrate Spring at Edgar Evins State Park on April 8th

March 31, 2017
Bob Tarter of NHECM never fails to thrill as he makes his wild and exotic animal presentation an up close and personal experience

The Annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park, Silver Point, on April 8th will be a day of outdoor fun for individuals and families. Registration will open at 8:15 a.m. in front of the office and continue until about 4 p.m..

The first event will be a guided wildflower hike at 8:30 a.m. on the Highland Rim Nature Trail, led by Ranger Mark Taylor. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. there will be live entertainment, including wild animal presentations and the Cannon Arts Dance Studio. Face painting, crafts making, climbing the observation tower and boat rides will also be available. You may bring your lunch or buy it from Boy Scout Troop 875 and Girl Scout Troop 1146. There are many picnic tables scattered throughout the park to enjoy a sit-down meal. Youngsters may hunt Easter Eggs at the campground at 2 p.m. and, of course, an Easter Bunny will be on-hand for picture opportunities.

Reservations for the $2 boat rides will be on a first come, first serve basis. Children must be over 3 years of age and accompanied by an adult to ride on the boats for safety reasons. Everything else is free except optional food purchases.

This will be the 11th year for this event, sponsored jointly by Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park staff. The Friends of Edgar Evins State Park is an all volunteer organization with the sole purpose of helping the park. For more information you may visit the website at www.foeesp.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/friendsofeesp

For those who wish to make this an overnight or weekend stay, cabins and camping sites may be reserved on-line at http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-evins or call the park office at
(931) 858-2114 or toll free at 1-800-250-8619.

Edgar Evins State Park is located at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN 38582. The entrance is in DeKalb County, on Center Hill Lake, approximately 20 miles north of Smithville, 20 miles west of Cookeville, and 60 miles east of Nashville From I-40 take exit 268 at State Hwy. 96 and Center Hill Lake.

Alexandria Fire Department Quickly Snuffs out Blaze in Housing Projects

March 31, 2017
Location of Friday Monday night in Alexandria. Photo taken following day by Jerry C. Rittenberry

The Alexandria Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the housing projects on Monday night, March 27 around 9:30 p.m.

The first engine arrived four minutes after the initial 911 call. Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the front door, according to Assistant Fire Chief John Partridge. Alexandria Police officers had already arrived and evacuated all occupants from the house. The fire was quickly brought under control and fire damage was contained to a living room and kitchen, although the entire apartment received heavy smoke damage. The adjoining apartment was undamaged and the occupant was allowed to return after an investigation.

The occupant was not at home when the fire started, but arrived home and called 911 after encountering heavy smoke and heat upon opening the front door. The fire is believed to have been electrical in nature.

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department and EMS also responded to the scene but were cancelled while en route.

County to Begin Work on New Budget Soon

March 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling

The budget committee of the county commission will soon begin work on the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, County Mayor Tim Stribling updated the commission on how much property tax revenue the county is expected to generate in the next fiscal year based upon assessments and the current property tax rate

“Assessments based upon estimated valuations of the property in DeKalb County are currently at $481, 473, 214 including industrial, commercial, residential, farm, agriculture, public utilities. The full value of a penny (1 cent of the property tax rate) is $48,147

“We will start on the budget figuring to receive $45, 147 per penny based on 93.77% collections and anything collected over 93.77% will be spread out over the various departments,” said Stribling.

The current property tax rate of $1.8335 breaks down as follows:
County General: .9535 cents
Schools: 61 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
Road Department: 4 cents
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents.

In other business, County Mayor Stribling gave a Trustee’s Report on behalf of Sean Driver who was unable to attend the meeting. “People were asking how collections were going on property taxes. As of March 23, 2017 the Trustee’s Office had collected 91.31% of the property taxes owed for 2016. In a comparison, one year ago on the same date the county had collected 92.68%,” said Stribling.

Four members of the DeKalb County Beer Board were appointed to an established term by the county commission.

The four members are Jim Stagi in the 1st district, Edward Frazier in the 3rd district, Rhonda Caplinger in the 5th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district.

Names of each appointee were placed in nomination by the county commissioners in their districts and then voted on by the entire county commission

Last year the commission voted to set terms for members of the beer board. All seven members serve as appointees and the terms are staggered with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th district positions being appointed in odd years. The 2nd, 4th, & 6th district seats are filled in even years. The beer board is to re-organize (name officers) every year.

In March last year Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Robert Rowe in the 4th district and Leonard Dickens in the 6th district were appointed. Each term is for two years effective in April.

In other business, Joy Whitman was named to replace Danny Cowan as judicial commissioner. Cowan recently resigned effective April 17. The county’s judicial committee recommended Whitman for the position.

The county has three judicial commissioners including Whitman, Richard Jennings, and Tammy Ashburn.

Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause.

Alyssa Owen of DeKalb Middle School is "Classroom Champion"

March 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Alyssa Owen
Attorney Jim Judkins, DMS Principal Randy Jennings, Alyssa Owen, and Dwayne Page of WJLE

Alyssa Owen is the recipient of this week’s “Classroom Champion” award presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE.

Owen, daughter of Kevin Owen and Amanda Allen and step-dad Kobe Allen, is a student at DeKalb Middle School. Her siblings are Isabelle Allen, Kamryn Allen, Jordan Allen, Isaac Allen, Tia Owen, and Ramia Owen.

Alyssa recently received the honor and a special gift card from Judkins.

Owen is a member of the DeKalb Middle School Junior BETA Club, the S.A.D.D. Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and has helped with the DMS yearbook.

She enjoys piano, singing, reading, painting, and photography.

“Alyssa has been a wonderful student in all aspects during her years at DeKalb Middle School and we are so proud of her,” said Principal Randy Jennings.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several weeks.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship

Juvenile Case Manager Attends National Conference

March 29, 2017
Norene Puckett
Kristy Longmire

In February 2017, Kristy Longmire, Juvenile Case Manager for DeKalb County Recovery Court went to New York City to attend the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ National Conference on Juvenile Justice.

This vital and important educational opportunity featured cutting edge information, state-of-the-art programs and current research in the juvenile justice system. Some of the featured topics included: alternatives to detention, trauma-informed justice, cross-over youth, deep-end youth, dating violence, ending solitary confinement, recidivism, indiscriminate shackling issues, disproportionate minority contact, LGBTQ issues in the juvenile justice system, sex trafficking of minors, juvenile drug courts and runaways and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles. It is vital to our local recovery court program that our staff and team stay up-to-date on the latest topics and trends in the field in order to best provide services for our clients.

All DeKalb County Recovery Court staff and team members attend training at least once annually. For more information on how to refer a teen to our program, please contact Coordinator Norene Puckett at 615-215-8690 or norene.drugcourt@gmail.com

Farm Service Agency 2018 Nursery Crop Reporting Requirements

March 29, 2017

Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon Co. Farm Service Agency County Executive Director, reminds local farmers and landowners of the importance of timely crop reporting. Participation in most USDA programs requires annual reporting of crops and land use and requires a report of all cropland on a farm, even though the land may not be used for annually-tilled row crops.

Field Grown and Ornamental Nursery crops have unique crop years. As a result, they also have unique crop reporting deadlines. Below are the crop year period and the acreage reporting deadline:

Nursery Crop Year 2018----June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

2018 Nursery Crop Reporting Deadline (field grown and container)—May 31, 2017

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at (615) 597-8225, Ext. 2.

Jail Escapee Quickly Captured

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Randall Joe Swindle

A prisoner at the DeKalb County Jail escaped Tuesday afternoon but was captured minutes later at the parking lot of Hardees Restaurant.

47 year old Randall Joe Swindle of Mount Tabor Road, Murfreesboro is charged with escape. His bond is $6,000 and his court date is April 16.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Swindle was with other inmates in the exercise yard during their recreation time when he quickly stripped down to his shorts and tee shirt and slithered through a very small opening between the bottom of the security fence and the fence framework. As he ran off correctional officers gave chase on foot while deputies followed in their patrol cars. Swindle was observed standing in the highway trying to get a ride but ran toward Hardees when he saw the officers approaching. A Warren County constable and a private citizen, who were in the Hardees parking lot and saw what was happening, called for the man (Swindle) to stop and he was subsequently taken into custody by the deputies and correctional officers.

Swindle is in jail for carrying or possession of a weapon by a felon, vandalism, theft of property over $1,000, and aggravated burglary.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 5, 2016 Swindle was involved in a break-in on Pea Ridge Road. The intruder gained entry by prying open the front door, causing damage. Taken from the home were a Remington 1889 double barrel shotgun, a crescent 1900 double barrel shotgun, a sentry safe, and a jar of change. The total value of the stolen property comes to approximately $1,500.

A check of Swindle’s criminal history showed him to be a felon convicted for aggravated burglary in Franklin County.

According to Sheriff Ray, Swindle admitted to having taken the guns from the Pea Ridge residence and having them in his vehicle. He was arrested on Monday, December 12. The case was investigated by Sheriff’s Department Detectives.

Two Injured in Monday Afternoon Crash

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Two Injured in Monday Afternoon Crash

Two people were injured in a crash Monday afternoon on Highway 70 near DeKalb Market.

Trooper Ronnie Smith of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 39 year old Melissa Fine of Dowelltown, operating a 2005 Kia Rio, was pulling out onto Highway 70 from the parking lot of DeKalb Market when she crossed the path of a westbound 2016 Nissan Rogue driven by 54 year old Tammy Petty of Dowelltown.

According to Trooper Smith, a tractor trailer truck was pulling into the parking lot of DeKalb Market as Fine was pulling out. Fine claims she didn’t see Petty approaching because the truck obstructed her view.

Fine was transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS. Petty was taken there by a private vehicle.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

STEM mobile Learning Laboratory Comes to DeKalb Middle School

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
STEM mobile Learning Laboratory Comes to DeKalb Middle School
DMS Principal Randy Jennings, Cameron Miller, Cassandra Munoz, Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas: Middle Row- Landon Crepes, Morgan Hale: Top Row:  DMS Teacher  Angela Johnson, Aaron Gottlied, and Nolan Gottlied
Students Learn How to Produce Circuits at STEMmobile
STEMmobile brings hands-on lab to DeKalb Middle School

Getting children excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM subjects) can be a challenge for any teacher but DeKalb Middle School has a new tool this week to ignite students' interest: the STEM mobile.

The STEM mobile is at DeKalb Middle School this week. Its a mobile learning laboratory that provides a unique, on-site educational experience for students. This mobile classroom brings much-needed technology to the doorsteps of DeKalb Middle School, and the students have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them to promote STEM learning in creative and hands-on ways.

The STEM mobile is the product of the Oakley STEM Center and Tennessee Tech University as part of the Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative, a grant project funded by Tennessee's First to the Top program. UCRSI is part of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, whose mission is to enhance student participation and interest in STEM subjects.

Housed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer with self-contained power, the STEM mobile has its own heating and cooling system, a satellite uplink for Internet connectivity and workstations to accommodate about 24 students at a time. This classroom on wheels is stocked with equipment from the Oakley STEM Center, TTU, and includes equipment and supplies for activities for each grade level. Materials are on board and ready to go for grade levels.

“We are partnering with the Millard Oakley STEM Center Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville for a two year Math/Science Partnership Grant with learning communities for Manufacturing Careers,” said Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7th-12th.

“Through our partnership grant, participating schools receive one week of the STEM mobile use at no charge. The students enter the lab and follow teacher/online instructions to complete a group project,” she continued.

“The ultimate goal of STEM education is to encourage students to take an interest in STEM subjects at an early age. This should be beneficial to them when they enter the jobs market, and in turn it should benefit the greater economy,” said Cripps.

Teachers participating in the grant are Suzette Barnes, Nancy Cowan, Martha Melching, and Lesa Hayes from DeKalb Middle School, Karen France and Jessica Antoniak from DeKalb West School, and Brad Leach from DCHS-CTE.

The STEM mobile is designed to help students learn more about three core STEM themes particularly relevant to rural students:

*water, with a focus on its importance, usage and conservation;

*energy, which highlights how power is generated, ways to lower consumption, green energy and long-term energy needs; and

*my food, my body, my health, which help students learn more about agriculture, health, nutrition and physical fitness.

“The DeKalb County Schools System has partnered with the Millard Oakley Stem Center in Cookeville for many years. Their ongoing effort to provide free materials and training for our teachers has been very beneficial,” Cripps concluded.

You may visit www.ucrsi.org. for more information about the STEM mobile.

Florence & White Ford Makes Donation to Tigerettes

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Fish and Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford

Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford recently presented DCHS Tigerette Softball Coach, Danny Fish a check for $1500. This donation will be used for expenses for the Tigerettes to travel to Knoxville in April to play in the Gibbs Invitational Tournament. The Tigerettes would like to express their thanks and gratitude to Florence and White.


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