Local News Articles

Dillard Faces More Charges in Flare Gun Case

December 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Daniel Lewis Dillard
Betty Sue George

A man recently charged with aggravated arson for firing a flare gun into a home now faces more charges.

In the latest offenses, 20 year old Daniel Lewis Dillard of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville is charged with reckless endangerment and theft of property under $1,000. His bond on these charges is $10,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 4th.

As reported previously on WJLE, Dillard was charged in the first case with aggravated arson after he participated in firing a flare gun into a home on Lee Braswell Road December 4 while a woman and a minor were inside. There apparently were no injuries.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, a further investigation revealed that Dillard assisted in the theft of the flare gun (valued at $47) from the Smithville Walmart store and took part in firing the gun into another home on Short Mountain Highway (prior to the December 4th incident), placing the victim (woman) in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

In the first case, Dillard is under a bond of more than one million dollars for the Class A offense of aggravated arson. He was also charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or search. Dillard was already on probation for a separate offense at the time of the incident.

A woman caught driving drunk near the Sheriff’s Office has been arrested for DUI and a passenger of her vehicle is facing criminal trespassing and littering charges for tossing bags of tobacco into the cage wash bay behind the jail.

65 year old Betty Sue George of West Main Street, Smithville is under a $2,500 bond for driving under the influence and she is cited for violation of the open container law. She will make a court appearance on January 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 18 a deputy was at the Sheriff’s Office when he spotted a silver colored vehicle stop near the jail. A passenger, 46 year old Richard Brandon Turner of West Main Street, Smithville, got out of the automobile and went behind the jail where he threw two bags containing tobacco into the cage wash bay.

During a traffic stop, the officer spoke with the driver, George. Her speech was slurred and she had an odor of alcohol about her person. George submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. An open 24 ounce Bud Lite was found in the center console of the vehicle.

Turner was cited for illegally coming onto the posted property of the jail and for tossing the bags of tobacco onto the premises.

Smithville Police Department Releases Latest Crime Report

December 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins (WJLE Photo)

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins has released the latest crime report from the department.

According to Chief Collins, 52 year old Edward Dale Caldwell was arrested on Thursday, November 23 for a 2nd offense of driving under the influence. Police received a call from a motorist stating that a green van had almost run them off the road. Officers spotted the van on West Broad Street and initiated a traffic stop. The driver, Caldwell was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he had a strong order of alcohol on his person. Caldwell refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and implied consent. A computer check revealed that Caldwell had a prior DUI on June 26, 2016. His bond is $3,000.

54 year old Robert Todd Williams was arrested on Wednesday, November 29 for aggravated assault. According to police, Williams had been involved in a domestic dispute with a woman which became physical. During the altercation Williams caused physical injury to the victim and put his hand around her neck trying to choke her. His bond is $2,500.

38 year old Shawn Bradley Patton was arrested on Sunday, December 3 for public intoxication and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. Police responded to Shiroki North America in response to a suspicious person. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the man, Patton who was irate, talking out of his mind and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. While being placed in custody, Patton tried to kick at officers and he kicked the window and door of the patrol car. Police had to deploy a taser to get Patton under control. He was then transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $4,000.

45 year old Mark Anthony Mason was arrested on Wednesday, December 6 for violation of bond conditions. Police stopped a vehicle being driven by Mason for swerving in the roadway. A woman was in the passenger seat. A computer check through Central Dispatch revealed that Mason is under valid bond conditions which include having no contact with the woman who was in the car with him. Mason was taken into custody without incident. Mason’s bond is $3,500 and his court date is January 4.

24 year old Stephan Tyler Brewsaugh was arrested on Thursday, December 7 for aggravated assault (domestic). According to police, Brewsaugh and a woman were engaged in an argument that turned physical when Brewsaugh jumped on her, hit her several times, and tried to choke her. Bond for Brewsaugh is $7,500.

44 year old Crissy Michelle Evans was cited for shoplifting on Thursday, December 7. Police responded to Food Lion in reference to a shoplifter and made contact with Evans who was loading groceries in a van. According to police, Evans placed items in a Wal-Mart bag and acted as though she had bought them.

25 year old Matthew Edward Stacy was cited Friday, December 15 for simple possession and drug paraphernalia. Police were called to Stacy's residence and after receiving consent to search found several bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana which weighed approximately 38 grams along with 15 bongs/pipes, a scale, and a grinder all believed to be used for illegal drug activity. His court date is January 4.

28 year old Jessica Leeann Bain was arrested Friday, December 15 for a violation of protection order. According to police, Bain violated a full protection order issued the day before on Thursday, December 14 by being at the same residence as the petitioner. Police said she entered the residence through a back door without the petitioner's knowledge. Bain’s bond is $20,000 and her court date is January 4.

19 year old Sy Gohs was arrested on Sunday, December 17 for domestic assault and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. According to police, Gohs assaulted the victim by hitting her in the face, leaving her with a bloody nose. He also kicked her. When Gohs was notified that he was under arrest, he pulled away from officers and had to be tased to get him under control. Bond for Gohs is $5,500 and his court date is January 4.

43 year old Jeremy Aaron Bilbrey was arrested on Monday, December 18 for driving on a suspended license. Police found Bilbrey in control of a vehicle parked in a tow away zone in front of Wal-Mart. Upon checking with Central Dispatch, police learned that Bilbrey's license were suspended in DeKalb County for failure to maintain future proof of financial responsibility. Bilbrey was taken into custody due to the reasonable likelihood that the offense would continue as he was cited on December 6 for the same offense, driving on a suspended license. Bilbrey’s bond is $3,500 and his court date is January 4.

4-H Members Compete in Public Speaking Contest

December 22, 2017
Johnny Barnes

DeKalb County 4-H held the county-wide public speaking contest at the County Complex on December 12, 2017. Twenty-eight youth from various grades competed to earn a spot at the regional contest and for cash awards. The 4th-6th graders were all winners from their classroom contests held last fall.

Winning the 4th grade competition was Addison Murphy followed by Cali Agee and Nick Sweeney. Other participants were Ava Pack, Turner Bryant, Laura Magness, Jack Gassaway, McKenna Miller, Nicholas Daw, Isabella Allen, Logan Duke, Wyatt Carter, Brownie Johnson, Michael Anthony Gutierrez, Jakayta Odom, and Olivia Gilley.

In 5th grade, 1st place was awarded to Dare Collins, 2nd place to Layla Newby, and 3rd place to Luke Midgett . Other participants were Sarah White, Sylvia Evans, Ethan Kempton, Katlynn Ellis, Cole Mcmillen, and Tyler Belcher.

Tess Barton won 1st place in the 6th grade contest, Summer Morse taking 2nd place, and Jazmine Wagner winning 3rd. Emily Mildner placed 1st for 8th grade and Jacklyn Kleparek place 1st for the 7th grade.

Addison, Cali, Dare, Layla, Tess, Summer, Jacklyn, and Emily will all move on to the regional contest that will be held in January. Public speaking is one of the most important and valuable skills these young people will learn to help them with their future careers. There were around 200 4-H Members who gave a speech this year in the classroom! We are proud of their hard work and courage. For more information about the 4-H program, please contact the UT-TSU Extension Office at 615-597-4945.

County Awarded Courtroom Security Grant

December 22, 2017
Dwayne Page

The county has been awarded a grant to improve security in the third floor courtrooms of the courthouse.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the county commission voted to accept a grant in the amount of $17,031 with a 10% local match of $1,702.

The grant funds will be used to install two bullet proof benches and a panic alarm system (2 panic buttons) in the courtrooms. Funds will also be allocated for courtroom security training.

County Mayor Tim Stribling said he and Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack applied for the grant through the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). This one time grant program became effective August 18, 2017. The AOC received $2 million in one-time funds appropriated by the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Bill Haslam to improve court security across Tennessee.

Stribling explained that this is a reimbursement grant. The county will purchase the equipment first and be reimbursed through the grant program except for the 10% match.

In other business, the commission appointed Chris Russell as a member to the 911 board to represent Alexandria for a term of four years. Russell, who is also the Alexandria Police Chief, was recommended for the appointment by the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District Board of Directors (911 board).

The commission also voted to have DeKalb County included on a statewide listing of approved jurisdictions for the sale of consumer fireworks. With DeKalb County on the list, those seeking a permit to sell fireworks around the 4th of July and New Years Day will no longer need to have the county mayor sign their application as a requirement to obtain a state issued permit. All other state requirements will still apply.

“Tennessee law requires that all permit applications for the retail sale of consumer fireworks be signed by the chief executive officer of the county or municipality in which the fireworks are to be sold to fulfill the requirement of state law,” said County Mayor Stribling.

“The current practice requires the applicant to contact the (County Mayor) office in order to obtain his signature on the application that must be returned to the Department of Commerce and Insurance. The information provided about your jurisdiction will be made public so that applicants can determine any restrictions on the sale of consumer fireworks in your jurisdiction”.

“If you designate that the retail sale of fireworks are allowed in your jurisdiction and you elect to make that information public to potential applicants an applicant will not be required to obtain the signature for approval of the permit application”.

State law provides for the sale of fireworks by valid permit holders from June 20 through July 5 and from December 10 to January 2.

County Commissioner Remembers Mack Harney, Jr.

December 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mack Harney, Jr.

A former county commissioner who passed away Monday was fondly remembered Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting of the commission.

Mack Harney, Jr. served three terms as 7th district commissioner during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Seventh district commissioner Larry Summers, who served with Harney, paid tribute to him.

“We have lost a great citizen of DeKalb County, Mack Harney. He served on this commission for 12 years. People don’t know how much he loved DeKalb County. He had connections with the state legislature. He could get an appointment with the Governor on matters. He loved to do things behind the scene. I always considered him the most effective commissioner I ever served with. We’ve lost a great citizen and I have lost a friend,” said Summers.

The funeral for Mr. Harney was held Thursday.

Deadline Approaching to Apply for County Complex Director

December 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Deadline Approaching to Apply for County Complex Director

The county is still accepting applications to fill the position of a full time director at the county complex (Mike Foster Multi-Purpose Center)

Applications and resumes may be submitted to the county mayor’s office through noon Wednesday, December 27th. The county’s parks and recreation committee will review the applications and set up interviews in January. The committee will then make a recommendation to the county commission on whom to hire possibly by the January 22 monthly meeting.

The position is expected to be filled by February 1.

Job responsibilities of the director are as follows:

*Overseeing all daily activities, finance and scheduling

*Preparing yearly budget

*Making daily deposits

*Coordinating activities for the county complex

*Booking & renting rooms

*Planning activities for all ages

*Keeping records for complex (attendance, finance)

*Supervising games, events, activities, etc.

*Being responsible for inventory of property

*Working irregular hours, including nights and weekends

*Being responsible for booking classes and getting volunteers to assist with programs

*Scheduling and overseeing employees and volunteers to assist with programs

*Applicants must possess solid computer and people skills

*Be willing to attend training for First Aid, CPR, and perhaps First Responder Classes.

The pay for the director is expected be on the same scale as clerks in other county offices, starting at $25,436 per year at step one or $12,718 for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

DeKalb Fire Department Offers Holiday Season Safety Tips

December 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Lt. Brian Williams

‘Tis the season to be jolly, as the holiday standard goes. In many homes, this means a log on the fire, a trimmed tree or a menorah glowing brightly. All these signs of the season bring feelings of comfort and joy to families. But what you may not realize is that they also bring an increased risk of fire in the home. That’s why Lt. Brian Williams, DeKalb County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, wants everyone to be aware of some simple things we can all do around our homes to prevent fires.

The winter months are the peak times for home heating, candle, decoration and Christmas tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Statistics show that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. Fireplaces or chimneys are involved in almost two out of five home heating fires. Portable or fixed space heaters are involved in four out of five home heating fire deaths. Over the years, DeKalb County has had its share of all these unfortunate and unnecessary fires.

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s holiday wish is for all DeKalb County residents to have a merry, bright and SAFE holiday season. By recognizing holiday fire hazards and using a little extra caution, you can help keep your home full of comfort and joy while celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day.

When decking the halls, choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant and keep them away from candles or any other heat source. Not all holiday lights are made equal so be sure that you know whether yours are for indoor or outdoor use and be sure to replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.

Lighting candles, whether for decorating or religious rituals, should always be done with caution. Candles should be in a sturdy holder and placed on an uncluttered surface. Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Additionally, candles placed on or near tables, altars, or shrines must be monitored by an adult.

Lastly, roasting anything on an open fire in the fireplace is not a good idea! Make sure that your fireplace has a sturdy screen and keep kids and pets three feet away. Have your chimney inspected, cleaned regularly and dispose of ashes in a metal container far away from the home.

"We know that the holidays are a hectic time of year for all DeKalb County residents. Please help DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department prevent unnecessary fires in our community by slowing down a little and taking time to pay attention to these few suggestions that we have recommended," said Lt. Williams.

Dowelltown City lights Contest Winners Announced

December 21, 2017
Dwayne Page

Winners of the Dowelltown City lights Contest have been announced.


1st Place: Tee and Nancy Wilson, Hillview Heights

2nd place: Darry and Susan Driver, Highway 70

3rd place: The Walkers, Corley Street


1st place: Darlene Mathis, Happy Valley

2nd place: Kevin Kent, Mill Street


1st place:
Maudie Bass, Happy Valley

2nd Place:
Willie and Debra Cole, West Main Street

Christmas Greetings From Our Community

December 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Christmas Greetings From Our Community

WJLE and the following participating local and area businesses, public officials, and political candidates wish you and your family a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

*ABTS (Automated Business & Tax Service)
1225 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville

*A Degree Above Heating & Cooling, a RUUD dealer
631 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Alexandria Auto Parts, LLC
905 Brush Creek Road, Alexandria

*Arrow Termite & Pest Control
9341 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville

*Atnip Chiropractic Clinic
205 South Fourth Street, Smithville

*Belk Grocery & Sporting Goods
108 Wright Bend Road, Smithville

*Bumpers Drive-In
303 East Broad Street, Smithville

*Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
580 East Broad Street, Smithville

*Cantrell's Furniture & Appliances
638 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Cash Express
126 East Bryant Street, Smithville

*Center Hill Wine and Spirits
725 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville

*DeKalb County Ace Hardware
702 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville
615-597-4154 or 615-597-6175

*DeKalb Dental Center, the office of Dr. Mitchell S. Tatum, DDS
201 South Third Street, Smithville

*DeKalb Funeral Chapel
863 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville
615-597-9400. Obituary line 615-597-9600

*DeKalb County Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell
732 S. Congress Boulevard-Room 104, Smithville

*DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss
732 S. Congress Boulevard-Room 102, Smithville

*DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack
DeKalb County Courthouse, 1 Public Square - Room 303, Smithville

*DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling
DeKalb County Courthouse, 1 Public Square - Room 204, Smithville

*DeKalb County Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen
732 S. Congress Boulevard- Room 101, Smithville.

*DeKalb County Road Supervisor Butch Agee
720 Smith Road, Smithville

*DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray
100 Public Square, Smithville
615 597-4935 or 615 597-4043

*DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver
732 S. Congress Boulevard- Room 103, Smithville.

*Dogwood Plaza
South Congress Boulevard, Smithville

*DTC Communications
Alexandria Office: 111 High Street.
Smithville Office: 200 Walmart Drive.

*Evins Mill ~ A Tennessee Resort Property
1535 Evins Mill Road, Smithville, TN
615.269-3740 (Nashville)

*Family Care Chiropractic, Dr. Kevin Malone DC.
502 West Main Street, Smithville

*Family Medical Center
302 North Congress Boulevard, Smithville
400 East Public Square, Alexandria

*Florence & White Ford
710 West Broad Street, Smithville

*F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy
608 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville
615-597-5521 Nights & Holidays
615-597-4186 Soda Shop
Alexandria Location: 105 Public Square

*Glynn's Auto Sales
605 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Good Health Family Clinic
414 East Broad Street, Smithville

*Griffins Fruit Market
316 West Broad Street, Smithville

*HG Staffing, LLC
477D North Chancery Street, McMinnville

*Jamie a. Boutique
112 West Main Street, Smithville

*Jimmy Sprague
Democratic Candidate for DeKalb County Road Supervisor

*Jim's Tire & Alignment
449 Evins Mill Road, Smithville

*Johnny's Drugs
516B West Main Street, Smithville

*Lake Homes Realty (Tony Luna)

*Larry's Discount Grocery
309 West Broad Street, Smithville
615-697-6617 or 615-597-6760

*Love Cantrell Funeral Home
100 East Church Street, Smithville
615-597-5275. Obituary line 615-597-7275

*Liberty State Bank
Smithville Branch: 735 South Congress Boulevard
615-597-2265 or 615-597-2266
Liberty Branch: 311 East Main Street, Liberty
Alexandria Branch: 100 North Public Square, Alexandria

*Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
1036 West Broad Street, Smithville
615-597-4388 or 615-597-4300

*Mark Milam
Democratic Candidate for DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk

*The Miller Team-Josh and Melissa
Sunbelt Real Estate and Appraisals
409 West Broad Street, Smithville
615-464-5882 or 615-464-684-0262

*NHC Healthcare
825 Fisher Avenue, Smithville

*Optimus Pest Solutions
409 South Mountain Street, Smithville.

*Pokey's TurnKey Bail Bonding (We have the key to set you free)
633 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Pokey's Fix-A-Flat Tire Shop (new and used tires)
633 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Poppie's Boutique
660 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Rick's Auto
255 Arrowhead Drive, Smithville

*Jackie Smith, State Farm Insurance Agent
315 North Public Square, Smithville

*Smithville Discount Wine & Spirits
413 East Broad Street, Smithville

*Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss
Smithville City Hall- 104 East Main Street, Smithville.

*Smithville Storage (Opening in the New Year)
1000 South Mountain Street, Smithville

*Swallows Insurance Agency
308 West Broad Street, Smithville

*Three Star Mall
1410 Sparta Road, McMinnville

*Webb House Retirement Center
115 Jennings Lane, Smithville

*White Possum Grille
1060 West Broad Street, Smithville
Daily Menu-Smithville 615-464-6108

*Wilson Bank & Trust
576 West Broad Street, Smithville
615-597-4663. Telephone Banker 615-597-2222
Alexandria Location: 306 Brush Creek Road

2606 McMinnville Highway, Smithville

*Woodbury Insurance Agency
234 McMinnville Highway, Woodbury
Smithville Branch at 612E South Congress Boulevard

2018 Middle TN Grain Conference Slated for Late January

December 20, 2017
Johnny Barnes

The Twelve Annual Middle Tennessee Grain Conference is set for Tuesday, January 30th at the Coffee County Fairgrounds in Manchester. The conference will offer farmers insights to a number of emerging corn, soybean, and wheat production concerns.

According to the 2017 conference evaluation survey, 146 farmers from twenty-five Middle and East Tennessee counties and two adjoining states cited the Middle Tennessee Grain Conference as an excellent source of information addressing pertinent crop production topics.

The conference will get underway with registration beginning at 7:30 AM. Registration is twenty dollars at the door or participants can save ten dollars by pre-registering by Noon, Monday, January 25 through the DeKalb County Extension Office at 722 S. Congress Blvd. in the DeKalb County Complex. Registration fees include the program, materials, refreshments, lunch, a copy of the conference proceedings (which will contain copies of all presentations), and cap (given at the end of the Conference). This program, like all UT Extension programs, is open to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or veteran status.

Once again, the conference will feature one of the largest trade shows in the area. Over 30 vendors will be on-site for the trade show beginning at 8:00 AM. A remarkable slate of speakers addressing current production topics for corn, wheat and soybeans beginning at 9:00 AM. Tennessee Farmers Cooperative will sponsor lunch on site by Christy “Q” Barbeque of Woodbury.

Following lunch, the keynote speaker will be Fred Whitford, Clinical Engagement Professor – Purdue Pesticide Programs. Dr. Whitford will discuss issues concerning “Removing Herbicide Residues from Agricultural Application Equipment & Sprayers on County Roads.”

Following the keynote address, producers will have the opportunity to attend a Dicamba certification program. This new training is required for producers to apply Xtend (Dicamba resistant) and Enlist (2,4-D resistant) soybean products. Cost of the training is twenty-five dollars per person paid at the time of the training. Producers who attend this training will be able to use all forms and brands of the new herbicide chemistries.

Complete details on conference topics and pre-registration may be obtained from Johnny Barnes, Extension Agent & County Director of The University of Tennessee Extension/Tennessee State University Extension Office. Please call 615-597-4945 if you have any questions.


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