Local News Articles

DUD Approves Project to Serve 33 New Customers

September 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
DUD Board of Commissioners

The DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners met in special session Thursday afternoon and took action that will soon provide water to 33 new customers on Tramel Branch Road, Oakley Road, Carter Lane, and the Alexandria to Dismal Road

Bids were awarded to two contractors to extend water lines to the targeted areas. The $930,000 project will be funded through a $500,000 Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Block Grant and $430,290 in funding from the DeKalb Utility District.

The DUD had originally intended to provide only $121,000 but decided to add another $309,290 after bids for the project came in higher than expected.

The board accepted a bid of $392,865 from Flo-Line Contracting of Monticello, Kentucky to do the work on Alexandria to Dismal Road and for $294,345 for the project on Carter Lane and Oakley Road. Mofield Brothers Construction of Carthage got the bid for $148,580 to extend water lines on Tramel Branch Road.

According to the DUD, the water line extensions will provide water to fourteen customers on the Alexandria to Dismal Road, seven families on Tramel Branch Road, and twelve households on Carter Lane and Oakley Road.

The original plans were to also include Old Givens Hollow Road, which would have served seven customers, but that portion of the project was excluded due to the costs. “The low bid on that alone was $315,000 just to do it (Old Givens Hollow). It was just too cost prohibitive. Had we done this we wouldn’t have been able to do anything else and we wouldn’t have gotten the grant because we wouldn’t have qualified with enough people (customers). Even though we are putting a lot more money into this overall project, it just wasn’t feasible to do this portion (Old Givens Hollow),” said DUD Manager Jon Foutch.

The DeKalb County Commission adopted a resolution in January, 2016 authorizing the filing of the grant application.

The county had applied for and been denied the grant twice within the previous two years. But this time in order to improve its chances, the county asked for a little less grant money while the DeKalb Utility District committed to ante up more in its local match commitment.

Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning & Consulting, was the grant administrator for the project.

Homecoming Day for DCHS, Parade Set for This Afternoon

September 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Tigers to Host Cannon County for Homecoming
2017 DCHS Homecoming Court: Seated- Kaitlyn Cantrell, Allison Maynard (QUEEN), Kayla Belk: Standing: Leah Davis, Alley Sykes, and Callie Mulloy

After getting their first victory of the season last week against Grundy County, the DCHS Tigers will try to make it two in a row as they host the Cannon County Lions for Homecoming tonight (Friday).

Kick-Off is at 7:00 p.m.



Tiger Coach Steve Trapp said after the first four weeks of disappointment, it felt good to get a win last week.

“Any time you can walk away on Friday night and the scoreboard has more points in your favor it makes for a better weekend. It makes the week’s worth of preparation worthwhile. I was really proud and touched to see the joy on the guy’s faces after the game because we put a lot of time, effort, and energy into being the best that we can be and we have not really been rewarded a whole lot so far during the regular season so it was just good to see these guys celebrate with each other and have that feeling of accomplishment after a week’s worth of work following a football game,” said Coach Trapp.

DeKalb County is 1-4 with losses to Warren County 26-10, Upperman 49-27, Stone Memorial 38-16, and Watertown 59-21. The lone win was against Grundy County 27-7.

Cannon County is winless with losses to Red Boiling Springs 14-0, Jackson County 20-19, Sequatchie County 48-6, Moore County 35-6, and Upperman 34-14.

“Cannon County has a true identity which is a little bit different from what they have been in the past. They know what they want to do. Offensively, they want to eat the clock. They are going to offer a heavy dose of the run game and then they will mix in some play action. They have a big six foot, four receiver on the outside who has made plays in every single game as far as catching the ball. Sometimes its a one man route and its him. A lot of times it will be our one guy on their one guy and we’ll see who makes the play. For us it’s going to be our All-State corner Bradley Miller so he needs to prove his worth in that regard. They like to use a lot of compressed formations with a lot of big guys running the ball. I think they took a lineman and put him in the backfield. Defensively it looks like they want to bring a little bit more pressure which is what we expect. Last year when we played them they had a little bit different defense so I’m also expecting something from them that we haven’t seen on tape this year as well,” said Coach Trapp.

Last week, Tiger quarterback Tyler Cantrell left the game in the second period due to a sprained ankle. Coach Trapp said whether he sees action tonight will be a game time decision.

The DCHS Homecoming Day Parade will be today (Friday).

The parade schedule is as follows:

*Parade leaves the high school: 12:45 p.m.

*Band performs at Northside Elementary School: 12:45 p.m.

*Parade arrives at Smithville Elementary School: 1:00 p.m.

*Parade arrives at Northside Elementary School: 1:20 p.m.

*Band leads the parade to the public square

*Parade arrives at the public square: 1:50 p.m. followed by a pep rally and band performance on the square.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the football game on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby.

WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.

“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at 6:00 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches interviews.

“Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger players Jesse Smith. David Bradford, and Axel Aldino.

The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with play by play coverage on WJLE with John Pryor and color commentary by Luke Willoughby

Cab of Propane Gas Delivery Truck Bursts Into Flames (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Cab of Propane Gas Delivery Truck Bursts Into Flames

The driver of a United Propane Gas delivery truck escaped injury today (Thursday) after the cab burst into flames on Highway 56 north near the entrance of the Retreat at Center Hill Lake, formerly Lakeside Resort.

The driver, Michael Nye, said he was traveling south enroute to the Smithville area to make deliveries when he heard a popping sound and pulled over to the shoulder of the highway. He got out of the truck and discovered a fire coming from under the hood. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried unsuccessfully to put out the blaze. County firefighters were notified and rushed to the scene.

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, firefighters used about seven thousand gallons of water to bring the blaze under control and to cool the tank. The fire was contained to the cab of the truck. The tank, which was filled with liquid propane gas, did not catch fire.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Midway, Liberty, and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the department's tanker truck. DeKalb EMS, the Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency Director Charlie Parker, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol were also on the scene

Traffic was stopped in both directions as firefighters were putting out the blaze.

DTC Building World Class High-Speed Broadband Network

September 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Chris Townson
Fiber to the premises buildout map

DTC Communications is in the midst of a major effort to build a world class high-speed broadband network for its five county service area with fiber optics.

The $40 million project is being done in phases to serve DeKalb, Cannon, Wilson, Rutherford, and Smith counties. The goal is to complete the initial build-out within five years.

Modern high-tech tasks require speeds available only through fiber optic technology. A fiber network uses cables made of tiny strands of pure glass, each about the diameter of a human hair, to transmit beams of light over great distances. The beams are capable of carrying high-quality data for fast internet speeds even greater than 1 gigabit per second.

As customers need faster speeds, fiber optic networks are proving to be the only connections capable of meeting customers’ needs and exceeding their expectations.

“DTC is delivering on its promise of cooperatively improving the quality of life for our members and the middle Tennessee region that we serve,” said DTC CEO Chris Townson during last Saturday’s annual membership meeting. “Under this board’s direction and through the leadership and hard work of DTC’s management team and employees, we are building a fiber optic network that will serve its membership with state of the art telecommunication services for generations to come.”

The Cooperative is building approximately 140 miles of fiber optic lines this year in the Woodbury and Westside areas of Cannon County.

“We are currently completing splicing and electronic installation in those areas. By Thanksgiving over 1,300 homes and businesses will have access to gigabit high speed internet, high definition DTC TV, unlimited voice services and industry leading residential and commercial security and camera systems,” said Townson. “Additionally, work is already underway to build approximately 300 miles of fiber in the Milton, Norene, Auburntown, and Smithville exchanges in 2018. We’re planning to double that number again in 2019 when we build approximately 600 miles of fiber optic lines primarily in the Gordonsville exchange.”

“The trust you have placed in us, in addition to your continued investment in your cooperative, has allowed us to complete our final Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) project in the Woodland area, making available advanced services to more than 1,000 homes and businesses,” he added.

“We’re not only building to serve the members well but we are doing so in a fiscally responsible manner,” he continued. “Under this board’s direction, the leadership of our management team, and the hard work and execution of our strategic and operational plans by our employees, we are not only building a world class broadband network, we are doing so while significantly improving our financial performance. In comparing this year’s annual report with last year, you will see we have improved net earnings by almost $1.1 million dollars year over year from 2015 to 2016. I am happy to report that so far in 2017 we look to make similar improvements again.”

In all, the cooperative plans to invest approximately $40 million in the communities it serves.

“DTC did take advantage of a change in an FCC regulation. We adopted the FCC Alternative Connect America Fund Cost Recovery Model for the Universal Service.” Townson explained. “What that means is that DTC has secured cost recovery from the Universal Service Fund for the next ten year period and in return we have promised to rebuild a significant portion of our network to provide broadband services in the high cost areas we serve. That’s why you are hearing about the $40 million that we will invest over the next four to five years.”

“This year our state legislature passed the Tennessee Broadband Accesibility Act in an attempt to bring Broadband Internet service to the underserved and unserved residents of Tennessee. DTC was very involved in this legislative process,” he added.

In conclusion, Townson told the membership, “The reason the Board of Directors at DTC and I are so passionate about this buildout is that we are anticipating the impact this network will have on our members’ quality of life, economic well-being, and educational opportunities.”
“We are neighbors doing for neighbors what the big corporate providers won’t do,” he added.

“That’s what DTC has accomplished for 66 years and I’m happy to report we are committed to serving our customers far into the future.”

Haslam Announces Decreased Unemployment Rates in all 95 Counties, DeKalb Rate Drops to 4.5%

September 21, 2017
Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced that unemployment rates decreased last month in all 95 counties and significantly dropped in many rural counties, which often have the highest unemployment rates in the state. The county figures were released one week after the state posted an August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent – the lowest in recorded history.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for August was 4.5%, down from 5.3% in July and well below the rate of 5.9% in August 2016. The local labor force for August, 2017 was 7,790. A total of 7,450 were employed and 350 were without work.

“To see a decrease in each and every county across Tennessee is quite an accomplishment and a sign of our state’s financial strength,” Haslam said. “Our historic low unemployment rate is a reflection of Tennessee’s policies – we’re a low tax state that encourages business investment and we don’t have a lot of debt, which allows businesses to thrive and create jobs.”

This is the third time in 2017 in which county unemployment rates decreased statewide. The rates also dropped in all 95 counties in February and April.

“What’s most impressive is how much the unemployment rate has dropped in our rural areas – several counties have seen a nearly three percent decrease over the last 12 months,” Phillips said.

While Rhea County has Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate at 6 percent, its August 2017 figure decreased by a full percentage point from the previous month, and some 400 new jobs are being created there by Nokian Tyre. The company announced earlier this year it was locating its first North American manufacturing facility in Dayton, Tenn., and Haslam on Wednesday joined company officials and county and city leaders there to break ground on the future site.

Davidson and Williamson counties have the state’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.7 percent. Davidson County dropped three-tenths of a percentage point from July, while Williamson County’s rate was down four-tenths of a percentage point. Nine of the state’s lowest unemployment rates can be found in middle Tennessee counties. Sevier County is also among the top 10 lowest in the state.

The August unemployment rate is less than 5 percent in 81 Tennessee counties. Fourteen counties have unemployment rates for the month ranging from 5.1 and 6 percent.

Unemployment date for each of Tennessee’s 95 counties is available here.


The August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was down one-tenth of a percentage point from July while the preliminary U.S. unemployment rate increased last month one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.4 percent.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Additional information from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, including resources to help Tennesseans find jobs can be found at Jobs4TN.gov.

County Clerk Offers Reminders for Proper Registration of Heavy Motor Vehicles

September 20, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss

The DeKalb County Clerk’s Office urges owners of heavy freight motor vehicles to make sure you meet all the state’s registration requirements.

Federal and state laws require registrants to possess a “Heavy Vehicle Use Tax” stamp or a “Tax Suspended” stamp for weighted vehicles of 55,000 pounds or more, provide proof of payment as a condition to register the vehicle in Tennessee, and file Internal Revenue Service Form 2290, Schedule 1, whether or not the vehicle is being used for the purposes of commercial, farm, logging, etc.

IRS Form 2290, Schedule 1 is used to report and pay the tax due. Owners who expect to drive vehicles 5,000 miles or less (7,500 miles or less for an agricultural vehicle) during the tax period can have their tax suspended. The suspension of the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax does not relieve the registrant of paying any state registration fees associated with the vehicle and a “Tax Suspended” stamp is required along with the filing of IRS Form 2290, Schedule 1.

“During a recent state County Clerks’ Meeting, Department of Revenue officials disclosed discrepancies in that some counties were not renewing vehicles with the required IRS Form 2290, Schedule 1 as required and established under federal law,” said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

“If the registrant declares that his or her vehicle is driven less than 5,000 or 7,500 miles for an agricultural vehicle, a HVUT stamp is not required, but the registrant must file the IRS Form 2290 and the vehicle must be listed as “Tax Suspended” under Schedule 1. The form must be legibly verified by stamp and date from the IRS. Owners of “Tax Suspended” vehicles must also keep up to date mileage and log books for their travel,” Poss continued.

As a public courtesy, County Clerk Poss said his office is happy to assist those who need help in filing IRS Form 2290, Schedule 1.

“After numerous reports of difficulty in registrants obtaining Federal Employer Identification Numbers (FEIN) and completing documentation required to obtain a 2290 Schedule 1 Form allowing individuals to review their HVUT, I have established online access to request and receive this information for them. Once an FEIN is obtained there is a 10 day waiting period. I am then eligible to complete the information required by the federal government to obtain a 2290 Schedule 1 before renewing weighted plates for commercial or agricultural vehicles over 55,000 pounds,” Poss explained.

If you need assistance, Poss urges you to contact him.

“Due to the variety and number of transactions performed in our office daily, individuals wishing to obtain assistance with HVUTs, filing for FEIN numbers, business tax returns or sales and use tax issues are asked to please contact the office to schedule an appointment with me. Across the state these responsibilities are up to the individuals to complete themselves. However, I encourage anyone needing help to give me a call for a time to assist with either of these issues,” County Clerk Poss concluded.

Mentors Needed to Work with TN Promise Students

September 20, 2017

tnAchieves, partnering organization for Governor Bill Haslam’s TN Promise, is currently seeking volunteers to serve as mentors for program’s fourth class of students. TN Promise offers every high school senior the opportunity to attend one of the state’s 13 community colleges or 27 colleges of applied technology tuition free with a last dollar scholarship. The program also pairs each applicant with a volunteer mentor to ease the transition from high school to college. In just 10 hours annually you can make a lasting impact on a student’s life.

The program needs 9,000 volunteers across the state to ensure each of the 60,000 plus students that apply are paired with a mentor. DeKalb County needs 22 mentors by the December 1st deadline.

tnAchieves Executive Director Krissy DeAlejandro has been with the program since its inception in 2008. “With the idea of eliminating the barriers keeping Tennessee students from entering the post-secondary pipeline, Tennessee Promise provides a last-dollar scholarship with mentor support to our state’s high school seniors,” said DeAlejandro. “It sends the message to Tennessee families that post-secondary education is within reach for everyone, regardless of socio-economic status or zip code. It also attracts business and industry to Tennessee because we can know this generation is getting the required skills to be successful in tomorrow’s job market.” TN Promise is one program of the state’s Drive to 55 initiative that aims to increase Tennessee’s adult population with a post-secondary credential to 55 percent by 2025.

In the first three years of the program almost 180,000 students have applied. In the first year, 16,291 students began college TN Promise eligible. The state’s college going rate increased 4.6 percent, more than the previous seven years combined. Enrollment at the state’s community and technical colleges increased more than 20 percent and enrollment at all of the state’s public higher education institutions increased 10 percent. This translates into approximately 4,000 new students entering the college pipeline. Students participating in the program are also retaining at rates higher than their peers that entered college without TN Promise.

The scholarship dollars are important, and often creates excitement around going to college, but the support of the mentor can be critical to many students’ success. Most of the students participating in the program are first generation college attendees and navigating the admissions and financial aid processes can seem overwhelming. Mentors spend about one hour per month reminding students of deadlines, serving as a trusted resource, and encouraging students to reach their full potential. The time commitment is small, but the impact can be life changing.

tnAchieves Deputy Director of Engagement and Partnerships Graham Thomas explained the importance of the role of the mentors. “Mentors provide the encouragement and support students need to be successful as they transition from high school and begin college.” Thomas continued, “Mentors remind students of important deadlines, answer students’ questions, alleviate their concerns, and most importantly, encourage students to reach their full potential.”

tnAchieves needs more than 9,000 volunteers statewide to serve as mentors to meet student demand. The program operates TN Promise in 84 counties and each county has a specific mentor goal. To learn more and apply you can visit www.tnachieves.org or contact Thomas at graham@tnachieves.org or (615) 604-1306.

DMS Teams Place Second in DeKalb Cross Country Invitational

September 20, 2017
Kristen Van Vranken
The boys and girls middle school teams placed second overall at the DeKalb County Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 16th.
Aaron Gottlied (Photo by Kristen Van Vranken)

The boys and girls middle school teams placed second overall at the DeKalb County Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 16th.

This was DeKalb's first time hosting a cross country meet. Five middle schools and thirteen high schools attended the event from around middle Tennessee.

The meet turned out to be a huge success with personal records being set by both the middle school and high school teams.

Three of DeKalb's middle school boys and two of the girls earned medals by placing in the top 15: Aaron Gottlied, Cameron Miller, Cooper Brown, Emily Mildner, and Patyn Carter.

The 1.92 mile middle school course turned over some fast times:

Aaron Gottlied, 3rd overall: 11:32
Cameron Miller: 7th: 12:18
Cooper Brown: 15th: 13:02
Jaxon Humphrey: 16th 13:02
Kaleb Spears: 17th 13:03
Holden Trapp: 21st 13:28
Andrew Tramel: 36th 14:48
Bryson Trapp: 37th 14:53
Liam Wallace: 46th 15:36
Robert Wheeler 49th 14:43

Emily Mildner: 3rd overall: 13:50
Patyn Carter: 14th 14:52
Summer Morse: 17th 15:14
Maleah Ruch: 23rd 15:56
Darrah Ramsey: 27th 16:59
Blair Gipe: 31st 17:16
Jacklyn Kleparek: 34th 17:41

(UPDATED) Teachers Concerned About Rising Health Insurance Premiums

September 19, 2017
Dwayne Page

Teachers who have health insurance through the school system offered by the state will soon be paying higher premiums and that has many of them concerned because the extra out of pocket expense will affect their take home pay.

The board of education last Thursday night voted to approve a seven percent hike as mandated by the state. But since the school system is not absorbing the increase, the higher costs will be passed on to teachers.

About 40 educators met Tuesday evening at the Smithville First Assembly of God church to share their concerns. The teachers would like the school board to reconsider its decision and come up with the funds to cover the increase. The school system already pays up to 60% toward a certified employee’s single or family plan.

The teachers will ask Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III to convene a workshop and or special meeting of the board soon before the rate hike takes effect.

“We are talking unbelievable increases. My family plan will increase 79%. Not seven percent. That means my net pay is going to be $3,060 less this year. An individual plan will increase 109%. Teachers just can’t take that hit. We need help,” said one teacher who asked not to be identified.

“We are concerned that our school board or county is not putting forth any extra money this year to cover that increase. We feel the school board did not understand when they voted last week how this will affect us and we just want this revisited. We are afraid that many teachers will be leaving this county because they cannot live on what this county is paying us with all the things that come out of our check. That is the basic concern,” said the teacher.

“It needs to be revisited soon because we have to make our decisions by October 30 as to what health plans we get and they will start taking that amount of money out of our checks December 5th. That’s when the big hit comes and we are stuck with that for an entire year. It would be a major financial blow to every educator in this county,” the teacher added.

In response, Board Chairman Evins released the following statement to WJLE in a text message:

“I have been in touch with at least one of the members of the school system who has called me out on Facebook and I have ensured her that we were looking at any options that we could come up with. She has contacted past State Senator Mae Beavers, who explained to her that until Obama Care is repealed that the one issue that makes the Affordable Care Act not so affordable is the fact that the state cannot cross state lines to get competitive quotes for better insurance rates. We were told it (rate hike) would be an average of 7% and that is what we had to work with. As I stated, we have been working on a solution since this matter was revealed but some find fault with the board and we are not the funding body. We are continuing to work for the entire staff to come up with a solution as best we can,” said Board Chairman Evins.

DCHS Golfers Advance to Region Tournament

September 19, 2017
John Pryor
 Anna Chew  (John Pryor Photo)
Isaac Walker  (John Pryor Photo)

Two DCHS golfers will compete in the Region 3 Tournament starting Monday, September 25 at Bear Trace Cumberland Mountain Golf Course in Crossville.

Isaac Walker and Anna Chew qualified to advance for their performance in the District 6 Tournament also at Bear Trace on Monday, September 18. Both Walker and Chew earned 1st Team All-District honors.

In boys action, Walker, a junior shot 73, which tied for 2nd out of 48 golfers.

On the girls side, Chew, a sophomore carded a 99, which was the 5th best score out of 19 golfers.

The Tiger boys team finished 4th out of 9 teams. They lost to White County by one stroke preventing the Tiger team from advancing to the Region.

For the boys, Marshal Evins shot 87. Jadyn Young, 94. Ethan Jennings, 95 and Lance Davis, 100.

The Tigers finished the season 20-11-1.

Chew was the medalist girl in all the dual matches except one.


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