Local News Articles

County Firefighters Snuff Out Sunday Fire

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smoking coming from home of Tony Davis (Photo by Kim Johnson)
Firefighters Snuff Out Sunday Fire at Home of Tony Davis

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters put out a small fire Sunday at the residence of Tony Davis at 3770 Seven Springs Road.

David Agee, Assistant County Fire Chief, told WJLE that Davis discovered the fire in a master bedroom after returning home from church. "After he and his wife came home from church, they went in the house to get the dogs to go walking when they heard a smoke detector start beeping. At first Davis did not see or smell smoke and thought a weak battery might have caused the smoke alarm to start beeping. After taking down the smoke detector, he and his wife went outside to walk the dogs and when they returned some fifteen to twenty minutes later they discovered smoke in the home. Davis found the small fire coming from the bedroom and initially tried to put it out himself," said Agee. Central dispatch was then notified and county firefighters got enroute. They were able to contain the small blaze to the bedroom but smoke spread to other parts of the house. The cause of the fire is undetermined. No one was injured

Members of the County Fire Department's Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs Stations responded along with Tanker 1, and the equipment truck.

Voters Head Back to the Polls in August (Early Voting in July)

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page

Voters will head back to the polls on Thursday, August 7th for the DeKalb County General Election, the Smithville and Dowelltown Municipal Elections, and the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries.

Locally, voters will be electing a Sheriff, Road Supervisor, General Sessions Judge, County Mayor, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, and Trustee along with all fourteen county commissioners, five school board members, and three persons to fill vacant constable positions.

In the 13th Judicial District, voters will elect five judges, a District Attorney General, and a District Public Defender.

Across the state, Democrats and Republicans will be choosing party nominees for Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative (Congressman), State Senate, and State Representative, along with State Executive Committeemen and women. Primary winners will face off in the November Tennessee General Election.

Voters in August also will be asked whether or not to retain several state judges

Early Voting will be July 18 through August 2 at the courthouse.

Offices to be on the ballot and the candidates running for those positions in no particular order are as follows:

County Mayor: Chris Bratcher, II (Independent), Chris Smithson (Republican), and Tim Stribling (Democrat)

Sheriff: Larry Flair (Democrat) and Patrick Ray (Republican)

General Sessions Judge: Mingy Colwell Bryant (Republican) and Bratten Hale (Butch) Cook, II (Democrat)

Road Supervisor: Wallace (Butch) Agee (Republican) and James D. (Jimmy) Sprague (Democrat)

County Clerk: James L. (Jimmy) Poss (Democrat)

Circuit Court Clerk: Katherine Pack (Democrat)

Register of Deeds: Jeff McMillen (Democrat)

Trustee: Sean Driver (Republican)

County Commission (Two to be Elected)
First District: Bennett Armstrong (Democrat), Mason Carter (Republican), and Elmer Ellis, Jr. (Democrat).

Second District: Joe N. Johnson (Democrat), Bobby Joines (Republican), James "Jimmy" E. Midgett (Independent) and Clarence Trapp (Democrat)

Third District: Jack Barton (Democrat), Bradley Hendrix (Democrat), and Wesley Nokes (Independent)

Fourth District: Wayne Cantrell (Democrat) and Jonathan Norris (Democrat)

Fifth District: Jerry Adcock (Republican), Rick Cantrell (Democrat), and Anita Puckett (Democrat)

Sixth District: Betty Jean Atnip (Democrat), Jeff Barnes (Democrat), and Danny McGinnis (Independent)

Seventh District: Kevin Robinson (Democrat) and Larry Summers (Democrat)

First District: Chad Curtis (Democrat) and Lee Plummer (Republican)

Second District: Tony D. Lawson (Independent), Jonathan Low (Independent), and Chris Tramel (Republican)

Third District: Travis Bryant (Independent) and Lou Ann Sanders (Independent)

Board of Education (Non-Partisan)
First District: Matt Boss and Danny Parkerson

Second District: Jerry Wayne Johnson and Charles Robinson

Third District: Jim Beshearse, Kenny Rhody, and Jonathan Willoughby

Fourth District: Billy Miller

Seventh District: Brandon Cox, Johnny Lattimore, and Emitt Shaun Tubbs

13th Judicial District:
Criminal Court Judge, Part I: Gary McKenzie (Republican) and William Fred Roberson, Jr. (Democrat)

Criminal Court Judge, Part II: David A. Patterson(Republican)

Circuit Court Judge, Part I: Amy Hollars (Democrat)

Circuit Court Judge, Part II: Randall A. York (Democrat) and Jonathan Young (Republican)

Chancellor: J. Lee Burgess (Republican) and Ronald Thurman (Democrat)

District Attorney General: Tony Craighead (Democrat) and Bryant Dunaway (Republican)

District Public Defender: David N. Brady (Democrat) and Craig Fickling (Republican)

Smithville Municipal Election:
Mayor: Wallace Caldwell and Jimmy W. Poss
Alderman: Gayla Hendrix and Jason Murphy (Two to be Elected)

Dowelltown Municipal Election:
Alderman: Brad Driver, Keith Farler, and Ronald Griffith (Three to be Elected)

2014 Judicial Retention Questions (Should the following judges be retained "yes" or "no"?)
Cornelia A. (Connie) Clark: Supreme Court At Large
Sharon Gail Lee: Supreme Court At Large
Gary R. Wade: Supreme Court At Large
Thomas "Skip" Frierson: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
John W. McClarty: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Charles Susano: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Michael Swiney: Court of Appeals Eastern Division
Andy D. Bennett: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Frank Clement: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Richard Dinkins: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Neal McBrayer: Court of Appeals Middle Division
Holly Kirby: Court of Appeals Western Division
Steve Stafford: Court of Appeals Western Division
Norma McGee Ogle: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr.: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
James C. Witt, Jr.: Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division
Jeffrey S. Bivins: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Robert W. Wedemeyer: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Thomas T. Woodall: Court of Criminal Appeals Middle Division
Alan Glenn: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
Camille R. McMullen: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
Roger A. Page: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division
John Everett Williams: Court of Criminal Appeals Western Division

All three of DeKalb County's representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly will face a challenge for re-election this year.

Clark Boyd of Lebanon will try to unseat State Senator Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet in the August 7th Tennessee Republican Primary in the 17th District. The winner will be unopposed in November.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster will be unopposed in the August Tennessee Republican Primary in the 40th District but she will face Sarah Marie Smith of Carthage in the November Tennessee General Election. Smith is unopposed in the August Tennessee Democratic Primary.

Smith challenged Representative Weaver in the November General Election two years ago.

Meanwhile, Candace Reed of Lebanon will be looking to defeat Republican State Representative Mark Pody of Lebanon in the November General Election in the 46th District. Neither Reed nor Representative Pody face a primary challenge in August.

Other candidates in the August Tennessee Primaries:

Republican State Executive Committeeman-District 17: Albert McCall of Lebanon and Dwayne Craighead of Celina.

Republican State Executive Committeewoman-District 17: Jennifer Winfree of Lancaster, Yvonne G. Hunter of Lebanon, and Pat Fields of Old Hickory.

Democratic State Executive Committee Woman-District 17: Rachel Givens of Lebanon

Democratic State Executive Committee Man-District 17: Aubrey Givens of Lebanon and Bob Black of Lebanon

U.S. House of Representatives (6th District):
Republicans: Diane Black of Gallatin and Jerry Lowery of Sparta

Democrat: Amos Scott Powers of Doyle


Republicans: Bill Haslam of Knoxville, Donald Ray McFolin of Nashville, Mark Coonrippy Brown of Gallatin, and Basil Marceaux, Sr. of Soddy Daisy.

Democrats: Charles V. "Charlie" Brown of Oakdale, Kennedy Spellman Johnson of Murfreesboro, Ron Noonan of Sparta, and William H. "John" McKamey of Piney Flats.

U.S. Senator:
Republicans: Lamar Alexander of Walland, John D. King of Knoxville, Joe Carr of Lascassas, George Shea Flinn of Memphis, Fred R. Anderson of Maryville, Erin Kent Magee of Knoxville, Christian Agnew of Mt. Juliet, and Brenda S. Lenard of Sweetwater.

Democrats: Gary Gene Davis of Nashville, Gordon Ball of Knoxville, Larry Crim of Antioch, and Terry Adams of Knoxville.

Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

The Smithville Elementary School's Community Field Trip was held recently on the Smithville Public Square.

Eleven classes with over 200 students visited the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Justin Potter Library, Smithville Fire Hall, and the DeKalb County Courthouse including offices of the County Mayor, Election Commission, Circuit Court Clerk, General Sessions Courtroom, and the Chamber of Commerce. County Mayor Mike Foster handed out "Go Green" backpacks sponsored by the TDOT Litter Grant and spoke to the children about the importance of not littering.

The DeKalb County Clean Up Day will be held on Saturday, May 24th. To sign-up, stop by the County Complex on May 24th from 9 AM to 10 AM to pick up trash bags, rubber gloves, and water. Everyone is encouraged to participate. For more info, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Relay for Life Supporters Rally to "Finish the Fight" against Cancer (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

In what has been a DeKalb County tradition for seventeen years now, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life successfully brought together hundreds of people Friday evening who wanted to show their support for and honor the memories of their loved ones who have been afflicted with cancer.

Greenbrook Park was filled with folks who gathered to help in the battle against cancer, inspired by this year’s theme,"Finish the Fight".

The program from the stage featured singers and church groups. The opening ceremony included presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347, the National Anthem performed by Suzanne Slager, welcoming remarks by Renea Cantrell and a song in honor of cancer survivors by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby.

Cancer survivors, introduced and presented with a medallion, took the first lap around the walking trail in the park.

Teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer.

At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Six Graduate from Adult High School

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

Susan Hinton, Adult High School Leader and Program Supervisor, gave her annual report to the Board of Education and the Director of Schools Thursday night.

Hinton explained that a total of twenty five students were served during the 2013-14 school year. There were six graduates for the year. "This includes some people who got regular diplomas and it also includes some people who got an alternative diploma but they still got a diploma. I want to say congratulations to those students, " said Hinton. There are currently ten students in the program. "Some people meet with me weekly, every other day, they are working at home on computers. Some are there every day. It's kind of a different program than it started out being," she said.

Hinton read essays by two of her students. "At the end of the year, I always ask the students to tell the board what you think about the program, so I am going to read to you what my students said".

One of the essays is as follows:

"Adult high school will change my whole life for the better. If not for the adult high, I would not be going to school right now. I never went to regular school because I didn't have any friends at the new school and didn't want to make any so it was awkward. Adult high gives adult students a second chance to get a diploma or do pre-GED work. Education means a lot now, and without any education you can't even work at McDonald's

I think every county should have an adult high school. You can't even get a job without any source of education. Therefore, there will be more homeless or persons without a way to make a living because they can't get a job without some type of education.

We make progress in this room every day. When I first came here, my scores were not the best, but they're coming up more and more every day I am working.

There are not as many students in adult high school and it should stay that way because it's hard to get help when you are in a room full of students in a regular high school class. You are able to get more attention in adult high school on subjects you need help because of getting individual help.

With the hours being flexible the way they are, you can also work around your job or any personal responsibilities you may have or you may need to. It makes it fairly easy to do your work and get your hours. I like it in here in adult high school and so does everyone else and I am sure they would say the same. Adult high school helps change people's lives around whether they know it or not. Sometimes, older students visit the class and tell about the mistakes they made in dropping out or not taking advantage of the time they had in here.

It makes me realize how very important getting a high school education means for my future".

Carter Named Nurse of the Year

May 9, 2014
Shan Burklow
Carter Named Nurse of the Year

DeKalb Community Hospital celebrated National Nurses Week recently awarding Lindi Carter, RN with the hospital’s annual ‘Nurse of the Year’ award. The honor was awarded to Carter by her peers in nursing and presented by OR Director Nancy Trapp, along with ER Director Daniel Goodson, Chief Nursing Officer Kim Frazier and Chief Executive Officer Sue Conley.

“We are very proud to work with such dedicated nurses, and it is no surprise that Lindi was voted to receive this much deserved award. She gives one hundred and ten percent each and every day and always puts our patients first,” said CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

Upon receiving the award, Carter humbly replied, “I am shocked. There are so many wonderful nurses that work here (DeKalb Community Hospital), and I am humbled and overwhelmed. I have been so very proud to be a part of our hospital nursing team. I have watched them care for our patients, including many of my friends and family with dedication and heart. They always go the extra mile along with a good working knowledge about medicine and nursing care and the personal care to back it up. I would like to take a moment to honor all of the nurses at DCH. Many people never get to see the sacrifices these fine people make to save lives and care for patients day after day, but I do.”

Carter received a plaque along with flowers donated by DeKalb County Florist. Additional door prizes for various nurses were donated by DeKalb Farmers Co-op, China Garden, A-1 Hair Salon, Bert Driver Nursery and White Possum Grille.

Pictured: OR Director Nancy Trapp presents the Nurse of the Year Award to Lindi Carter alongside CEO Sue Conley and CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital.

DCHS Girls Softball Field to Be Named After Coach Danny Bond

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Bond

In recognition of his success as softball coach, the DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to honor DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Bond by naming the high school softball field after him.

Coach Bond is the only coach the DCHS girls softball program has had in its twenty nine year history and he reached a milestone this season, having won his 600th game as softball coach. He has added eleven more wins since then and has guided this year's team to a district tournament championship. The Tigerettes will host Bledsoe County in the region tournament Monday, May 12 in Smithville. The team record is 38-5 overall.

School Board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said it's time the board recognized Coach Bond. "He is a coach that has the respect of his students and players. He is a positive coach. He leads by example. I would like to read you some statistics. Before he started into softball, he was an assistant basketball coach for five years. He was a head basketball coach for seventeen years. He has been softball coach for twenty nine years. Out of those twenty nine years, he has had twenty nine winning seasons, sixteen district titles, twenty two regional appearances, nine sub-state appearances, and five state appearances. His overall record is 611-241. That's a 72% winning percentage. His district record, which is a tough district, is 265-54 which is an 83% winning percentage. So for twenty two out of the twenty nine years, he went to the region," he said.

In recent conversations with him, Evins said Coach Bond gives credit for his success to the players on his teams. "He told me, he said it's not me, it's the girls. Well, that is a two way street, " said Evins. "They have respect for him and when you have respect for a coach like him, they feed off each other and they need each other. I think that is evident in the fact that there have been twenty one girls on his softball teams in twenty nine years that have signed scholarships to go play softball in college. That means a lot. I would like for this board to consider naming the girls softball field in honor of Coach Bond, even though he is still coaching. In most cases we name something in honor of somebody after they have finished coaching but it's Teacher Appreciation Week. He has set all kinds of records and he is going to continue to do so and if no one has any objections I would like to put that in the form of a motion that we name the girls softball field after Coach Danny Bond," Evins concluded.

The board gave unanimous approval.

Concerned Parent Asks School Board to Change Policy on DCHS Prom

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

Should DeKalb County High School students be allowed to bring dates to the prom who are not students at DCHS?

At least one concerned parent believes the policy should be changed.

Catherine O'Neal, who lives on Dale Ridge Road, addressed the Board of Education Thursday night at DCHS, saying her son chose not to attend the recent DCHS prom, which was held in Lebanon, because he was not allowed to bring his girlfriend, who is a student at White County High School. O'Neal said the policy is unfair . " My son is an eleventh grader. He is pretty much a straight-A student and works very hard. He keeps his conduct in check at all times. I've never had a problem with him. This year I asked him about the prom and he said "I'm not going". This is from a young man who has been dating another young lady for over a year now. The young lady has roots in this community that spans decades long, yet her address happens to be in Sparta. He was told that he could not bring what he considers to be his significant other to a school function that did not even occur in this county for three hours. He was told you could go alone or invite a different girl. I would like that to be re-addressed. This is a twenty year old rule but this is the 21st century. I think this is so wrong. It's as if my son is being punished. He is not being allowed to attend something that is a milestone event. But yet, he is welcome at Sparta High for her prom. That does not make any sense to me. It's not fair and I think that it should be changed. He missed this one (prom). He didn't go to this one. The only one he's got left is his senior prom and I'd really like for him to take the person he cares about to that prom instead of having to miss it or go stag," said O'Neal.

The school board did not response to or act on O'Neal's request.

The DeKalb County Board of Education policy states that "attendance (to the prom) is limited only to students of the sponsoring school (DCHS)". According to the policy "events which enhance social development may be conducted by schools but must not interfere with the scholastic program in any school."

"Student organizations may sponsor social events, which are planned under the guidance of club sponsors or school administrators, scheduled well in advance, and serve to complement the curricular program. Minimal admission fees may be charged to defray costs."

"Social events scheduled for out-of-school hours shall be approved and administered by the principal. Activities scheduled outside of the system must be approved by the director of schools and/or the Board."

Social events, all dances including annual school proms have board approval provided that adequate supervision is secured, and attendance is limited only to students of the sponsoring school".

Pre-K Registration Set for Today at Smithville Elementary School

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Pre-K pre-registration is scheduled today (Friday, May 9) at Smithville Elementary School

"Smithville Elementary will have pre-K pre-registration on Friday, May 9 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. DeKalb West School will be having a registration day at a later time," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade in a recent interview with WJLE.

Julie Vincent, Principal of Smithville Elementary School, also mentioned the registration along with other SES school activities during Thursday night's school board meeting at DCHS.

"Parents interested in applying for the pre-K program should be aware that your child must turn four years old on or before August 15. When you come to register the student for the pre-K program, parents you will need to provide the following information:

*Original certificate of birth. This is the birth certificate with the state seal.

*Paperwork showing an up to date physical examination. You can get this from your doctor or health department. Make sure they are aware that this form will be used for enrollment in school.

*A certification of immunization record or shot record. Again, make the doctor or health department aware that this form will also be used in registering the child for school.

*Proof of income for all household members.

*Proof of residency. An electric bill. Cable bill. Water bill. Any type of documentation that has your name and address on the paperwork.

Parents, you will be notified prior to the start of school if your child qualifies for the pre-K program. Once the committee meets, teachers will be given a list of their classroom names and they will call and let you know if your child has been accepted into the program. Again, this date is only for Smithville Elementary pre-K registration. DeKalb West School will be having a registration day at a later time," said Burklow.

Meanwhile, Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School will have kindergarten pre-registration on Friday, May 16 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2014.

Parents, when you come for that registration, you will need to bring with you the following information:

*Original certificate of birth. The birth certificate with the state seal.

*The physical examination record. It must be current and up to date.

*Up to date certification of immunization record (shot record)

*Proof of residency for DeKalb County.

"Parents, please share with your child that he or she will be tested on registration day. This is an opportunity for your child to show the kindergarten teachers what he or she knows," Burklow concluded

"Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive Saturday

May 8, 2014
Dwayne Page
Letter Carriers will be collecting food Saturday

You can "Stamp Out Hunger" on Saturday, May 10 by joining with the Letter Carriers (NALC) union in its 22nd annual food drive--the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Letter carriers collected more than 74.4 million pounds of food last year, bringing the 21-year total to 1.3 billion pounds. All you need to do is collect canned goods and dry food, such as tuna, canned meat, soups, pasta, rice and cereal, and leave them in a bag or box by your mailbox. Your letter carriers will pick them up as they deliver your mail.

Letter Carriers will be collecting food for the drive from postal customers in the Smithville area.

Donations are given directly to local food pantries. While most food pantries get the bulk of their donations around Christmas and Thanksgiving, the NALC drive is done during the spring, when many food pantries are struggling. Also, since many school meal programs are suspended during summer months, millions of children are left scrambling to find alternate sources of nutrition and the food banks are a vital resource for families in need.

Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive--the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 20 years.

Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries, and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are involved.

To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

With more than 50 million people facing hunger every day in America, including nearly 17 million children, this drive is one way you can help those in your own city or town who need help.


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