Local News Articles

Chamber Awarded CDBG Grant for Downtown Smithville

November 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chamber Awarded CDBG Grant for Downtown Smithville

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a $25,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for downtown Smithville. The CDBG funding will be used for commercial façade improvements on the west side of the public square including new awnings and signs, painting, building repair and other upgrades. Chamber Director Suzanne Williams will begin training soon to learn the needed requirements set by the State.

“Community Development Block Grants play an important role in helping communities across Tennessee prepare for future economic development opportunities and continued growth,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. “Working with our communities in making these improvements helps bring us one step closer toward our goal to making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Community development sets the stage for burgeoning economic development and when a community invests in itself, the private sector is more likely to invest in it as well,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “I am pleased to see so many communities across the state eagerly taking steps not only to attract new business and encourage future growth, but also to create better living conditions for the families that reside there.”

The Chamber application process for West Public Square buildings (4th, West Walnut, West Main, West Market) should begin around the first of the year. The 75/25 grant match will allow property owners to apply for up to $2,000 per building in exterior improvements and receive up to $1,500 back. “So much has already been accomplished in downtown Smithville through our work with the Tennessee Downtowns Program, and we are very grateful for being awarded the CDBG grant and the opportunity to continue the downtown renovations,” says Williams. For more information, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Pictured l-r:
Economic & Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, State Senator Mae Beavers, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, State Rep. Terrie Lynn Weaver, Governor Bill Haslam

Smithville Study Club Diamond Jubilee Celebration

November 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Study Club

The Smithville Study Club celebrates a special milestone this year with seventy-five years of continual service to the community. President, Polly Payne, and members invited noted historian, Mr. Tommy Webb, to give an informative program about the group's history along with DeKalb Chamber Director, Mrs. Suzanne Williams who presented the group with a 75-Year Milestone Award for meritorious service to the community.

The club started on October 12, 1939, with twenty-six members who inspired the current members to continue supporting the local arts in the community and continue where these ladies began. The original club included ladies who loved to read and wanted to encourage others to broaden their horizons.

The first President elected was Mrs. Walter Burton, Sr. who served until 1941 with Mrs. Norval Webb Sr. as Vice-President. The group was instrumental in getting the first library organized. The members met in their homes until a permanent library, currently Justin Potter Library, of Smithville was built.

The preservation of Arts continues to be high priority for the group who have not only supported Justin Potter through the years, but have brought several art exhibits and musical venues to the park and other locales. The club sponsors the DeKalb Student Art Exhibit in the spring with the winners of this year's exhibit currently on display at J.L. Evins Appalachian Craft Center, and help with the Annual Storytelling Event as well as supporting young musicians and artists who are frequently invited to the club to perform.

Honorary members are Mrs. Evelyn Hodges and Mrs. Elizabeth LaFever, with Mrs. Melford Smith, deceased.

The celebration was held at the home of Mrs. Frankie Hagan with Mrs. Carol Darrah and Mrs. Imogene Dudney serving as hostesses. Refreshments including a celebration cake were provided by Mrs. Mary Nell Summers, Mrs. Patsy Nixon, Mrs. Janet Worfol, and Mrs. Margaret Faulkner. Musical selections were provided by Mrs. Susan Hinton. The committee who worked on the celebration was chaired by Mrs. Marsha Darrah. Guests for the event included Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Webb, Mrs. Sherry Bush, former President of the club, and Mrs. Janna Reid.

Healing Families Support Group Meets Weekly

November 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Concerned about a friend or relative struggling with addiction? You're not alone. A support group now meets weekly and you are invited to participate

Healing Families is a support group sponsored by the DeKalb County Drug Court program for family members of loved ones battling addiction. It is located at Haven of Hope Counseling 612 S Congress Blvd Smithville, TN and Free to the Public! The support group meets Thursday’s at 5:30pm.
One of the most honorable of human instincts is the desire to help others, especially those who hold the closest spots in our hearts. Parents want to help their children achieve success in school. Spouses want to help each other through all the challenges that life brings their way. Friends want to help each other in their professions or in other personal relationships. Unfortunately, though, this well-meaning gesture can implode disastrously when addiction is part of the equation.

When you help someone, you do something for them that they are not capable of doing themselves. However, when you enable someone, you do for them something they could and should be doing for themselves. In simple terms, when you enable someone who is suffering from addiction (whether drugs or alcohol) you are creating an atmosphere in which the addict can comfortably continue in their improper behavior.

Karen Khaleghi, Ph.D. writes in The Anatomy of Addiction, “By stepping in to “solve” the addict’s problems, the enabler takes away any motivation for the addict to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Without that motivation, there is little reason for the addict to change. Enablers help addicts dig themselves deeper into trouble. If the person suffering from addiction that you are enabling is in treatment, then you, too, should take part in the process. If they are not in treatment, you should explore your own issues, either with a personal counselor or through a support group. Don’t help the people you care about dig their own graves!”

Smithville voters say "Yes" to retail package store liquor sales

November 4, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Terri Lynn Weaver
Mark Pody
Diane Black
Lamar Alexander
Bill Haslam
Mae Beavers

By a narrow margin, Smithville voters approved a referendum Tuesday allowing retail package stores to sell liquor within the city limits. The referendum passed by a five-vote margin, 406 votes to 401.

Meanwhile, a referendum calling for the allowance of consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises within the city limits, liquor by the drink in restaurants, failed by 15 votes, 412 votes to 397.

Click on the following link to follow local Election return results:

http://www.wjle.com/november-4th-election-results

The liquor store referendum passed in two city precincts, failed in two others, and lost early votes and absentees by a single vote. Early and absentee voters defeated the measure 259 to 258 votes, as did voters at the Church of Christ Annex, 74 votes to 69. Voters at the County Complex also opposed the measure, 9 to 8, but the referendum passed at the Courthouse, 16 to 12, and at the Church of God, 55 votes to 47.

The liquor for consumption referendum also passed in two precincts, failed in two others and was opposed by early and absentees voters. The measure lost among early and absentee voters, 268 votes to 250. Voters at the Church of Christ Annex opposed the referendum, 76 votes to 69, and also at the County Complex, 10 votes to 7. But as in the liquor store referendum, the liquor by the drink vote passed at both the Courthouse, 15 to 13, and at the Church of God, 56 votes to 45.

Meanwhile, State Representatives, Terri Lynn Weaver in the 40th District and Mark Pody in the 46th District won re-election to new two year terms. According to the Tennessee State Election Website, Weaver, the Republican incumbent, defeated Democrat, Sarah Marie Smith, 11,354 (66.61%) votes to 5,692 (33.39%) district wide. Weaver carried all four counties that make up the 40th Legislative District. In DeKalb County, Weaver won 1,884 votes to 972 for Smith. In Smith County, the home county for both candidates, Weaver defeated Smith 2,659 votes to 1,836. In Sumner County, Weaver won 5,874 votes to 2,287 for Smith. In Trousdale County, Weaver won 937 to 597 for Smith. In DeKalb County Weaver carried all thirteen precincts that she represents and won in early votes/absentees.

In the 46th District, Pody, the Republican incumbent defeated his Democratic opponent Candace Reed 9,888 (67.44%) to 4,775 (32.56%) district wide. Pody carried all three counties which make up the district winning in Cannon County 1,944 to 969, DeKalb County 554 to 356, and Wilson County, the home county for both candidates, 7,390 to 3,450. In DeKalb County Pody carried seven of the eight precincts he represents and tied 3 to 3 with Reed in the other. Pody also won in early votes/absentees

Republican State Senator Mae Beavers, who was unopposed, received 2,622 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. District wide she received 35,431 votes. Her district is made up of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson Counties.

In the Governor's race, Republican Incumbent Bill Haslam won statewide with 951,215 votes beating Democratic challenger Charles V. "Charlie" Brown who had 308,803 votes. Haslam carried DeKalb County 2,422 to 834 for Brown. Other candidates and their vote totals in DeKalb County are Shaun Crowell 83, Isa Infante 38, Steven Damon Coburn 42, John Jay Hooker 119, and Daniel T. Lewis 32.

Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander won re-election receiving 849,629 votes statewide. His Democratic opponent Gordon Ball had 437,251 votes. Alexander carried DeKalb County 2,165 to 1,190 for Ball. Other candidates and their vote totals in DeKalb County are Joe Wilmoth 120, Martin Pleasant 28, Tom Emerson, Jr. 41, Edmund L. Gauthier 7, Joshua James 15, Danny Page 31, Bartholomew J. Phillips 10, C. Salekin 3, Eric Schechter 1, and Rick Tyler 20.

Sixth District U.S. Representative Diane Black, a Republican, won re-election district wide with 115,190 votes. She defeated her Democratic opponent Amos Scott Powers who had 37,215 votes and Independent Mike Winton with 9,630 votes. Black carried all nineteen counties in the district including Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, White, and Wilson. Black carried DeKalb County 2,361 to 1,032 for Powers and 192 for Winton.

All four Tennessee Constitutional Amendment issues passed statewide and in DeKalb County. The vote totals in DeKalb County and statewide are as follows:

Constitutional Amendment #1
Yes: 2,282 (728,751 statewide)
No: 1,417 (656,427 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment #2
Yes: 2,118 (831,549 statewide)
No: 1,561 (533,522 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment#3
Yes: 2,374 (882,259 statewide)
No: 1,168 (450,066 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment#4
Yes: 2,160 (902,673 statewide)
No:1,178 (394,317 statewide)

A total of 4,009 DeKalb Countians voted in the election Tuesday including 2,349 on election day and 1,660 during early voting/absentee

Click on the following link to follow local Election return results:

http://www.wjle.com/november-4th-election-results

Dowelltown Family Unharmed in Early Morning Fire at Their Home

November 4, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Firefighters Contain Bedroom Fire at Dowelltown Home

A Dowelltown family was unharmed but their home had some minor damage in an early morning fire today (Tuesday).

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the home of Ray Murphy at 1653 West Main Street in Dowelltown at 4:22 a.m.

According to Lieutenant Brian Williams, the fire started in a bedroom where Murphy's grandson had apparently fallen asleep on the bed with a lit cigarette. A baby was also in the room. A total of seven people were in the home at the time of the fire including Mr. Murphy, three other adults, and three children. They all escaped safely.

The fire was contained to the bedroom and quickly extinguished by members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, and Liberty Stations along with the Tanker Truck.

Jeania Poss with the local Red Cross Chapter was notified and arrived on the scene to see to the needs of the family.

Inmate Charged with Assaulting Another Prisoner in Jail

November 3, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joseph Stephen Audas
Frank Stokton Dame

An inmate at the DeKalb County Jail has been charged with assaulting another prisoner.

29 year old Joseph Stephen Audas of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court November 6. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 30 a correctional officer heard inmates hitting on a door in the jail annex. He went to investigate and met an inmate at the door who had a black and bloody eye. After reviewing video from the surveillance system, the correctional officer determined that Audas was the primary aggressor. When confronted, Audas allegedly admitted to having thrown the first punch in a fight with the other inmate.

48 year old Frank Stokton Dame of Culver Street, Chattanooga is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for failure to maintain lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court November 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 1 a deputy pulled over a 2006 Nissan Xterra for failing to maintain lane of travel. The officer spoke with the driver, Dame and noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. The deputy asked Dame to step out of the vehicle. Dame was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Dame also consented to a blood test. He was placed under arrest.

52 year old Russell Alan Ross of Lee Young Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (pipe). Sheriff Ray said Ross was stopped by a sheriff's department detective for possibly being intoxicated. A search of Ross yielded a baggie containing marijuana. The detective also found inside Ross' vehicle a pill bottle which held marijuana. Ross told the detective that he had a marijuana pipe in the front door of the vehicle. The pipe was found and recovered. His court date is November 20.

Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

November 3, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

NHC Smithville recently held a celebration for Susie White on the anniversary of 35 years as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) at NHC Smithville. A reception was held on Wednesday, October 29 with cake and punch at NHC where Mrs. White received some special gifts as well as a plaque and pin celebrating her 35 years of service. Mrs. White began her CNA career on October 23, 1979 at the NHC owned, Sunny Point Health Care. For her entire career, Mrs. White has worked night shift, and continues to do so.

"Susie White is an icon at NHC Smithville and we were proud to honor her on this very special occasion,” Administrator Clint Hall said. “She is one of the most caring and compassionate people I know. Her dedication to her patients and families is paramount and serves as an example to others. We are fortunate to have her as a part of the NHC family.”

“I have always enjoyed taking care of people,” Mrs. White said. “I have been blessed in my life and this is a way for me to serve others. There is no substitute for the rewarding feeling I get every time I take care of my patients.”

Mrs. White is a native of Dekalb County and is a member of United Pentecostal Church. She has been recognized as a CNA of the Year for NHC Smithville countless times and was honored as the NHC Central Region’s CNA of the Year in 2005.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash

November 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash
2007 Suzuki driven by 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville
1998 Chevy Blazer driven by 51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville

Two persons were involved in a near head on crash Saturday night on East Broad Street in Smithville near Foutch Industries, LLC.

Central dispatch received the call just after 6:00 p.m.

51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville and 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville were seriously injured and airlifted. Merriman was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. Hernandez was airlifted from near the scene by Life Force and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

Trooper Gerald Carter told WJLE that Merriman, driving a 1998 Chevy Blazer, was traveling east on Highway 70 when she got in the turning lane and pulled into the path of a westbound 2007 Suzuki car driven by Hernandez. Both women were entrapped in their vehicles. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to perform extrication. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also called to assist city firefighters.

Smithville Police officers were also on the scene

Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

November 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

A fire Friday night destroyed a double wide mobile home on Banks Pisgah Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:16 p.m.

David Agee, Assistant Fire Chief for the DeKalb County Fire Department told WJLE that Brandon and Shelli Ervin owned the mobile home but no one was living there. The Ervin's were in the process of getting the home ready to rent out. The cause of the fire is apparently undetermined.

The blaze gutted the home and firefighters were unable to save it.

Members of the Keltonburg, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations responded along with the tanker truck and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Chamber Announces Winners of Halloween Costume Contest

November 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance

The Chamber of Commerce held a Costume Contest during the Halloween Downtown event for all downtown businesses and offices.

Nineteen groups participated making it a "SPOOK"tacular day of festivities and cutthroat competition. Participants included Gotro Surveying, DeKalb Insurance, Pioneer Credit, C.J.'s Party Place, Tangles, Miroir Miroir, Webb's Gifts, This & That, Charlie Max & Co., Regions Bank, DeKalb Board of Education, Justin Potter Library, Election Office, Circuit Court Clerk office, Co. Mayor's office, Fast Pace Urgent Care, City of Smithville.

Winners: First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, Second place - Smithville Review, Third place -Drug Court

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