Local News Articles

DeKalb Middle School holds Basketball Banquet

February 27, 2009
DeKalb Middle School Basketball MVP Award Winners and Coaches

The DeKalb Middle School basketball program held its basketball banquet, Thursday night, at the Smithville First United Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center.

Eighth grade guard, Cody Puckett, was named the Most Valuable Player for the Saints, this past season, while eighth graders, Chelsea Lewis and Lydia Foutch, shared Co-MVP honors for the Lady Saints. Emily Webb, meanwhile, was named Most Valuable Cheerleader.

In addition to the MVP award, Puckett - who averaged 15.2 points per game for the Saints, this season - was also named Best Offensive Player, and was recognized with a trophy for earning All-Tournament honors at the James C. Haile State Invitational Tournament. Puckett started all but one game in his three-year career at DMS.

Other Saints awards were as follows:

Hardest Worker - Kalab Ferrell

Most Improved - Eli Lomas

Team Player - Alex Hall

Hustle Award - Dillan Reeder

Best Sixth Man - Braxton Howell & Lucas Phillips

Best Passer/Ball-Handler - Evan Curtis & Stephen Howell

Best Rebounder - Braxton Howell

Best Defensive Player - Hunter Graham

For the Lady Saints, Lewis also earned the awards for Best Defensive Player and Most Assists, while Foutch was named Best Rebounder and took the award for Most Steals.

Other Lady Saints awards were as follows:

Best Passer - Abbey Caldwell

Best Sixth Man - Loren Cripps

Most Improved & Coaches Award - Veronica Ingram

Best Offensive Player & Free Throw Shooter - Cori Jennings

Jennings also earned a trophy for making the All-Tournament team at the James C. Haile State Invitational Tournament.

Other Cheerleading awards were as follows:

Most Improved - Mariah Jones

Most Spirit - Callie Gash

Coaches Award (the D.E.A.R. award) - Ashley Medlin

Each individual player, cheeleader and manager were also recognized with a certificate of participation during Thursday night's banquet. Awards were presented by DMS coaches, Josh Agee and Joey Agee.

(Pictured: Front Row-left to right, Lydia Foutch (Lady Saints Co-MVP), Chelsea Lewis (Lady Saints Co-MVP), Emily Webb (Most Valuable Cheerleader). Back Row- left to right, Saints Coach Joey Agee, Cody Puckett (Saints MVP), and Saints Coach Josh Agee)

Smithville Woman Charged in Manchester Armed Robbery

February 27, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Smithville woman and another person have been charged with the armed robbery of a Discount Tobacco Outlet in Manchester.

The Manchester Times reports that 25 year old Tiffany Gora of Smithville and 39 year old Donald Taylor of Manchester are charged in the case. Bond for each is $50,000 bond and they will be in Coffee County General Sessions Court March 4th.

According to the report, Gora allegedly went into the store around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday armed with a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. Gora, who was dressed in camouflage, left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. But on her way out, she dropped the gun, before getting into a waiting Ford F-150 pickup truck, driven by Taylor, and leaving the scene.

They were spotted Thursday morning and taken into custody by Manchester Police and officers of the Coffee County Sheriff's Department

Police say Gora used a BB gun during the robbery and, according to an investigator, the two admitted to committing the crime to get money to buy drugs to further their habit.

Expanded Tax Break Available for 2009 First-Time Homebuyers

February 26, 2009

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home this year before Dec. 1 have a special option available for claiming the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year.

Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home this year before Dec. 1 can get up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married filing separately.

“For first-time homebuyers this year, this special feature can put money in their pockets right now rather than waiting another year to claim the tax credit, “ said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “This important change gives qualifying homebuyers cash they do not have to pay back.”

The IRS has posted a revised version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit on IRS.gov. The revised form incorporates provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The instructions to the revised Form 5405 provide additional information on who can and cannot claim the credit, income limitations, and repayment of the credit.

This year, qualifying taxpayers who buy a home before Dec. 1, 2009, can claim the credit on either their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. They do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their main home for 36 months after the purchase date. They can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately.

The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, $150,000 for joint filers.

For purposes of the credit, you are considered to be a first-time homebuyer if you and your spouse did not own any other main home during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase.

The IRS also alerted taxpayers that the new law does not affect people who purchased a home after April 8, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2008. For these taxpayers who are claiming the credit on their 2008 tax returns, the maximum credit remains 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $7,500, or $3,750 for married individuals filing separately. In addition, the credit for these 2008 purchases must be repaid in 15 equal installments over 15 years, beginning with the 2010 tax year.

WJLE Adds New Service to Website

February 25, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

WJLE has added a new service to our website.

The WJLE Audio Archives features recent recordings of some programs previously aired "LIVE" on WJLE and other recordings not aired LIVE

The Archives will include recent audio recordings of Smithville City Council, Alexandria City Council, DeKalb County Commission, and DeKalb County Board of Education meetings, among other programs of interest.

When you log on to the WJLE homepage, look for the "WJLE Audio Archives" link located down the column on the left side of the screen. Click the link and then select the program to which you wish to listen.

Alexandria Aldermen Adopt New City Charter

February 25, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday night voted to adopt a new city charter, replacing the original which dates back to 1937.

The proposed new charter will be sent to the Tennessee General Assembly for passage. Once it has been approved there, the new charter will return to the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen for passage again.

Mayor Ria Baker says many provisions of the old city charter are out of date and need to be changed to conform to state law.

One of the proposed changes, which had been under consideration but not mandatory, was to conduct the Alexandria city election in conjunction with the August General Election every two years, rather than in September.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. says the city could have saved a lot of money by making this change. However, after having some reservations, city leaders decided against the move and will leave the city elections as they are now. Having the city elections on even years rather than odd years, would have meant that the terms of the mayor and aldermen would have been altered at least once, in order to get them back on a four year cycle. "We talked about doing (city) elections to correspond with the county elections in August, but those (county) elections don't run in odd years. (City elections are in odd years). I called the mayor and talked to her about that situation. We also talked to MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) about it and I felt like their solution wasn't too acceptable because it meant either extending some people's terms by a year or more or reducing them by a year or more".

The Alexandria City Election is held every two years in September. The terms of the mayor and six aldermen stagger. A mayor and three aldermen are elected in one year and the other three aldermen are elected in the following election. Each term is for four years.

Parsley says passage of this new charter has been more than a year in the making. "We have worked on this charter for about a year now. You folks have to pass this charter and then it has to go to the legislature and they have to have three readings to pass it. Then it has to come back to you and ya'll have to pass it by a two thirds vote and then we send it to the Secretary of State and then it becomes the charter of the City of Alexandria."

"The City of Alexandria has had some amendments to their charter (over the years) but a lot of our original charter is still antiquated. The old charter had a provision for a marshal for the town and some other things that are no longer applicable. This (new charter) sets out better (provisions) for how the town should work and function. This (new charter) was recommended by MTAS. It's not something that just came about by one person's decision. MTAS has been talking to the city about this for a little more than a year. Provisions of the new charter clear up some things that we didn't have in the original charter and it deletes some things, such as we won't have language in the charter for a city marshal anymore. It does provide for bonds and things that werent in the original charter. Several are provisions that never have been there and it does repeal certain parts that are no longer necessary."

(Click here to listen to Tuesday night's Alexandria City Council Meeting in it's entirety at http://www.wjle.com/node/6931)

Tuesday Night Fire Destroys Barn

February 25, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Barn (Photo by Callie Mathews)

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department responded to a barn fire Tuesday night.

Lieutenant Bradley Mullinax says "at approximately 8:20 p.m. DeKalb 911 dispatchers received a call of a reported structure fire in the area of 329 Petty Road. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered that the structure fire was actually a barn belonging to Bill Tisdale. The fire was well underway by the time fire crews arrived on the scene and the barn was unable to be saved. The fire was contained to the immediate area and no one was injured. Several rolls of hay and some farm equipment inside the barn were damaged."

Members of the Midway, Short Mountain Highway, Cookeville Highway, Main Station, and Johnson Chapel stations responded to render aid. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Local Scholarship Applications Due Soon

February 24, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lori Barnes

The DeKalb County High School Guidance Department is urging parents to encourage their high school seniors to submit scholarship applications by the deadlines.

School Counselor Lori Barnes says almost all local scholarship applications are due at the DCHS Guidance Office by March 17th.

Applications for the 2009 Jolly Angels Scholarship are in the counseling office. Completed applications are due in the counseling office no later than April 17th.

Applications for the DTC Scholarship in memory of McAllen Foutch are due at the DTC office by the close of business on March 16th. This scholarship is for students whose parents or guardians are active DTC members.

Applications for the 2009 Smithville Women’s Club Scholarship are in the counseling office. Completed applications are due in the counseling office no later than March 30th. This scholarship is for female students only.

Applications for the 2009 DeKalb County Republican Women’s Club are in the counseling office. Completed applications are due on March 27th. Male and female students are eligible to apply.

The following scholarships are available:

DeKalb Community Hospital- for students going into the healthcare field

DeKalb Retired Teachers Award for students who will major in education.

Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club Award for female students only.

The Elzie and Nell McBride Memorial Scholarship for future MTSU students only

The DeKalb Farmers Coop Award for students going into an agriculture or related field.

The Kyle and Kenny Robinson Memorial Scholarship for student athletes

The Lucille Stewart Memorial Scholarship Award for basketball players or basketball cheerleaders going into teaching.

The Hunter Davis Memorial Scholarship for FFA members only. Due to Annette Davis, Mrs. Fletcher, or to the counseling office by March 27th.

Courtney Pirtle Memorial Scholarship for FCCLÅ members only

DeKalb County Republican Women's scholarship

Beecher and Wilma Moss Scholarship

AmVets Scholarship and AmVets Auxiliary Scholarship for students who are children or grandchildren of a veteran.

The DeKalb County Soil Conservation District Scholarship is for students majoring in agriculture. Applications are due in the counseling office by March 13th.

The DeKalb Firefighters Association Scholarship is for students who have an immediate family member or grandparent who is a firefighter, EMS, or on the rescue squad. Also for students who are in the Explorer Program.

And the Liberty State Bank, DeKalb County Scottish Rite, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Alan Hooper Memorial Scholarship, Eddie Crips Memorial Scholarship, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Smithville Rotary Club, First Bank, Class of 1966, Class of 1969, the Jeff Garrett Memorial Scholarship, the Middle Tennessee Times Scholarship, the Charlene Morrison-Johns Memorial Scholarship, and the Agee Oil Company Scholarship.

Rotary International Celebrates 104th Anniversary

February 24, 2009

The Smithville Rotary Club announces Rotary International's 104th anniversary

Rotary is one of the largest and most influential international humanitarian service organizations in the world. Founded on February 23, 1905, in Chicago, today Rotary has over 1.2 million members who belong to more than 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. As volunteers, Rotary members serve the needs of their communities worldwide.

Rotary members conduct projects to address today's humanitarian challenges, including illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and environmental concerns while encouraging high standards in all vocations. Rotary members strive to build goodwill and peace, and provide humanitarian service in their communities and throughout the world.

Rotary's top philanthropic goal is to eradicate polio worldwide. To date, Rotary has contributed nearly $800 million and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is currently working to raise an additional $200 million toward a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These efforts are providing much needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment and educational materials for health workers and parents. In addition, Rotary has played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute over $4 billion to the effort. For more information, visit www.rotary.org/endpolio.

County Commission Honors Neil Dudney

February 23, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Mike Foster Presents Neil Dudney with Resolution

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring Neil Dudney, long time President and Coordinator of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

County Mayor Mike Foster read the resolution which states as follows:

"Whereas, it is appropriate that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and admiration for people who so ably serve DeKalb County."

"Whereas, those who volunteer their time and abilities to unselfishly serve our communities should be recognized for the positive work they do."

"Whereas, Mr. Neil Dudney and many volunteers helped establish, nurture, and expand the Smithville Jamboree into a nationally recognized music and crafts event. The two-day gathering is honored as one of the top tourist events in the country."

"Whereas, the Jamboree helps perpetuate our local mountain music and craft history. This event also helps finance many of DeKalb County charities, volunteer organizations, county functions, and churches from food booth sales and sales tax receipts."

"Whereas, DeKalb County's many attributes are presented to a National TV audience because of the Jamboree committees' and Mr. Dudney's years of work,"

"Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that July 3rd, 2009 be officially named ‘Neil Dudney Day'"

"Be it further resolved that this resolution and a presentation be also given to Mr. Neil Dudney as part of the opening ceremony of the Smithville Jamboree on July 3rd, 2009."

"Be it further resolved that this resolution of appreciation be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our respect and pride in the Smithville Jamboree and Mr. Neil Dudney."

Due to his health, Dudney has had to step down as Coordinator of the Fiddler's Jamboree.

Meanwhile, in other business, the county commission adopted a resolution establishing maximum speed limits on Holiday Haven Road and a portion of Old Sparta Road.

The resolution states that "Whereas, persons living on Holiday Haven Road from Highway 56 north to the split on the east end of the Holiday Haven Road and persons living on the old Sparta Road from the eastern city limits of Smithville to the intersection with Highway 70 east wish to enhance the safety and livability in their communities by asking the DeKalb County Commission to establish a maximum speed limit in these areas."

"Whereas, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has looked at Holiday Haven Road from Highway 56 North to the split toward the east end of Holiday Haven Road and at the Old Sparta Road from the eastern city limits of Smithville to the intersection of the Old Sparta Road and Highway 70 east. A maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour has been recommended by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for these roads."

"Whereas, it is the desire of the DeKalb County Commission to help provide a safer living condition by establishing speed limits of 35 miles per hour on these two roads as requested by people living in the area and the Tennessee Highway Patrol."

"Now, therefore, the DeKalb County Commission hereby establishes a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour on Holiday Haven Road from Highway 56 north to the eastern end of Holiday Haven Road near the split of that road and a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour on the Old Sparta Road from the eastern city limits of Smithville to the intersection with Highway 70 east for that portion of the Old Sparta Road."

(Click here to listen to the County Commission meeting in it's entirety as broadcast LIVE on WJLE Monday night. http://www.wjle.com/node/6918)

DeKalb Children's Service Council Recognizes Supporters During Appreciation Dinner

February 23, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Clata Redmon presents plaque to Corporate Sponsor John White of Walmart
Members of DeKalb Childrens Service Council

The DeKalb County Children's Service Council held an appreciation dinner Saturday night at the Smithville Rotary Building to recognize accomplishments of the organization and to honor corporate sponsors and other volunteers who have supported efforts of the group.

The council is a non-profit, tax exempt organization that works in partnership with other community groups, local businesses, and individuals to improve our county. It was formed in March, 1998 under the Tennessee Department of Children's Services as a community based organization with a focus on keeping at-risk children and youth out of state custody.

Over the years, the council has expanded this scope to include the welfare of all DeKalb County children, youth, and their families. To facilitate this mission, the council is incorporated and has received 501C-3 non profit status and is able to receive grants and donations for the purpose of developing recreational and service activities for families.

Clata Redmon, secretary and grant writer, presided over Saturday night's program and highlighted some of the achievements over the past ten years including partnering with corporate sponsor Walmart along with the residents and leaders of Dowelltown to help raise funds for new playground equipment there. Redmon says more than $18,000 has been raised but more money will be needed to fund the project, which is expected to cost more than $29,000.

Other programs and projects sponsored or supported by the DeKalb County Children's Service Council over the years include installation of restrooms and water fountains at the Smithville Airport Park in collaboration with the City of Smithville; supporting the construction of a handicapped ramp at Rotary Youth building; obtaining a grant from Tennessee Arts Commission and Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to sponsor the Nashville Ballet for two years; obtaining a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to sponsor fifteen shows of a professional story teller; obtaining funds to purchase and distribute tote bags filled with school supplies to approximately 300 kindergarten children for two years; sponsoring accelerated reading classes; sponsoring a class of special education students; raising funds to sponsor a Vista worker for a year; sponsoring a Saturday morning readers club at the housing projects community room; sponsoring a disabled child to be able to go to New York and showcase his artistic talent; sponsoring a community needs assessment by inviting a Vanderbilt professor to speak to the community; sponsoring a Mental Health Awareness Fair; supporting " A Night to Talk" at the high school; sponsoring a Mental Health Fair at Greenbrook Park; involvement in pre-Jamboree warm-ups; helping the Alexandria Friends sell their cook books; purchasing a stone on the walking path dedicated to the youth of DeKalb County; sponsoring a "Free Family Fun and Community Resource Fair" for the past three years; and purchasing a "Fatal Vision" drug and alcohol awareness education kit for school and community use, among others.

Redmon presented special awards to Walmart of Smithville and to NHC Healthcare Center, corporate sponsors who support the DeKalb County Children's Service Council. NHC serves as the regular meeting place for the group.

Other supporters recognized who were unable to attend included Sheriff Patrick Ray, Tom Janney, Judge Bratten Cook II, and the operators of Bumper's Drive-In

Three members of the organization were singled out for special recognition, Kenneth Neal, Wanda Redman, and Vonda Brown. Others recognized for their support were Faye Fuqua, Connie Beltz, Grady Prichard, Merle Harris, Jeanette Neal, and Jason Neal

Youth Council members include Dustin Brown, Haley Brown, C.J Harris., Katie Stutts, Jessica Goldstein, and Elizabeth Lawson.

Officers are President Vonda Brown; Vice-President Kenneth Neal; Secretary and Grant Writer Clata Redmon; Treasurer Merril Harris; Accountant Tom Janney; and Reporter and Publicity Chair Carol South.

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