Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 11.3%

July 23, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County jobless rate for June was at 11.3%, up from the revised rate for May of 10.7%. The rate for June, 2008 was 6.1%

The local labor force for June was 10,060. A total of 8,920 were employed and 1,140 were unemployed..

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2009 is 10.8 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May rate of 10.7 percent. The United States' unemployment rate for the month of June was 9.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for June 2009, released today, show that the rate increased in 84 counties, decreased in eight counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 7.1 percent, up from 6.5 percent in May. Perry County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 22.1 percent, down from 24.2 in May, followed by Lauderdale County at 19.7 percent, up from 19.2 percent in May.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 8.5 percent, up 0.6 percentage point from the May rate. Davidson County was 9.4 percent, up 0.8 from the previous month. Hamilton County was at 9.3 percent, up 0.6 percentage point from the May rate, and Shelby County was 10.5 percent, up from the May rate of 9.5 percent.

Qualls Becomes DeKalb Fair's New Miss Sweetheart

July 22, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
(Left to Right) MaKalee Beth Ruch, Queen Liz Abigail Qualls, Jailyn Paige Bolding, Haley Marie Hale

The 2009 DeKalb County Fair Miss Sweetheart is eleven year old Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville

Qualls is the daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls of Smithville.

She succeeds the retiring Miss Sweetheart, twelve year old Taneah Brook Cantrell of Smithville, daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell.

The first runner-up in the pageant Wednesday night was MaKalee Beth Ruch, the twelve year old daughter of Joe and Melissa Ruch of Smithville.

Jailyn Paige Bolding was the second runner-up. She is the eleven year old daughter of Bradley and Lori Hendrix of Dowelltown and Brad and Marcy Bolding.

Twelve year old Haley Marie Hale, daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville was the third runner-up. She was also named Miss Photogenic.

The title of Miss Congeniality went to Reagan Kori Taylor, the ten year old daughter of Jason and Marie Taylor of Alexandria.

Extreme Looks Hair Design presented an "Extreme Queen" crown to Morgan Pedigo, the eleven year old daughter of Mark and Donna Pedigo of Smithville.
Click here to see pictures from the fair on Wednesday http://www.wjle.com/fair-wednesday

Belk Captures Little Miss Princess Title

July 22, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
(Left to Right) MacKenzie Faith France, Kyra Agee, Queen Kayla Jayne Belk, and Katherine Malone

Nine year old Kayla Jayne Belk of Smithville was crowned Little Miss Princess at the DeKalb County Fair Wednesday night.

Belk is the daughter of Chris Anne Belk of Smithville and Wendell Belk of Christiana

She succeeds the 2008 Little Miss Princess, ten year old Destiny Danielle Franklin of Smithville, daughter of Jennifer Franklin and Charlie Ware.

First runner-up in the pageant was Katherine Malone, the seven year old daughter of Kevin and Dana Malone of Smithville.

Seven year old MacKenzie Faith France of Smithville was the second runner-up. She is the daughter of Tim France and Kim Frazier of Smithville.

Third runner-up was Kyra Agee, the nine year old daughter of April Davis and Donny Agee of Smithville.

The title of Miss Congeniality went to Holly Evans, the seven year old daughter of Mike and Amy Evans of Alexandria.

Seven year old Mya Katherine Ruch was named Miss Photogenic. She is the daughter of Joe and Melissa Ruch of Smithville.

Extreme Looks Hair Design named an "Extreme Queen". That crown went to Macy Elizabeth Hedge, the eight year old daughter of David and Trina Hedge of Smithville.

Click here to see pictures from the fair on Wednesday http://www.wjle.com/fair-wednesday

Denman "Makes Cut" in the 62nd U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

July 22, 2009
 Payne Denman

Payne Denman, a local and State Champion DCHS High School golfer has advanced to continue playing in the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship.

The second round of stroke-play qualifying wrapped up Tuesday after a day of intermittent showers and swirling wind on the 7,100-yard, par-71 Old Course. The weather certainly made circumstances harder for Denman yesterday, as it was extremely rainy and windy with standing water in some places. These conditions were better suited for a British Open instead of a U.S. Junior Amateur.

Payne shot 74 on Monday and 77 on Tuesday, giving him a 2-day total of 151. This score was low enough for him to be included with the 64 players to advance from the tournament field of 155. Therefore; he will start match-play competition today (Wednesday). This year's Junior Amateur Tournament is being played in Bedminster, NJ at the Trump National Golf Club.

More tournament details and scoring can be viewed at: www.usjunioram.org

Denman, who claimed the TSSAA Class A-AA State Tournament Championship, last fall will be a senior this year at DeKalb County High School.

The USGA inaugurated the U.S. Junior Golf Tournament in 1948 to determine the best Junior golfer in the United States. Denman's qualifier round was played at Old Fort Golf Course in Murfreesboro. Three players were selected there. Other qualifiers were held across the United States. Players from 40 states are represented & 10 from foreign countries.

The Junior Amateur is among the most difficult of all USGA championships to win, because of two factors; the age limit and the tremendous number of fine young players who enter each year. Only one player, Tiger Woods has won the Junior Amatuer more than once, winning in 1991, 1992, and 1993.

Ramirez and Hall Named Little Mister and Miss of DeKalb County Fair

July 21, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
(Left to Right) Kolter Garrett Kilgore, Little Mr Adan Ramirez, Holden Craig Trapp, and Desmond Nokes
(Left to Right) Briona Alysse Agee, Kenlee Renae Taylor, Little Miss Hannah Dawn Hall, and Maeloree Arlene Kirby
 Susan Martin $1,000 winner

Adan Ramirez and Hannah Dawn Hall were crowned Little Mister and Miss at the DeKalb County Fair Tuesday night.

Ramirez is the four year old son of Carelis Haynes of Smithville and Hall is the four year old daughter of Joseph and April Hall of Smithville.

They succeed the retiring Little Mister and Miss Anthony Gage Trapp and Kacie Malone.

Trapp is the five year old son of Tony and Amanda Trapp of Smithville and Malone is the seven year old daughter of Sammy and Nancy Malone of Brush Creek.

First runner-up in the Little Miss contest was five year old Maeloree Arlene Kirby, daughter of Jesse and Shaunna Kirby of Smithville.

Second runner-up was four year old Kenlee Renae Taylor, daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville.

Six year old Briona Alysse Agee was third runner-up. She is the daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Agee of Smithville.

Meanwhile, four year old Carlee Elizabeth West, daughter of D.J. and Megan Stewart of Smithville was named Miss Congeniality.

Four year old McKenzie Faith Sanders, daughter of James and Misti Sanders of Smithville received the title of Miss Photogenic.

Extreme Looks Hair Design awarded the "Extreme Queen" crown to four year old Olivia Faith Bain, daughter of Tasha Bain and Terry Knowles of Anthony Avenue, Smithville.

First runner-up in the Little Mister contest was Holden Craig Trapp, the four year old son of Tony and Amanda Trapp of Smithville. He was also named Mister Photogenic.

Six year old Desmond Nokes, son of Toby and Jamie Nokes of Smithville was the second runner-up.

Third runner-up was Kolter Garrett Kilgore, the five year old son of John and Ginda Kilgore of Smithville.

Five year old Evan Sprague, son of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague of Smithville, was named Mister Congeniality.

Meanwhile, Susan Martin was the winner of $1,000 at the fair Tuesday night. There was no $1,000 cash winner on Monday night.
Click here to see pictures of the fair from Tuesday http://www.wjle.com/fair-tuesday

Smithville Aldermen Take No Action to Ban Guns in City Parks

July 21, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen apparently will not opt out of a new state law giving gun carry permit holders the right to possess a firearm in parks..

The new state law, recently adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly, is meant to let handgun permit holders carry their weapons into every park in the state. But in a compromise to ensure passage of the law, legislators included a provision that gives local governments the power to ban guns in some or all of their parks by passing a new ordinance.

Now, many local governments in Tennessee are moving to do just that before the state law goes into effect September 1st.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson brought the issue up during Monday night's city council meeting at the request of Director of Schools Mark Willoughby who apparently has some concerns, since teachers often take school students on trips to the city's parks. "I got a call today from the Director of Schools. The new law that has gone into effect allows guns in bars, restaurants, and other places. There is a number of cities and towns that are opting out to keep those (guns) out of city parks. I don't think the people that carry gun permits have ever given any problems. The best I can find out, probably not a one in the State of Tennessee has ever given any problems. But I was asked by the Director of Schools. I think his concern is a lot of the teachers, at certain times of the year, take the children over there for picnics or whatever at the parks. He just asked if I would bring this up before the board and get their feeling on whether we want to opt out of the law and do a resolution not approving guns in the parks, all of our city parks. I guess we're talking about the Smith Road, Airport, and Greenbrook Parks, the Joe L. Evins Ballfield. All of our public parks would come under this."

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said he didn't see a need to issue a ban. "My feeling is most of these people, all the people that have gun permits have undergone background checks, their fingerprints are on file, they have all taken a certain minimum number of hours of training and they're certainly more equipped or attuned to carry guns than most of the general public and as we've discussed I don't think there has ever been a problem with anybody that's carried a gun permit because they've passed the backgrounds. I would hate to see us do that personally. I think we're restricting more and more civil liberties all the time and the reason the legislature passed that was to try to lessen the confusion, I think, about where you can or can't carry a gun. I personally would hate to see us do that. That's just my opinion. This is always something we could revisit at a later time if there were problems."

The board took no action.

Mayor Hendrixson reported to the aldermen that the city will receive a $500,000 community development block grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to assist in funding the proposed renovation of the water treatment plant, thanks to federal stimulus money coming to the state. "If you'll recall in 2008 we submitted a CDBG block grant for $500,000 to help with the water plant. We didn't make the cut. We were one or two below the cut off."

" I'll read you this letter I received today (from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development). Dear Mayor Hendrixson, I am pleased to inform you that Governor Bredesen has approved your 2008 CDBG Recovery Funds application."

"This is some of the stimulus money that has gone back and picked up (unfunded grant applications). We have got that grant. I executed the contracts today and sent them back today. This is definitely good news. It will help on our water system reconditioning we're doing on the plant."

In other business Monday night, the city board, at the request of Alderman Steve White, voted to give members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department with at least of ten years of service as of November 30th, an extra $500 in addition to their regular compensation for fire calls, as payment in lieu of vacation. Mayor Hendrixson says about twelve firefighters would qualify for the extra pay which would cost the city about $6,000.

The city board also approved Alderman Steve White's request to schedule a city employee picnic for September or October at Greenbrook Park and to make it an annual event, in a show of appreciation to the city employees.

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson appointed Alderman Steven White as Vice Mayor. The aldermen voted unanimously to approve the appointment.

Dustin Bain, a water plant trainee since May 4th, who has been earning $10.01 per hour, was hired by the board as a permanent employee now that he has completed his probationary period. His pay will increase to $10.66 per hour.

Alderman Aaron Meeks said he had done some checking with Don Darden of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) about the role the aldermen play as commissioners over their departments, or in his case, police commissioner. Meeks says there appears to be some confusion on that issue. "I want to take a couple of minutes to clear up a question that has arisen. I'll draw everybody's attention to Title I of the city codes, Title I-102 which says "Each department to be under an alderman. Each department shall be under the immediate supervision of an alderman who shall be designated by the board to supervise that department."

"Webster's definition of ‘immediate' in that situation is ‘direct'.

"The confusion came from an email from Don Darden on August 18th, 2008 to Hunter (Hendrixson). It stated that ‘the police chief and not the police commissioner nor the mayor is in charge of day to day operations of the department', meaning the police department."

"I immediately contacted Don Darden and he got back in touch with me. I asked him does that mean that the mayor and the police commissioner have no authority in the police department? He said absolutely not. The mayor, the police commissioner cannot, on a day to day basis, supervise the officers. We can't make up schedules, but we certainly can direct the department head as to what we expect of the department and what we want accomplished by the department. I just want to clarify that."

"I have been in touch with Chief Jennings and I plan to spend more time in the department and find out how it's operating and what needs to be done to improve. There's plenty of room for improvement. We have some very good officers back there. We have some other officers that I'm questionable on. But I don't know until I have sufficient time to investigate and find out what is going on. I certainly want to keep the board apprized and I will keep the public apprized as to what is going on. This is for the public's edification as well as this board's."

The aldermen adopted on first reading proposed ordinance # 422 to rezone the property of Richard D. Atnip and Repsie C. Johnson at Bright Hill Road from R-3 High Density Residential to B-2 General Business. Second and final reading action will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, August 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Alderman Jacobs asked if the department heads could report once a month to the council. That, he says, is the practice in Murfreesboro, Alexandria, and other towns. "Since I'm new that would be very helpful to me for them to come in and briefly tell the council what is going on, how are they doing budget wise, and if there's any equipment they need."

Alderman Meeks asked if those reports could be made in writing and possibly sent to the aldermen with the agendas "then we have something to refer back to."

Alderman Jacobs was agreeable with Meeks' suggestion. "I'm not trying to create any extra work for anybody but it could benefit them (department heads) as well as us (aldermen) to be informed about what's going on in all the departments. It might be an efficient form of communication and keep things from dropping through the cracks."

Mayor Hendrixson said he would include the reports with the agenda.

Rosemary Apple Wins Fairest of the Fair Pageant

July 20, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fairest of the Fair Rosemary Apple-
(Left to Right) Kara Young, Jessie Strickland, Queen Rosemary Apple, and Macy Felts
Clay Edwards Family- Abram, Tena, and Sara

18 year old Rosemary Apple is the 2009 Fairest of the Fair.

Apple, daughter of Nick and Claire Apple of Smithville, was chosen from among ten contestants for the title Monday night in Alexandria. She was also named Miss Photogenic.

Apple succeeds the retiring Fairest of the Fair, 21 year old Nicole Linn of Smithville, daughter of Leo and Doris Linn.

18 year old Jessie Young Strickland of Alexandria was named first runner-up. She is the daughter of Jerry Strickland and the late Melissa Strickland.

18 year old Kara Elizabeth Young, daughter of Ronny and Nancy Young of Smithville was named second runner-up in the pageant.

Third runner-up went to Macy Felts, the 18 year old daughter of Kendra and Rick Guinn of Smithville and the late Chuck Felts.

20 year old Wendy Michelle Scott of Smithville, daughter of Kathy Scott and the late Billy Ray Scott was chosen Miss Congeniality.

Extreme Looks Hair Design awarded the "Extreme Queen" crown to 17 year old Breanna Hendrixson, daughter of Loretta and Tim Hendrixson of Smithville for beauty, sportsmanship, teamwork, and congeniality.

The DeKalb County Fair Board presented a plaque to the family of the late Clay Edwards in remembrance of Mr. Edwards, who was an active member of the fair board for several years. He passed away last fall. The presentation was made by Ron Paschal to Mr. Edwards' wife Tena, and children Sara and Abram Edwards.
Click here to see pictures from the fair on Monday http://www.wjle.com/fair-monday

Click here to view video clip of Off Road Challenge Monday at the Fair.

Katie Sue Haggard Crowned Junior Fair Princess

July 20, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Junior Fair Princess Katie Sue Haggard
(Left to Right) Victoria Dawn Tatrow, Chelsie Lewis, Queen Katie Sue Haggard, and Katelyn Goodwin

The 2009 Junior Fair Princess of the DeKalb County Fair is 15 year old Katie Sue Haggard, daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville.

She succeeds the retiring Junior Fair Princess, 15 year old Kristen LaCole Smartt of Dowelltown, daughter of Aaron and Paula Taylor.

The first runner-up was Chelsie Lewis, the 14 year old daughter of Jimmy and Gina Lewis of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Katelyn Goodwin, the 15 year old daughter of Joey and Kathy Goodwin of Smithville.

15 year old Victoria Dawn Tatrow was the third runner-up. She is the daughter of the late Shanna Tatrow and Corey and Vicki Funk of Smithville.

Martha Alan Webb, the 16 year old daughter of Alan and Lora Webb of Smithville was named Miss Congeniality.

Sara Elizabeth Edwards, 13 year old daughter of Tena Edwards of Liberty and the late Clay Edwards, was chosen Miss Photogenic.

Others in the top ten were Zoe Elaine Whaley, Camry Lou White, Sara Elizabeth Edwards, Cora Beth Rhody, Jasmine Marie Dimas, and Martha Alan Webb.

Extreme Looks Hair Design awarded an "Extreme Queen" based on congeniality, teamwork, sportsmanship, and beauty. The crown went to 13 year old Zoe Elaine Whaley, daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville.

The Junior Fair Princess Pageant featured twenty eight young ladies.
Click here to see pictures of the fair on Monday http://www.wjle.com/fair-monday

Arson Investigation Results in Burglary and Theft Charges Against Warren County Man

July 20, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeffery Smithson
Harold Eugene Cunningham
Melissa Susan Cunningham

An arson investigation by the Sheriff's Department has resulted in the arrest of a Warren County man for aggravated burglary and theft.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 46 year old Jeffery Smithson of Viola Road McMinnville was arrested Wednesday, July 15th for aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500.00. County detectives were called to investigate a house fire on Stoner Road June 28th. Through that investigation, the detectives learned that Smithson had entered the home before the fire and had taken the owner's cell phone. The residence burned a short time later. After he took the cell phone, Sheriff Ray says Smithson gave the phone number to his friends so they could contact him. Detectives are still investigating the arson case. Smithson's bond was set at $17,500 and he will appear in court on July 23rd..

Meanwhile, on Friday, July 17th, a deputy spotted 39 year old Harold Eugene Cunningham of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta driving on Highway 70. Having prior knowledge that Cunningham had a revoked driver's license, the officer stopped Cunningham, ran a computer check on Cunningham's license and found it to be revoked for a driving under the influence charge. Cunningham was placed under arrest for driving on a revoked license. Deputies also found three yellow pills believed to be Hydrocodone in Cunningham's pocket and was further charged with possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone). Meanwhile, a passenger, 44 year old Melissa Susan Cunningham also of Johnson Chapel Road Sparta, was arrested after four pink pills and twenty eight blue pills believed to be Hydrocodone were found in her pocket book. Ms. Cunningham said she did not have a legal prescription for the pills. She was charged with possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone). Bond for both was set at $5,000 each and they will appear in court on August 6th.

Deputies responded to a drunk driver call on Dale Ridge road Saturday, July 18th , spotted the described vehicle on Snow Hill Road, and noticed it weaving. The driver, 35 year old Anthony Wayne Cantrell of Snow Hill Road Dowelltown was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence. After stopping Cantrell's vehicle, Deputies noticed a strong odor of an intoxicant on Cantrell's person. Cantrell also was unsteady on his feet and he refused to submit to all field sobriety tasks. Bond for Cantrell was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on August 6th..

In another incident on Saturday, deputies observed a vehicle on the south end of the county weaving in the roadway and running off into the ditches. Officers stopped 31 year old Jason Kenneth Cline on Haley Road and detected a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Cline also had red watery eyes and slurred speech. Cline submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Cline was arrested for a second offense of driving under the influence and his bond was set at $3,000 He will appear in court on August 27th.

On Sunday, July 19th, deputies observed a male subject walking on Sparta Highway and stopped to check on him. 32 year old Jimmy Lane Estes of Jacobs Pillar Road was found to be intoxicated. Estes was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Due to the safety of Estes, Deputies arrested him for public intoxication. Bond for Estes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on August 6th.

DeKalb All Stars Eliminated from State Tournament

July 20, 2009
by: 
William Freddy Curtis

The DeKalb County Junior League All Star 13-14 year old team was eliminated from the Junior League State Tournament Sunday after losing to Clarksville Northwest 11 to 3 at Cumberland Gap High School near Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.

In the tournament opening game on Saturday, the DeKalb All Stars were
defeated by the District 7 All Stars from Murfreesboro by a score
of 6-5. That loss sent the local all stars into the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament against the 13 -14 year old All Stars from Clarksville Northwest on Sunday.

DeKalb was the visiting team on Sunday and came out in the 1st inning with singles by Stephen Howell and Steven Page and a 1-0 score. Stephen Howell was the starting pitcher
for the DeKalb Team.

In the 3rd Inning Howell then hit a double, followed by Evan Cripps hitting a single bringing in Howell, and Steven Page hit one deep bringing in Cripps, but Page was called out at third base, resulting in the score of 3-0 DeKalb at the bottom of the 3rd Inning.

The 3rd inning saw the tide turn for DeKalb as Pitcher Stephen Howell walked six successive batters allowing Clarksville Northwest to score 4 runs. Evan Curtis came in to relieve Howell and ended the Clarksville streak by striking out a batter.

In the 4th Inning DeKalb saw a batter hit, Seth Stanley, followed by three successive outs.
Clarksville scored no runs in the 4th Inning.

In the 5th inning Devin Summers came in as pitcher and walked three batters and allowed three singles, hit a batter, and two walks and the score was 7-3.

The 6th inning saw DeKalb's bats come alive with a single by Evan Curtis, double by Jordan Huling, but there were three outs at the bottom of the line-up resulting in no score. Clarksville increased their lead to 11-3 in the 6th Inning sealing DeKalb's fate, although in the 7th
inning Evan Cripps and Evan Curtis each added a single.

The final was DeKalb 3 and Clarksville Northwest 11, ending the DeKalb County 13-14 Year Old All Stars' appearance at the State Tournament.

This team would like to thank all individuals and businesses who donated funds to allow the team to travel to the State Tournament.

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