Local News Articles

Federal Indictments Against UCDD Officials Top Local News Story of 2013

December 27, 2013
Dwayne Page
Wendy Askins
 Jacob Billings died in bicycle accident in May
Man dies in Christmas Eve Fire at 218 Poplar Place
Howard Dixon Convicted in 2012 Double Murder
Former Smithville Mayor Cecil Burger died in January
Liberty Mayor Edward Hale died in May
All Five Schools Now Have SRO Officers
Construction Begins on new Sligo Bridge
Construction Begins on new Sligo Bridge
Putnam County woman dies after driving SUV in Lake in May
Construction Begins on DeKalb West School Tornado Safe Rooms
Two Drownings on Center Hill Lake
Kyle Thomas of Alexandria awarded a scholarship on national television
Body of Joseph Loupe found in lake three years after he went missing
February Manhunt in Bright Hill Road area
Christopher Nicholas Orlando died parole in 2002 Murder
Gerald Wayne Bounds granted parole after serving 32 years in 1981 Murder
Six Fatalities on DeKalb County Roads in 2013.
Josh Miller elected Smithville Alderman in June
Dwight Mathis elected Mayor of Liberty in August
Tony Tarpley (right) appointed Mayor of Alexandria
DCHS Golfer Mallory Sullivan competes for fourth year in State Tournament
New Dollar General Store Opened on Snow Hill
Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 50 years in DeKalb County
Sandy Willingham named DeKalb Teacher of the Year
DCHS Football MVP Lucas Phillips and MVC Callie Gash
DCHS Basketball MVPs Chelsea Lewis, Braxton Atnip and MVC Kaylee Cantrell
DCHS Football MVP Lucas Phillips and MVC Callie Gash
Tracy Slone of Murfreesboro (left) named new DCHS baseball coach
John Boulware of Kimball (right) named Grand Champion Fiddler at Jamboree
DCHS Senior Erin Cantrell-Pryor received more than $212,500 in scholarships,
Norvell breaks ground for new 15,000 square foot facility in Alexandria
Graduation night for DCHS Class of 2013

The controversy surrounding the "Living the Dream" home for the elderly in Putnam County and federal indictments against three people including County Mayor Mike Foster stemming from the investigation of it serves as the top local news story of the year in DeKalb County.

In September, Former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins and former Deputy Director Larry Webb were named in a sixteen count federal grand jury indictment accusing them of conspiring to misuse government funds at the "Living the Dream" complex.

The grand jury also indicted Foster, the former Chairman of the UCDD Board of Directors, alleging that he read a statement that he knew was false at the UCDD board's January 19, 2012 meeting to cover up Askins' and Webb's alleged illegal activity.

The cases against the three are currently scheduled for trial on May 20, 2014.

In the latest development as WJLE first reported, Hal Hardin, the attorney for County Mayor Foster has filed a motion asking the federal court to dismiss the case against Foster claiming that "Mr. Foster is entitled to dismissal of the charge because the "statements" he made are ambiguous to such an extent that they cannot be prosecuted as a crime".

Hardin has also filed a motion for a "Bill of Particulars" seeking specificity of the charge against Foster, and a motion for "Severance" claiming that Foster would be prejudiced by a joint trial with his co-defendants Wendy Askins and Larry Webb.

Other major news stories of the year in DeKalb County included:

*The tragic death in May of 14 year old Jacob Billings in a bicycle accident with two vehicles on Casey Cove Road.

* A Christmas eve fire that claimed the life of 59 year old Michael Dewayne Stoglin at 218 Poplar Place in Lakeview Mountain Estates.

*45 year old David Howard Dixon pleads guilty to two counts of second degree murder in the August 7, 2012 shootings of 55 year old Ervin Raymon Beacham and Jose Sagahon Ticante on Tommy Harrell Street in Smithville. Judge David Patterson sentenced Dixon to 35 years in each case to run concurrently with each other for a total of 35 years.

*The death of two long time city leaders, former Smithville Mayor Cecil Burger and Liberty Mayor Edward Hale.

*The successful effort to get SRO officers in all five schools

*The awarding of a construction contract on the new Sligo bridge and the completion of construction on Hurricane bridge.

*The death of 40 year old Nancy Randolph of Putnam County after she drove her SUV into Center Hill Lake.

* Two teenage boys accused of forcing their way into the home of a Smithville woman and then assaulting and robbing her were taken into custody the next day while at school. They are to be tried as adults.

*The shooting of 54 year old Randy Gerald Petty, who drew a weapon on officers of the sheriff's department. Petty later recovered.

*Construction begins on the new addition including several "tornado safe rooms" at DeKalb West School.

*The drownings of 19 year old Ricardo Duenas of McMinnville in June and 27 year old William Bates of Tullahoma in September

* OTHER TRAFFIC FATALITIES: The death of 29 year old Joshua Jernigan of Mount Juliet in a motorcycle crash on Dale Ridge Road; 69 year old Haskel Hawkins, Jr. of Smithville died in a car crash on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway); 53 year old Lisa Fineis of Alexandria lost her life in a pickup truck crash on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty; 61 year old Michael J. Dean of Smithville was found dead in an automobile accident on Four Seasons Road; 62 year old Lebanon Dentist Dr. Steven Thaxton with ties to DeKalb County died in a motorcycle accident in Lebanon; 38 year Nathan Estes died in a pickup truck crash on Highway 264 (Temperance Hall Road) just across the county line in Smith County; A head-on crash on Highway 53 near the DeKalb line in Smith County claimed the life of 68 year old Wanda Williams of Brush Creek; 24 year old Joshua Maston Owens of Alexandria died in a single vehicle traffic accident in Murfreesboro; 65 year old Linda Summers of Smithville lost her life in a two vehicle accident in Rockwood; 82 year old Mildred Spencer of the Temperance Hall area died two days after being involved in a two car crash at the intersection of Highway 53 and New Hope Road in Alexandria.

*20-year-old Kyle Thomas of Alexandria awarded a scholarship on the nationally televised Ricki Lake TV show.

*The legal battle between the DeKalb Utility District and the City of Smithville over DUD plans to build a water treatment plant.

*The body of a man found floating in Center Hill Lake was positively identified as Joseph Loupe of Rutherford County. Loupe's badly decomposed body was spotted by a fisherman on what would have been the victim's 45th birthday. The remains surfaced near where his boat was found on the day of his disappearance three years ago.

* 35 year old Howard Eugene Brown of Smithville leads authorities on a three county pursuit before bailing out of pickup truck on Bright Hill Road and escaping on foot. He was later arrested at his home on Green Acre Drive.

*40 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando, serving a 45 year prison sentence, denied parole in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy who was shot and killed in September 2002.

*66 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds granted parole after serving 32 years for the fatal shooting of Sherman Wright in 1981.

* Elderly man kidnapped at knifepoint in Smithville and then forced to withdraw funds from his bank account at an ATM machine. The man's abductors later drove him to McMinnville where he made his escape and called police. 29 year old Amanda Maxwell is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, and aggravated assault. 31 year old Charles Wayne Reagan is charged with aggravated kidnapping and theft over $1,000.


*Former Smithville Mayor and alderman Cecil Ray Burger passed away at NHC Healthcare Center. He was 89 years old. Mr. Burger served the City of Smithville for more than forty five years, including sixteen years as mayor and six years as alderman. Burger was first elected mayor in 1990. He served eight terms, sixteen years in that office until 2006 when he chose instead to run for alderman. He ended his long career with the city on June 30, 2012 when his third term as alderman came to an end. Mr. Burger began his career with the city in 1966 as secretary-treasurer, which also meant overseeing the city's public works operation and city employees. He served as city judge for the first couple of years as well. Burger retired from the secretary-treasurer position in 1989 but came out of retirement fifteen months later after being elected mayor in 1990.

*The DeKalb County Board of Education approved an architect contract with Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet for the DeKalb West School building project. The school system recently received final approval for a FEMA grant to fund the classroom addition including eight tornado "safe rooms".

*Morris Multimedia, the owner of the Smithville Review announced that it had acquired the DeKalb County Times newspaper.

*The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen received both public praise for and public appeals to reconsider passage of an ordinance amendment allowing 24-7 beer sales and on premises permits in eligible businesses. After the public comment period at a January meeting, the aldermen adopted the minutes from the regular meeting on December 17 and special meeting on December 27 and moved on to other business. They did not reconsider their vote on the beer ordinance amendment and the mayor did not cast a veto.

*A sheriff's department detective doing a New Year's Day welfare check on a child arrested a man after finding meth lab components in the home. 39 year old Scott Lynn Sykes of Alexander Street, Smithville was charged with initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine. Sykes admitted that these items belonged to him. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. The house was placed under quarantine.

*The sheriff's department and Tennessee Bomb and Arson investigated a suspicious fire in Liberty. Lieutenant Anthony Boyd of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department told WJLE that firefighters were called to a vacant home at 226 Eckles Heights Street. The home belonged to Debbie Hardaway. The home, which was up for sale, contained some furnishings but no one lived there. The cause and origin of the fire were not immediately determined, according to Lieutenant Boyd but the upstairs and the back left side of the home were destroyed in the blaze with heat, water, and smoke damage to other parts of the house.

*DeKalb County School buses passed state inspection. State Trooper Darryl Winningham, inspector for this district, told WJLE that he had completed his weeklong evaluation of the thirty three buses in the fleet along with the seven substitute buses and all passed inspection. "We do annual inspections on all buses but we also do spot checks through the year if we have a reason. Every bus we've run through passed inspection. Right now we're at 100% here. We work to ensure that everything is properly working on a bus before it gets back on the highway," he said.

*The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department apparently solved a rash of burglaries and thefts in the Dowelltown and Dry Creek Road area with the arrest of two men. 24 year old Allen R. Lester, Jr. of Church Street, Dowelltown and 18 year old Ronald Deshon Reeder of Smith Road, Smithville. Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the burglaries and thefts occurred on December 28 and from January 7-10 mostly in Dowelltown but also on Dry Creek Road in the area from New Home Road to the city limits of Smithville. There were nine victims altogether. According to Sheriff Ray, Lester was responsible for the actual burglaries and thefts. Reeder is charged with Lester in three of the crimes on Dry Creek Road because he rode along with Lester and sat in the vehicle, while Lester was out committing the burglaries and thefts, knowing what Lester was doing. Sheriff Ray said after Lester was identified as a suspect, detectives and officers of the Sheriff's Department raided his home and found most of stolen items.

*An Alexandria man, who was left paralyzed by a tragic car accident two years ago in DeKalb County, was surprised with a full tuition-paid, four-year grant to Colorado Technical University on the nationally televised Ricki Lake Show. The grant, presented to 20-year-old Kyle Thomas, will help him pursue his dream of earning a college degree. The grant was announced as part of the show's "Hidden Heroes" series led by cosmetic dentist and TV personality Dr. Bill Dorfman. Thomas plans to use the CTU grant to earn his bachelor's degree through Colorado Technical University's award-winning virtual campus, which offers flexibility in taking classes online, from anywhere and anytime.

*A mistrial was declared after a day long jury trial of 54 year old Jeffrey Leigh Sloan of Sparta charged with the misdemeanor offense of boating under the influence on Center Hill Lake. After deliberating for two hours, the jury of ten women and two men informed Judge Leon Burns, Jr. that they could not reach a unanimous decision on a verdict. Had he been found guilty, Sloan could have received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days and fined from $250 to $2,500. Sloan might also have lost his boating privileges. Sloan was arrested on the night of October 7, 2011 by TWRA officers Nick Luper and Mike Beaty .

*Saying they desire a "level playing field", several store owners, licensed to sell packaged beer at their establishments in the county came before the DeKalb County Beer Board to find out how they can be afforded the same opportunity as city stores to extend their hours for selling beer. The meeting was called, apparently for the purpose of allowing store owners to speak on this issue. No other business was discussed, other than approval of the minutes from the last meeting. Beer Board members informed the store owners that they would have to see County Mayor Mike Foster about getting this issue placed on the agenda for the next county commission meeting.

*Steve Repasy of the Midway Station was named the "2012 County Firefighter of the Year", for the second consecutive year during the department's annual awards banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex. Captain Brad Mullinax received the "Officer of the Year" award. The "Rookie" award went to Kristie Johnson of the Main Station. Ronald Merriman of the Keltonburg Station was presented an Honorary Lifetime Membership award. Thirteen firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service.

*Smithville Volunteer firefighter Danny Poss received the "Highest Attendance Award during an appreciation dinner for city firefighters at the Smithville First United Methodist Christian Fellowship Center. The award was presented to Poss by Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker. Poss attended the most incidents, training, and activities during 2012. A total of 124 out of 148 calls. Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale was next having attended 114 calls and Lieutenant John Poss attended 105 calls. Meanwhile city firefighters were also presented pins for years of service.

*Senior Quarterback Lucas Phillips was named Most Valuable Player of the 2012 DeKalb County High School Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The awards were sponsored by Liberty State Bank. The MVP trophy was presented to Phillips by Coach Steve Trapp. Phillips helped lead the Tigers to an overall 10-2 record and another appearance in the state play-offs in 2012. The team won its first ever home playoff game but was eliminated the following week in the second round at Livingston Academy. Coach Trapp said Phillips had 5,368 yards passing for his high school career and threw for 71 touchdowns in twenty eight games played. Phillips rushed for 1,307 yards on 263 carries and scored thirteen rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Senior Callie Gash was named Most Valuable Cheerleader. The presentation was made by Cheer Coaches Amanda Fuller and Sonya House.

*The Genesis Diner on Highway 70 in Alexandria was heavily damaged by fire. The restaurant was apparently closed at the time and no one was there. The Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department quickly responded with mutual aid support from the Liberty station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the Watertown fire department. There were apparently no injuries.

*After months of delay, the new Sligo bridge is expected to be under construction by this summer. During a meeting with County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission, Paul Degges, Chief Engineer of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said bids will likely be opened in April or May with construction to begin soon after. Before TDOT could begin with the project, it had to work out a deal on right of way acquisition with the only landowner in the area, being the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The problem was that owners of Sligo Marina, who have a lease with the Corps were concerned that the bridge construction would adversely affect their business. The marina owners wanted the state to pay for potential loss of business to them during the construction of the bridge. But Degges, in previous forums, had said that the state cannot legally pay for those types of damages. Over time, TDOT re-designed plans for the bridge hoping to address concerns to the satisfaction of Sligo Marina, but to no avail. So, the state came up with another alternative. To build the bridge from the river. Barges will be assembled on the river for the cranes and other equipment needed in construction. The project will be more costly to build the bridge from the river, according to Degges but the marina will not be impacted in this manner. The project will let for bids this spring and be under construction by summer and should be finished within twenty four to thirty months.

*As expected, the county commission took no action on authorizing 24-7 sales for stores licensed to sell packaged beer in the county as Smithville did for city stores in December. With several people both for and against the proposal in attendance waiting to hear what the county commission would do, County Mayor Mike Foster announced that the commission would do nothing until a public hearing is scheduled to give citizens a chance to express their views. Foster said the commissioners want to take some time to see how the changes made in the city are working out.

*A 35 year old sex offender, accused of showing up on school property during a soccer game last August, appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, January 23. James Hesson pleaded guilty to violation of the sex offender registry under a negotiated settlement. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. gave Hesson a two year sentence to serve. He was given jail credit from August 31, 2012 to January 23. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, August 31, Hesson violated the sex offender registry law by being on school property where children were present. Hesson was told to leave the school grounds due to his being a sex offender and that he was not to be within one thousand feet of the school property line. Shortly thereafter, Hesson was found in the back yard of property adjoining the high school where he was watching children at play during a sports event after regular school hours. Sheriff Ray said that Hesson was well aware that he was not to be near school property.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Falls to 7.1% in November

December 27, 2013
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's Unemployment rate for November was 7.1%, down from 8.1% in October. The rate for November 2012 was also 7.1%.

The local labor force for November 2013 was 9,560. A total of 8,880 were employed and 680 were without work.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for November was fifth lowest in the Upper Cumberland Region. Here's how the fourteen counties ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett County: 12%
Van Buren County: 10%
Clay County: 10%
White County: 9.9%
Jackson County: 9.2%
Cumberland County: 8.4%
Overton County: 8.3%
Fentress County: 8.1%
Warren County: 7.9%
DeKalb County: 7.1%
Macon County: 6.6%
Putnam County: 6.6%
Smith County: 6.1%
Cannon County: 5.8%

County unemployment rates for November show the rate increased in one county, decreased in 93, and remained the same in one county.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.8 percent, down from 6.7 percent in October. Knox County’s November rate was 5.9 percent, down from 6.7 percent the previous month. Hamilton County was down from 8.0 to 7.1 percent. Shelby County was 9.4 percent, down from 10.1 percent in October.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for November is 8.1 percent, which is four tenths of one percentage point lower than the October revised rate. The national unemployment rate for November 2013 was 7.0 percent, down three tenths of one percentage point from October.

2013 Fatal Crashes in DeKalb County Double Last Year's Count

December 26, 2013
Dwayne Page
In August Lisa Fineis died in a pickup truck crash on Hwy 70 near Dowelltown

The number of DeKalb County fatal crashes in 2013 has doubled from 2012.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that six persons have lost their lives in DeKalb County wrecks this year compared to three last year.

The first one occurred in May when 14 year old Jacob Billings died in a bicycle accident with two other vehicles on the Casey's Cove Road.

In June, 29 year old Joshua Jernigan of Mount Juliet was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on Dale Ridge Road (Highway 96)

In July, 69 year old Haskel Junior Hawkins of Smithville died in a one car crash on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) near Short Mountain Mini-Storage.

In August, 53 year old Lisa Fineis of Alexandria lost her life in a pickup truck accident on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty.

In September, 61 year old Michael J. Dean of Smithville was found dead in a one vehicle wreck on Four Seasons Road.

In December, 82 year old Mildred Spencer of the Temperance Hall area died two days after being involved in a two car crash at the intersection of Highway 53 and New Hope Road in Alexandria.

Others from DeKalb County who died in traffic crashes outside DeKalb County in 2013 include 62 year old Lebanon Dentist Dr. Steven Thaxton who was killed in a September motorcycle accident in Lebanon; 38 year Nathan Estes who died in a September pickup truck crash on Highway 264 (Temperance Hall Road) just across the county line in Smith County; A head-on crash on Highway 53 near the DeKalb line in Smith County claimed the life of 68 year old Wanda Williams of Brush Creek in October; 24 year old Joshua Maston Owens of Alexandria died in an October single vehicle traffic accident in Murfreesboro; and 65 year old Linda Summers of Smithville lost her life in a November two vehicle accident in Rockwood.

Although it was apparently not recorded as a traffic fatality, another woman, 40 year old Nancy Randolph of Putnam County died in May after driving her Chevy Blazer down a boat ramp and into the lake at Johnson Chapel. Two others with her escaped safely.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force during the Christmas and New Year Holidays to ensure travelers reach their destination safely. State Troopers will focus their attention on impaired driving and seat belt usage.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving

Designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of the several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Other important tips include:

•Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;

•If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;

•Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by dialing *THP;

•Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver;

•And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

The Smithville Police Department will conduct sobriety checkpoints on Friday, December 27 near the intersection of Highway 56 south and East Broad Street. Saturation patrols will also be held throughout the city that day.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be conducting saturated patrols and sobriety checkpoints over the holidays targeting drunk drivers. Sheriff Patrick Ray said these checkpoints and patrols will occur at various locations across the county now through January 1. Some will be specifically conducted in the Alexandria area in conjunction with the Alexandria Police Department

Two Nabbed in Alexandria Vending Machine Vandalism and Thefts

December 26, 2013
Dwayne Page
Killian Ellis
Martha Silcox

Two people from Alexandria have been arrested for allegedly vandalizing and taking money from drink machines.

20 year old Killian Ellis and 36 year old Martha Silcox are each charged with four counts of vandalism and four counts of theft under $500 . They were arrested Monday.

According to Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins, the arrests are the result of an investigation into several break ins to drink machines, in which money was stolen, that have occurred over the past couple of months .

Bond for Ellis and Silcox is $30,000 each and they are due for an appearance in General Sessions Court on January 16.

Chief Collins said the case was investigated by Sergeant Chris Russell and DeKalb County Sheriff' Department Detectives.

"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

December 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
Love Lights a Tree
Love Lights a Tree "In Honor"
Love Lights a Tree "In Memory"
Love Lights a Tree "In Memory"

The American Cancer Society invites you to make a special donation in honor or in memory of a loved one during the holiday season through "Love Lights a Tree". A special memory board has been erected on the south side of the courthouse that lists the names of loved ones.

The names of Honorees are as follows:

Sandra Wall, Margie Smith, Mindy Gilbert, Doyle Evans, Gail Bailiff, Chizuko Howard, Earl D. France, Gail Taylor, Tracie Webb Baker, Willie Turner, Jo D. Johnson, Walter Johnson, Faye Iverlette, Patsy Judkins, Susan Young, Faye James, Georgie Willoughby, Linda Judkins, Carolyn Sheets, Lisa Anderson, Ralph Curtis, Radley Hendrixson, and Jeffrey Ponder.

Those in memory are as follows:

Jerry James Owens, T.J. White, Loyd Redmon, Ruby Cook, and Pam Baker Cook, Amy Lynn Miller, Earl Judkins, Marie Judkins, Len Judkins, Clyde Randolph, Mary Randolph, Ruth Elder, Jordan Steinbach, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Mai Akin, John D. Akin, Bob Cook, Buddy Cook, Tony Durso, Willie Foutch, Byron Foutch, Lillie and Grady Judkins, Clarence and Jewell Phillips, Donna Phillips, Margaret and G.D. Hendrixson, Sandra Willoughby, Donald Smith, Eva Crook, Grady Crook, Virgil Smith, Nan Smith, Brownie Haley, Lucille Cook Harris, Ida Malone, Brackett Luna, Nadine Luna, Leonard Freeman, Sr., Margaret Freeman, Buddy Freeman, Kenneth D. Howard, Haskel Elby Howard, T.C. McMillen, Royce T. Givens, Jr., Billy J. France, James Alvie France, Zona Selby, Cora Elizabeth Taylor, Ulys Brent Taylor, Harvey Colwell, Jr., Will Allen Cathcart, Martha Cathcart, Kevin Sanders, Wilma Cathey, Carl Reynolds, Thadeuss Anderson, Bryan T. Walker, Casaundra R. Maple, Helen Vance, Troy J. Bain, Rebecca Gingerich, Ella Mae Harness, Jennifer Kincaid, William Doyle Thomason, Jo Ann Tramel, Bailey Carr, Ethel Carr, Darrell Carr, Regena Carr Olivo, Frances Cantrell, Johnny Cantrell, Jodie Cantrell, Clifton Cantrell, Angie Allen, Edward Hobson, H.R. Rosson, J.W. Pack, James Goodwin, Marie Young, Robert Joines, Johnnie Joines, Marvin Hutson, Sarah L. Hutson, Howard Gunter, Phillip Gunter, Vada Pauline Herndon, Mallow Herndon, H.C. Duke, Lynn Duke, Kathy Foster, Tracy Cassity, Glen Smith, Linnie Johnson, Jessie Paul Johnson, Arlo Cook, Arzie Usrey, Chris Stanley, Homer Ellis, Harold M. Adcock, Charles "Chuck" McCracken, David Ray Davenport, Vanice King Davenport, Vera Bell Davenport, Alfred Love, Jack Tubb, J.C. Oakley, George Durham, Ralph Keaton, David Randolph, Luther and Pearl Fuson, Violet Fuson, Peggy and John Palmer, Jr., Eulalia Cobb Vaughn, Betty Nixon Vickers, Leonard Nixon, Howard Stanley, Everett Redmon, Odell Redmon, Albert Taylor, Winnie Taylor, Jeremy Caldwell, Joshua Caldwell, Mary L. Collins, Rebecca Beason, Cecil Adkins, Geraldine Fish, Dr. Jerry Puckett, Joe Ronald Frazier, John Larry Frazier, Billie Ann Malone Frazier, Woodrow W. Frazier.

The names are in "honor of" and in "memory of" for a donation of five-dollars per name. Forms may be obtained at the local banks. For more information, contact Barbara Ashford at 417-6563, Ivadell Randolph at 597-5296, Lynda Luna at 597-5837, Renee Cantrell at 597-4551, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Patsy Judkins at 597-4213.

Woman Found in Woods with Four Year old Son Charged with Child Neglect and Abuse

December 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
 Elizabeth Rochelle Bradshaw

A Smithville woman who tried to flee on foot from law enforcement officers early Christmas eve morning, accompanied by her children, is now facing charges of child abuse and neglect for putting the youngsters lives at risk in the cold night air.

30 year old Elizabeth Rochelle Bradshaw of Halls Hollow Road is under a $20,000 bond on two counts of child abuse and neglect. She was already wanted for violation of probation and is under a $250 cash bond for that offense. Bradshaw will be in court on January 9.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Tuesday morning that Bradshaw grabbed her children, a seven year old girl and a four year old boy, and fled into the woods after learning that deputies were on their way to investigate a domestic incident between Bradshaw and the father of the children, Royce Dwayne McCrary, who were at the home of the children's grandmother on Halls Hollow Road in the Holmes Creek area.

"We got a call at 1:30 a.m. to go to Halls Hollow Road for a domestic," said Sheriff Ray. " After the deputies arrived, they were told by family members that Bradshaw had run into the woods with her two young children. As the deputies started their search on foot, they found the seven year old child hiding behind a tree. The child said that when Bradshaw saw head lights of patrol cars coming into the driveway, she took off running with the four year old boy in her arms, leaving her (older child) behind. Bradshaw took the younger child and ran up a steep and heavily wooded hillside," he said. The older child was taken back to her grandmother's home nearby.

Sheriff Ray said members of the DeKalb County Rescue Squad were then called upon to assist in the ground search for Bradshaw and the younger child. An aerial search was also conducted by officials of the Tennessee Highway Patrol who brought in a helicopter.

Shortly after daybreak, Bradshaw and the child were spotted. "At around 7:30 a.m. the helicopter spotted Bradshaw and the small child sitting down on a wooded hillside. Deputies and rescue squad members retrieved the child from Bradshaw and took her into custody. When they were brought down off the hillside and out of the woods, Bradshaw and the child were treated by DeKalb EMS. Bradshaw claimed to have injured her knee," said Sheriff Ray. While Bradshaw and the child were wearing coats (the child had on a hoodie), the sheriff said authorities were concerned about their prolonged exposure to the 27 degree weather. Both Bradshaw and the boy were taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for further treatment.

Sheriff Ray said child protective services were contacted and took custody of both children.

The children's father, McCrary, was arrested by the sheriff's department. He has two violation of probation warrants against him. He is being held without bond. His address is Needles Court, Nashville.

Postal Service Proposes Plan to Reduce Window Hours at Liberty Post Office

December 24, 2013
Dwayne Page
Liberty Post Office

The U.S. Postal Service is looking to reduce hours of operation at the Liberty Post Office.

The proposal is to reduce the window hours from eight hours to six hours a day Monday through Friday. Saturday hours would remain the same.

A community meeting is set for Wednesday, January 29 at noon to discuss the proposals with the public at the Liberty Post Office. "Nationwide the Postal Service is realigning retail window hours at our rural post offices and it's based on customer usage. One of those offices on the list is the Liberty Post Office. We will have a meeting there on January 29 at noon to discuss with residents who are served by that office what their options are," said David Walton, a spokesman for the Tennessee District of the U.S. Postal Service in an interview with WJLE

Liberty Postal customers can expect to receive a notification letter soon along with a survey. "We ask that they complete that survey and send it back to us prior to the meeting so we can share the results at the community meeting. The survey gives customers four options. They can vote to keep their post office open. The other three options would involve closing the office. One would be to establish a village post office in the community. Another would be to close that post office and be served by another nearby post office. The fourth option would be to close the post office and get retail services from their carrier. The plan for this particular office would be to reduce it to a six hour office so we would be cutting two hours. Of course that's Monday through Friday, the Saturday hours would remain the same. At the public meeting, we will share the results of that survey. We'll share how many people turned in their surveys and what the results were," said Walton.

The Postal service will post a final decision a few days after the community meeting is held.

Almost a year ago, the window service hours at the Alexandria Post Office were reduced from eight to six hours each weekday with no change on Saturdays. Alexandria carriers began working out of the Watertown Post Office in November, 2012.

One Found Dead in Christmas Eve Fire (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 24, 2013
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters on Scene of Fatal Mobile Home Fire (WJLE)
Mobile Home Fire Claims One Life (WJLE)
County firefighters working to put out the blaze (WJLE)
Autopsy being performed on body of man found at 218 Poplar Place

A Christmas eve fire has claimed a life.

A body was found inside a burned out mobile home which caught fire early this morning (Tuesday) at 218 Poplar Place in Lakeview Mountain Estates off Cookeville Highway.

The identity of the man has not been released. An autopsy is being performed.

911 received the call at 1:56 a.m. of a structure fire on Poplar Place with possibly someone still inside the home.

Members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, and Cookeville Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker and equipment truck and manpower from other county fire stations. DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

The mobile home was apparently fully involved in flames by the time firefighters were alerted. The trailer was gutted by the fire and could not be saved.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Section.


DeKalb Approved for Used Motor Oil Collection Grant

December 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Used Motor Oil Collection Point at HWY 56 North Convenience Center

DeKalb County has received approval for a $9,200 Used Motor Oil Collection Grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Solid Waste Management.

Funds from the grant will be used to acquire tanks, canopies, pads, and absorbents.

DeKalb is among twenty seven counties or cities to receive the grants totaling $444,300 to establish, upgrade or replace existing equipment or establish a new collection center.

County Mayor Mike Foster said funds from the grant will be used to establish a used oil collection point at one and possibly two county garbage collection convenience sites. The landfill and five of the convenience sites already have places to collect used oil. Some also have places to collect used anti-freeze.

“Educating citizens on the proper disposal of used motor oil can have a direct impact on the water quality of Tennessee’s lakes, streams and groundwater,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said.

Tennesseans who change their own motor oil generate more than one million gallons of used oil each year, which can pollute soil and water and interfere with the operation of sewer systems when not properly disposed. The General Assembly authorized the Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 to assist local communities in collecting used oil and reducing its negative effects on the environment. Tennessee’s Solid Waste Management Act requires counties to have at least one place in the county where used oil can be properly disposed. Used oil collection grants are funded by a two cent deposit on every quart of oil purchased in the state.

Used Motor Oil Collection Grants assist local governments in improving and expanding used oil infrastructure for the collection of used oil from do-it-yourselfers. Equipment purchased through the Used Motor Oil Collection Grants may include containers, used oil heaters, containment structures, shelter covers and other items. Tennessee counties, cities, solid waste authorities and counties having a metropolitan form of government are eligible for funding consideration.

The priorities for receiving a grant include upgrading or replacing equipment to bring used oil collection centers up to the standards of the Used Oil Collection and Recycling Grant Program requirements. An additional priority is the establishment of a new do-it-yourself used oil collection center.

Smithville Police Department Treats Needy Families to Christmas Party

December 21, 2013
Dwayne Page
Santa and Mrs Claus present gifts to children at Christmas party

Many needy families were treated to a dinner, entertainment, and gifts at the second annual Cops for Kids Christmas party held Friday night at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.

The party, sponsored by the Smithville Police Department and organized by records clerk Beth Adcock, is held each year by invitation only for families who are experiencing a difficult time around the holidays due to illness, loss of income, or other circumstances.

The New Life United Pentecostal Church Choir performed during the party and church pastor Dwayne Cornelius read passages of scripture from the Bible about the birth of Christ.

Santa, Mrs. Claus, and three of his elves showed up to hand out presents to the delight of everyone, especially the children.


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