Local News Articles

Rep. Weaver Supports U.S. House Republicans in Standoff with Senate Democrats over Obama Care

October 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Terri Lynn Weaver

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver says she supports U.S. House Republicans in their efforts to get Senate Democrats and the Obama administration to make changes in or delay full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Weaver was in Smithville Friday for her monthly "Coffee and Conversations" town hall meeting.

The federal government has been in a partial shutdown since last Tuesday, October 1 as neither House Republicans or Senate Democrats have been willing to compromise on the budget to fully fund the government.

"As far as what the shutdown is doing, I say stand strong," said Representative Weaver. "This really makes us look at our priorities. The American people do not want Obama Care. I just encourage them (House Republicans) to stand strong. They have taken a look at every department. They are starting to whittle away things that are a waste. The taxpayers are frankly tired of toting the note. Will it affect Tennessee? We are okay right now. I have not heard any complaints from any departments yet," she said.

However, Representative Weaver became concerned when she learned from constituents and business owners in the area that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was closing boat ramps below the dam due to the government shut down.

Corps officials told WJLE Friday that while all day-use areas on the lake are officially closed, they are not gated and no barriers will be erected to prohibit public access. Campgrounds, however are gated and now closed to the public. Typically campgrounds close for the season by the end of October each year anyway.

On the issue of education, Representative Weaver said she recently toured schools in her district to get a first hand account of how the new standards are affected them. "After touring the schools in district 40 last month, it afforded me quality time with teachers, students, administrators, principals, and coaches. The new standards that have been put in place in our public schools have created a benchmark as to what is expected for our students to know by a certain grade level, so as to prepare them to be productive citizens in the workforce that awaits them," said Representative Weaver. " Schools in the 40th are hard-working. Proof? Three schools last month, two in Smith County and one in Trousdale, were awarded with having the most progress and performance. “Reward” schools is how the Tennessee Department of Education refers to them. These teachers and students have rolled up their sleeves and made significant improvements. It was such an honor to present these schools with state banners at last month's school board meetings," she said.

"Certainly the setting of higher goals in achievement is a good thing; however, my concern is the content of what is being taught in our public schools. Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Communist who understood the power of controlling schools, is quoted as saying, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Seed is being sown into the hearts and minds of our children and we as parents, teachers, and yes, even legislators, in my humble opinion, should have a say in the choice of textbooks that infiltrate our schools. No Child Left Behind opened the floodgates and removed our local control, which birthed Common Core; in all its dangerous data-gathering, continuous testing, and the never-ending funding, these standards will cost our local schools. Tennessee got the one-time federal funding that Race to the Top provided, alright, and what comes with the package deal continues to unravel, more federal footprints. It grieves me that education has turned into some assembly line of car parts all manufactured in the same procedure, ignoring that each child is uniquely created by their Creator to fulfill His purposes. When I see the children in the district, I can only pray that their parents and grandparents will be watchmen on the wall when it comes to what is being taught to their very impressionable hearts and minds," said Representative Weaver.

Another issue Representative Weaver said she is concerned about is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, otherwise known as women harming their unborn babies with prescription drugs. "Medical professionals are outraged that there is no law to cover this," said Weaver. " With Tennessee being number one in the nation overmedicated with prescriptions, is it any wonder there is such a growing number of babies being born addicted? East Tennessee Childrens Hospital hosted a very informative conference which I attended, meeting numerous others who work hands-on in this heartbreaking episode of prescription drugs. Awareness is turning the lights on. It is my hope that we as a state put something in place that would decrease the number of babies being born addicted and get mothers on their way back to total wholeness," she said.

On highways and bridges, Representative Weaver said she is pleased with the progress being made in this district and throughout the state. "A ribbon-cutting occurred on Hurricane Bridge in DeKalb County in August, the Cordell Hull Bridge is moving along nicely, as is the 109 Bridge in Sumner County." said Weaver. "I was asked about the 109 HWY and what can be done to expedite the four lanes from Interstate 40 to Gallatin. Traveling that stretch of road almost daily, it could not be soon enough. Attending Region 2 and Region 3 Summit meetings that provide TDOT's mission statement, we can be proud that we are spending less per capita than any other state in the nation; Tennessee is second, Texas being first, for best infrastructure in the nation; and we are one out of five states with no debt. We are fiscally conservative indeed; however, there are some serious transportation revenue issues looming and we can no longer keep our head in the sand concerning how we fund our roads and bridges going forward. Gas tax no longer meets the needs, and federal funding is even iffy. Visit the 25-Year Long-Range Transportation Plan website, take the survey, and share your thoughts on transportation needs and how we can keep Tennessee moving, www.tdot.state.tn.us/transportationplan," Representative Weaver admonished.

Working to make Tennessee friendly for new businesses is also priority, according to Weave. "Forbes magazine released its 2013 “Best States For Business” ranking this week, and we moved up the list to number 15, nine spots better than last year. To be employed and able to provide for one's family is a blessing, indeed. To have businesses relocate because they can thrive and grow in our state, thus being able to hire more individuals, is a testimony that we are on the right track. It is with a grateful heart that we thank the folks of Zwirner Equipment Company for opening their new facility in Trousdale. Investing $750,000 that will create 24 new jobs is an answer to prayer for many here in the 40th district. I pray blessings of prosperity and success on all Zwirner's endeavors. Any one interested in applying with Zwirner can email to this address: eric@zwirnerequipment.com," said Representative Weaver.

Cantrell Injured in Rollover Accident

October 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
THP Lieutenant Randy Maynard

A 62 year old man was airlifted after a one car rollover accident Saturday night on Highway 56 south near Webb Lane.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Donald Wayne Cantrell of 1212 Ferrell Road was driving south on Highway 56 in a 2000 Volkswagen Beetle when the car went off the right side of the road, struck a culvert and overturned, The car hit another culvert and came to rest upside down on the edge of the highway. The accident occurred around 11:38 p.m.

Cantrell was treated by DeKalb EMS. He was later airlifted by helicopter ambulance from near the scene and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Lieutenant Maynard said a medical condition may have contributed to the accident.

Members of the Blue Springs and Keltonburg Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene along with officers of the Sheriff's Department.

Local Emergency Reponders Test Readiness During Mock School Shooting

October 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Police Lieutenant Matt Holmes with wounded school shooter in mock disaster
Wounded Shooter being Loaded onto Ambulance after Simulated School Shooting

Local emergency responders tested their readiness during a mock disaster Friday afternoon at DeKalb County High School.

Charlie Parker, DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator, told WJLE that the exercise involved a simulated school shooting, in which an intruder entered the high school building and wounded ten victims. While some teachers were still present, the drill was conducted after school hours when students had already gone home. Participating volunteers played the role of the shooter and victims.

"We simulated having an intruder in the high school with a weapon who was shooting victims," said Parker. "The shooter ended up being wounded and he was a victim too. The school went into a lock down mode. We did want some interaction with teachers so they were there to simulate the lock down procedures. But because of the sensitivity of it with other recent (actual) school shootings, we really didn't want students there. It's hard to notify all parents ahead of time and we didn't want any upset parents. We had the SRO officers, police department, and sheriff's department to come. We didn't run a full scale exercise where they would have gone in and took down a perpetrator. We may do that at another time. We did simulate the shooting and victims in the school and how the emergency responders would get to them, triage them and then transport them to the hospital for treatment," he continued.

Parker said DeKalb Community Hospital staff also participated in the exercise. "Part of this drill is for the hospital for part of their accreditation. They have to simulate disaster situations. An influx of several patients could put them into an emergency situation so we did this (drill) partly for them to practice their procedures in the event of an actual emergency," said Parker.

Overall, Parker said he thought the drill was helpful. "It seemed to go very well. We set out to practice several things. I think we learned several things along the way. Everybody learned a little something and learned a few things we can improve on. I think it was a great success," said Parker.

The exercise was organized by members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee. The purpose of the committee is to analyze, plan, prepare, and mitigate for disasters both natural and manmade that could potentially occur in DeKalb County.

The Local LEPC is comprised of the combined efforts of city and county elected officials, law enforcement, emergency management, fire departments, EMS, Rescue Squad, hospital, nursing home, utilities, business, industry, media, Red Cross, school system, churches, and civic organizations. This committee meets on a regular basis to work on plans, share information and conduct exercises to make a safer and stronger community.

Center Hill Lake Campgrounds and Day-Use Areas Closed During Government Shutdown

October 4, 2013
Dwayne Page

Due to the government shutdown, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District closed all of its campgrounds and day-use parks including those on Center Hill Lake as of noon on Friday, October 4 . The district previously announced it intended to keep these areas open as originally scheduled. However, officials say support to recreation areas can no longer be sustained as the district progresses through its orderly shutdown.

Center Hill Lake campgrounds are located at Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom and Long Branch. Day-use areas are at Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom, Hurricane Bridge, Holmes Creek, Long Branch, Buffalo Valley, and Johnson Chapel.

Campgrounds, primarily for use by reservations only, are for those who want to spend a night or longer on the lake. Many campgrounds offer boat ramps, shower houses, bathrooms, washers & dryers, dump stations, and typically have grills, fire rings, picnic tables as well as other amenities. Campgrounds are gated and during the government shutdown, public access to them will be denied. Typically campgrounds close for the season by the end of October each year anyway.

For persons who wish to spend the day or maybe an hour or two at the lake, the Corps provides day-use areas. Many day use areas have amenities such as swim beaches, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and launching ramps. Camping is not permitted in day use areas. Day-use areas are not gated and while they are officially closed during the government shutdown, no barriers will be erected to prevent public access to them.

The Corps sincerely regrets the inconvenience and impact this decision may have on customers who have been looking forward to visiting the district’s parks and campgrounds.

"We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use Corps recreation facilities, and we will reopen them for public use and enjoyment as quickly as possible," said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander.

Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place.

Customers on site prior to the closure going into effect were to be required to vacate campgrounds and parks not later than noon on Friday, October 4. Customers required to vacate campsites early are to receive a partial refund for any unused portion of their reservations. Customers may elect to leave reservations open for possible use after the shutdown is lifted. To request a refund please contact the reservation customer service at 1-888-448-1474 (TDD 1-877-833-6777). If the customer chooses to do nothing, the reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after their departure date during the shutdown period.

Mallory Sullivan Ties for Fifth Place at State Golf Tournament

October 4, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan Ties for Fifth Place at State Golf Tournament

DeKalb County High School senior Mallory Sullivan finished tied for fifth at the Class A/AA state golf tournament Wednesday at the Willowbrook Golf Club.

Sullivan, the only female from DCHS to compete in the state golf tournament all four years, carded a 3-over 75 to tie for a fifth place finish at 82-75—157, just a stroke away from a medal. She had the second lowest score of the day on Wednesday.

"The first day she struck the ball so well but her putting kind of let her down," said DCHS golf coach Joe Pat Cope. "She had a bunch of three-putts that day. She came back the second day and shot even par on the toughest side and hit the ball as good as anybody there. I was tickled to death with her performance," he said.

Sullivan placed 11th in the state tournament as a freshman, second as a sophomore and tied for 14th as a junior. "It's been a blessing for me to coach an athlete of that caliber," continued Coach Cope.

"She has signed to play at Belmont where her sister, Shay went. Her work ethic is so good. She is going to be a success at the college level because every day, if she is not playing, she is hitting balls, chipping, or working on her putting and that's what it takes. She is willing to put in three or four hours every day and it shows in her game," said Coach Cope.

Middle Tennessee State junior Payne Denman is the only DCHS male golfer to compete at the state tournament all four years.

Although he did not advance to the state tournament, Coach Cope also praised Ethan Roller for his performance this season. "I want to give a shout out to Ethan. He is a senior this year and came up a little bit short in the region. We had such a tough region with Notre Dame, Signal Mountain, and Macon County. The score he shot would have been good enough to go to the state in the triple-A that was played the other day at Riverwatch with Warren County, Cookeville, and White County. He would have qualified there and he would have qualified in every other region in the state except for the one he was in. He is a heck of a golfer too and we're about to get him signed to a scholarship as well," said Coach Cope.

Christian Academy of Knoxville senior Sophia Schubert won the individual girl's title at the state tournament, carding a 4-under 68 Wednesday for a two-day total of 141. She topped runner-up Allyson Dunn of Sullivan South (75-77—152) by 11 strokes.

Macon County’s Kaitlin Cartwright (79-76—155) was third, followed by Clarksville Academy’s Anna Michelle Moore (78-78—156).

Sullivan tied with Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Siarra Stout (74-83—157).

Sullivan South won the girls title with a 315, followed by Macon County (323), CAK (327), Milan (327), Clarksville Academy (336), Boyd-Buchanan (340), CPA (351) and Trinity Christian (390).

On the boys side, Alcoa (591) won, beating Sullivan South (608) by 17 strokes. CPA (612) placed third, followed by Lipscomb Academy (614), Notre Dame (627), Boyd-Buchanan (667), Milan (683) and Jackson Christian (736).

CPA sophomore Grayson Davis claimed the boys individual title with a 70-69—139, beating Lipscomb senior Dawson Armstrong (70-69—139) on the first hole of a playoff.

Woman In One Car Crash Airlifted

October 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Woman In One Car Crash Airlifted
Sommer Roark Airlifted After One Car Crash

A 19 year old Smithville woman was seriously injured when she lost control of her car and crashed on Highway 83 (New Home Road) this morning (Thursday).

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Sommer Roark was traveling north in a 1995 Chevy Camaro when she wrecked while trying to negotiate a curve. The car went off the left side of the road and struck three trees and a mailbox before coming to rest in a ditch facing the highway.

Roark was treated by DeKalb EMS.

She was later airlifted from near the scene by a Life Force Helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and members of the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also there.

City Announces Second Annual "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown"

October 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jan Wilkins, Holly Anderson, Jimmy and Joyce Poss, Dana Jennings, Beth Adcock
Trick or Treater getting goodies fron Dana Jennings at City Hall last year

Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville for the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Thursday, October 31 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Beth Adcock, records clerk for the Smithville Police Department, organized the first "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" last year and it turned out to be a great success. Hundreds of children were served.

According to Adcock, the event serves as a way for the Smithville Police Department to give back to the community, to allow trick or treating in a safe environment, and to afford the police officers an opportunity to interact with the children and gain their trust. It also provides parents who may not be able to take their kids trick or treating on the night of Halloween,to do it during the day at downtown businesses and at offices in the courthouse and at city hall.

Participating businesses will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of a pumpkin on their windows. Maps will be available at the police department, Justin Potter Library and other locations to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event. WJLE will post the map at www.wjle.com. Last year, some of the clerks in the businesses and government offices joined in the fun by dressing up in Halloween costumes .

Adcock says a Halloween costume contest will be held again this year for children up to pre-school age at 10:00 a.m. upstairs in the community room at city hall. Another costume contest for those up to age twelve will be at 4:00 p.m.

Mayor Jimmy Poss encourages parents and children to join the city in "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Thursday, October 31 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

For more information call Beth Adcock at the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 or check out the police department's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SmithvillePoliceDepartment

DeKalb Foster Children Need Help During the Holidays

October 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

The Christmas season is drawing near. Remember what Christmas was like when you were young? The family gathered together to give and receive blessings and gifts.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Local children who are in foster care need assistance. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes or sent away from their family by the Juvenile Court system may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Your help is needed to make sure their needs are met during the holidays. "There are over sixty foster children that have been removed from this county. The number changes often. Some get to eventually go back home but more children usually wind up in care than get to go home," said Annette Greek, Treasurer of the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund.

"We're needing to get money for their Christmas and birthdays and other needs. We've done graduation gifts, school sweaters, and football uniforms. We've got foster kids who are really active in the school system too and we want to provide the best for them that we can," said Greek.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with Christmas gifts for local children who are in foster care with the Department of Children's Services. If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please send them to Mrs. Greek. "I collect the money and I send it to the foster parents. Teen age kids (foster children) also get a check," said Greek.

Since the ages of these foster children vary, a cash donation is preferable to gifts. "We do money for this because a lot of them (foster children) are out of town and it's just easier on everybody for the money to go instead of trying to get Christmas gifts spread all over the state. We try to do around $150 per child for Christmas. But I try to do for the birthdays too so I need quite a bit (donations) since there are sixty kids and there may be more later in the year. These kids deserve more than we can give them so please help. I know things are slow. Some of the letters (seeking donations) have been out for the last two weeks and so far I have only received one check and it is $450 less than usual (from this donor) so I know I'm going to need small amounts (donations) from more people because I don't know if the large ones (donations) will be there," Greek concluded.

You may send your donation to: Annette Greek, in care of F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, 400 West Public Square, Smithville TN 37166. For more information call 615-597-4186.

Greek says she will also be glad to accept your cash donation directly at the store.

Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour Set for October 25-27

October 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour Set for October 25-27

Art lovers will get to experience the beautiful fall colors and tour the studios of some of the region's leading professionals in fine art and craft on Friday through Sunday October 25 - 27 during the annual Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour.

The participating artists welcome visitors to this three day open studio celebration of fine craft and demonstrations. Studios will have art on display for viewing and for sale.

The 2013 tour features 13 studio locations with 30 participating artists. "It's a self guided tour," said spokesman Tim Hintz. "You pick up a brochure or download a map from www.offthebeatenpathtour.com. and you can read about the artists and pick out the studio you want to go to. It's hard to do it all in one day. That's why we have three days to do it. We'll have guest artists at a lot of the studios and demonstrations. It's your chance to meet the local artists who also help support the community and to buy something from them that is handmade, unique, and one of a kind," he said.

Art Studio Tour locations include:

"From the Earth and Sea Originals" at 237 Gard Lane, Smithville

"Fresh Chairs" at 118 Ponder Lane, Smithville

"Stella Luna Gallery" at 412 South College Street, Smithville

"Made by DeMay" at 801 South Mountain Street, Smithville

"Cosmic Clay Studio" at 8252 Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown

"Beech Hollow Studio" at 578 Frazier Hollow Road, Dowelltown

"Liberty Paper" at 1618 Cripps Road, Liberty

"Bareglass Studio" at 15858 Center Hill Dam Road, Silver Point

"Chery Cratty Pulp Painter" at 176 Ponder Lane, Smithville

"David Sharp Woodcarving Studio" at 234 Ponder Road, Smithville

"Creek Bend Pottery" at 2566 Dry Creek Road, Dowelltown

"Kathryn Faille Fibers" at 189 Sundrifter Lane, Auburntown

"Kathe Reed's Beads" at 445 Big Hurricane Road, Smithville

Although tour stops are numbered, the event is intended to be entirely self-guided, giving visitors the opportunity to drive from studio to studio in any order.

For more information, or to download a copy of this year’s tour map and guide, please visit the group’s website, www.offthebeatenpathtour.com.

Mock Disaster Set for Friday Afternoon

October 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

A mock disaster will be staged Friday afternoon, October 4 at DeKalb County High School and DeKalb Community Hospital.

Charlie Parker, local Emergency Management Agency Coordinator, said the DeKalb County Emergency Planning Committee is having local emergency responders conduct this exercise around 1:00 p.m.. Since the drill will take place after school, no students will be present. Friday, October 4 is an early release date for pupils in the school system.

Parker said this advanced notice is being made so that the public will not be alarmed when they hear sirens and see flashing red and blue lights the afternoon of the drill.

The purpose of the Local Emergency Planning Committee is to analyze, plan, prepare, and mitigate for disasters both natural and manmade that could potentially occur in our county. The Local LEPC is comprised of the combined efforts of city and county elected officials, law enforcement, emergency management, fire departments, EMS, Rescue Squad, hospital, nursing home, utilities, business, industry, media, Red Cross, school system, churches, and civic organizations. This committee meets on a regular basis to work on plans, share information and conduct exercises to make a safer and stronger community.


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