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DeKalb Jobless Rate at 9.6% in April

June 2, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for April was at 9.6%, up slightly from the revised rate for March of 9.4% but still well below the rate of 10.3% in April, 2010

The local labor force for April was 10,090. A total of 9,120 were employed and 970 were unemployed.

Among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County tied for the third lowest jobless rate for the month of April. Here's how the counties rank from highest to lowest in the Upper Cumberland:

Pickett County- 14.7%
Van Buren- 12.1%
Clay- 11.7%
Fentress- 11.5%
DeKalb- 9.6%
Cannon- 9.1%
Putnam- 9.0%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show that the rate decreased in 46 counties, increased in 41 counties, and stayed the same in eight counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for April was 9.6 percent, up 0.1 from the March rate. The national unemployment rate for April 2011 was 9.0 percent, 0.2 percentage point higher than the March rate.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, up from the March rate of 6.1 percent, followed by Williamson County at 7.0 percent, up from 6.4 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 22.1 percent, up from 21.8 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 14.9 percent, down from the March rate of 15.0 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, up from 7.0 percent in March. Hamilton County was 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.8 percent, up from 8.3 percent in March, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, unchanged from their March unemployment rate.

Retired Hendersonville Fire Captain Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Crash

June 1, 2011
Dwayne Page
Hendersonville Man Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accident

A 64 year old retired Hendersonville fire captain was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash on Highway 96 near Center Hill Dam Tuesday.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Larry Deen was riding alone on a 1997 Harley Davidson motorcycle traveling north on Highway 96 when he lost control and went off the right side of the road. The bike wrecked and rolled over on top of Deen. The helmet Deen was wearing also reportedly came off his head as he was thrown from the motorcycle.

An Air Evac helicopter ambulance was summoned to the scene but Deen was instead transported by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital after his condition worsened. After being stabilized at the hospital, Deen was later flown by a helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville where he reportedly was being treated for fractures, a punctured lung, and other injuries.

Deen was among a group of mid-state area motorcyclists who were in the area on a visit to
Camp Phoenix at the Indian Creek Youth Camp, where several children are spending the week thanks in part to the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation, Inc.

The foundation operates and provides funding for a summer camp experience for children who are all burn survivors. Camp Phoenix is staffed mainly by professional and enthusiastic volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The camp program provides safe and fun outdoor programs for kids ages 6-17. The goal is to promote healing of the heart and mind, personal enrichment and new friendships.

Deen and other motorcyclists were reportedly preparing to take the children on a ride later this week at Edgar Evins State Park.

(Photo above provided as a courtesy of Trooper Dewaine Jennings)

Two Hundred Eighty Seven Cast Ballots So Far In Smithville Municipal Election

June 1, 2011
Dwayne Page

Two hundred eighty seven people have cast ballots so far during early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election.

Here's how the vote breaks down for each day

Wednesday, 7
Thursday, 32
Friday, 15
Saturday, 22 (20 in person, 2 absentees)
Monday, 15
Tuesday, 22
Wednesday, 17
Thursday, 31
Friday, 23
Saturday, 24 (20 in person, 4 absentees)
Monday, 10 (8 in person, 2 absentees)
Tuesday, 32 votes (31 in person, 1 absentee)
Wednesday, 37 votes (27 in person by machine, 1 absentee, 9 Nursing Home)

The early voting period will be through June 16 in the basement courtroom of the courthouse on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m..

The city election day is Tuesday, June 21st. Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term beginning July 1st.

Candidates are incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Aaron Meeks, and W.J. (Dub) White and challengers Gayla Hendrix, Cordell Walker, and Danny Washer.

Voters may now apply for absentee ballots for the Smithville Municipal election through June 14th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray: Scammers on the Prowl Again

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

Scammers are on the prowl again in search of victims. Sheriff Patrick Ray is issuing a warning to beware.

"I have had several phone calls within the last month about scams throughout the county. Some of these scams consist of people calling and claiming to be credit card companies wanting to give the consumer a cheaper interest rate. What they do is try to get personal information from the person who they've called. Those (would be victims) who have called me have said they have not provided the callers any kind of information. In many cases the callers become hostile, if they don't get cooperation from the persons being called (would be victims). Sometimes they will given cuss them out and try to threaten them to provide the information. I just want to tell anybody who has received those phone calls that if this should happen again please don't provide any information. Tell the caller not to phone you again and to remove you from their call list. Then hang up. Don't give them any personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, check writing number, credit card number, or anything like that. This time of year is when we see a lot of scams from people who are trying to get money from innocent people, especially the elderly. Sometimes they (scammers) will call and say they are giving a senior discount if you will subscribe to their credit card or loan," said Sheriff Ray

"We also have some people who are receiving lottery information through the mail. The mailing claims the recipient (would be victim) has won so much money through a lottery. The recipient (would be victim) is instructed to cash a check (they have received) in their bank and then to wire back cash money. Those checks are no good. Those checks are mainly out of Canada and other countries. Don't try to cash those checks. If you get such a check, rip it up and dispose of it but don't cash it because it is a fake," said Sheriff Ray.

Donny Green: County Fire Department Doesn't Solicit Funds Over Telephone

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, is issuing a public announcement on behalf of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department:

“Our department has received several inquiries from DeKalb County residents about telephone solicitations asking for donations to help the local fire department. DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department does not use telephone solicitation to ask for donations, nor does the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department hire private fundraising companies to solicit on behalf of the department.”

Chief Green says that the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department only raises funds through community efforts like fish fries, auctions, or food booth at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree.

If you receive one of these telephone solicitations, you should thoroughly question the caller about what department they represent and then follow up by contacting the fire department to make sure these efforts are legitimate.

Grants Awarded to DeKalb County Libraries for Technology Upgrades

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson, Terri Lynn Weaver, Kathy Hendrixson, Mae Beavers, Mike Foster

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Senator Mae Beavers presented checks to DeKalb County Library Director Kathy Hendrixson on Thursday for upgrade technology.

The presentation was made at Justin Potter Library. Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and County Mayor Mike Foster were also on hand for the occasion.

As WJLE reported on May 9th, DeKalb County is one of more than 70 communities across Tennessee that are receiving grants to upgrade technology at rural libraries.

These grants, which total more than $1.2 million, are the product of a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development in a quest to strengthen rural communities by developing libraries.

The county will receive $16,076 to be used at the Alexandria Branch Library and another $16,076 to be used at the Justin Potter Library.

Hendrixson said "the focus of these grants are to help the community in the difficult times with developing computer skills, resume building and teaching the public how to set up online e-mail,etc. Justin Potter Library and Alexandria Library will each receive a laptop computer lab in order to provide computer classes to the public. We appreciate this grant and the opportunity it gives the libraries to bring these services to the community," said Hendrixson.

"Libraries in rural areas play an especially important role in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are oftentimes isolated to urban areas," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "These grants will go a long way toward providing vital access to computers and the Internet, which is particularly helpful in some of the areas that were hit the hardest by the recession."

Grants may be used to cover costs for computer equipment, new training, educational opportunities, Internet access and other enhancements approved by the USDA.

"These grants will help people access information on employment opportunities, job training, small business development and education here in DeKalb County," said state Sen. Mae Beavers. "This will help level the playing field in the job market and eliminate the need for some people to drive to big cities to get Internet access."

"When people have trouble getting Internet connections or cannot afford a home computer, our public libraries fill a void," said state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. "Our community is extremely grateful for the help of the Office of the Secretary of State, ECD and USDA Rural Development."

DeKalb Countians Pause to Reflect on Memorial Day

May 31, 2011
Dwayne Page

A group of patriotic citizens joined members of the American Legion POST 122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars POST 7623 in remembering those who have died in our nation's service during a Memorial Day program Monday morning at the 303 building downtown Smithville.

The service featured gospel and patriotic music by George Storie and 4 the Lord, an opening prayer by American Legion Commander Edward Frazier, Doyle Smith leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and remarks by the guest speaker, minister Bobby Thomason of the Covenant Baptist Church

Bobby Thomason Speaks at Memorial Day Program from dwayne page on Vimeo.
At the conclusion of the observance, a wreath was placed at the site of the Veterans Memorial Monument located on the south side of the courthouse by American Legion leaders Edward Frazier, Ronnie Redman, and Carlton Miller.

In 1971, Congress expanded the Memorial Day tradition to include all those who have died in service to our nation and the last Monday in May was officially designated Memorial Day; a day of remembrance on which we honor those who fell in defense of freedom through solemn observances.

On this important day, communities all across Tennessee stopped to honor the great sacrifices made by our men and women who served and continue to serve in harms way. Even though there is sadness in remembering the fallen, Memorial Day stands as a celebration of hope that the ideals of peace, freedom and posterity will shine forever in the life of our nation. There are approximately 500,000 veterans currently residing in the State of Tennessee.

Sons of Confederate Veterans Remember 16th Tennessee Infantry

May 30, 2011
Dwayne Page

Members of the Savage-Goodner Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans held a Memorial Day "Grand Reunion of the 16th Tennessee Infantry" Monday.

The remembrance program was held at the 303 building downtown followed by a barbeque lunch.

Shawn Jacobs and Mike Corley at Memorial Day Observance from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The program featured remarks by Savage Goodner Camp SCV Historian Shawn Jacobs and Commander Mike Corley. Jacobs also read a poem for the occasion called "Memorial Day". Local Historian Tommy Webb gave an account of the trials and tribulations suffered by the men of the 16th Tennessee Infantry and Drew Fedak and his band performed some songs from the Civil War time period during lunch.

Drew Fedak and Friends from dwayne page on Vimeo.

A thousand men from the Caney Fork region, including DeKalb County, volunteered to serve their country 150 years ago as part of a body of soldiers which became a renowned Confederate regiment called the 16th Tennessee Infantry. With former Congressman John Savage selected as their colonel, These men fought on battlefields in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. By the end of the war, less than one hundred remained.

During Monday's observance, a wreath was laid at the Confederate Memorial Monument at the courthouse lawn and later in the day a gravemarker was placed at the site of a previously unmarked confederate grave in the Belk community.

Liberty Man Charged with Possession of Stolen County Road Sign

May 30, 2011
Dwayne Page
 Ricky Todd Preston
Steven Levan Gandy

A Liberty man was charged with possession of a stolen county road sign after being pulled over for a traffic violation Friday, May 27

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 25 year old Ricky Todd Preston of Preston Vickers Road, Liberty was arrested for driving on a suspended license and possession of stolen property. Preston was further issued citations for misuse of registration and failure to stop at a stop sign. His bond totals $3,000 and he will be in court June 2nd. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 27, Preston was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped for running a stop sign. The arresting officer also discovered that the tag on Preston's vehicle was registered to another automobile A computer check revealed that his license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on April 4. Meanwhile, behind the back seat was a road sign belonging to DeKalb County, valued at less than $500.

Meanwhile, 24 year old Rey Basurto Barrera of Mill Street, Manchester was issued a citation on Thursday, May 26 for driving without a license and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). He will be in court on June 15. Sheriff Ray reports that Barrera was driving south on Short Mountain Highway when he ran off the roadway and struck a mailbox. He did not have a drivers license and failed to show proof of insurance.

22 year old Stanley Farley of McFloyd Road, Sparta is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on June 30th. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, May 28 at the Cloverleaf Restaurant on Highway 70 the sheriff's department received a call of a man trying to get into the restaurant. Upon arrival, the deputies found Stanley at the back of the building. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he would not comply with the officers' commands. The deputies then discovered that Stanley was deaf. Sheriff Ray said that Stanley grabbed onto a tree to keep the officers from handcuffing him. He would not walk on his own to the patrol car so the deputies had to carry him. Stanley refused to cooperate with the officers until he got to the jail.

30 year old Steven Levan Gandy of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $500, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest. Gandy was further issued a citation for misuse of registration. Gandy's court date is June 16 and his bond totals $12,500.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, May 28, a deputy tried to pull over Gandy's vehicle on Highway 56 to serve a warrant on him. When the officer turned on his emergency equipment signaling him to stop, Gandy fled in his vehicle from the McDonald's parking lot to Bryant Street and then almost to College Street before stopping. When Gandy turned onto Bryant Street he cut across another lane of traffic, forcing other vehicles to stop to keep from hitting his automobile in the side. After getting him stopped, the officer served the warrant on Gandy, taken by the Alexandria Police Department, for theft. According to the warrant, Gandy went to a location on Jennings Lane in Alexandria on Saturday, May 14 where he allegedly took two TV sets without the owner's consent, valued at over $500. The TV sets were later recovered at Gandy's residence. The arresting officer also discovered that the tag on Gandy's vehicle was actually for a different automobile, according to a computer check.

41 year old Heather Johnson of Wenger Lane, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. She was also issued a citation for failure to yield to a stop sign. Johnson will appear in court June 15. Her bond totals $1,500. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, May 28, Johnson was operating a vehicle on Highway 70 when she was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign at the Allen's Ferry Road intersection. A computer check revealed that her license were revoked for a DUI in Rutherford County on September 1, 2010.

Pedestrian Killed in Traffic Accident on Jefferson Road

May 30, 2011
Dwayne Page
Driver of this Jeep Cherokee Accidentally Hits Pedestrian (WJLE Photo)
Pedestrian Struck by Jeep Cherokee on Jefferson Road (WJLE Photo)
THP Sergeant Mark Dial Spray Paints Spot of Skid Marks (WJLE Photo)

A 49 year old man, walking near the middle of Jefferson Road, was killed Sunday night after being struck by a motorist around 8:55 p.m.

Dead is David Lynn Judkins.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 19 year old Duncan Delille of Silver Point was driving east in a 1995 Jeep Cherokee when he saw a man walking east in front of him near the center line of the two lane road. Judkins was wearing black jeans and no shirt. Delille swerved to the right but the left front of his vehicle hit Judkins. After impact, Judkins came to rest in a ditch on the northside of the roadway. He died instantly.

Delille pulled over to the right side of the road after the accident and authorities were notified.

Neither Delille nor the juvenile passenger of his vehicle were injured.

Only minutes before the fatal accident, another motorist had a close call with Judkins. According to Trooper England someone called 911 to report a pedestrian walking in the middle of Jefferson Road and that he had almost struck him. A deputy was enroute to investigate when the call came in that the pedestrian (Judkins) had been hit.

Trooper England said Judkins' last known address was McMinnville but it is believed he was staying with friends or relatives in the Jefferson community.

No charges will be filed in the case.

Trooper England was assisted in the investigation by THP Sergeant Mark Dial and Trooper Darrell Knowles. Deputies of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and the Keltonburg station of the DeKalb County Fire Department. Jefferson Road at the crash scene was closed for about three hours during the investigation.


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