Local News Articles

Body of Child Recovered from Center Hill Lake

September 5, 2011
Dwayne Page
 Elizabeth Grace Hathaway
TWRA among others conducted search for missing child
Rescue squad and others searching for child near where she was last seen

A Labor Day outing on Center Hill Lake turned tragic for a Murfreesboro family Monday as the body of 10 year old Elizabeth Grace Hathaway was recovered from the lake around 6:15 p.m. near their houseboat at Hidden Harbor Marina. The child, who was not wearing a life jacket, was the victim of an apparent drowning, although an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that members of the Rutherford County Special Operations unit, using a sonar device, pinpointed the location of what they suspected was the body. Divers then went down and found the body of the child in about forty feet of water.

The body was near the back of the family's houseboat, which was docked at the marina. Witnesses reported having seen the child on the deck of the boat around 8:30 Monday morning, shortly before her disappearance.

After the family discovered her missing, they called 911 and the search effort began. Not knowing at the time whether the child had fallen into the lake or had wandered away from the houseboat and into the woods a search by ground and water was initiated and conducted throughout the day.

Searchers checked the woods and roads in the immediate area as well as vehicles parked in the vicinity. Any houseboats docked at the marina that were open or occupied were also searched.

DeKalb 911 placed automated reverse calls to residents in the area asking them to be on the look out for the child.

Among those taking part in the search either by ground or on the lake were members of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, the Sheriff's Department, DeKalb EMS, Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker, the DeKalb County Fire Department's Search and Rescue Team, the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, the Putnam County Rescue Squad and Dive Team, and the Rutherford County Special Operations unit and divers.

Special thanks to DeKalb Market and other individuals who supplied food and water to the searchers and to Hidden Harbor Marina for their assistance.

DeKalb County Election Commission Informs Voters of New Law

September 5, 2011
Dennis Stanley

The Tennessee General Assembly recently passed a law to make the elections process more secure. Beginning in 2012, voters must present identification bearing their names and photographs in order to vote, just as if they were
boarding an airplane or cashing a check.

The process is simple: voters who do not have valid photo IDs may obtain free photo IDs for voting from any participating Department of Safety driver service center across the state. And voters over the age of 60 who
have driver's licenses without photos and no other form of valid photo IDs for voting may have their photos added to their licenses free of charge.

County election commissions are making efforts now to get the message out about the changes well in advance of the 2012 elections.

"Our staff is prepared to help voters learn about the new requirements, and, if necessary, how to get a photo ID," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "We will do our best to ensure every voter is informed in plenty of time."

Examples of acceptable photo IDs, even if expired, include: a Tennessee driver's license with a photo, a United States passport, a Department of Safety photo ID, a United States military photo ID, a state-issued handgun carry permit, or any other photo ID issued by the federal or state government, except college student IDs.

"Local election administrators are working hard to prepare voters and poll workers," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "I am confident this law will be beneficial and can be implemented smoothly."

Some citizens will be exempt from the new law, including: absentee voters, residents of nursing homes or assisted living centers who vote at the facility, people who are hospitalized, people who have religious objections to being photographed and those who are indigent and unable to pay for photo IDs. Voters who do not bring photo IDs to the polls may vote with provisional ballots that will be counted if they return to their local election commission office and present a valid photo ID within two business days of the election.

For more information about the voting requirements, contact the DeKalb County Election Commission at 597-4146 or call Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections, or Andrew Dodd, Elections Specialist, in the state Division of
Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

Kidman Puckett Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 4, 2011
Dwayne Page
Kidman Puckett
DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants

The 2011 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Kidman Dawn Puckett

A senior, Puckett is the 17 year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendants are Johnna Rochele Roller, the 16 year old daughter of John and Michele Roller; and Taylor Marie Cantrell, the 17 year old daughter of Jeff and Renea Cantrell

Junior Attendant-Zoe Elaine Whaley, the 15 year old daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville.

Sophomore Attendant-Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty, the 15 year old daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards..

Freshman Attendant-Haley Marie Hale, 14 year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville.

Spirit week activities will be held September 6 -9 at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. September 9 against White County. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

(Bottom photo: top row left to right: Haley Hale, Zoe Whaley, Sarah Edwards; Bottom Row left to right: Taylor Cantrell, Kidman Puckett, and Johnna Roller)

Some Students Not Compliant with Immunization Law Could be Denied Admission to School

September 3, 2011
Dwayne Page
Dee Anna Reynolds

DeKalb County school officials are reminding parents of children in kindergarten and seventh grade whose shot records are not up to date that those students will not be allowed to attend class after a specified date unless they have the correct immunizations.

Under state law, "No children shall be permitted to attend any public school...until proof of immunization is given the admissions officer of the school". The new Tennessee Department of Health immunization rule went into effect July 1, 2010

School Health Coordinator Dee Anna Reynolds told WJLE Friday that letters are being sent to parents of students who have not yet complied with this law. "Right now we're in the process of notifying parents via letter, if their child's immunization record is not up to date. That is for seventh graders and kindergarten students at DeKalb West, DeKalb Middle, and Smithville Elementary School," said Reynolds.

"The bulk of those immunizations that aren't current and up to date are at the middle school. This comes in with the new Tennessee Department of Health immunization rule that went into effect July 1. That is for children entering seventh grade to have a second varicella shot, which is the chicken pox shot, unless they can show that they have had the chicken pox and they have immunity to the chicken pox, then they don't need to have that second shot. Students also need to have a booster shot called the TDAP immunization (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis vaccine)," said Reynolds

"Students who are not compliant and are receiving their first letter of notification have until September 16 to get compliant to get those immunizations. If not, then those students will not be allowed to come back to school after September 16. A few students have received a first or second letter and those students will have until September 9 to get compliant or they will not be allowed to come back to school after September 9. If you have questions, call the board of education at 597-4084," said Reynolds.

For those who have received a notification letter from the school system of non-compliance, you may obtain the required immunizations free of charge at the DeKalb County Health Department on Thursday, September 8 or Tuesday, September 13 from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

County Beer Board Delays Action on Potentially Controversial Permit Application

September 2, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jewel Redmon Addressing Beer Board (seated Dick Knowles and Mack Harney)
Beer Board members Jim Stagi, Frank Thomas, Harrell Tolbert
Beer Board members Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, Edward Frazier

Jewel Redmon will have to wait another month before he knows whether he will be able to sell beer at the old Pop's Market location on Cookeville Highway, a vacant store building he bought several weeks ago and has been refurbishing.

The DeKalb County Beer Board met Thursday night to consider the beer application, filed in the name of Viva Gail Johnson for the business to be known as Jewel's Market and Pizza, but the board deferred action until October 6th after discovering an error in the public notice published in a local newspaper. The address of the store building is 600 North Congress Boulevard. The address published in the notice was 7592 McMinnville Highway. A new public notice will be published giving the accurate address and the date, time and place of the next meeting.

DeKalb County has a rule forbidding the sale, storage and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 2,000 feet (or some lesser distance) of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering.

The problem in this case is that Redmon's store may be too close to the new First Assembly of God Church which was recently constructed on Highway 56 north.

According to Redmon, the store building is seventy feet short of meeting the distance requirements, measuring "as the crow flies" but he said it is in compliance if the measurement is taken by way of the highway.

Redmon said he believes the property ought to be grand fathered since the store building had long been there before the church and because of the fact that the former owner of the store had a beer license. The business, however, has been closed for several months and the license of the former owner has since expired. Redmon claims the board should take into consideration that the store property was tied up in bank foreclosure proceedings involving the former owner and no one could have bought the store and sold beer during that time. Redmon believes he should not be penalized because of that situation.

Redmon further claims that he has improved the value of the property and that even his closest neighbors to the store location don't object to his selling beer

And as for the distance requirement, Redmon pointed out that another store across the road (Village Market) is licensed to sell beer and that business is even closer to the church than his establishment. Beer board members explained that Village Market is in the city and Smithville has different distance regulations than the county.

Board members voted to ask county attorney Hilton Conger to render a legal opinion on this license application at the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Harrell Tolbert, Frank Thomas, Dick Knowles, Jim Stagi, Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, and Edward Frazier.

Man Dies in Truck Crash

September 2, 2011
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man lost his life early Friday morning after his Chevy 2500 crashed into a tree on private property off Dry Creek Road.

Dead is 49 year old Timothy "Tadpole" Adcock

Central dispatch received the call at 2:39 a.m.

According to Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Adcock, who died at the scene, was found in his truck which apparently had crossed a field and wrecked in the tree line of a wooded area.

The incident remains under investigation.

Dixon Elected Alexandria Alderman Unopposed

September 2, 2011
Dwayne Page

Darrell Dixon was elected alderman Thursday in the Alexandria Municipal Election.

That is not surprising since his name was the only one on the ballot. Dixon received a total of twelve votes, including ten on election day and two absentees.

Three aldermen were to have been elected but no one else qualified to run. It'll apparently be up to the Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen to appoint persons to fill those other two positions along with a third aldermen seat, which has been vacant for several months.

The Alexandria city government is made up of a mayor and six aldermen. Each term of office is for four years.

4-H members learn food safety, culinary skills

September 2, 2011
April Martin

Grilling is considered one of America’s favorite past times. What could be better than a juicy steak for dinner?

The 4-H outdoor meat cookery contest held each year teaches 4-H member not only how to grill meat to perfection, but also the importance of food safety, teamwork, and food presentation.

Recently, after weeks of practice learning to start fires in a grill and being able to judge a meat’s doneness, 12 DeKalb County 4-H members entered the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest. Each 4-Her was given two hours to set up their own grill, start a fire, grill their meat, and prepare an appetizing platter presentation along with their teammates.
Congratulations to 4-Hers who recently competed in the regional 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest held at the Wilson County fairgrounds.

Nate Sherwood, Nathaniel Theriaque, Elliott Cook, and Wyatt Martin were on the junior high team which placed 9th in the region. Nate placed 4th in the chicken grilling division; Wyatt placed 8th in the pork grilling division; Elliott placed 5th in the lamb grilling division, and Nathaniel placed 10th in the beef grilling division.

Casey Vickers, Morgan Vickers, Preston Cripps, and Justin Bass were on a separate junior high team. Their team placed 10th in the region. Casey placed 3rd in the beef category and Morgan placed 8th in the lamb category. Justin placed 12th in the chicken grilling division and Preston placed 7th in the pork grilling division.

The Senior team members included Elizabeth Sanders, Riley Young, Hunter Collins, and Kayley Green and they placed 4th in the region. Riley placed 1st in the chicken grilling division; Kayley placed 3rd in the pork grilling division; Elizabeth placed 4th in the lamb grilling division; and Hunter placed 5th in the beef grilling division.

The University of Tennessee Extension offers all its programs to everyone in the county. For more information about 4-H or other Extension programs, feel free to contact us at 597-4945 or find us on Facebook under UT Extension – DeKalb County.

New DCHS Building Trades Home Under Construction On-Campus

August 31, 2011
Dwayne Page
DCHS Building Trades Home Under Constructiion
Students erecting wall
Students laying plywood
Instructor Melvin Young Overseeing Construction
Students at work
Students Securing Wall

Students in the DeKalb County High School Construction Technology (building trades) program are making great progress on the latest home now under construction.

Up until this year, all homes built through this program were constructed on lots which had been purchased by the school board for this purpose. This meant that students in the class and their teacher would have to load up on a bus and travel back and forth between the school and the construction site each school day until the project was completed.

But now, for the first time, a home is being built on campus at DeKalb County High School and when it is completed, the house will be sold and the owner will have it moved to his or her own lot.

Class instructor Melvin Young told WJLE Wednesday that students began work on the home, a 1,456 square foot structure, in August and expect to have it finished by Thanksgiving.

The school board gave its blessing to build the house on-campus in February at the request of Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education director. "The on-site building will bring the building back to the campus at the high school. The students would not have to have transportation. Tools would not have to be transported. Everything would be done right there close to the building trades classroom. The students would just be within walking distance. Its actually in between the band tower and the bus garage. We would come in and build a permanent footer and foundation for the house and then the house would be constructed. After that, whoever wanted to buy the house, they would be responsible for paying for the house at the price that the construction teacher would set. Then they (buyer) would be responsible for all costs of moving the house and taking the house to wherever they would be putting it on a lot.. The other thing I like about this too is that we can do some integration projects with our math courses. Those students can come over and observe or maybe do some calculations on the house. We can also integrate family consumer science for designing purposes. There's a number of different things we can use this for on-site. The students will still be getting the concept of building. It's not taking anything away from that. They will still master the competencies that they need for the construction technology program," said Leach.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE Wednesday that he supports this new concept. "Last spring, they built a foundation in order so that someone can come in, purchase the house and then move it to their own location. With the project that we're doing right now, the students will be involved and learn the majority of the skills that they would be involved in if it were an on-site building project. Of course, there'll be some things, such as laying brick, that they will no longer be doing because it is on campus. The safety of transporting students, tools, and things like that will no longer be an issue. Plus, the students will have more time to actually work on the house without having to spend time on the road going back and forth from school to the building site. So there will be more class time and work time, driving nails, putting in windows, installing doors, and things like that," said Willoughby

Obviously since the home will have to be moved, some finishing work will be required by the owner once its relocated, according to Willoughby. "The house will probably be more affordable because the owner can hire someone to move this house, take it to their own lot, and do some finishing details themselves. The house won't be completely finished when its sold but the majority of the work will already be taken care of, " added Willoughby.

Career Coach Returns to Smithville

August 31, 2011
Career Coach participants learningf Basic Computer Skills
Kathy Hendrixson of Justin Potter Library and Career Counselor Jason Daniel

The Career Coach mobile unit rolled into Smithville Wednesday morning and set up across from City Hall near Justin Potter Library.

A service of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Career Coach adds a valuable dimension to its services to reach people across the state who do not have a Career Center in proximity to their homes or places of employment.

"We want to make Career Center services accessible to job seekers and employers in their home communities," said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis. "The mobile units will offer the same services available to our customers as when they walk into one of our Career Centers located across the state."

The mobile units are set up as computer lab classrooms, each having 10 workstations that are equipped with a laptop with high-speed Internet connection. At one end of the coach is the instructor's workstation that is connected to a 42" flat-screen TV with SmartBoard® overlay and a DVD/CD player. The coaches are equipped with a wheelchair lift, and the workstations are ADA compliant.

"The mobile units serve multiple purposes," said Lynn Gibbs, coordinator for the middle Tennessee coach. "Job applicants can register for work and search available openings online. They can also take part in the three workshops we offer – résumé preparation, job search skills, and interviewing skills."

In addition, Gibbs said the department is inviting employers to use the coaches for recruiting, pre-employment screening, taking job applications onsite, and interviewing applicants. "New businesses can use the coaches as a working space when facilities are still under construction, yet the company needs to start hiring. Employers can also
conduct company training classes, since the buses have learning-support technology."

Labor's Adult Education division plans to use the mobile units for enrollment pre- and post-testing, orientation, administering the Official GED Practice Test, and offering GED Fast Track classes.

Because 31 of the state's 95 counties have limited Career Center services, the coaches extend job recruitment and training activities to those areas. These 31 counties have little or no Labor staff present, although Work Investment Area staff may be available. "It's hard enough to be unemployed, but having to drive 30 to 50 miles to a Career Center
creates an extra hardship, with gas costing more than $3 a gallon," said Gibbs. "We hope when people see the mobile units they will be a positive sign that jobs are not far behind."

Counties served by the middle Tennessee coach are the following (underlined counties have limited Career Center service): Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

The cost of the three coaches in the fleet is about $188,000 apiece. Funding for the mobile units came out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) $4.6 million for Re-Employment Services that Tennessee received. The additional total cost per program year to operate all three units, including maintenance and staff, is $513,000.

Besides being used for Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development activities, first priority use of the coaches will be for national, state, and local emergencies. For example, in the event of another disaster such as the Nashville flood in May 2010, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency need to use the coach would
take precedence over any scheduled departmental booking. The bus is equipped with high-speed satellite Internet and modern radio communications.

If you're an employer who would like to use the Career Coach to interview employees for a new or expanding business or use the bus as a training classroom, go to the Web site at www.getonthecoach.tn.gov/ or call (615) 741-0634. You will be able to check availability and request reservation for an event.

If you would like to ask questions of the Department of Labor and to see photos of the Career Coach, visit the Facebook site at www.facebook.com/GetOnTheCoach.


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