Chamber Receives Rural Video and Photography Grant To Enhance Tourism Efforts (View Video Here)

September 15, 2023

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a Rural Video and Photography Grant for the purpose of promoting DeKalb County in an effort to enhance tourism outreach.

Chamber Director Suzanne Williams said this $16,500 grant was made available through the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development (TDTD).

“Producing high-quality video and photography assets can be resource-intensive, especially in rural areas like ours. Recognizing this need, TDTD partnered with Designsensory to provide DeKalb County with these invaluable assets,” said Williams.

“With this generous funding, we were equipped to produce compelling video content that will not only resonate with our target audience but also broaden our appeal to a wider range of tourists,” explained Williams. “We are truly excited to have secured this photography and video funding, as it empowers us to convey our story in a more engaging and impactful manner. Video content holds the incredible power to engage, educate, and inspire, and we firmly believe that it will transform our outreach endeavors”.

Williams said gaining acceptance for this initiative required meticulous planning, scheduling, and collaboration with numerous individuals. “Our initial steps involved selecting locations and determining which areas needed to be scouted in person.”

After organizing a two-day scouting schedule, designed with the assistance of Jen Sherwood, the Designsensory team joined forces with Williams to embark on the scouting tour. The first day of scouting included visits to Center Hill Lake and Dam, campgrounds, Edgar Evins State Park, marinas, and marina restaurants, Caney Fork River, Appalachian Center for Craft, Ace’s Restaurant, and The Retreat at Center Hill Lake. Day 2 commenced at Evins Mill, Your Glamping Adventure, Webb’s Soda Fountain, Downtown Smithville businesses and murals, Harmony Lane Farm & Creamery, Bert Driver Nursery/The Burlap Room, Twisted Oaks, and New Frontiers Camp.

Following the scouting phase, the Chamber assumed responsibility for organizing a three-day filming schedule, as well as identifying and scheduling talent, including families, fishermen, shoppers, hikers, kayakers, business owners, musicians, artists, customers, wake surfer, and anyone necessary to breathe life into the photography and video, authentically representing our unique locales.

“This project demanded an extensive investment of time, but the end result was more rewarding than we could have imagined. The photography was breathtaking, and the video exceeded all our expectations,” Willliams said.

“Our profound gratitude to the many individuals who made this project possible. Special thanks go to Center Hill Lake Resource Manager Kevin Savilla and staff, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Edgar Evins State Park Manager Brad Halfacre, park rangers, and the hiking family, Fly Fisherman and Park Ranger Lee Chadwell, Billie Davis and staff from Canoe the Caney, Harrison, Ansley & Renee of Hurricane Marina/Restaurant, William Cochran and Sharon Evans at Evins Mill, Matt and Dawn Bragstad of Your Glamping Adventure along with models Jon and Emilee, Karyn Walker of The Arts Garage for organizing an art class, Melissa Miller and her daughters for modeling during shopping scenes, Bert Driver of The Burlap Room/Harvester, Julie David of Harmony Lane Farm, Larry and Lorie Nellist and staff at New Frontiers, Kimberly Winkle at Appalachian Center for Craft, Joe and Angela and staff at Button Willow General Store and Coffee Shop, Lori and Alan and staff at Webb’s Soda Shop, Downtown Smithville Business Owners, and Tina Crips of The Retreat at Center Hill Lake,” said Williams.

“We also extend our appreciation to Cheryl’s Beau Bees, who provided lunch on one of the filming days, Evins Mill for breakfast, Hurricane Marina for the use of their watercraft, and The Retreat at Center Hill Lake for their generous provision of accommodations during the photography and video production”.

To explore the new tourism website and view the captivating tourism video, please visit

DCHS Homecoming Parade Today (Friday) and Football Game Tonight vs Gordonsville (Listen to WJLE’s Tiger Talk Program Here)

September 15, 2023
By: Dwayne Page

Its Homecoming Week at DCHS and students have been in a celebratory mood with special spirit activities having taken place each day.  Today (Friday) will be no exception with the annual Homecoming Day Parade and then the football game tonight as the Tigers host the visiting Tigers from Gordonsville High School.

Kick-off will be at 7 p.m. and WJLE will have LIVE coverage on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and on the LIVE stream at with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby.

After starting the season with losses to Warren County and Smith County, the Tigers have evened their season record over the last two weeks with victories over Livingston Academy and Watertown.

Gordonsville is 2-2 with wins over Trousdale County 14-0 and Jo Byrns 35-6 and losses to Smith County 25-19 and Watertown 17-7.

After spotting Watertown 10 points in the first half last week, the Tigers shut out the Purple Tigers in the second half enroute to a 20-10 win.

“It was another first half of inconsistent play and lack of execution but when we do things right back to back we have proven we can be a formidable opponent and can compete each week,” said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. “It was the second week in a row we came back out in the second half and responded. Kudos to our defense. That’s two weeks in a row they have not given up any points in the last two quarters of each game and our offense got enough going to ultimately score more points than the other team. That’s what it comes down to. I am extremely proud of our guys. Although it wasn’t pretty, at the end of the day they pulled it together and did what they were supposed to do,” said Coach Trapp.

Its been several years since DeKalb County has met Gordonsville on the gridiron in regular season play although the teams have engaged in pre-season scrimmages over the years.

Speaking on WJLE’s Tiger Talk program, Coach Trapp sizes up what Gordonsville looks like this year.
“Over the last couple of years, especially this year they have evolved more into a spread-out type offense. They have a sophomore quarterback who does a lot of different things. He is a great athlete and a good runner. I think he is their punter, punt returner, and kick returner. He plays corner. He had a good year last year at receiver for them as a freshman. He has a grasp on what they are doing. They have the RPO game. They have the quarterback run read game. They do a lot of the same things we do and he (QB) gets active in it by rolling out throwing the ball. He has a great arm. He can throw it deep but then they can still line it up and try to run that power run game too. I know I have said this every week so far but this is another one of those games where there are multiple things our defense has to be ready for. Coach Shaw and that group have done a great job preparing our guys. Defensively its kind of the same story, they have a base defense but it will branch into different things depending on what we get into so you try to find your matchups when you can get them in certain looks,” said Coach Trapp.

WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with Tennessee Titans Radio Broadcaster Dave McGinnis and broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.

“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at 6:00 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches’ interviews.

“Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger football players Marquez Chalfant, Jaxson Kleparek, and Andrew Dakas.

Homecoming Events Friday, September 15 2023:

7:00-7:40 a.m.: All vehicles in parade are checked in and parked in the parking area.

7:45-9:00 a.m.: All students should be in HR at this time. Scavenger hunt videos will be shown.

8:15 a.m.: Bands performs for DeKalb Middle School at DCHS.

8:15-9:00 a.m.: All drivers and passengers will decorate cars

9:05-9:50 a.m.: Students in Gymnasium for Games

9:55-12:00 noon: Students in 4th block class.

10:00 a.m.: Band performs at Smithville Elementary.

10:10-12:00 noon: Lunch periods- 1st lunch 10:10 to 10:35 a.m., 2nd lunch 10:37 to 11:02 a.m., 3rd lunch
11:04 to 11:29 a.m., and 4th lunch 11:31 to 12:00 noon.

12:00 p.m.: Parade lines up.

12:30 p.m.: Parade leaves DCHS.

12:30 p.m.: Band performs at Northside Elementary.

1:00 p.m.: Parade arrives at Smithville Elementary School.

1:20 p.m.: Parade arrives at Northside Elementary School. Band leads parade from Northside Elementary.

1:40 p.m.: Parade arrives at the square. Pep rally and band performance on the square.

Shaun Tubbs Re-Elected Chairman of School Board

September 15, 2023
By: Dwayne Page

Seventh District member Shaun Tubbs has been re-elected Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

During Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting, Tubbs was again selected by his fellow board members to serve as chairman for the next twelve months.

Meanwhile, Third district member Jim Beshearse was re-elected Vice Chairman of the Board while Sixth District member Jason Miller will again serve as the board’s Tennessee Legislative Network (TLN) representative.

The board re-organizes each September electing officers to serve for the year.

In his monthly personnel report, Director Patrick Cripps announced the resignation of Aaron Shirah, SPED Consulting teacher.

The following personnel have been granted a leave of absence as requested: Gabby Robinson, Sarah Storey, and Seth Willoughby.

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