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Next Construction Phase Gets Rolling at Center Hill’s Auxiliary Dam

December 26, 2018
By: Ashley Webster, Nashville District Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and contractor Thalle Construction Company are moving towards the conclusion of the Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project.

The start of December marked the completion of foundation preparation for a “roller-compacted concrete” reinforcing berm downstream of Center Hill’s auxiliary dam, work that began in January 2018. A minimum of two-feet of conventional concrete, referred to as ‘mud matting,’ was placed on the 125-foot wide by 800-foot long cleaned bedrock base to allow for a good working surface to begin placement of the RCC.

The Corps blasted and excavated about 65,000 cubic yards of rock to create a solid, notched base for the large 100-foot high by 1000-foot long concrete RCC berm. The exposed rock base was then geo-mapped.

“Geo-mapping gives the agency a detailed reference picture of the bedrock, which will be the natural base of the berm foundation,” said Tommy Hollowell, Nashville District geologist. “This will allow us to plan placement of the expansion and contraction joints in the concrete berm and to monitor specific rock formations if any future issues arise.”

About two-foot diameter rocks and smaller, recycled from stabilization excavation at Center Hill Dam’s left rim, have been placed between the auxiliary dam and RCC berm. The rock fill will place pressure on the downstream auxiliary dam embankment and reduce the risk of internal erosion.

Grouting 25 feet into the mud matting and bed rock is also nearing 70 percent complete.

Linda Adcock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District project manager, explained that the grout fills any voids that may exist between the two layers, and ‘locks’ the layers together ensuring a solid foundation for the placement of concrete to suport the berm. Concrete placement is expected to begin in January.

Thalle Construction Company has the concrete batch plant equipment in place to produce the special type of concrete, RCC, which resembles more of a solid than a liquid. As this concrete is placed on the berm site, it will be spread by a blade and compacted with a vibrating roller into one-foot layers.

“Roller compacted concrete resembles a mixture of dirt and rock more than typical, conventional concrete, due to its low moisture content,” Adcock said. “The advantage of this type of concrete is place using traditional road paving equipment which is generally much more efficient than placing typical conventional concrete.”

Alan Malcomb, civil engineer and contracting officer for the Roller Compacted Concrete phase, said the winter weather may pose a challenge the Corps of Engineers and Thalle Construction because when temperatures drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation exceeds a tenth of an inch per hour, concrete placement must be halted.

As work approaches the last chapter for the concrete berm, site restoration on the southwest side of Center Hill Dam is underway. The area previously known as Eisenhower Park or Center Hill Park has served as a work platform for the Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project during the past 10 years.  Bluegrass Construction Corporation is grading the area and will build picnic sites, three shelters, a comfort station, and a boat ramp allowing access to Center Hill Lake.  The RCC Berm and the restored boat ramp and lake access are planned to be finished by the end of 2019.  The RCC berm completion is necessary before Center Hill Lake can return to normal operating lake levels.

New State Laws to Take Effect January 1st

December 25, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

As DeKalb Countians prepare to ring in the new year, new state laws will also go into effect on January 1, 2019.

From wine sales in grocery stores to immigration, here are some new laws that will soon go into effect:


-Retail packaging stores were able to start selling alcoholic beverages on Sunday this year, but retail grocery stores were not included. Starting January 6, grocery stores will be able to sell wine on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.


A new state law will prohibit local and state governmental entities from adopting ‘Sanctuary City’ policies. While local governments had already been regulated by the law, this bill added state government entities to the list along with law enforcement agencies and officials.

Also, any state or local entity which adopts a sanctuary policy will be ineligible to receive state funds until the policy is rescinded.


A new state law was signed by Governor Bill Haslam in May of 2018 and goes into effect January 1. Under the law, each local board of education will have to develop a policy and implement a program to reduce potential sources of lead contamination in drinking water at public schools.

Drinking water at school facilities built before January 1, 1998 will be forced to follow the new guidelines.


A new law will require women seeking an abortion in the state to get an ultrasound as part of their examination prior to the abortion. The person who performs the ultrasound will also need to offer the woman the “opportunity to learn the results of the ultrasound.”

Also, the report of abortion must indicate if a heartbeat was detected or not during the ultrasound.


A new law requires the Tennessee Department of Health to establish and maintain a public toll-free telephone line and web-based hotline for citizens to report potential opioid abuse or diversion.

Also, any establishment or entity which prescribes, dispenses, or handles opioids must display a sign calling for citizens to call the hotline if they suspect abuse. Anyone who calls the hotline will be “immune from civil liability” relating to their reporting.


A new law requires public schools and public charter schools used as polling places for regular November election to be closed for instruction on election day. For elections outside of the normal November election it will be up to law enforcement agencies to decide if the schools should close. DeKalb County does not use schools as polling places anymore.

*Motor Vehicles – As enacted, increases, from $400 to $1,500, the minimum property damage threshold for which a motor vehicle accident requires a written report to be filed with the department of safety, except in cases of damage to state or local government property; increases, from $500 to $1,500, the property damage threshold differentiating a Class B misdemeanor from a Class A misdemeanor for the offense of leaving the scene of an accident.

* As enacted, permits the department of safety to toll the mandatory 365 consecutive day period during which certain motor vehicles are required to be equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device if the motor vehicle is inoperable based on specified reasons

*Election Laws – As enacted, reduces from 90 days to 60 days the period before a qualifying deadline for elective office during which nominating petitions may be issued by an administrator, deputy, county election commissioner, or employee of the coordinator’s office, other than nominating petitions for the offices of the President of the United States and delegates to the national conventions of all statewide political parties

*Professions and Occupations – As enacted, gives licensing authorities discretion whether or not to suspend, deny, or revoke a license based on the applicant or licensee having defaulted or become delinquent on student loan repayment, if the licensing authority determines that the default or delinquency is the result of a medical hardship that prevented the person from working in the person’s licensed field and the medical hardship significantly contributed to the default or delinquency.

*Children’s Services, Dept. of – As enacted, extends from 30 days to 40 days the period of advance notice that licensed child-placing agencies and licensed clinical social workers must provide the department before increasing fees charged to prospective adoptive parents.

Highways, Roads and Bridges – As enacted, increases the tax on unregistered or improperly registered freight motor vehicles; revises other provisions related to overloaded freight motor vehicles.

*Handgun Permits – As enacted, exempts from the firing range and classroom hours requirements to obtain a handgun carry permit anyone who in the five years preceding the date of application has successfully completed a department of correction firearms qualification.

*Controlled Substances – As enacted, requires health care prescribers to issue prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances electronically by July 1, 2020, with certain exceptions; establishes other provisions regarding electronic prescriptions

Top Local News Stories of 2018: Elections Bring Turnover (VIEW THE YEAR IN PICTURES HERE)

December 24, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

In what could be described as a year of change, local election results, the indictment of a sitting Smithville Mayor, and the death of an off duty Lebanon Police Officer in a traffic accident were the top local stories of 2018.

Voters elected 10 new members to the county commission and one new school board member. Republican Susan Martin won the Circuit Court Clerk race succeeding 16 year Democratic veteran Katherine Pack who chose not to seek re-election. Republican Danny Hale was elected to succeed one term Republican Road Supervisor Butch Agee who did not seek a second term. In Smithville, Alderman Josh Miller unseated Incumbent Mayor Jimmy Poss.

A move by Smithville Mayor Poss to put his son Tony Poss on the city payroll without the approval of the aldermen resulted in a Grand Jury Indictment against both of them. During the first day of the new term in July, the DeKalb County Grand Jury returned a sealed indictment against Mayor Poss for Official Misconduct and Theft of Property over $2,500. Tony was also named in the sealed indictment for Theft of Property over $2,500. The cases were presented to the grand jury by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who began a probe after the issue surfaced in March. Prior to the indictments, the aldermen voted to censure Mayor Poss but stopped short of asking him to reimburse the city for money paid to Tony. The case is set to go to trial July 23, 2019.

A 28 year old Lebanon Police Officer who lived in DeKalb County lost his life in a tragic accident on March 1. Joseph Bowen was driving home from work in his 2008 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup when the truck left Highway 70 and went down a rocky embankment before hitting a large tree and plunging into the swift waters of Dry Creek at Dowelltown. The truck was carried a few feet downstream and came to rest partially submerged on its passenger side. A memorial service with full police honors was held in Lebanon on March 5 followed by a procession to his final resting place at Salem Cemetery in Liberty. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other emergency services responders stood side by side on Highway 70 and saluted as the hearse bearing Officer Bowen’s body arrived in Liberty.

The following is a month by month summary of the top stories of 2018.


*The body of 66 year old Scott Northrup of Silver Point was recovered at around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday January 11 about 100 yards from where his fishing boat was found Wednesday night, January 10 in the Florida branch area of the lake about a mile across from Floating Mill Access. TWRA Officer Tony Cross said Northrup’s body was found in about 34 feet of water. Sonar and an underwater camera aided TWRA officers and members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad in the search. Northrup. a Tennessee Tech University professor emeritus of chemistry and faculty advisor to the Tech bass fishing team was reported missing Wednesday evening after he failed to return home by 3:00 p.m. from a fishing trip to the lake.

*Family members of the late Rosa Stokes attended a number retirement ceremony at DCHS, January 19 for Rosa who wore #55 during her years as a Lady Tiger Basketball player from 1979-83. Rosa passed away in 2003 from a heart condition. Raised in Alexandria, Rosa began playing basketball at DeKalb West School for the Lady Bulldogs under Coach Danny Parkerson in elementary school during the mid to late 1970s. Her star shone even brighter at DCHS under Coach Mickey Bilyeu from 1979-83 where she scored over 1,500 points as a Lady Tiger (known as Tigerette at the time) and was named All District, All Upper Cumberland, All Mid-State and Honorable Mention All State. After her playing days at DCHS, Rosa continued her basketball career as a member of the Cumberland University Lady Bulldogs in Lebanon where she made an indelible impact on the program becoming a prolific scorer and rebounder. As a Lady Bulldog, Rosa scored over 1,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds. In 2009 she was posthumously inducted into the Cumberland University Hall of Fame. Cumberland plays a tournament in her name each December. Stokes entered the coaching ranks after her collegiate career with assistant coaching stints at the University of Louisville, Murray State University, Tennessee Tech University, UT-Chattanooga, and Long Beach State University, where she served as associate head coach. In the summer of 2001, she was named head women’s coach at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia and served in this capacity until 2003. Rosa passed away on August 7, 2003 from a heart related condition. The banner bearing Rosa’s number 55 was hung in the DCHS gymnasium and will be permanently display there as a tribute to one of DeKalb County’s greatest athletes.

*The 2017 Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year was Matt Adcock, Station Commander of the Belk Station. Adcock received the award January 20 during the Department’s Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex. Meanwhile, Captain Brian Williams was named the Wilson Bank & Trust DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2017 Officer of the Year and Steve Repasy, Station Commander of the Johnsons Chapel Station and Blake Cantrell both received the Department’s 2017 “Git R Done” award. The “Rookie” award went to Firefighter Luke Green of the Main Station.

*It was a homecoming of sorts at DeKalb County High School January 26 as fellow class and teammates of Tiger basketball legend Jerry “Red” Foster returned to their alma mater in a show of support for him and to witness the retirement of his high school jersey number 32. Foster excelled in basketball at an early age and went on to become a star athlete on the high school, college, and professional level. After his playing days, Foster was a high school basketball coach for several years. In recent years, he had been a physical education teacher at Northside Elementary School. Foster passed away in August after a long battle with cancer.

*Bradley Miller, a senior, was named Most Valuable Player of the 2017 DCHS Tiger Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet held January 27 at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The MVP trophy was presented to Miller by Coach Steve Trapp. “This guy played a lot of football for us this year (2017) as a senior. I don’t think he came off the field a whole lot. He was on special teams, defense, and offense. We put him in as running back in a couple of games. He returned kicks and punts. Last year as a junior he probably had the best defensive back year ever as a DCHS football player but he didn’t have as many opportunities this year because people just wouldn’t throw at him. Last year he was All-State in different areas and pre-season All State this year. He is a tremendous high school football player,” said Coach Trapp. In addition to his MVP trophy, Miller was named Most Outstanding Defensive Back in Region 3 Class 4A. The Tiger football team finished the season in November, 2017 with an overall record of 3-8 and another appearance in the state play-offs. The Tigers lost in the first round of the TSSAA Class 4A Football Play-Offs at Lewisburg to Marshall County 42-0. Meanwhile, Breanna Gibson, a senior, was named Most Valuable Cheerleader at the football banquet. The presentation was made by Cheer Coach Amanda Fuller.

*The body of a Murfreesboro woman was recovered from Center Hill Lake on the of morning, January 28 the apparent victim of a drowning. Dead is Jerilyn Massey Lamb of Somerset Drive Murfreesboro. In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, January 28 at 7:49 a.m. a call was received by DeKalb Central Dispatch of an unresponsive female at Sligo Marina on the B pier. The woman was found by her husband in the water in an adjoining slip. Deputies arrived at 8:03 a.m. and DeKalb County Detectives were also summoned to the scene. The DeKalb Sheriff’s Department was assisted in the investigation by members of the 13th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Mrs. Lamb’s body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

*Another outstanding DCHS softball player signed a letter of intent with Cumberland University of Lebanon to play collegiate ball. 17 year old Kristena Bain, a senior, put pen to paper January 31 at the DCHS library. Members of Bain’s family, coaches, and fellow players joined her for the occasion. Cumberland is a member of the Mid-South Conference affiliated with the NAIA. “The reason I chose Cumberland University was because the school is local and they have a good athletic program and a good nursing program and that is what I plan to major in,” said Kristena. “I believe Kristena is our fourth or fifth athlete from DeKalb County. We have always had good players from DeKalb County High School and we expect the same from her,” said Assistant Cumberland Varsity Coach and Head JV Coach, Stephanie Theall.


*Kurt Bass was appointed as a member of the DTC Communications Board of Directors in the Temperance Hall exchange, filling the unexpired term of Jimmy Oakley who resigned. Oakley served on the board from 2011-2017. Bass serves as a Licensed Funeral Director and Apprentice Embalmer with Bass Funeral Home, Inc. in Gordonsville and Carthage, and Avant Funeral Home in Alexandria.

*DTC Communications was awarded $1.725M to make more high-speed broadband Internet available to rural Tennesseans. The grant was awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. DTC Communications serves residents in Cannon, DeKalb, Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. The grant will cover areas near Plunkett Creek and Rawls Creek roads in Smith County and areas near Watertown in Wilson County. “With this grant money and DTC’s matching contribution, we will be able to reach out and help more of the underserved and unserved in our area,” said Chris Townson, DTC’s CEO.

*Smithville Volunteer Firefighter and Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale 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 Hale by Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker. This is the fourth straight year Hale has earned this award. Hale, a 33 year veteran of the department, attended 252 calls during the year 2017. This includes calls, trainings, and workings. Chief Parker also presented an award to former Smithville Volunteer Firefighter and local businessman Walter Burton, who served for 25 years on the department starting in 1972.

*Smithville Volunteer Firefighters held an open house and new fire truck dedication ceremony while also celebrating the 80th anniversary of the department at the fire hall. Dr. John Carpenter, Minister of the Smithville First United and the Bright Hill United Methodist Church began the dedication with a prayer and anointing of the new fire truck. Members of the department then officially placed the fire engine into service in what is historically known as a ‘push back.’ The origin of pushing a fire truck into the station dates back to the time of horse drawn equipment. Firefighters had to push the fire pumpers into the fire station because horses were incapable of backing the equipment. Chief Parker said the new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle,  has taken the place of three vehicles. The department, founded in 1938, officially turned 80 years old on February 3.

*A 13 year old student at DeKalb County Middle School, was charged with a delinquent act of making threats toward a Middle School teacher. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the juvenile made the threat on social media to another person about pointing a weapon at a teacher. “Due to the threat, the school staff at DeKalb Middle School spoke to students and advised them everyone was ok, but if they ever heard a rumor or knew about someone who was going to do harm to the school, to tell someone,” said Sheriff Ray. A student told school staff about the threat toward the teacher. The school staff then advised the School Resource Officer, who then contacted Sheriff Ray.

*The County Commission voted to ante up more money to give county general and sheriff’s department employees pay raises retroactive to January 1 but a proposal to increase pay for EMS staff under a plan proposed by Second District Commissioner Joe Johnson was not approved. Upset by the move, Johnson resigned from the commission in protest saying he was ashamed of the body’s actions and no longer wanted to be part of this group. Near the end of the meeting, Johnson passed his resignation letter to County Mayor. The county commission adopted pay raises for county general employees according to new 13 tier wage scales. Sheriff’s department staff will get pay raises under a new six tier scale..

*A 2017 DCHS football athlete plans to continue to his career on the college level. Gage Delape, a senior, signed to play at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, the home of the Blue Raiders. Delape’s father Michael Delape; DCHS football coach Steve Trapp; assistant coaches Thomas Cagle, Justin Burum, and Tommy Hinch; and Delape’s fellow teammates joined him for the signing. Delape was the 2017 team’s Offensive Lineman of the year and he was named to the 1st Team All-Region.

*A groundbreaking celebration was held for the sixth Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County. Committee and Board members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County joined the new partner family, Jamie Nokes and her family Jayde Stanley, Tayvian Nokes, Desmond Nokes, and Justis Nokes for the brief ceremony at 204 Hayes Street.

*A Murfreesboro man, 46 year old Marcus Wade, lost his life in a motorcycle crash February 9 on Dale Ridge Road (State Route 96) near the Company Store location and not far from Center Hill Dam. Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Wade was operating a 1998 BMW motorcycle north on Dale Ridge Road when he failed to negotiate a curve and struck a rock embankment. Wade was transported by DeKalb EMS to St Thomas DeKalb Hospital where he was pronounced dead..

*Danny Hale of Liberty won the Republican nomination for DeKalb County Road Supervisor in the local GOP caucus held February 11 at the courthouse. Hale, who was nominated by party delegates, defeated Reed Edge 62 to 34. The vote was conducted by paper ballot. Hale faced Democrat Jimmy Sprague in the August 2nd DeKalb County General Election. Sprague was unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Road Supervisor in the May . Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Wallace “Butch” Agee decided not to seek re-election to a second term. All the other Republican candidates for the August 2 DeKalb County General Election were nominated by acclamation during the caucus including Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray, Incumbent Trustee Sean Driver, Susan Martin for Circuit Court Clerk, and County Commission candidates Tom Chandler in the 1st district, Sabrina Farler in the 2nd district, Renee Steff in the 3rd district, Greg Matthews in the 4th district, Incumbent Jerry Adcock in the 5th district, Matt Adcock in the 6th district, and Bruce Malone in the 7th district. Incumbent 1st district Republican County Commissioner Mason Carter did not seek re-election.

*Foutch Industries held an employee appreciation lunch to recognize employees for their years of service. Tracy Foutch, the owner of the company, presented certificates to employees with one year or more including Rafael Garcia, who has served the longest at twenty years. Plant Manager Rollin Kellog, Jr. was also recognized. Kellog has decided to retire after eight years of service and Foutch presented him with a plaque. Foutch Industries currently has 130 employees working three shifts on multiple lines and continues to grow.

*A local runner was a big winner at the All State Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race in Nashville, a benefit for Make-A-Wish. 14 year old Megan Cantrell, daughter of Todd and Jenny Cantrell, won the race in the category for females ages 14 and younger. Her time was 24:18. She came in first out of 81 runners in the division and finished seventh place out of all 1,559 female runners in the race. She was 39th overall among 2,121 runners. Cantrell is a student at DCHS.

*After sixteen seasons DeKalb County High School Tiger Basketball Coach Lynus Martin announced his resignation as coach. Martin informed his players of the decision and sent a copy of his letter to both DCHS Principal Randy Jennings and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps. Coach Martin took over from former Coach Danny Bond during the 2002-03 season and compiled an overall record of 276-203, becoming the second winningest coach in DCHS Tiger basketball history behind former Coach Harold Luna.


A first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School was named “DeKalb County Teacher of the Year” and received the “John Isabell Memorial Award” during the eleventh annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center. The award and a check for $150 was presented to Heather Shehane by Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, a sponsor of the banquet, along with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Lori Isabell, whose husband John for whom the award is named, passed away in 2014. John Isabell was a long time educator and former President of the DeKalb County Education Association. Shehane, who is in her sixth year as a teacher, was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as “Teacher of the Year” at their schools. The others were Shelly Jennings at Northside Elementary School; Cynthia Wilson at DeKalb West School; Suzette Barnes at DeKalb Middle School; and Sara Halliburton at DeKalb County High School.

*A 28 year old Lebanon Police Officer who lived in DeKalb County lost his life in a tragic accident. Joseph Bowen was driving home from work in his 2008 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup when the truck left Highway 70 and went down a rocky embankment before hitting a large tree and plunging into the swift waters of Dry Creek at Dowelltown. The truck was carried a few feet downstream and came to rest partially submerged on its passenger side. When Bowen didn’t arrive back home, family members became concerned and contacted authorities. Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan notified Sheriff Patrick Ray that family members had reported Bowen missing and a search began along the route from Lebanon to Smithville. According to Sheriff Ray, members of the Lebanon Police Department and Wilson County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the search along with the Alexandria Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. A BOLO (Be on the lookout) was also issued by the sheriff’s department through central dispatch. Verizon pinged Bowen’s cell phone in DeKalb County in the area of Nashville Highway and Goose Creek Road. The phone was last used at 7:29 a.m. Thursday morning, March 1. After the truck was spotted in the creek the BOLO was cancelled but Bowen remained missing. Search teams were organized to comb the creek and an aerial helicopter search was conducted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. One of the teams later found Bowen’s body in the creek several hundred yards from where his truck was located. Prior to going to work for the Lebanon Police Department, Bowen was employed at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Ray said Bowen was a good officer and will be missed

*Another outstanding DCHS Tiger football athlete is moving on to the collegiate level after he graduates from high school. Bradley Miller, a senior, signed a letter of intent to play for Thomas More College, a Catholic Liberal Arts College of the Diocese in Covington, Kentucky. Miller’s parents, Michael and Dee Dee Miller joined Bradley for the signing along with his high school coaches and several of his Tiger teammates. During the team banquet in January, Bradley was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season. He was also selected as the Most Outstanding Defensive Back in Region 3 Class 4A.

*13 year old Aaron Gottlied placed 1st overall in his age group at the Nashville St. Paddy’s Day 5K race on March 17th. Covering the hilly course with an outstanding time of 19:54, Aaron earned a 4th place spot over all out of a field of 466 runners. He is the son of Ed and Carrie Gottlied and a member of DeKalb Middle School’s Cross Country team.

*45 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando heard from members of the Tennessee Board of Parole and the news wasn’t good. He will have to spend at least two more years in prison. Orlando is serving a 35 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy. He is incarcerated at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tennessee. A previous conviction against Orlando for possession of cocaine ran consecutively with the murder case and expired in 2009. Orlando’s sentence in the murder case is due to expire in 2039. He has served almost 16 years. Members of the parole board held a hearing for Orlando on March 5. He was denied parole due to the seriousness of the offense but the case will be reconsidered in March, 2020. Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, 46 year old Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004. Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September, 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence. Turnbill was granted parole in March 2015 after serving more than twelve years but he ran afoul of the law again in Putnam County and was sent back to prison in 2016. Turnbill was again granted parole after a hearing in February. He has been incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex at Pikeville.

*Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss was formally censured by the Aldermen for violating the city’s nepotism and hiring policies by putting his son, Tony Poss, on the payroll last September without the board’s approval. During a special meeting held in March at city hall, the aldermen took the action against the mayor which is basically a reprimand or expression of disapproval. The vote was 5-0. The mayor did not attend the meeting. In a separate move the aldermen voted 3 to 2 against asking that the city be reimbursed for the salary paid to Tony Poss during the six month period he was a part time employee. From September 1 to March 2, Poss’ gross amount of pay was $300 per week for a total of $8,100. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix and Shawn Jacobs voted to ask that the money be repaid. Aldermen Jason Murphy, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer voted against it. Had it been approved, the aldermen admitted that a reimbursement request probably could not be enforced.

*One month after announcing his resignation, Second District member Joe Johnson was back on the county commission. Actually, he had never really left. Although Johnson had announced in a letter at the February meeting that he would be resigning effective March 1, the commission never voted on the resignation to make it official. “I had (County Attorney) Hilton (Conger) to check with CTAS (County Technical Advisory Service) as far as the resignation and when it’s effective and its effective when this commission accepts it,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling during the commission’s March monthly meeting. Second District member Jimmy Midgett made a motion that Johnson’s resignation not be accepted. First District Commissioner Mason Carter offered a second to the motion. Third District member Jack Barton asked if Johnson is willing to serve. “I spoke with him and he said he would appreciate it if we decided to do that (not accept the resignation),” replied Midgett. The vote not to accept Johnson’s resignation was approved on a voice vote of the commission.

*A new pay plan was put in place for employees of the DeKalb County Ambulance Service. During the regular monthly meeting in March, the county commission voted 12-1 to adopt the proposal recommended by the budget committee which seeks to reduce overall EMS overtime hours but to raise each employee’s hourly pay. The EMS schedule will change to 24/72 (24 hours on duty/72 hours off duty). EMS employees will also get a 3% bonus retroactive to January 1, 2018 thru to the effective date of the raises in addition to the pay raises which will not be retroactive.

*A Smithville man was seriously injured and later died from injuries in a pickup truck crash in March on Dale Ridge Road (Highway 96) about a mile from Highway 70. According to Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 70 year old Robert Page was driving south in a 1993 Nissan pickup truck when he went off the edge of the roadway while going around a curve. As the truck slid sideways, Page overcorrected and the vehicle clipped the end of a guardrail before going down an embankment. The truck then crashed into a tree. Although there were no eye witnesses to the wreck, Trooper Tramel said Richard Summers, a resident closeby, heard the crash but didn’t see the truck at first when he went outside his home to investigate. A short while later, Summers spotted the truck from the lights of a passing car on the highway and alerted authorities.


*DeKalb County High School has a new boys basketball coach. John Sanders was hired to succeed Lynus Martin, who recently resigned after serving sixteen years as head coach of the Tiger Basketball program. A native of Smith County, Coach Sanders comes to DeKalb County after having served as an assistant boys basketball coach at Murfreesboro Oakland High School. He and his wife Kristen Oldham Sanders reside in Carthage. He is to teach physical education at DCHS. Principal Randy Jennings said Coach Sanders seemed to standout among the 35-40 applicants for the job

*Senior Marshal Evins was named the DCHS Tiger basketball Most Valuable Player at the annual team banquet, while sophomore Emme Colwell received the Lady Tiger MVP honor. Senior Hannah Evans was named the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were sponsored by Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory of Allen D. Hooper. In addition to being named MVP, Evins received the team’s Best Defender, Hustle, and Smartest Player award. He was also named to District 8AA All Defensive Team and made 3rd team All-District. Colwell was named Best Shooter for the Lady Tigers, made the 2nd Team All-District and was named the District’s Most Improved Player in addition to the Team MVP honor. The season for the DeKalb County Tigers ended with a loss to Watertown in the District 8AA Tournament at Cookeville. The Tigers finished with an overall record of 13-14. The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Cumberland County in the Region 4AA basketball tournament. They closed out the campaign with a record of 12-19.

*A DeKalb County man began his law practice after passing the Tennessee Bar Exam. Luke Willoughby of Alexandria took the oath April 19 administered by Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy of the 20th Judicial District. Willoughby, a lifelong resident of DeKalb County, is the son of Mark and Marilyn Willoughby of Alexandria. He graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2009 and furthered his education at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City. After graduating in 2013, Willoughby attended the Nashville School of Law where he earned his Doctorate of Jurisprudence. He is associated with attorneys Michael Castellarin, Chris Hofstetter, and Michelle Poss in Nashville at 95 White Bridge Road, Suite 509.

*The DeKalb Utility District began serving 30 new customers in a portion of the county that previously did not have “city” water. The $915,543 project was funded through a $500,000 Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Block Grant and $415,543 in funding allocated by the DeKalb Utility District. Under the program, the DUD extended water lines to families on Tramel Branch Road, Oakley Road, Carter Lane and the Alexandria to Dismal Road.

*Suntex Marina Investors, LLC acquired Hurricane Marina, located on Center Hill Lake according to a report by “Boating Industry”. With the change in ownership, Hurricane Marina received a new 25-year lease with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and also extended the lease of the existing restaurant tenant, Blue Water Grille. Hurricane Marina consists of 600 wet slips (48 of which were built in 2015), 40 personal watercraft slips and 25 enclosed boathouse slips. According to Suntex, the slip composition can accommodate boats and houseboats ranging from 20 feet to over 100 feet. The property’s amenities include a boat rental fleet of 11 boats (six newly purchased), security services, bathrooms, shower and laundry facilities, three fuel pumps and a pump-out station.

*The winners of the annual Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association awards were honored during the Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet at the County Complex. Blake Cantrell received the Community Leader of the Year Award and the Legacy Award went to Jackie Smith. The awards were presented by Leadership DeKalb representatives Jen Sherwood and Beth and Darrell Gill.


*Nicole Wright won the Democratic nomination for the office of Circuit Court Clerk. Wright, an employee of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, defeated Fifth District Constable Mark Milam in the primary. Wright received a total of 1,203 votes to 1,047 votes for Milam. She won 10 of 15 precincts and had a majority of the early votes/absentees.

*County Mayor Tim Stribling had a close call but survived the Democratic Primary winning by seven votes. Stribling won the rematch with Mike Foster, the man he unseated four years ago as County Mayor in the primary. Stribling also defeated Bradley Hendrix, who was serving as a county commissioner in the 3rd district. Stribling won the race with a total of 1,066 votes. Foster came in second with 1,059 and Hendrix had 328 votes. Stribling carried 10 of the 15 precincts.

*Four candidates for county wide offices ran unopposed in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary. County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss led the ticket with 2,060 votes. Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen received 2,017 complimentary votes. Michael Agee ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff and received 1,182 votes. Jimmy Sprague ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Road Superintendent with 1,933 votes.

*The 14 member county commission will have at least eight new members come September 1. Five incumbent members lost their bids for re-election in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary including Joe Johnson in the 2nd district, Jack Barton in the 3rd district, Wayne Cantrell and Jonathan Norris in the 4th district, and Kevin Robinson in the 7th district. Three other members, Republican Mason Carter, Democrat Bradley Hendrix, and Independent Jimmy Midgett did not seek re-election to the county commission. Primary winners were Dennis Slager and Julie Young in the 1st district, Myron Rhody and Nora Harvey in the 2nd district, Jenny Trapp and Bobby Johnson in the 3rd district, Janice Fish-Stewart and Dr. Scott Little in the 4th district, Anita Puckett and Lloyd Emmons in the 5th district, Jeff Barnes and Betty Atnip in the 6th district, and Larry Summer and Beth Pafford in the 7th district.

*Mackenzie Elizabeth Partridge, a senior at DeKalb County High School, who had yet to receive her high school diploma, became a college graduate in May, earning an Associate degree in Science from Motlow State Community College. Partridge, daughter of Brian and Rebecca Partridge of Alexandria, walked the line at Motlow on May 5 and then got her high school diploma on May 18. Through Motlow College’s dual enrollment program allows high school students to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school.

*DCHS Senior Nick May signed a letter-of-intent to play football at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. May’s mother, Cathy May and brother, Josh May joined him for the signing along with his coaches and several of his Tiger Football teammates. May was awarded linebacker of the year at the Tiger Football team banquet in January for his performance on the field during the 2017 season. May was also named to the All Region Team and received the Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award.

*Six members of the DCHS Tigerette Fast Pitch Softball Team were named to the All District 8AA Team for the Regular Season. The honorees were: Allison Maynard, Megan Walker, Kristena Bain, Joni Robinson, Maddison Parsley, Kenzie France (also was named All Defensive Player). Those named to the All-District Tournament Team from DeKalb County were Allison Maynard, Megan Walker, Kristena Bain, Maddison Parsley, Kenzie France-District Tournament MVP

*Hundreds of caring people from this community gathered at Green Brook Park to support the fundraising efforts of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life so that one day friends and loved ones will no longer have to hear the words “you have cancer.” This year’s Relay for Life was the 21st annual for DeKalb County and raised over $40,000.

*Bradley Miller was the top scholarship award winner during the Class of 2018 Awards Night program held at DCHS. Miller received the largest single award of $180,280 in a football scholarship from Sewanee University of the South. Two other students received more than $100,000 in scholarships including Glendaliz Ortiz-Rodriguez who will get $130,000 for her enlistment in the US Marine Corps and Mackenzie Partridge who is being awarded $115,000 for her enlistment in the US Navy. Partridge was also awarded $8,000 from UT-Martin and $1,000 each from the National Society of High School Scholars and the Honors Society. Partridge has earned an Associate degree in Science. Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations made the presentations.

*A local pilot has earned the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for more than 50 years of safe flying. Lee Bridges of Smithville was presented the award at a dinner in his honor at the Smithville airport. The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is presented to pilots who have flown for more than 50 years with no accidents, incidents, violations or civil penalties. It is the most prestigious award the Federal Aviation Administration issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61.

*Two rounds of thundershowers forced a one-hour delay in the commencement for the Class of 2018 at DeKalb County High School but the rains couldn’t dampen the spirits of the graduates who waited out the weather to go through with the ceremony and receive their diplomas. Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year’s White Rose Awards went to Marshal Evins and Olivia Winter and while the Citizenship Award was presented to Trey Jones.

*The season ended for the DCHS Tigerettes with a 7 to 4 loss to Sweetwater in the Class AA Sub-State or Sectionals in Smithville. The Tigerettes concluded the season at 23-12 and 11-3 in the district. They won both the District and Regional Tournament Championships.

*A hometown hero credited for helping save the life of a woman involved in a March traffic accident was honored during the May county commission meeting. Bobby Hull received the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Citizen Hero Award. The presentation was made to Hull by 18 year old Courtney Nichols, the woman involved in the crash.The mishap occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Nichols was injured after her 2002 Jeep Cherokee went off Highway 56 north (Cookeville Highway) and overturned down a steep hillside embankment before coming to rest upside down in a hollow several feet below the road. According to Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Nichols was driving south when the Jeep hydroplaned and then went out of control as Nichols overcorrected. The Jeep narrowly missed the end of a guardrail as it left the highway and plunged down the hillside north of Hurricane Bridge in the Blackberry Hill area. Since there were no witnesses to the accident and the wreckage was out of view from motorists, Nichols went unnoticed for a long period of time. Entrapped in the Jeep, Nichols sounded the horn trying to attract attention. Hull, a resident close by, heard the sound of the horn from his home and went to investigate. After spotting the wreckage, he sought help.


*A 55 year old Smithville man was killed after the motorcycle he was driving ran into the back of another vehicle in Rutherford County, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. William Popejoy of Smithville was identified as the person killed in a fatality report. The crash occurred at the intersection State Highway 96 and Highway 266 in Lascassas, the report states. According to the report, the motorcycle hit a vehicle that was stopped in traffic going westbound. The motorcycle then continued into the eastbound lanes and struck another vehicle. No other injuries were listed in the report.

*Edgar Evins State Park celebrated National Trails Day with a ribbon cutting marking the opening of a new kid-friendly half mile Hillside Story Book Trail. Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen, Mary Humphrey of Jackson joined Ranger Ramble, the Tennessee State Park mascot, in cutting the ribbon on the new trail. Miss Humphrey, whose slogan is “Pages With a Purpose was campaigning across the state promoting literacy. The new trail combines a children’s nature story with the thrill of being in the great outdoors. Come see how one of nature’s miracles grows from a tiny egg to a flying jewel as each giant page is posted at intervals along the trail revealing more of the story, based on the book, Where Butterflies Grow, by Joanne Ryder with pictures by Lynne Cherry.

*A local girl scout was recognized in conjunction with National Trails Day at Edgar Evins State Park for her efforts in building an aviary at the park’s interpretive center to house two birds of prey, an owl and a hawk. Neely Evans, member of Girl Scout Troop 1146 in Smithville, made the aviary her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Fount Bertram, President of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park presented a plaque of appreciation to Neely during a brief aviary dedication observance. Evans decided on the aviary as her project after finding the park was in need of a home for birds of prey in the park’s educational facility. Along with the outdoor aviary, Neely also included a storage area for food and equipment. Rangers at the park will feed and care for the birds while park maintenance workers will provide upkeep for the facility.

*A Smithville man is an All-American Co-Angler Champion and the recipient of $50,000. Matthew Bouldin claimed the All-American Title by winning the three-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bouldin had a final-day rally of 18 pounds, 4 ounces to snatch the win away from Jesse Parks of Avondale, Arizona, who led for the first two days, by a margin of only 4 ounces. According to Bouldin caught limits each day while fishing with Pat Upthagrove, Nick Deering and Roger Fitzpatrick..

*Cumberland sophomore Tyra Graham earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the NAIA as selected by the NAIA All-America committee and announced at the conclusion of the NAIA Championships in Clermont, Fla. Graham became the first All-American for the Phoenix since Jessica Roper, a Second Team selection in 2014, and only the second All-American in the program’s history. The Smithville, Tenn., native batted .426 with 20 doubles, six home runs, 37 RBIs and 62 runs scored last season, adding 35 stolen bases. She ranked sixth nationally in runs scored, seventh in hits (87), 10th in doubles and 13th in total bases (129) and stolen bases. Graham led the Mid-South Conference in runs scored, hits, doubles and total bases and ranked second in batting average and stolen bases. Cumberland improved from 17-33-1 in 2017 and 36-23 this season, doing so with four freshmen or sophomores as well as four newcomers, all junior transfers from junior colleges. Graham also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District® 2 College Division honors, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Meanwhile’s Cumberland’s Kayley Caplinger of DeKalb County was named to the 2018 Mid-South Conference Gold Glove Team, as announced by the league office during the conference tournament in Bowling Green, Ky. The 2018 Mid-South Conference Gold Glove Team is selected by the coaches and based solely on fielding percentage at each position from the regular season. Caplinger did not make an error in 34 chances in the circle for the Phoenix, posting 23 assists.

*Sandra Wall was named to the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors. She succeeded her father, the late John Robert Nixon as a member of the board. He passed away in April. During the June city council meeting, then-Mayor Jimmy Poss recommended that Wall be appointed to fill the remaining three years of Nixon’s unexpired term. The aldermen approved the appointment.

*The driver of a pickup truck, 56 year old Morris D Carr of Baxter, died in a crash on Medley-Amonette Road (State Highway 96) near the Putnam County line.According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carr was traveling north in a red GMC Canyon when the truck exited the roadway to the right and traveled for around 100 yards before it flipped onto its side where the passenger side compartment was pinned against a tree near a rock bluff. The driver was pinned in the passenger compartment in between the truck and tree. Carr was not wearing his seatbelt. He died at the scene.

*Former DeKalb County school bus driver Bobby Charles Martin was inducted into the Tennessee School Bus Driver Hall of Fame. The addition of Martin to the Hall of Fame was announced at the Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation President’s Awards Dinner in the Symphony Hall at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. Martin retired two years ago after driving a school bus for 49 years. He was nominated for the award by Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System.

*Sergeant Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He is now supervisor over Cumberland, White, and Van Buren Counties For the last four years, Jennings has served as Sergeant for Putnam County. From 2007 when he joined the THP until his promotion to the rank of Sergeant, Jennings worked in DeKalb County as Trooper. Lieutenant Jennings received his latest promotion in May and was recognized in a formal pinning ceremony at the THP Training Center in Nashville.

*Two outstanding softball players for the DCHS Tigerettes were honored by the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association. Kristena Bain was one of 15 seniors selected to play in the All Star game for Middle Tn. Also Kenzie France was one of 17 selected as ALL STATE for Class AA.

*DCHS Tiger Paxton Butler signed a letter of commitment on June 18, 2018 to play NCAA baseball for Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy Massachusetts after his official campus visit June 11, 2018. Butler was awarded $72,000 in scholarships and grant from ENC. Paxton is the son of Ronda Butler of Smithville and Dennis Butler of Sparta.


*The world’s top junior golfers were at RiverWatch Golf & Resort in July competing in the American Junior Golf Association Tournament. The 54 hole, stroke play tournament consisted of 78 players, ages 12-19. Players from 16 states and three countries made up the field. Thirteen Tennesseans competed in the tournament. One Rolex Junior All-American and four AJGA champions headlined the 2018 tournament field. Eleven players in the field had committed to colleges.

*Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland was presented the 2018 Blue Blaze Award from the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival. Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper entertained the audience with a mini-concert after the presentation. Cleveland has won more IBMA awards than any other fiddle player including 10 wins for Fiddle Player of the Year, six wins for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and fronts their 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year. On March 30th, Michael was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

*A Cookeville man lost his life on Center Hill Lake. 57 year old Kenneth Farron Young of Spring Street, Cookeville apparently drowned while swimming in the Mine Lick Creek area of the lake in the Austin Bottom Community. Although there is no boat ramp there, the incident occurred just off shore at the end of a road in an area used by boaters to access the lake. According to Joe Johnson of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, a boater witnessed the man go under the water and then float back up. The victim could not be revived at the scene. Johnson said the rescue squad was on another call when word came of this incident. “We were at a boat wreck when we got another call about a drowning at Austin Bottom. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Rescue Squad went by boat to the scene. When we arrived, two people were doing CPR on the victim, giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation. The victim was lying in the edge of the water. He wasn’t breathing and we couldn’t find any pulse. TWRA Officer Joe Fortner and I took over CPR efforts, giving the victim mouth to mouth resuscitation until Putnam County EMS arrived. When they got there, they continued with CPR,” said Johnson. The initial report was that the man had died that day but he was taken to Cookeville Regional Hospital where he was reportedly placed on a ventilator. He died two days later.

*A 13 year old Carthage boy won the 20th annual Fiddler 5K and One Mile Fun Run. Matthew Sinclair ran the course in 19:35 seconds. Meanwhile 44 year old Tracy Watson of Shelbyville won the race among females. She ran the course in 22:35 seconds. Funds raised will support Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County

*For the third time since 2012, Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro has claimed the Grand Champion Fiddling Title at the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival. Denton, who won the Junior Fiddling contest beat out the Senior Fiddling Champion Gail Johnson of Lavergne in the showdown for the Berry C. Williams Memorial Award. Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree presented the award to Maddie at the conclusion of the festival. Maddie first won the title in 2012 and again in 2014, beating out her mother, Marcia Denton both times. Maddie is also a past fiddling winner in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners at the Jamboree.

*A Nashville girl won the top Jamboree award as the best fiddler in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners. Uma Peters won the coveted James G. “Bobo” Driver Memorial Award, named for the man who started the children’s competition during the 1980’s as part of the annual Fiddler’s Jamboree and Crafts Festival. Members of Mr. Driver’s family presented the award to Peters. Meanwhile Joshua Palmore of Springfield was named “Entertainer of the Year”.

*Scott Garrett of Smithville was named FirstBank City President of the Cookeville and Smithville locations. “We are fortunate to have someone with Scott’s expertise join our team,” said Allen Oakley, FirstBank’s Middle and East Tennessee regional president. “He has strong ties to the communities and a well-rounded banking background that fits perfectly with FirstBank’s emphasis on local decision-making.” Garrett comes to FirstBank with 32 years of financial service experience. Prior to joining FirstBank, he served as a loan officer, branch manager, and most recently the city president and commercial manager at another bank.

*Two people lost their lives from a pickup truck crash on the Old Mill Hill Road. Killed were 56 year old Michael A. Murphy and 50 year old Angelia Sue Burke of Liberty and formerly of Crossville. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Murphy was driving a 1995 Dodge Dakota eastbound when he went off the right side of the road and over an embankment striking a tree. Burke, the passenger, was ejected out of the passenger window and died at the scene. Her body was found pinned between the passenger door and a tree. After the crash, Murphy apparently tried to go for help but collapsed in the road a tenth of a mile from the scene. Although an autopsy scheduled, a preliminary report suggested that Murphy may have died from health conditions not related to the crash. According to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, a motorcycle rider came upon Murphy’s body lying in the road and alerted 911. Murphy was unresponsive at the scene and after efforts by EMS to resuscitate him failed, he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. As Sheriff Patrick Ray and detectives conducted a search of the area, they found the wrecked Dodge Dakota and Burke’s body. The crash was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the THP Critical Incident Response Team

*17 year old Abigail Hope Taylor was crowned the 2018 DeKalb County Fairest of the Fair. She was also named Most Photogenic. Taylor, daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville, won the crown during the annual pageant held on opening night of the DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria. She succeeded the retiring queen, 19 year old Tyra Grace Graham , daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville. Four contestants competed for the title.

*The 2018 Junior Fair Princess of the DeKalb County Fair was Kenlee Renae Taylor, the 13 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. She was also named Miss Congeniality. She succeeded the 2017 Junior Fair Princess, 15 year old Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps, daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps of Smithville. Taylor was among twelve young ladies ages 13-16 who competed for the crown on the opening night of the DeKalb County Fair.

*Jackson Denton Duke and Clara Ruth Cox were crowned Little Mister and Miss at the DeKalb County Fair. Duke is the 4 year old son of John and Whitney Duke of Smithville and Cox is the 4 year old daughter of Brandon and Whitney Cox of Smithville. They succeeded the 2017 Little Mister and Miss, Zailan Martinez and Caitlyn Lee Adcock. Martinez is the 6 year old son of Michelle and Michael Martinez of Smithville and Adcock is the 7 year old daughter of Jessie and Tia Adcock of Smithville. The Little Miss contest featured 44 girls and 6 boys were in the Litter Mister pageant ages 4-6.

*Addison Isabella Kyle of Smithville won the Miss Sweetheart pageant at the DeKalb County Fair. She is the 11 year old daughter of Jamie Kyle and Cory and Kim Crabtree. Kyle succeeded the 2017 Miss Sweetheart, Kyleigh Breanne Hill of Smithville, the 13 year old daughter of David and Colleen Clary of Smithville and Kyle Hill. The pageant featured 14 girls ages 10-12.

*The 2018 Miss Princess of the DeKalb County Fair was Lakelyn Brooke Nelson, the 7 year old daughter of Dustin and Kristian Nelson of Smithville. Twelve girls ages 7-9 competed for the title at the DeKalb County Fair. Nelson succeeds the 2017 Miss Princess, Zayleigh Grace Washer, the 10 year old daughter of Larry and Rachel Bain of Smithville.

*The DeKalb County Commission adopted a resolution to honor Eagle Scout Thomas Webb. Webb constructed a 20’ x 30’ pavilion to be used as an outdoor classroom for Northside Elementary School as his Eagle Scout project.

*The County Commission adopted the new consolidated budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year and set the property tax rate at $1.8335 per $100 of assessed value, the same as last year. The $42.9 million county spending plan is funded by local, state, and federal dollars. The new budget includes funds to cover pay raises approved earlier this year under wage scales for county employees including the sheriff’s department and ambulance service staff. An additional employee position is also being funded for the Assessor of Property’s Office. State approved pay raises for county officials are included in the budget. From the capital projects fund the county plans to spend $165,000 to purchase and equip five new patrol cars for the sheriff’s department; $135,000 for a new ambulance; $165,000 (set side) for a fire hall in the Four Seasons Community;$40,000 for courthouse repairs and $10,000 for repairs to the Omega Apparel building. The school budget includes a local pay raise (or bonus) of $600 for all certified personnel including teachers along with the additional $600 pay increase they are getting from the state for a total of $1,200. Support staff will also get a local $600 pay hike.

*A move by Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss to put his son Tony Poss on the city payroll last fall without the approval of the aldermen resulted in a Grand Jury Indictment against both of them. During the first day of the new term in July, the DeKalb County Grand Jury returned a sealed indictment against Mayor Poss for Official Misconduct and Theft of Property over $2,500. His son, Tony Poss, was also named in the sealed indictment for Theft of Property over $2,500. The cases were presented to the grand jury by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who began a probe after the issue surfaced in March. The previous September, Tony Poss was put on the city payroll to work at the golf course and swimming pool but the aldermen said Mayor Poss violated the city’s hiring and nepotism policies in hiring Tony without their approval. City records show that from September 1, 2017 to March 2, 2018 Tony earned $300 per week (gross) for a total of $8,100. When the issue came to light on March 5, Tony’s employment with the city ended. 


After a close primary race, County Mayor Tim Stribling cruised to a second term in the DeKalb County General Election. Stribling, a Democrat, defeated Independent challenger Randy Paris 3,123 to 1,346. Meanwhile, Trustee Sean Driver, a Republican, was elected to a fourth term. Driver ran unopposed and led the ticket with 4,065 votes. County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, a Democrat, received 3,718 complimentary votes running unopposed for a second term. Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, a Democrat, was re-elected to a ninth term. He ran unopposed and got 3,841 votes. Sheriff Patrick Ray was elected to a fourth term. Ray, a Republican, defeated Michael Agee, a Democrat 3,650 to 963. DeKalb County voters chose Danny Hale over Jimmy Sprague Thursday as their next Road Supervisor. Hale, a Republican beat Sprague, a Democrat 2,417 to 2,222. Hale will take over from Incumbent Road Supervisor Wallace (Butch) Agee on September 1. Agee, a Republican decided against seeking re-election to a second term this year. The office has been held by a Republican since 1990 when former Road Supervisor Kenny Edge was first elected. Edge served six terms before retiring in 2014.

Susan Martin was elected the next DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk. Martin, a Republican won the race against Democrat Nicole Wright with 2,940 votes. Wright received 1,590. She succeeded 16 year incumbent Katherine Pack, a Democrat on September 1. Pack chose not to seek re-election. Martin is the first Republican to hold the office since Ceasar Dunn, who served from 1982 to 1994.

*A new school board member was elected the second district. Alan Hayes defeated Incumbent Jerry Wayne Johnson 362 to 267. Four other members of the Board of Education up for re-election were unopposed including Danny Parkerson in the first district who received 513 complimentary votes,  Jim Beshearse in the third district with 531 votes, Kate Miller in the fourth district with 606 votes, and Shaun Tubbs in the seventh district who had 444 votes.

*Alexandria Mayor Bennett Armstrong won a write-in campaign for re-election to a second four year term. Armstrong defeated Donna Davis 34 to 28. She also ran as a write-in candidate. No one qualified to get their name on the ballot to run for mayor. Three aldermen were to have been elected in Alexandria but only person qualified to get his name on the ballot, Lloyd Dale Dyer. He was elected to a four year term with 130 votes. Two other persons mounted a write-in campaign for alderman including Shane Blair, an incumbent, who won a four-year term with 19 votes and Bridgette Rogers, who was elected with 11 votes to a fill a two-year vacant term. Blair later resigned.

*Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis won a second four year term beating challenger Darrell Johnson 70 to 50. The five incumbent Liberty Aldermen were re-elected unopposed to new four year terms including Dwayne Blair with 82 votes, J.D. Bratten 85 votes, Derek Johnson 65 votes, Jason H. Ray with 75 votes and William Howard Reynolds, Jr. with 78 votes.

*Three aldermen were to have been elected in Dowelltown but only one candidate qualified, Ronald L. Griffith and he won with 72 votes. The terms are four years.

*Incumbent Smithville Mayor Jimmy W. Poss lost his bid for re-election to Alderman Josh Miller. Miller won with 519 votes. Poss had 415. Another candidate, Curtis Rust received 71 votes. Mayor Poss was first elected to a two year term in 2012 and then to a four year term in 2014. Just prior to the election the mayor was indicted for Official Misconduct for putting his son on the city payroll last fall without the approval of the aldermen. Both Mayor Poss and his son Tony were also indicted for Theft of Property over $2,500. Miller is about to end his second term as Alderman. He has served in that position since 2013. Meanwhile Alderman Gayla Hendrix was re-elected unopposed to a new term Thursday with 514 votes. Newcomer Brandon Cox was also elected unopposed as Alderman. He received 677 votes. The terms of the Mayor and Aldermen are four years. The new terms began September 1.

*State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver won the nomination for re-election in the Tennessee Republican Primary. Weaver defeated Chad Williams 8,689 to 3,289. She will be unopposed in the November Tennessee General Election. The Lancaster Republican carried all four counties in the 40th District winning DeKalb County 1,728 to 417, Smith County 2,138 to 1,836, Sumner County 3,807 to 757, and Trousdale County 1,016 to 279. Meanwhile State Representative Clark Boyd captured the GOP nomination in the 46th District beating Menda McCall Holmes 9,205 to 1,757. Boyd carried all three counties in the District winning DeKalb County 460 to 106, Cannon County 2,048 to 402, and Wilson County 6,697 to 1,249. Boyd will face Mark Cagle who won the Democratic nomination for the office. Cagle defeated Faye Northcutt-Knox 1,890 to 1,65. Cagle carried DeKalb County 175 to 98 and Wilson County 1,525 to 952. Northcutt-Knox carried Cannon County 601 to 190.

*DeKalb County residents apparently wanted change on the county commission. Only four of the current fourteen members on the legislative body were returned for another term, which began September 1. In the general election, two members lost their bids for re-election, Betty Jean Atnip in the sixth district and Larry Summers in the seventh district. During the Democratic Primary in May, five other incumbents were swept out of office including Joe Johnson in the second district, Jack Barton in the third district, Wayne Cantrell and Jonathan Norris in the fourth district, and Kevin Robinson in the seventh district. Three other members, Mason Carter in the first district, Jimmy Midgett in the second district, and Bradley Hendrix in the third district did not seek re-election to the commission. The remaining members, Julie Young in the first district, Anita Puckett and Jerry Adcock in the fifth district, and Jeff Barnes in the sixth district held on to their seats. New members include Dennis Slager in the first district, Sabrina Farler and Myron Rhody in the second district, Jenny Trapp and Bobby Johnson in the third district, Janice Fish-Stewart and Scott Little in the fourth district, Matt Adcock in the sixth district, and Bruce Malone and Beth Pafford in the seventh district. The commission now consists of ten democrats: Slager, Young, Rhody, Trapp, Johnson, Fish-Stewart, Little, Puckett, Barnes, and Pafford, and four republicans: Farler, Jerry Adcock, Matt Adcock, and Malone. In the election, Slager and Young defeated Tom Chandler , a republican in the first district. Slager had 383 votes, Young 310, and Chandler 305. Farler and Rhody beat democrat Nora Harvey in the second district. Farler received 373 votes, Rhody 278, and Harvey 248. Third district voters chose Trapp and Johnson over republican Renee Steff. Trapp had 396 votes. Johnson received 306 and Steff got 225 votes. In the fourth district, Fish-Stewart and Little beat republican Greg Matthews. Fish-Stewart led the ticket with 420 votes. Little had 349 and Matthews 324. Both incumbents won in the fifth district, Jerry Adcock and Anita Puckett. They defeated democrat Lloyd Emmons and independent William Rutherford. Adcock had 345 votes. Puckett garnered 252 votes. Emmons received 227 votes and Rutherford 207. Incumbent sixth district member Jeff Barnes was re-elected with 267 votes along with newcomer Matt Adcock, a republican who had 305 votes. Incumbent Betty Jean Atnip lost her seat with 256 votes. Seventh district voters chose Malone and Pafford over incumbent Larry Summers. Pafford received 275 votes. Malone had 231 and Summers with 211 votes. The terms are for four years.

*John Rose of Cookeville won the Republican nomination in august to succeed Diane Black as U.S. Representative in the 6th Congressional District. Rose owns a farm in the Temperance Hall community of DeKalb County. District-wide, Rose won with 43,788 votes. He defeated four other candidates including Bob Corlew, who had 33,088 votes, Judd Matheny with 16,753 votes,  Lavern “Uturn Lavern” Vivio with 9,506 votes, and Christopher Brian Monday with 3,021 votes. In DeKalb County, Rose won with 1,167 votes followed by Corlew with 796 votes, Matheny 406, Vivio 149, and Monday with 68. Rose will face the Democratic nominee Dr. Dawn Barlow of Rickman in the November Tennessee General Election. Dr. Barlow won with 16,875 votes followed by Merrilee Wineinger with 6,828, Christopher Martin Finley 4,662, and Peter Heffernan with 2,590. In DeKalb County, Barlow received 409 votes followed by Wineinger with 238, Finley 188, and Heffernan with 79.

*A 16 year old boy charged with raping two young children made an August appearance in Juvenile Court. The teen is accused of molesting a 5 year old child on May 19 and a 4 year old on July 19 in restroom facilities at the fairgrounds in Alexandria during separate ATV racing events. The boy is now in state custody based on separate offenses against him in Putnam County and is undergoing a mental evaluation. The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

*A missing Smithville girl was safely located in Williamson County and her mother was placed under arrest. 12-year old Brielle Bowling went missing on August 8th. A statewide Endangered Child Alert went out from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Authorities say Brielle was later found with her mother who does not have custody. Wendy Dawn Hancock, 42, was wanted in Smithville for domestic assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

*DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department is the #1 all-volunteer fire department in the state of Tennessee for 2017-2018 training achievement. Of the 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both volunteer and paid, DeKalb County Fire Department ranked # 15 for 2017-18 training achievement. Jeff Elliot, Fire Service Program Director at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy, presented this training achievement award to the department’s officers at the DeKalb County Commissioner’s meeting in August. This is the 10th consecutive year DeKalb County Fire Department has been recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for outstanding training achievement. Last year, the department was the #2 volunteer fire department in Tennessee for training hours. This year, the department logged 2,624 training hours at the state fire academy and was recognized as a Gold Level fire department in Tennessee for 2017-18.

*A Chestnut Mound man had a close call after his boat caught fire on Center Hill Lake at the Floating Mill Recreation Area. Dale Heady said he had just launched his 18 foot 1989 Rinker pleasure boat from the boat ramp and was only a few hundred yards off shore when he heard a pop and then saw the fire. “At first I thought I had hit a rock. A couple nearby heard it too and told me later they thought it was a backfire,” he said. Heady grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried unsuccessfully to put out the blaze. He then put on his life jacket, jumped in the lake, and swam safely to shore. Members of the TWRA, US Army Corps of Engingeer Rangers, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded.  A hose from a boat was used to spray water on the burning boat but it could not be salvaged.

*DCHS Senior Golfer Isaac Walker will be moving to the next level once his high school days are over. Surrounded by his family, coach, and teammates, Walker signed a letter of intent at DCHS to play Golf for the Cumberland University Phoenix next year. DCHS Tiger Golf Coach John Pryor said Isaac has played all four of his high school years and has become the top golfer in the program, having competed in the state tournament in two of those years. Isaac said his goal is to return to the state tournament one more time.


*A 21 year old Kentucky man was seriously injured on Labor Day after falling off of the front of a moving pontoon boat on Center Hill Lake, near Mine Lick Creek. The rental pontoon was carrying 14 vacationing passengers. After falling, the man was struck by the propeller of the moving vessel. He was not wearing a personal floatation device. TWRA officers responded to the call along with DeKalb EMS and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The man was transported by life flight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with serious injuries. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department set up the helicopter landing zone at the scenic overlook on Highway 56 north near Hurricane Bridge

*Smithville has a new alderman. Donnie Crook was appointed upon the recommendation of Mayor Josh Miller. The aldermen voted to make the appointment during the regular monthly meeting. Crook fills the remaining two years of Miller’s unexpired alderman term. “I have lived in the city for probably 50 years. My home is on Riley Avenue.  My wife Carol and I have one son Jacob and two grandchildren. I am honored to be appointed alderman. It’s going to be a new experience for me but I’ll do the best I can,” said Crook. Crook is also a businessman. He has owned the Stop N Buy convenience market in Liberty for several years.

*Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III was re-elected Chairman of the Board of Education. Evins was named by his fellow board members to serve another year as chairman during the regular monthly meeting. First district member Danny Parkerson was elected Vice-Chairman and Seventh District member Shaun Tubbs was re-elected Assistant Secretary.

*A DeKalb County High School senior qualified as a Semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Madison Elizabeth  (Madi) Cantrell, daughter of Todd and Jenny Cantrell, was named among 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide for this honor. The National Merit® Scholarship Program awards individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Cantrell has been identified among these academically talented high school seniors who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

*A fire at Foutch Industries on East Broad Street destroyed an entire chain-on-edge coating production line for brake rotors causing an estimated one million dollars in damage. The fire started in an enclosed room of the manufacturing facility where the production line was housed though no one was working in that room at the time. How the fire actually started in there was not immediately determined. Approximately 100 employees working in other parts of the building were evacuated during the fire. No one was injured. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the scene with mutual aid backup support from members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and they contained the blaze to the room where the fire started with no damage to the rest of the manufacturing facility but smoke spread throughout the building.

*Three members of the DTC Communications Board of Directors were re-elected to new three years terms without opposition during the annual membership meeting of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative in Alexandria. Ronnie Garrison of the Smithville Exchange received 176 votes. Bennie “Buck” Curtis of the Alexandria Exchange had 172 votes and Randy Campbell of the Liberty Exchange got 167 votes. A total of 181 members cast ballots in the director election.

*One of Smithville’s most popular restaurants closed in September. Karen Carpenter, owner and operator of Sundance Restaurant and Catering, decided to retire after being in business for 34 years. “I have been trying to sell for a few years and although I have had interest nobody has bought (the business) and I am getting older and weary. It’s just time for me to quit,” said Carpenter. The business began in 1984 in the Town and Country Shopping Center (what is now the county complex) but relocated to downtown three years later.

*The 2018 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School was Lydia Ann Brown A senior, Brown is the 17 year old daughter of Stephen and Amanda Brown of Liberty. The attendants were Sophomore Abigail Lawson, Freshman Haidyn Renee Hale, Senior Madison Suzanne Judkins, Senior Zoe Hannah Evelyn Maynard, and Junior Katherine Anne Malone

*DeKalb County High School transformed its library to a media center with the addition of a makerspace. Funded by a $10,000 grant, the makerspace transitions the school library from a traditional setting to a more modern learning environment providing students the opportunity to explore creativity and enhance critical thinking skills through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In the makerspace, students have the ability to create things using 3D printers, Robotics, virtual reality technology, and more. They can make things from key chains to musical instruments through the technology. It mixes all aspects of STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math–and sprinkles it with imagination for creation and exploration and may help influence and inspire students for a future career path based on their interests. School administrators hosted a luncheon and Ribbon Cutting at DCHS to make the formal announcement of the new makerspace and to show it off to business, government, and civic leaders of the community.

*Thomas Gabriel is clean and sober today. There was a time he couldn’t say that but a year long stay in Smithville helped make a difference in his life. The eldest grandson of the late Country Music Star Johnny Cash entertained and shared his recovery story during a health fair hosted by the DeKalb Prevention Coalition and the DeKalb County Recovery Court in conjunction with National Recovery Month. “Smithville is the place I got sober through Haven of Hope of DeKalb County and Sober Living Services and Omega House of Smithville so when they called and said they were having the health fair I wanted to be a part of it,” said Gabriel. “This was my 19th or 20th rehab.  I had a long history of chemical dependency and drug abuse. I came to Smithville from a treatment center and stayed long enough to work for Sober Living and Omega House. I was here for a little over a year. I have been sober ever since. It was a great experience. So Smithville has been a huge part of my life,” Gabriel said.

*Federal-Mogul celebrated its 40th Anniversary in Smithville with a company picnic on the grounds of the facility at Grizzly Lane. Hundreds of employees and their families turned out for the celebration to enjoy food and to participate in a health fair, games and children’s activities, along with a car, truck, and motorcycle show. “We are celebrating our 40 year anniversary manufacturing brake pads in Smithville. We hope for at least 40 more years. We currently have just under 500 employees working for us on a total of three shifts, five days a week and we do some Saturday work. We make automotive brake pads for Ford, Chrysler, and GM,” said Jeff Simons, Plant Manager for Federal Mogul Motor Parts, Smithville.

*County Mayor Tim Stribling was re-elected Chairman of the County Commission. It was the first act of the new county commission, which met in regular monthly session for the first time since being elected in August. Sixth district member Jeff Barnes, the longest serving member of the commission at 16 years, was named chairman pro temp.

*Two teens suffered minor injuries in a two vehicle crash on Highway 56 south that also resulted in damage to headstones at DeKalb Cemetery. According to Trooper Chris Meness of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the accident occurred as a 17 year old Smithville boy was driving south in a 2001 Chevy pickup truck. The axle failed and came apart from the truck causing the vehicle to cross into the northbound lane and sideswipe a 2005 Scion Coupe, driven by 22 year old Dennis McKinney of McMinnville. After impact, the truck continued into the ditch line and traveled into DeKalb Cemetery and came to final rest on top of grave stones. McKinney’s car spun around after impact and traveled through the ditchline and came to rest at the edge of Whorton Springs Cemetery. No grave stones were damaged there. The teen driver of the truck and his 17 year old passenger of Smithville suffered minor injuries and were transported by EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital where they were treated and released. McKinney was not injured. The truck driver faced juvenile charges for Conditional Driver’s License, (driving after curfew with an intermediate restricted license) and No Proof of insurance. All were wearing their seatbelts.

*Heavy down pours dumped several inches of rain in a short time causing flooding in portions of DeKalb County particularly in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown area.The rising waters from creeks and street run off blocked roads and forced some residents from their homes. DeKalb County had been under a flash flood watch for much of the afternoon as the storm system approached and then a tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service for DeKalb County followed later by a flash flood warning. Buses taking children home from after school programs were sent back to school and those which had not already left were held at school until the threat passed.

*The TSSAA held their large school state golf tournament at Willowbrook Golf Course in Manchester and Isaac Walker and Anna Chew represented the DCHS Tigers after qualifying at the regional tournament in Cleveland. Walker, a senior and Cumberland signee, shot a 6 over par round of 78 to finish in a tie for 26th place out of 63 golfers. This was Isaac’s 3rd trip representing DCHS in the state tournament. Anna Chew, a junior, was making her first appearance in the state tournament. She shot an 82 to finish in a tie for 18th out of 48 golfers.

*DeKalb West School was named a Reward School for 2018 by the Tennessee Department of Education. Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward schools are those that are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and for student groups, and they are identified annually. In 2018, 318 schools in 85 school districts – about 20 percent of schools in the state – earned Reward status. The department released its 2018 School Accountability lists which names schools that are excelling and those that need added support. The DeKalb County School System received an overall “Advancing” status, the second best of the three designations the state gives for improvement. The best is “Exemplary” and “Satisfactory” comes in below “Advancing”. Reward schools are typically improving in terms of achievement and growth for all students and student groups, according to the department.


*Members of the Smithville Church of Christ celebrated the 150th anniversary of their founding. The Smithville Church of Christ was established in 1868 under the leadership and ministry of J.M. Kidwell of Alexandria. The first worship assemblies took place in the old town courthouse. Six years later, the congregation moved into a frame building at the corner of North Mountain and West Main Streets which was replaced with a more modern brick structure in 1903. Over the years as the church continued to grow in attendance and membership, the congregation decided to relocate and in 1971 a spacious modern church building was completed on Dry Creek Road and became the new home for the church.   In 2000 the building underwent a major renovation with the addition of 3,000 square feet of space to accommodate more people, a new church secretary’s office, and two ministers’ studies. A special re-dedication service was held for the new addition on February 4, 2001, thirty years after the church’s relocation to Dry Creek Road.

*A local pilot escaped serious injury in a plane crash. According to Smithville Airport Manager Joe Johnson, the pilot Jeff Parker took off from the runway in a Piper Comanche and was about 200 feet off the ground when his engine quit. The plane came down in a field beside Cordell Love Road near the airport. Parker was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Members of the Smithville Police and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Departments were on the scene along with the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The FAA has also been notified.

*After months of trying to reach a consensus, the Board of Education finally became ready to make a recommendation to the county commission on a new multi phase school building plan. During the regular monthly meeting, the board voted unanimously to seek funding for the construction of a new elementary school for students in pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade to replace Smithville Elementary School. Smithville Elementary School, originally built in 1958, now is 70,557 square feet in size, and has a current enrollment of 556 students. A year ago a facilities study by the board’s architect, Upland Design Group, concluded that the school, which has mold and other concerns, should be replaced and repurposed for other uses. The proposed new school, 98,000 square feet, would accommodate 800 students. The total estimated project cost is $19,464,500. Plans are to build the new school (pre-k to 2nd grade) adjacent to Northside Elementary School (grades 2-5) on the same property if it is feasible. According to the architect’s facilities study, 15-20 acres would be needed for the project. The Tennessee Department of Transportation also requires a traffic study be done anytime a new school is built near a state highway. Findings of that study as it relates to increased traffic flow and congestion will also be a consideration. If the architect concludes that more land is needed to make the Northside site acceptable for a new school, the board is expected to try purchasing property from an adjoining landowner. Members of the Board said having both Northside and the new elementary school on the same property would make it easier for students to transition from one to the other and it would free up space at Northside. Northside Elementary was built for grades 3-5 but in recent years has had to accommodate three second grade classes due to overcrowding at Smithville Elementary, which is a pre-K to 2nd grade school. With a new elementary school, all second graders would again be under one roof.

*The DeKalb Saints claimed the Championship of the Middle Tennessee Football Conference after beating Fentress County 14-8 at Jamestown. The Saints completed an undefeated season at 8-0. Named to the All-Conference Team were Colby Barnes, Josh May, Bryan Portillo, Ean Jones, Tyler Estes, Andrew Vickers, John Ellis, and Gabe Hollingsworth.

*A Liberty farmer began production of CBD oils made from hemp plants. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in the flower of hemp that is thought to be effective in treating medical problems, such as epileptic seizures, anxiety, pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. David Lunsford grew and harvested about two acres of hemp on his 25 acre farm this year and then processed it to manufacture the CBD oils. Unlike marijuana, a hemp grow operation is legal as long as the growers meet the conditions for a permit by the state department of agriculture. The CBD oil products are also approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

*The DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band was named the overall Class Double-A Champion after taking first place in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The 36-member band won top honors at the Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship. Judges scored D.C.H.S. third out of all the bands. Band Director Tracy Luna says the band was also judged on how well it performed among all the Division II bands that were there with a school population of 1,000 or less. “We also collected a grand division winning trophy for all the Division II bands, which is terrific,” Luna said. “The band scores were superior ratings all the way across. Color guard and percussion did well, but we were in the middle of the pack. Overall, we scored 2s with percussion and color guard. The percussion judge gave out only one superior all day.” Drum major Axel Rico was first place in the Double-A division and third place overall with a score of 95 out of the 15 participating bands.

*The DeKalb Middle School Cross Country teams headed to the state competition after the Mid-State Regional Middle School Qualifier held at Macon County High School. The girl’s team placed 2nd overall out of 10 teams while the boys came in 4th overall out of 11 teams. “This is the first time in the four years since the program has been in place that both teams have qualified at the same time,” said Coach Kristen VanVranken. “Qualifying for the state meet is always our goal from the time we start training in April. Its a huge accomplishment, and they deserve it.” The top five teams at the regional meet advanced to the State Championship meet which was held at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville on October 20.

*County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss gained another full time employee in his office. During the regular October monthly meeting, the county commission voted 13-1 to approve the budget committee’s recommendation that Poss’ request for a budget amendment in the amount of $15,896 be adopted to make a part time position full time for the pay period October 29, 2018 to June 30, 2019. The funds will be taken from the county’s fund balance (cash reserves) to pay for it. This will give County Clerk Poss a total of four full time employees in his office in addition to himself. Poss said the workload in his office has increased over the last four years with more services added to better accommodate the public and the county has benefitted from the increased revenues those services have generated

*The 15th Annual Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, was held October 26 at the DeKalb County Community Complex and was another great success!  According to the Chili Cook-off Committee, approximately 400 bowls of chili were served, friends and neighbors enjoyed lunching together, and $4,400 was raised for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, which will be used towards the building of the 6th Habitat house, currently underway. “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials took Top Chili Honors. The Best Decorated Booth Award went to “Power House Chili” from Smithville Electric System. The Golden Spoon Award went to “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials, who raised an additional $225.00 for Habitat in cash donations at their booth.

*The 2018 Fall Fest Queen was Abigail Hope Taylor. She is the 18 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. Taylor was also awarded most photogenic and for prettiest dress in the pageant held at the County Complex Auditorium sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women’s Club. Taylor’s younger sister Kenlee Renae Taylor was crowned the Autumn Sweetheart earlier in the day.

*Cora Marie Cox won the title of 2018 Fall Fest Autumn Princess. The 7 year old is the daughter of Brandon and Whitney Cox of Smithville. She was also named most photogenic. Her little sister, 4 year old Clara Ruth Cox won the Miss Autumn pageant earlier in the day. The pageants were held at the County Complex Auditorium sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women’s Club.

*An 18 year old Smithville man who allegedly stole $80,000 worth of jewelry at a store in CoolSprings Galleria is also wanted by the Franklin Police Department. The incident happened Oct. 26 at 4:45 p.m., when police said the suspect snatched a display tray of about a dozen tennis bracelets from the hands of a salesperson in Grogan Jewelers. At last report he was still at large.

*The DeKalb County Grand Jury met in special session and returned sealed indictments in several drug and theft cases along with a statutory rape investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also presented two drug cases to the Grand Jury. In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray said the indictments were the result of an undercover drug operation which started in February. The drug buys included marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, morphine, roxicodone, xanax, oxycodone, and suboxone. “We made controlled undercover drug buys in different areas of the county including the cities of Alexandria, Dowelltown, and Smithville. We also made controlled undercover drug buys in different communities of the county including the Blue Springs, Snow Hill, Cookeville Highway, Midway, and Short Mountain Highway communities.”

*An 18 year old senior at DeKalb County High School was charged with sexual battery after he allegedly grabbed the butt of a female student and slid his hand up her shirt at school. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on September 27 the School Resource Officer at DCHS was notified by two high school students that Billy Ray Young had grabbed the butt of a female juvenile without her consent. The SRO officer spoke with the girl who confirmed that the incident had occurred. According to the girl, Young came up behind her in the cafeteria and asked if he made her feel uncomfortable.  When she declined to respond Young allegedly grabbed her butt and slid his hand up her shirt. The SRO reviewed the school’s video surveillance and confirmed that the incident had taken place. Young was placed under arrest at school and taken to the jail.

*A DeKalb County man accused of tying up and assaulting his wife and then forcing her to stay in a closet at their home over a ten day period in July was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on July 10 through July 20, 38 year old Erik Thomas Dunn confined his wife unlawfully as to interfere substantially with her liberty by zip tying her hands and throat and confining her to a closet. According to the Sheriff, Dunn assaulted his wife with deadly weapons including zip ties, a knife, arrow, and wooden closet rod causing bodily injury. Dunn placed a zip tie around his wife’s throat to choke her which caused the woman to pass out. He used a knife to cut her left arm; an arrow to injure her foot; and he hit her several times with a wooden closet rod. Dunn was under bond conditions at the time due to a previous aggravated and domestic assault case against him over this woman.

*14 year old Mackenzie Leigh Sprague, (Miss. Centerhill Teen USA) of Smithville competed for the title of MISS TEEN TENNESSEE USA 2019 on October 11-13 at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Miss. Sprague is the daughter of Wanda Sprague and grandparents Michael and Dorothy Crowell of Smithville, Stephanie and Buddy Sprague of Woodbury. She is a 9th grader at DeKalb County High School.

*Charges were filed in Wilson County against two men who tried to outrun the law in a stolen car before crashing it in Smithville. The driver of the car, 19 year old Laron Saunders of Nashville was charged with felony evading, simple possession, felony theft of property, reckless endangerment, and speeding. His bond is $12,000. His passenger, 19 year old Quentin Marshall, Jr. of Nashville was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and misdemeanor evading. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Trooper De’Wunya Topps was running radar on Interstate 40 at mile marker 223 in Wilson County when he clocked a red 2016 Scion TC going 98 miles per hour eastbound in a 70 mile per hour speed zone. Trooper Topps then attempted to make a traffic stop. The car pulled over at mile marker 226 but as Trooper Topps was calling in the traffic stop the car took off. Trooper Topps then initiated a pursuit. After the registration was checked it came back as a stolen car out of Metro Nashville. The pursuit continued on I-40 and then onto Highway 70 before crossing into DeKalb County at 11:58 p.m. A DeKalb County deputy joined Trooper Topps in the pursuit at Liberty and Smithville Police Officers set up a road block at the intersection of Congress Boulevard and Broad Street to keep other traffic from crossing while the pursuit was approaching. In Smithville the pursuit turned from Broad Street onto College Street at the bridge then east on Webb Street to South First Street before the car crashed on the property of Dr. Starla Meigs Office only a block off the public square. Both Saunders and Marshall bailed out of the car after the wreck and tried to flee on foot. Saunders unwittingly ran in the direction of the jail, which is located on the public square, and was caught by Sheriff Patrick Ray and Detective Stephen Barrett who were standing outside the Sheriff’s Office and saw him approaching.  The arrest was made in front of the law office of Hilton Conger and Harry Lasser, only a few feet from the jail. Marshall, who was armed with a loaded handgun, was arrested in the area by Smithville Police Officer Tyler Patterson. Both men were turned over to Trooper Topps and transported to the Wilson County Jail.


*The season came to a close for the DeKalb County Tiger football team after falling 56 -7 to the Maplewood High School Panthers in the 1st round of the State Play-Offs at Nashville. DeKalb County wrapped up the 2018 campaign with an overall record of 3-8.

*The home of Randy and Cheryl Campbell on Adamson Branch Road near Liberty was hit by an EF1 tornado causing damage to the residence and a barn and destroying two sheds. The Campbell’s were home at the time but escaped injury. “My wife was up and she woke me up when we got a cell phone alert about the tornado warning. They had said on TV it was going to hit Green Hill Road at 1:15 a.m.which is right across the road from our house but it hit (our house) at 1:03 a.m. so it was a little ahead of schedule. We had time to take shelter in a closet. My wife and our grandkid got in one closet and I got in another. We could hear the roar and the wind blew a window out in front of our house just as it hit,” said Randy Campbell. Another barn was destroyed in the same area and a shed was blown down at a residence on Woodbury Highway. Trees were also reported down and across the road on the Old Snow Hill Road. Power lines were down in some areas.

*DeKalb County voters favored all the Republican candidates in the Tennessee General Election. Every GOP candidate swept all 15 precincts and had a majority of the early voting and absentee votes. Bill Lee was elected Governor beating Democratic challenger and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean 1,333,811 to 862,324. In DeKalb County Lee  outpolled Dean 4,170 to 1,735. Lee will succeed two term Republican Governor Bill Haslam. Marsha Blackburn defeated former Democratic Governor and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen to succeed Bob Corker in the United States Senate.  Statewide, Blackburn won 1,225,352 to 982,638. In DeKalb County, Blackburn won 3,900 to 1,982. John Rose has been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 6th District to succeed Congressman Diane Black. Rose beat Democratic nominee Dr. Dawn Barlow  for the seat 172,684 to 70,298 district-wide. In DeKalb County Rose won 3,691 to 1,362. 17th District State Senator Mark Pody was elected to a full four year term beating Democrat Mary Alice Carfi district wide 53,290 to 22,418. Pody carried all six counties in the district. In DeKalb County Pody won 3,733 to 1,568. Clark Boyd was elected to a full two year term in the State House of Representatives from the 46th District defeating Democratic challenger Mark Cagle district wide 17,582 to 6,530. Boyd carried all three counties in the district and won DeKalb County 958 to 445. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver in the 40th district was unopposed and received 3,372 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. District-wide Weaver received 20,567 complimentary votes. A total of 6,030 people voted in the election including 3,135 early voters and absentees and 2,895  on election day.

*After winning the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery contest, the DeKalb County grilling team set their sights on a state title. The team comprised of Creston Bain, Hailey Bogle, Clayton Crook, and Lily Martin attended the State 4-H Competition in Knoxville in October. They competed against eight other teams across the state that had placed in the top three of their respective regions, and the team claimed the first state championship in this contest for DeKalb County 4-H. The contest consisted of four different species: beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. Each contestant cooked a cut from one of the species and submited it for judging along with a copy of their recipe. At the state level, the team also completed a presentation, complete with a theme and a platter consisting of all four products that were grilled. The team chose “Hillbilly Fixins” as their theme, and was also the highest scoring group in this part of the competition as well as overall.

*The Board of Education decided to move forward on preliminary plans for a new Pre-K through 2nd grade school to replace Smithville Elementary. During the regular monthly meeting at DeKalb West School, the Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Upland Design Group to proceed with a schematic design (site study) of the proposed school to be located next to Northside Elementary School. The cost of the design project is $40,000 to be funded from the Board of Education’s budget. “This will involve some site studies and engineering, everything we need to have some answers for the funding body (county commission) for the pre-k through 2nd grade school so we can get started on that and not deviate from our schedule because we have worked on this (plan to build a new school) over a year and a half. We are anxious to get going and continue moving in a forward direction,” said School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III. By a vote of 8-6, the county commission last month tabled a motion to support the board in proceeding with preliminary work until members of the commission could meet in a workshop with the school board to discuss the project in more detail and possibly other school construction options. Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said the board will be able to provide more details of the project and be in a better position to answer questions of the county commission by bringing in Upland Design to do this design. The study is expected to be completed within 60 days.

*Family, friends, and fellow teachers paid tribute to the late Karen Blair Jacobs at Northside Elementary School where she taught most of her 30-year career. Family members planted an Autumn Blaze Red Maple tree in Karen’s memory. Jacobs died on October 25, 2017, from neuroendocrine cancer. By happenstance, the memorial occurred on World NET Cancer Awareness Day. Inside the school, a plaque memorializing Karen will hang on the wall with one of her favorite quotes, the Golden Rule: Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated.”

*Through fingerprints, investigators identified a woman found dead in Smithville as 28 year old Jessica Renee Stephens of Cannon County. Her cause of death will be determined following the completion of the autopsy and toxicology report. The case remains under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “On Monday, November 12 DeKalb Central Dispatch received a call at 7:50 a.m. of a body lying in a backyard on Parkway Drive Smithville. Officers with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the 13th District Attorney’s Office were summoned to the scene,” said Sheriff Patrick Ray in a prepared statement. Officers at the scene could not produce any photo identification on the body at that time.

*Eight players on the 2018 DCHS football team and an Assistant Coach have earned All-Region honors. Tiger players honored are as follows:
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Isaac Cross

Most Outstanding Quarterback Axel Aldino
Most Outstanding Returner Desmond Nokes

Special Teams Coach Thomas Cagle

1st Team All Region Grayson Redmon
1st Team All Region Isaac Knowles
1st Team All Region Dylan Denson

2nd Team All Region David Bradford
2nd Team All Region Hunter Fann

*The DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club won second place in the Robotics competition at the Tennessee Junior Beta Convention.  As a result, they have been invited to compete at the National Junior Beta Club Convention in Oklahoma next summer.  On the DWS Robotics team were Isaac Brown, Bralin Moss, Alex Antoniak, Brayden Carter, Xavier Parker, John Ellis, Aniston Farler, and Matt Nokes.

*A 55 year old man with local ties, 55 year old Edward Lee Judkins, Sr. of McMinnville, lost his life in a McMinnville crash. According to Lieutenant Mark Mara of the McMinnville Police Department, Judkins was driving south on Upper Faulkner Springs Road in a 1995 Ford F-150 when he lost control, went off the road, and struck an embankment. The truck flipped over and Judkins, who was wearing his seatbelt, died at the scene. An open container of alcohol was found in the truck and investigators are awaiting results of blood tests to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash. The wreck remains under investigation.

*Local emergency service providers and other volunteers found another way to serve their community by making sure a few of the most needy and underserved among us had a hot delicious meal for Thanksgiving. More than 400 food trays were prepared and delivered by dozens of volunteers. Recipients received a meal of  smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce and rolls along with a homemade dessert. The project was organized by members of the DeKalb Emergency Services Association in partnership with local businesses and volunteers.

*Construction will begin soon on a new county fire hall in the Four Seasons Community, a project that has been in the making for four years. During the regular November meeting, the county commission voted 10-4 to award the latest lowest bid for the project to Johnson Builders of Doyle, Tennessee. Their base bid was $160,820 with alternate deducts of $8,000 for work on the parking lot and $4,000 to add insulation to the building. The contractor has 270 days to complete the project. The project has been delayed twice because the lowest bids to construct the facility ($257,000 in May and $197,000 in March) were deemed too high by the previous county commission. That was essentially the same argument posed by commissioners who voted against awarding this bid thinking the fire hall could have been built cheaper. The new fire station at Four Seasons will be the 12th station in the county operated by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

*Ranger Brad Halfacre was named the new Park Manager at Edgar Evins State Park following the recent promotion of former Park Manager, Kenny Gragg, to Middle Tennessee Parks Area 3 Manager. Gragg, a resident of Baxter, had been at Edgar Evins State Park for approximately one and a half years. Halfacre has been at the park about 3 years. Halfacre is a 1995 graduate of Upperman High School in Baxter, and a 2004 graduate of Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where he majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Science with a concentration in Fisheries Biology. Halfacre started with Tennessee State Parks in 2006 at Henry Horton, and transferred to Edgar Evins in October 2015.

*Karen Fowler, Regional Manager for Advanced Correctional Healthcare presented a “Life Saving Award” to DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department correctional officers and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on Friday, November 30, 2018. On July 27,2018, inmates at the DeKalb County Jail alerted nearby correctional officers that another inmate was experiencing seizure-like activity. Correctional Officer Chris Singleton and Correctional Officer Jordan Whitehead responded to the patient’s holding cell. The officers immediately moved the patient off his bunk and placed him on the floor. Nurse Christina Arnold, LPN for Advanced Correctional Healthcare, arrived at the patient’s cell where she evaluated the patient and determined he was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Nurse Arnold, with assistance from Officer Singleton, began CPR. During this time, Correctional Officer Justin Bass called for DeKalb Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and brought an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to the patient. Nurse Arnold and Officer Singleton delivered one shock to the patient and continued CPR until EMS arrived. When EMS arrived, they delivered 3 more shocks to the patient and then loaded the patient into the ambulance where the crew continued to attempt resuscitation. Inside the ambulance, the patient did re-gain pulse, became responsive, and began speaking with the EMS crew and officers who were still with him.


*A Sunday morning fire destroyed the residence of Donald Nelson at 1224 Jimmy Malone Road at Liberty. Central dispatch received the call at around 7:30 a.m. Members of the Liberty, Main Station, Cookeville Highway stations, and the tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded but could not save the structure. No one was injured. The cause of the fire is undetermined but apparently started from the upstairs level of the home. According to County Fire Chief Donny Green Nelson’s wife was home at the time when a smoke alarm sounded from upstairs. She also heard popping and cracking noises coming from there. When the woman stepped outside, she saw smoke coming from the upstairs. In the meantime, her husband, who had gone hunting near the home, was alerted by an alarm sent to his cell phone. Mr. Nelson returned home and saw the fire and smoke. 911 was contacted and firefighters responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff’s Department. All the families’ belongings in the home were lost in the blaze.

*National Beta is proudly announced DeKalb County High School as a 2018-2019 National School of Distinction. This award is an honor for Beta Chapters striving towards academic achievement, exemplary character, demonstrated leadership and service to others. With an ongoing quest to instill these qualities in more students, the National Beta School of Distinction Award is designed to award those schools that show an increase in membership for the current school year. Award recipients received a National Beta School of Distinction banner to proudly display as a symbol of their accomplishment. In addition, National Beta School of Distinction recipients will be publicized at the 2019 National Beta Convention in Oklahoma City, OK this June. “This prestigious honor is a true indication of DeKalb County High School’s dedication to academic excellence, leadership development and commitment to celebrating their student’s achievements,” said National Beta’s Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Hart.

*The body of a 51 year old man was found on Highway 70 in front of DeKalb Middle School, the victim of a fatal hit and run. Gyula Gulyas of Brush Creek, and originally from Hungary, was identified as the man found. According to Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a motorist spotted the body lying in the highway around 2:40 a.m. December 9 and reported it to 911. Its not known exactly what time the hit and run occurred. Trooper Johnson said Gulyas had been at Twisted Oaks on Highway 70 earlier and as he started to leave the parking lot his Kia Soul got stuck in a ditch. Gulyas later got a ride into town and was dropped off near the hospital. That was the last reported sighting of Gulyas alive. The Tennessee Highway Patrol believes the automobile was a silver colored 2006 to 2010 model Jeep Commander SUV because of paint chips and pieces of a front grill found on the highway near the body.

*DeKalb County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II was presented the “Making a Difference” award. The honor is given by the Tennessee Association of Recovery Court Professionals to a judge who has demonstrated statewide leadership for recovery courts. Judge Cook received the award during the 14th annual TARCP Conference in Murfreesboro. Twelve years after its beginnings in DeKalb County, the Recovery Court program (formerly known as Drug Court) has grown and is making a difference in the lives of more people, juveniles and adults. Recovery Court for adults, started by Judge Cook in 2006, provides an alternative to incarceration for eligible non-violent offenders, who are deemed substance dependent. Judge Cook began the recovery court program for juveniles in 2002.

*A 28 year old Smithville woman lost her life in a two car crash on Highway 70 at Liberty. Dead is Amanda L. Smith. According to the accident report filed by Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Smith and 30 year old Raymond H. Rollins of Smithville were in a white 1998 Ford Mustang traveling west in the eastbound lanes and struck a 2014 Honda Accord, driven by 36 year old Charlie R. Holman  of Sparta who was eastbound in the right hand lane. As Holman attempted to swerve left to avoid a collision, the right front end of the Mustang struck his car on the passenger side. At last report the THP had not determined whether Smith or Rollins had been driving the Mustang. Both Rollins and Holman sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash. Smith was not airlifted as previously reported. DeKalb EMS performed CPR on Smith at the scene and transported her to Ascension Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital where she was pronounced dead. A helicopter ambulance had been summoned but was later cancelled. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

*Director of Schools Patrick Cripps announced the 2018-2019 Teachers of the Year at the building level of the five schools in the county. This year’s honorees were first grade teacher Vicky Hawker at Smithville Elementary School;  fifth grade teacher Cheryl Vandagriff at Northside Elementary School; Jessica Antoniak, a sixth grade math and science teacher at DeKalb West School; Justin Nokes, a seventh grade history teacher at DeKalb Middle School; and Linda Parris, a home economics teacher at DeKalb County High School. Competition for the district-wide John Isabell Teacher of the Year award continues through February, and will be announced at DeKalb County’s Teacher of the Year Banquet in the spring.

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