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DeKalb Suicide Rate 5th Highest in Tennessee

September 1, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County had the 5th highest suicide rate among the state’s 95 counties for the year 2016 and it was 2nd highest in the 14 county Upper Cumberland Region according to statistics reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

In 2016, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 41.3 per 100,000 people, translating into eight reported suicide deaths. That is up from 26.1 per 100,000 or five reported suicide deaths in 2015 and significantly up from 15.6 per 100,000 people or three reported suicide deaths in 2014.

The DeKalb suicide rate is also higher than the state average of 16.2 per 100,000 population for 2016.

On Friday, County Mayor Tim Stribling signed a proclamation designating September as Suicide Prevention Month in DeKalb County. Lena Higgins and Mark Allison of the Cookeville Upper Cumberland region of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network joined County Mayor Stribling for the signing.

In Tennessee, more than 1,000 men, women, and children die by suicide each year.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of all deaths in Tennessee and the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10-24. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in the state in 2016, at a rate of 16.2 per 100,000 people. That’s up from 16.1 per 100,000 in 2015.

Clay County had the highest suicide rate among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland Region at 51.7 per 100,000 with four deaths. Jackson County had the lowest rate in the Upper Cumberland with no reported suicides in 2016. The next lowest was Fentress County at 5.5 per 100,000 with 1 death.

Hardeman County was the only other county in the state to report no suicides in 2016.

Lewis County led the state among the 95 counties in reporting the highest suicide rate at 67.2 per 100,000 with eight deaths.

DeKalb County’s suicide rate was at 16.6 per 100,000 in 2006 and 2007 with three deaths each of those years. But the rate soared to 48.1 per 100,000 in 2008 with nine deaths. The rate dropped to 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths in 2009 but went back up to 37.4 per 100,000 with seven deaths in 2010. DeKalb’s suicide rate for 2011 was 26.5 per 100,000 with five deaths and 15.9 per 100,000 in 2012 with three suicides and 15.7 per 100,000 in 2013 with three deaths.

In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, any race or ethnicity, and any economic status. The average suicide death leaves behind six survivors—family and friends of the deceased—all of whom are at increased risk for a suicide attempt themselves. As if the emotional and psychological toll were not enough, suicide and suicide attempts cost the state of Tennessee $1 billion a year in medical treatment, lost wages, and lost productivity.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) and its allies in the public health, mental health, and social service fields are joining forces to recognize the month of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During this annual observance, TSPN and its allies arrange several educational and memorial events across Tennessee. These projects help teach the general public about the problem of suicide and how it can be prevented. They also provide an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide; to encourage survivors of suicide, survivors of suicide attempts, and people who have triumphed over mental illness; and to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to suicide prevention efforts in our state.

Details about the Suicide Prevention Awareness Day observance and other events planned across the state will be announced on the TSPN website ( Additional information about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is available from the TSPN central office at (615) 297-1077 or

You can reach out for help and hope by contacting the crisis text line. Simple text “TN” to 741 741.

Tigers Fall to Panthers 35-0

September 1, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers lost to the Stone Memorial Panthers Friday night at Crossville 35-0.

After starting the season two weeks ago with a 19 to 14 win at home over Warren County, the Tigers have failed to find the endzone since losing to Upperman 43-0 last week at home and now to Stone Memorial 35-0.

The Tigers will host Watertown next Friday night, September 7 in Smithville. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Watertown is 3-0 with wins at Gordonsville 48-8, at home against Mount Juliet Christian 61-7, and at Trousdale County 22-21.

Stone Memorial’s Thomas Arnold was in on all of the Panthers’ touchdowns in the first half against the Tigers Friday night, scoring on runs of 20, 22, 1, and 2 yards and he threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Jesus Murillo. Jaiden Sadowski connected on all five extra point attempts to give the panthers the 35-0 victory.

Arnold’s first touchdown came with 3:46 left in the 1st period on a 20 yard run and with the extra point the Panthers led 7-0.

Arnold found the endzone again on a 22 yard touchdown run with 1:11 left in the 1st period. After the PAT the Panthers led 14-0

Jesus Murillo scored on a 25 yard touchdown pass from Arnold with six seconds left in the 1st period. The extra point put the Panthers up 21-0.

Arnold scored on a 1 yard touchdown run with 3:20 left in the 2nd period and after the extra point Stone Memorial led 28-0.

Arnold scored his final touchdown of the game on a 2 yard run with 14 seconds left in the 2nd period. Sadowski connected on the extra point and the Panthers won 35-0.

Smithville Mayor Josh Miller Takes Office

By: Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville has a new mayor and a new alderman.

Josh Miller took the mayor’s oath of office Friday afternoon at city hall. City attorney Vester Parsley administered the oath.

Miller succeeds Jimmy Poss who served as mayor for six years. For the last five years, Miller has been alderman. A successor will soon be named to fill Miller’s unexpired two year alderman term

Meanwhile Aldermen Gayla Hendrix and Brandon Cox were also sworn into office by Parsley. Hendrix begins her second consecutive term, and third term overall as alderman. Cox is taking office as alderman for the first time.

Mayor Miller said he is honored to serve the people of Smithville.

“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I have never been involved with the day to day operations of the city but I am looking forward to getting in and seeing what needs to be done,” he said.

“One of the first actions we will have to do is to name someone to fill my alderman seat. That seems to be a very hot topic right now. Of course there are other positions, appointments and reappointments that have to be made to various boards throughout the city,” said Mayor Miller.

The mayor said he plans to seek out more grants for the city to help fund various projects, including a new parallel runway at the airport.

“We cannot do everything that needs to be done right away but we have to go after more grants and take advantage of those we can get. I think a parallel airport taxiway is very important to the airport. I would also like to see us create a parks and recreation advisory board so we can start getting more grants for the recreational areas and parks in the city,” added Mayor Miller.

Meanwhile Alderman Jason Murphy, whose term expired Friday, was presented a plaque by Mayor Miller for his 6 years of service. Alderman Cox is replacing Murphy on the City Council.

The new make-up of the city’s elected leaders includes Mayor Josh Miller and Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Brandon Cox with a new alderman to be named soon.

The next regular monthly city council meeting is set for Monday, September 10 at 6 p.m. at city hall.

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