August 22, 2023
By: Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County Tigers will host the Smith County Owls in the season home opener Friday night, August 25 but the start time has been changed because of the excessive heat this week.
The kick-off time has been moved from 7 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Tiger football team lost their season opener at Warren County last Friday night 34 to 27 while the Owls defeated their in-county rival at Gordonsville Thursday 25 to 19.
WJLE’s Pre-Game shows begin with “Coach to Coach” at 5:00 p.m. featuring former UT assistant coach Doug Matthews with Tennessee Titans Radio Broadcaster Dave McGinnis and broadcaster Larry Stone talking Tennessee and SEC football.
“Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Matchups at a special time this week at 6:30 p.m., a look at Tennessee High School Football from Murphy Fair with commentary on games and coaches’ interviews.
“Tiger Talk” airs at a special time this week at 7:00 p.m. with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Coach Steve Trapp and Tiger football players.
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. with play-by-play coverage on WJLE from the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby. Listen LIVE on WJLE AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.
Sheriff Finding Ways to Reduce Inmate Population to Satisfy TCI Standards for Jail Certification
August 22, 2023
By: Dwayne Page
Moving them out!
After receiving news last Tuesday from the Tennessee Corrections Institute that the number of state certifiable beds at the DeKalb County Jail must be reduced immediately from 102 to 52, Sheriff Patrick Ray has been looking for other places to house inmates, particularly females.
As of Monday, August 21, Sheriff Ray said the total inmate population at the jail has been reduced from last Tuesday’s count of 80 down to 52 and all but one are male prisoners.
Fourteen of the 25 females that were in the jail last Tuesday, August 15 have been relocated to jails in Jackson, White, Cumberland, Rutherford, and Wilson Counties. Ten of the eleven remaining females (non-violent offenders) have been released with judicial approval either on Own Recognizance (OR) bonds or because their sentences were nearing completion. Efforts are being made to place elsewhere the lone female inmate still in the jail here.
The costs to DeKalb County of housing its prisoners in other county jails, that accept them, can run up to $55.40 per day.
According to TCI standards, the DeKalb County jail can now house no more than 52 inmates (16 females and 36 males) to remain certified by the state and none of the prisoners can continue to be kept in the basement of the older portion of the jail building which has been housing male sex offenders and trustees as well as other male inmates that pose problems. The female inmates were kept on the main floor of the older jail facility.
Sheriff Ray said he has been in contact with TCI officials since last Tuesday to update them on his latest moves and they are pleased with the progress. TCI, which certifies the jail, plans to make a return visit soon for an official inspection to see that the county continues its effort to meet compliance.
“The game plan we are following is to move the women prisoners (from main floor of the older portion of jail), to other county jails where we can find places for them, put our sex offenders in the women’s cells (after the women are moved out), and put our trustees in the side cells (main floor of older building). That will get all the (male) prisoners out of the basement (older building). We are moving them as quickly as we can but every time we arrest a female we have to find a jail to house them if they can’t make bond and every time they have a court date we will have to go get them and then take them back,” explained Sheriff Ray.
Among the findings by TCI are that portions of the jail and annex do not meet the state’s per prisoner square footage clear floor space requirements and jail natural light standards.
During previous visits, TCI officials explained that jails must have skylight with windows or areas that let in natural light for prisoners and that new or existing facilities have to provide at least a minimum size multiple-occupancy cell for 2-64 occupants with twenty-five (25) square feet of clear floor space for each occupant in the sleeping areas, and a ceiling elevation of not less than eight (8) feet. At least thirty-five (35) square feet of clear floor space must be provided for each occupant when the occupant is confined for more than ten (10) hours per day.
“There were some questions about the lack of natural lighting in the max dorm and in the old main cell,” said Sheriff Ray. “They (TCI) want us to go in there and cut holes out into walls (to allow for natural light). There are some old windows there in the old part of the jail with metal across them so we are hoping we can do this (provide natural lighting) there instead of going through the brick because the jail has a lot of rebar in the walls,” Sheriff Ray continued.
TCI also has other concerns according to Sheriff Ray.
“Where the air conditioner units come down in the main annex dorm, when the air comes out it hits the wall where there is some dust. They want us to wash the walls before they come back to do an official inspection because they said we would never pass inspection unless we do. In order to do this cleaning we will have to get somebody to come in there with a high rise lift or scaffolding ”
Sheriff Ray said he will follow through on these TCI recommendations after the last of the females are moved but that while the work is underway some male prisoners will have to temporarily be housed in the basement of the jail until the job is completed.
Sheriff Ray addressed members of the jail committee last Tuesday night about the latest news from TCI. He had already been scheduled to update them as requested by County Mayor Matt Adcock on what the sheriff’s department and jail facilities would need whatever the county’s eventual future construction plan, whether it be a new jail or criminal justice center.
Much of what the jail and sheriff’s department currently have would still be needed plus added features. Of course, the jail portion would have to be large enough to meet the state’s requirements for certification, including per prisoner square footage clear floor space for authorized housing.
According to Sheriff Ray, the TCI Director has recommended a new facility to accommodate at least 175 prisoners and possibly up to 225 inmates. The oldest portion of the existing jail building dates back to 1959 and the jail annex has been in operation since 2001.
Sheriff Ray reported to the jail committee what a new jail would need as follows:
1. Four Person Cells in General Housing x 24 =96 males
2. Six 2-Person Max Holding Cells=12 males
3. Four Person Cells for Protective Custody 4= 16
1. Four Person Cells General Housing x 10 =40
2. Five 2-Person Cells for Protective Custody=10
1. Four Medical/Suicide Cells
2. 5 Holding Tanks for New Inmates
3. Trustee Pod
OTHER AREA IN JAIL
1. Medical Office
2. Jail Administrator/Cpl Office
3. Dress Out Room with Bathroom
4. Control Tower
5. Booking Area
6. Large Storage Area for Inmate Supplies (Mats, Clothes, Toiletry, Shackles)
7. Visitation Room
8. 2 Bay Secure Sally Port Enclosed
9. Secure Recreation Yards Enclosed
10. Enclosed Car Wash Bay
11. Attorney Room
12. Shift Change/Meeting Room
13. IT Control Room
14. Kitchen with Food Equipment
15. Commercial Dishwasher
16. Walkin Freezers
17. Food Storage Room
18. Laundry Facility with Washers and Dryers
19. Small Employee Breakroom and Kitchen
Sheriff Ray further outlined what a new sheriff’s department office would require.
1. Lobby Area
2. Sheriff Office with Bathroom and Storage
3. Chief Office
4. Captain Office
5. Detective Offices and Storage Room for Undercover Equipment
6. Interview Room
7. Armory for Weapons and Ammo
8. Evidence Room
9. Deputy Shift/Work Room
10. Clerks Offices
11. Large Storage Room for Files (1,000 Square Feet Minimum)
12. Training Room
13. Large Storage Room for Extra Equipment for Uniforms and Training Equipment
14. Large Storage Room for Vehicle Equipment (Tires, Radios, Emergency Equipment)
15. Conference/Meeting Room.
In February County Mayor Matt Adcock unveiled his own master plan proposal for the county commission to consider during a jail committee meeting which provides a detailed three-year timeline for the planning and eventual construction of either a criminal justice center or a new jail. The commission has not yet decided on a future course of action regarding a building plan but last Tuesday’s move by TCI is expected to force the county to speed up its time table.
Larry and Deborah Hancock Celebrate Golden Anniversary
August 21, 2023
By: Dwayne Page
A well-known couple and business owners beloved by the community celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.
Larry and Deborah Hancock were joined by family and friends at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church gym for the happy occasion to enjoy fellowship and refreshments. The venue was decorated with balloons and featured a 50th anniversary cake as well as a display of memorable “over the years” photos of Larry and Deborah.
The couple were married on August 16, 1973.
Larry is the son of late James and Joann Hancock of Gassaway, and he has one brother, Gary. Hancock’s father, James had cut timber for a living and served for several years as Road Supervisor in Cannon County. Joann was owner and operator of Woodbury Insurance Agency, now run by one of Larry and Deborah’s sons, Travis Hancock.
Deborah is the daughter of the late Clifford and Josie Pack of Smithville, who for many years owned and operated Pack’s Plumbing and Electric. Deborah has two sisters and a brother still living, Dianna Adams, Darlene Evans, and Daniel Pack. Another brother, David Pack died in 2019.
Larry and Deborah first met at a family fish supper when the two were high school sophomores in November 1970.
“Deborah’s mom and dad were having a fish supper and my mom and dad were invited by Allen Hooper, who was also attending, to join them there and that’s where we met,” said Larry.
Larry and Deborah kept in touch and began dating. They fell in love and tied the knot almost three years after that first meeting.
“We bought our first house on Pack Circle after we got married and lived there until 1987,” recalled Deborah. “We then bought the house on McMinnville Highway where we are still living today”.
Initially they held down separate jobs to make ends meet.
“I worked in McMinnville at Citizen’s State Bank when we got married and Larry worked for my dad for a couple of years at Pack’s Plumbing and Electric and then he built houses with John Agee, Floyd Agee, and Garland Johnson,” said Deborah.
In 1980, the Hancock’s started their own business, “Larry’s Discount Grocery”, which they still own and operate today. It remains one of Smithville’s longest running active family-owned businesses and has served countless customers in its 43-year history.
Although both had come from families with a business background, Larry and Deborah had no experience in the grocery business but got the idea after a venture Larry had participated in with Deborah’s uncle Donald Pack.
“I was building houses in 1980 but when that business began to slow down, I started cutting firewood to pay the bills,” Larry explained. “At Christmas we were at Deborah’s grandparents’ house and her uncle, Donald, who had bought two loads of salvage groceries to sell in Cookeville, asked if I wanted to help him at $200 a week. That was better pay than cutting firewood, so I went with him over there in January, but that location didn’t work out, so we came back and set up in a building owned by my father-in-law Clifford and we stayed there another month. We then relocated to where we are now at 309 West Broad Street in March of 1980. Donald stayed with us until August of that year and then we (Deborah and Larry) bought it from him, and it took off from there,” said Larry.
The Hancock’s are proud parents of two sons and their spouses, Travis and Mary Hancock and Chris and Lydia Hancock. There are also six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Today, the Hancock’s love for each other and their family is as strong as ever and their years together serving the community in the business has been a labor of love.
“We have many special memories,” said Larry and Deborah.
“Down through the years some of the kids who once worked for us in part time jobs, now have kids of their own who are working or have worked for us. A lot of them worked until they got through college. Many of them went on to become very successful. You get really close to them,” Larry continued.
Although retirement may be just beyond the horizon for them, Larry and Deborah are not ready to ride off into the sunset together just yet.
“We enjoy the business and serving our customers. It’s a lot of fun,” added Larry.
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