Local News Articles

Members of 1972 DCHS Football Team to Reunite

August 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Members of 1972 DCHS Football Team
Members of 1972 DCHS Football Team to Reunite
The 1972 Tigers were led by head coach Wayne Cantrell and assistants John Eaton and Donnie Elledge

The 1972 DCHS Tiger Football Team will reunite on Friday night, September 1 at the White Possum Grille at 5:00 p.m. All members of this team regardless of class year, coaches, managers, and spouses are invited to attend. Following a Dutch-treat meal, the team will take a short walk to VanHooser Stadium to watch the Tigers compete with Stone Memorial High School.

The 1972 Tigers Football season was in jeopardy due to a school budget crisis that year. The team overcame a slow start to post the first winning season in the history of DeKalb County High School. Forty-five years later this team will break huddle one more time and wish the present team success in its first home game of the year.

The team finished the 1972 season on the field at 6-4 but actually was credited with another win to go 7-3 after one of the opponents on the schedule that year, Brentwood had to forfeit. The 1972 Tigers defeated Woodbury 28-12, Baxter 8-6, Montgomery Central 44-8, Gainesboro 42-0, Monterey 6-0, and Grundy County 16-6. The Tigers lost to Huntland 20-0, Brentwood 33-0, Gordonsville 8-0, and Watertown 26-6.

The 1972 Tigers were led by head coach Wayne Cantrell and assistants John Eaton and Donnie Elledge.

Members of the team included Mike Corley, David Colwell, Randy Prichard, Jay Whiteford, Raymond Miller, Jackie Gaither, Eddie Evans, Jimmy Knowles, Fred Dowell, Robert Rowe, Bill Owen, Robert Donaldson, David Davis, Don Page, Doug Hooper, Ronnie Hawkins, Alan Bradford, Joey Goodwin, Kirk Wills, Phil Owen, Ricky Hale, Doug Davis, John Colvert, Randy Bond, Gwynn Prater, and Bobby Turner.

If you have any questions, contact Mike Corley at Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District at 615-597-0530

Car Crashes into Semi Truck

August 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Car Crashes into Semi Truck
Smithville Fire Department Performing Extrication

At least one person was injured in a crash involving a car and a semi truck this afternoon on East Broad Street at the Industrial Park.

The car appeared to be heading east on Highway 70 when it struck the underside of the semi trailer. The driver of the rig appeared to be pulling out of the Industrial Park at the time.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue and Extrication Team were summoned to the scene to help free the driver of the car who was pinned in the vehicle. Smithville Police and DeKalb EMS are also at the crash site along with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which is investigating.

A helicopter ambulance landed at the scene to airlift the injured victim.

WJLE will have more details as they become available

Student Enrollment Up in DeKalb School System

August 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder

Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System is up by 57 students compared to last year at this time.

Comparing the numbers for the sixth day of school, total enrollment from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade district wide is 3,071 as of today (August 16), up from 3,014 last year.

According to Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, the numbers are up at all five schools. "We're up by 57 students county wide from where we were a year ago. Of course, this is an ever changing number and it will be changing daily from now until probably after Labor Day. Usually it's the Monday after Labor Day before you get numbers firmed up about who has moved in and moved out," Reeder told WJLE.

As of today (Wednesday, August 16, enrollment at each school is as follows compared to last year:
DCHS: 883 (up by 18 students)
DeKalb Middle School: 549 (up by 18 students)
Northside Elementary: 645 (up by 6 students)
Smithville Elementary: 585 (up by 3 students)
DeKalb West School: 408 (up by 13 students)

Enrollment at DCHS breaks down as follows:
9th grade: 226 students
10th grade: 222 students
11th grade: 235 students
12th grade: 200 students

Enrollment District-Wide by grade level is as follows:
Pre-Kindergarten: 121(SES & DWS combined)
Kindergarten: 215 (SES & DWS combined)
1st grade: 232 (SES & DWS)
2nd grade: 233 (SES, Northside, & DWS)
3rd grade: 206 (Northside & DWS)
4th grade: 239 (Northside & DWS)
5th grade: 260 (Northside & DWS)
6th grade: 227 (DMS & DWS)
7th grade: 219 (DMS & DWS)
8th grade: 234 (DMS & DWS)

Enrollment by School:

DeKalb Middle School:
6th grade: 183
7th grade: 176
8th grade: 189

Northside Elementary:
2nd grade: 54
3rd grade: 167
4th grade: 210
5th grade: 214

Smithville Elementary:
Pre-K: 99
Kindergarten: 171
1st grade: 184
2nd grade: 131

DeKalb West School:
Pre-K: 21
Kindergarten: 44
1st grade: 48
2nd grade: 48
3rd grade: 39
4th grade: 29
5th grade: 46
6th grade: 44
7th grade: 43
8th grade: 45

Reeder urges parents to make sure their children attend school on time every day classes are in session. “Student who miss 18 school days per year-regardless of the cause-will be considered chronically absent under a new regulation from the State Department of Education. The number of chronically absent students will also reflect on the overall performance score given to the school system. The state is using a new accountability measure called the Chronically Out-of-School Indicator. Students who miss more than 10 percent of the school year, for any reason, are considered chronically out of school. This would typically be students that miss 18 or more school days out of our 180-day school year calendar,” reported Reeder.

Under state law, if a student misses as few as five days of school “unexcused” he or she is considered “truant”. “We won’t take you to juvenile court for five days missed but we will send a letter to the parents to arrange a meeting with them to see what can be done to improve their child’s attendance,” said Reeder.

Tardies are also a concern, especially early in the morning. “We don’t have a lot of tardies during the day. Its like during first block in the morning when they are getting there a few minutes late. We ask parents bringing their children to school to please arrive on time by 7:45 a.m. because three tardies can equal one unexcused absence,” said Reeder“

Meanwhile, Reeder urges parents who are home schooling their children to contact the school system to let them know.”I wish you would come by and register with us. It helps us to know where they (students) are and what they are doing. Some people withdraw their kids from the school system to home school and we never hear from them again in the following years. Legally, parents are suppose to register but there is really not a penalty if they don’t. It just helps us keep up with where the students are at. Registering is not a big deal. It doesn’t take but five minutes and it would help us out some,” said Reeder.

DeKalb County GOP Will Select Candidates by Convention in 2018

August 16, 2017
DeKalb GOP Officers: Vice Chairman Clint Hall, Treasurer Tom Chandler, Chairman Mingy Bryant, State Executive Committee Woman Jennifer Winfree, Secretary Brandon Cox, and Assistant Treasurer Dustin Estes.

The DeKalb County Republican Party Executive Committee recently voted to select the 2018 Republican Candidates for Local Office by County Convention. The County Convention will be held in early 2018 so as to meet the candidate qualifying deadline. The Republican candidates elected at the Convention will be placed directly onto the August 2, 2018, General Election ballot as the Republican Nominees. Republican candidates will be selected at the County Convention for the following Offices in DeKalb County: County Mayor, Sheriff, Trustee, County Court Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, Road Superintendent, and County Commissioners in all 7 districts (2 each).

“This is a win-win for the County, as well as the DeKalb County Republican Party,” Chairman Mingy Bryant said. “We are saving county taxpayers by not having to staff and print ballots for a local primary, while also selecting the best and most qualified Republicans to represent us on the General Election ballot.Local Democrats had the same option, but unfortunately, they chose to spend more taxpayer dollars instead of saving them," she said.

"The August 2, 2018, Ballot will be very full with many seats up for grabs. In addition to the Local Races, voters will also select the person who will likely be the next Governor, US Senator, US Congressman, State Senator, and State Representative for DeKalb County," Bryant said.

“With DeKalb County voting solidly Republican in the last few election cycles, and with so many Republican candidates running for open seats, we should all expect a record Republican turnout in the August 2018 election,” continues Bryant. “This will also bode well for our Republican candidates for local offices. Republicans will be more motivated than ever to vote Republican all the way down the ballot.”

Interested candidates for these offices can contact Republican Party Chair Mingy Bryant at 615-597-2600 or Vice Chair Clint Hall at 931-201-6962. For more information, go to our Facebook Page at DeKalb County Republican Party.

Dowelltown Man Charged in Multiple Thefts of Utility Trailers

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
Dowelltown Man Charged in Multiple Thefts of Utility Trailers

A Dowelltown man is facing multiple counts of theft after admitting involvement in several thefts of utility trailers in DeKalb County over the last six months.

19 year old Colten Gene Young of Old Mill Hill Road will make a court appearance on seven counts of theft over $1,000 on August 24. He is under a $35,500 bond.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Young has admitted to being directly responsible for three of the thefts and aiding in the others. Smithville Police also recently filed a charge against him for a utility trailer theft in the city. But Young’s crime spree was not limited to DeKalb County. He has admitted to utility trailer thefts in Sparta, Manchester, Gatlinburg, and Rockwood.

Meanwhile Sheriff Ray is urging anyone who may have purchased a utility trailer from Young or if you have information concerning someone else who has done so to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in person or call 615-597-4935. You may also contact the crime tip line at 615-464-6400 or email Sheriff Ray at sheriff21@dekalbsheriff.net

“We have been having utility trailers, mostly bumper trailers, stolen within the last six months. After we spoke with the Smithville Police detective about the person they had arrested (Young), one of our detectives and I went to the White County Sheriff’s Department and talked to Young where he was being housed on a charge by the Sparta Police Department. We considered him to be a person of interest in our theft investigation at that time. We actually spoke with him on three different occasions and gathered information. During the second interview, Young agreed to take the detective and me to places in the area where he had stolen utility trailers. After taking us to the site of a theft behind F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy on South Congress Boulevard where Smithville Police had investigated, Young led us to L&M Farms, the former H.J. Judkins Nursery on Short Mountain Highway where he said he had stolen a trailer. From there we went to Turner’s Napa Auto Parts on West Broad Street where he claimed to have stolen a trailer. Young also admitted to having stolen $3,900 from a residence on Old Mill Hill Road,” said Sheriff Ray.

From the information provided by Young, investigators learned who had bought the trailer taken from the Napa Auto Parts location and they were able to recover it.

During a third interview, Sheriff Ray said Young told investigators that while he had not been directly responsible for the other thefts he had been a spotter for or with another man and spotted trailers at the Smithville Church of God on West Broad Street, at a residence off Highway 56 south, and at a home on Backbone Ridge near the White County line. The trailers from all three of those places were later reported stolen.

After confessing to his involvement in the local thefts, Sheriff Ray said Young took responsibility for thefts of fourteen trailers in Lincoln County, at least two in White County, one in Gatlinburg, one in Rockwood, and one in Manchester.

“We have been working with the Sheriff’s departments in Lincoln County and Coffee County along with the Sparta Police Department. Many of the cases against Young in those counties stemmed from our investigation on him here,” said Sheriff Ray.

Charges filed by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department against Young are as follows:

*Theft over $1,000 (March 1 Young aided and assisted taking a white 6’ x 10’ enclosed trailer which belonged to the Smithville Church of God valued at $2,000. He had spotted the trailer with or for another man)

*Theft over $1,000 (May 15 Young took a black 18 foot Lawrimore trailer from behind Turners Napa Auto Parts on West Broad Street valued at $1,500)

*Theft over $1,000 (May 23 Young took $3,900 from a residence on Old Mill Hill Road in Dowelltown)

*Theft over $1,000 (June 1 Young aided and assisted in taking a black 16 foot trailer from Magness Road valued at $2,000. He had spotted the trailer with or for another man)

*Theft over $1,000 (June 7 Young took a black 16 foot trailer from a nursery on Short Mountain Highway valued at $1,800)

*Theft over $1,000 (July 14 Young aided and assisted in taking a black 5’ x 8’ trailer from Backbone Road, Sparta in DeKalb County valued at $1,250. He had spotted the trailer with or for another man)

*Theft over $1,000 (July 14 Young aided and assisted in taking a black 7’ x 14’ trailer along with a canoe and kayak which were on the trailer all valued at $2,629. The theft occurred off Short Mountain Highway. He had spotted the trailer with or for another man)

Sheriff Ray urges anyone who has bought or who is considering buying a utility trailer or other equipment to guard against becoming a victim.

“We are more than happy to come out and look at your trailer. We will check the numbers on it if you want us to. If you are planning to buy a trailer give us the serial number and we will be glad to check that to make sure it isn’t stolen,” said Sheriff Ray.

“What we don’t want to happen is for someone to purchase one of these stolen trailers unaware but then discover that it has had an altered VIN number. We don’t want anyone to get in trouble for something like that,” he said.

Make sure you obtain a title with your purchase and not settle for just a bill of sale. “In some cases, Young provided his unsuspecting customers with a bill of sale. A title is the best way to buy a trailer, four wheeler, or vehicle because a bill of sale is not a guarantee that what you are buying isn’t stolen,” said Sheriff Ray.

Another thing to consider is that if its discovered that the trailer you bought was stolen, you could lose all the money you invested in it.

Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Pool Closed

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Pool Closed

After six and a half years as the operator of the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Pool, Tony Poss is calling it quits.

He has given notice that he is ending his lease with the City of Smithville. The nine hole golf course and pool are currently closed.

It will be up to the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen to name a successor.

Poss entered into a 10 year lease with the city in February, 2011 with an option to extend the term of the lease for an additional 10 years.

DCHS Principal Gets Support from Director and School Board over Dress Code Controversy

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Randy Jennings and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

DCHS Principal Randy Jennings has come under fire in recent days from some for his position on enforcing the long-standing dress code policy at the school but he is getting support from friends in high places.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and the Board of Education released a joint statement Tuesday afternoon to let the community know they stand with Jennings and his staff. “We would like to inform the members of the community that we fully support Mr. Jennings, the administration and members of the faculty and staff at DeKalb County High School throughout this process”.

Some students and parents have expressed frustration with how the school administration is handling the matter which has given rise to rumors of possible protests. But in spite of the criticism by those who feel the dress code enforcement is too harsh, others have shown their support.

“We take this opportunity to thank the many students and residents of DeKalb County for their support and words of encouragement during the recent dress code controversy at DeKalb County High School. Thank you for your continued support,” the statement concluded.

In a statement released over the weekend, Principal Jennings said the high school will follow the dress code that has been in place for several years and that students are being asked to follow the rules that are in the student handbook,” he said.

County Awarded Clean TN Energy Grant to Install LED lights at Courthouse and Jail

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Jail

Existing fluorescent lights in the DeKalb County Courthouse and the Jail will be replaced and retrofitted with light-emitting diode (LED) lights thanks to a Clean Tennessee Energy Grant through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The grant for DeKalb County totals $18, 928 with a local match of $18, 928 for a total project cost of $37,856. In February, the county commission authorized the grant application through the Upper Cumberland Development District

DeKalb County is one of 24 Tennessee communities that will be receiving grant funding for clean energy projects. The total award amount statewide is $1.9 million. The Clean Tennessee Energy Grant (CTEG) program provides financial assistance to municipal governments, county governments, utility districts and other entities created by statute. Awarded projects have demonstrated a plan to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings.

A TVA Energy walk through lighting audit was conducted several months ago at the courthouse and jail as a service of Smithville Electric System to provide an energy usage analysis and the potential impact of LED lighting retrofits. Many of the lights throughout the courthouse are currently comprised of T-8, T-12, T-8 U tubes, and linear fluorescent bulbs that use a great deal of electricity. The jail also has a combination of obsolete T-8 and T-12 bulbs. LED lights, while more expensive, last much longer, consume less electricity and will make the buildings more energy efficient.

Retrofit lighting fixtures to LEDs in the Courthouse is to result in an estimated savings of 43,749 kWh and $5,955 annually. Converting lighting fixtures in the County Jail to LEDs will translate into an estimated savings of 51,132 kWh or $5,319 annually.

“Clean Tennessee Energy Grants help our communities reduce costs, increase savings, waste less energy and promote clean air,” said Governor Bill Haslam. “I appreciate the efforts of these grant recipients whose work will continue to make Tennessee a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

“We were pleased to offer this round of grant funding to communities that have not received support before or are identified as distressed by the Department of Economic and Community Development,” said Martineau. “From more cost-effective lighting systems to efficient heating and air units, these awards will enhance service to customers while minimizing operating costs for these entities, saving taxpayer dollars.”

These projects will help improve air quality by reducing sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, hazardous air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Funding preference was given to distressed counties identified by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and counties that have not previously received CTEG funding. Twenty of the grantees have not received CTEG funding before. Additionally, awarded projects must have a simple payback of less than 10 years.

Funding comes from a 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee received $26.4 million to fund clean air programs in the state.

Tatrow Charged with Trying to Buy Stolen TV

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
Patty Sue Tatrow
Brandon Michael Hensley
John Thomas Mason
Grady Lytle Murphy
Ronald Gene Flarity
Tanya Rochelle Anderson

A 42 year old woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to buy a television she knew was stolen.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_34.pdf (3.87 MB)

Patty Sue Tatrow of Coconut Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with theft under $1,000 and filing a false report. She was later charged with aggravated burglary for knowing the crime (home burglary and TV theft) had taken place and for not reporting it in order to benefit herself. Her total bond is $21,000 and her court date is August 24.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, July 20 Tatrow tried to buy a stolen 50 inch Samsung television taken from a residence on Blackberry Hill Road. According to Sheriff Ray, Tatrow knew the TV was stolen and was trying to purchase it for herself from the man charged with committing the crime, Corey Bradford. After being confronted by law enforcement officers, Tatrow knowingly made a false statement to them about the TV in order to obstruct and hinder the investigation.

28 year old Brandon Michael Hensley of Rickman Road, Cookeville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for no insurance, driving on roadways laned for travel, simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 8 a deputy stopped a vehicle for failure to maintain its lane of travel on Highway 70 east. The officer spoke with the driver, Hensley and noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. Hensley admitted to having consumed some alcohol. A search incident to arrest turned up 2.9 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and a glass smoking pipe. Hensley submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. A search warrant was obtained to get a blood sample from Hensley.

22 year old John Thomas Mason of Blue Springs Road, Smithville is charged driving on a revoked license and evading arrest. He is under a total bond of $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on August 24. He also faces two counts of violation of probation and is being held without bond. He will be in court on those offenses September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, August 9 a deputy tried to pull over a white Honda on Short Mountain Highway for running a stop sign but the vehicle sped up and got away. It was later found abandoned on Big Hickory Court, Smithville. The driver had left the vehicle on foot. He was later found and identified as Mason. Through a routine check through central dispatch, officers learned Mason’s driver license are revoked. He was placed under arrest.

39 year old Grady Lytle Murphy of Jackson Street, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is August 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 10 a deputy spotted a silver Ford Mustang cross the double yellow line on New Home Road. The officer pulled over the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Murphy. A check through central dispatch revealed Murphy’s license were suspended for failure to answer to an original violation in Smithville. He has been convicted for the same offense (driving on a suspended license) in Cannon County and twice before in DeKalb County. Murphy was placed under arrest.

52 year old Ronald Gene Flarity of Burchwood, Tennessee. He is charged with domestic assault and being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $55,000 and his court date is August 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 19 a deputy spoke with a woman who said she had been thrown from an SUV. The woman told the officer that Flarity pushed her from the passenger side of the vehicle on Cookeville Highway causing her to fear bodily injury. A witness reported seeing the SUV come to a rolling stop and a woman being pushed out. The witness came to the aid of the woman as the SUV drove away. During the investigation, an officer found Flarity at a residence on Holmes Creek Road. A computer check revealed an active warrant against him from Catoosa Georgia. He was placed under arrest.

45 year old Tanya Rochelle Anderson of Medley Lane Baxter is charged with driving on a revoked license. She was further cited for violation of roadways laned for travel and for not having an ignition interlock device on her vehicle. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on August 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 11 a deputy stopped a vehicle for failing to maintain its lane of travel on Sparta Highway. The officer spoke with the driver, Anderson who admitted that she had no license on her person. A computer check confirmed that her license were revoked on January 25, 2017 for driving under the influence but that she has a restricted license. Anderson could produce no paperwork or license but said she would continue driving after she dropped off a friend.

Fire Destroys Home on Magness Road (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

August 15, 2017
Dwayne Page

A fire destroyed a residence at 379 Magness Road early this morning (Tuesday) believed to be the home of Nathan Joe Trapp.

Central dispatch received the call at 3:06 a.m.

Upon arrival firefighters found the structure fully engulfed in flames. It could not be saved.

No one was at the residence at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Belk, and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck. Deputies of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also there.


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