Local News Articles

Stephanie J. Atnip Wins "Best of Show" at DeKalb Art Exhibit

May 26, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
10th Grader Stephanie J. Atnip Wins "Best of Show" for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Emily Johnson from Pre-K to 1st Grade Division Ties for "Peoples Choice" Award for this art piece at  DeKalb Art Exhibit
Ella Kirksey from Pre-K to 1st Grade Division Ties for "Peoples Choice" Award for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
7th Grader Briley Werpinisky Wins 1st place in the category of Original Painting at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Division 1- Pre-Kindergarten to 1st Grade: Cora Cox Wins 1st Place for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Division 2- 2nd & 3rd grades: Eva Aimino Wins 1st Place for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Division 3- 4th & 5th grades Daniel Stiffler Wins 1st Place for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Division 4- 6th - 8th grades Shanti Liu Wins 1st Place for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit
Division 5- 9th-12th grades Malone Fletcher Wins 1st Place for this art piece at DeKalb Art Exhibit

Tenth grader Stephanie J. Atnip won “Best of Show” while Emily Johnson and Ella Kirksey from the Pre-K to 1st grade Division tied for the “People’s Choice Award” in the DeKalb Schools Art Exhibit held Saturday at the County Complex. The annual event was sponsored by the Smithville Study Club. Walteen Parker is the President of the club. Susan Hinton is the Art Chairman.

Students from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade participated in the art exhibit.

Meanwhile taking 1st place in the category of Original Painting was 7th grader Briley Werpinisky.

This year’s art exhibit featured entries from winners named at each school are as follows:

*Division 1- Pre-Kindergarten to 1st Grade:
1st Place-Cora Cox, Homeroom, Mrs. Ferguson Smithville Elementary; Art Teacher: Ms. Carol Tripp
2nd Place- Andrew Cathey
3rd Place-Lucas Winchester
4th Place-Grant Slager
Honorable Mention: Giana Paulsen

*Division 2- 2nd & 3rd grades
1st Place-Eva Aimino, DeKalb West Elementary, 3rd Grade; Art teacher: Mrs. Ria Baker
2nd Place-Delia Willingham
3rd Place-Edwardo Ramierez
4th Place-Summer Garrett
Honorable Mentions-Dusty Vanatta

*Division 3- 4th & 5th grades
1st Place-Daniel Stiffler, Northside Elementary-- Homeroom, Mr. Odom; Art teacher- Ms. Carol Tripp
2nd Place-Raylie Cowan
3rd Place-Addyson Swisher
4th Place-Kylee Savage
Honorable Mention- Sarah Fuson

*Division 4- 6th - 8th grades
1st Place-Shanti Liu, DeKalb Middle School, 8th grade
2nd Place-Zoi Hale
3rd Place-Faith Tripp
4th Place-Alex Mareno
Honorable Mentions: Johnatha Littleton
Special Merit Awards: Brayden Carter, Tess Barton, and Jana Liebl

*Division 5- 9th-12th grades
1st Place- Malone Fletcher, Malone Fletcher, DeKalb County High School; Art teacher- Mrs. Walteen Parker
2nd Place-Kayley Padilla
3rd Place-Myla Diligard
4th Place-Allie Beshearse
Honorable Mention: Ariana Keith

THP Investigates Rear End Collision

May 26, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
2005 Chevy TrailBlazer driven by Ashley Singleton
2008 Dodge Ram TDOT pickup truck driven by Jarrod Bonar

The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated a rear end collision Friday after the intersection of South Congress Boulevard and East Bryant Street.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the THP said 27 year old Ashley Singleton of McMinnville was north on Congress Boulevard in a 2005 Chevy TrailBlazer when she failed to stop and rear ended a 2008 Dodge Ram Tennessee Department of Transportation pickup truck, driven by 30 year old Jarrod Bonar of Lascassas.

Bonar had slowed due to other traffic which had stopped at the traffic light.

Neither Bonar or Singleton were injured.

Singleton’s daughters, ages 10 and 8 were passengers with her. One of them was taken by private vehicle for medical treatment at a local clinic.

Singleton was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Dekalb Farmers Market Open Today (Saturday)

May 26, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patrons Shopping the DeKalb Farmers Market

The DeKalb County Farmers Market is open today (Saturday) in time for your Memorial Day Holiday picnics and cookouts.

Spokesperson Connie Tjarks said there will be much from which to choose.

“You will need to stop by the market to pick up a few fresh greens and onions to put on those sandwiches and maybe in your salads during this Memorial Day holiday weekend,”said Tjarks.

“Ms Jean will be there with her homemade bread and fried pies. They are always a hit at any meal. She often sells out by 9 a.m. so get there early if you want to get her products”.

“Mark will have his mom’s homemade goodies including pies, cookies, and muffins. I had one of her blueberry muffins last week and every bite was full of delicious blueberries. There is also fresh eggs available,” Tjarks continued.

“Do you have a recipe that calls for honey? The DeKalb Farmers Market has quart and pint jars of DeKalb local honey”.

“If gardening is your holiday exercise, Billy still has some tomato and pepper plants for sale”.

“We have a new vendor this year with a huge variety of soy candles. They burn without soot and make a great hostess gift if you are going to a holiday party,” said Tjarks

“Of course Roy always comes with his delicious barbeque and I will be there with some herbal dips and fresh spinach and fresh lettuce,” she added.

“Check WJLE’s website often for market information”.

“We hope to see you at the Farmers Market. Remember to always pick fresh. Buy Local and Pick Tennessee,” said Tjarks.

The DeKalb County Farmers Market, located on East Bryant Street next to DeKalb County Ace Hardware and the County Complex, is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon.

Support your local farmers and artisans. Pick Tennessee! Provided by the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.

Smithville Swimming Pool Opens for Summer

May 26, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Swimming Pool Opens for Summer
Kids and Grown ups Spend Friday at City Swimming Pool

School is out for the summer and kids had a chance to take a dip in the pool for free Friday during Report Card Day at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool.

By presenting their report cards at the gate, kids were able to swim at no charge. It was a “soft” opening date for the pool.

Ken Lacy, manager of the city pool and golf course, said the pool will officially open to the public for the season today (Saturday).

The pool is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m.

Admission to the swimming pool is $2.00 per person for everyone age 4 and older.

Membership fees have also been established.

Single pool membership fees are $70.00 including tax or $135.00 including tax for a family membership.

New Bids Higher Than Previous Low Bidder to Build Four Seasons Fire Hall

May 25, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three companies have submitted bids to build a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community but they are all much higher than the best bid the county received during the first round of bidding on the project in March.

The latest bids were opened for the fire hall Thursday morning, May 24. Triton Construction of Rockvale had the lowest base bid at $257,000 with two deductive alternates totaling $19,200 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls). Quality Builders of Sparta submitted a base bid of $278,060 with no deductive alternates and Preston Brothers of Woodbury offered a base bid of $285,300 with two deductive alternates totaling $27,690 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls).

County Mayor Tim Stribling said two local builders had come to him recently inquiring about the project but neither submitted a bid

This was the second round of bidding for the fire hall construction.

During the first round on March 29 two bids were received including one for $284,000 from Preston Brothers of Woodbury (minus $11,000 if the county put the gravel on the parking lot) and $197,000 from FTM Contracting of Cookeville (deductive alternate of $2,400).

The county commission, during its regular monthly meeting on April 23, voted to re-bid the project because the bids received were too high.

The commission will take up the issue again Tuesday night, May 29 when it meets in regular monthly session.

According to County Mayor Stribling, plans call for the fire hall to be 40’ x 55’ in size consisting of two bays, a restroom, shower, and a small meeting room. He said while the plans do not include any frills it will be a turnkey project with all the work including construction, concrete pad, septic tank, etc all to be done under one contract.

A new fire station at Four Seasons would be the 12th station in the county operated by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The other fire halls are on Short Mountain Highway, Midway Community, Belk, Keltonburg, Cookeville Highway, Austin Bottom Community, Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, Johnson Chapel, and Blue Springs.

Public Learns More About TDOT Plans for Highway 56

May 25, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
TDOT official shows Highway 56 plans to Erby France (left) and Phillip "Fluty" Cantrell (right)

Several property owners along Highway 56 south turned out for a Design Public Meeting Thursday evening hosted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to learn more about the state’s improvement plans for the road.

Robert Rodgers of the TDOT Region 2 Project Development Office gave a power point presentation of the plans and then took questions from the audience. Detailed maps of the project were also displayed for landowners and others to view.

The Highway 56 improvement will be conducted in three phases. The state plans to build largely two lanes of a proposed four lane project and maintain traffic on the existing Highway 56 (alignment) while construction is being done on the new portion.

TDOT proposes to let bids for two of the phases in December from south of the Warren County line to near Magness Road and from south of State Route 288 near Magness Road to East Bryant Street in Smithville. Construction is expected to begin by next spring. The third segment from near State Route 287 in Warren County to near the DeKalb County Line is not yet ready for bid letting.

“The current bid schedule is the winter of 2018. Currently it is in the December letting which means construction should start in earnest when spring begins in 2019. The second and the third phases currently are scheduled to be let together. Which end is started on, that will be for discussions between our construction office and the contractor. He may decide to start on the north end or the south end of the project,” said Rodgers.

Following the meeting, Rodgers gave a general description of the project for WJLE.

“On the southern part from the DeKalb County line up to Vaughn Lane, its going to be a two lane roadway. There will be left turn lanes at the side roads. As we get closer to Smithville where some of the intersecting roads are offset there will be some extended sections of three lanes. Once we get to Vaughn Lane we will be expanding to the three lane typical all the way up to just past Morgan Branch. When we get past Morgan Branch we will be building a five lane section with curb and gutters and sidewalks,” said Rodgers.

According to Rodgers, the state will deviate from the existing road in the Shiney Rock area in order to bypass the cemeteries.The highway will then tie back in to the existing alignment in Smithville.

“Where the church and the cemetery are now, we are going off alignment because there was not room to fit the proposed finished road in between the two. Traffic on that section will stay on the existing road until the new road is complete,” said Rodgers.

One property owner affected by the project expressed his frustrations during the meeting with TDOT for changing the plans from the original design and he took issue with TDOT for saying all the rights of ways have been acquired.

“This is impacting my farm in several different places. I have been lied to from day one about how this project was going to happen and how it was going to come down. Every time we look at what you propose it changes and you have not bought all the rights of ways yet. I feel like with some people, their impact may be different now with your new drawings compared to what it was with the previous drawings. I think a lot of this is very unfair,” said the frustrated property owner.

Another man questioned how the project between Vaughn Lane and South Tittsworth Road will impact his row cropping operation in that area.

“We row crop all that land between Vaughn Lane and South Tittsworth. How am I going to operate not knowing what you are going to take?. Are you staying strictly with the right of way? It looks like there might be a 240 foot right of way purchased there. I was told when the construction phase begins they may need a lot more land,” he said.

“We are staying with the right of way we have purchased for that property,” replied Rodgers. “ However there is one spot at the beginning of the project where there is a stream where we will have to acquire slightly more property,” he added.

The proposed cross sections for the project are as follows:

*From south of State Route 287 to north of Bessie Gribble Road-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four-foot shoulders and ditches.

* From north of Bessie Gribble Road to Vaughn Lane-two 12-foot travel lanes with 12-foot shoulders and ditches. There will be left turn lanes at intersecting roadways.

*From Vaughn Lane to north of Morgan Branch-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, 12-foot shoulders and ditches.

*From north of Morgan Branch to East Bryant Street- four 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four foot shoulders, two-foot curb and gutter, a sidewalk within a 10 foot utility strip on either side.

DMS Seeks Donations for Saint Bernard Clothing Market (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 24, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
DMS Seeks Donations for Saint Bernard Clothing Market

If you’re planning to clean out your closets over the summer to get rid of some older clothes your kids have outgrown, the DeKalb Middle School Saint Bernard Clothing Market will be glad to take them off your hands.

Donations will be accepted for the second annual market at DeKalb Middle School on Friday, June 8th from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Monday, July 23rd from 8:00 a.m. until noon.

Suzette Barnes and Angela Johnson, sponsors of the DMS Student Council said the clothing market was started last summer as a way of serving students who were in need of clothes and shoes.

“Last summer we had a vision of providing clothes and shoes to our students. We have several students in our building who wear the same outfit multiple days a week or their shoes are falling apart. We talked about what we wanted to do but didn’t know how it would go. We asked for donations and the community supplied us with those donations which we were very grateful for. We had our student council students come in and help sort and hang the clothes and group them by sizes which was community service hours for those students and then we went from there,” said Barnes.

After the clothes were collected, the school set aside days where all students in the 6th through 8th grade at the school could shop for clothes and shoes free of charge.

Johnson said the market served a great need.

“Last year we had a grandparent who came in to shop for a pair of shoes for her grandson. She said he desperately needed a pair of shoes. We had a teacher here who looked through all the shoes we had for boys and we had none to fit him. She (grandparent) said I think he will have to take a pair of girls shoes because he is in desperate need of shoes. At that point the teacher said no we will make sure that we get him a pair of shoes and we did,” said Johnson.

Again this summer the market will accept anything from youth large to adult extra large sizes of clothes along with shoes and backpacks. “We don’t turn anything down. We will go through it, size it, and lay it out for the students to pick from,” said Johnson.

“If you want to help but don’t have clothes to donate we will be glad to take a monetary donation then we can go buy clothes or shoes for kids,” added Barnes.

“We have also asked our student council members to prepare hygiene bags this year including shampoo, soap, hair brushes, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and those types of things. We will have those for males and females. If you would like to donate those type items, that would be very beneficial,” Barnes continued.

Johnson said students will have a three day shopping spree when school starts in late July and early August.

“ July 31 will be 6th grade registration night and those 6th grade students will be able to come in with their parents and shop that night for free. On August 1 which is registration day for 7th & 8th grade students at our school, they will be able to come in and shop that day. We will also keep the market open on the first full day in case there are students who didn’t get to come out and shop. We’ll let them shop that day,” said Johnson.

“ I want the community to know there is a need and the recipients are very thankful. We are also very thankful for the overwhelming support and response we got from the community. We want you to know that this is a great benefit," added Johnson.

DeKalb Schools Youth Art Exhibit to be held Saturday (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 24, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

Art work of students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade will be on display Saturday at the annual DeKalb Schools Youth Art Exhibit at the county complex.

The show will be from 1-3 p.m. and winners will be awarded in five divisions of competition along with an overall “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice Award”.

Spokesperson Susan Hinton was a guest with Dan Delacruz of Smithville Computer on WJLE’s Tech Talk Program Thursday morning to talk about the art show.

Antoniak Receives DWS Junior Beta Service Award

May 24, 2018
by: 
Bill Conger
Brayden Antoniak

8th grader Brayden Antoniak is this year’s winner of the DeKalb West School Junior Beta service award. He earned the most service hours of any club member with 127.25 from the summer of 2017 to May 5, 2018. Members need only a minimum of three service hours each semester to remain in good standing with the club, and five hours a semester helps qualify students to attend the state convention and spring field trip.

“I want to help around the community and make a difference in my life and everybody else’s life around me,” Antoniak said. It makes me feel better about myself, not that I’m trying to be cocky.

Last summer Brayden helped out on a mission trip to South DaKota. During the year, he has read to students in Mrs. Susan West’s first grade room, participated in church leaf-raking day for the elderly, and church camp at Salem Baptist Church.

His proud parents, 6th grade teacher Jessica Antoniak and Sean Antoniak, have helped instill a strong sense of citizenship in their son.

“We have just tried to teach him to appreciate what he has and understand that there are many less fortunate,” his parents tell Bulldog Tracks. “He knows that it is very important to give to others and the community. We want him to see that there are always opportunities, be they large or small, to help or serve others.

Antoniak is a quiet leader. His actions say more than the words coming from his mouth, earning him the respect of peers and teachers alike.

“Brayden Antoniak is an EXCELLENT student--best of the best,” says 8th grade teacher Karen France. “He works hard each and every day. It is a pleasure having him in class. Brayden is definitely a team player. He works with anyone he is grouped with. He leads by example and is respectful to those around him.”

“His diligence and dedication are evident in his academics,” his parents said. “When a challenge arises, his unwavering persistence sees him through until the resolution. He enjoys sharing knowledge and information with others. He is very kind hearted and tries to see the best in everyone and everything.”

Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funding Available Through the Alexandria Senior Center

May 24, 2018

Alexandria Senior Center Director, Sandy Brown, has announced the receipt of funding for DeKalb County residents through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP).

Program funds are used to provide food, in the form of served meals or groceries, lodging in a mass shelter or hotel, one month's rent or mortgage payment, and/or one month's utility bill.

The original authorizing legislation, the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77), signed into law on July 24, 1987, specifies "sensitivity to the transition from temporary shelter to permanent homes and attention to the specialized needs of homeless individuals with mental and physical disabilities and illness and to facilitate access for homeless individuals to other sources of services and benefits."

Also in accordance with the legislation, the EFSP National Board encourages Local Boards, the decision-making local bodies, to place special emphasis on identification of, and assistance to, the elderly, families with children, Native Americans and Veterans.

For more information, or to apply for assistance, call the Alexandria Senior Center Director, Sandy Brown, at 615-529-2928. If you know of someone who might benefit from this program, please call! Referrals are always welcome.

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