Local News Articles

(UPDATED) Body of Missing Horseback Rider Found Monday

February 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Micheal Minnear

A man last seen alive Sunday riding a horse was found dead Monday afternoon by members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad about a half hour after they were summoned to start looking for him.

Dead is Micheal Minnear.

Minnear and others had reportedly been riding horses together but he later decided to go home and separated from the group. When he didn't show up at home, a search began.

Members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad joined the search just before noon Monday and found Minnear's body at the bottom of a ravine off Holmes Creek Road shortly after noon.

"We got the official page at 11:43 a.m. Monday and went looking for someone riding a horse who had been missing since Sunday," said Joe Johnson of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad. "We got our equipment together, spread into four groups, and started looking in the area from the Herb Cottage all the way to Cordell Love Road. At about 12:15 p.m. two of our Rescue Squad members spotted what appeared to be a horse at the bottom of a ravine on Holmes Creek Road (the road across from the Golf Course) about half a mile down the road on the right. They walked down in the woods to get a closer look and saw a red horse standing in the creek. They also noticed a body laying near the horse. Rescue Squad members converged on the scene and found it was the person we had been looking for. We did not approach the body until we called the sheriff's department. Two Sheriff's Department investigators, who had also been looking for him, came and did their investigation. We then got ropes and a stokes basket, lowered about 350 feet down, recovered the body, and brought it back up," said Johnson.

Johnson expressed his appreciation to fellow Rescue Squad members for their part in the search including Dustin Johnson, who coordinated the groups in using four wheelers, gators, and trucks in covering the area.

Fugitive Warrant Brought Against Washington D.C. Woman

February 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Fabienne Valerie Niaba
Julie Darlene Wright
Joseph Anthony Dockins

A Washington D.C. woman was recently arrested here for being a fugitive from justice.

45 year old Fabienne Valerie Niaba is under a $50,000 bond. She appeared in court on January 28 and signed waivers for extradition. Niaba is expected to be picked up within ten days. The fugitive warrant against her is out of Virginia for a violation of probation on a grand larceny charge.

43 year old Melisha Rena Martin of Kings Court Circle, Smithville was cited on Friday, January 29 for simple possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone) and simple possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is February 11. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Martin was a passenger of a vehicle stopped by a deputy for a light law violation. The driver gave consent to search the vehicle and the officer found a zippered bag on the right side of the passenger seat where Martin had been sitting. Inside the bag was a pill container which held two white oblong pills believed to be Hydrocodone, a schedule III drug . Needles, a spoon, and a cut straw were also found in the bag.

38 year old Julie Darlene Wright of Cordell Love Road, Smithville is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. She will be in court on February 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, January 26 a Sheriff's Department Detective was at a residence on Cordell Love Road assisting the Tennessee Department of Correction with a home search. The Detective spoke with Wright, who lives at the residence. Several guns were found during a search of the home. Wright was convicted on a charge of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug in November 2015 and is not supposed to be in possession of any weapons.

36 year old Joseph Anthony Dockins of Lebanon is charged with driving on a revoked license. He was further cited for a light law violation and no insurance. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court February 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 31 Dockins was pulled over in a traffic stop on Highway 70 west near Highway 53 for a tail light being out. A computer check revealed that Dockins' license were suspended on December 8, 2014 in Wilson County for failure to file an accident report and for failure to comply with financial responsibility.

DeKalb Prevention Coalition Re-Schedules Recovery Church Planning Workshop

February 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Prevention Coalition Re-Schedules Recovery Church Planning Workshop
Monty Burks

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition has re-scheduled the Recovery Church planning workshop for Friday, February 19, 2016, at the DeKalb Community Center in the History room at 12:00pm. The event will include lunch and is to help the interested churches fill out the application to become a certified recovery church as well as to answer any questions or overcome any obstacles your church or faith based organization may be facing in this process. Monty Burks, who is the Director of Faith Based Initiatives for The State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) will be there along with a Certified Recovery Church Pastor to help.

When you successfully complete the certification process, you will be added to the statewide recovery support network, and most importantly, opening your arms to individuals seeking substance abuse services. Church and Faith-Based Organization leadership will be trained in the following areas:

•Providing Spiritual/Pastoral Support.
•Viewing addiction as a treatable disease, not a moral issue.
•Embracing and support people in recovery and walk with them on their journey.
•Providing a visible outreach in the community.
•Sharing recovery information.
•Hosting recovery support groups.

If your church or faith based organization is interested in becoming a Certified Recovery Church please go to http://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/topic/Faith-Based-Initiatives and fill out the questionnaire or you can contact Norene Puckett at 615-215-8690 or norene.drugcourt@gmail.com.

*An RSVP is not required, but appreciated, please contact Norene Puckett.

WJLE Web Streaming Interrupted

February 1, 2016
Dwayne Page

LIVE Web Streaming of WJLE's Radio Broadcasts will be interrupted this week.

WJLE's long time streaming provider Live365 has gone out of business.

WJLE is in the process of contracting with a new provider. Our web streaming will resume possibly next week.

Driver Airlifted After Semi-Tanker Hauling Milk Overturns (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

January 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters Work to Free Truck Driver Pinned Inside Cab (Milk Can Be Seen Here Spilling From Tanker)
County Firefighters Performing Extrication Services to Free Truck Driver

A 65 year old man lost control of his semi-tanker truck and overturned in a field off Hickman Road (State Highway 264) near Temperance Hall Sunday afternoon.

James Elliott of Decherd, Tennessee was traveling south when his 2006 Freightliner went off the right side of the highway, tore through a barbed wire fence, and overturned in a pasture coming to rest on its side. Elliott, who was pinned inside the cab of the truck, was hauling a tanker load of milk.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to perform extrication services to help get Elliott out of the rig. The Liberty Station also responded.

Elliot was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS and then airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Chris Delong with assistance from Trooper Sean Tramel and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

A DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Deputy was also on the scene.

Baxter Man Airlifted After Motorcycle Crash

January 31, 2016
Dwayne Page
State Troopers T.J. Withers (left) and Bobby Johnson Investigate Motorcycle Crash
Donald Leftwich of Baxter Airlifted After Motorcycle Crash on Highway 141 (Wolf Creek Road)

A 60 year old man operating a motorcycle was airlifted after a crash on State Highway 141 in the Wolf Creek area of DeKalb County Sunday afternoon.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Donald Leftwich of Baxter was traveling east on a 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle when he lost control in a curve, went off the right side of the road, and crashed.

Leftwich was treated by DeKalb EMS but later airlifted from near the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

According to Trooper Johnson, alcohol may have been a factor in the crash and charges are pending.

Trooper Johnson was assisted in the investigation by Trooper T.J. Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The Cookeville Highway and Main Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene along with a DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Deputy.

Voter Registration Deadline, Early Voting Nearing for SEC Primary

January 31, 2016
Dwayne Page

If you want to vote in the March 1 presidential preference primary, or “SEC Primary,” you must register to vote by Monday, February 1, 2016. This election cycle the Volunteer State will join six other Southern states on March 1 to help decide who could be the next president of the United States.

"It's important to ensure you are properly registered now so there won't be any surprises during early voting or on Election Day," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.

Early voting begins Wednesday, February 10 and runs Mondays through Saturdays until Tuesday, February 23. Election Day is Tuesday, March 1. The DeKalb County Election Commission Office will be closed on Monday, February 15 for Presidents Day.

All Early Voting in DeKalb County will be at the Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse (basement).

Early Voting Hours:

Mondays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. to Noon.

Hargett is urging voters to take advantage of early voting if possible because of unpredictable winter weather and an incredibly long ballot.

"When you consider the number of presidential candidates as well as the number of delegates, some voters across the state will have many choices," Hargett said.

Tennesseans voting early or on Election Day should remember to bring valid state or federal photo identification with them to the polls.

Secretary of State Hargett has certified the names of presidential candidates for the March 1 presidential preference primary, or “SEC Primary" in Tennessee.

The following candidates are on the March 1 ballot:

Republican Primary Ballot
•Jeb Bush
•Ben Carson
•Chris Christie
•Ted Cruz
•Carly Fiorina
•Jim Gilmore
•Lindsey O. Graham
•Mike Huckabee
•John R. Kasich
•George Pataki
•Rand Paul
•Marco Rubio
•Rick Santorum
•Donald J. Trump

Democratic Primary Ballot

•Hillary Clinton
•Martin J. O’Malley
•Bernie Sanders

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Democratic Primary will be held on March 1 to select nominees for Assessor of Property and Constable in six of the seven districts of the county.

Incumbent Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell will be unopposed for re-nomination by his party in the March 1 DeKalb County Democratic Primary but he will be opposed by Republican Shannon A. Cantrell in the August General Election.

Democrat Jason C. Taylor is unopposed for Constable in the 1st district in the March 1 Primary but he will face Republican Lee Plummer in the August County General Election.

There is no Democratic candidate for Constable in the 2nd district. Republican Tom Theriaque will be unopposed for 2nd district Constable in the August General Election.

Incumbent Democratic Constables Travis Bryant in the 3rd district, Paul Cantrell in the 4th district, Mark Milam in the 5th district, Carl Lee Webb in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district will be unopposed in both the March 1 Primary and in the August General Election.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary is being held in conjunction with the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary on March 1.

Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale Receives Smithville Fire Department Award

January 30, 2016
Dwayne Page
Fire Chief Charlie Parker Presents Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale with Highest Attendance Award
Fire Chief Charlie Parker Presents Gary Johnson with Highest Attendance Award for Most Non-Officer Training Hours
Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department

Smithville Volunteer Firefighter Hoyte Hale received the "Highest Attendance Award" Friday night 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.

Hale, currently deputy chief and a 30 year veteran of the department, attended 154 out of 175 calls during the year 2015. He also put in the most training hours at 136 for the year. "We only have about twenty five members in our department so it's hard to pick a firefighter of the year from these twenty five guys because just about all of them are firefighters of the year. The officers and firefighters each do a fantastic job all year long so it makes it really tough to pick one. The biggest thing we do is give a "Highest Attendance Award" which honors the one who puts the extra commitment and dedication to get up at two o'clock in the morning and come to the calls. The "Highest Attendance Award" this year for the number of calls goes to Hoyte Hale," said Chief Parker.

Other firefighters with high attendance responses to their credit were Lieutenant John Poss with 135 calls, Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell 134, Lieutenant Danny Poss 132, and Randall Hunt with 130 calls.

Meanwhile a new award was presented this year. Chief Parker recognized Gary Johnson for the most training hours among non-officer firefighters. He put in 50 hours of training this year.

Meanwhile city firefighters were recognized for years of service including the following:
Robin Summers: Rookie
Kim Johnson: Rookie
C.J. Tramel- 1 year
Dalton Roberts- 1 year
Cody Fults- 1 year
Bradley Johnson-1 year
Shawn Jacobs-2 years (Alderman and Auxiliary member)
Kevin Adcock- 5 years (2nd tenure with department) 16 years total
Cory Killian- 4 years
Glen Lattimore- 7 years
Stephanie Wright- 9 years
Randall Hunt- 10 years
Gary Johnson-10 years
Wallace Caldwell- (Chaplain) 11 years
Wink Brown- 17 years
Greg Bess (Photographer)- 20 years
John Poss (Lieutenant)- 24 years
Jeff Wright (Captain)- 29 years
Hoyte Hale (Deputy Chief)- 30 years
Donnie Cantrell (Lieutenant)- 35 years
Danny Poss (Lieutenant)- 35 years
Charles Parker (Chief)- 35 years.

Chaplain Wallace Caldwell briefly spoke offering words of encouragement. He read "Take Time for Ten Things":
1. Take time to work--it is the price of success.
2. Take time to think-- it is the source of power.
3. Take time to play--it is the secret of youth
4. Take time to read-- it is the foundation of knowledge.
5. Take time to worship--it is the highway of reverence and washes the dust of earth from our eyes.
6. Take time to help and enjoy fiends-- it is the source of happiness.
7. Take time to love-- it is the one sacrament of life.
8. Take time to dream-- it hitches the soul to the stars.
9. Take time to laugh--it is the singing that helps with life's loads.
10. Take time to plan-- it is the secret of being able to have time to take time for the first nine things.
Chaplain Caldwell also read the following poem by Robert H. Smith:

“The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one's health is more,
To lose one's soul is such a loss
That no man can restore."

"The short time it took me to read these 53 words 39 people died. Every hour 5,417 people go out to meet their maker. You could have been among them. Sooner or later you will be. With that I would like to leave you with a question I ask. Are you ready?" Caldwell concluded.

In addition to the firefighters and their spouses, the event was attended by Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy, Danny Washer, Gayla Hendrix, Josh Miller and Shawn Jacobs and members of their families. City officials expressed appreciation to the firefighters for the work they do and their commitment to helping improve the operation of the fire department to keep residents safer.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 6.7%

January 29, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for December was 6.7%, down from 6.8% in November and 7.5% in December, 2014.

The local labor force for December was 7,110. A total of 6,630 were employed and 480 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for December was sixth highest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Clay: 8.5%
Van Buren: 7.8%
Cumberland: 7.5%
Jackson: 7.4%
DeKalb: 6.7%
Fentress: 6.7%
Overton: 6.2%
White: 5.6%
Warren: 5.3%
Putnam: 5.3%
Cannon: 5.3%
Smith: 4.8%

County unemployment rates for December 2015 show the rates decreased in 43 counties, increased in 35, and remained the same in 17 counties.

For the month of December, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 4.0 percent, down from November’s rate of 4.1 percent. Knox County was 4.3 percent in December, down from 4.4 the previous month. The Hamilton County rate was 5.1 percent, the same as November. Shelby County was 6.1 percent, down from 6.4 percent the previous month.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for December was 5.6 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from the previous month’s revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for December was 5.0 percent, unchanged from November.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

4-H County-Wide Public Speaking Contest

January 28, 2016
Leigh Fuson
Front Row: Tess Barton, Peyton Norris, and Summer Morse. Back Row: Jazmine Wagner, Riley Fuson, Chloe Lawson, Ian Colwell, Jacob Hendrix, Kathryn Hale, and James Anthony Brown.
5th Grade:Leslie Sosa, Zoe Cripps, Sheridan O’Conner, and Cooper Brown
6th Grade: Evan Morse, Jacob Beaty, Kaydence Thompson, and Maeloree Kirby
7th and 10 Grade:Lily Martin and Kayla Belk

DeKalb County 4-H recently held the county-wide public speaking contest at the County Complex. Twenty youth from various grades competed to earn a spot at the regional contest and for cash awards. The 4th-6th graders were all winners from their classroom contests held last fall.

In 4th grade, 1st place was awarded to Tess Barton from DeKalb West School, 2nd place to Peyton Norris from Northside Elementary, and 3rd place to Summer Morse from the homeschool 4-H club. Other participants from Northside included Jazmine Wagner, Chloe Lawson, Ian Colwell, Jacob Hendrix, Kathryn Hale, and James Anthony Brown. Riley Fuson from DeKalb West School was also a contestant.

In the 5th grade division, four Northside students participated. First place went to Cooper Brown, 2nd to Sheridan O’Conner, 3rd to Zoe Cripps, and 4th to Leslie Sosa. The 6th grade winner was Evan Morse from the homeshool 4-H club. Jacob Beaty, 2nd place, Kaydence Thompson, 3rd place, and Maeloree Kirby, 4th place, all represented DeKalb Middle School.

Lily Martin, 7th grader at DeKalb West School, and Kayla Belk, 10th grader at DCHS, also competed and will move on to the regional contest along with Tess, Peyton, Cooper, Sheridan, Evan, and Jacob. We know they will represent DeKalb County well!

Public speaking is one of the most important and valuable skills these young people will learn to help them with their future careers. There were a total of around 350 4-H members who gave a speech this year! We are proud of their hard work and courage. For more information about the 4-H program, please contact the UT/TSU Extension Office at 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions:

4th Grade:
Front Row: Tess Barton, Peyton Norris, and Summer Morse. Back Row: Jazmine Wagner, Riley Fuson, Chloe Lawson, Ian Colwell, Jacob Hendrix, Kathryn Hale, and James Anthony Brown.

5th Grade:
Leslie Sosa, Zoe Cripps, Sheridan O’Conner, and Cooper Brown

6th Grade:
Evan Morse, Jacob Beaty, Kaydence Thompson, and Maeloree Kirby

7th and 10 Grade:
Lily Martin and Kayla Belk


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