Local News Articles

Corps Announces Changes in Recreation Day Use Fees

December 23, 2015

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today that beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the recreation day use fees charged for boat launches and swimming beaches managed by USACE will change to a simpler fee structure. The fee for a USACE annual pass to these facilities will also change.

These fees were last changed in 2002.

Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom, and Long Branch Campground at Center Hill Lake will also see a change in camping fees and the fee for a Special Use Permit, which covers events, facilities and activities.

USACE conducted a review of its fee structure earlier this year and determined that fee changes are needed to ensure USACE fees remain comparable and fair to those charged by other local providers for similar facilities and services.

The day use fee structure at USACE-managed facilities will vary depending upon the comparability study conducted by each USACE project, but the minimum day use fees beginning in January will be as follows:

•Minimum day use fee of $5.00 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle.

•Minimum day use fee of $2.00 per adult for walk-in or bike-in.

•Minimum day use fee of $20.00 will be charged per bus or commercial vehicle.

•Children under the age of 16 are not charged a day use fee.

Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a USACE-operated recreation area for that day.

A USACE annual day use pass may be purchased for $40, which permits the holder and accompanying passengers the daily use of facilities managed by USACE for one calendar year. The public will also be able to obtain Interagency America the Beautiful Passes at more than 240 USACE projects across the country.

For information on the new fee structure, visitors should contact their local USACE recreation project. A directory of project offices is available at www.CorpsLakes.us.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

Patterson Accused of Threatening Woman and Child with Knife

December 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
Christopher Neal Patterson
Nicholas Paul Benedict
 Keith Alan Crum
Lamar Freeman Jackson, Jr.

The Sheriff's Department has arrested a 46 year old man for allegedly threatening a woman and child with a knife.

Christopher Neal Patterson of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, December 17 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Big Hickory Court due to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer questioned a woman who said that Patterson had put a knife to her throat and said he would kill her and their youngest son. Patterson was placed under arrest.

Meanwhile 26 year old Nicholas Paul Benedict of South Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. He was also issued citations for simple possession of schedule II & III drugs. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, December 18 Benedict allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by hitting her in the abdomen area with a broom handle. He also allegedly grabbed and shoved her into a wall. The woman had physical marks from the assault. Benedict was placed under arrest. Upon a search of his person, Benedict was found to have in his possession a small green container that held one-three quarter peach colored pill believed to be suboxone and one and a quarter white pill thought to be hydrocodone.

45 year old Keith Alan Crum of Wolf Creek Road, Silver Point is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court February 25. Sheriff Ray said that on October 25 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Wolf Creek Road due to a domestic incident between Crum and a woman. Upon arrival the officer learned that Crum had left the area. The victim said Crum had grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a wall causing scratches and slight bleeding to her neck. The woman said she was afraid that Crum would return home and cause her further bodily harm. Crum was arrested on December 16.

68 year old Lamar Freeman Jackson, Jr. of Farewell Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for no insurance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and due care. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on January 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 16 a deputy responded to a wreck on Nashville Highway. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the driver, Jackson who was unsteady on his feet. Jackson's speech was slurred and he was unaware of his surroundings. Jackson had run his 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis off an embankment. Jackson told the officer that he had taken prescription medication and smoked marijuana. The officer found two pipes containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the car. Jackson could not provide proof of insurance. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and also consented to a blood test. Jackson was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

26 year old Matthew Tyler Hale of Walker Drive, Smithville is charged with violating an order of protection. Sheriff Ray said that Hale is the respondent on an order of protection that was served on the morning of December 15 and violated the order that day by contacting the petitioner multiple times by cell phone from approximately 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 7.

Chris Russell Named Alexandria Police Chief

December 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell and Officers Dillon Hulse and Travis Hawkins
City Attorney Vester Parsley Swears In Chris Russell as Alexandria Police Chief
Randy Payne was sworn into office as Alderman in Alexandria Tuesday night to succeed Pat Jackson who has resigned. Payne was appointed to the position by the Board of Aldermen

Alexandria has a new Chief of Police.

Chris Russell, who has been serving as interim chief for the past month, was officially named chief during Tuesday night's regular monthly meeting of the Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen. He was sworn in by City Attorney Vester Parsley.

Russell told WJLE after the meeting that he looks forward to continue serving the people of Alexandria in this new role. "I've been with the Alexandria Police Department for a little over nine years now. I've been in law enforcement for going on seventeen years. Since I've been here I started as a patrolman and got promoted to sergeant and have been in that position for the last eight years," said Chief Russell.

"As a department we're going to continue to work on the drug problem in the community. I think that (drugs) leads to other crimes as far as burglaries, assaults and things like that so this is going to be our main focus," he said.

In addition to Chief Russell, the Alexandria Police Department is made up of officers Dillon Hulse and Travis Hawkins. " Dillon Hulse has been with us for about three months now. Our newest officer is Travis Hawkins. He just started within the last month. Both men have completed training at the state law enforcement academy," Chief Russell continued.

"I just look forward to continue serving the community. If anybody has any concerns, feel free to come to me and address them and we'll see what we can do for you," he concluded.

The aldermen officially hired Hawkins as an officer during Tuesday night's meeting. Both Hulse and Hawkins are from Wilson County.

Meanwhile, the aldermen voted to appoint Randy Payne as alderman to fill a position left vacant by Pat Jackson who has resigned. Payne was sworn into office by City Attorney Vester Parsley.

DeKalb Man Charged in Florida Pharmacy Burglary

December 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Jason Cripps

A DeKalb County man, who tried to flee from Florida authorities after allegedly breaking into a pharmacy, was arrested last month after crashing his vehicle during a pursuit.

37 year old Jason Cripps, at last report, was being held in the Indian River County Jail in Florida on $61,000 bond charged with felony burglary of a structure, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and resisting arrest without violence.

Early Saturday morning, November 28 the Indian River County Sheriff's Office received a call from the CVS Pharmacy security team that the store located at 53rd Street and US Highway 1 was being broken into. The CVS security team advised that a white van with a ladder rack was seen fleeing from the location. Deputy Christian Mathisen observed the vehicle northbound on US Highway 1 and attempted to stop it. The white van fled from him and eventually crashed into a wooded area, where the driver, Jason Cripps was apprehended.

Alexandria Man Seeks Support for a Garden Park

December 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ricky Harris

An Alexandria man is seeking donations and volunteers to develop a community garden park on property owned by the Town of Alexandria.

Ricky Harris has already received permission from the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen to proceed with the project. "I would like to do a revitalization of the old park behind the Osborne grocery store. Its roughly right at four acres. It's actually been untouched for a little over 20 years. It's just an overgrowth field," Harris told WJLE.

At first Harris thought about doing something on a smaller scale as a way of giving back to his community but later decided on a garden park because it would serve a greater number of people. "I serve on the Board for my church the First Baptist Church of Alexandria for Community Projects. What I was originally thinking was to reach out to four or five families and maybe try to do some yard work and that sort of thing. But it occurred to me that we had a bigger project at hand that would affect the whole community," he said.

Although work has begun to clear the property from brush and overgrowth, Harris said more help is needed. " The first phase is to get the property clear. I've actually already went in and done some clearing. We've cleared the lower bottom part of it now and opened it up. Right now I'm primarily doing it with volunteers so I'm looking for volunteers to help me. Saturday, January 2 is the actual kick-off date. That's the date we want volunteers to come out and start helping with chainsaws and clearing some more of the brush back. I figured January 2 would be a good day starting the new year," Harris continued.

Once the land is cleared, Harris hopes to develop the park for all ages to enjoy. " I want to open up the park itself for the community. The overall goal is to put in picnic tables and a walking trail with a bridge over a brook that's already there. There is a pad for basketball goals. But I would eventually like to have a place for the kids to come and be a part of a garden that we want to put in. A raised bed garden. There's actually a push that has been going on in Tennessee if you watch PBS. It's called Pick Green Tennessee. There's been projects throughout the whole state. I know one that has taken place in Chattanooga where they took some land and opened it up. They went in and re-did it putting in a garden which got kids off the street and gave them something hands on to do to help them stay out of trouble so to speak but it also gave them a place to go and reunite with others and talk about their issues. They can reap what they sow as well and help feed their families," said Harris.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or give a donation to the effort is welcome to do so. "We're actually going to reach out to local businesses and also to the public. If anybody would like to make a monetary donation or help by donating materials they can talk to mayor Bennett Armstrong. Overall, probably $4,500 is what we need to cover it. We plan to do it in phases but we would like to have it done before Easter to do a community Easter Egg Hunt. If anyone wants to help they can contact me personally at 615- 306-9033," Harris concluded.

Omega Apparel Announces the Grand Opening of New Nashville Design and Production Facility

December 21, 2015
Omega Apparel Announces the Grand Opening of New Nashville Design and Production Facility

Authentically American! Omega Apparel continues it 22-year long history of making apparel in the US with the opening of a new design and production facility in Nashville. Omega Apparel now occupies two Tennessee based facilities. A 100,000 square foot facility in Smithville and the new 20,000 square foot facility in Nashville. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 5225 Harding Place, Nashville, on Tuesday, January 12th at 10:45am. Mayor Barry will speak and participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new Nashville facility will showcase Omega’s new expanded capabilities; full service design and business consultation, and small batch production. “We are now able to service all customers large and small” shared Shelley Sarmiento, Chief Strategy Officer and Design Director. “Our newest Boutique Services model is focused on servicing the fashion community in Nashville. Our customer’s needs range from celebrity clothing lines, tactical khakis, plaid shirts, doll clothing, pet designs, and much more. Our goal is to enable our customers to go from initial concept to full production, all right here in Nashville and proudly claim 100% Made in USA.”

“The opening of Omega’s Nashville facility is a game changer for our regional fashion brands in Nashville” continued Van Tucker, CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA). “The proximity of the creative and manufacturing processes in the apparel industry is a critical component for emerging fashion brands. At every stage of development, the Omega Apparel Team have embraced our regional brands to help them find quality, affordable American manufacturing and conquer one of our key challenges as an industry.”

“The heart of our mission at Omega is creating jobs and building a great place to work. The opening of our new facility in Nashville will enable our goal of adding 1000+ jobs over the next 5-years. Omega Apparel is Authentically American and we will be a catalyst in rebuilding the US Apparel industry” proclaimed Dean Wegner, President and CEO.

Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Omega Apparel was founded in 1994 and now includes 4 Divisions: Military, Commercial, Omega Brand, and Private Label. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega operates two Tennessee based production and design facilities in Nashville and Smithville. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. Omega Apparel is both committed and proud to be 100% Made in the USA. To learn more visit http://omegaapparelinc.com/.

Candidates for School Board, City, and State Races May Obtain Petitions Starting January 8

December 19, 2015
Dwayne Page

While the first election of 2016 is the local Democratic Primary and Presidential Primary, potential candidates for August can soon pick up qualifying petitions

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, says candidates for local school board, city and state representative races can obtain qualifying petitions beginning January 8. Those petitions must be returned by Noon April 7

The DeKalb County General and Tennessee State primaries are set for August 4.

Offices to be elected locally in August along with assessor of property and constable are school board seats for districts 4, 5, and 6. W.J. (Dub) Evins, III currently serves in District 5, Doug Stephens in District 6 and Kate Miller is filling her husband’s unexpired term in District 4.

On the state level, offices up for grabs are State Representatives in Districts 40 and 46 (currently held by Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody, respectively) and 6th District Congressman, currently held by Diane Black.

Also on the ballot in August are three municipal elections—Dowelltown, Liberty and Smithville.

In Smithville, voters will elect three aldermen. The incumbents up for re-election are Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected in Dowelltown. The positions are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Kevin Kent.

Liberty voters will choose four aldermen. Three of them to serve four years and the fourth to fill the remaining one year of an unexpired term. The three positions up for election to new four year terms are now held by Jason Ray, Paul Neal, and Todd Dodd. The person elected to the fourth seat will serve the last year of an unexpired term. J.D. Bratten currently holds that position.

To close out the year, the Presidential and Tennessee General elections will be held on November 8.

Smithville Police Arrest Two in Burglary at Broad Way Market

December 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Anthony W. Hale
Jeremy W. Fenton

Smithville Police have made two arrests stemming from a recent burglary and theft at Broad Way Market.

24 year old Anthony W. Hale and 38 year old Jeremy W. Fenton are each charged with theft of property under $500 and burglary. Fenton was also charged with vandalism. Bond for Hale is $6,500. Fenton's bond is $8,000. Both will make a court appearance on January 21.

Chief Mark Collins said that at 1:56 a.m. on Wednesday, December 16 police were dispatched to Broad Way Market due to a burglar alarm. Upon arrival, officers noticed the front door broken and a large rock lying on the floor inside the store. The owner provided video surveillance footage which showed two persons making their way through the store and taking 10 cartons of cigarettes. Later that day detectives identified the men and spoke with them at their residence. Another person, 36 year old Tara Kay Campbell gave police consent to search the premises where they found the stolen carton of cigarettes taken from Broad Way Market along with two scales used in illegal drug activity and four hypodermic needles.

As a result of the investigation, Hale and Fenton were placed under arrest. Campbell was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is January 7.

28 year old Antolin Guerra Castillo was arrested Friday, December 11 for a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. Smithville Police were dispatched to the area of South Congress Boulevard and East Broad Street in reference to a possible intoxicated driver. Officers located the vehicle, unoccupied, at Kwik N Ezy and they were able to identify Castillo as the driver from store surveillance
cameras. Castillo had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. A computer check through Central Dispatch revealed Castillo's driver's license were revoked for a DUI in 2009. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is January 7.

24 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins was arrested for domestic assault on Sunday, December 13. Police were dispatched to a domestic violence call and learned that Judkins punched and choked the victim before their arrival. His bond is $1,500.

55 year old Nickey E. Cantrell was arrested for DUI on Monday, December 14. Police received a call of a driver traveling all over the highway on South Congress Boulevard. The investigating officer was informed that the vehicle had turned into Jewel's Market. He found the automobile in the parking lot of the business with a man passed out at the wheel. The officer awoke the driver, Cantrell who was confused and his speech was slow and slurred. Cantrell submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Bond is $1,500 and his court date is January 28.

42 year old Bobbie Freddie Phillips was arrested on Friday, December 18 for domestic assault. On that day police responded to a possible domestic and upon arrival spoke with the victim. After a further investigation, it was determined that Phillips and the victim had gotten into a verbal argument that became physical. According to the warrant, the victim was pushed into a corner and then fell on the floor. Phillips then got on top and hit the victim in the face. Bond for Phillips is $5,000 and the court date is January 1.

Hospital Associates Play Santa to Needy Teens

December 18, 2015
Shan Burklow
Pictured: The boys of Indian Mound Boys Home tear into gifts donated by the associates of ST Stones River and Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospitals.
Pictured: (from left to right) Saint Thomas DeKalb associates Linda Youngblood, Missy Pack, Angela Crick, along with her daughter Anslee volunteer to play Santa’s helpers to teens of the Indian Mound Boys Home as CEO Sue Conley looks on.
Pictured: Gifts are overflowing below the tree that associates decorated especially for the teens of Indian Mound Boys Home.

Saint Thomas DeKalb and Saint Thomas Stones River’s associates look forward to the holidays every year, but it’s not the holiday ham or Christmas egg nog that gets these two regional hospitals most excited. The staff works hard all year long doing whatever it takes to bring Christmas to needy teens in their area. From bake sales to ham raffles, the associates raise thousands from their own pockets ensuring that the teens of the Indian Mound Boys Home have a very Merry Christmas.

The funds raised provides a new pair of shoes, and an outfit for each teen. A special Christmas party is held in their honor, with a surprise visit from Santa. It takes nearly three dozen pizzas to feed these hungry teens. Stockings full of gifts and homemade treats from the dietary department are presented to all, along with a tin of warm cookies.

“This event is the highlight of our holiday season,” said CEO Sue Conley, “Many of these boys have no family or home to visit for the holidays, so this is the only Christmas they will have. Last year, one of the boys asked for tape so that he could re-wrap his gifts and open them again on Christmas morning. He said it was the first presents he had ever unwrapped. It’s things like this that show us how blessed we truly are.”

“I am always amazed at the outpouring of generosity that comes from our staff when we ask,” said Marketing Director Shan Burklow, “They give generously to anyone in need all year long, not just for a single event. We not only raised money to help the teens at Indian Mound Boys Home, but also adopted seventeen homeless and needy babies in our area - providing them clothes, diapers, and blankets. Our staff was so moved by their extreme needs, that they even purchased scarves and gloves for the moms as well. In a way, it’s like we are celebrating Christmas all year long,” Burklow smiled, “Helping others is what our associates do best.”

To see more photos from these holiday events, join their facebook pages: Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital / Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital

2016 Presidential Primary Ballot Now Set

December 18, 2015

Thursday marked an important milestone on the road to the White House, which will cross Tennessee during the 2016 election cycle. Secretary of State Tre Hargett has now certified the names of presidential candidates for the March 1 presidential preference primary, or “SEC Primary,” when Tennessee will join six other southern states to help decide who will be the next president of the United States.

“It is likely one of these men or women will hold our country’s highest elected office. Hopefully Tennesseans understand how much of an impact their votes will make,” Secretary Hargett said.

It’s important to note that once a candidate is certified for a party primary they are unable to appear on the November 8 general election ballot as the nominee of a different political party. Hargett presented the list of 14 Republicans and three Democrats to the State Election Commission December 1.

The following candidates will be placed 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

Noon Thursday was also the withdrawal deadline for 2016 presidential delegate candidates. Delegate candidates cannot be considered qualified unless the Division of Elections received a letter from a presidential campaign identifying them. The finalized list is posted at: sos.tn.gov/elections.

Both the Tennessee Republican Party and the Tennessee Democratic Party have their own rules about how someone becomes a presidential delegate. The Republican presidential delegates are decided by election, which is coordinated through the division. The Democratic presidential delegates are decided by party rules. More information can be found here: sos.tn.gov/products/elections/qualifying-procedures-2016-presidential-delegates.


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