Local News Articles

Jordan Wilkins Re-Elected Chairman of DeKalb Democratic Party

March 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jordan Wilkins
DeKalb Democratic Party Officers: Secretary Joyce Hendrixson, Vice Chairman Harry Lasser, Chairman Jordan Wilkins, and Treasurer Myra Miller
DeKalb Democratic Executive Committee: Seated Secretary Joyce Hendrixson, Vice Chairman Harry Lasser, Chairman Jordan Wilkins, and Treasurer Myra Miller; Standing left to right: David McDowell, Carelis Garcia, Dennis Boland, Billie Ann Tubbs, Deana Green, Debbie France, Rhonda Harpole, Amanda Blair, Shara Cowan, Pat Parkerson, Terry Little, Shane Brock and Gary Prater.

Jordan Wilkins was re-elected to a new term as Chairman of the DeKalb County Democratic Party Saturday during the Biennial Reorganization Convention held at the courthouse.

The other incumbent party officers were also elected including Vice Chairman Harry Lasser, Secretary Joyce Hendrixson, and Treasurer Myra Miller. All were unopposed.

The terms are for two years.

In addressing the convention, Wilkins outlined his vision for the local party. “Over the next two years there are things I would like to set out as goals and initiatives for our party. September is voter registration month and I will be talking to different businesses that will allow us to set up a booth to do voter registration to try and register as many people as possible because I believe it will benefit our party,” he said.

“I would also like to set up a phone bank. I have a list from each of our districts of all our Democratic voters. I would like to call these Democrats and ask them to come to our meetings because we’re trying to grow this party and need their input. I want to set up this phone bank in the near future and have volunteers come in and call these people to get them involved in the party,” said Wilkins.

“I would like for us to do better fundraising for this party. I want us to be able to help out our local candidates because we know the Republicans have the money advantage on us.”

“Another thing I am doing is getting us set up on a mass email system so that when we have an event like this or a chili supper or whatever we’re going to be able to send out a mass email to you,” added Wilkins.

In other business, the following members of the DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee were named to two year terms.

First District: Johnny Florida and Pat Parkerson

Second District: Ronnie Redmon and Debbie France

Third District: Rhonda Harpole and Terry Little

Fourth District: David McDowell and Billie Ann Tubbs

Fifth District: Shara Cowan and Dennis Boland

Sixth District: Gary Prater and Deana Green

Seventh District: Amanda Blair and Shane Brock

Ex-Offico members: Hispanic representative Carelis Garcia and Katie Parker representing the Young Democrats.

4-H Horse Judging Team Takes Top Honors

March 25, 2017
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Group:DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging Teams (Back Row) Creston Bain, Jenna Cantrell, and Clayton Crook (Middle Row) Riley Fuson, Laura Good, and Ansley Cantrell (Front Row) Hannah Redmon, Shaelee Foster, and Hannah Redmon
1st Place: The Junior Team of Hannah Redmon, Hailey Redmon, Riley Fuson, and Ayden Jones (not pictured) won 1st place the regional horse judging contest. Hannah was 3rd high individual and Riley placed 5th.
4th Place: The Junior team of Ansley Cantrell, Shaelee Foster, and Laura Good placed 4th at the regional horse judging contest. Ansley was 6th high individual.

The DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging teams recently competed in the Central Region contest held at MTSU in Murfreesboro. During this event, youth put their decision-making skills and horse knowledge to the test. Contestants watched four performance (riding) classes that included hunter under saddle, western pleasure, trail, hunt seat equitation, and walking horses. The horses in each class were ranked 1-4 based on specific criteria needed for that discipline of riding. Three halter, or conformation, classes were also judged. These horses were judged on muscling, structure, and balance. After ranking the horses, the 4-H’ers’ decision was compared to that of the official judge, and a score was awarded.

The Junior (4th & 5th grades) team of Riley Fuson, Ayden Jones, Hailey Redmon, and Hannah Redmon took top honors and placed 1st overall, 1st in the halter division, and 3rd in performance. Hannah placed 3rd overall individually and 2nd in the performance division. Riley was the 5th high individual and placed 2nd in halter. The other Junior team of Ansley Cantrell, Shaelee Foster, and Laura Good placed 4th overall and 1st in the performance division. Ansley was 6th high individual overall and 3rd in performance. Jenna Cantrell also competed as an individual in the Jr. High (6th-8th grades) division, while Clayton Crook and Creston Bain competed in the Sr. High (9th-12th grade) division.

“It felt really good to win first place for our county. The meetings and studying really paid off!” said Hannah Redmon. Hailey Redmon said, “This was my first year of judging, and I loved it. Winning first place is a wonderful feeling!” Teams practiced several times before the contest and represented DeKalb County very well at this regional event of over 250 participants! Each 4-H member should feel proud of their accomplishments and hard work. To learn more about horse judging, or any 4-H activity, please contact the DeKalb County Extension Office at 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions:

Group:DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging Teams (Back Row) Creston Bain, Jenna Cantrell, and Clayton Crook (Middle Row) Riley Fuson, Laura Good, and Ansley Cantrell (Front Row) Hannah Redmon, Shaelee Foster, and Hannah Redmon

1st Place: The Junior Team of Hannah Redmon, Hailey Redmon, Riley Fuson, and Ayden Jones (not pictured) won 1st place the regional horse judging contest. Hannah was 3rd high individual and Riley placed 5th.

4th Place: The Junior team of Ansley Cantrell, Shaelee Foster, and Laura Good placed 4th at the regional horse judging contest. Ansley was 6th high individual.

Walk Across Tennessee Contest to Kick-Off April 10

March 25, 2017

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your health, yet nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting the activity they need. Consider taking up walking with friends or your family by participating in Walk Across Tennessee, which is an eight-week program that will spark some friendly competitions in DeKalb County. The event is being conducted by the University of Tennessee Extension office of DeKalb County. Beginning Monday, April 10th teams of eight will compete to see who can log the most miles walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of exercise in their community. Biking or jogging teams can have a team of four. The miles walked are not literally across the state, but reported on a map posted at the UT Extension Office, Green Brook Park, Smithville Review, online and social media.

Since everyone participates in a variety of sports, the Walk Across Tennessee program also has an exercise conversion chart so that participants can count aerobics, swimming, weight lifting, etc. For example, 16 minutes of high intensity aerobics would equal one mile.

The Walk Across Tennessee kickoff for DeKalb County is set for Monday, April 10 at Green Brook Park at 6:00 PM. “Teams will keep track of their miles, which will be posted in the Extension office, Greenbrook park, Smithville review, on social media and the UT Extension of DeKalb County website at http://dekalb.tennessee.edu. Teams can be composed of coworkers, teachers, students, neighbors, etc. This is an excellent team competition for the workplace, neighborhoods, and families” said April Martin, DeKalb County Extension Agent. For general reporting purposes, 20 minutes will equal one mile.”

According to Martin, “There will be prizes for the winning teams and individuals. There will also be weekly team challenges and prizes for that. There is no cost to participate. Remember if most of the team members are runners or bicyclists, the team is limited to 4 people. To join Walk Across Tennessee, first choose your team of up to 8. Then choose a team captain and go to our website at dekalb.tennessee.edu to download the registration forms. Registration is due before or on Monday, April 10.” We also have team captain packets at the UT Extension office and at the fitness center located in the DeKalb County Complex building at 722 South Congress Building in Smithville.”

Many people are unaware of the positive benefits of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 problem in the United States. The risk of heart disease could be significantly reduced by regular exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control, the positive effects of physical activity are not limited to lowering the risk of heart disease. Not only does regular exercise help relieve stress and anxiety,” physically active people outlive inactive people. Participating in Walk Across Tennessee DeKalb County is not only a great way to get involved with our community, it’s a healthy habit,” Martin stated.

“Competition kicks off on Monday, April 10, 6:00 PM. at Green Brook Park under pavilion one,” Martin said. “Come out and plan to have lots of fun.” For more information, call the Extension office at 597-4945 or visit the website.

All of the programs of the University of Tennessee are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability. .

Democrats Considering Historic Move of Eliminating Local Primary

March 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Democrats Considering Historic Move of Eliminating Local Primary

Should the DeKalb County Democratic Party choose its nominees for county offices by convention rather than a primary?

In order to ensure that bona fide Democrats are nominees of the Democratic Party, a party by-laws amendment has been proposed to authorize the DeKalb County Democratic Party Executive Committee to choose the nomination process for the following county offices: County Mayor, General Sessions Judge, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, County Clerk, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Road Supervisor, Assessor of Property, County Commissioners, and Constables. Having a convention rather than a primary would allow Democratic candidates to save money on primary costs and spare money to spend for the general election. The cost to the taxpayers of holding a primary is approximately $20,000.

The proposal does not apply to the city mayors and aldermen and school board members because they are non-partisan positions

Under the plan, candidates interested in becoming a party nominee for a county office would have two months prior to the convention to send a letter stating why they wish to seek the party nomination and provide a brief biography by the time of the mass meeting. The mass meeting would be held one week prior to the convention allowing potential candidates an opportunity to formally announce their candidacies.

The nominating convention composed of the executive committee would nominate and elect candidates who have sent letters to the executive committee for consideration. Candidates would be given an opportunity to address the executive committee and to answer questions by the committee. Anyone receiving a majority vote from the committee would become the nominee for that office representing the Democratic Party. If no one receives a majority vote on the first round, the top two ranking candidates would be voted on again by the executive committee.

Party nominees selected by the convention would be on the August General Election ballot to run against any Republican and or Independent candidates for those offices. However anyone who fails to receive the nomination of either party cannot then run as an Independent in the general election that year. Under state law, (TCA 2-5-101) no candidate in a party primary or party caucus may appear on the ballot in a general election as the nominee of a different political party or as an independent

The DeKalb County Republican Party has historically chosen its party nominees for county offices by caucus consisting of delegates chosen from each district of the county.

The DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee is made up of twenty members, including a man and woman from each of the seven county commission districts along with the party officers, chairman, vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer, as well as two ex-officio members including an Hispanic and Young Democrats representative.

A Biennial Reorganization Convention to elect party leaders will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 10:00 a.m. at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Two meetings will be held. The first meeting will be for the sole purpose of reorganization in order for the convention to officially elect the executive committee. That is all the business according to the state bylaws that can be presented at the first meeting. Immediately following the reorganization convention, an executive committee meeting will be held where the proposed bylaws change will be considered by the board. The executive committee will open the floor to hear from everyone in attendance who wishes to express concerns. After taking comments, the committee will vote on whether to move forward with the proposed bylaws change, to make other changes, or to drop the proposal completely.

Smithville/DeKalb Senior Center to Serve Congregate Meals

March 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling
Smithville Senior Citizens Director Pam Redmon

The Smithville/DeKalb Senior Center will soon become a new congregate meal site for the Smithville area.

What is a congregate meal site? Congregate meals are a place where seniors 60 or over can gather to enjoy fellowship and a nutritionally balanced noon-time meal. Currently meals are being served in the Alexandria and Liberty Senior Centers.

Effective April 3, the Senior Center located at 718 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville will begin serving lunch from 11 a.m. until 11: 30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

County Mayor Tim Stribling told WJLE the Area Agency on Aging and Disability, a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District, obtained a grant to purchase a steam table for the Smithville Senior Center with no cost to the county. This allows Senior Director Pam Redmon to offer congregate meals to senior citizens at the center and to promote awareness of the activities the center has to offer. The meals are provided by UCHRA through their nutritional program.

Anyone age 60 or older is eligible to receive a meal at the congregate site and a donation is suggested. In order to assure a meal, reservations must be made the day before. A reservation sign-up will be at the front desk of the Senior Center and you may register by phone at 615-597-7575. No takeouts.

County Commission to Make Beer Board Appointments

March 23, 2017
Dwayne Page

Four members of the DeKalb County Beer Board may soon be up for appointment to an established term by the county commission.

Last year the commission voted to set terms for members of the beer board. All seven members serve as appointees and the terms are staggered with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th district positions being appointed in odd years. The 2nd, 4th, & 6th district seats are filled in even years. The beer board is to re-organize (name officers) every year.

In March last year Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Robert Rowe in the 4th district and Leonard Dickens in the 6th district were appointed. Each term is for two years effective in April. Names of each appointee were placed in nomination by the county commissioners in their districts, 2nd, 4th, and 6th and then voted on by the entire county commission.

Members of the beer board are Jim Stagi in the 1st district, Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Edward Frazier in the 3rd district, Robert Rowe in the 4th district, Rhonda Caplinger in the 5th district, Leonard Dickens in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district.

The county commission meets next Monday night, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse.

Parsley Receives "Classroom Champion" Award

March 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Kristen Parsley
Attorney Jim Judkins, DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant, Kristen Parsley, Leslie and Bruce Parsley, and Dwayne Page of WJLE

Kristen Parsley is the recipient of this week’s “Classroom Champion” award presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE.

Parsley, daughter of Bruce and Leslie Parsley and Barry and Elizabeth Young of Smithville, is a senior at DeKalb County High School. She recently received the honor and a special gift card from Judkins.

Kristen is an honors student with a 28 on her ACT. Currently, she is enrolled in two AP courses: Chemistry and Calculus AB. The BETA Club, Science Club, and the Literature Club are just a few of the things she enjoys being involved in. She also enjoys playing tennis, volunteering around town, and being involved in her youth group at the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Kristen plans to study Animal Science/Pre Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee at Martin before she furthers her education at the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next few weeks.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, citizenship, and character, “said Judkins.

DCHS Class of 2017 Solicits Support for Project Graduation

March 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Susan Webb

Members of the DCHS Class of 2017 are asking for your support of Project Graduation.

Susan Webb, a DCHS Senior, urges you to stop by any DeKalb County branch office of Liberty State Bank to make a donation.

“I am a football cheerleader, tennis player, and a member of FBLA, Student Council, BETA, and the Literature Club at DeKalb County High School. More importantly, I am a member of the 2017 graduating class. We are raising funds for our Project Graduation event that will take place the night of graduation in May. We will have food and fun activities. It is designed to keep us safe from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. In order to hold this event, we must raise funds and request the community’s help. Please stop by your local branch of Liberty State Bank in Alexandria, Liberty, or Smithville and make a donation to our account. All help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support,” said Webb.

New Law Cracks Down on Uninsured Drivers in Tennessee

March 21, 2017
Dwayne Page

Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law now requires motor vehicle owners to maintain proof of liability insurance coverage in the event of a car accident or a verifiable exemption. The Department of Revenue has also developed an online system to verify financial responsibility in order to hold Tennessee drivers accountable.

Starting in 2017, uninsured drivers in Tennessee will pay fines and risk losing the right to drive their vehicles if they don’t have proper auto insurance or another form of financial responsibility in place.

The required minimum limits of your liability car insurance are:

*$25,000 for each injury or death per accident.

*$50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident.

*$15,000 for property damage per accident.

The state’s new electronic insurance verification system matches your vehicle identification number (VIN) with your automobile insurance policy information. Rather than checking for insurance coverage at the time of registration renewal, the system will check for insurance coverage on a continual basis.

If the system cannot match your vehicle’s VIN to a corresponding policy, you’ll get a letter from the state asking you to visit www.driveinsuredtn.com and provide proof of insurance or another form of financial responsibility.

Make sure your VIN is correct on registration and insurance documents to avoid unnecessary notifications from the Department of Revenue.

If you do not respond to the request for information letter within 30 days, you will receive additional notices and potentially have to pay up to $125 in fines. You will also risk having your vehicle registration suspended and losing the right to drive your car if you fail to obtain automobile insurance or some other form of financial responsibility.

To learn more, visit www.driveinsuredtn.com or contact the DeKalb County Clerk’s Office. You may also email insurance.verification@tn.gov

Senator Mae Beavers Considering Run for Governor

March 21, 2017
Dwayne Page
Senator Mae Beavers Considering Run for Governor

State Senator Mae Beavers is reportedly considering a run for Governor in 2018.

The four term Republican Senator from Mount Juliet, who represents DeKalb County in the State Senate, has not yet filed any official paperwork and is still in the very early stages of a potential campaign.

Republicans Randy Boyd of Knoxville, former Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner and State Senator Mark Green of Clarksville have already officially declared and State House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and U.S. Rep. Diane Black are considering campaigns. But Green is now being considered for Secretary of the Army by President Donald Trump.

On the Democratic side, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is the only formally declared candidate and Democratic House Leader Craig Fitzhugh is considering a run.


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