Local News Articles

4th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic Set for Saturday

July 14, 2015
Dwayne Page

The 4th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic will be held Saturday, July 18 at Riverwatch to raise money for a Cannon County woman with local ties who is suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The event is hosted by the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation and this year's recipient is Edith Johnson McReynolds.

"She was diagnosed a year ago. Mrs. McReynolds is the mother of five children. One is in college and the others will be entering college soon. She really needs a benefit to help overcome medical bills and for her kids to go to school too," said spokesman Tyler Cantrell. Her father is J.E. Johnson from DeKalb County and she has two brothers from here.

The golf classic began four years ago to help families who have been affected by cancer. Those wishing to be served must first apply. A committee then reviews the applications and selects a recipient each year. The man for whom the classic is named, the late Earl Judkins, was an avid golfer and a cancer patient. "Earl was my brother. He had colon cancer. My mother Marie Judkins also had colon cancer. We have been hit with cancer like many other families in our community," said Ivadell Randolph.

Our family was also affected by cancer four years ago with my sister Amy Miller so we know how hard it is for families," said Cantrell.

In addition to Miller, previous recipients of the benefit golf classic were Chrissy Means and Gracie Dezarn.

This Golf Classic begins with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. "Tee time is at eight a.m. Show up a little bit beforehand. That way we can sign you up, get you a goodie bag, and place you on a team if you don't have a team. We do take individual golfers for $75.00. You can bring your own team for $300," said Cantrell.

"We partner with Modern Woodmen of America. They do matching funds up to $2,500. If we were fortunate enough make three thousand they will give another $2,500," said Randolph.

"If you want to come out Saturday and meet Edith and make a donation that would be great too," added Cantrell.

The entry deadline is Wednesday, July 15. The format is a 4-person A,B,C,D, Scramble/Own Team-Best Ball. For more information contact Tyler Cantrell at tcantrell@cosma.com. Like them on Facebook at Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation or Phone 1-931-239-5948 or contact Riverwatch Golf Course to sign up at 1-931-761-8125. Donations may be made to the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation. Mail to 625 Foster Road, Smithville, TN 37166.

"It'll be a great day for a great cause and we'll feed you. Everybody is going to get a blessing out of it," Cantrell concluded.

Early Voting Times Set for Alexandria Municipal Election

July 14, 2015
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission voted Monday night to set the early voting hours for the Alexandria Municipal Election.


alex ballot web site newspaper.pdf (9.29 KB)

Early voting will take place at the election commission office at the courthouse in Smithville and will be held from August 14 through August 29 as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The election is being held to elect three aldermen to four year terms and to fill the remaining two years of vacant or unexpired terms of mayor and two aldermen positions.

Candidates for Mayor are Tony Tarpley and Bennett Armstrong.

Those running unopposed for the two year aldermen positions are Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss.

Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs are each running unopposed for the four year alderman terms.

Dowelltown Woman Charged with Eight Counts of Debit Card Fraud

July 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
Terra Elaine Locklear
Joseph Matthew Giles, Jr.
Austin Neal Whitworth
Reginald Hill Miller
Michael Brandon Redmon
Dustin Matthew Brewer

A Dowelltown woman is charged with using a stolen prepaid debit card in eight separate transactions within minutes of each other at Walmart to obtain more than $1,400 on Thursday, June 25.

32 year old Terra Elaine Locklear of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown will make a court appearance July 16 on eight counts of fraudulent use of a debit card. Her bond is $16,000. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Locklear used the stolen Walmart prepaid card to buy three lollipops and three Pepsi soft drinks at the self-checkout counter. In each case, she made the purchases and arranged to get one hundred dollars back. All the transactions were made within minutes of each other. She also used the card to withdraw $403 from an ATM and to purchase a money order for $401.

22 year old Joseph Matthew Giles, Jr. of Walker Lane, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500 and forgery. His bond totals $6,500 and he will make a court appearance July 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, July 5 Giles took a check belonging to a woman and forged her name before passing it in the amount of $40 at a local store. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department deputy.

34 year old Austin Neal Whitworth of Fredericktown, Missouri is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $200,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 9 a deputy arrested Whitworth on an outstanding warrant from St. Francois County, Missouri for failure to appear on a second degree domestic assault. Missouri authorities have confirmed that they will extradite.

48 year old Sandra Kay Thomason of Restview Avenue, Smithville is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (alprazolam) and driving on a revoked license. She will be in court on August 20. Sheriff Ray said that while on patrol Sunday, July 5, a deputy spotted a white Hyundai cross the center line on South College Street and run off the roadway. The officer stopped and found the driver to be Thomason. A computer check revealed that her license were revoked as of June 8, 2015. Upon a search, a pill believed to be an alprazolam was found.

30 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Woodbury Highway, Liberty is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (morphine), simple possession of a schedule II drug (Oxycodone), simple possession of a schedule IV drug (alprazolam), and possession of drug paraphernalia (straw). He will be in court August 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 8 a deputy spotted a car in a parking lot on Highway 70 west. The man inside, Pugh was believed to be passed out. After the officer awoke him, he saw that Pugh had in his possession one 60 milligram morphine pill and five- 15 milligram Oxycodone pills. As he got out of the vehicle, Pugh dropped a straw and an alprazolam pill. He had no prescription for the pills.

52 year old Reginald Hill Miller of Walker Creek Road, Alexandria is charged with assaulting his daughter and son. Miller will be in court on two counts of domestic assault on July 16. His bond totals $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, July 6 a deputy responded to a residence on Walker Creek Road in reference to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the complainant who said that she and her father, Miller had gotten into an argument and that Miller had picked her up and thrown her down twice before another family member (her brother) came in the room and restrained him. The victim said she then ran outside and called police.

In the other case, the officer spoke with Miller's son who said he was in his bedroom when he heard his sister screaming "get off me". He ran into his sister's room and found their dad, Miller standing over her. The man then grabbed Miller to restrain him so his sister could get away. Once he let go, Miller began punching his son and saying he should shoot him because he didn't deserve to live. Miller hit his son in the face several times, causing lacerations and bruising.

30 year old Michael Brandon Redmon of Holcomb Road, McMinnville, an inmate at the jail, is charged with assaulting a correctional officer. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court July 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 10 while in the recreational yard of the jail, Redmon began causing problems. When he failed to return to the jail annex as he was instructed, a correctional officer escorted him back inside. Before being placed in the cell, Redmon grabbed the correctional officer and tore his shirt. Although the officer wasn't hurt, the incident caused him to fear imminent bodily injury. Since this is the second time Redmon has assaulted a member of the staff, Sheriff Ray said he has been taken to another county jail to be housed.

27 year old Dustin Matthew Brewer of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $200,000 and he will be in court July 16. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 10 a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check on Brewer showed that he is wanted in Livingston, Michigan for breaking and entering into a building and for unlawful driving away.

Brewer's brother, 46 year old David Duane Brewer of Corinth Church Road, Smithville was picked up last month by the Sheriff's Department for the same offense, being a fugitive from justice. According to Sheriff Ray, a detective ran an NCIC computer check on David Brewer Wednesday, June 24 which revealed he was wanted in Livingston, Michigan where he is facing charges of larceny over $20,000 and two counts of unlawful driving away. David Brewer has already been extradited back to Michigan.

Some Employees of Star Manufacturing Seeking Union Representation

July 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
ome Employees of Star Manufacturing Seeking Union Representation

Issues of working conditions, workplace safety, and unrealistic production expectations are among reasons being given for why some workers at Star Manufacturing want union representation.

According to an organizer for the United Steel Workers Union, a vote is set for Thursday, July 23 at Star Manufacturing locations in Smithville and Cookeville.

"We were contacted by employees of Star Manufacturing asking us how they can be represented by our union. It was a group of over a dozen people that met to discuss why they felt like they needed a union. The group said that they were not being treated fairly in the workplace and concerns they brought to management's attention were not taken seriously or outright ignored. Issues of workplace safety, working conditions, and unrealistic production expectations were common among all that we spoke to," said Duane Prichett, an organizer with the United Steel Workers Union in an interview with WJLE Monday.

According Prichett, the complaints were shared by employees at both the Smithville and Cookeville facilities. "To determine if these concerns are widespread through the facility or if this is just a few people who feel like they're getting a raw deal, we asked them (employees) to get together a larger group of people. We then had several meetings with dozens of Star employees and they all had similar issues. We now have a large majority who have signed cards (seeking union representation)."

"During our meetings, we were informed of some troubling conditions at the plant. Supervisors and managers having outbursts of yelling and belittling workers for not getting production units out that they didn't even have parts to complete; threats of write-ups and terminations; there were safety issues as well; and lighting conditions and environmental control issues like air conditioning and heat stress putting workers at risk," said Pritchett.

"One thing that really drove home the conditions that concerned us all was that many employees complained of a work rule that prevented them from even using the bathroom for thirty minutes before or after breaks or lunch. These issues they have expressed are things that unions have fought against since the founding of unions in this country. It was apparent to us that the basic dignity and respect that men and women in the workplace must be given in this country, they were being denied. Workers deserve to be treated better than this and we'll help them fight to get something that's better for them. They deserve that," added Prichett.

WJLE contacted the Star plant manager in Smithville by telephone Monday but he declined comment at this time.

According to the NLRB website, eligible Star Manufacturing voters include all full-time and regular part-time production employees, maintenance employees, cell leaders, quality control employees, and shipping employees employed by Star Manufacturing International Inc in Smithville and shipping employees at the facility on West Broad Street in Cookeville but excluding all other employees, office clerical employees, professional employees, guards and supervisors.

The union vote in Smithville will be Thursday, July 23 from 5:00 am - 5:30 am , 6:30 am - 8:30 am, and from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Voting in Cookeville will be from 10:15 am - 10:45 am.

Star Manufacturing International, Inc. is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri but has companies in several states. Star has been making durable, reliable, quality products since 1921. That year, Star introduced its first product, a popcorn machine. Since then, the company has grown and expanded into one of the world's most respected and valued manufacturers of products in six major categories: Counter Top Gas and Electric Commercial Cooking Appliances, Hot Dog Cooking and Preparation Equipment, Popcorn Machines, Specialty Food Warmers ,Display Merchandisers, Toasters & Waffle Bakers.

Smithville Police Warns Shoppers to Beware of Purse Snatchers

July 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Captain Steven Leffew

The Smithville Police Department is warning citizens to be aware of leaving purses unattended while shopping in stores.

" We are having a lot of reports of purses being stolen from carts while customers are shopping. The thefts are occurring as shoppers have their backs to the carts while reaching for items in the stores," said Captain Steven Leffew.

"The purse snatchers wait for the shoppers to turn away then they simply walk by the carts and take the purses or wallets before the shoppers are aware of anything happening," he said.

"I would encourage everyone to be mindful of leaving purses unattended while shopping and after loading items in your vehicle remember to remove purses/wallets from the carts before returning them to the store or to the cart return areas," added Captain Leffew

First Day of School Education Celebration Set for August 3

July 12, 2015
Dwayne Page
First Day of School Education Celebration Set for August 3

The Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Monday, August 3 starting at 6:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

The celebration is held on school registration day.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, said the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year. "Our goal is to provide an evening of activities, education, and enjoyment for the residents of DeKalb County. We will be having information booths, passing out school supplies, refreshments, and various activities for the students to participate in while promoting education."

"This will also provide a time for our teachers and parents to come together to build a foundation for new and positive relationships, right from day one," said Burklow

"Our First Day of School Celebration is an opportunity for our schools to take a leadership role in re-enforcing and improving relationships among parents, teachers, students, and the community. This is the one day each year when it is both easiest and most important to enlist families as partners in our children's education. This is a great time for us to engage our families and make them feel welcome into our schools."

"So come out and join us. Everything is free that evening. We'll have free school supplies, free food, snacks and lots of community people coming together to make this event possible", said Burklow.

"There are many volunteers, churches, and organizations that come together to make this event possible for our children so they are able to start school with new supplies and a great positive attitude."

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 615- 597-4084. Volunteers are needed.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Monday, August 3 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

School Board Chairman Answers Critics over Decision to Drop Billboard

July 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III
2013 Billboard

Members of the Board of Education recently came under criticism for a decision to cut $4,100 in funding from the budget by dropping the rental of a billboard sign on Highway 70 near the high school showing a picture of several DCHS graduates with the theme "Education Counts in DeKalb County".

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, speaking at Thursday night's meeting, said while the board is dropping the billboard, students will be promoted by other means.

"When we passed the budget we took out $4,100 because of the cost of the billboard. I want the public to know that we did cut that money from this category but we are looking at a number of other options for promoting students. We've sold three (out of service) buses for $20,000 so we're planning to take some money from transportation. We want to show our appreciation to students for their accomplishments but we want to be in a position to spread that out among all the schools and not just for a few students at the high school," said Chairman Evins.

According to Evins, the billboard may not have been the most productive means of promoting students. " It is hard to identify (students pictured on the billboard). Anyone in marketing can tell you if you get too much on a billboard you are not going to be able to see anything. We just felt it (billboard) was non productive. We still want to promote those students and we intend to do that very soon," he said.

Changeable signs on school buses may be one option for promoting students. "A lot of school systems are putting advertisements on their buses. We don't want to advertise. We want to promote. By our next workshop or meeting, I'll bring some photos of those. They are not distracting. We can go to a local sign company (to have them made). If you have your student council you want to promote (for example) they can be placed on the side of a bus. There would be a lot of traffic (visibility) with it. Or you could have a first grade student who may be the principal of the day or something like that and have a sign put on there (promoting it). There are a lot of different ways to promote (our students). So we're not cutting it out. We're expanding it. We hope the public understands we're trying to promote more and not just on one billboard," said Chairman Evins.

Northside Principal Dr. Gayle Redmon Is Retiring

July 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Northside Principal Dr. Gayle Redmon Is Retiring

After forty years as an educator, Dr. Gayle Redmon has decided to retire.

She will not be returning as Principal at Northside Elementary School this fall. Assistant Principal Beth Pafford praised Dr. Redmon during Thursday night's school board meeting.

"Dr. Redmon retired as of June 30. She has served DeKalb County Schools for forty years. It has been a big passion of hers to make sure students in this county receive an excellent education. She established a tradition of excellence at Northside. For three years she has been my mentor, my partner, and my friend. She will be greatly missed. I want to let her know that we greatly appreciate her," said Pafford.

A successor to Dr. Redmon at Northside will soon be named by the next Director of Schools.

Meanwhile, Interim Director of Schools Dr. Danielle Collins presented her monthly report on personnel moves to the Board of Education Thursday night.


Pauline Braswell, Custodian at DeKalb Middle School

Carrie Lee, Pre-K Teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Amy Lee, Teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Gayle Redmon, Principal at Northside Elementary School

Shea Wiegle, Special Education Teacher at DCHS

Smithville Police Find Men with Drugs and Paraphernalia

July 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Find Men with Drugs and Paraphernalia
Ricky Wayne Murphy
Mindy Celas Magourik
Julie Elaine Moore
Wendy Kay Goodman
Joe Riley Tittle
Kenneth Wayne Davenport

Smithville Police arrested one man and cited another after finding drugs and paraphernalia at their residence on Earl Avenue on Monday, July 6.

35 year old Ricky Wayne Murphy is charged with two counts of schedule II drug possession for resale and one count each of schedule III, schedule IV, and schedule VI drugs for resale, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $95,000.

Meanwhile 36 year old B.J. Lee Brown is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both Murphy and Brown will be in court on August 6.

Acting on complaints, Officers Matt Farmer and Lance Dillard went to the residence and conducted an investigation. After speaking with Murphy, the officers were given consent to search his bedroom where they found 17 1/2 ounces of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, 58 pills thought to be a combination of Suboxone, Phenermine Hydrochloride, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone along with drug paraphernalia.

Brown also gave the officers permission to search his bedroom where they found one pill believed to be Lyrica and drug paraphernalia.

Neither Murphy nor Brown had prescriptions for the pills discovered in the home.

31 year old Mindy Celas Magourik was arrested on Saturday, July 4 for two counts of schedule II drug possession and one count each of simple possession of a schedule VI drug , possession of drug paraphernalia, and a second offense of driving on a suspended license. Captain Steven Leffew said that while on a call for service at Kwik & Ezy, Sergeant Brad Tatrow observed a woman, Magourik, sitting in a vehicle with her head back. She appeared to be passed out. After approaching the automobile and getting her to roll the window down slightly, Sergeant Tatrow asked for identification and received an ID only. He learned that the woman's license were suspended and that she had a previous conviction for driving on a suspended license. Magourik gave verbal consent for the officer to search her vehicle and inside he found approximately nine grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, three pills thought to be oxycodone and approximately two grams of a powdery crystal like substance suspected to be crystal methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia. Magouirk was arrested without incident. Her bond is $8,500 and she will be in court on July 23.

34 year old Julie Elaine Moore was arrested for prescription fraud on Wednesday, July 1. According to the warrant, Officer Lance Dillard responded to Fred's Pharmacy where Moore allegedly tried to get a prescription for Hydrocodone filled for someone other than herself. Upon investigation, it was determined that Moore didn't have permission to get the prescription filled. Her bond is $5,000 and she will make a court appearance on August 6.

49 year old Wendy Kay Goodman was arrested on Thursday, July 2 for domestic assault and resisting arrest. Officers Will Judkins and Joey Myers responded to a physical domestic call on Restview Avenue and spoke with the victim, who appeared to be bleeding from his ear and had scratch marks on his face, neck and leg. Upon investigation, police determined that Goodman and the victim had gotten into a verbal dispute that turned physical. While being placed under arrest, Goodman refused to follow directions and resisted by kicking at the officers. She was subsequently restrained and charged in the case. Her bond is $4,000 and she will be in court on August 13.

28 year old Joe Riley Tittle was arrested for domestic assault on Sunday, June 28. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on July 16. According to the warrant, Tittle and another person became involved in a verbal altercation. After Tittle began cussing and yelling, the victim tried to leave the residence due to Tittle's threatening behavior. Tittle then positioned himself in front of the door preventing the victim from leaving. As the victim tried to move Tittle out of the way, Tittle threw the victim into the wall. Sergeant Travis Bryant made the arrest.

30 year old Kenneth Wayne Davenport was arrested on Tuesday, June 23 for DUI, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of accident. He was further cited for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $4,500 and he will be in court on July 16. Captain Leffew said that Sergeant Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers were dispatched to the area of West Broad Street in reference to a possible intoxicated driver who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. After being given a description of the vehicle, Sergeant Bryant spotted it traveling east on West Broad Street. He then initiated a traffic stop and found Davenport to be the driver. Davenport had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. After Davenport performed poorly on field sobriety tasks he was placed under arrest for DUI. But while being escorted to the patrol car, Davenport began pulling away from Sergeant Bryant. Davenport was subsequently taken to the Emergency Room of the hospital for a blood test but he refused to give blood.

20 year old Ian B Johnson was cited for trespassing and vandalism on Thursday, June 25. Johnson was observed riding an ATV on the Smithville Golf Course driving range and causing damage to the property. Corporal Chip Avera issued the citation. Johnson will be in court on July 16.

DeKalb Fire Department Awarded $153,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant

July 10, 2015
Donny Green
DeKalb Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Fire Department has been contacted by Senator Lamar Alexander’s office notifying Chief Donny Green that the department’s grant application in the amount of $153,510 has been awarded. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The funding award will be used to purchase emergency communications equipment that will be assigned to each of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s 11 fires stations across the county. The grant equipment includes portable two-way radios, fire pagers, and mobile computing devices (including software and mounting hardware). The Federal share of this award is $146,200 and the local matching share, to be provided by the DeKalb County Government, is $7,310.

Chief Green says that the communications equipment to be purchased with these grant funds will have a huge impact on the department’s daily operations and will be instrumental in allowing the department to maintain and/or improve the county’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating; a rating that directly influences the amount of insurance premiums charged to property owners in DeKalb County. “We are really fortunate to be able to purchase some new, cutting edge emergency communications equipment for our county. This new communications technology will interface with our 911 Dispatch Center to provide features that include mapping, water supply locations, vehicle tracking with GPS reporting, and many other features that will enhance and improve emergency responses and services. Our grant application aligned perfectly with AFG’s purpose of the grant—‘to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards’—and our county will soon be getting the benefit of $153,510 for cost to our local government of only $7,310,” said Chief Green. Using a competitive process, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says he and the DeKalb County Commissioners are thankful for this federal funding that allows the fire department to purchase this emergency communications equipment at a cost of only 5% to our county.

The DeKalb County Fire Department wishes to express its sincere thanks to County Mayor Tim Stribling, the DeKalb County Commission, and Senator Lamar Alexander for their loyal support of the department’s application for this grant.


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