Local News Articles

DeKalb West Recognizes Students of the Month

April 15, 2017
Pictured first row left to right are Kaylee Kent, Hudson Moss, Camille Barton, Zoi Hale, and Dayton Heflin. Second row left to right: Emily Young, Sierra Sabatino, Caleb Dies, and Sydnee Hendrixson.

DeKalb West School announces its April Students of the Month. Named this month as the Best at DeKalb West are Dayton Heflin, Kindergarten; Camille Barton, 1st grade; Kaylee Kent, 2nd grade; Hudson Moss, 3rd grade; Emily Young, 4th grade; Zoi Hale, 5th grade; Caleb Dies, 6th grade; Sierra Sabatino, 7th grade, and Sydnee Hendrixon, 8th grade. Students are chosen based on academics, character, and other traits that make them outstanding among their peers.

Pictured first row left to right are Kaylee Kent, Hudson Moss, Camille Barton, Zoi Hale, and Dayton Heflin. Second row left to right: Emily Young, Sierra Sabatino, Caleb Dies, and Sydnee Hendrixson.

Chamber having a Live Auction with Guitars signed by Famous Stars

April 13, 2017
Chamber having a Live Auction with Guitars signed by Famous Stars

The Smithville- DeKalb County Chamber Annual Banquet is Thursday, April 27th starting with a Silent Auction at 5:30 PM and the Program/Dinner at 6 pm.

The Chamber will also be having their first-ever Live Auction. Some of the live auction items include a Fender Guitar signed by Barbara, Louise, & Irlene Mandrell, an Epiphone Guitar signed by Charlie Daniels, an Epiphone Guitar signed by Vince Gill, and Billy Dean’s custom rustic quilt rack and signed by him.

Irlene Mandrell will be the night’s entertainment. Get your tickets now! Only $25 per ticket or reserve a table for 7 for $175.

Call the Chamber office at 615-597-4163 or email: swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org.

"Classroom Champion" Award Goes to Abby Cross

April 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Abby Cross
Attorney Jim Judkins, Assistant Northside Elementary Principal Beth Pafford, Tony Cross, Abby Cross, Shelly Cross, Northside Elementary Principal Karen Knowles, and WJLE’s Dwayne Page

Abby Cross, a fifth grader at Northside Elementary School, is this week’s “Classroom Champion”.

The award was presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and Dwayne Page of WJLE .

Abby is the daughter of Tony and Shelly Cross and she has four siblings, Eli, Allyson, Isaac, and Silas. Her teacher is Carrie Gottlied.

She likes pigs, the color teal, lasagna, and basketball but doesn’t care for snakes, strawberries, and brussels sprout.

When she grows up, Abby said she wants to do something in pediatrics or radiology.

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 several 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, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.

Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

April 13, 2017
Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary School has named Students of the Month for April. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for April are:

Pre-K: Tavian Fury

Kindergarten: Grant Slager

1st grade: Blaine Scarbro

2nd grade: Taylor White

(Students of the Month are pictured with Principal Julie Vincent and Assistant Principal Anita Puckett. From left to right: Tavian Fury, Grant Slager, Blaine Scarbro, Taylor White )

Parents Plea to Child Abuse and Neglect

April 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Donnie Ray Gillman
Christina Dawn Mooneyham

The parents of a 25 month old youngster who were charged with child abuse and neglect in November after testing positive for meth while caring for their toddler appeared in criminal court Monday, April 10.

36 year old Donnie Ray Gillman and 39 year old Christina Dawn Mooneyham each entered a plea by criminal information to child abuse and neglect. Gillman received a sentence of two years all suspended to probation. He must comply with DCS/ treatment. Mooneyham will be on judicial diversion and supervised probation for two years. She must continue treatment and abide by DCS requirements.

Smithville Police took a report from a case worker of the Department of Children Services on Monday, November 28, 2016 who said she had received a referral alleging that Gillman and Mooneyham had been abusing methamphetamine. During an investigation by DCS Gillman and Mooneyham tested positive for methamphetamine during a urine drug screen and both admitted to having used drugs in the home while caring for their child. A hair follicle on the child also tested positive for methamphetamine. The toddler was placed in a foster home on Wednesday, November 9.

"Generation Found" to be Presented Friday Night in Smithville

April 12, 2017

Come watch "Generation Found" from the creators of the amazing documentary Anonymous People at the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Boulevard Smithville on Friday, April 14 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

There will also be a live performance by Matt Butler! Check it out!!! A great chance to learn more about addiction and how you can help!

Join a group who are passionate about the upcoming documentary and discussion about addiction and the incredible communities developing in the U.S. to provide vital support for young people in recovery. Check out this exciting film trailer here:http://generationfoundfilm.com .


About the film: From the creators of the groundbreaking film, THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE, comes GENERATION FOUND, a powerful story about one community coming together to ignite a youth addiction recovery revolution in their hometown. Devastated by an epidemic of addiction, Houston faced the reality of burying and locking up its young people at an alarming rate. And so in one of the largest cities in America, visionary counselors, law school dropouts, aspiring rock musicians, retired football players, oil industry executives, and church leaders came together to build the world’s largest peer-driven youth and family recovery community.

Independently filmed over the course of two years, GENERATION FOUND takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” It is not only a deeply personal story, but one with real-world utility for communities struggling with addiction worldwide.

Liberty Mayor and Aldermen Seek to Change Election Cycle

April 12, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Liberty Mayor and Aldermen are seeking state legislative action to amend the city charter changing the timing of municipal elections so that all seats are filled in the same election every four years and authorizing the mayor and aldermen to receive pay for attending monthly city board meetings.

Under legislation by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, the next municipal election in Liberty would be on the first Thursday in August 2018, and every four (4) years thereafter, to fill the office of mayor and five (5) aldermen.

Under the existing charter, Liberty elects its city officials in a four year cycle but in back to back years. For example, three aldermen were elected in 2016 and this year (2017) a mayor and two aldermen are to be elected. Without a change the cycle would be repeated in the years 2020 and 2021.

In order to get all future city elections on a four year cycle, the Liberty mayor and aldermen want to reschedule this year’s city election to August, 2018 to coincide with the county general election.

Under the proposed city charter amendment, the mayor and aldermen so elected in August, 2018 shall hold their respective offices for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified. In order to have the elections for the board of mayor and aldermen coincide, the terms of the mayor and two (2) aldermen who were elected in the election held in August 2013 shall be extended for one (1) year to August 2018.

The board of mayor and aldermen, after each of their respective elections, shall take office on or before the first succeeding Monday night, at which time the board shall meet, organize, and begin the discharge of its duties.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen also want the power to authorize a payment to the mayor and each alderman for their attendance at meetings of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Such payment shall not exceed forty-five dollars ($45.00), may not be paid to the mayor or to an alderman more often than once a month, and is conditioned on the mayor and alderman's attendance at the regular monthly board meeting.

If the Board votes to authorize payment to the mayor and aldermen, such payment shall not take effect until after the next regular election after such authorization vote has occurred.

If adopted by the state legislature, the city charter amendments must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of the Town of Liberty.

Jobs4TN Hiring Event Coming to DeKalb County

April 12, 2017
Jobs4TN Hiring Event Coming to DeKalb County
Mobile Career Coach

DeKalb County Government and Justin Potter Library will be teaming with The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to bring the Jobs4TN Hiring Event to DeKalb County.

This free employment services event will take place on Wednesday, April 26th from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm in the mobile Career Coach that will be located in the parking lot of the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Blvd in Smithville.

The Career Coach staff will be able to assist individuals in registering on the Jobs4TN job site, show them how to navigate the site of 90,000 plus jobs, create and post resumes, and search for jobs. They will give you tips on interview skills and assist you in connecting with other services if needed. No appointment necessary, just come by and check out the services they have to offer those seeking a job. For additional information contact Justin Potter Library at 615-597-4359.

Whitney Brelje Named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year"

April 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Whitney Brelje
Whitney Brelje named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year and receives the John Isabell Memorial Award, school bell, and a check for $150 presented by Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, a sponsor of the banquet along with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Lori Isabell (left)
Teachers of the Year at the school level: Todd Cantrell at DeKalb County High School, Jenny Elrod at DeKalb Middle School,  Whitney Brelje at Smithville Elementary School, and Jessica Hale at Northside Elementary School. Jeanna Caplinger of DeKalb West School was unable to attend
Local Attorney Sarah Cripps spoke at Teacher of the Year Banquet Tuesday night. Pictured with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

A first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School was named " DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" and received the "John Isabell Memorial Award" Tuesday night during the tenth annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The award and a check for $150 was presented to Whitney Brelje by Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, a sponsor of the banquet, along with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Lori Isabell, whose husband John for whom the award is named, passed away in 2014. John Isabell was a long time educator and former President of the DeKalb County Education Association

Brelje, who is in her fourth year as a teacher, was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Jessica Hale at Northside Elementary School; Jeanna Caplinger at DeKalb West School; Jenny Elrod at DeKalb Middle School; and Todd Cantrell at DeKalb County High School. Caplinger was unable to attend.

Hale teaches second grade. She is in her 10th year.

Caplinger is in her 23rd year. She teaches Math and Science for the 5th grade.

Elrod is in her 10th year of teaching Reading/Language Arts

Cantrell teaches Career Technical Principals of Machining I and II and Manufacturing. This is his 8th year in the classroom.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

Administrators introduced the Teachers of the Year at their schools, remarked on how they deserved the honor, and presented them with a school bell award.

Local attorney Sarah Cripps served as guest speaker for the banquet.

School board members attending were Doug Stephens, Danny Parkerson, and Jerry Wayne Johnson.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Undergoes Complete Renovation of its Emergency Department

April 11, 2017
Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Undergoes Complete Renovation of its Emergency Department
Ribbon Cutting for Newly Renovated Emergency Department
Newly Renovated Emergency Rooms

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville, Tennessee has completed its renovation of the hospital’s Emergency Department. The construction, which began in early March 2017, is now in full operation (see pictures below).

“The purpose of the renovation is to upgrade and modernize the Emergency Department and to add features, such as a security room, which will help us be more efficient in delivering care to the community,” said Bob Burritt, Interim Director of Clinical Operations. “The Emergency Department is a main front door to the hospital.” Burritt said the investment is part of Saint Thomas Health’s commitment across the system to providing the best facilities for the region’s healthcare. Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

The Emergency Department area is completely rebuilt, including a waiting room, the reception area, each individual treatment room and the nurses’ stations, including new flooring, new counters and painting.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital serves DeKalb County, Smithville and the surrounding region, and cares for an average of 30 patients every day in its Emergency Department.

In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates. Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $78 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.sthealth.com.


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