Local News Articles

Smithville voters say "Yes" to retail package store liquor sales

November 4, 2014
Dwayne Page
Terri Lynn Weaver
Mark Pody
Diane Black
Lamar Alexander
Bill Haslam
Mae Beavers

By a narrow margin, Smithville voters approved a referendum Tuesday allowing retail package stores to sell liquor within the city limits. The referendum passed by a five-vote margin, 406 votes to 401.

Meanwhile, a referendum calling for the allowance of consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises within the city limits, liquor by the drink in restaurants, failed by 15 votes, 412 votes to 397.

Click on the following link to follow local Election return results:


The liquor store referendum passed in two city precincts, failed in two others, and lost early votes and absentees by a single vote. Early and absentee voters defeated the measure 259 to 258 votes, as did voters at the Church of Christ Annex, 74 votes to 69. Voters at the County Complex also opposed the measure, 9 to 8, but the referendum passed at the Courthouse, 16 to 12, and at the Church of God, 55 votes to 47.

The liquor for consumption referendum also passed in two precincts, failed in two others and was opposed by early and absentees voters. The measure lost among early and absentee voters, 268 votes to 250. Voters at the Church of Christ Annex opposed the referendum, 76 votes to 69, and also at the County Complex, 10 votes to 7. But as in the liquor store referendum, the liquor by the drink vote passed at both the Courthouse, 15 to 13, and at the Church of God, 56 votes to 45.

Meanwhile, State Representatives, Terri Lynn Weaver in the 40th District and Mark Pody in the 46th District won re-election to new two year terms. According to the Tennessee State Election Website, Weaver, the Republican incumbent, defeated Democrat, Sarah Marie Smith, 11,354 (66.61%) votes to 5,692 (33.39%) district wide. Weaver carried all four counties that make up the 40th Legislative District. In DeKalb County, Weaver won 1,884 votes to 972 for Smith. In Smith County, the home county for both candidates, Weaver defeated Smith 2,659 votes to 1,836. In Sumner County, Weaver won 5,874 votes to 2,287 for Smith. In Trousdale County, Weaver won 937 to 597 for Smith. In DeKalb County Weaver carried all thirteen precincts that she represents and won in early votes/absentees.

In the 46th District, Pody, the Republican incumbent defeated his Democratic opponent Candace Reed 9,888 (67.44%) to 4,775 (32.56%) district wide. Pody carried all three counties which make up the district winning in Cannon County 1,944 to 969, DeKalb County 554 to 356, and Wilson County, the home county for both candidates, 7,390 to 3,450. In DeKalb County Pody carried seven of the eight precincts he represents and tied 3 to 3 with Reed in the other. Pody also won in early votes/absentees

Republican State Senator Mae Beavers, who was unopposed, received 2,622 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. District wide she received 35,431 votes. Her district is made up of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson Counties.

In the Governor's race, Republican Incumbent Bill Haslam won statewide with 951,215 votes beating Democratic challenger Charles V. "Charlie" Brown who had 308,803 votes. Haslam carried DeKalb County 2,422 to 834 for Brown. Other candidates and their vote totals in DeKalb County are Shaun Crowell 83, Isa Infante 38, Steven Damon Coburn 42, John Jay Hooker 119, and Daniel T. Lewis 32.

Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander won re-election receiving 849,629 votes statewide. His Democratic opponent Gordon Ball had 437,251 votes. Alexander carried DeKalb County 2,165 to 1,190 for Ball. Other candidates and their vote totals in DeKalb County are Joe Wilmoth 120, Martin Pleasant 28, Tom Emerson, Jr. 41, Edmund L. Gauthier 7, Joshua James 15, Danny Page 31, Bartholomew J. Phillips 10, C. Salekin 3, Eric Schechter 1, and Rick Tyler 20.

Sixth District U.S. Representative Diane Black, a Republican, won re-election district wide with 115,190 votes. She defeated her Democratic opponent Amos Scott Powers who had 37,215 votes and Independent Mike Winton with 9,630 votes. Black carried all nineteen counties in the district including Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, White, and Wilson. Black carried DeKalb County 2,361 to 1,032 for Powers and 192 for Winton.

All four Tennessee Constitutional Amendment issues passed statewide and in DeKalb County. The vote totals in DeKalb County and statewide are as follows:

Constitutional Amendment #1
Yes: 2,282 (728,751 statewide)
No: 1,417 (656,427 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment #2
Yes: 2,118 (831,549 statewide)
No: 1,561 (533,522 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment#3
Yes: 2,374 (882,259 statewide)
No: 1,168 (450,066 statewide)

Constitutional Amendment#4
Yes: 2,160 (902,673 statewide)
No:1,178 (394,317 statewide)

A total of 4,009 DeKalb Countians voted in the election Tuesday including 2,349 on election day and 1,660 during early voting/absentee

Click on the following link to follow local Election return results:


Dowelltown Family Unharmed in Early Morning Fire at Their Home

November 4, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Firefighters Contain Bedroom Fire at Dowelltown Home

A Dowelltown family was unharmed but their home had some minor damage in an early morning fire today (Tuesday).

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the home of Ray Murphy at 1653 West Main Street in Dowelltown at 4:22 a.m.

According to Lieutenant Brian Williams, the fire started in a bedroom where Murphy's grandson had apparently fallen asleep on the bed with a lit cigarette. A baby was also in the room. A total of seven people were in the home at the time of the fire including Mr. Murphy, three other adults, and three children. They all escaped safely.

The fire was contained to the bedroom and quickly extinguished by members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, and Liberty Stations along with the Tanker Truck.

Jeania Poss with the local Red Cross Chapter was notified and arrived on the scene to see to the needs of the family.

Inmate Charged with Assaulting Another Prisoner in Jail

November 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Joseph Stephen Audas
Frank Stokton Dame

An inmate at the DeKalb County Jail has been charged with assaulting another prisoner.

29 year old Joseph Stephen Audas of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court November 6. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 30 a correctional officer heard inmates hitting on a door in the jail annex. He went to investigate and met an inmate at the door who had a black and bloody eye. After reviewing video from the surveillance system, the correctional officer determined that Audas was the primary aggressor. When confronted, Audas allegedly admitted to having thrown the first punch in a fight with the other inmate.

48 year old Frank Stokton Dame of Culver Street, Chattanooga is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for failure to maintain lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court November 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 1 a deputy pulled over a 2006 Nissan Xterra for failing to maintain lane of travel. The officer spoke with the driver, Dame and noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. The deputy asked Dame to step out of the vehicle. Dame was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Dame also consented to a blood test. He was placed under arrest.

52 year old Russell Alan Ross of Lee Young Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (pipe). Sheriff Ray said Ross was stopped by a sheriff's department detective for possibly being intoxicated. A search of Ross yielded a baggie containing marijuana. The detective also found inside Ross' vehicle a pill bottle which held marijuana. Ross told the detective that he had a marijuana pipe in the front door of the vehicle. The pipe was found and recovered. His court date is November 20.

Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

November 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

NHC Smithville recently held a celebration for Susie White on the anniversary of 35 years as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) at NHC Smithville. A reception was held on Wednesday, October 29 with cake and punch at NHC where Mrs. White received some special gifts as well as a plaque and pin celebrating her 35 years of service. Mrs. White began her CNA career on October 23, 1979 at the NHC owned, Sunny Point Health Care. For her entire career, Mrs. White has worked night shift, and continues to do so.

"Susie White is an icon at NHC Smithville and we were proud to honor her on this very special occasion,” Administrator Clint Hall said. “She is one of the most caring and compassionate people I know. Her dedication to her patients and families is paramount and serves as an example to others. We are fortunate to have her as a part of the NHC family.”

“I have always enjoyed taking care of people,” Mrs. White said. “I have been blessed in my life and this is a way for me to serve others. There is no substitute for the rewarding feeling I get every time I take care of my patients.”

Mrs. White is a native of Dekalb County and is a member of United Pentecostal Church. She has been recognized as a CNA of the Year for NHC Smithville countless times and was honored as the NHC Central Region’s CNA of the Year in 2005.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash
2007 Suzuki driven by 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville
1998 Chevy Blazer driven by 51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville

Two persons were involved in a near head on crash Saturday night on East Broad Street in Smithville near Foutch Industries, LLC.

Central dispatch received the call just after 6:00 p.m.

51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville and 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville were seriously injured and airlifted. Merriman was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. Hernandez was airlifted from near the scene by Life Force and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

Trooper Gerald Carter told WJLE that Merriman, driving a 1998 Chevy Blazer, was traveling east on Highway 70 when she got in the turning lane and pulled into the path of a westbound 2007 Suzuki car driven by Hernandez. Both women were entrapped in their vehicles. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to perform extrication. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also called to assist city firefighters.

Smithville Police officers were also on the scene

Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

A fire Friday night destroyed a double wide mobile home on Banks Pisgah Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:16 p.m.

David Agee, Assistant Fire Chief for the DeKalb County Fire Department told WJLE that Brandon and Shelli Ervin owned the mobile home but no one was living there. The Ervin's were in the process of getting the home ready to rent out. The cause of the fire is apparently undetermined.

The blaze gutted the home and firefighters were unable to save it.

Members of the Keltonburg, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations responded along with the tanker truck and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Chamber Announces Winners of Halloween Costume Contest

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance

The Chamber of Commerce held a Costume Contest during the Halloween Downtown event for all downtown businesses and offices.

Nineteen groups participated making it a "SPOOK"tacular day of festivities and cutthroat competition. Participants included Gotro Surveying, DeKalb Insurance, Pioneer Credit, C.J.'s Party Place, Tangles, Miroir Miroir, Webb's Gifts, This & That, Charlie Max & Co., Regions Bank, DeKalb Board of Education, Justin Potter Library, Election Office, Circuit Court Clerk office, Co. Mayor's office, Fast Pace Urgent Care, City of Smithville.

Winners: First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, Second place - Smithville Review, Third place -Drug Court

Tigers to Face Signal Mountain in State Playoffs

November 1, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers are in the state play-offs after defeating the Smith County Owls 13-0 on a cold and blustery Halloween night in Smithville Friday.

The Tigers will travel to Signal Mountain for the first round of the 4A playoffs on Friday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. The Eagles of Signal Mountain are 8-2 with a 4-1 district record. They have defeated East Hamilton 28-19, Tyner Academy 35-0, Bledsoe County 56-0, Red Bank 49-13, Grundy County 70-14, Bradley Central 27-7, Chattanooga Christian 49-14, and Sequatchie County 58-3. The Eagles have lost to Notre Dame 35-3 and to Greeneville 31-10

This is the fourth consecutive year the Tigers have earned a berth in the play-offs. It's their sixth appearance in the last seven years. "Its something that has never happened, going four years in a row. A group of seniors who have had the opportunity to go to the post season four times in their playing career at DeKalb County High School. It's very special. Come Monday we'll get back to work. We just got film on Signal Mountain and the coaching staff is already preparing," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. "Overall they are 8-2. They are district champions. In our quad the top four seeds are all district champions. We are a five seed and they are a four seed. There's also a 10-0 team and a 9-1 team in Livingston, who is a two seed and Hixson who is a three seed and a district champion at 8-2 and then Signal Mountain so quad two is a very tough quad but we step up to any challenge we face and are excited to have this opportunity," said Coach Trapp.

In the game with Smith County Friday night, neither team scored in the first period but Quarterback Steven Jennings got the Tigers on the board with 1:32 left in the second period on a 10 yard touchdown run. Matthew Poss added the extra point to give DeKalb County a 7-0 halftime lead.

Neither team scored in the third period but DeKalb County added another TD with 8:34 left in the fourth period on an 11 yard run by Quarterback Steven Jennings. The extra point attempt was no good but the Tigers went on to win 13-0.

DeKalb County finishes the regular season at 5-5 overall and second place in the district at 4-2.

Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack to Speak at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

October 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Katherine Pack

The annual Chamber Prayer Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, November 25th at 7 AM at the DeKalb County Complex Community Theatre, 712 South Congress Drive, Smithville.

Katherine Pack will be the keynote speaker. Katherine is a lifelong resident of DeKalb County. She has served as Circuit Court Clerk for the past 12 years. She is a very active member of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church where she teaches an adult Sunday School class, plays the piano, helps with VBS, and sings in The Living Christmas Tree production. Katherine is very community-minded including involvement with the Smithville Senior Citizens, DeKalb Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Foster Care Review Board, Drug Court Community Board, Rotary Club, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Citizens Academy. Katherine has 3 wonderful children - daughter Tish and husband Chris Summers, son Todd and wife Melissa Pack, and daughter Kate Pack. She has 2 grandsons Brayden Summers and Ty Morris. Katherine loves DeKalb County and is honored to be speaking at the Chamber Prayer Breakfast.

Special music will be performed by Josh Issac and by keyboardist Tomomi McDowell. Suzanne Slager will perform the National Anthem while local Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience.

A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2015 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office, from the Chamber Board of Directors, or by calling the Chamber office. We’ll be glad to hold your tickets at the door.

Chamber Executive Director, Suzanne Williams says, “I would like to invite everyone to join us at this special event in giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings He has given us in our county. The Prayer Breakfast is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season.” For tickets or additional information, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Turnout for Early Voting Down

October 31, 2014
Dwayne Page

A total of 1,559 persons took advantage of early voting in DeKalb County during the two week period from October 15-30. That's down from four years ago when 1,989 people voted and way down from two years ago in a Presidential election year when 3,196 people voted early here.

The largest single day turnout was the last day, Thursday October 30 when 267 showed up to vote, including 158 in person and nine by absentee.

A total of 456 voters in Smithville cast ballots plus 69 property rights voters. The City of Smithville has two liquor referendums on the ballot November 4th.

The DeKalb early vote breakdown in the state house districts are as follows: A total of 1,177 voted in District 40 (Terri Lynn Weaver's district) and 382 voted in district 46 (Mark Pody's district) plus any absentees that may come in later.

The precinct breakdown of early voting is as follows:

Alexandria: 79
Temperance Hall:49
Edgar Evins State Park:5
Snow Hill:78
Church of God:362
Cherry Hill:19
Rock Castle:3
Johnson Chapel:59
County Complex:199
Blue Springs:42
Church of Christ:202

The vote totals each day are as follows:

Wednesday (October 15): 85 in person and 16 by absentee for a total of 101
Thursday: 82 in person and 2 by absentee for a total of 84
Friday: 77 in person and 1 by absentee for a total of 78
Saturday: 62 in person
Monday: 98 in person and 3 by absentee for a total of 101
Tuesday: 92 in person
Wednesday: 80 in person and 7 by absentee for a total of 87
Thursday: 122 in person and 9 by absentee for a total of 131
Friday: 89 in person and 2 by absentee for a total of 91
Saturday: 58 in person and 5 by absentee for a total of 63
Monday: 116 in person and 6 by absentee for a total of 122
Tuesday: 99 in person and 10 by absentee for a total of 109
Wednesday: 167 in person and 4 by absentee for a total of 171
Thursday: 158 in person and 9 by absentee for a total of 267

Election day is Tuesday, November 4. Voting at all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Listen for LIVE coverage of local election returns Tuesday night when the polls close at 7:00 p.m. on WJLE AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming on www.wjle.com


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