Local News Articles

City to Increase Court Costs

January 9, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins

Court costs are about to go up in the Smithville Municipal Court but the increase will help the police department upgrade to a new court management computer software system.

During Monday night’s meeting, the aldermen adopted an ordinance on first reading to raise the city court costs. The current fees associated with traffic violations, etc. are $85 per violation and a $13.75 litigation tax levied by the state. The new fee would be $100 per citation, a $15 increase.

Although the new Courtware Government Software Solutions system is free to the city, the cost of the software by the provider will be be passed along to violators in the form of the increased court costs.

Police Chief Mark Collins said the new Courtware System will save the city money, simplify the city’s court processing procedures, and provide offenders the option of paying their fines and court costs online.

“We (city) pay $2,000 a year just to have the system we’re using now. The new one is free to the city but will be paid for by offenders who are found guilty of speeding and traffic offenses. Ten dollars out of their court costs will go to this courtware system to pay for it. It creates more ways to pay a ticket. We do not have a pay online system now. With this new system people can pay online," said Chief Collins.

In addition to online fine payment, other software features include an online court calendar, digital documents, fund calculations, automatic dispositions, simple docket scheduling, statistical data that can be helpful to the police department, and more.

The ordinance increasing the court costs will be considered for passage on second and final reading by the aldermen next month.

Smithville Fire Department Turning 80; New City Fire Truck to Arrive Next Week

January 8, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will reach an important milestone next month.

During Monday night’s meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen, Fire Chief Charlie Parker said the department will officially be turning 80 years old on Saturday, February 3. The department was established on that date in 1938.

Chief Parker said members of the department hope to have a special observance soon to mark the occasion.

There will also be another reason to celebrate.

Chief Parker said the city is scheduled to take delivery on a brand new fire truck by next week. Members of the department plan to make a trip to Wisconsin this week to make sure the manufacturer has built the truck to specifications. “We leave Wednesday to go and do the final inspection on the truck. If everything is up to par the way its supposed to be then it should be delivered hopefully next week. They will deliver it to us on site. It will take a little time to get it in service. Some of the equipment that goes on it is already in but there is still more to come. Some equipment will come on the truck and the rest of it will be brought in over the next two weeks. We should be up and running by sometime in February,” said Chief Parker.

In January, 2017 the aldermen voted to spend $751,575 over a two-year period to purchase the new fire truck, a Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle. It will replace the fire department’s oldest truck, a 1992 model, and a 20-year old rescue and service truck. The new vehicle will also come equipped with five air packs and other tools and equipment.

Once the new fire truck is in the fleet, the city plans to sell the 1992 truck along with the rescue truck and service truck.

The fire department has three fire trucks, a 1992 and 2001 model along with a 2012 ladder truck.

In other business, the aldermen approved Chief Parker’s request to approve the current list of volunteer firefighters and officers serving the department for the city.

City To Apply for CDBG Grant for Sewer Line Rehabilitation

January 8, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen

Three months after completion of the $2.8 million upgrade at the Smithville Waste Water Treatment Plant, city officials now want to begin a rehabilitation of existing sewer lines in the system.

During Monday night’s meeting, the Aldermen voted to apply for another $525,000 Community Development Block Grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for this purpose. The Upper Cumberland Development District will administer the grant application on behalf of the city. If approved, the city will have to pay the required local grant match.

Although the bulk of the funding for the sewer plant rehab project came from the city’s water and sewer fund surplus, the municipality received a previous $525,000 CDBG grant for that project two years ago.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson said now that the sewer plant upgrade is completed, the city can apply for another grant. “As you know we’re closing out our grant for the sewer plant so now we can apply for another Community Development Block Grant from the state to do sewer line rehabilitation. Although we have done the sewer plant work, there are a lot of lines in the system that need to be replaced,” said Hendrixson.


January 8, 2018
Dwayne Page
WJLE'S Dale Carroll

WJLE and participating local businesses are giving you a chance to bid on and buy merchandise at a discount in the RADIO SHOPPER on Thursday, January 25.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines for you to bid on various items from local businesses.

WJLE will set a minimum bid on each item and continue the bidding until the item is sold. The program on Thursday will be limited to around three hours. If we have more items to sell, the program will resume on another day. For bidders, they have a chance to buy merchandise or services at a discount. For the businesses, they get ads on WJLE just for putting items up for bids.

If your business would like to participate, contact Dwayne Page at 615-597-4265.

It’s going to be fun and exciting! Be sure to be by your radio and your telephone on Thursday, January 25 at 9:00 a.m. and call in a bid to RADIO SHOPPER on WJLE. The program will also be streamed LIVE at www.wjle.com.

2016 DeKalb Suicide Rate Second Highest in Upper Cumberland

January 8, 2018
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Health's Office of Health Statistics reports 8 recorded DeKalb County suicide deaths in 2016, for an age adjusted rate of 41.3 per 100,000 population. That’s an increase from 5 deaths in 2015, or 26.1 per 100,000.


The new statistics released Friday by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network show that DeKalb County’s rate of suicide for 2016 was second highest among the 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland Region and above the state rate of 16.2 per 100,000 population. Clay County had the highest rate in the Upper Cumberland with 4 deaths at 51.7 per 100,000 population.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health Statistics, there were 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2016, up from 1,065 the past year (representing a 4% increase).

The crude suicide rate went up from 15.6 to 16.2 per 100,000 (representing a 4% increase.) Firearms remain the most common means of suicide death in Tennessee, accounting for 677, or 61%, of the recorded suicide deaths in 2016. 222, or 20% of the deaths, were hangings or suffocations and 144, or 13% of the deaths, were poisonings or overdoses. All of these proportions are roughly the same as last year's figures. Whites account for 79% of the general population of Tennessee but 91% of the suicide deaths. Males are also disproportionately represented, making up 49% of the population but 77% (857) of the suicide deaths recorded in 2016.

For the record, the latest figures from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) give a national rate of 13.9 per 100,000 as of 2016, with Tennessee's rate that year placing it at 22nd among the states. Nationally, there were 44,965 suicide deaths in the U.S. in 2016, the latest year national data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This comes out to 123 suicide deaths each day and one death every 12 minutes. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States and is responsible for 1.6% of all deaths recorded in 2016. Firearms were the leading mode of death, involved in 22,938 suicide deaths, or 51% of the total.

In any given day, three people in Tennessee die by suicide. In 2016, the number suicides increased in young people (ages 10-18) in Tennessee, with one person in this age group lost to suicide every week. We lose one person between the ages of 10-24 every four days, and every day we lose at least one person over the age of 45, with adults in midlife and older adults remaining at higher risk. While suicide rates in Tennessee went up only slightly in 2016, the new figures are the highest recorded in Tennessee in over 35 years of record-keeping and the suicide rate remains above the national average.

Are you feeling desperate, alone or hopeless?

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

TTY line: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

For non-emergency information on suicide prevention, contact the
Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network at (615) 297-1077 or tspn@tspn.org.

DeKalb County GOP to Select Candidates on February 11

January 7, 2018

The DeKalb County Republican Party will be hosting a Caucus, more formally known as a County Convention, on Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 2PM at the DeKalb County Courthouse, for the purpose of selecting the Republican Candidates for the Offices of County Mayor, Sheriff, Trustee, County Court Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, and Road Superintendent of DeKalb County. Republican Candidates will also be selected for all County Commission Districts.

A “Meet the Candidates” event will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 10AM at the DeKalb County Courthouse. The purpose of this event is for all Republicans to mix and mingle with candidates who will be seeking the Republican nomination at the Caucus on Feb. 11.

All DeKalb County Republicans are invited to attend the “Meet the Candidates” event and the Caucus. To participate in the Caucus, you must be a bona fide Republican and a registered voter of DeKalb County. The candidates selected at the Caucus will represent the Republican Party in the August 2, 2018, DeKalb County General Election.

For more information, please contact Republican Party Chair Mingy Bryant at 615-597-2600 or Vice Chair Clint Hall at 931-201-6962, or go to the Facebook Page at DeKalb County Republican Party.

Deer Hunting Season Beginning Home Stretch

January 6, 2018
Dwayne Page
Deer Hunting Season Beginning Home Stretch

The 2017-18 deer hunting season is nearing its conclusion in Tennessee. The gun season for deer concludes on Jan. 7 while the second Young Sportsman Hunt for 2017-18 is Jan. 13-14.

For the Young Sportsman Hunt, youth, 6-16 years of age are allowed to participate. The young sportsmen must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age who must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device.

The accompanying adult must comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters. Multiple youth may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.

The first youth hunt of the season was held Oct. 28-29. The gun season for deer for everyone across the state began Nov. 18. Archery and muzzleloader equipment are also legal during gun season.

In addition, in Unit L counties on private lands only, antlerless deer can be hunted Jan. 8-12.

A final harvest tally for 2017-18 will be completed a few weeks following the completion of the Young Sportsman Hunt.

Election Commission Issues Eight Petitions for August Races

January 6, 2018
Dwayne Page

Eight people paid a call on the DeKalb County Election Commission Office Friday, the first day potential candidates could pick up qualifying petitions for the school board and municipal elections on August 2.

Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy and Gayla Hendrix obtained petitions. They plan to seek re-election to new four year terms in August.

Darrell Johnson got a petition for Mayor of Liberty. A Liberty mayor and five aldermen will be elected in August.

Incumbent School Board members Danny Parkerson in the 1st district, Jim Beshearse in the 3rd district, and Shaun Tubbs in the 7th district also got a petition and along with newcomer Alan Hayes of Liberty in the 2nd district. Five school board members will be elected in August.

Up for election on August 2nd will be school board seats in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. Those positions are currently held by Danny Parkerson in the 1st district, Jerry Wayne Johnson in the 2nd district, Jim Beshearse in the 3rd district, Kate Miller in the 4th district, and Shaun Tubbs in the 7th district.

City seats up for grabs on August 2, pending any resignations/vacancies, are: In Smithville the Mayor and two aldermen seats currently held by Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy and Gayla Hendrix; in Dowelltown three aldermen seats (Brad Driver, Keith Farler, and Ron Griffith were elected to those positions in 2014); in Liberty the Mayor and five aldermen seats currently held by Mayor Dwight Mathis and Aldermen Dwayne Blair, Jason Ray, Howard Reynolds, Jr., J.D. Bratten, and Todd Dodd and in Alexandria the Mayor and three aldermen seats now held by Mayor Bennett Armstrong and Aldermen Matt Boss, Danny Parkerson, and Eddie Blair. Another alderman will be elected to fill a two year unexpired term. Mac Willoughby currently holds that position after the recent resignation of Kelly Pyburn.

Qualifying petitions for these races must be returned by Noon April 5.

In addition, candidates interested in running for the 17th Tennessee Senatorial District and State Houses in Districts 40 and 46 have the same qualifying deadline. Those positions are currently held by State Senator Mark Pody and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver in district 40. The Wilson County Commission will convene January 10 to appoint a successor to Pody as State Representative of district 46 who will serve until the general election in November. The state primaries for these offices will be August 2.

Steve Officer Appointed to Farm Service Agency State Committee

January 6, 2018
Dwayne Page
Steve Officer

Steve Officer of DeKalb County has been appointed to the Farm Service Agency State Committee for Tennessee. Officer is not only a member, he also serves as chairman of the state committee.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Thursday announced the slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee Appointees. State committees are selected by the Secretary, serve at the pleasure of the Secretary, and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities.

“The State Committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Secretary Perdue said. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs are supporting the American harvest.”

State committees are appointed for a one year term which began on January 1, 2018. Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members.

Free Flu Vaccine Now Available at the DeKalb Health Department

January 5, 2018

The DeKalb County Health Department is offering flu vaccines at no charge to patients. Influenza activity is widespread in Tennessee, so it’s extremely important for anyone over six months of age to get a flu shot now.

The flu vaccine is especially important for infants, young children, pregnant women, adults over age 50 and for those with chronic medical conditions. The flu shot remains the best protection we have against influenza.

The DeKalb County Health Department clinic is currently offering flu vaccinations at no cost to patients until vaccine supplies are depleted. Patients may walk in to request a flu vaccine any time during regular clinic hours. OR Appointments must be made to receive flu vaccine, and are now being scheduled at the clinic.

“Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, family members and others from the flu and help keep our community healthy,” said DeKalb County Health Director Michael Railling. ”We urge everyone who has not received a flu shot yet, to get one now.”

It’s also important to help prevent the spread of flu and other winter viruses by practicing good health habits:

•Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer
•Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
•Stay home if you are sick

For more information about the flu and free flu vaccines, call the DeKalb County Health Department at 615-597-7599.


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