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Local News Articles

Groundbreaking Held for New DeKalb West School Baseball Facility

April 21, 2016
Dwayne Page
Groundbreaking Held for New DeKalb West School Baseball Facility
Donors May Purchase a Personalized Brick for the Bulldog Way
Coach Tad Webb and Principal Sabrina Farler thank donors including Attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox, Chad Colwell of Wilson Bank & Trust, and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank
DeKalb West Bulldogs Join in Celebration of Groundbreaking for New Baseball Facility

Boosters, players, donors, and local public officials joined the administration of DeKalb West School in a groundbreaking Thursday afternoon for the new baseball indoor hitting and pitching practice facility.

The DeKalb West School Bulldog Baseball Boosters Club plans to build a 40 x 100 foot structure on campus which is to include hitting cages, restrooms, concession stand, storage, office, and locker room.

“Our baseball program at DeKalb West School started seven years ago and as of today we’re breaking ground on our new hitting facility. The school board gave us approval for the project last week and we’ll get started this summer,” said DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler.

"It is to be multipurpose. We want to have a concession stand rather than the portable building we now have there. It will also have two public restrooms in addition to the locker room, hitting cages, batting cages, and things like that," said Tony Cross, Booster Club President.

"I think we can do this for less than $40,000. What we would like to do this summer after school is out is to do the shell of the building and a concrete slab with all the plumbing. I think we can do that for just under $20,000. Eighty percent of the building is batting cages and lanes. That could be used next baseball season. Just to be able to get in and out of the rain. We initially want to get some things done this summer and we'll continue on with fundraisers to raise the remainder of the money. We'd like to have it (project) done next year," said Cross.

According to Principal Farler, several donors have already made contributions and others have expressed an interest. “Several donors have already approached us wanting to be involved. We want to say thank you for all the community involvement we’ve had. Those who have made generous donations are Wilson Bank & Trust, Liberty State Bank and attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox,” she said.

Meanwhile, other individuals and groups wanting to support the project may do so by visiting or

Plans are to build a walkway to the new hitting facility. You can help pave the Bulldog Way by purchasing a personalized engraved brick that will forever be a part of the facility’s walkway. The Bulldog Way is about discipline, dedication, and determination and all proceeds through the sale of the bricks for the walkway will go to support the completion of the baseball facility.

Sizes and prices of the bricks are as follows:

Brick size-4” x 8”
Price text only-$75.00
Price with artwork- $100.00

Brick size- 8” x 8”
Price text only-$125.00
Price with artwork- $150.00

Brick size- 12” x12”
Price text only-$200.00
Price with artwork- $225.00

Add a replica tile (4” x 4” marble tile) of the selected brick for your own personal use for an additional $15.00

Top Photo:
Principal Sabrina Farler, Attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox, Assistant Principal Joey Agee, Booster President Tony Cross, Kevin Bandy of Wilson Bank & Trust, Coach Tad Web, School Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson, Trustee Sean Driver, Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, Road Superviser Butch Agee, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, School Board member Danny Parkerson, County Mayor Tim Stribling, and Chad Colwell of Wilson Bank & Trust.

Goodlettsville Man Airlifted After Semi-Motorcycle Accident

April 21, 2016
Dwayne Page
Goodlettsville Man Airlifted After Semi-Motorcycle Accident

A Goodlettsville man was injured in a semi-motorcycle accident Thursday morning at the intersection of Broad Street and South Congress Boulevard.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 59 year old Charles Walker was setting on his 2014 BMW motorcycle in an eastbound lane at the traffic light on Broad Street when he was bumped in the rear by an unloaded 2015 Freightliner semi, driven by 51 year old Dean Kinney of Alberta Canada who failed to stop.

Walker was injured after being knocked off the motorcycle. He was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS and later flown to Vanderbilt Hospital by a helicopter ambulance.

Kinney was not hurt. He unloaded his cargo in Lebanon and was enroute to McMinnville.

Kinney was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were also on the scene.

4-H Members Excel at Livestock Judging Contest

April 21, 2016
Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Livestock Judging Team
Junior Judging Team

Cows, pigs, sheep, and goats…oh my! Ten DeKalb County 4-H members traveled to the Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro to compete in the Central Region 4-H Livestock Judging contest. Competing in the Junior division (4th & 5th grades) were Colby Barnes, Ansley Cantrell, Macey Cox, and Caleb Parham. They placed 4th out of 23 teams. Colby placed 2nd high individual out of 89 contestants. In the Jr. High division (6th-8th grades), Jenna Cantrell, Lily Martin, and Elizabeth Seber placed 14th out of 29 teams. Jenna was 5th high individual out of 122 contestants. In the Senior divison (9th-12th grades), Kayla Belk, Caitlyn Lawrence, and PJ Ray placed 17th out of 21 teams and 84 contestants.

Livestock judging allows young people to develop decision-making skills while evaluating and selecting meat animals. They also learn more about the livestock industry as a whole. So, how do you “judge” livestock animals exactly? 4-H members learn how to assess the conformation, or body structure, and muscle of different breeds of beef cattle, sheep, goats, and swine in order to know which animals would be best in a breeding program or would make the most profit in a market situation. They also learn how to read and use performance data and genetic information to assist in the selection of breeding livestock. Eight total classes of animals are judged at the contest. 9th-12th grade 4-H members must also be able to explain verbally why they placed the class the way they did as an added challenge. This requires good public speaking skills as well.

DeKalb County was well represented at this very competitive event. If you are interested in learning more about livestock judging, or any other 4-H event, please call 615-597-4945 or email 4-H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship, and life skills to more than 302,000 youth in grades 4-12. UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments.

Photo Captions

Livestock Team
DeKalb County 4-H members competed at the Central Region Livestock Judging Contest. Back row: Jenna Cantrell, Caitlyn Lawrence, PJ Ray, Kayla Belk, and Colby Barnes. Front row: Elizabeth Seber, Ansley Cantrell, Macey Cox, Caleb Parham, and Lily Martin

Jr. Team: Macey Cox, Colby Barnes, Ansley Cantrell, & Caleb Parham (not pictured) placed 4th out of 23 teams at the Regional livestock judging contest. Colby was 2nd place high individual.

Hargrave Charged with Disorderly Conduct

April 21, 2016
Dwayne Page
James Allen Hargrave

An intoxicated man whose home was destroyed by fire Monday has been charged with disorderly conduct after making threats toward first responders on the scene that evening.

54 year old James Allen Hargrave of Four Seasons Road, Smithville is scheduled to make a General Sessions Court appearance on the charge Thursday, April 21. His bond is $1,500.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, April 18 a deputy responded to 3323 Four Seasons Road on a fire call. Upon arrival the officer found Hargrave highly intoxicated. Hargrave refused to obey the deputy’s commands while he was in close proximity to a fire scene. Hargrave then engaged in threatening activities toward first responders on the scene by trying to hit them and get into their faces.

Hargrave was placed under arrest.

Northside Students Take Virtual Tours of the World through the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program

April 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
Northside Elementary Students look through their goggles to take a virtual tour of Mt. Everest
Students in Northside Teacher Amy Raymond's Class by the Google Car

Imagine visiting Mount Everest, the Great Wall of China, or the surface of the moon. Thanks to the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program, teachers at Northside Elementary School were able to take their students this month on virtual journeys from their classrooms to bring lessons to life.

Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom that leads students on guided tours of places school buses can't go. They are comprised of virtual reality panoramas and are led by a guide or teacher. Using a tablet, teachers can guide students wearing virtual reality viewers. Teachers can guide their class and point out highlights while referring to notes.

(Click link below to see promotional video of the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program)

Google worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create 160 engaging journeys - ranging from museums to outer space --making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.

“It’s basically virtual reality, “ Danii Roundtree, Google Expedition Team Member told WJLE. The teachers are leading the expedition in taking them to different parts of the world”.

“It’s a pair of Google goggles the students look through and then you have a phone because it’s an app that goes inside of the Google goggles and that’s how they are able to see the 3D technology,” said Roundtree.

“The teacher directs from a tablet what the students see through the goggles. Through the virtual expedition students have been able to see the world including places like Egypt, the Great Wall of China, under the seas, etc. Some of the teachers like to correlate what the students are seeing with a lesson plan or what they are presently learning in the classroom so it’s really cool,” Roundtree said.

“Last week Google came to Northside and they visited 20 classrooms. The kids loved it. They (Google) wanted to come back so that no one at Northside would miss out on it so today (Tuesday) they have finished up with the rest of the classes,” said Tammy Sims, computer lab teacher at Northside.

Sims said she learned about the Google Expedition Program last summer during tech training and later signed up Northside for a visit when Google came to Tennessee.

(Visit the Northside Elementary School Website by clicking the link below)

More information on the program is available at

Fire Destroys Single Wide Mobile Home

April 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Single Wide Mobile Home

A fire destroyed a single wide mobile home Monday evening at 3323 Four Seasons Road near the Young Bend Cemetery.

Assistant DeKalb County Fire Chief David Agee told WJLE that the fire was reported at the residence of James Hargrave and that the structure was fully involved in flames by the time firefighters arrived minutes later.

According to Agee, Hargrave rented the mobile home from the owner, Charles Parsley. The residence and all belongings were lost in the blaze.

Hargrave, who was on the scene, was placed in custody by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and charged with disorderly conduct.

Members of the Midway, Johnsons Chapel, and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker and equipment truck. DeKalb EMS was also on the scene though no one was injured.

1986 DCHS Tigerettes to Commemorate 30 Year History of the Program

April 19, 2016
Dwayne Page
1986 DCHS Tigerettes to Commemorate 30 Year History of the Program

Thirty years ago DeKalb County High School launched the Tigerette Fast Pitch softball program under Coach Danny Bond.

Three decades later, Coach Bond is still at the helm with 664 victories and seven state tournament appearances to his credit.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the program's existence, members of the 1986 inaugural team will return to DCHS for the game between the Tigerettes and Warren County Friday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m. at the Danny Bond field on the high school campus. All DCHS Tigerette Alumni are urged to attend.

The 1986 team won the regular season district championship and the district tournament title in District 8AA and was runner-up in Region 4AA.

"It started my senior year back in 1986, Dionndra Foster, a member of the team told WJLE. " We worked hard and a large group of girls wanted to form this softball team. We didn’t think we would be that great because we were just learning the game as far as fast pitch. We had to find pitchers and we had to learn how to hit. Coach Bond agreed to coach us and the school agreed for us to have a team and it was quite an amazing event that very first year. We won the district. We won the regional and we went on to sub-state the very first year. That was quite a feat for a group of girls who had never played fast pitch. This Friday we’re going to celebrate the fact that we have a 30 year record with the same coach still leading the way. We'll be making photographs and we invite any girl who has ever played for the Tigerettes to join us," said Foster.

Members of the 1986 team were Tina Waggoner, Patty Redmon, Tammy Billings, Tonia Foster, Dionndra Foster, Beth Hale, Tammy Hayes, Tracie Webb, Christie Poss, Michelle Gard, Christie Frazier, Lori Pugh, Vickie Hayes, and Gena Hayes.

Over the years the program has achieved tremendous success. The Tigerettes' first trip to the state tournament was in 1992 and they returned in 1994, 1996, 2001, 2008, 2014, & 2015. Last year was only the third DCHS softball team in program history to have won championships for the regular season district, district tournament, region tournament, and sub-state before advancing to the state tournament (1992, 1994, & 2015)

Coach Bond's overall record is now 664-254.

One Injured in Three Vehicle Wreck at Liberty

April 19, 2016
Dwayne Page

One person was injured in a three vehicle wreck today (Tuesday) on Highway 70 at Liberty.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 25 year old Jacob Lawrence of Smithville was traveling east in a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire when he crossed the center line of the highway and struck two other westbound vehicles.

49 year old Lori Anderson of Liberty was traveling west in a 2001 Chevy Impala and behind her was a westbound 2011 Chevy Silverado driven by 34 year old Shane Steele of Sparta. Two juveniles were passengers with Anderson.

According to Trooper Johnson, both Anderson and Steele tried to merge into the eastbound lane but were unable to avoid a collision as Lawrence’s car struck Anderson’s vehicle on the rear passenger side and then sideswiped Steele’s truck on the passenger side.

Lawrence was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. He has also been cited for failure to exercise due care.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb Sheriff's deputies were also on the scene to provide assistance

Four Vehicles Involved in Chain Reaction Wreck

April 18, 2016
Dwayne Page
Scott Phipps was injured after his Toyota Corolla was caught between two vehicles in a chain reaction wreck Monday on Broad Street

Four vehicles were involved in a chain reaction wreck Monday afternoon on Broad Street near the intersection of Mountain Street.

According to Sergeant Brad Tatrow of the Smithville Police Department, 53 year old Charles Merriman of Smithville, driving a 1998 Chevy S-10 was west on Broad Street when he stopped due to a vehicle in front of him that had stopped to make a turn. But after stopping, the driver of the vehicle in front of Merriman apparently decided not to turn and drove on.

As Merriman stopped, so did two other vehicles behind him, a 2000 Chevy Suburban, driven by 46 year old Gena Cripps of Smithville, and a 2003 Toyota Corrolla behind Cripps, driven by 43 year old Scott Phipps of Smithville.

As those vehicles were stopped, a 2005 GMC Yukon, driven by 37 year old Courtney Nunnally of Nashville came up behind Phipps and failed to stop, rear ending his car and forcing it into Cripps' vehicle, which forced it into Merriman's truck.

The only injury reported was Phipps who was taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. No charges or citations were filed.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene to render assistance.

Will Grocery Stores in Smithville be Allowed to Sell Wine?

April 18, 2016

Will grocery stores in Smithville soon be allowed to sell wine?

That’s a question voters may be asked in November.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, Dennis Stanley, said someone has already inquired about a petition drive to place the question on the November 8 election ballot.

“I was recently contacted by a spokesman of an organization that wants to begin a petition drive in Smithville in the very near future,” Stanley said. “That petition would ask the election commission to hold a local option election to authorize the sale of wine at retail food stores.”

"A wine at retail food stores referendum may only be called by petition of registered voters in jurisdictions which have held and passed either a referendum to authorize retail package stores or a referendum to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

“Two years ago Smithville voters approved retail package stores, thus making the city eligible for wine at retail food stores,” Stanley said. “To call a wine at retail food stores referendum, a petition must be signed by 10% or more of the registered voters casting a ballot for governor in the last city election.”

In addition, the petition must be filed with the election commission no later than 75 days before the upcoming November election.

“The person I spoke to recently was well aware of the rules and regulations regarding petitions for referendums and was just informing me someone would be in town soon to begin the petition drive and have it to our office before the deadline,” Stanley said.

If the effort is successful, that will be the second liquor referendum on the ballot in November. A petition to call for an election to authorize alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises has already been turned in and Stanley said there were enough names to put the issue on the ballot.

Both referendums apply only to the City of Smithville. He also noted that no liquor referendum may be placed on the same ballot or conducted on the same day of a primary election.

“The city will conduct its normal election on August 4, but that election falls on the same day as the Tennessee State Primary,” Stanley said. “As a result, the liquor referendums must be held in November.

“Retail food store” is defined in the law as a business that derives at least 20 percent of its sales from the retail sale of food and food ingredients and has floor space of at least 1,200 square feet. The law requires that food sales be those types of sales taxed at the lower, 5 percent state rate, rather than the higher sales tax rate applied to sales of prepared food. It appears that this definition will prevent most convenience stores and gas stations from obtaining licenses to sell wine.

If voters approve the sale of wine in grocery stores, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be the body to issue “retail food store wine licenses”
Applicants must submit a certificate from the city, signed by the mayor, stating that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony in the past ten years and that the applicant has a location for their business inside city limits. If a city fails to issue a certificate to an applicant within 60 days after receiving a written application, the commission will waive the certificate requirement.

Store ownership is not required in order to receive a license, as store owners may enter into franchise or management agreements with licensees. Cities may not limit the number of retail food store wine licenses to be issued in their jurisdiction nor require that applicants reside in the city.

Grocery stores located within 500 feet of package stores may not obtain licenses to sell wine until July 1, 2017, unless the package store owner provides written permission to the commission. Any package store owner who refuses such permission cannot sell those additional items permitted by the law until such time as the grocery store obtains permission to sell wine.


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