Local News Articles

Aldermen Delay Action on Fireworks Ordinance

April 7, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen have delayed action on an ordinance lifting the ban on the sale of fireworks in the city limits of Smithville.

Although the issue was on the agenda Monday night, City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson asked the aldermen to wait until the May meeting to take action in order to provide more time to work out details of the ordinance.

“I have a sample ordinance from MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) and I have gone through it but there are still quite a few questions and they haven’t gotten back with me. We still have time before the (fireworks) season to pass an ordinance. I want to research this a little bit more before I present this to you. There are some things like how much we’re going to charge for permits and other things that they (MTAS) needs to answer before I present it to you. There are also state regulations that go with this and I don’t want the city to do anything that goes against the state regulations,” said Hendrixson.

The city has prohibited the sale of fireworks since 1982.

The aldermen voted to declare a two story brick home near the airport park surplus property on Allens Chapel Road. The city recently had to purchase the house for demolition and the trees around it will have to be removed because of FAA regulations prohibiting obstructions within the airport’s glide zone. The home was purchased using TDOT Aeronautics grant funds. The city’s local grant match was 5%.

First Time Homebuyer Seminar Saturday

April 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
First Time Homebuyer Seminar Saturday

The Real Estate Team will be hosting a First Time Homebuyer Seminar on Saturday, April 8 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 3263 Nashville Highway, Smithville.

You are invited to stop by for answers to questions concerning buying a home. A lender will also be there to explain the loan process, credit requirements, how to fix your credit, and to provide other details about how to buy your first home.

The event is hosted by Jennifer Hannah and Holly Slager-Williams. Ben Sweeney of First Cumberland Mortgage will be there and the Mason Jar will be providing a free lunch.

WJLE will have a LIVE broadcast on site from 10:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. For more information call 615-597-9200.

Landis Charged with Forgery

April 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
Roxanne Landis

Smithville Police have charged a local woman with forgery.

32 year old Roxanne Landis was arrested on Wednesday, March 29. Landis could be seen on video surveillance at Wal-Mart passing a forged check belonging to her victim. From July 15, 2016 to July 28, 2016 Landis allegedly passed a total of six checks at Wal-Mart totaling over $700.00 which were forged on the victim's account. Her bond is $6,000 and her court date is April 13.

31 year old Justin L. Murphy was arrested for domestic assault on Saturday, March 11. Murphy allegedly assaulted his victim by punching her in the left shoulder repeatedly leaving a visible bruise. His bond is $4,000.

50 year old Howard Ronald Cook Jr. was arrested on Monday, March 13 for aggravated assault and violating an order of protection. Cook allegedly produced a knife while trying to gain entry into a room where his victims were staying. One of the victims was the petitioner of an order of protection against Cook. His bond is $6,000 and the court date is April 6.

31 year old Laura Beth Elmore Farris was cited for fraudulent use of a credit card on Monday, March 20. Farris could be seen on surveillance video at Kwik N Ezy using someone else’s credit card. The victim had an active police report on file for fraudulent activity on his card. Upon investigation, police discovered that Farris had found the card on the ground at DeKalb Market and then used it without the owner's permission at Kwik N Ezy on Monday, March 13. Her court date is April 6.

33 year old Jeremy Daniel Loader was cited for simple possession on Monday, March 27. Police were called to Dairy Queen where a man was observed beating on the glass after hours. The officer spoke with the man, Loader and after obtaining consent to search his vehicle, found three yellow long bar shaped pills believed to be Alprazolam under the driver's seat. Loader could not provide a prescription for the medication. His court date is April 20.

60 year old Lawrence F. Phaup was arrested for driving under the influence on Tuesday, March 28. Phaup was allegedly traveling 57 mph in a 40mph speed zone. Upon initiating a traffic stop and making contact with Phaup, the officer observed an odor of a fermented beverage about his person. Phaup consented to field sobriety tasks and he performed poorly on them. Phaup was taken into custody and cited for speeding. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is April 20.

30 year old Nikita Dawn Clark was arrested for a third offense of DUI on Wednesday, March 29. Police were called to perform a welfare check on a woman found slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle in the parking lot of Larry's Discount Grocery. The officer awoke the woman, Clark but she appeared disoriented, not knowing where she was or what was happening. Clark had slurred speech and couldn't perform field sobriety tasks due to a knee problem. A cut up straw and pill residue were also found in the passenger seat of her vehicle. Bond for Clark is $4,500 and her court date is April 6.

City Bracing for Water and Sewer Rate Increases Over Next Few Years

April 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen (older photo)

The City of Smithville will have to raise water rates by 45% over the next five years once it loses its largest customer, the DeKalb Utility District. The DUD has built its own treatment plant and plans to start producing water soon.

In addition, Smithville residents will be hit with a sewer rate hike of 40% over the next four years in order to fund depreciation due to renovations underway at the waste water treatment plant.

A 45% hike would increase customers water rates from $5.00 per thousand gallons to $7.69 per thousand over five years. A 40% increase in sewer rates over four years would result in an increase from the current rate of $5.00 per thousand gallons to $7.33 per thousand.

Greg Davenport of the J.R. Wauford Engineering Company and Buddy Petty of Rate Studies Incorporated of Nashville shared with the mayor and aldermen in January the results of the latest water and sewer rate study.

“Everybody knows a big water rate increase is coming. You cannot lose your largest water customer by far without a massive increase. I think you are selling more water to them (DUD) than you use inside the city. We also looked at your sewer system,” said Davenport.


During Monday night’s meeting (April 3), City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson gave copies of Petty’s detailed report to each alderman and the mayor.

Hendrixson suggested a workshop be set up for Petty to again explain the numbers before the city moves forward on a plan to address the concerns

“This is the final report from Mr. Buddy Petty who was here a few months ago who we had a workshop with. We couldn’t get them here tonight to go over this but I told them I would pass it out to you. There is quite a bit to look at here. What we’re hoping to do is set up a another workshop in the next few weeks and have Buddy sit down here and go through the numbers and explain it to you. There is a lot in here (report). A lot of information, charts, graphs, etc. It shows where we are going over the next three to four years without the DeKalb Utility District. They (DUD) are still hooked on to the City of Smithville. They haven’t yet converted over to their plant 100% but I think they are in the process of it. They are still a City of Smithville customer. Unfortunately over the next three to four years we are probably going to have to raise our rates to some extent to make up for the loss of revenue. It (report) shows the percentage of increase needed to keep the water and sewer utility in the black. We can’t go two years in a row operating in the red otherwise the state will determine that for us,” said Hendrixson.

Liberty Senior Citizens Center Closes

April 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
The Liberty Senior Citizens Center operated out of the old Liberty High School Building

The Liberty Senior Citizens Center has closed.

The last day of operation was Friday, March 31, almost 30 years after it was chartered in 1987.

The Liberty Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently took action to close the center due to concerns of its continued viability. “The center was closed as a result of low attendance of participants who live in the Town of Liberty along with the expense of operation to the Town of Liberty, Patty Ray, Director of the Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability told WJLE

According to a spokesperson in Liberty, the number of participants at the Liberty Center had fallen off over the past year which had an impact on available funding for the center. The numbers didn’t add up to get enough funding to keep the center viable.

“The majority of all senior centers’ funding comes from local governments, fundraisers and grant opportunities. A contract between the AAAD and the Town of Liberty provided a small amount of funding for specific services to be provided at the center,” said Ray

“The funding formula, which determines the amount of dollars designated for the center, has not significantly changed, but the way funds are reimbursed has changed for the purpose of accountability for the dollars spent on the specific services being purchased,” she continued.

“The same funding formula and contract reimbursement methods are used for all participating senior centers across the Upper Cumberland. The AAAD contracts with DeKalb County for senior center services in Smithville and with a free-standing Board for senior center services in Alexandria,” Ray said.

“A variety of programs are offered in senior centers across the Upper Cumberland. The AAAD contracts with the centers for the following services: Education; Health Education; Health Screening; Physical Fitness; Recreation; Resource Information; Telephone Reassurance; and Evidence Based programs,” added Director Ray.

With Liberty having closed the center, participants who took part in activities there may now go to the Alexandria or Smithville Senior Citizens Center.

City Officials Frustrated with Bridge Repair Delays

April 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen
State Representative Mark Pody

Local officials are not happy that it’s taking so long to fix the Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street over Broad Street.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, February 10 and Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. had the apparent lowest bid at $238,600.58.

The bid was initially expected to be awarded by mid-March with construction to follow. The completion time on the project was to have been on or before September 30. But TDOT rejected the bid.

“The project was rejected in the February letting because the bid prices came in too high. We are looking at ways to lower them and once we decide on how to do this we will re-let the project and see what we get. We understand that it is an inconvenience, but we must be good stewards of the public’s money and look for fair and equitable prices,” Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer told WJLE

During Monday night’s meeting of the city council, Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen said they wanted state lawmakers to intervene with TDOT in an effort to expedite the project.

In a LIVE radio interview with WJLE Tuesday morning, State Representative Mark Pody said he planned to meet with TDOT officials this week to discuss the project. “I am meeting with TDOT to see what we can do to speed up this project. I can’t tell TDOT who to get their bids from because they have to go through that process but because it has been delayed I can ask what we can do to start moving this thing along much faster,” said Pody.

The bridge was damaged in June, 2016 when a DeKalb County Landfill truck, driven by 54 year old Roger Chapman, hit the underside of the bridge as it was traveling east on Broad Street. Although the truck carried no dumpster at the time, the lift was up. The bridge has been closed since the accident.

Five Involved in Tuesday Night Crash

April 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
 2007 Ford Escape
Oldsmobile Alero

Five people were involved in a crash Tuesday night on Highway 70 near DeKalb Market.

Trooper Tommy Cooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 18 year old Daniel Patterson of Smithville was driving a 2007 Ford Escape and was attempting to cross the highway toward DeKalb Market when he pulled into the path of a westbound Oldsmobile Alero, driven by 30 year old Savannah Wilkerson. Patterson had two juveniles in the car with him. They went to the hospital by private vehicle. A child passenger was with Wilkerson. They were transported to the hospital by DeKalb EMS.

According to Trooper Cooper, Patterson was cited for failure to exercise due care, no license, failure to yield to traffic, and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). Wilkerson was cited for expired drivers license and no insurance.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Billings Charged with Trying to Stab His Wife to Death

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Andrew Lafate Billings

A DeKalb County man has been charged with trying to kill his wife after she was found by the side of the road in the Ragland Bottom area cut and bleeding from a stabbing.

29 year old Andrew Lafate Billings of Antioch Road,Smithville is charged with the attempted first degree murder of his wife 19 year old Adriana Billings. He is under a one million dollar bond and will make a court appearance on April 20.

Adriana is at an undisclosed hospital being treated for stab wounds.

The warrant against Billings states that "on the 4th of April, 2017, Andrew Lafate Billings did intentionally and knowingly stab his wife, Adriana Nichole Billings numerous times about the upper body. Billings did commit this act with premeditation with the intent to kill Adriana Billings. Adriana was taken by helicopter with life threatening injuries. This offense did occur in DeKalb County".

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the victim was found Tuesday morning on Allen Ferry Road off Backbone Ridge Road in DeKalb County.

“At 9:06 a.m. a call came in to dispatch from someone who found a woman on the side of the road bleeding from the throat and said she appeared to have been stabbed.”

“Officers arrived ten minutes later and found the woman lying in a ditch with knife wounds to the neck, face, and hands. The victim was seen by EMS and then airlifted by helicopter. She suffered life threatening injuries,” said Sheriff Ray.

“While doing inventory at the scene, detectives developed Andrew Billings as a suspect and were able to obtain a vehicle description. A BOLO (Be on the lookout) was sent to surrounding counties.”

“The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and District Attorney General’s Office were summoned to the scene by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.”

“White County authorities later received a domestic call in their county and learned that Andrew Billings had gotten into an argument with a family member. A White County detective spotted the vehicle Billings was driving and did a traffic stop at 11:19 a.m.”

“A search warrant was later obtained and executed on the vehicle Billings was driving and officers found blood and a bloody knife with hair on it inside the automobile. Billings was found to have cuts to his hands,” Sheriff Ray continued.

Billings was taken into custody. He was booked in DeKalb County on the attempted first degree murder charge but is being held in White County on a failure to appear in court charge there. DeKalb County has a hold on him after he faces his White County offense.

Sheriff Ray wishes to thank the TBI and DA’s office and the White County Sheriff’s Department for their help in the investigation. No motive has been released for the stabbing.

Andrew and Adriana Billings first made news last November when they fled to Michigan with their 8 month old child prompting an Endangered Child Alert. They are still facing aggravated child abuse and initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine charges from that incident.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Makes Donation to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

April 4, 2017
Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Makes Donation to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital has donated $12,000 to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition / Healthy DeKalb Program to fund a ‘DeKalb Community Health Adventure’ for 2017. Healthy DeKalb is a part of Healthier Tennessee from the Governor’s Foundation. The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco. The Foundation is funded through a combination of public and private-sector sources and is guided by a board of directors. A staff of eight professionals has been assembled to direct the Foundation and implement the Healthier Tennessee initiative. Healthy DeKalb is comprised of a group of concerned citizens dedicated to promote health and improved wellness for their community. Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

“This contribution is in direct line with the mission of Saint Thomas Health, which is to provide spiritually centered, holistic care that sustains and improves the health of the communities we serve,” said Andy Wachtel, CEO, Saint Thomas DeKalb, Stones River, and Highlands hospitals. “Helping to promote a healthy community is a key part of our overall commitment to health and healing.”

“The DeKalb Community Health Adventure kicked off on Healthier Tennessee Week – March 27th through 31st- by offering free art, exercise and wellness classes including: gentle yoga, power yoga, senior chair volleyball, walking club, adult art classes, and Tai Chi Tuesdays beginning March 28th,” said one Coalition member, “This is something that has never been available to our community before. It is our hope that these free classes will allow anyone to try healthy opportunities to build good habits and a renewed care of their personal health for years to come. Upcoming summer activities will include swimming classes, water aerobics, personal trainer sessions, personal health coach sessions, and nutrition classes. All classes will be available on a first come/first serve basis, so we want everyone to sign-up early.”

For more information, or to sign up for available classes free of charge for adults and children, Call DeKalb Prevention Coalition at 615-580-9290 or Justin Potter Library at 615-597-4359.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital is a 71-bed full-service hospital located in Smithville, TN and serving the people of Middle Tennessee. Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital provides a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care. We are a forward thinking, innovative hospital where trust, teamwork and technology come together to make a positive difference in the health of our community and region.

Man Allegedly Found with Child Porn on his Laptop Computer Indicted by Grand Jury

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Louis Simon Lopez, III
Walter Kenneth Tubbs
Jeffery Mark Hatfield
Robin Clark Green

A 44 year old Smithville man recently charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after photos and videos of child porn were allegedly found on his laptop computer has been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

Louis Simon Lopez, III was indicted Monday for the crime and will be arraigned Monday, April 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

According to Chief Mark Collins, Smithville Police were informed on Saturday, January 7 that Lopez was the owner of a laptop that had several pictures and videos of what appeared to be children under the age of 18 naked and engaging in sex acts. Upon investigation, a warrant was obtained and Lopez was taken into custody without incident.

Lopez reportedly has a criminal record for similar offenses in the past while a member of the U.S. Army and received a dishonorable discharge. He is listed on the sex offender registry in another state.

64 year old Walter Kenneth Tubbs of Murfreesboro and formerly of Smithville was indicted for rape. He will be arraigned Monday. Tubbs is accused of raping a woman at her residence on Smith Road Tuesday, July 26, 2016. According to the warrant, Tubbs allegedly rubbed the woman's breast and then took his hand and put it down her pants. The woman told him to stop immediately. Tubbs then allegedly used force to remove the woman’s pants and underwear and he had sex with her against her will. The whole time the woman told Tubbs to stop what he was doing or she would scream. After the incident Tubbs apologized and pleaded for the woman not to press charges. He also called family members and apologized to them for what he had done, according to the warrant.

26 year old Jeffery Mark Hatfield was indicted for two counts of child abuse. He will be arraigned Monday. He is accused of leaving two youngsters home alone, including one who wandered out into the road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that a detective was patrolling Adcock Cemetery Road just before dark on Thursday, January 12 when he came upon a three year old girl standing in the center of the road. After almost hitting the child, he stopped and tended to the youngster while contacting the Department of Children Services. After searching for more than an hour, authorities finally located the child’s home. Upon arrival, they found a two year old boy who was home alone. According to Sheriff Ray, Hatfield left the children in an unsafe situation placing them in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

41 year old Robin Clark Green was indicted for violation of the sex offender registry. He will be arraigned Monday. Green is accused of not giving timely notice after relocating from Cannon to DeKalb County. According to Sheriff Ray, Green moved from Cannon to DeKalb County without giving notice within 24 hours of the move in violation of the sex offender registration law. "On Wednesday, January 13 a Sheriff's Department Detective went to 267 Ragland Bottom Road to tell Green that his address needed to be changed on the sex offender registry. Green was told that he had twenty four hours from the time he moved to change the address. On January 19, the detective spoke with Cannon County officials who said that Green had not changed his address and was still registered in Cannon County," said Sheriff Ray. Green was subsequently placed under arrest


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree