Local News Articles

DeKalb County Receives TDEC Grant to Upgrade Used Oil Recycling Stations

February 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling

DeKalb County has been awarded a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to upgrade its used oil recycling stations.

The grant amount for DeKalb County, $88,750 is among $6,041, 629 in grants being awarded to support community recycling efforts in a statewide move to reduce landfill waste.

“The grant funds will pay for replacing and or installing new collection tanks for used oil, canopies, pads, oil pumps, oil filter crushers, and old tank removals at the garbage collection convenience centers where the existing oil collection stations are located at Midway, Keltonburg, Alexandria, Snow Hill, Allen’s Ferry Road, and McMinnville Highway. Grant funds will also be used to provide education and outreach materials,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

“TDEC is committed to increasing the diversion and beneficial use of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or contaminating our waters,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “These grants will help local communities meet the ever-growing challenge of finding ways to reuse materials that would otherwise be discarded to benefit our economy and protect our environment.”

Awarded projects fall into one of five categories: Recycling Hub and Spoke, Recycling Equipment, Recycling Rebate, Used Oil and Convenience Centers.

Recycling Equipment Grants were authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 and are supported by the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund, which is administered by TDEC. The fund receives revenues from a state surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in landfills and from a fee on new tires sold in the state. Used Oil Grants are authorized under the Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 and are funded by the Used Oil Collection Fund, which receives its revenues from a fee collected against every quart of oil sold.

Living Well Workshops Help DeKalb County Live Better with Chronic Conditions

February 21, 2018
Dwayne Page

For people with chronic health conditions, good medical care is just half of the equation. Equally important is their ability to make healthy decisions, follow their doctor’s recommendations and take care of their condition.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions, a workshop offered in DeKalb County, teaches people with lifelong health conditions to do just that. Participants have less pain, more energy and fewer hospitalizations.

The classes, offered weekly at the DeKalb County Health Department from March 5- April 9, are for anyone with a chronic disease. Chronic diseases are lifelong health conditions and include diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, chronic pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and others.

There’s a significant need for support for people with chronic diseases, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the most common, costly and preventable of all U.S. health problems. They are also the leading causes of death and disability, responsible for seven out of 10 deaths each year.

Living Well workshops are delivered in six two-and-a-half-hour weekly sessions. They are taught by two certified leaders; either one or both are non-health professionals who have a chronic disease themselves and can speak from their own experience.

During the six-week session, participants receive support from trained leaders and other workshop participants, learn practical ways to manage their pain and fatigue, learn about nutrition and exercise options, understand new treatment choices and learn better ways to communicate about their conditions with doctors and family members.

Governor Hopeful Craig Fitzhugh Addresses Local Democrats at Mass Meeting (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

February 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
Governor Hopeful Craig Fitzhugh Addresses Local Democrats at Mass Meeting

State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh is in the race to become the next Governor of Tennessee.

The twelve term member of the Tennessee General Assembly from Ripley represents the 82nd legislative district including the counties of Crockett, Haywood, and Lauderdale. He spoke Saturday at the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting.

Fitzhugh said the three main issues in this campaign are education, health care, and jobs for Tennesseans.

“I’m for giving everybody the opportunity to have the American dream. What is that American dream? The ability to take care of your family. The ability to give them food, clothing, and shelter. The ability to educate them. The number one issue is education. It is the reason state government exists. There is a provision in our state constitution that says the state of Tennessee must provide a program of free public education. And it doesn’t start in college. It starts in early childhood education. Everybody also needs a high school degree and then training after that. Does that mean a four year or two year degree? Maybe, maybe not. But it means at least some technical training so we can get those better jobs,” said Fitzhugh.

“The most pressing issue is health care. It is a big issue nationally and there are some things we can do at the state level that we haven’t done. The biggest moral failure the legislature has done in the 24 years I have been there is the failure to expand Medicaid. It makes such a big difference. We have forfeited over $4 billion in your tax money that we didn’t take here that is going to other states. The hospital I was born in at Brownsville closed two years ago. It would not have closed if we had expanded Medicaid. Rural hospitals are going to keep closing. Medicaid would have also helped in the opioid crisis,” Fitzhugh continued.

“The third issue is jobs. The Governor says we have the lowest unemployment we’ve had in years. That is right. But we have more people in this state percentage wise working for minimum wage than any other state in the country. What we need is better training for better jobs. And if we can put Broadband in rural areas it will change the way we live. We have got to get it done. The Governor has put money in it but not much,” added Fitzhugh.

Craig graduated from Ripley High School in 1968, where he played varsity baseball, football, and basketball on some of the earliest integrated sports teams. A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the UT College of Law, where in 2010 he was a finalist for its Presidency. He served four years active duty in the Air Force as a Captain in the Judge’s Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

He returned to Ripley to practice law. In 1992, Craig joined the Bank of Ripley, where he currently serves as Chairman and CEO. There he created a bank grant program providing more than $300,000 to supplement classroom resources for local public school teachers.

Craig has represented the people of Tennessee’s 82nd legislative district in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1994, chosen by his colleagues to serve as House Minority Leader. Craig is a strong advocate for public schools, improved health care especially in rural areas, and economic development throughout the state.

Craig has been married for over 40 years. Pam Fitzhugh is a Lauderdale County native who also attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Pam is a retired consultant for hearing-impaired children with the Lauderdale County School System. She previously worked in this capacity for the Dyer County School System.

Pam and Craig have two married children: Elizabeth Molder is a former first grade teacher and her husband Chaz Molder is an attorney in private practice in Columbia; Tom lives in Memphis and works at the Bank of Ripley/Bank of Tipton and his wife, Windy, is a pediatric nurse practitioner at St. Jude. They have four grandchildren: Marley, Hugh, BeBe and Ollie.

Craig is a fourth generation member of First Baptist Church, Ripley. He serves there as a Deacon and Chairman of the Trustees.

UCHRA Director Placed on Administrative Leave with Pay

February 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
Luke Collins

The executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an independent investigation.

Luke Collins is under scrutiny after a Channel 4 investigation into his questionable time sheets, per diem payments, and use of a public transit vehicle.

The UCHRA board met Tuesday morning in Cookeville and voted to put Collins on leave with pay and to ask the agency’s attorney to find another lawyer to lead an independent investigation.

According to reports, some members of the board argued that Collins should not receive pay while on administrative leave, but ultimately the motion was passed to allow him to be paid while the investigation was underway.

Rebecca Harris, the agency’s transportation director, will temporarily serve as executive director until next week when the board meets again.

Smithville Fire Department to Host 80th Anniversary Open House and Fire Truck Dedication Sunday

February 20, 2018
Dwayne Page
Current members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department
Smithville Volunteer Fire Department to Dedicate New Truck

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a new fire truck dedication and 80th anniversary celebration on Sunday, February 25.

The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the fire hall with an official commemoration of the department’s 80th year in existence and the dedication of a new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle, which arrived two weeks ago.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the public is invited to attend especially anyone who has ever served as a volunteer for the Smithville Fire Department since its beginning in 1938. Current and former city firefighters will join forces for a fire engine pull of the new truck into the fire hall. The open house will continue until 4:00 p.m.

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce plans a ribbon cutting and presentation of a “Milestone Award” to the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department

Grant Williams Elected to Farm Service Agency County Committee

February 20, 2018
Dwayne Page

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee met in regular session on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2017 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 (DeKalb County) and LAA # 4 county committee elections.

In the DeKalb County LAA # 2 election, Grant Williams was elected to serve as Committee Member. In the Cannon County LAA # 4 election, Javin Fann was re-elected to serve his third and final three-year term. Wesley Foster was elected as 1st Alternate Committeeperson. All elected members began their terms on January 1, 2018.

The DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee met on January 9, 2018 to conduct its Organizational Meeting. The Committee selected R.V. Billings, Jr. as the Chairperson, and Javin Fann as the Vice-Chairperson for 2018. Randall West, Bob Melton, and Grant Williams serve as members of the Committee. Mary Sanders serves as the Committee Advisor. The Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center located at 647 Bright Hill Rd.

Green says that the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee and office staff wish to express their appreciation to voters in LAA # 2 and LAA # 4 who participated in the election by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes," added Green.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency’s web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

Florence & White Ford to Sponsor Test Drive Fundraiser for DCHS Girls Softball Team

February 20, 2018
Dwayne Page

Florence & White Ford of Smithville and the Ford Motor Company are working together to raise as much as $6,000 for the DCHS Girls Softball Team. Sounds Exciting, Right?

What can you do to help?

Members of the community have the opportunity to raise money for the DCHS Girls Softball Team by test-driving a Ford vehicle on the day of the event, Friday March 2 from 4-6 p.m. at DeKalb County High School.

For every person who test drives a new Ford vehicle (one person per household, aged 18 or older) Ford Motor Company will donate $20, up to a maximum donation of $6,000. These funds will go to necessary equipment and the Facility Fund.

"We are very blessed to have such a wonderful community, and very thankful for the continued support. We look forward to seeing everyone there," said DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Fish

Lady Tigers Take Fourth Place in District Tournament

February 20, 2018
Dwayne Page

The DCHS Lady Tigers lost to Livingston Academy 50 to 27 and finished in fourth place in the District 8AA Basketball Tournament Monday night in Cookeville.

The Lady Tigers will enter the Region Tournament at Cumberland County Friday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Livingston Academy led 12 to 8 after the 1st period, 22 to 11 at halftime, and 34 to 14 after the 3rd period, before going on to win 50 to 27.

Emme Colwell scored 8. Mya Ruch 6. Megan Cantrell 5. Mallori Hart 4 and Maddison Parsley and Kenzie France each with 2 points.

Meanwhile the Upperman Lady Bees won the District Tournament Monday night beating Macon County 50 to 43.

The Upperman Bees will meet Livingston Academy tonight (Tuesday, February 20) for the Championship of the District Tournament at 7:30 p.m. while Watertown and Smith County will play for third place in the consolation game at 6:00 p.m. at Tennessee Tech.


Dowelltown Man Accused of Assaulting Ex-Wife and her Sister

February 20, 2018
Dwayne Page
John Lucas Williams
Stephanie Ann Pierce
Peter Nathaniel Clark
Crystal Lashelle Thompson
April Lynn Anderson
Gregory Wayne Roberts
Bransford Lee Patterson

A Dowelltown man accused of assaulting his ex-wife and her sister has been arrested.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_58.pdf (4.33 MB)

30 year old John Lucas Williams of Piney Woods Road, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is March 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, February 16 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Piney Woods Road for a physical domestic. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Williams’ ex-wife who said that Williams had assaulted her and her sister, who also lives at this residence. He allegedly pushed and grabbed them causing his ex-wife to sustain scrapes on her knee. The woman’s sister also had a large knot with an abrasion on the back of her head. Williams left the scene prior to the deputy’s arrival but he was arrested later.

53 year old Bobby F. Duggin of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (Oxycodone). He will make a court appearance on March 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 15 Duggin was found to be in possession of the pills for which he was unable to provide a prescription.

42 year old Stephanie Ann Pierce of Pea Ridge Road, Elmwood, Tennessee is charged with being a fugitive from justice. Her bond is $75,000 and her court date is February 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 12 the jail received two warrants from Warren County, Kentucky for failure to appear against Pierce along with an extradition order to pick her up.

41 year old Peter Nathaniel Clark of Sharon Circle, Crossville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $75,000 and his court date is February 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, February 16 a sheriff’s department deputy responded to the area of Talpha Drive to check on suspicious persons in a vehicle. Upon arrival he spoke with three persons, including Clark. After checking his driver license through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the officer learned that Clark is wanted in Michigan on an active felony warrant. Michigan authorities plan to extradite Clark.

37 year old Crystal Lashelle Thompson of Crestview Drive, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation; resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest; and tampering with evidence. Her bond is $23,000 and her court date is March 8. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 12 a deputy went to Restview Avenue to serve warrants against her for failure to appear. Upon arrival, Thompson left through a back door and tried to flee on foot refusing to heed the deputy’s commands to stop. The officer caught up with her but while trying to place her in custody she ingested evidence, a hydrocodone pill. She also lied about her identity. When the deputy asked her for her name, she replied several times it was Michelle.

34 year old April Lynn Anderson of Tobbit Road of McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment for having a three year old child with her while driving drunk. Her bond totals $6,500 and her court date is March 8. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, February 13 a deputy responded to a stranded motorist call and found the vehicle on East Broad Street in Smithville. He stopped and spoke with the driver, Anderson. Her three year old daughter was in the back seat. Anderson’s speech was slurred. Her eyes were red and watery and she was unsteady on her feet. Anderson admitted to the officer that she had taken some medication earlier in the day. She submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly.

39 year old Gregory Wayne Roberts of Rodonna Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense for driving on a revoked license. His bond has been revoked by the judge. His next court date is February 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, February 14 a sheriff’s department detective spotted a vehicle traveling after dark without its headlights or taillights on. He conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Roberts. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended in Lebanon for failure to satisfy a citation in 2006. Roberts also has prior offenses against him in DeKalb County for driving on a revoked license in 2016.

31 year old Bransford Lee Patterson of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is March 8. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 15 a deputy was dispatched to the 8800 block of Short Mountain Road due to a one vehicle accident involving a 2000 Ford Mustang. Upon arrival he spoke with the driver, Patterson and discovered that he (Patterson) was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Patterson submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. He was then placed under arrest.


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