Local News Articles

Haidyn Hale Saints Homecoming Queen

August 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Haidyn Hale Saints Homecoming Queen

Haidyn Hale is the Homecoming Queen at DeKalb Middle School

An eighth grader, Hale is the daughter of Melissa Odom and Chad Hale of Smithville.

This is Homecoming week for the Saints leading up to the football game Thursday night against Trousdale County at 6:30 p.m.

The DeKalb Middle School 8th grade attendants are Katherine Colwell and Ellie Webb and the 7th grade attendants are Carlee West and Hannah Trapp.

The DeKalb West School attendants are Ally Griffith, 7th grade and Malayna Nokes, 8th grade.

Two Involved in Early Morning Crash near DeKalb Market

August 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
2010 Nissan Altima driven by Courtney Webster
1994 Toyota pickup driven by John Saylors

Two people were involved in a crash early this morning (Tuesday) on Highway 70 in front of DeKalb Market.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:42 a.m.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 34 year old Courtney Webster of Smithville was taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital where she was treated and released.

According to Trooper Cobble, Webster was driving a 2010 Nissan Altima, pulling out of the parking lot of DeKalb Market to go east on Highway 70 when her car crossed the path of a 1994 Toyota pickup, driven by 54 year old John Saylors of Sparta traveling west on US 70. The truck hit the car on the driver side.

Saylors was not transported to the hospital.

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

Commission Rejects Speed Limit Posting on Ragland Bottom Road

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Commission

The County Commission has rejected a request to post a 35 mile per hour speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road.

During Monday night's regular monthly commission meeting, Fifth district member Jerry Adcock presented a petition signed by twelve residents on Ragland Bottom Road asking that the county post a speed limit there. “This petition hereby acknowledges that we as citizens of DeKalb County and residents of Ragland Bottom Road ask for speed limit postings of no greater than 25 miles per hour to be placed in four places along the lake access road,” the petition states.

Although the petition asked for a posting of 25 miles per hour, Commissioner Adcock moved that the speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road be set at 35 miles per hour. Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett offered a second to the motion. Unauthorized speed limit signs already posted on the road have not been enforceable because they were placed there by a private citizen without the county’s approval.

Under state law, the speed limit on any county road is 55 miles per hour unless the county designates a reduced speed limit posting.

“This is not something I want to go into the business of but if it will appease the people and if it is a hazard and a danger (I will support it), “ said Commissioner Puckett.

“My worry is that it gives the residents a false sense of security because there is not enough (law enforcement) manpower to patrol it. We could probably bankrupt the county trying to put signs up (everywhere) and while they would hold weight because we voted on them, unless the sheriff saw somebody speeding nothing would ever get solved,” said Third District Commissioner Jack Barton.

“But that is true on any stretch of road,” replied Commissioner Adcock.

“There have been no reported accidents on that stretch of road (Ragland Bottom Road). It’s not an accident prone highway,” added Sixth District Commissioner Betty Atnip.

Adcock’s motion to establish the 35 mile per hour speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road failed on a voice vote by the commission.

In other business, the commission voted 9-4-1 to remove a portion of Jones Lane from the county road list upon the recommendation of the DeKalb County Regional Planning Commission and Road Supervisor Butch Agee.

Jones Lane, a 1,056 foot road, is located off Dale Ridge Road and serves members of one family who own property on both sides of the road.

Earlier this year a member of the family presented a letter to Road Supervisor Agee requesting that 636 feet of the road be removed from the county road list. Agee then approached the planning commission with the request and his recommendation for approval. The planning commission voted to schedule a public hearing after a notice was published. The hearing was held in July without any public opposition expressed. The planning commission then voted to recommend to the county commission that the request be approved. But at the July meeting, members of the county commission asked that the issue be revisited by the planning commission to consider the possibility of recommending total closure of the road. However the planning commission did not change its recommendation.

During Monday night’s county commission meeting, Third District member Barton moved to follow the recommendation of the planning commission and Road Supervisor. Fourth District member Jonathan Norris offered a second to the motion.

Concerns were raised by some that Jones Lane has no adequate turnaround and that one should be built by the property owners as a condition for closing a portion of the road

“The turnaround is the issue not the closing of the road. Some of us thought we had a verbal agreement between us that (we were going to require) a cul de sac turnaround for all roads closed and now we’re doing (allowing) a hammerhead (turnaround). We need to be in uniformity in what we’re going to be accepting when we close a road,” said Sixth District member Atnip.

“I think the road closure process that we approved two months ago said that it has to be at the discretion of the road superintendent. I don’t remember a specific turnaround (requirement),” Commissioner Barton replied.

“There will be some areas where a cul de sac cannot be built,” added County Mayor Tim Stribling.

Commissioners Mason Carter, Julie Young, Bradley Hendrix, Jack Barton, Wayne Cantrell, Jonathan Norris, Anita Puckett, Jeff Barnes, and Kevin Robinson voted in favor of closing 636 feet of Jones Lane.

Commissioners Joe Johnson, Larry Summers, Jimmy Midgett, and Betty Atnip voted against it and Commissioner Jerry Adcock passed.

The county commission has voted to purchase property on Cookeville Highway from the Tennessee Department of Transportation where the Cherry Hill Community Center is located for $7,200, the fair market value established by TDOT.

Although the state deeded the 0.24 acre site to DeKalb County in August, 1981, a restriction required the county to use the property only for "public purposes". After taking control of the site in the 1980’s the county constructed the Cherry Hill Community Center there. In recent years community interest in the center has waned and the building is now in need of repairs. Members of the county commission have expressed an interest in either disposing of the property or leasing it.

"When we buy the property we will have total control of it and that restriction for “ public use” will be removed from the deed,” said County Mayor Stribling.

When asked by Sixth District Commissioner Atnip where the county would get the funds to purchase the property since it wasn’t budgeted, County Mayor Stribling said it could come from the county’s fund balance or capital projects fund.

Pam Redmon was appointed to a three year term on the DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees.

DeKalb Health Department Leads Flu Fight in Schools

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page

It's August and as students, parents and teachers prepare for another productive school year, staff members at the DeKalb County Health Department are preparing flyers, forms and flu vaccine to keep influenza out of DeKalb County Schools.

"This is our 4th year of providing flu vaccinations at schools and we couldn't be happier with the welcome we get from DeKalb County school staff members, the appreciation of parents and especially the increasing number of students who get vaccinated each year," said DeKalb County Health Department Director Michael Railling. "The students know they're protecting themselves. What they may not know is how much they're protecting people around them, such as grandparents and even total strangers, from this potentially deadly infection.”

"It's impossible to know how many lives are spared severe sickness or even death as a result of this effort," said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. "But the evidence suggests providing flu vaccine in schools reduces the spread of flu in communities and keeps young learners healthy and in the classroom.”

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH said the school-based flu immunization effort also serves another important purpose: It allows public health departments across the state to practice for emergencies where schools may be used for mass distribution of vaccine or other medicine in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.

"School-based flu vaccine programs give us regular opportunities to practice our plans to provide critical, life-saving medications during emergencies,” Dreyzehner said. "In many communities, schools would be important distribution points for a variety of vaccines and medications. So when we provide flu vaccine at schools, we’re also refining logistics of emergency medicine and keeping relationships with schools current. I couldn't be prouder of the DeKalb County Health Department team for their work in preventing flu now and in preparing for any possible health threat that may arise in the future."

For more information about flu vaccine contact your health care provider or the DeKalb County Health Department at 615-597-7599.

Ramsey Named TWRA District Officer of Year

August 28, 2017
 Jason Ramsey patrolling during Wakefest.

TWRA Region 3 Major C.J. Jaynes has announced that the District 31 Officer of the Year Award goes to Warren County officer Jason Ramsey.

This district award encompasses the outstanding officer from the 12 counties in Region 3, District 31. Long hours, holiday work, time away from families and working in inclement conditions are parts of a wildlife officer often hidden behind the shiny shoes and a class A uniform seen at events. Wildlife officers are diligent, self-motivated and passionate about wildlife and fisheries. Therefore, the field from which to choose this award is exceptional. Wildlife officers must excel in several areas including public outreach, teamwork, innovation, leadership, attitude and yearly achievements.

Jason Ramsey became a part time boating officer for TWRA in 2001 and then a ranger for state parks in 2004. He joined TWRA full time in 2012. Among other duties, his work area includes Center Hill Lake including Pates Ford in DeKalb County. Ramsey stated, “I enjoy working with wildlife, the variety of details the job commands, interacting with the public and teaching kids. Hunter education and sharing the outdoors with youth is one of my favorite parts of the job.” When asked about working in Warren County Ramsey replied, “It’s home and it will always be home. I am happy to give back to the county.”

Along with his regular patrol duties, Ramsey participated in many education and outreach events, reaching 5,516 citizens throughout the year. Some of his other achievements include participating with three National Archery in the Schools events and guiding during a Wounded Warrior Hunt at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Ramsey also worked with the National Wild Turkey Federation local chapter to host their annual banquet and organized a youth turkey hunt in cooperation with a local sporting goods store.

Ramsey increased patrols throughout the past year on the Collins River, which has become an increasingly popular paddle-sports area. He utilized a new jet drive boat that allowed him to access areas of the river previously difficult to check. This activity greatly increased lifejacket awareness and overall safety of the boating public on the river. Sergeant Tim Singleton shared, “Jason excels in all aspects of a wildlife officer’s responsibilities. He truly goes above and beyond with public outreach and his easy going demeanor makes him easily approachable. His knowledge of the law, wildlife and the local area makes him a wealth of information to the citizens of Tennessee”.

Ramsey was awarded the 2016 Boating Officer of the Year for District 31. He maintains an Advanced Emergency Technician certification and is the district medical advisor. He assists with annual in-service training for officers each year teaching everything from CPR to first aid. TWRA employees are proud to call him a coworker and look forward to many more years of service together.

Neal Charged with Burglaries and Theft

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Gregory Eugene Neal

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has charged a Smithville man with two counts of burglary and one count of theft.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_36.pdf (2.03 MB)

47 year old Gregory Eugene Neal of Andrew Street, Smithville is under a $15,000 bond and his court date is September 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 24 Neal allegedly entered a black Ford Ranger, a red Chevy Blazer, and a shed on Adcock Cemetery Road and took property valued at $990.

The case was investigated by detectives of the Sheriff’s Department.

College Street Bridge Struck Again

August 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller
2012 Kenworth truck pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller (PHOTO TAKEN AFTER TRUCK AND TRAILER WERE MOVED FROM CRASH SCENE)

It has happened again.

Another truck has hit the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street, which crosses West Broad Street (Highway 70).

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, this accident occurred at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday as 45 year old Jody Martin of Decherd, Tennessee was traveling east on US 70 in a 2012 Kenworth tractor. The truck was pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a large asphalt roller. The top of the asphalt roller struck the underside of the bridge as the tractor trailer tried to travel underneath it.

Martin was not injured but he was cited for failing to exercise due care.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Danielle Neal.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments also responded along with TDOT officials.

This is the third truck which has struck the bridge within the last fourteen months. The bridge has been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck first hit it causing major damage. Another truck hit the bridge last month.

TDOT recently awarded a bid to Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. of Livingston to repair the bridge at $222,894.68. The project is scheduled to begin next week after Labor Day.

VOLS to Open Season Against Georgia Tech Labor Day

August 27, 2017
The Tennessee Volunteers are set to open the 2017 season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 4.

The Tennessee Volunteers are set to open the 2017 season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 4.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage on the VOL Network starting with the Kick-Off Call-In Show at 5:30 p.m. The game gets underway at 7:00 p.m. Listen LIVE on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7

The Labor Day Monday night game follows the Florida State-Alabama clash at the same venue two nights earlier as part of the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game doubleheader.

"I can't think of a better way to officially open the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium than with an ACC-SEC rivalry game in a sold out atmosphere in the Capital of College Football," Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc., said in a release.

"To host two great traditional football powers in Georgia Tech and Tennessee, while also honoring Hall of Famer Bobby Dodd, who was an All-American at Tennessee and a national championship coach at Georgia Tech, is a very special way to end the first weekend of college football."
Tennessee holds a 24-17-2 series lead against Georgia Tech, but the two former SEC rivals haven't played since 1987.

The Vols beat N.C. State in their only other appearance in the opening-week game in 2012, when the game was played in the Georgia Dome.

The SEC has won seven of the eight meetings against the ACC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which has sold out 10 of its 13 matchups. According to the release, the game has averaged an attendance of 67,645 and features an average payout of $4.7 million. The capacity for the new stadium in Atlanta is 71,000.

The 2017 Tennessee schedule is as follows:

*Tennessee vs Georgia Tech: September 4 (Atlanta)

*Tennessee vs Indiana State: September 9 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Florida: September 16 (Gainesville)

*Tennessee vs UMASS: September 23 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs Georgia: September 30 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs South Carolina: October 14 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Alabama: October 21 (Tuscaloosa)

*Tennessee at Kentucky: October 28 (Lexington)

*Tennessee vs Southern Miss: November 4 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee at Missouri: November 11 (Columbia, Missouri)

*Tennessee vs LSU: November 18 (Knoxville)

*Tennessee vs Vanderbilt: November 25 (Knoxville)

One Injured As Car Clips Utility Pole

August 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
One Injured As Car Clips Utility Pole
63 year old Judy Bullard injured as car hits utility pole on Highway 56 south
2002 Buick Regal went off Highway 56 south and clipped a utility pole

A Smithville woman was injured in a one car crash Saturday afternoon on Highway 56.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 63 year old Judy Bullard was traveling south on Highway 56 in a 2002 Buick Regal when the car went off the left side of the highway and clipped a utility pole.

Bullard was taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Members of the Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Ronnie Goodwin Retiring from Liberty State Bank

August 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
Liberty State Bank in Smithville held reception Friday for VP and Branch Manager Ronnie Goodwin who is retiring after 19 ½ years with the bank. Greeted here by Sherry Bush
Cake served up at retirement reception for Ronnie Goodwin at Liberty State Bank. Goodwin is a hot rod car collector
Ronnie Goodwin surrounded by co-workers Rhonda Caplinger, Lisa Garrison, Charlene Adcock, Annette Jacoby, Trina Graham, Rachel Alexander, and Denise Barrett
The Goodwin's blue 32 Roadster at the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show

A reception was held Friday afternoon at the Smithville office of Liberty State Bank, where Ronnie Goodwin has served as Vice President and Branch Manager for several years.

Goodwin recently announced his retirement from the bank. His last day will be August 31.

“The time was right. I started thinking about it three or four years ago and put things in place so that when the time felt right I could make the decision,” Goodwin told WJLE.

Many friends and long time customers stopped by to wish Goodwin well in his retirement and to enjoy refreshments including cake, cookies, and punch served up by the staff at the bank.

Although his association with Liberty State Bank goes back almost 20 years, his banking career began in 1988 at the former Citizens Bank of Smithville (now known as First Bank). In 1995, Goodwin joined the staff of the former City Bank & Trust (now known as Regions Bank). He left there for Liberty State Bank in 1998.

After completing his education, Goodwin had an opportunity to work for the U.S. Justice Department. “I was recruited out of college by the U.S. Justice Department but I didn’t do that. I did entertain it again back in the mid 1980s. I went to Washington and stayed a while. But there are a lot of sacrifices those people have to make. They have to travel a lot so we (my wife Deborah and I) decided together that wasn’t what we needed to be doing so I came back here to work at Citizens Bank,” said Goodwin.

Before his banking career, Goodwin taught school at DCHS and then entered the political arena, serving as DeKalb County Trustee from 1978 to 1986.

The Goodwins have two grown sons, Scott and wife Amanda, who live here, and Matthew who resides in Portland Oregon. The Goodwins have two grandsons, Cooper and Kipton.

Ronnie has also been a hot rod car enthusiast for many years and owns four hot rods of his own. “I have a guy in Shelbyville who builds them, Michael Young (Street Rods by Michael). He is very gifted and has a great shop full of guys who are unbelievably talented and have done some great, beautiful cars for us,” said Goodwin.

Over the years, the Goodwins have entered their cars in hot rod shows across the country. “We didn’t build all the cars to compete but some have competed and done extremely well especially on the west coast and in Detroit, Chicago, and Las Vegas,” he said.

“There are a dozen car owners each year from all over the world that get asked to Los Angeles to compete in America’s Most Beautiful Roadster. In 2014 we were picked to do that with our blue 32 Roadster and finished second to one of Mr. Chip Foose’s cars. We had a good time. We got to meet him and have gotten to talk to him over the years,” Goodwin continued.

Foose is an American automobile designer and the star of Velocity's reality television series Overhaulin'.

Goodwin said he will miss his customers and co-workers at the bank and he wishes them well.

“Some of the best friends I’ve got and the nicest people I know are because of the business they have been kind enough to let me take care of for them at this and other banks I have worked at. I will miss seeing those folks on a regular basis and the people I have worked here with every day,” said Goodwin.

Ronnie said he plans to spend more time with family in retirement. “There are things Deborah and I want to do. I like to read and we want to travel some. I’ll get to be a kid again and play with my hot rod car collection. We’ve got two mischievous grandsons to keep us busy too so we’ll jump into the next adventure and see what happens,” Goodwin concluded.


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