Local News Articles

Season Finale of WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" to Air Today (Thursday)

January 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Seated: Scott Brown, Joe Goodwin, and Dewain Hendrixson. Standing: John Pryor, Darrell Gill, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, and Chad Kirby

The final edition for the season of WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" will air today (Thursday, January 12) at 4:30 p.m.

Awards will be presented to Dewain Hendrixson of DeKalb Ace Hardware, who compiled the overall best record for the season at 168-83 and to Darrell Gill of DeKalb Tire and Service who had the most “underdog” points at 86.

Other members of the panel are Scott Brown of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Chad Kirby of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Jeff James of DeKalb County Insurance, Ricky Atnip of the Charles D. Atnip Realty and Auction Company, WJLE sports broadcaster and DCHS Teacher and Coach John Pryor, and Joe Goodwin sponsored by Liberty State Bank.

The final standings of the Fearless Forecasters in picking winners are as follows:
Dewain Hendrixson: 168-83
Ricky Atnip: 165-86 (3)
Joe Goodwin: 165-86 (3)
Jeff James: 162-89 (6)
Darrell Gill: 157-94 (11)
John Pryor: 155-96 (13)
Guests: 155-96 (13)
Scott Brown: 145-106 (23)
Chad Kirby: 145-106 (23)

Final Underdog Points Results (Number of points accumulated by the FORECASTERS according to the lines or spreads in picking underdogs who won and the records of success)
Darrell Gill: 86 points (7-12)
Jeff James: 72.5 points (6-13)
Ricky Atnip: 69.5 points (7-12)
Chad Kirby: 56.5 points (5-14)
John Pryor: 37 points (4-15)
Dewain Hendrixson: 37 points (6-12)
Scott Brown: 33.5 points (3-16)
Joe Goodwin: 16.5 points (2-17)
Guests:13 points (2-17)

The special guests who appeared on the Fearless Forecasters Show this season were TWRA officer Tony Cross, DeKalb County Fire Chief and DeKalb County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Donny Green, DCHS Girls Basketball and Softball Coach Danny Fish, Minister Bill Robertson, County Mayor Tim Stribling, DCHS Baseball Coach Jon Adam Kefauver, Rhea County High School Girls Basketball Coach Darvin Gill, Cannon County educator Freddie Curtis, Minister Larry Green, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, DCHS educator Chris Vance, DeKalb School System Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, MTNG CEO Jim Hodges, Attorney Sarah Cripps, and DCHS Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp.

Thanks to our sponsors Liberty State Bank, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company.

Catch the final edition for the season of the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE today (Thursday, January 12) at 4:30 p.m.

SBA Disaster Loans Available Following Disaster Declaration for October Drought

January 12, 2017

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Tennessee as a result of the drought that began on Oct. 4, 2016.

This disaster declaration includes the following counties: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Cannon, Cheatham, Chester, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Loudon, Macon, Marshall, Maury, McMinn, McNairy, Monroe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sumner, Trousdale, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Williamson and Wilson in Tennessee.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov (link sends e-mail). Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Aug. 15, 2017.

Billings Elected to FSA Committee

January 12, 2017
R.V. Billings, Jr.

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 20, 2016 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2016 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3 (DeKalb County) County Committee Election.

In the DeKalb County LAA # 3 election, R.V. Billings, Jr. was elected to serve as Committee Member. Nathan Cook was elected as 1st Alternate Committeeperson. All elected members began their terms on January 1, 2016.

The DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee met on January 10, 2017 to conduct its Organizational Meeting. The Committee selected Jack Campbell as the Chairperson, and Javin Fann as the Vice-Chairperson for 2017. R.V. Billings, Jr, Bob Melton, and Steve Officer serve as members of the Committee. 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 wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA # 3 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.

Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of the Month

January 11, 2017
Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary has begun a new program to recognize a student of the month from each grade level. Students selected for this honor will have their picture on a bulletin board at the school entrance, as well as having a yard sign that they can place in their yard for the month recognizing their selection as student of the month.

The students of the month for January are:

Pre K - Valerie Khadzhi

K - Mercy Weir

1st - Sydney Eckard

2nd - Owen Roberts

Southwell Wanted in Alabama

January 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Willie Morgan Southwell
Kody Allen Vowell
Brad Eugene Bell

After a traffic stop last week, a Smithville man was found to be wanted in Alabama.

28 year old Willie Morgan Southwell of Miller Road, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from Justice. His bond is $60,000. He will make a court appearance on January 12.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, January 5 a deputy conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for failure to maintain lane of travel. Southwell was a passenger. A computer check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) revealed that Southwell had active warrants against him in Brewington Alabama for violation of probation and failure to appear on an original charge of burglary, 3rd offense. Southwell was taken into custody and is to be extradited back to Alabama.

29 year old Kody Allen Vowell of Smyrna is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. He was also issued citations for violation of financial responsibility (no insurance) and simple possession of a schedule II drug. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is January 26.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, January 3 a deputy was dispatched to Bright Hill Road for a wreck. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Vowell who said he had been driving the car involved in the accident and that he did not have a driver license. A computer check confirmed that Vowell’s driver license were suspended in Smyrna Municipal Court for failure to pay fines for violations. He has previous violations for driving on a suspended license on March 26, 2006 and July 7, 2007 in Smyrna. Vowell could not show proof of insurance and a 1.5 milligram Hydrocone pill was found on his person.

23 year old Brad Eugene Bell is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is January 19. He was further cited for driving on roadways laned for travel and served with a failure to appear warrant out of General Sessions Court for a previous offense for driving on a suspended license.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 7 a deputy was traveling east on Highway 70 west when he noticed a vehicle fail to maintain its lane of travel. He stopped the automobile and spoke with the driver, Bell. A computer check revealed that Bell’s license were suspended for a Wilson County offense. Bell was placed in custody.

Dailey and Vincent to Join Grand Ole Opry

January 11, 2017
Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent

The bluegrass music super-duo of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent has been invited to become official members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dailey & Vincent are three time-winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and three-time Grammy nominees as a duo. They will be formally inducted into the Opry on March 11.

Marking their 10th year as a duo, Dailey & Vincent have made 100 appearances at the Opry, including a performance last Friday night.

During the show, Opry member Marty Stuart invited the duo to join the Opry.

Darrin and wife Julie make their home in DeKalb County.

A 21st century bluegrass duo, both Dailey and Vincent had long careers in bluegrass before they officially joined forces, Dailey as the guitarist and lead singer for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver while Vincent played for years in Ricky Skaggs' band Kentucky Thunder (plus his older sister just happened to be bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent).

Dailey and Vincent first met in 2001, and quickly discovered that their voices meshed magically, much like the rare blend of voices that legendary brother duos like the Louvin Brothers possessed. Signing with Rounder Records, the pair released the eponymous Dailey & Vincent in 2008 on the label, and the album immediately put them on the top of the bluegrass heap, winning multiple International Bluegrass Music Association awards that same year. Two more albums appeared from Rounder in 2009, Brothers from Different Mothers in March and Singing from the Heart in October. Two themed collections, Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers and The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent, were issued in 2010 and 2012, respectively, through the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and distributed through Rounder Records. The well-balanced and impressive Brothers of the Highway, released on Rounder Records, appeared in the spring of 2013.

Dailey & Vincent also have their own national television show on RFD-TV. The Dailey & Vincent Show is a weekly 30 minute music, entertainment and lifestyles show which features unique musical performances, guest segments, cooking and humor.

Mayor and Aldermen to Decide How to Pay for New Fire Truck

January 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Making Plans to Purchase New Fire Truck to Replace this 1992 Model

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen are looking at purchasing a new fire truck.

Although the Smithville Volunteer Fire Departments trucks have been well maintained over the years, Chief Charlie Parker says it’s time to replace one of them because of its age.

He is asking that the city buy a new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle to replace the fire department’s oldest fire truck, a 1992 model, as well as a 20 year old rescue truck and service truck.

According to Chief Parker, a new combination fire truck/rescue vehicle would be more efficient and economical and possibly require less manpower. The cost is $751,575 and the truck would be equipped with five air packs and other tools and features. “The vehicle we currently have (in mind) still has most of the key elements we are trying to incorporate into the truck. It has an increased pump capacity over what we have. It also allows us to have a bigger water flow and it adds foam capabilities that we don’t currently have. With this we could foam the runaway at the airport and for fuel fires and spills especially from large tanker trucks that come through town. It is also upgrading to a safer vehicle with more up to date features for our responders,” said Chief Parker during Monday night's monthly city council meeting.

The city has the money to buy the truck from surplus reserves and $100,000 is set aside in this year’s budget toward the purchase. However Pierce offers a two year and five year lease purchase plan with interest. The two year plan would require annual payments of $376,679. The five year option would call for payment of $158,072 in five year installments. If the city chooses a lease purchase arrangement, the first payment would not be due until next January.

Chief Parker said in order to get the truck at today’s price ($751,575) the city must act before the end of January because the price of the truck is going up next month. However the mayor and aldermen choose to pay for the new fire truck, it would still be up to a year before the city could take delivery of the truck.

During Monday night’s meeting, the mayor and aldermen decided to delay a decision on which funding option to take until a work shop/special meeting on Monday, January 23. The workshop will begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the meeting at 6:00 p.m. at city hall.

Once a 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.

TDOT Plans Bid Lettings for DeKalb County Projects

January 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street over West Broad

Two DeKalb County projects are scheduled for upcoming bid lettings by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

TDOT plans to let for construction next month repairs to the Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street in Smithville. “The project to repair the bridge on College Street over State Route 26 (US 70) in Smithville is currently in the February 10, 2017 letting. That means that bids will be opened for the project on that date,” Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer told WJLE

Meanwhile, the Highway 56 project has been funded and is scheduled for a May bid letting. The original plans called for building a four lane road from south of the Warren County line (in Warren County) to near Magness Road in DeKalb County. TDOT now proposes to build a new two lane road (typical section) with twelve foot lanes and ten foot paved shoulders and passing lanes along the 3.30 mile existing alignment.

“The project to widen a 3.3-mile section of State Route 56 from south of the Warren County Line to Magness Road has been funded for construction and is currently tentatively scheduled to be in the May letting. It was to have been let earlier, but some further coordination was needed with the Federal Highway Administration before the project could go forward. This project was one of the first to be included in our Expedited Project Delivery process, and we are working closely with FHWA to ensure that the EPD process runs smoothly. The project is for a two-lane roadway to be constructed within the Right of Way (ROW) purchased for the initial 4-lane design. The design also includes passing lanes in some areas,” said Flynn.

This portion of the highway is currently a two lane road with eleven to twelve foot lanes and two to eleven foot shoulder widths.

According to TDOT officials, the rate of severe crashes on this portion of Highway 56 is (0.250) double the state average (0.128) for rural two lane routes but that the decision to scale back the project was out of financial necessity. At last report, the total projected cost was to be $7,611,000, a savings to the state of $12,800,000 from TDOT's original plans for this portion of Highway 56, which would have cost $20,411,000.

Body Recovered From Center Hill Lake Believed to be Missing Georgia Man (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

January 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Body Recovered From Center Hill Lake Believed to be Missing Georgia Man

The family of 22 year old Vincent McKeever Rossetti may soon get closure.

Members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad and others this morning (Tuesday) recovered a body from Center Hill Lake at Sligo Marina which is believed to be the Peachtree City, Georgia man who has been missing since December 18.

“At 7:30 a.m. today a dock worker for Sligo Marina found a body at the Sligo Marina as he was doing morning maintenance on the dock. The body was found floating by a pier. A call was placed to DeKalb Central Dispatch of the discovery. Members of the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, Smithville DeKalb Rescue, Corps of Engineers, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officers arrived on the scene and recovered the body from the water,” Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE.

The body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville for positive identification and cause of death.

Its been more than three weeks since Rossetti went missing near the lake. Rossetti was last seen alive on Sunday, December 18 and his car, a Lexus, was found later in the parking lot of Sligo Marina beside Highway 70. The search was concentrated on the lake in the area of Sligo bridge and Marina almost daily from the time he was reported missing. In addition to a visual search, sonar was used to detect any objects in the water or at the bottom of the lake. Wayne Hubbs even flew his gyrocopter early in the search to get an aerial view of the area. Others who assisted included the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and volunteers from Florida and Georgia including the CUE Center for Missing Persons who brought in cadaver dogs.

A Trooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol saw Rossetti on Sunday, December 18 near the DeKalb/White County line. “At 3:05 p.m. on Sunday December 18th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol checked on a vehicle that was parked on the side of the roadway in White County close to the DeKalb County/White County line. The driver was found to be Vincent McKeever Rossetti. Rossetti was entered into the Georgia Crime Information Center as a missing person out of Georgia. The Trooper called an ambulance to the scene to check Rossetti out. White County EMS transported Rossetti to Highland Medical Center in Sparta. One of the White County EMS personnel drove Rossetti’s vehicle to the hospital for him. Rossetti was treated and released from the hospital before his family could pick him up. When Rossetti’s family arrived at the hospital, the White County Sheriff’s Department issued a BOLO (Be on the lookout) on Rossetti to all law enforcement agencies,” said Sheriff Ray.

"At around 11:52 p.m. on Sunday night, December 18 Troopers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol found the car in the parking lot of Sligo marina. The vehicle was left unattended and Rossetti was nowhere to be found. A ground search was conducted by officers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. The Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad was summoned to Sligo Marina at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, December 19,” Sheriff Ray said.

“I appreciate the hard work of the Smithville-DeKalb Rescue Squad and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in searching the area for the last 3 weeks,” he concluded.

City Recognizes Man for Heroic Actions in Rescuing Child from Mobile Home Fire

January 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, Jerry Estes, and Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker

The Smithville Police and Fire Departments paid tribute Monday night to a man who risked his own life to save a 23 month old child during a mobile home fire last month at 1276 South Mountain Street.

Jerry Estes was presented a plaque for his act of bravery during the monthly meeting of the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen. Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins and Fire Chief Charlie Parker made the presentation.

“Mr. Estes on behalf of the Smithville Police and Smithville Fire Departments we want to present you this plaque. Bravery is the quality of spirit that enables one to face danger or pain without showing fear. The Smithville Police and Fire Departments wish to acknowledge Mr. Jerry Estes for his selfless act of bravery on December 4, 2016,” said Chief Collins in presenting Estes the plaque.

The fire on Sunday, December 4 claimed the lives of 27 year old Jeremy Shelton, 36 year old Crystal Fults, and 4 year old Caylix Johnson. Two others, 26 year old Heather Standridge and 23 month old Brantley Johnson were injured.

Estes, a passerby, spotted the fire and saw Standridge standing outside the trailer yelling that her children, the Johnson siblings, were still inside. 911 was alerted at 12:12 p.m. and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and Police Department were summoned along with backup from the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

According to Chief Collins, Estes climbed through a window, grabbed the 23 month old child, and pulled him to safety. After firefighters arrived, Lieutenant John Poss of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department rescued the 4 year old child. Shelton and Fults perished in the fire.

Standridge and the Johnson children were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Standridge and the 23 month old, Brantley Johnson were later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital. The 4 year old child, Caylix Johnson died at the hospital in Smithville.

“I just did what anybody else would have done in trying to get those kids out,” said Estes in receiving the plaque.

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