Local News Articles

DeKalb County's John Rose Announces Run for Congress

August 14, 2017

John Rose of the Temperance Hall community in DeKalb County announced Thursday he will be seeking the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Rose is a small business owner and farmer who was raised in Cookeville and has spent his life in the 6th district. In fact, he is the eighth generation in his family to own and operate the family farm in DeKalb and Smith Counties.

In making the announcement, Rose says he is not a career politician and plans to use his fresh perspective to effect change on the federal level.

“We have spoken loud and clear in this district with our votes that we want conservative values at the center of our government; such as working to stop illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, repealing Obamacare, protection of our 2nd Amendment rights, and support for our military and
law enforcement,” says Rose. “I will have President Trump’s back and fight the Washington liberals and elites, while putting Tennesseans first every single day.”

Aside from farming, Rose owns Boson Software and Training, an information technology company focused on helping IT professionals gain skills critical to the workforce. He also co-founded Transcender Corp., a software company that created and led the IT certification training niche for several years before the company was sold in 2000.

Rose holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in agriculture from Tennessee Tech University and Purdue University, respectively. He also earned a Law Degree from Vanderbilt University in 1993. Though he maintains his law license, Rose only practiced a short time before seizing an
opportunity to follow his lifelong passion for agriculture by moving to and operating his family’s farm.

In 2002, at the age of 37, Rose was appointed Tennessee’s 33rd Commissioner of Agriculture. He has also been chairman for the Tennessee Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation and the Tennessee Tech University Foundation and is presently chairman for the Tennessee State Fair Association. These are a few of many volunteer roles Rose has assumed over the years, which also include board positions with the Tennessee Board of Regents, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission. He is also a voting member of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and a life member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Rose is married to Macon County native, Chelsea (Doss) Rose. They are expecting their first child in October. The couple attends church at Buffalo Valley Church of Christ in Putnam County and are actively involved in their community, most recently hosting the 13th Annual
Lancaster Independence Day Parade on their farm.

Rose cites his optimism for a better America as his impetus for running. “I know America can be great again and will be great again. It takes leaders willing to make the right call, sometimes the tough call,” said Rose. “I am prepared to take bold action in Washington that will make life
better for Tennesseans across the nineteen counties that make up the sixth district.”

Rose says he has already visited with many civic and business leaders throughout the district and plans to make visits in every county in the district by the end of August.

Tennessee’s sixth district seat is currently held by Diane Black (R – Gallatin) who announced recently that she will be running for Governor in 2018.

Police Find Convicted Felon with Pistol and Drugs

August 13, 2017
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police found a convicted felon in possession of a weapon, marijuana and a large amount of cash during a probation visit to his home on Thursday, August 10.

25 year old Louis Raul Chabarria was arrested for sale & delivery and felony possession of a firearm. His bond is $50,000 and his court date is August 24.

Police reported that at approximately 4:15 pm on Thursday, they assisted state probation officials at the residence of Chabarria where he was found to be in possession of approximately 1.7 pounds of a green leafy substance thought to be marijuana and $1641.00 cash believed to have been obtained from the illegal sale of narcotics. Also found in plain sight were a small pistol and multiple rounds of ammunition. Chabarria has a felony conviction for manufacturing and sale & delivery of a controlled substance out of Warren County on May 17, 2015.

52 year old Hobert Taylor Price was arrested on Saturday, August 5 for theft of property over $1000. According to Police, Price attempted to leave Wal-Mart with $1248.00 worth of merchandise in his shopping cart without paying for the items. Price took off running when a worker tried to stop him at the door but officers were able to locate Price on Morgan Drive a short time later. Price’s bond is $5,000 and his court date is August 24.

50 year old Stevie Randal Reeder was arrested on Saturday, August 5 for public intoxication. Police responded to an intoxicated person causing a disturbance. Upon arrival the officer observed Reeder staggering in the middle of the road yelling at others in the area. While speaking with Reeder, the officer observed that he was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Reeder became belligerent with the officer and he was taken into custody. After Reeder was secure in the patrol unit, the officer began picking Reeder's items up off the ground. Wrapped up in his shirt was a pint bottle of Fireball whiskey that only had about a single shot left in it. Reeder was arrested and charged with public intoxication because he was placing himself in danger and was unreasonably annoying people in the immediate vicinity. His bond is $1,500.

46 year old Brian Alan Young was arrested for a 3rd offense of driving on a revoked license on Saturday, August 5. Police made a traffic stop on Young for failure to maintain lane of travel. Young didn't have a license with him and upon checking with Central Dispatch, police confirmed that his license were revoked and that he has two prior driving on revoked license offenses in Putnam County. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 17.

43 year old Jason Bradley Cripps was arrested on Monday, August 7 for driving on a revoked license. Police responded to a motor vehicle collision in which Cripps was found to be one of the drivers. A computer check with Central Dispatch revealed his license to be revoked for excessive points accumulated in 2003. Cripps’ driving record contains multiple convictions for driving on a revoked license. His bond is $4,500 and his court date is August 31.

33 year old Veronica Lucille St. Hilaire was arrested on Tuesday, August 8 for domestic assault and public intoxication. Police responded to a domestic assault complaint and spoke with the victim whose right wrist appeared to be extremely swollen. Officers were informed that St. Hailaire began assaulting the victim as that person was trying to keep St. Hilaire from harming another at the residence. St. Hilaire's knuckles were also swollen with broken skin. St Hilaire was incoherent, had an odor of alcoholic beverage on her breath, and was semi responsive. EMS was called to transport her to the emergency room of the hospital. Due to her physical state and having been transported to the ER, an arrest was not immediately made but warrants were issued for domestic assault. Upon arrival at the hospital, St Hilaire refused treatment and left the ER but she was later located by police at Wilson Bank and Trust. St. Hilaire was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. She was arrested for public intoxication and served with the domestic assault warrant. Her bond is $4,000 and her court date is August 24.

Some Students and Parents Frustrated with DCHS Dress Code Policy

August 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County High School

Some students and parents are expressing frustration, especially through social media, with how DeKalb County High School is enforcing a long-standing dress code policy.

One such parent is Sara Fultz, who said her daughter, Nicole was pulled out of class this week because of her hair color, even though she has had the same hair color for the last few years without it being an issue at school.

In an email to WJLE Thursday, Fultz wrote “I had to leave work in Cookeville to go to DeKalb County High School after receiving a phone call from my daughter saying that the principal had told her that her hair color was 'unnatural'. When I got to the school and asked to speak to the principal, we went to his office and had a brief conversation, with my daughter present, regarding her hair. During this conversation the principal told me that she could not come back to school until her hair color was changed. My daughter will be in school at DCHS tomorrow, with her new brown hair that cost me just under one hundred dollars. It's a sad thing when hair color or holes in the knees of jeans comes close to ruining a student's outlook on their education,” wrote Fultz.

“Due to confidentiality I cannot discuss any particular student. DeKalb County High School is following the dress code that has been in place for several years, with one addition, and we are asking students to follow the rules that are in the student handbook,” DCHS Principal Randy Jennings told WJLE.

The dress code policy was adopted by the Board of Education several years ago and has been updated over time. According to the policy “students are required to dress and groom in a clean, neat, and modest manner that will not distract or interfere with the operation of the school. When a student is attired in a manner, which is likely to cause disruption or interference with the operation of the school, the principal shall administer appropriate punishment, which may include suspension. The school principal will be the final judge on issues of dress based on school board policies".

Fultz said her daughter is a good student and insists that her hair color is not a distraction.

“My daughter is an A-B student, in honors classes, taking college courses in her junior year of high school. She doesn't goof off and she keeps to herself. She is not a distraction. Her hair is not a distraction to her studies or to other students. But she is suffering by having been kicked out of school until her hair color is changed. That is the distraction - being pulled from her studies, kicked out of her education by those meant to instill the values of that education - because of red hair,” wrote Fultz.

The following dress code policies, as posted on the DCHS website, are expected to be enforced:

1. Hair – No extreme, unusual, or unnatural hair coloring or tints. Hairstyles are to be moderate with no startling and/or extreme styles.

2. Hats, caps, knit caps, skullcaps, hoods, bandanas, sweat bands, scarves, picks, and combs are not to be worn during regular school hours. Accommodations will be made for documented religious or medical reasons. No tinted glasses/sunglasses unless doctor prescribed. No extreme or distracting contact lenses. Appropriate athletic wear may only be worn during athletics or similar activities (i.e.: PE, marching band practice, drama practice, etc.)

3. Jewelry – No extreme earrings such as golf tees, nails, safety pins, etc. No grills (teeth jewelry). Body piercing other than ears must be studs only. Students are not to wear excessive jewelry, chains (including wallet chains), dog collars, gothic or gang-related paraphernalia, spiked jewelry (necklace, bracelets, etc…) that would be distracting/disruptive or unsafe.

4. Make-up – All make-up must be of natural color and moderately applied. (Black, white or other make-up that suggests death, gang, cult, etc. is not allowed.)

5. Shirts, tops and blouses – All shirts must be size appropriate (with or without collar) and must meet the pants, skirts, shorts, etc. when seated (front and back). Sleeveless shirts and tops must be fitted around the arm/shoulder. No revealing necklines or cutout backs will be allowed. Tank tops should be 3” wide across the shoulders. No arm warmers (i.e. fish net) or gloves. No references to drugs, death, alcohol, violence, sexual themes, profanity, tobacco, gothic, gangs, racist overtures, ethnic groups, or suggestive/offensive sayings will be allowed. Students while in attendance at DCHS shall wear appropriate undergarments. Cheerleaders may wear uniforms on pep rally days with pants. During the pep rally and during games uniforms without pants are allowed.

6. Pants and slacks must be size appropriate with inseam length hemmed or with cuff at top of the shoe. (no sagging, no bagging, no extra wide-legged, no holes 5” above the knee, and no parts that drag the floor will be allowed.) Wind suits are allowed as long as they are not open down the side.

7. Shorts must be no shorter than 5 inches from the middle of the knee.

8. Dresses and skirts must be no shorter than 3 inches from the middle of the knee, or have appropriate length shorts worn under them.

9. No trench coats or western dusters.

10. Cleats are not to be worn in the building.

11. Pajamas are not to be worn at school.

12. Students who wear leggings must have a shirt or dress that reaches mid-thigh. Leggings are not to be worn as pants alone.
Special dress days may be designated by the principal to include, but not limited to, the following example: Homecoming Week, etc.

Students who do not comply with the school dress policy will be subject to the following level of consequences:

1. Warning and the student changes his/her clothes and parent will be contacted.

2. Student must change clothes; they receive 2 hours of after-school detention, and parent will be contacted.

3. Repeat offenders will be considered insubordinate and will be disciplined accordingly with 6 hours of after-school detention.

4. 10 hours of after-school detention.

5. 3 days suspension.

Tigers Prevail in Pre-Season Jamboree 20-7

August 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tigers Prevail in Pre-Season Jamboree 20-7

The DCHS Tigers defeated Clay County 20-7 in the pre-season Jamboree at Baxter on Friday evening.

The Junior Varsity Tigers took the field for the first half and held the Bulldogs to their only score of the game. The Varsity Team scored 20 points in the second half on a pair of touchdown throws from Tyler Cantrell to Bradley Miller and another from Cantrell to Paxton Butler.

The Tigers will open the season at Warren County Friday night, August 18 at 7 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE coverage with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor.

Friday night football on WJLE begins with “Coach to Coach” at 5 p.m. featuring former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer and former assistant UT coach Doug Matthews and broadcaster Larry Stone. “Coach to Coach” is followed by “Murphy’s Match-ups at 6:00 p.m. featuring Murphy Fair with commentary on high school football and coaches interviews.” Tiger Talk” airs at 6:30 p.m. with John Pryor who will interview Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp and three Tiger football players about Friday nights game and the season. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. with play by play coverage on WJLE AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

WJLE thanks our sponsors of Tiger football:

*Wilson Bank & Trust

*Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

*Gill Automotive (DeKalb Tire & Service)

*Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company

*DTC Communications

*Adams Dental

*Liberty State Bank

*DeKalb Funeral Chapel

*Curtis Supply

*St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital

*Bert Driver Nursery

*Alexandria Auto Parts

*Woodbury Insurance Agency

*Bumpers Drive-In

*Optimus Pest Solutions

Tiger Talk sponsors:

*Woodbury Insurance Agency

*Kilgore’s Restaurant

*Jim’s Tire & Alignment

*A Degree Above Heating & Cooling

“Coach to Coach sponsor:

*Stonehaus Winery

Traffic Stop for Minor Violation Leads to Discovery of Drugs

August 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Wesley Paul Scott
Thomas Richard Squires
Mollie Leigh Smith
Kenneth Lee Bain
Nathan Joe Trapp
James Paris Goff
Lori Ann Lewis
Brandon Ross Bogle

A Woodbury man pulled over in a recent traffic stop for a non-working brake light was found to have drugs including baggies of marijuana, meth, and a set of digital scales typically used in the sale of illegal narcotics.

29 year old Wesley Paul Scott of Petty Gap Road, Woodbury is charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver methamphetamine; a second offense of driving on a revoked license; and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. He was further cited for a license plate display violation, light law violation, no insurance, no registration certificate, and simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $7,500 and his court date is August 17. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 31 a deputy pulled over a black Ford Ranger after noticing the driver side brake light was not operating. When the deputy asked to see his driver license, Scott ran away on foot. After refusing to heed the officer’s repeated commands to stop, Scott was physically taken to the ground by the deputy and placed in custody. A driver license check through central dispatch revealed that Scott’s license were revoked. He has a prior charge for the same offense in Warren County. During a search of Scott’s truck, the deputy spotted a black container on the driver seat along with two small baggies containing a green leafy substance, three baggies of a clear crystal substance, and a set of digital scales. The contents of all three baggies field tested positive for methamphetamine and the bags weighed 0.5 grams, 1.0 grams, and 1.3 grams.

59 year old Thomas Richard Squires of Neil Drive, Smithville is charged with violation of an order of protection. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is August 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, July 31 a deputy was dispatched to 160 Neil Drive for an unwanted guest. Upon his arrival, the officer found Squires at the residence. A check through central dispatch confirmed that Squires has an active order of protection against him. He is not supposed to be on any of the adjoining properties belonging to the woman (victim) named in the order of protection. Squires was placed under arrest.

25 year old Mollie Leigh Smith of New Hope Road, Alexandria is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court August 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 3 a deputy was called to a residence on New Hope Road due to a domestic assault between a husband and wife over a child. Smith, who had relocated to Loudon County three weeks earlier, told the officer that she returned to visit her daughter but her husband ordered her to leave. Smith then broke the door glass, forcing her way into the home to get to the child. As her husband tried to keep her from entering, Smith bit his left arm leaving visible red marks. A further investigation revealed that Smith was the primary aggressor and she was placed under arrest.

36 year old Kenneth Lee Bain of Old West Point Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on August 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 5 a deputy received a call of two people unconscious in a car in the area of Holmes Creek Road. Upon arrival, the officer found a man and woman passed out in the vehicle with pills around them. The officer woke the driver, Bain and the female passenger. Bain had a pill in his mouth. His eyes were red and watery. Bain’s speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. After refusing to perform field sobriety tasks, Bain was placed under arrest.

Two inmates in the DeKalb County Jail, 33 year old Nathan Joe Trapp of Magness Road, Smithville and James Paris Goff of Cookeville Boat Dock Road, Baxter are each charged with assault. Bond for each is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 3 Trapp pushed another prisoner off the top bunk onto the floor and then kneed him on the head. Goff assaulted the same inmate about the head and face.

35 year old Lori Ann Lewis of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta is charged with failure to appear and for criminal impersonation. Her bond for the criminal impersonation offense is $1,500 but she is being held without bond for the failure to appear. Her court date is August 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 5 a deputy was dispatched to a possible burglary in progress. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a man and woman. She identified herself as Karen Caballero and gave a date of birth. When asked by the officer she denied being Lori Ann Lewis, saying that was her sister. After investigating further, the deputy learned that Lori Ann Lewis is her true identity and that she has an active arrest warrant against her which may have been the reason for her lying about her name and date of birth.

34 year old Brandon Ross Bogle of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and a second offense for driving on a revoked license. He was further cited for no insurance and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is August 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 6 a deputy was dispatched to Keltonburg Road to check on a man passed out in a vehicle. Upon arrival the officer found the man, Bogle, unconscious in the driver seat of the automobile with a syringe in his lap. Another syringe and a pill crusher/grinder were also found in his vehicle. After the deputy woke Bogle he found him very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Bogle submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. When asked, Bogle said he did not have a driver license and that was confirmed through a computer background check. Bogle has a prior offense for driving on a revoked license in DeKalb County General Sessions Court in 2014. He was placed under arrest.

DeKalb County Fire Department Awarded Assistance to Firefighters Grant

August 11, 2017
Donny Green

DeKalb County Fire Department has been contacted by Senator Lamar Alexander’s office notifying Chief Donny Green that the department’s 2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application, in the amount of $49,815, has been awarded. The AFG Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The funding award will be used to purchase water supply equipment, automatic external defibrillators (AED’s), and portable gas-powered generators. This equipment will serve all 11 (soon-to-be 12) of the department’s stations across the county. The Federal share of this award is $47,443 and the local matching share, to be provided by the DeKalb County Government, is $2,372.

Chief Green says that the firefighting and medical equipment to be purchased with these grant funds will have a huge impact on the department’s daily operations. “We are really fortunate to be able to get federal funding to pay for this essential and expensive equipment. Our grant application aligned perfectly with AFG’s purpose of the grant—‘to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards’—and our county will soon be getting the benefit of $49,815 for a cost to our local government of only $2,372,” said Chief Green. Using a competitive process, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says he and the DeKalb County Commissioners are appreciative for this federal funding that allows the fire department to purchase this essential firefighting equipment at a cost of only 5% to our county.

The DeKalb County Fire Department wishes to express its sincere thanks to County Mayor Tim Stribling, the DeKalb County Commission, Senator Lamar Alexander, and the Department of Homeland Security for their loyal support of the department’s application for this grant.

DeKalb Schools to be Closed for the Solar Eclipse

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Board of Education and Director of Schools

DeKalb County students will get a day off from school on Monday, August 21 thanks to the Solar Eclipse.

The Board of Education Thursday night voted to consider the date as an inclement weather day and no classes will be held.

In a statement on behalf of the Board, fourth district member Kate Miller said “DeKalb County Schools had originally planned to have school on the day of the Solar Eclipse August 21 and viewed this as an educational opportunity for our students. However, we have realized there are many challenges related to transportation, staffing, and attendance, all of which could impact student safety. It is still our plan to provide safety viewing instructions and supplemental educational resources for our 3,000 students in the days leading up to the Eclipse. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our students and their families.”

Although the proper viewing glasses may have been available that day to students at school, concerns remained about the safety risk of students and potential liability to the district. No decision has yet been made as to whether the school system will provide viewing glasses for students to take home to view the eclipse.

The school calendar includes thirteen days that can be used for inclement weather without any makeup days. One of those days had already been designated as a stockpile day for professional development. After the solar eclipse day, the school system will still have eleven inclement weather days left to use.

In other business, The DeKalb Prevention Coalition has been given permission by the school board to survey students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades as a means of compiling data for obtaining grants and developing initiatives toward curbing teen drug and alcohol abuse.

Students will not be required to participate

“We will be sending out letters for permission so if you do not wish for your child to take part in this survey you can send the letter back and they will not be required to do the survey,” said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps.

“The state has offered this survey and for the coalition to have a clear vision of where we want to go with this and plan very strategically, we must have the data. This is the way we want to get the data,” said Lisa Cripps, Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition.

Questions on the survey are intended to capture data regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug consumption and provide valuable insight into the number of teens using or abusing these substances. While the survey is anonymous, the information it provides will be useful in strategizing how to reach those at risk of abusing drugs and alcohol and developing an addiction.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly report on personnel to the Board.

Those employed since last month are as follows:

Christina Ferguson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Cristy Spears, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

MyKayla Duke, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Tony Poss, bus driver

Amy Fricks, teacher at DCHS, replacing Jacob Parsley

Samantha Fletcher, DCHS, replacing Jim Porter

Deborah Autry, DeKalb Middle School behavior teacher

Tommy Hinch, DCHS replacing Michael Shaw

Melanie Fitzgerald, DeKalb Middle School librarian

Erin Turner, educational assistant at DCHS

Clifton Burum, teacher at DCHS replacing Debra Gentry

Lori Gallagher, bus driver

Donna Smith, cafeteria

Norma Dyer, cafeteria

Barbara Weller, teacher at DCHS

Callie Herman, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Teresa Jones, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Alyssa Leslie, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Cindy Herman, educational assistant

Holly Mooney, sign language interpreter at Northside Elementary School

Loretta Young, cafeteria

Elizabeth Lewis, teacher at DCHS replacing Audry Welch

Courtney Reynolds, part-time cafeteria at DeKalb West School

Guylene Atnip, Walter Burton, Carolyn Caldwell, Ginger Caplinger, Brenda Colwell, Donna Davis, Linda Dean, Jayme Dowell, Suzanne Dunn, Donna Evans, Amanda Ford, Debbie France, Carol Hale, Charlene Hallum, Karri Harris, Sherry Hattaway, Jean Hope, Brandi Johnson, Dale Johnson, Isabella Johnson, Rachel Johnson, Sabrina Kirksey, Chris Moore, Kandis Moss, Angela Osment, Pat Parkerson, Bethany Poss, Jessica Rackley, Judy Redmon, Joyce Robertson, Virginia Rose, Kim Taylor, Jan Thomas, Luanna Tollett, Jenny Trapp, Joy Troncoso, Wanda Vickers, Miranda Waggoner, and Kim Young.

Cafeteria substitutes:
Maria Garza and Peggy Sutton

Whitney Brelje, teacher to DeKalb West School

Amanda Dakas, principal at DeKalb Middle School

Tad Webb, assistant principal at DeKalb Middle School

Sarah Noe, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Victoria Vincent, from substitute to educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School

Stephanie Fuson from educational assistant to special education teacher at DCHS

Jimmy Poss from substitute bus driver to full time bus driver

Melissa Wallace from substitute to educational assistant at Northside Elementary School

Julie Hale from substitute to educational assistant at DeKalb West School

Stephanie Stewart from substitute to educational assistant at DeKalb West School replacing Stephanie Fuson

Cathy Driver from substitute bus driver to full time driver

Josh Brown from substitute bus driver to full time driver


Deborah Cunningham, educational assistant at DCHS

Tiffany VanWinkle, educational assistant at DCHS, alternative school

Mary Ann Puckett, art teacher at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School

Laura Parker, pre-K teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Megan Jones, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

Jenny Elrod, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Four of the principals gave brief reports on activities at their schools.

"What a great start we have had this week,' said Sabrina Farler of DeKalb West School. " I’d like to say a special thanks to our parents. We re-routed our car lines. A couple of years ago we had the construction but now we are entering and exiting at the main entrance. Thank you parents and grandparents for making that a great transition and a great week with us. We want to invite you to our open house on Thursday, August 24 from 5 until 6:30 p.m." she said.

"I’d like to thank our custodians," said Julie Vincent of Smithville Elementary School. "They worked very hard this summer getting the school looking magnificent. In fact someone came in the other day and asked if we had new tile put down in the lobby because it looked so nice. Thank you to each of the custodians. I want to welcome new employees to Smithville Elementary School. We have Sarah Noe who is going to be in our special education department, Christina Ferguson in first grade and Cristy Spears and MyKayla Duke who will be teaching kindergarten. We are excited to have them join us at Smithville Elementary. With the beginning of school its always a long line in the car line so we are asking parents who pick up their children to please be patient as we get the car line going and to please not block the entrances and exits to Smithville Elementary School so the buses can get in and out. Its also for safety. If we had to have an emergency vehicle get in we would need those entrances open so they could get in," she said.

"At DeKalb County High School we are trying to get schedules situated and kids in classes," said Principal Randy Jennings. "I would like to thank the faculty and staff for welcoming me to the high school. It has been a good transition so far. The football jamboree is Friday night at Baxter. We play at 6:00 p.m. against Clay County. On Saturday the girls soccer team is having a play day which is at home and their first regular season game is next Tuesday, also at home. If you can come out and support them," he said.

"We have had a wonderful start at the middle school this year,' said DeKalb Middle School Principal Amanda Dakas. 'I would also like to thank the faculty, staff, parents, and the entire community for embracing me and Tad Webb as the new administrators of the school. They have been wonderful. The students have been excellent. Their behavior yesterday and today, we could not be more proud. Today specifically we had our very first back to school and first football game pep rally and the student behavior was phenomenal. The staff were very excited. Seventh grade students will be going to the Tennessee Tech University Stem Program field trip on August 17 & 18. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students. Our homecoming week will be coming up at the end of this month August 28-31 and our homecoming game will be August 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. I would also like to take this time to welcome all of our new teachers. Teresa Jones is teaching seventh grade math. She has jumped right in and everyone loves her. Melanie Fitzgerald is our new librarian. She has done a phenomenal job. Deborah Autry is in our special education class. Callie Herman is our new ESL teacher. Cindy Miller is an ESL educational assistant and Alyssa Young Leslie is also doing some inclusion classes as well. We are very happy to have them on board," she said.

Pedestrian Hit by Truck Last Month Dies

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Location of Fatal Accident

A 38 year old pedestrian who was seriously injured after being struck by a pickup truck last month has died.

Jamie E. Carroll of Smithville passed away on Thursday, July 27 at Vanderbilt Hospital, ten days after the accident which occurred at around 10:00 p.m. on Monday, July 17.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carroll was struck by a 2001 Dodge Dakota pickup truck, driven by 21 year old James J. Messina, Jr. of Smithville. The accident occurred on Highway 56 south near Mystik Market in the Shiney Rock community.

The accident report states that the truck was traveling north on State Route 56 as the pedestrian (Carroll) was walking on the eastbound side of the roadway on the right hand shoulder on the fog line. The truck traveled down a steep grade on the roadway and struck the pedestrian. The scene was dark and the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing at the time of the crash.

A helicopter ambulance landed in the parking lot of the Mt. View Primitive Baptist Church for the airlift. Carroll was flown to Vanderbilt Hospital

Messina was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. No charges have been filed against him.

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

The accident was investigated by Trooper Kyle Herren of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Ambrose Named Fellow at Quail Hollow Golf Club

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page

Smithville native, Russell Ambrose, has been named a Fellow in golf course management at the Quail Hollow Golf Club at Charlotte, North Carolina where the PGA Championship is being held this week.


Ambrose participated in a pilot program earlier this year at the Quail Institute, introduced by John Deere and the Quail Hollow Golf Club, a first-of-its-kind, world-class, fellowship program focusing on the skills and competencies required to fully develop golf industry leaders. This one-year program begins in 2018 and includes three fellows in the areas of agronomy, golf operations and club management, according to the “Golf Course Industry” publication

“The Quail Institute strives to create and perpetuate a vibrant and diverse learning environment that helps develop the next generation of leaders in golf, while fostering innovative best practices in golf management,” said Ren Wilkes, tactical marketing manager, John Deere Golf. “We’re committed to developing a sophisticated pipeline for this industry, and the Institute is the perfect avenue.”

An initial pilot program was conducted this year, with two fellows – Russell Ambrose, whose focus is golf course management, and Rachel Nesbitt, whose focus is on club management. Through this experience, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club validated the need for a fellowship program to inspire young industry professionals and provide them with real-world experiences to grow their careers.

The 2018 program, will go beyond current club curriculums, challenge each fellow to think critically, analyze and assess practices and create, lead and implement change. Over the course of the year, the three fellows will participate in six different modules enabling them to understand both the macro and micro challenges of their sector and the wider club industry. As part of the curriculum, the fellows will have access to the following:

--Major tournaments and championships
--Operations in a world-class private club
--Cross training in all disciplines within the club business
--Unique exposure to the John Deere and Quail Hollow Club brands
--Academic project and thesis development
--Career development, public speaking and crisis management training

The program doesn’t stop after one year. As fellows graduate from the program and become alumni, there were be additional opportunities for the fellows to participate as mentors for future events. The Quail Institute will also track the successes of the alumni to be documented and communicated to help inspire current fellows.

The Quail Institute will be set up as a 501C3 non-profit organization to help encourage participation. As the founding members of the program, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club hope to grow the number of sponsors involved, and expect other companies, foundations, etc. in the industry see the value in participating and supporting this program.

Further information about the program and the application process will be announced in fall 2017.

Wilson Sentenced for Aggravated Assault

August 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Daniel Ray Wilson

A man charged in an assault almost a year ago was sentenced Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

33 year old Daniel Ray Wilson entered a plea to aggravated assault and received a six year sentence suspended to probation. He was given jail credit of eight days. Wilson must undergo domestic violence counseling.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, September 14 2016 Wilson allegedly assaulted a woman by pulling her hair, striking her in the face with his fist, and trying to strangle her. Due to the assault, the woman suffered injuries to her face and red marks on her throat.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Nathan Myers entered a plea to two counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (hydrocodone and hydromorphone) and one count of simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total of almost three years but suspended to probation. He was fined a total of $1,750. The offenses occurred on March 28, 2016.

29 year old Randi Renee Atnip entered a plea to sale of hydromorphone and received a three year sentence on TDOC probation. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $90 to the Smithville Police Department. The offense occurred on February 29, 2016.


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