Local News Articles

Man Arrested After High Speed Chase

July 19, 2015

A high speed chase which began in Watertown ended in DeKalb County early Saturday morning as spike strips were used to stop the driver of a vehicle trying to elude authorities.

According to reports, the pursuit started when Watertown police tried to stop a man, believed to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

The chase continued east on Interstate 40 at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The driver turned off I-40 onto Highway 56 at Silver Point toward DeKalb County but did not stop until he crashed near Hurricane Bridge after running over the spike strips.

He reportedly suffered only minor injuries. His name has not been released.

County Commission to Consider Passage of Budget (VIEW ENTIRE BUDGET HERE)

July 18, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Commission to Consider Passage of Budget and Property Tax Levy

The county commission will consider passage of the proposed 2015-16 budget and tax levy during its next regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse. A public hearing will be held prior to the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile the commission will have an all-committees meeting to review the budget again on Thursday, July 23 at 6:00 p.m.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE PROPOSED BUDGET IN ITS ENTIRETY)

DeKalb-16 Budget WITH 16 CENTS 7-7-15.pdf (229.82 KB)

The new budget totals $40,936,094 with a proposed property tax increase of sixteen cents from $1.62 to $1.78 per $100 of assessed value.

One cent of the tax rate generates $44,328 in local money with a 7% delinquency rate figured into the equation.

The proposed tax rate is broken down as follows:
County General: 94 cents
Highway/Public Works: 4 cents
General Capital Projects: 11 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
General Purpose Schools: 57 cents.

The solid waste fund, under this budget as in recent years, would not receive any property tax money but would continue to be supported by revenues derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sales tax, hotel-motel tax, state revenue sharing-TVA funds, alcoholic beverage tax, bank excise tax, and the state and wholesale beer tax.

Capital projects fund expenses for the year total $373,670 including:
*"Motor Vehicles" Ambulance- $95,000
*"Other Equipment"$12,500
*"Motor Vehicles" Patrol Cars-$82,500
*"Other Equipment"- Fire department (repairs to fire trucks) $33,670
**"Other Construction"- Striping $15,000
*"Building Construction" Omega Building $40,000
**Building Construction"(seed money for Four Seasons Fire Station) $25,000
*"Solid Waste Equipment" Skidsteer/Backhoe $70,000 (landfill)

The county commission will also consider adopting a resolution making appropriations of $146,681 to the following non-profit organizations:

Upper Cumberland Development District- $2,000
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $16,821
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$25,839
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$33,166
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$17,500
Imagination Library- $7,200
Genesis House- $1,500
Veterans Honor Guard-$2,000
Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center- $1,780
DeKalb County Fair- $1,500
WCTE-TV- $5,000
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$9,245

Patrick Cripps Named Director of Schools

July 16, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III Congratulates New Director of Schools Patrick Cripps
Patrick Cripps signs two year employment contract as Director of Schools

After serving three years as Principal of DeKalb County High School, Patrick Cripps is getting a new assignment.

By a unanimous vote of 7-0, the Board of Education met in special session Thursday night and named Cripps the next Director of Schools. Cripps has accepted the board's offer of a two year employment contract at a base salary of $85,000 per year. Cripps signed an initial 30 day contract Thursday night which is valid immediately until the board finalizes the deal. After the board and Cripps settle on all the contract terms at a July 30 workshop the board plans to vote on the final agreement at its next regular monthly meeting on Thursday, August 6 after it's been reviewed by legal counsel.

"I'm really excited. I was really blessed and honored as Principal of DCHS and I am really excited to be Director of Schools. It's kind of surreal. It's hard to imagine that this opportunity has come to be at this time but I am very grateful and look forward to serving DeKalb County," Cripps told WJLE after the meeting.

His first priority as Director will be to fill vacant positions including his own at the high school. " First off we have to get people in place. With me leaving my position that leaves two (vacant) principals (DCHS and Northside). Immediately I have to start looking at applications, setting up interviews, and getting those positions filled," Cripps said.

Cripps received a BS degree from Tennessee Tech University in the fall of 1995 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. In the fall of 1999, Cripps earned an MA in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education at Tennessee Tech. During the summer of 2004, Cripps received his Ed.S degree in Instructional Leadership at Tennessee Tech.

He has served as Principal at DCHS since 2012. Cripps began his education career in DeKalb County as a Safe Schools Counselor in 1997. Two years later, Cripps was named a School Counselor at DCHS. In 2005, he moved up to becoming an Assistant Principal at DCHS, a position he held until being named Principal.

Cripps becomes only the fourth director of schools in DeKalb County since the state law changed in 1998 requiring school superintendents to be appointed by local boards of education instead of being popularly elected. The first appointed director locally was Aubrey Turner, Jr. who served from 1998-2002, followed by Jim McCormick from 2002-2006, and Mark Willoughby from 2006-2015. Dr. Danielle Collins was named as interim director in April after the departure of Willoughby and is completing three months in the position. She will continue to serve as Federal Programs Supervisor for the School System.

Seven persons had submitted applications or resumes to become the next director. The board narrowed the number to three finalists but one of them dropped out later leaving only two candidates, Cripps and Supervisor of Special Education Gina Arnold who both interviewed with the board Tuesday night.

During Thursday night's special meeting, the board members conducted the vote as recommended by legal counsel of the Tennessee School Boards Association first using paper ballots to make their choices. After the votes were counted Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III announced that all seven board members had voted for Cripps. A roll call then followed with all members confirming their votes for Cripps.

Chairman Evins congratulated Cripps on the appointment and Arnold for being a candidate. "Ms. Arnold, it has been a tough decision. I've heard so many comments on your interview the other night. It could have gone either way. I appreciate what you continue to do here. I congratulate you on your efforts and thank you very much," said Chairman Evins.

Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson praised Dr. Collins for the job she did filling in as director on an interim basis. "I want to thank Dr. Collins for what she has done. She worked hard on the budget. She stepped in and filled some big shoes and she has done a wonderful job. I want to let her know I appreciate it. Thank you very much," said Johnson.

"I think everybody can say the same," added Chairman Evins.

"Since the appointment of our new director, I would like to thank the board members for what they do for our system. We will continue our mission to ensure education in DeKalb County moves forward. I would also like to thank the board members for entrusting me with the responsibility as Interim Director for the last few months. The employees of our school system have been remarkable during this transition period. It has been a privilege to work with our board, news media, Mayor Stribling and County Commissioners and I look forward to working with each in the future," said Dr. Collins in a prepared statement Friday morning.

DeKalb County Fair Opens Monday Night

July 16, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fair Board: Mike Williams, Shawn Tramel, Angie Meadows, Jeff McMillen, Pat Parkerson, Matt Boss, Christy Malone-Smith, Fay and Jack Underhill, Judy Sandlin, and Tracy Lawrence. Not pictured: Ron Paschal

The DeKalb County Fair begins its annual weeklong run Monday, July 20.

With the theme "Country Scenes and Beauty Queens", this year's fair will feature another fun filled week of activities along with rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and new events including a Comedy Hypnotist Show, the Almost Anything Goes Game Show, and Omega Force Strongmen.

The catalog of premium rules for exhibit entries at the Kenneth Sandlin Center is now available. Just check out the 2015 Fair Catalog (PDF) for complete details. Download the 2015 DeKalb County Fair Rule Book at the link below.
http://www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com/images/2015_Fair_Book_web.pdf

Entry Dates and Times
*Perishable Items ONLY will be taken in on Saturday, July 18 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Kenneth Sandlin Center

Entries are also being sought for the DeKalb County Fair's Decorated Hay Contest featuring three categories:
Decorated Round Bale
Decorated Square Bale
Decorated Display

Open to any youth or adult resident of DeKalb County

Hay can be entered Saturday July 18th - From 11:00 am till 2:00 pm

Hay bales may be decorated Saturday July 18th from 11 am till 2 pm & Sunday July 19th from 2 -4 pm

Decorations and Bales are to be removed on Sunday July 26th between 1- 3 pm

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Fair 5K and Fun Run will be July 18. Registration begins at 6:30 pm at the Fair Office. The Run will start at 7:00 PM. Pre-registration available by contacting Matt Boss at 615-464-8627. Pre-registration guarantees a DeKalb County Fair 5K T-Shirt. The entry fee is $20 for youth and $25 for adults. Parking available behind Fair Office. For more info. contact Matt Boss at number above. Proceeds will go to the Paislee's Foundation

Fair pageant applications are available for ages one day through 20. You may download applications from www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

Fair events each night are as follows:

Monday, July 20: Cattle Show at the Grandstand at 6:00 p.m.; Open Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:00 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant for contestants ages 13-16 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant for contestants ages 17 to 20 at the Lions Club Pavilion and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 21: Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion followed by a Comedy Hypnotist Show; Corn hole Contest at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; Go-Cart Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 22: WSMV-TV's Snowbird will greet fairgoers from 5-7 p.m. at the main gate; Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-9 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4 Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; Kids Peddle Tractor Pull at the Grandstand at 7:00 p.m. ; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 23: Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly Barn; Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by The Almost Anything Goes Game Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; Omega Force Strongmen at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 24: Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 48 months at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Zone Status Band at the Lions Club Pavilion: ATV-Mini Road-Outlaws Pulling at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 25: Blind Draw Horseshoe Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at Noon.; Gospel Singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village.

Memory Lane Stage Events are as follows:

Monday Night July 20
6:30-7:30 pm —Muddy Water Band
7:45- UNTIL —Kitty Steadman

Tuesday Night July 21
6:30-7:00 pm—Reily Kelly
7:00-7:45 pm—Smithville Sugar Squares & DeKalb Dancing Delights
7:45-8:45 pm---Donnie Barthelemy

Wednesday Night July 22
6:30-7:30 pm—Kitty Steadman
7:45-8:45 pm— DCHS Cheerleaders

Thursday Night July 23
6:30-7:30 pm—Bryan Keith
7:45-8:45 pm— Terri Lynn Weaver

Friday Night July 24
6:30 - until— Karaoke Night
No Rap - Radio Edit Only
Max 1 Instrument or 2 Vocal Mikes and 2 Instruments Max.
7:45- UNTIL — Nokes Brothers

Saturday Night July 25
6:30-7:30 pm— Mid State Cloggers
7:45-8:45 pm— Evermean Evergreen Cloggers

Events subject to change without notice.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available for $15.00 on Monday night; $16.00 on Tuesday night; $14.00 on Wednesday and $18.00 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Admission to the fair is $4.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The exhibit building is open from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

Man Dies in Motorcycle Crash

July 16, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 66 year old man lost his life in a motorcycle crash late Wednesday night.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Floyd Tilley of Woodbury was traveling south on Short Mountain Highway near Lee Braswell Road when he left the road and struck a utility pole.

The crash was reported at 11:55 p.m.

DeKalb EMS responded along with members of the Short Mountain Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and Sheriff's Department.

Tilley's death marks the third traffic fatality of the year on DeKalb County roads.

Elvis Tribute with J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet returning to Smithville

July 15, 2015
J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet
Tom Duggin and the Tim Colwell Band

By popular demand, an Elvis tribute show is returning to the DeKalb County Community Center this summer.

On Saturday, August 1, a tribute to the late King of Rock ‘n Roll will hit the community center stage for two performances, featuring local personality Tom Duggin, the Tim Colwell Band, and J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet, featuring four members of the legendary gospel quartet who backed Elvis on stage from 1971 until the singer’s death in August, 1977.

“When we put on the show in 2013, we actually had the official “Stamps Quartet,” who still carry the legendary group name,” noted Duggin. “The Stamps have been regularly booked on other tribute shows, particularly in Las Vegas and in Berlin, Germany, these past couple of years, so they were unavailable to us this summer.”

Fortunately, Duggin said, Sumner’s Stamps Quartet as they are known – a quartet featuring Donnie Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland – were available and excited about the possibility of playing an Elvis tribute show in the Middle Tennessee area.

“All four of these guys worked with Elvis during the 70s, and have each had a prestigious musical career of their own,” said Duggin. “When speaking with Donnie Sumner, he and the group were excited to be playing in a venue close to home, as all four have ties to the Middle Tennessee area.”

Sumner, the nephew of the late, legendary bass singer J.D. Sumner, whom the group was named after, actually had two stints with Elvis. Sumner sang lead when the Stamps first joined Elvis in 1971, but left the group in 1972. However, Elvis came calling again in 1973, as Sumner had joined a group called “Voice,” which backed Presley along with the Stamps for two years. Sumner penned two Presley tunes during the 1970s, and is best remembered by fans for his stellar version of the gospel classic, “The Lighthouse,” featured in the 1972 documentary, “Elvis on Tour.”

Baize was the Stamps’ tenor singer from 1971-76, when he left the group and the music business for a number of years. Baize has written many songs over the years, in addition to preaching and singing in several churches throughout the United States. Baize has also performed at a number of Elvis tribute shows in recent years.

Hill boasts a 55-year music career, six years of which he spent with Presley as a member of the Stamps from 1971-77. Of note in Elvis circles was the rich baritone voice of Ed Hill, which always proclaimed at the end of each night’s performance, “Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.” He has also served as a backup performer for such acts as Tammy Wynette, Ronnie McDowell, Dottie West and Ricky Skaggs.

Strickland was brought on board with the Stamps in 1974, as a second bass singer in the group. He sang with the Stamps backing Elvis until his death in 1977. Strickland left the stage in 1989, when he married Naomi Judd, the mother in the famous country duo, The Judds. In addition to helping manage both Naomi and daughter, Wynonna Judd’s respective careers, Strickland has also returned to the stage in recent years to sing gospel music as well as participate in various Elvis tribute shows.

Duggin fronted Smithville’s last Elvis tribute show, titled “Aloha 40,” which was held in August, 2013. He will return to sing Elvis’ songs in this year’s event, being titled “From Memphis to Vegas.”

“That’s kind of how it went for Elvis,” Duggin said. “It all started in Memphis and then came the great concert years with many, many shows under the bright lights of Las Vegas. Much like last time, our show this year will have the feel of a live Elvis concert, with many of the songs he loved to perform live during the 1970s.”

The Tim Colwell Band will return to provide the music for the show, which will also feature a trio of female backup singers along with a brass ensemble. As was the case in the 2013 show, Sumner’s Stamps will open the show with a set of their own, which will likely include stories about their time with Elvis.

“That’s absolutely my favorite part of the show,” Duggin admitted. “I love sitting back and listening to them recounting their days with Elvis with their fond memories. Being the fan I am, I could listen to those stories all day.”

Like 2013, Duggin won’t don the jumpsuit or grow sideburns as is the case with many Elvis tribute artists. “I love Elvis’ songs,” he said. “I’m not Elvis. No one ever will be. The impersonators do what they do and for them, that’s fine. I will honor my musical hero by simply singing his songs and putting on a stage show to the best of my ability."

Tickets are $20 each.

Show times on Saturday, August 1, will be 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Ticket buyers can select which show they prefer to attend until each show is sold out; however, tickets are relatively limited for each show, so those interested in attending are encouraged to buy as early as possible. All seats are general admission and people will be seated at each show on a first-come, first-served basis. Current ticket outlets are the DeKalb County Community Center in Smithville, Prichards Foods in Alexandria, the Cannon County Chamber of Commerce Office in Woodbury, Koncept Kustom Werkz in Cookeville or by contacting Tom Duggin via call or text at (615) 464-3185.

Cripps and Arnold Interview for Director of Schools (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

July 15, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gina Arnold
Patrick Cripps

Sitting at a table facing the seven member board of education, the two remaining finalists for Director of Schools each interviewed for the job Tuesday night.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps and Supervisor of Special Education Gina Arnold each answered nineteen questions and gave a closing statement.

Each member of the board took turns asking questions ranging from the applicants views and goals concerning common core standards, holding employees accountable, restructuring the curriculum to improve students' academic performance, establishing better lines of communication and transparency within the system, improving technology, among others.

(View videos of each candidates closing statements)

The Board of Education will meet in special session Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. to name a new Director of Schools. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

Storm Causes Damage and Injuries

July 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Three Injured After Travel Trailer Overturns at Four Seasons
Portable Storage Shed Lifted Off the Ground Due to Storm Winds

High winds from a severe thunderstorm wreaked havoc in portions of DeKalb County Tuesday afternoon

Perhaps the hardest hit area was on Meadow View Lane in the Four Seasons Community where a travel trailer overturned with three persons inside. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb EMS responded along with the Sheriff's Department. Two of the occupants were helped from the trailer. The other made it out on his own before help arrived.

One of them was transported to the hospital by DeKalb EMS while the other two went there by private vehicles.

A portable storage shed at the scene was also moved off its foundation due to the high winds and a few trees in the area were uprooted.

Trees were down in other parts of the county as well. No other injuries were reported.

4th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic Set for Saturday

July 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 4th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic will be held Saturday, July 18 at Riverwatch to raise money for a Cannon County woman with local ties who is suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The event is hosted by the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation and this year's recipient is Edith Johnson McReynolds.

"She was diagnosed a year ago. Mrs. McReynolds is the mother of five children. One is in college and the others will be entering college soon. She really needs a benefit to help overcome medical bills and for her kids to go to school too," said spokesman Tyler Cantrell. Her father is J.E. Johnson from DeKalb County and she has two brothers from here.

The golf classic began four years ago to help families who have been affected by cancer. Those wishing to be served must first apply. A committee then reviews the applications and selects a recipient each year. The man for whom the classic is named, the late Earl Judkins, was an avid golfer and a cancer patient. "Earl was my brother. He had colon cancer. My mother Marie Judkins also had colon cancer. We have been hit with cancer like many other families in our community," said Ivadell Randolph.

Our family was also affected by cancer four years ago with my sister Amy Miller so we know how hard it is for families," said Cantrell.

In addition to Miller, previous recipients of the benefit golf classic were Chrissy Means and Gracie Dezarn.

This Golf Classic begins with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. "Tee time is at eight a.m. Show up a little bit beforehand. That way we can sign you up, get you a goodie bag, and place you on a team if you don't have a team. We do take individual golfers for $75.00. You can bring your own team for $300," said Cantrell.

"We partner with Modern Woodmen of America. They do matching funds up to $2,500. If we were fortunate enough make three thousand they will give another $2,500," said Randolph.

"If you want to come out Saturday and meet Edith and make a donation that would be great too," added Cantrell.

The entry deadline is Wednesday, July 15. The format is a 4-person A,B,C,D, Scramble/Own Team-Best Ball. For more information contact Tyler Cantrell at tcantrell@cosma.com. Like them on Facebook at Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation or Phone 1-931-239-5948 or contact Riverwatch Golf Course to sign up at 1-931-761-8125. Donations may be made to the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation. Mail to 625 Foster Road, Smithville, TN 37166.

"It'll be a great day for a great cause and we'll feed you. Everybody is going to get a blessing out of it," Cantrell concluded.

Early Voting Times Set for Alexandria Municipal Election

July 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission voted Monday night to set the early voting hours for the Alexandria Municipal Election.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT)

alex ballot web site newspaper.pdf (9.29 KB)

Early voting will take place at the election commission office at the courthouse in Smithville and will be held from August 14 through August 29 as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The election is being held to elect three aldermen to four year terms and to fill the remaining two years of vacant or unexpired terms of mayor and two aldermen positions.

Candidates for Mayor are Tony Tarpley and Bennett Armstrong.

Those running unopposed for the two year aldermen positions are Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss.

Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs are each running unopposed for the four year alderman terms.

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