Local News Articles

Rebekah Grace Webb Fairest of the Fair

July 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Fairest of Fair and Runners-Up
Rebekah Grace Webb- Fairest of the Fair

18 year old Rebekah Grace Webb is the 2013 Fairest of the Fair

Webb, the daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown, was also named "Miss Photogenic".

17 year old Lauren Ashley Medlin of Smithville was named first runner-up. She is the daughter of Greg and Teresa Medlin.

18 year old Ashlee Michelle Whitehead, daughter of Kenneth and Tina Whitehead was named second runner-up in the pageant. She is also the "Extreme Queen" which is an award given by Extreme Looks Design Team Salon for best hair and personality.

Third runner-up went Shauna Faith Taylor, the 17 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. She also received "Miss Congeniality".

Katlin "Alli" Emme, the 17 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley and Michael and Leslie Emme of Smithville was fourth runner-up.

The only other contestant in the pageant Monday night was Christian Janette Atnip, the 18 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville. Atnip was the recipient of the "People's Choice" Award.

(TOP PHOTO: Left to right- Shauna Faith Taylor (3rd Runner-Up), Lauren Ashley Medlin (1st Runner-Up), Queen Rebekah Grace Webb, Ashlee Michelle Whitehead (2nd Runner-Up), and Katlin "Allie" Emme (4th Runner-Up)

Navarro Wins DeKalb Fair 5K

July 20, 2013
Dwayne Page
Navarro Wins DeKalb Fair 5K (WJLE Photo)

Rolando Navarro of Smithville was the overall winner of the first ever DeKalb County Fair 5K Fun Run held Saturday morning in Alexandria.

Navarro ran the course in 23:29

James Sullivan of Alexandria took second place in the race at 26:17 and Kelly Pyburn of Alexandria came in third place at 28:09.

Winners in the children's category (ages up to 12 years):
First place: Damien Sullivan of Alexandria
Second place: Addison Oakley of Liberty
Third place: Abby Evans of Smithville
Fourth place: Garrett Hayes of Liberty

Winners (13-39 years):
First place: Bailey Hayes of Liberty
Second place: Cason Oakley of Liberty
Third place: Jasmine Zervas of Alexandria

Winners: (age 40 and over):
First place: Melissa Ruch of Smithville
Second place: Gena Cripps of Smithville
Third Place: Clark Oakley of Liberty

DTC To Sponsor 2013 DeKalb Idol at DeKalb County Fair

July 19, 2013
Last year’s winner of DeKalb Idol, Josh Issac

DTC Communications is proud to announce its sponsorship of the annual DeKalb Idol talent competition at the DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria, Tenn.

DeKalb Idol will be held Friday night, July 26, in the Lions’ Club pavilion at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds. DeKalb Idol will immediately follow the Toddler Show, which starts at 6:00 p.m. at the pavilion.

“DTC is excited to again take the lead on this popular entertainment competition,” said Tom Duggin, Video Production Editor with DTC3. “Last year’s Idol was tremendously successful, although DTC took on the event on such short notice. This year, we have made a few changes that we hope will make the event even bigger and better.”

The biggest change in this year’s DeKalb Idol competition will be the audition process. Interested contestants will audition at a designated site on the fairgrounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the DeKalb County Fair, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. each night. Contestants will perform a 30-second segment of a song, a cappella, with the segment to be filmed by DTC3. The auditions will also be shown live outside the audition venue on video screens provided by DTC TV.

At the end of the three-night audition, the top ten contestants will be notified on Thursday, July 25, and will return to perform a full song during the competition on Friday night, July 26. Video highlights of the week’s auditions will be shown to the live audience during the competition. The top three finalists will be selected from the top ten, each to perform a different song in front of both the judges and the live audience. A cappella, music on CD, or live accompaniment will all be acceptable during the top ten and finals performances on Friday night. The judges will all have connections to the music industry.

Contestants will be scored on vocal ability, stage presence, appearance and audience response. The decision of the judges will be final. The decision of the judges will be final.

First, second and third place winners will be selected, along with the popular People’s Choice award. First place will win $300 and a trophy; second place wins $200 and a ribbon, while third place will win $100 and a ribbon. The People’s Choice award winner will claim $150 as the competition’s fan favorite.

DeKalb Idol is not confined to only DeKalb County residents; anyone of any age interested in participating are encouraged to do so.

Interested contestants must audition on one of the three aforementioned nights, and a $10 registration fee must be paid at the time of audition. Contestants may audition as many times as they wish; however, the $10 registration fee must be paid before each audition. Scores will not be revealed at the time of the audition, as the top ten will be determined from the video filmed by DTC3.

Last year’s winner of DeKalb Idol, Josh Issac, will be exempt from this year’s competition, but will be on hand to perform during the competition.

“We had some amazing talent from all over the region compete in DeKalb Idol last year, and I expect even more participation this year,” said Duggin, who will emcee the competition on Friday. “There’s no shortage of good singers in this area. We hope to put on the best DeKalb Idol yet for visitors of the DeKalb County Fair.”

For more information on DeKalb Idol, contact Tom Duggin at (615) 464-2402.

DTC Communications is a member owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication and entertainment products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Man Dies In Car Crash

July 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Man Dies In Car Crash

One man died in a car crash Thursday afternoon on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) near Short Mountain Mini-Storage.

Dead is 69 year old Haskel Junior Hawkins of Smithville.

According to Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Hawkins was traveling south in a 2002 Buick Century when his car veered off the left side of the highway, went into a ditchline, struck a culvert and rolled coming to a final rest on its side in a soybean field. Hawkins, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car.

He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Joe Fortner New DeKalb County TWRA Officer

July 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
TWRA Officer Joe Fortner (left) with TWRA Officer Tony Cross

DeKalb County has a new TWRA officer.

Joe Fortner, originally of Cookeville has served TWRA as an officer in Williamson County since 2004.

Fortner will be relocating to DeKalb County. He is taking over from TWRA officer Mike Beaty who will now be working in Putnam County.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver Announces Annual Sales Tax Holiday

July 18, 2013
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R–Lancaster) announced this week that Tennessee’s 9th annual Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled for Friday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 4th, 2013. During the three day tax holiday, shoppers can save almost 10 percent on tax free clothing, school and art supplies, and computer purchases.

"It is once again that time of year for the citizens of our district to participate in our state’s annual sales tax holiday,” said Representative Weaver. “This tax-free weekend presents a great opportunity to save money on back-to-school items or to stock up on much-needed essentials.”

The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. During the designated three day weekend, shoppers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.

“I hope this holiday allows the people of our community to keep a bit more hard-earned money in their pockets,” continued Representative Weaver. “I am an advocate of lower taxes across the board and will continue that fight in Nashville to help put even more money back in your bank account over the coming months.”

For more information, please visit www.tntaxholiday.com. The Tennessee Department of Revenue also assists consumers via e-mail at salestax.holiday@tn.gov, and through its toll-free hotline, 1-800-342-1003. Exempted items include:

•Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens, hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms — both athletic and non-athletic, and scarves.

•School supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors.

•Art supplies: Clay and glazes, acrylic, tempera and oil paints, paintbrushes for artwork, sketch and drawing pads, and watercolors.

•Computers: Laptop computers, desktop computers, tablets, central processing units (CPUs), along with various other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components, and pre-loaded software.

Terri Lynn Weaver is serving her third term in the House of Representatives and is a member of the House Criminal Justice Committee and the House Transportation Committee. She is Chairwoman of the Transportation Subcommittee. Weaver represents District 40, which encompasses Dekalb, Smith, Trousdale, and part of Sumner Counties.

Amateur Radio Special Event Station Successful

July 18, 2013
William Freddy Curtis
Freddy Curtis,Steve Kujawski, and Jerry Elkins
Mark Stewart,Jeffrey Kemper,Jeff Estal, and Steve Kujawski

The DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club conducted a Special Event Station at the 42nd Annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival on Saturday, July 6th, 2013. This year marked the fourteenth year that a special event station had been set up at the Jamboree.

The station was setup at the front entrance of the Justin Potter Library during the early morning hours on Saturday. Antennas were assembled, radios were properly checked, and transmissions were begun at 7:30 AM local time. Operations took place in the 20 meter and 40 meter Amateur Radio bands, and the station was publicized in Amateur Radio magazines QST, CQ, and the club website. This year operations took place in pouring rain for most of the entire day. For the very first time, operations also took place at the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center - Communications Room in the Smithville Fire Department to provide weather monitoring support for the local Emergency Management Agency.

The station contacted 247 total Amateur Radio Stations in 34 States, and Ontario and Quebec, Canada. One interesting contact included the Ham Station on-board the Battleship USS New Jersey, now a museum ship, in Camden, New Jersey.

Amateur Radio Operator Guests included the following: AG4VF – Bruce Newberry, Pegram, TN; WB9SJK – David Redmond, Smithville, TN; K4DZR – Jerry Goodchild, Hendersonville, TN, KF5QYU. Very special guests were: Brandon Turrentine, Winnie, TX; KD5EFM – Debbie Driver, Houston, TX; AK5Q – Mickey A. Driver, Houston, TX, who are members of the KC5WXA Jake McClain Driver Memorial Amateur Radio Club, Houston, TX.

Participants of the station included DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club Members:
KK4OEY – Mark A. Stewart, Rock Island, TN; NN9J – Steve Kujawski, Sparta, TN; NF9G - Kathy Kujawski, Sparta, TN; KK4JUP – Jeffrey Kemper – Dowelltown, TN; KG4IKT – Jeff Estal, Bradyville, TN; and KC4GUG – Freddy Curtis, Smithville, TN. This year the station also had CW or Morse code included in the operation. This was done by N4LZY – Jerry Elkins of Woodbury, Tennessee and added greatly to the station operation.

The local club looks forward to operating another special event station at next year’s Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival on Saturday, July 5th, 2014. The club would like to offer its thanks to Jamboree Coordinator - Mr. Jack Burton, Justin Potter Librarian - Mrs. Kathy Hendrixson, DeKalb County EMA Director – Charlie Parker, and Mr. Darryl Counts - Postmaster, Smithville Post Office for their support of this activity.

The DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club is an organization of Amateur Radio operators from DeKalb, Cannon, and Surrounding Counties and is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League. The next club meeting will be on Thursday, July 25th, 2013 - 6:30 PM at the DeKalb County Complex, 722 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville, TN. Any person interested in Amateur Radio is invited to attend. More information about the club can be found at the club’s website – http://www.dccarc.org.

Picture Captions:

Picture 1 = Amateur Radio Operators at the Special Event Station operate under the tent in the rain during the 42nd Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival included:
Left to Right - KC4GUG - Freddy Curtis, NN9J – Steve Kujawski, and N4LZY – Jerry Elkins. Photo Courtesy of NF9G – Kathy Kujawski.

Picture 2 = Amateur Radio Operators at the Special Event Station operate at the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center - Communications Room in the Smithville Fire Department during the 42nd Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival included:
Left to Right – KK4OEY – Mark A. Stewart, KK4JUP – Jeffrey Kemper, KG4IKT – Jeff Estal, and NN9J – Steve Kujawski, Photo Courtesy of NF9G – Kathy Kujawski.

Recent Floods Create Problems for County Road Department

July 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Kenny Edge Stands where Bridge Abutments washed away on Dry Branch
Kenny Edge Stands at site of landslide on Oakley Hollow Road
Kenny Edge Stands on new wing wall being constructed at bridge on Oakley Hollow

The DeKalb County Road Department is working to repair several county roads which have been damaged or even washed away in places by recent flooding alongside creeks and streams.

Much of the damage occurred on Dry Branch and Oakley Hollow Road. "On Dry Branch, it washed the abutments off each end of the bridge," said Road Supervisor Kenny Edge. "It washed the road down completely. It washed the oil and chip off of it down to the base stone (at the bridge)," he said.

A landslide caused a small portion of Oakley Hollow Road to collapse. Repairs have been made to the road since, but Edge said problems persist there. "Oakley Hollow had a landslide. Part of the road slid off toward Smith Fork Creek, " said Edge. "We hauled two or three hundred tons of rock in there and we've had to do that over and over. It just keeps going down. It's already dropped twelve inches again," he said.

Flood waters also washed away the wing wall of a small bridge over Oakley Hollow Road and areas of Dry Creek were affected. " On Dry Creek, right now we've got everything passable. It's not the best in the world but problems occur when you get in the end of these hollows where the creeks and the roads run side by side with a hillside on each side and nowhere for the flood waters to go but down the road. It just washes all the surface away. But you have got to go in there and resurface it. When you've got thirteen employees working over a six hundred mile area it's hard to manage," said Edge.

With a small road crew to do repairs, Road Supervisor Edge is asking the public for patience as the work continues to fix problems from the floods. "The problems with this flood damage is it takes a while to get to each location and get it corrected. Like down on the Oakley Road where the wing wall fell off a bridge, we had to get somebody to come in there with a track hoe to remove everything and then get the forms set up and pour the concrete. By the time you go in there and set up and do all that, it takes so many hours to do it," he said.

While flooding is not uncommon in DeKalb County, Edge said it usually doesn't occur so much during the summer months and making these flood repairs is slowing his regular maintenance work. "We deal with it occasionally throughout the year but most of the time in the summer is when you get to do the oiling and chipping and road maintenance and mowing. But when you have these continual rains day after day it makes it hard. Like in July, you fix something one day and it's washed away the next. Its time consuming and you have to neglect your normal duties throughout the county to correct all these dangerous situations," said Edge.

"We're slowly recuperating from all of this. We'll finally recover. Everybody just bare with us," he said.

Tracy Slone Named New DCHS Baseball Coach

July 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Coach Tracy Slone and DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps

DeKalb County High School has a new baseball coach.

Tracy Slone of Murfreesboro succeeds long time coach Scott Odom who recently resigned the position. The announcement was made Monday by DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps after which Coach Slone met for the first time with DCHS baseball players and parents. "I would like to welcome Coach Slone to our baseball program. He has a great reputation around Tennessee High School baseball and we're excited to have him here with us," said Cripps.

Slone is a native of Indiana and a graduate of Cumberland University in Lebanon where he pitched on the Bulldogs’ first World Series team in 1988. He played two seasons of minor league baseball in the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s organizations.

For the last two years, Slone has been an assistant baseball coach at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro. Prior to coaching at Siegel he was the head coach at Lebanon High School from 2005-2011, Lincoln County High School from 1994-2004, and at Lakeland High in LaGrange, Indiana. During his prep coaching career, Sloan won more than 350 games and has seen 70 of his former players go on to play at the college level and three more sign pro contracts.

"I grew up in northern Indiana," said Coach Slone in an interview with WJLE Monday. "After high school, I went to a Junior College in Kansas and then to Cumberland University on a baseball scholarship at both places. After Cumberland, I had an opportunity to sign a professional contract with the Oakland A's organization. I played a little bit with them and then I joined the New York Yankees organization. I was a left handed pitcher but developed some elbow problems. I still got the opportunity to play a little professional baseball and nobody can ever take that away from me," said Coach Slone.

According to Principal Cripps, Coach Slone was one of many applicants for the job but he seemed to stand out. "I knew this was going to be a big hire," said Cripps. "The program is important to me. It was important to get a solid guy. Somebody to not only coach baseball and coach the right way but to be a leader of men. We had people from all over to apply for the position. I had people from Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, from the east to west and north to south in Tennessee. I had a ton of applications. But everybody I talked to about Coach Slone said he is a solid baseball guy and more importantly, he is a solid man. Somebody you would want your son playing for," said Principal Cripps.

Perhaps the highest praise for Coach Slone came from legendary and Hall of Fame head coach Woody Hunt of Cumberland University . "I was going to a conference and got an email from Coach Slone saying that he was interested in the job. I got back from that conference and was sitting at the house when Coach Hunt called me and told me a little bit about Coach Slone. How many times does a Hall of Fame coach call you wanting to make a recommendation for a hire? When you have somebody call of Coach Hunt's stature and you look at the wins he (Coach Slone) has had and how many kids he has seen go to college, it's just a win-win for us," said Principal Cripps.

Coach Slone told WJLE that after two years as an assistant, he looks forward to being a head coach again. "I was a head coach for nineteen years before becoming an assistant at Siegel. I wanted to be a head coach again and I happened to be looking on TSSAA and noticed DeKalb County (had an opening). I'm excited. I've always coached at Triple-A schools but this is the size of town and school I like. There is a good tradition in baseball here and I want to win games but my main goal is to do it the right way. I want the kids to act the right way on and off the field and set good examples for the program," said he said.

Coach Slone and his wife Tracy have two children. "Chase is a senior and Jordan, my daughter is going to be in sixth grade. We live at Walter Hill," he said.

In addition to his baseball head coaching duties, Coach Slone is being hired as a wellness teacher at DCHS. "I've always coached at one school and teached at another so this is the first time I've actually been at the school that I coach at so this is exciting for me," he said.

Coach Slone has a B.S. degree in Education from Cumberland University in Lebanon. He has been a P.E. teacher for 5th-12th grade at MAP Academy in Lebanon since 2005.

City Takes Fight to Stop DUD Water Plant to Chancery Court in Davidson County

July 15, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen
City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.

The City of Smithville is taking its fight to keep the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant to Chancery Court in Davidson County.

Following the recommendation of city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. the aldermen voted 4-0 Monday night to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file an appeal of the State Utility Management Review Board's dismissal of a petition by a group of DUD ratepayers who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the water plant.

After a hearing on Thursday, April 4 which lasted all day and into the night, the UMRB board found that the petitioners had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The hearing was held in Smithville at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium.

"I do not believe that the petitioners presented a case for water rates," said one member of the UMRB board. "They presented a case for not wanting Smithville to lose DeKalb Utility District as a customer. What the petitioner proved was that Smithville didn't want to lose a customer, not that the rates were improper," he said.

During Monday night's meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, City Attorney Parsley said an appeal of the UMRB's ruling must be filed within sixty days of the filing of the order from that hearing and the deadline is August 5. "Earlier this year (April 4) we had a hearing before the (UMRB) board regarding the application that DUD had made to build a new water treatment plant here outside the city to treat water," said Parsley. " Of course we (city) would lose a substantial part of our income that we receive from DUD if they continue on that way. We had 60 days (from the date the order was filed from the hearing) to file an appeal. That 60 days will be up on August 5," said Parsley.

"I have been in communication with (Nashville attorneys) Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman who were involved with (representation at UMRB hearing) for the ratepayers of the City of Smithville and DUD customers. They need to know whether or not the board (aldermen) wants to make that appeal (to Chancery Court) because it has to be done within that deadline. If it isn't, they (DUD) can go forward (build the water plant) and that's the end of the case. The appeal process is very similar to what you see with the court of appeals. However, you're going to appeal to a Chancellor that is in Davidson County, not a local Chancellor," said Parsley. "The purpose of that appeal is to determine whether or not the (UMRB) board which came to Smithville and had the hearing made the right decision," he said.

"I have also been in communication with Mr. Purcell and Mr. Holleman regarding the cost of that appeal to the City of Smithville. They have offered to prepare an appeal for the hearing. There will be no new proof. No new depositions submitted. The fee is not to exceed $10,000. It is my recommendation to the board that we go forward with that but that's up to the board," said City Attorney Parsley. " As to the outcome of that, we'll have to wait and see how the Chancellor rules. But I think it would be good for us to go forward with that and hopefully we would get a more favorable decision from a Chancellor than we did the (UMRB) board," he said.

Alderman Tim Stribling made a motion to file the appeal. " Mr. Mayor, I'd like to see that this go before the Chancellor. I think it would be more unbiased. I think we all saw that day the deck was stacked against us so I'd like to make a motion that we appeal the decision of the board which allowed DUD to continue with building their own water treatment plant and I'd also like to make a motion that we retain Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to represent the city with an understanding that they shall be paid a fee not to exceed $10,000," said Alderman Stribling.

Alderman Danny Washer offered a second to the motion. Alderman Jason Murphy and Shawn Jacobs joined Stribling and Washer in voting for it. Alderman Josh Miller was unable to attend the meeting.

In other business, the aldermen, following a public hearing, adopted on second and final reading an ordinance to change the regular meeting dates of city council meetings to once a month, on the first Monday at 6:00 p.m. at city hall. For many years, the meetings have been held twice a month on the first and third Monday nights at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

If the first Monday should fall on a holiday, the aldermen will meet on the second Monday of that particular month at 6:00 p.m. at city hall. Special meetings may be called during the month as needed by the mayor or any two aldermen.

The regular city council meetings for the remainder of the year will be on Monday, August 5; September 9; October 7; November 4; and December 2 at 6:00 p.m. at city hall.

Meanwhile, the aldermen adopted a resolution authorizing the city to participate in the Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool "Safety Partners" Loss Control Matching Grant Program.

If approved the 50% matching grant may be used to assist with the purchase of safety related equipment. such as high visibility traffic vests, rain gear, boots, gloves, safety cones, etc. for city employees.

TML is the city’s liability insurance carrier. "They do all of our workers comp, property, and liability," said Hunter Hendrixson, City Secretary-Treasurer. " Once a year they authorize a "Safety Partners" Loss Control Matching Grant. It's a 50% match. They haven't sent me how much we'll be eligible for but I think it'll be around the $2,000 mark," he said.

The resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, the safety and well being of the employees of the City of Smithville is
of the greatest importance; and

WHEREAS, all efforts shall be made to provide a safe and hazard-free workplace for the City of Smithville employees; and

WHEREAS, the TML Risk Management Pool seeks to encourage the establishment of a safe workplace by offering a “Safety Partners” Loss Control Matching Grant Program; and

WHEREAS, the City of Smithville now seeks to participate in this important program.


SECTION 1. That the City of Smithville is hereby authorized to submit application for a “Safety Partners” Loss Control Matching Grant through the TML Risk Management Pool.

SECTION 2. That the City of Smithville is further authorized to provide a matching sum to serve as a match for any monies provided by this grant.


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