Local News Articles

DeKalb Hospital Celebrates Being Stroke Ready

June 13, 2013
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital Celebrates Being Stroke Ready

This past month, DeKalb Community Hospital completed a successful stroke drill and training with Saint Thomas Health to make them the newest member of the St. Thomas Health Stroke Network. This affiliation comes from hard work in an effort to expand accessible, quality care to stroke patients in outlying areas. On Wednesday, June 12th, the hospital hosted a reception and ribbon cutting to honor this important event. A wide range of community support was shown, as a broad group of people turned out for the event including public officials, local businesses, hospital board members and staff, local doctors, and our public library along with out of town guests from Riverpark Hospital. The hospital was also honored by a special visit from St. Thomas RNS Director, Amy Howard.

“It warms my heart to see all of these wonderful people who took time to come out and celebrate this very important event in the life of our hospital,” Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital smiles, “We are very proud to be recognized as stroke ready. The staff has worked very hard to make this happen. I also want to speak out to the community to say that if you, or anyone you know shows any possible sign of a stroke, ...do not wait. Every second counts, and you should go straight to the ER to help avoid permanent disability. It is our job to take care of you, but we can’t do that properly if you don’t act fast.”

DeKalb Community Hospital wants to educate the community as a part of being stroke ready by acting F.A.S.T.

F - Face Drooping
A– Arm Weakness
S– Speech Difficulty
T - Time to call 911

“A stroke is not only dangerous due to the risk of life, but the permanent disability that can follow,” CNO Kim Frazier states, “It is so very important that we treat a stroke victim as quickly as possible, and that time starts before you ever get to the hospital. Don’t spend time debating with someone that appears to have signs of a stroke. Just get them to a hospital or call 911.”

For more information on DeKalb Community Hospital and The Saint Thomas Health Stroke Network, go to www.dekalbcommunityhospital.com

Photo: Sue Conley, CEO (center) cuts the ribbon to celebrate that DeKalb Community Hospital is the newest member of the St. Thomas Health Stroke Network. She is surrounded by friends, colleagues, public officials, businesses and community supporters outside of the DeKalb Community Hospital Emergency Room.

Woman Injured After Truck Runs Into Utility Pole

June 13, 2013
Dwayne Page
Violet Tucker Injured After Truck Runs Into Utility Pole
Violet Tucker Airlifted After Truck Wreck

A 29 year old Smithville woman was injured Thursday morning after her pickup truck crashed into a utility pole on West Broad Street near Cantrell's Furniture and Appliances.

Smithville Police said Violet Tucker of Banks Pisgah Road was traveling West in a 1990 Ford Ranger when she left the road and ran head on into the utility pole.

Tucker was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where a Vanderbilt Life Flight helicopter ambulance landed to airlift her to Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene to render assistance.

The accident was investigated by Corporal Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department.

Swimmer Drowns in Center Hill Lake

June 12, 2013
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old swimmer drowned in Center Hill Lake Wednesday afternoon near Sligo Bridge.

Dead is Ricardo Duenas of Walker Street, McMinnville.


M2U01154 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Duenas and another man went swimming in the lake near an old rock quarry on the east side of Sligo bridge. He said Duenas was trying to swim across to another bank of the lake and made it about half way when he began showing signs of problems and went down. He never resurfaced alive. Others who were swimming in the area tried unsuccessfully to rescue him.

911 received the call for help at 5:36 p.m. The body was recovered more than three hours later.

Members of the TWRA and DeKalb, White, Warren, and Putnam County Rescue Squads participated in the search. The local Emergency Management Agency, officers of the Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.

Sheriff Ray said officers of the TWRA conducted a sonar scan and spotted an object of interest in about 40 feet of water. Divers of the Putnam County Rescue Squad went down to investigate and found the victim's body.

DeKalb County Fair Returns July 22-27

June 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Exciting Rides
Bumper Cars
More Thrilling Rides

Members of the DeKalb County Fair Association are busy preparing for this year's edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South which is set for Monday through Saturday July 22-27.

With the theme " Squeals, Thrills and Ferris Wheels", this year's DeKalb County Fair will feature a fun filled week of activities including rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and new events, an ATV Rodeo, Corn hole contest, and a Homemade Ice Cream Contest.

"The ATV Rodeo is basically the same kind of event that you have with horses, except you use ATV's to do it, "said Jeff McMillen of the DeKalb County Fair Board. "They do the barrel racing and they do have an obstacle course. We'll have some flyers and further information that we'll put out on that soon. But a lot of local people will be able to participate in these types of events," said McMillen. The ATV Rodeo will be held on Thursday night, July 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena.

The fair will be bringing back the Open Rodeo, Super Tractor and Truck Pull, Go Cart Racing, Four Wheelers and Motorcycle Racing, DeKalb Idol, the Vintage Fashion Show, and many other popular attractions.

McMillen urges fair goers to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

All Non- Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 13 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. All Perishable items ONLY will be accepted on Saturday, July 20 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Take a stroll down Memory Lane and enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village, sponsored by DeKalb Community Bank.

Fair events each night are as follows:

Monday, July 22: National Anthem at 5:45 p.m.; Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; Homemade Ice Cream Contest at 6:15 p.m. under the grandstand; Open Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:30 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. (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23: Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 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 (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 24: Snowbird- WSMV Channel 4 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m; 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; Gospel Singing at 6:30 p.m. at the Grandstand (2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 25: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4-H Chick Chain Show at 5:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly Barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; and ATV Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:00 p.m.;(2- $500 cash drawings) at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 26: Toddler Show for contestants 13 months to 47 months at 6:00 p.m. followed by DeKalb Idol Final Competition at the Lions Club Pavilion; Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; ATV/ Mini-Rod Outlaw Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena. (2- $500 cash drawings) at 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 27: 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.

Events subject to change without notice.

NEW CASH GIVEAWAY FOR 2013: Two tickets for $500 each will be drawn each night and announced only at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Drawings will be held Monday through Saturday, each night at 9:30 p.m. except at 10:00 p.m. on Friday night. Your gate admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing. You must be present to win. Tickets must be presented within three minutes. Tickets will be emptied each night. Fair board members and their spouses are not eligible to win.

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. Parking is Free!

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

School Board May Offer to Partner with County in Funding SROs

June 11, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby
John David Foutch (left) and Billy Miller (older photo)

The DeKalb County Board of Education is apparently looking to fund at least one School Resource Officer position, if the county commission is willing to fund three more SRO's. That would put an SRO in each of the five schools.

Although not specifically addressed yet in the proposed budget for the 2013-14 year, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said Monday night during the special board of education meeting that he has discussed the issue with school board members and that some money could be found for at least one SRO. "We talked in the workshop about using some state school money and seeing if we could come up with some money to at least help out with one SRO officer," said Willoughby.

During a meeting last Thursday night, members of the county budget committee discussed funding from two to four SRO's in the new county general budget. To fund all four, the county would need to come up with $236,969.

As WJLE first reported last Friday, a majority of the budget committee members, Wayne Cantrell, Jerry Scott, and Larry Summers suggested cutting that back to two new SRO officers, which would slice the cost in half to $118,485.

Committee members Jack Barton and Marshall Ferrell preferred leaving four new SRO officers in the proposed county general budget.

Willoughby said Monday night that $15,000 may be available through a Safe Schools grant to help fund an SRO. The school system, he said, could probably come up with another $15,000. The cost to fund an SRO for the first year would be around $30,000.

"I can see where using some of the state funds that we have, we can hopefully come up with one more SRO officer and hopefully the county would come up with ( funding for the others). Rather than having three (funded by the county) and us coming up with one, making four, if we come up with one and they would (fund the rest) then we could have one SRO at each school. I would hate for us to have an SRO at some of our schools and not an SRO at the other schools," said Willoughby.

"I think it's very important that we come together as a community and make sure that we provide those (SROs) to our students," said Board member Billy Miller. "That's the most valuable commodity we have and I think it's our responsibility as leaders of the community, as adults and as parents of our children to make sure they (children) can go to school safely everyday and that they don't have to worry about that. I think it's very important for the safety and well being of our students," said Miller.

DeKalb County currently has one School Resource Officer assigned to the high school.

Board of Education Revises Proposed School Budget

June 11, 2013
Dwayne Page
School Board and Director of Schools (older photo)

The Board of Education met in special session Monday night to revise its proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year but didn't do much cutting.

In fact, most of the new spending for extra teacher and supplement positions were left in the budget. In order to meet requirements of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, the board budgeted funds to offer single coverage health insurance to all full time classified employees (support staff) who want it, beginning January 1, 2014. Employees who take the school system up on its offer will have to pay ninety dollars per month. The school system will cover the rest. No additional insurance benefit will be offered to certified personnel. The vote was 7-0 to include funds in the budget for the insurance.

"If our guidelines change of course we would have to come back and change this, " said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. "We still do not know what the Affordable Health Care Act is going to entail. We'll be learning more about that as the months go on. I don't think there is anyone in Tennessee that really knows how this is going to affect them," he said.

Currently Certified employees who have either a single or a family plan pay 36% and the school system picks up 64%. Support staff currently pay 49% of their coverage and the school system pays a 51% matching portion. While the school system apparently already meets the affordable health care requirements for certified personnel, it would be subject to penalties unless it does more for support staff.

The revised budget calls for certified employees to receive a one time bonus instead of a 1.5% pay raise. Director Willoughby said approximately $40,000 in state funds will pay for the bonuses which comes to about $160 per employee. "What I am recommending at this time is the 1.5% pay raise for certified employees to be as a bonus and to take that $40,000 that we receive from the state and split that among all certified employees. That is nothing from local money. If it comes in $41,000 then we'll split $41,000 but it's all straight flow through money from the state," said Director Willoughby.

During Monday night's meeting, Director Willoughby recommended budgeting the bonuses along with funds to create some new positions he felt the school system could not do without in the coming year. All board members voted for Willoughby's recommendation except for Charles Robinson who wanted to give a pay raise rather than a bonus.

Willoughby's recommendations included the following:

Two new teacher positions at DeKalb Middle School: $90,000 total

One new P.E. teacher at Northside Elementary School: $45,000

One new extra teacher position (instead of two) which may or may not be needed depending upon enrollment at the elementary school level: $45,000 (position not to be filled if not needed)

Two federal teacher positions moving to general purpose schools (local budget): $90,000 total

Under the Gifted Education Program: One new gifted position: $45,000

Under Special Education Program: A half time psychologist: $27,000

Gone from the budget is an athletic director $5,000 supplement position for the school system; a stipend for teachers attending in-service, $35,000 (that will now be funded with federal money through Professional Development), and $5,000 for a part time clerical employee.

Board members Billy Miller and Doug Stephens voted for creating the athletic director job but the other five members voted against it.

The other new supplement positions were voted on one by one and were adopted. Board members Johnny Lattimore and John David Foutch voted against most of them, saying they felt like the school system could not afford them at this time. Concerned about potential pay inequities, W.J. (Dub) Evins,III voted against adding two new assistant soccer coaching positions at DCHS. Evins said if the same person were hired to be the assistant coach for both spring and fall soccer then he or she would make more in supplement pay than the high school football coach.

Other new positions included in the budget:

Assistant band director (working primarily at DeKalb West School), $5,000. (The vote was 5-2 in favor)

Two new Middle School Soccer Coaches: $2,785 each (The vote was 5-2 in favor)

One baseball coach at DeKalb West School: $2,785 (The vote was 5-2 in favor)

Two new assistant soccer coaches at DCHS: $2,785 each (The vote was 4-3 in favor)

One new Cross Country Running coach: $2,785 (The vote was 5-2 in favor)

The original proposal was for the Transportation Supervisor's salary to increase by $12,440 but some board members felt that was too much of a pay raise in one year. Instead, the board voted to plug in a pay raise of $4,150 this year. Their intention is to possibly increase the pay for that position again for the next two years, subject to funding to bring the salary in line with other school transportation supervisors in the area. The vote was 6-1 in favor.

Although it was not specifically addressed in the budget, Director Willoughby said the school system might be able to come up with funds for one school resource officer, if the county could fund three new positions. That would put an SRO at each school in the county. Willoughby said $15,000 could be available through a Safe Schools grant to help fund an SRO. The school system, he said, could probably come up with another $15,000. The cost to fund an SRO for the first year would be around $30,000.

In order to balance this revised budget, the school board has voted to include $84,000 in new BEP revenues. The board is also asking the county to appropriate another $350,000 from the special school sinking or local option sales tax fund for school operation. The rest of the $1.2 to $1.4 million needed would come from the school system's reserve fund. This time last year the school system was anticipating budgeting $1.2 million of the reseserve to balance by the end of June 30, 2013. But the deficit is actually expected to be around $300,000.

The school budget, as revised, now goes to the county budget committee for review. If the committee approves it, the spending plan will go before the county commission for a final vote this summer. If the budget committee does not approve, the proposed budget will come back to the school board for further revisions.

(Pictured above: left to right- Charles Robinson, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Kenny Rhody, John David Foutch, Johnny Lattimore, Billy Miller, Doug Stephens, and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby)

Two Airlifted After Monday Night Wreck

June 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Two Airlifted After Monday Night Wreck

Two people were airlifted after being involved in a rollover crash Monday night on Highway 56 just south of Seven Springs Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:18 p.m.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 21 year old Michael Briley of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was driving north on Highway 56 in a 2003 Nissan Altima when the car crossed over the center line, went off the left side of the road, struck an embankment , overturned and hit the end of a guardrail. A sixteen year old female passenger was also injured.

Both Briley and the girl were treated by DeKalb EMS and then taken to meet Life Flight and Life Force helicopter ambulances which landed in a field near the scene. They were believed to have been flown to Vanderbilt hospital.
Trooper Wilhite was assisted in the crash investigation by Trooper Craig Wilkerson.

Members of the Keltonburg and Blue Springs Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene along with officers of the sheriff's department.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest After Rolling Meth Lab Found During Traffic Stop

June 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Brandon Keith Thomas
Jason Kenneth Cline
Clifton Eugene Brown
Timothy Ross Bogle

A drug detective of the Sheriff's Department found a rolling meth lab during a traffic stop last week.

27 year old Brandon Keith Thomas of Evins Mill Road, Smithville is charged with initiation of a process in the manufacture of methamphetamine. He was also issued a citation for driving on a revoked license. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court June 13. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, June 4 Thomas was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 south when he was stopped by a drug detective for driving at a high rate of speed. After stopping, Thomas allegedly pulled from his pocket a bag of marijuana and a hypodermic needle and laid it on the vehicle. Inside the automobile was a backpack containing a plastic bottle with a rubber tube protruding from the top of it (gasser), drainout (lye), Coleman fuel, coffee filters, and other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Thomas told the detective to go ahead and take him to jail because the meth lab in the backpack belonged to him. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. Thomas' drivers license were found to be revoked for a prior DUI.

35 year old Jason Kenneth Cline of Ford Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), (failure to give) immediate notice of accident, (failure to exercise) due care, and failure to maintain his lane of travel by not driving on the right side of the roadway (causing him to wreck). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 13. Cline was arrested on Wednesday, June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, May 14 Cline was operating a motor vehicle and was involved in a crash on Bright Hill Road. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he could not stand on his own. Because of his level of intoxication, Cline could not perform field sobriety tasks. He did submit to a blood test.

52 year old Clifton Eugene Brown is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court July 25. Brown was also issued citations for simple possession of schedule II, IV, & VI drugs (methamphetamine, Xanax, & Marijuana). Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 7 Brown was found passed out behind the steering wheel of his vehicle in the parking lot of the Handlebar Restaurant on Highway 70. The keys to the automobile were in the ignition. As the deputy approached, he smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. He awoke Brown and found him to be intoxicated. Brown had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Brown admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Brown reached into his pocket and tried to throw away a container which held a small amount of methamphetamine and four and a half blue pills believed to be Xanax. Brown also had on his person a small bag of marijuana. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and submitted to a blood test. Brown was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

49 year old Timothy Ross Bogle of Walker Drive, Smithville is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. His bond is $12,500 and he will be in court on June 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 8 Bogle was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped by a deputy, who had prior knowledge that Bogle's drivers license were revoked. Bogle had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Bogle told the officer that he was unable to perform field sobriety tasks but he did submit to a blood test. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. A computer check revealed that Bogle's license were revoked for a DUI on November 29, 2012.

Smithville Volunteer Fire Department Extinguishes Kitchen Fire

June 10, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to a grease fire at a trailer home on West Main Street Sunday afternoon.

Chief Charlie Parker said the resident left something unattended cooking on the kitchen stove for a few minutes and discovered the fire when he returned. The fire department was notified and arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the trailer.

The fire, confined to the kitchen, was quickly extinguished. It burned the stove hood and charred cabinets around it. No one was injured.

DeKalb 4-H Wildlife Judging Team Places in Region Competition

June 10, 2013
Apri Martin
DeKalb County 2013 4-H Wildlife Judging Team

DeKalb County 4-H Wildlife Judging Team Members recently competed in the Central Region 4-H Wildlife Judging Team competition held at The University of Tennessee Knoxville.

The senior team as well as the junior high team placed sixth in the regional event.

Senior team members include: Justin Bass, Preston Cripps, and Eli Oliver. Junior High team members included: Will Stephens, Wyatt Martin, Cody Goff, Caitlyn Lawrence, and Derek Young.

In wildlife judging, 4-H members learn to identify wildlife species, interpret wildlife habitat from aerial photographs and make recommendations for on-site wildlife management practices for landowners. Wildlife judging gives young people the opportunity to develop their decision making skills.

A special thanks goes to the coaches for the team which includes TWRA officer Joe Fortner, Army Corp. of Engineers Ranger Terry Martin, Co-Op Crops Advisor Gilbert Martin, and Extension Agent April Martin.
The University of Tennessee Extension offers several 4-H judging team opportunities throughout the year for 4-H members in grades 6 – 12 to learn decision making skills.

(DeKalb County 2013 4-H Wildlife Judging Team. Pictured, left to right: Derek Young, Wyatt Martin, Preston Cripps, Will Stephens, Caitlyn Lawrence, Justin Bass, Cody Goff, and Eli Oliver (photo by April Martin)


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