Local News Articles

Knox Arrested After Leading Deputy on Slow Speed Pursuit

August 26, 2013
Dwayne Page
Robert Edward Knox

A 41 year old man who led a sheriff's deputy on a slow speed pursuit on Short Mountain Highway before going off the road in a ditch on Sunday, August 18 has been arrested for a third offense of driving under the influence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Robert Edward Knox of Foster Road, Smithville is also charged with reckless endangerment, felony evading arrest, and resisting arrest. His bond is $19,000. He was further issued citations for violation of the implied consent law, failure to maintain his lane of travel, Violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and no registration on his vehicle.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy saw Knox driving on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) and he appeared to be impaired. The officer turned on his emergency equipment and initiated a slow speed pursuit to get Knox to stop but he refused to pull over.

According to the deputy, Knox left the road several times, running up onto the sidewalk and then coming back onto the highway toward on-coming traffic almost forcing other vehicles off the road.

The pursuit continued for about four miles until Knox ran over a spike strip which had been put down on the highway by a Trooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. After some of his tires were flattened by the spike strip, Knox's vehicle ran into a ditch and stopped.

After refusing to get out of the vehicle, Knox had to be forcibly removed.

The deputy noticed that Knox's eyes were bloodshot and glossy. He was very incoherent and a white foam was coming from his mouth. Due to his level of intoxication, Knox was not able to perform field sobriety tasks and he could not understand the terms of the implied consent law. Because it was his third DUI offense, a search warrant was executed to obtain a blood draw.

DeKalb EMS took Knox to the hospital for medical treatment and he was arrested the following day on Monday, August 19.

Alexandria Auto Parts Moving to New Location

August 26, 2013
Dwayne Page
Brad Driver and Chris Hale at current store location
Brad Driver and Chris Hale at soon to open new store location

It's one of the town's oldest businesses having served customers in the Alexandria area in the same location since the late 1940's. But soon, Alexandria Auto Parts will have a new home.

The business, owned by Brad Driver and Chris Hale, will be moving from its current location on High Street to Highway 53 just past Prichard Foods. "We're hoping to be in the new building by mid- September or the first of October," said Driver.

The new store is much larger which will allow Driver and Hale to have more room to better serve their customers. "Over there we'll have a 60' x 60' parts store and a 60' x 60' shop, "said Driver. " We'll have three doors (to the garage), but it's two deep so we can have up to six bays," he said.

"We do everything but internal engine work but over there we are going to start doing front end alignments. We've got a man trained on those alignments," said Driver.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get our customers in and out quicker in a more timely manner," added Hale. "We will continue to do brakes, tires, exhaust, oil changes, intake gaskets, transmissions, alternators, starters, belts, etc. but we'll have a better parts store. It will be fully stocked," he said.

The new store will also have new hours. "We'll be open from 7:30 a.m. til 7:00 p.m. weekdays and probably til 4:30 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays," said Hale. "Right now we're open from 7:30 a.m. til 5:00 p.m. weekdays and we open half a day on Saturdays," he continued.

Born and raised in DeKalb County, both Driver and Hale began working in the auto related field at an early age. "Chris went to Nashville Auto Diesel College and then started out working at Walker Diesel in Cookeville. He also worked in maintenance at Tracker Marine in Murfreesboro," Driver said.

Driver worked for D.Y. Young at Young's Auto Parts while in high school and then joined the family business at Alexandria Auto Parts after graduation while also working part time at Liberty Exxon.

Driver and Hale have been co-owners of the store since July 2000. Driver bought half interest in the business from his father Darry "Red" Driver in 1994 and Hale bought the other half in 2000.

" My dad (Darry) started working here in 1968," said Driver. "He then went to the service in 1970. When he came back he worked for Jewel Braswell here and bought the business in 1973. Four years later, he bought the building and was sole owner until 1994. He left the business in 2002," said Driver.

The history of Alexandria Auto Parts dates back to the late 1940's. "I've heard that the Sinclair Oil Company built this building for Robert Burton (the original owner). Whether that's true or not, I don't know," said Driver.

"It was probably about a 20' x 20' building in the beginning and they sold gas. Then they added a garage. Over the years this building has been added onto about three times," said Hale.

Gas is no longer sold there but the existing business now consists of a 40' x 24' parts store and customer service area and a 40' x 40' shop.

In addition to Driver and Hale, the staff includes mechanics Drake Vaughn, Chad Curtis, Derek Carter, and Spencer Prichard.

Driver and Hale said they look forward to serving their customers in the new location.

Alexandria Auto Parts is a Parts City Auto Parts store. Parts City stores are independently owned but are serviced by Ozark Automotive, the same company that owns O'Reilly Auto Parts stores.

Local Hospitals Turn Hungry Kids to Happy Kids

August 26, 2013
Local Hospitals Turn Hungry Kids to Happy Kids

To celebrate the recent success of the Weight Loss Challenge between DeKalb and Cannon Counties, DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital decided to donate 943 pounds of food for the Hungry Kids Backpack Program. The 943 pounds was in honor of the total weight lost by all participants of the Challenge. The food was divided and distributed to backpack programs across both counties and has been received with grateful appreciation.

When asked how this idea came about, Marketing Director Shan Burklow replied, “Our CEO (Sue Conley) and myself were on a local radio program (Chamber Chat) where one of the guests were talking about the backpack program and how so many kids go home to no dinner on the table or even go hungry throughout the entire weekend. As we listened, Sue turned to me and whispered, ‘We’re going to help with this!’ …later that afternoon, we decided to ask our hospital employees to help us reach our goal of nearly a thousand pounds of food. Hundreds of pounds were donated just over two weeks later.”

The hospital would like to personally thank the artists from the Off the Beaten Path Tour for being the inspiration behind this great effort, “We are grateful to Tim Hintz and the great artists that steered us in the right direction with their original support of the program. If these good people had not stepped up to raise money for these kids, Shan and I would have never known there was such a monumental need right here where we work and live.”

“We are so very grateful to the employees of DeKalb Community Hospital for their generosity and care for the Backpack Program,” said Backpack Program Assistant Director Cindy Childers, “I started to cry when I saw all of the food. This means so much to these kids (and to us) as we try to keep over 200 backpacks filled weekly. If anyone is interested in helping us throughout the school year, please call the Board of Education and let us know.”

For more information on how you, your church, or your business can participate in the Hungry Kids Backpack Program, contact Cindy Childers (615) 215-2161

# # # #

Pictured: Tim Hintz along with local artists from the Off the Beaten Path Tour accept over two hundred pounds of food from Director Shan Burklow, CEO Sue Conley and CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital. Not pictured: Linda Gagne of DeKalb Community Hospital.

Potential Candidates Already Inquiring about 2014 Elections

August 25, 2013
Dennis Stanley

While the first election in 2014 is months away, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said potential candidates have already begun to ask questions about various offices.

“We have had people already ask what they need to do to become a candidate,” Stanley said. “Even though it is a little bit early, certain issues could come into play now, depending on the circumstances.”

It is likely a primary election will be called by one of the local political parties for May 6, 2014. As a result, the qualifying deadline for all candidates will be Noon February 20th. Petitions will be available November 22, 2013.

“Since petitions are not available until November 22, 2013, potential candidates may wonder how they can declare or announce they are running before November,” Stanley said. “Individuals may be announced candidates and may begin soliciting campaign funds at any time before the election. That is a political strategy issue and each candidate must make that decision.”

“However, before a candidate raises or spends money, the candidate needs to file an “Appointment of Political Treasurer” with the Election Commission. This form is available at http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/forms/ss-1120.pdf or can be obtained at our office. You can print it out online and bring it to us. We must have the original, so a fax or email will not work.”

”You may file the Appointment of Political Treasurer at any time, but it must be filed before you raise or spend money,” Stanley continued. “The Registry of Election Finance has said that “incidental” expenses while you are thinking about running do not count. There are different regulations for judicial candidates, so please ask us before soliciting campaign funds.”

Once a candidate files an Appointment of Treasurer form, the candidate is required to file periodic disclosure reports. The reports are to be filed quarterly during the election year and semi-annually in either the year(s) before or after. Additionally, a report is due 10 days before any election. The report dates can be found at http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/cand/cand_filing.htm or you can obtain a copy at the local election office.

“The State Registry of Election Financial (615-741-7959) or http://www.tennessee.gov/tref/contact.htm has jurisdiction over election financial issues,” Stanley said. “The DeKalb County Election Commission merely files the reports and makes them available to the public. The state office can answer any question you have about financial reports or requirements.”

More information about the petition process, including additional deadlines for Road Superintendent and Sheriff candidates, can be obtained at the election commission office on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse or by logging on to www.dekalbelections.com.

DeKalb Records Second Lowest July Jobless Rate in Upper Cumberland Region

August 24, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for July was 8.2%, down from 8.7% in June but up slightly from 8.1% in July, 2012.

The local labor force for July, 2013 was 9,850. A total of 9,040 were employed and 810 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for July was second lowest in the Upper Cumberland Region. Here's how the fourteen counties ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett County: 12%
Van Buren County: 12%
White County: 11.3%
Clay County: 10.5%
Warren County: 10.4%
Overton County: 10.3%
Jackson County: 10%
Fentress County:9.8%
Cumberland County: 9.2%
Macon County: 9.1%
Cannon County: 8.4%
Putnam County: 8.4%
DeKalb County: 8.2%
Smith County: 7.3%

County unemployment rates for July 2013 show the rate decreased in 79 counties, increased in 12, and remained the same in four counties. Specific county information is available on the Internet; enter http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/LaborJULY2013.pdf.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.7 percent, down from 7.0 percent in June. Knox County’s July rate decreased to 7.0 from 7.3 percent. Hamilton County decreased to 8.6 percent from 8.8 the previous month. Shelby County was 9.8 percent, down from 10.3 percent in June.

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for July is 8.5 percent, which is unchanged from the June revised rate. The national unemployment rate for July 2013 was 7.4 percent, down two tenths of one percentage point from the previous month.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Six Seek Judicial Commissioner Appointments

August 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Adams
Hoyte Barrett
Oscar Boyd
McClure Cantrell
Taft Hendrixson
Richard Jennings

The DeKalb County Commission is looking to fill a vacant judicial commissioner position and to add another one during Monday night's regular meeting.

The county currently has two judicial or warrant commissioners. Jerry Taylor holds one of the positions. Tammy Ashburn held the other but she recently resigned. Until that vacancy is filled, Taylor has the responsibilities all to himself except for the services of Rod Higham, who fills in on a part time basis as needed.

Currently, each of the two judicial commissioners is on call for two weeks and is off for two weeks. The positions pay $890 per month.

During Thursday night's "All-Committees" meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster said he would like to create a third judicial commissioner position. "What I'm thinking is, we could have three on call. Rotate weekly. It's going to add $10,000 a year to the operation of the office but they (each judicial commissioner) could work a week and be off two weeks but still be on call in case one of the others got sick," he said.

Since funds are not already budgeted for a third judicial commissioner, Foster said the county commission would have to adopt a budget amendment to pay for it.

Meanwhile members of the county commission Thursday night interviewed six applicants for the positions, Mark Adams, Hoyte Barrett, Oscar Boyd, McClure Cantrell, Taft Hendrixson, and Richard Jennings.

Two of those applicants will likely be appointed by the county commission Monday night, one to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ashburn, and the other to fill the newly created position.

Other issues on the county commission agenda Monday night are as follows:

Budget amendments/Quarterly Reports

Discuss an emergency purchase for addition and improvement to high school football bleachers for the DeKalb County Board of Education per Phone Poll

Discuss a resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligation school improvement bond of DeKalb County resolution for detailed repayment.

Discuss authorization of agreement with DeKalb County Road Supervisor Kenny Edge for the county to purchase oil, etc. for improvement of convenience sites by the Road Department.

Discuss TDOT project status report

Discuss recycling transfer station plans and future plans. Discuss possible agreement with Smithville.

Discuss invitation to bid-Omega roof, gym, completion of surveillance cameras for the county complex

Discuss commission and committee vacancies

Any other business properly presented


The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

DCHS Amputee Football Player Hopes to Inspire Team

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dillon Williams

A DCHS Football player is hoping for a chance to help his team do battle against the Warren County Pioneers in the season opener tonight in McMinnville. But six months ago, Dillon Williams was facing a different kind of battle....a fight for his life after he lost a portion of his right leg in an accidental shooting.

"I was showing my girlfriend a gun I had gotten for Christmas and when I was handing it to her, it went off in the process," said Williams in an interview with WJLE Thursday.

Williams was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville but the wound was so serious that his leg had to be amputated below the knee. The teen has since been fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Though not a starter on the football team, Williams, now a senior, got to see some action last season and was hoping for more playing time this year. "On offense (last year) I played center and on defense I played tackle. I played in the first five games (last season). I also got to play in the (state) play-off game we had here at home," said Williams.

During his recovery, Williams said he has worked to get stronger so that he might be able in some way to contribute to the team this season. "I was at physical therapy the other day and he (therapist) told me I could play. He (therapist) said he wanted me to start padding up and get a feel for hitting. He said I wouldn't be able to do everything everyone else does but I could do some stuff," Williams said.

"I am hoping to play a little bit of special teams because I think that would be the easiest for me. But even if I don't get in the game, I just want to hit somebody," he said.

Williams said his hope is that he can be an inspiration to others, especially his teammates in overcoming adversity. "If they see me out here on the field, maybe they will say if he can do it I can to".

"For us he is a true inspiration," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. " He (Williams) has been at every practice since he has been able to get out and move around. He is an inspiration for all of us to keep fighting and working toward what you expect to achieve," he said.

Since losing his leg, Williams said an uncle has quoted for him a passage of scripture which he thinks of often. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Every time I get down I think about that and it lifts me up."

Four Persons Interview for Vacant County Commission Seat

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Rick Cantrell
Steven Cantrell
Eugene LaFever
James Young

The county commission Monday night is expected to name someone to fill the unexpired term of John Green in the fifth district.

Green resigned from the county commission in April because he had moved his residence to White County. Green had served on the county commission for eleven years. He was first elected in 2002 and then re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

During an "All-Committees" meeting Thursday night, County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county commission interviewed four applicants for the position, Rick Cantrell, Steven Cantrell, Eugene LaFever, and James Young.

Two others had also applied, Hunter Hendrixson and Anita Puckett, but they recently withdrew their names from consideration.

The appointee selected during the regular monthly meeting Monday night will serve on the county commission from the fifth district until the end of Green's term, which expires August 31, 2014.

The following is a summary of each interview:

"I was born and raised in the fifth district. I have been on the (DeKalb County Regional) Planning Commission since 1995. Eighteen years. I have lived in DeKalb County all my life. I went to school here. I have worked for BFN Operations for thirty eight years, formerly Knowles & Sons Nursery. It's in the fifth district. I am one of the managers there," said Cantrell.

"One thing I'd like to throw out there is that I have no vendetta. I am just here to work with you all for the whole county. I have no personal gains or reasons whatsoever involved here. If I feel like I am correct (on an issue) and it's the right thing to do, that's the way I'll vote," he said

When asked if he would run for the office in the next election, Cantrell replied "That's a possibility. If the people of the 5th district ask me to, I would. I will address that when the time comes," he said

"I graduated in 1982 from DCHS and in 1987 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville," said Cantrell. " In the different jobs I've had over the years, I worked with the Extension Service over in Rhea County for a year and a half. I then taught at Scott High School in East Tennessee for half a year. I then taught over here (DeKalb County) for about six years. Now I'm working at a place called Bonnell between Carthage and Gordonsville," he said.

Cantrell was elected to the DeKalb County Commission during the 1990's representing the fifth district. "Right before I went over there (Bonnell) I was on the county commission with some of you all for a little while. I was on the committees for agriculture, education, and law enforcement when I was on the county commission before. I ended up moving out of the county so I didn't run again for that. I am back in this district, where I have lived most of my life. I just got interested in coming back to the commission when I saw that (position) opening up," said Cantrell.

" I'd like to try to do some things for the county and help out somewhat. I'm not looking to oppose anyone in a certain way. I have no hidden agenda or anything like that. I just enjoy the service because I did a lot of volunteer work with 4-H," he said.

"I was born and raised in DeKalb County. I live in Hillcrest Hills Subdivision on the east side of the county. My dad is U.L. LaFever. We owned Center Hill Sports Marine over on that side of the county all my life growing up until 2005 when we sold out. I went to school here and I've got a daughter in high school here now. I've always had dealings here in the county in some form or another. I have worked with several of you on different projects over the years. I do a couple of things now. I work with my uncle. We do sound jobs. We do the sound for the Fiddlers Jamboree. We do about twenty five festivals a year. I also work with a couple of attorneys out of town. I'm a process server on the side a little bit along the lines. I don't do any work here in DeKalb County much but outside of the county I do a little of that along in the winter time," said LaFever.

"I'm looking forward to an opportunity of maybe helping the county out a little bit along the lines. I was married to Dana LaFever for several years. She passed away three years ago. She worked for the sheriff's department. I had intended to run (for this position) before but because of the situation I was going through the time wasn't right. The time would be right for me to run now. I had intended to run and would intend to run," he said.

"I live down in the Four Seasons area. It used to be Young Bend. I attend an old Baptist church down there. I was born and raised there (Young Bend Community). I stayed gone for twenty years in Nashville. I moved back here in 1974. I have lived around DeKalb County since. I lost my first wife in 2001. I am married again to Jeanette Smithson. I'm retired. I retired from Timers, after twenty seven and a half years. Before that I did maintenance work in Nashville for twenty years. I am interested in what happens to DeKalb County now and future generations. We've got young people coming on and it concerns me," said Young.

Spacious New DCHS Football Fieldhouse Now Completed

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Spacious New DCHS Football Fieldhouse Now Completed
New Weight Room
New Locker Room

The new DCHS football field house is now completed in time for the season.

The facility is a 100' x 52' structure complete with a weight room, locker room, head coach's office, two other offices that the assistant coaches share, a utility/taping room, larger bathroom and shower areas, and an equipment room all under one roof.

"It's a blessing," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. "We're so much more efficient in the weight room. We've got so much more space. All new equipment. Our locker room is spacious. We can all fit in there without stepping on top of each other. The showers are large and we have tripled the bathroom size. Each coach has an office. I have one for myself. The others have to share a couple. Everything is under one roof," he said.

Coach Trapp said the facility has been in the making for four years and he is thankful for the support of the community and his staff. " It's been four years in the making. It got started by Coach Ed (the late Clay Edwards). Darrell Gill and the Quarterback Club and Junior Pro have done wonders. All those guys that just left (graduated) and their parents the last couple of years have done wonders raising money. The parents that we have now have done wonders raising money. It's just something we're very proud to have and its all the result of the people supporting us," said Coach Trapp

"As far as working on the building, the coaching staff did so much. We framed it ourselves inside and out. We had a few subs (contractors) doing the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Mike Ellis and his crew and A Degree Above and their crew helped us out and did a great job for us. Mark David Construction, I can't tell you how much he helped us out with concrete and just fixing a lot of things. We had some guys come in and put up the rest of the metal when spring ball started because we couldn't. But for the most part we did everything. Ronnie Neal did the dry wall but other than that, it was the coaches and just a few subs. The players would come out. I'd make them clean up. Pick up trash and things like that," he said.

"Everything was funded through people coming and watching DeKalb County football. They see us in these new uniforms. They see us with beautiful turf on our field. They see us with a new field house. It is because of them (public). We may have a dream or vision for what we want to do but if they don't come and watch us nothing gets done so everything that we've got is because of the people of DeKalb County," said Coach Trapp.

The older field house will still be used as a weight room for other sports and will serve as the locker room for visiting teams on game nights.

WJLE's Fearless Forecasters Return Next Thursday

August 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
John Pryor, Jeff James, Joe Goodwin
Ricky Atnip, Scott Brown, Darvin Gill
Joe Goodwin, Darrell Gill, Chad Kirby

WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" are returning for another season of college pigskin prognosticating Thursday afternoon's at 4:30 p.m. beginning August 29.

This season's regulars are Scott Brown, Chad Kirby, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, John Pryor, Joe Goodwin, Darvin Gill, and Darrell Gill. A different special guest will make an appearance each week. Joey Reeder will be our guest on the first show.

The "Fearless Forecasters" pick who they believe will win in fifteen of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the week.

They also make an underdog selection each week, picking a team they think will win, even though that team is not favored to win.

The program is sponsored by Liberty State Bank, DTC Communications, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, Pizza Hut, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company.

Catch the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE Thursday's at 4:30 p.m. starting August 29.


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