Local News Articles

DTC Names Craig Gates Chief Executive Officer

September 19, 2011
Craig Gates

The DTC Board of Directors introduced their new Chief Executive Officer, Craig Gates, at their Annual Meeting held on Saturday, September 17th. Gates is a 27-year veteran of the telecommunications industry.

Gates started his career in 1984 and served most recently as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Project Mutual; a cooperative located in Rupert, Idaho.

“Craig distinguished himself with his industry experience and expertise. We are fortunate to have him join us, and welcome him and his family to Tennessee,” said Dwight Vinson, President of DTC.

Gates holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his wife, Suzette, will be relocating to the area. They have three grown children.

"I’m proud to be at DTC. I look forward to working in the community and ensuring that DTC maintains its commitment to our members,” Gates said. “With the technological and economic challenges that face our industry today, DTC must present itself to be the premier service provider for our members.”

In a telephone interview with WJLE Monday, Gates said his grandfather was from Smithville so he knows the area well " I was born in Ohio. My grandfather was actually from Smithville. He was born in Smithville. His name is Howard Snow. During the depression he left the area and met my grandmother. He worked all over the country. My first time here was in 1976. I was at the Fiddlers Jamboree. I really enjoyed it. He came back here for a short while after he (grandfather) retired so I got to spend some time down here. I went to some of our family reunions and really liked the area. I've been all over the country as an employee. I've worked for the former GTE and Verizon. Of late I was at the Project Mutual Telephone up in Idaho. When this opportunity came up I thought it would be a great chance for me to get back here to the great folks of this area," said Gates.

"DTC has some great opportunities. This valley has always taken care of its own. I think the heritage that DTC has with its members is great. I think that we need to continue that heritage. I believe that the technology we offer at DTC can help this community economically as well as bring everybody broadband who would like it. DTC has done a great job of ensuring that everybody gets what they need and we need to continue that. We also need to make sure that we try to help bring economic development into the valley. I guarantee you that I will try my darnedest to make sure that happens whenever we can.," said Gates.

"From the company's standpoint, I think we're on the right track. We've become highly competitive. The industry has become highly competitive. You can get the Internet several ways now. I'm sure DTC was one of the first to bring Internet to this valley. Now we've got everybody trying to bring it in. We've got conglomerates that compete against us which makes it hard because they have a lot of money behind them but we're hoping that we can continue to offer the best service, not just service, to our members and allow our members to realize that. We will always try to be the most economical but if we can't I hope that they (members) remember that unlike some of the conglomerate companies, we're actually feeding your neighbors and are highly involved in the community. We hope to continue that support," he said.

"I am very glad to be here. I think it's a great community. I can see why my grandfather loved the area so much and the people have been so warm and nice. Its been very good. I can't wait to get settled.," added Gates.

The National Telephone Cooperative Association worked with DTC in conducting the search, in which local, regional, and national candidates were considered.

Woodbury Man Charged with Three Local Thefts

September 19, 2011
Dwayne Page
Perry Alton Stembridge
Nena Renea Chapman
Jamaal Ahmad League
Joshua Edward Hammonds
Kevin D. Young

A 50 year old Woodbury man is in trouble with the law for allegedly stealing property from three different locations and selling most of those items at a local scrap yard.

Perry Alton Stembridge of Good Ridge Road, Woodbury is charged with one count of theft of property under $500 and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. He was also issued a citation for driving on a suspended license. He was arrested on September 14. His bond totals $30,000 and he will be in court October 13.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Monday, August 29 Perry allegedly entered property on Luna Mill Road and took a three point hitch plow, four circular saw blades, a metal stove, winch parts for a dozier, and parts from a 535 John Deere baler, all valued at $1,200.

Two days later on Wednesday August 31 Stembridge allegedly went to a barn on Indian Creek Road and took one thousand square feet of metal roofing, two chest freezers, and two wood burning stoves, valued at $4,110.

Almost two weeks later on Tuesday, September 13 Stembridge allegedly went to a location on Antioch Road and took a fireplace insert and a hot water heater, valued at $150.

Stembridge allegedly sold most of those stolen items to a local scrap yard.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Nena Renea Chapman of Church Street, Liberty is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $500. Her bond is $7,500 and she will be in court on October 13.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Tuesday, September 13, Chapman allegedly entered a residence on Church Street in Liberty and took an xbox console, three xbox 360 game controllers, and eight xbox games, valued at $570.

24 year old Jamaal Ahmad League of Smith Road, is charged with burglary. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court September 29.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, September 14 League allegedly entered a vehicle on North Congress Boulevard without the owner's consent with the intent to commit a felony. He allegedly removed cigarette butts inside the vehicle. Upon his arrest, League had five cigarette butts of the same brand as those from the vehicle in his pocket.

19 year old Joshua Edward Hammonds has been charged with a first offense of driving under the influence and issued citations for underage drinking and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court September 29.

According to Sheriff Ray, on Wednesday September 14 a deputy was called to a club on Sparta Highway, where someone had reportedly become violent. Before the deputy arrived, the man left the club in a blue Chevy truck. While enroute, the officer spotted the truck and saw it go off in a ditch, almost hitting a mailbox. The deputy stopped the truck and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Hammonds, the driver, submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Hammonds was very unsteady on his feet. He also allegedly admitted to drinking liquor and smoking "fake weed".

47 year old Kevin D. Young of Alex Lane, Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for violation of the light law, failure to maintain his lane of travel, and violation of the implied consent law. His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court on October 13.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, September 18 a deputy saw a vehicle with a headlight out on Highway 70. Upon turning around to follow, the deputy saw the automobile swerve from lane to lane and then make a sharp turn back into his lane. After stopping the vehicle, the officer had the driver, Young, get out of the automobile. Young was very unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Young performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Young allegedly admitted to drinking four or five beers. He also had a flask on him containing whiskey.

The Fighting Tiger Band is Golden

September 19, 2011
by DC Band Boosters
DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band Wins

For the third straight year, the DeKalb Co Fighting Tiger Band won first place at the Hendersonville Golden Invitational Marching Band Contest. Additionally, the band also picked up first place trophies in the areas of Best Color Guard, Best Percussion, and Best Horn Line in their class.

Hendersonville Golden Invitational was the first of four contests this season. The students have been working hard to prepare to take on other bands around the state in addition to their normal duties as “students” and as “band members.” Band Director Jonathan Wright said, “we had a great rehearsal on Thursday. We then represented and supported our football team very well at the game on Friday.”

It was around 11:30 Friday night when the band returned to the High School from the football game in Smith County, only to have to return at 8:00am for a mini-rehearsal on Saturday morning before boarding their bus to Hendersonville. “Our band is very young this year. We only have four seniors,” Mr. Wright pointed out, “but they are very hard workers.”

The DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band invites you to attend their three remaining contests this season. They will be competing in the Blue Devil Marching Band Invitational located in Lebanon on October 1st. Then, on October 8th, they will travel to Chapel Hill to compete in the Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship. For their final competition of the season on October 29th, they will be in Alcoa for the Alcoa Marching Band Competition.

The band also invites you to come to DeKalb County’s home football games to show your support to our Tigers and to watch the band in action during the halftime show. Home games are scheduled on October 14 against Upperman, and on October 28 against Livingston Academy. Both games will begin at 7PM.

For more information, find the band on Facebook or check out their website at www.DekalbBand.com.

Three Incumbent DTC Directors Re-Elected

September 18, 2011
Dwayne Page
Terry McPeak, Charles Dwight Vinson, Greg Rogers

Three members of the DTC Communications Board of Directors were re-elected Saturday during the annual meeting in Alexandria.

Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton, Terry McPeak of Norene, and Greg Rogers of Woodbury ran unopposed.

Vinson received 159 votes, McPeak 152, and 151 for Rogers. A total of 175 members voted in the election. Each term is for three years.

Members of the Board of Directors, in addition to Vinson, McPeak, and Rogers are Roy N. Pugh of Auburntown, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, James H. Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville, Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, and David Parker of Woodland.

Three DCHS Golfers Earn Trip to State Tournament

September 17, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan, Coach Joe Pat Cope, Ethan Roller, Callie Mitchell

Three DeKalb County High School golfers earned a trip to the state tournament later this month after a regional tournament appearance Friday in Cookeville

Ethan Roller shot an even par 70, fourth best in the tournament in the boys competition.

Meanwhile for the girls, Mallory Sullivan shot a 76, second best score in the tournament. She will be making her second consecutive appearance in the state tournament.

Callie Mitchell earned her first trip to the state with a score of 79 in the region tournament.

As a team, the DCHS boys shot a 312 for the day. Notre Dame won the tournament with a score of 288

On the girls side, the DCHS team lost by three stokes to Signal Mountain, the defending state champion.

The state tournament will be held September 26 through 28 at Willow Brook Golf Course in Coffee County

DeKalb Farmers Coop to Become Branch of Rutherford Farmers Coop

September 16, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gilbert Martin, Mack Wilhite, and John Henderson

DeKalb Farmers Coop will be under new management soon.

Effective October 1, the coop will become a branch of Rutherford Farmers Coop.

The local board of directors of DeKalb Farmers Coop recently voted to enter into a five year lease agreement with Rutherford to run the day to day operations of the business. The local coop will retain ownership and receive lease payments from Rutherford. The local board will continue to exist and manage the property and assets.

Representatives of the co-op made the announcement Thursday night during a public meeting held at the Whorton Springs Baptist Church annex building

Gilbert Martin, who has been the local manager for several years, will be taking on another position with the coop, but many of the store employees are expected to remain.

Martin told WJLE that while demand remains strong for products and services offered by the co-op, agriculture practices in this area have changed drastically in recent years. He said the decision by the board to enter into this lease with Rutherford will strengthen the local operation financially and expand services for the people of this community. "We're doing this to basically preserve our coop in DeKalb County where farmers can get their supplies at a reliable place. If we had not done this, we really felt that we would be chewing into our equity and eventually wouldn't be a viable entity anymore. That is the driving force behind this. But there is still over three million dollars worth of demand for the products that we sell," said Martin.

DeKalb Farmers Coop has a membership of approximately 800 members who elect a board of directors to oversee the operation, according to Martin. "We have an annual meeting every year, just like the telephone coop, and we elect directors to the board. Those directors give direction on the policy and overall management of the coop. DeKalb Farmers Coop will still exist. DeKalb Farmers Coop will own the building and the property that the coop sets on. We'll receive lease payments from Rutherford and Rutherford will run the operation of the store. The local board will still exist and it will manage the assets that the coop has, "said Martin.

John Henderson, General Manager of the Rutherford Farmers Coop, said his operation maintains two coop locations in Rutherford County and one in Cannon County. "We're in Woodbury and Eagleville. Of course our Murfreesboro store is our main store. Actually in Murfreesboro, we're located on both sides of the street. We have a farm and home location. We've got a tire shop. We've got a farm equipment location and we have what we call our pro-ag division which is mainly services for the professional farmer," said Henderson

While this lease arrangement is a new venture for Rutherford Farmers Coop, Henderson said it is a concept that has already been tried elsewhere. "Its definitely not the first. I know of two or three other coops that have had ventures like this. It is something we're all looking at with today's economic climate. As tough as it is, we're all looking at ways to be more efficient," said Henderson

According to Henderson this arrangement is expected to be a win-win for both Rutherford and DeKalb Farmers Coop, offering an opportunity to expand services and increase sales. "Its clearly an opportunity for us to increase our sales. Its an opportunity for us to spread out our overhead. We have a certain amount of fixed costs with this instant growth in business. We can spread our overhead costs to another location and it should help us be a little more efficient. That's one of the advantages of a larger coop. With our balance sheet and what we can do with our operating money, we have access to more funds to be able to do that. One of the most asked questions is are we going to handle diesel in Smithville? We are. We're going to put in a farm diesel tank. We hope to have that in before the end of the year. We plan to put some more farm equipment up here. We offer custom application spraying. We have a farm tire service truck., we'll do farm delivery fuel, grain handling and grain hauling services. This lease takes effect October 1, which falls on a Saturday. It looks like we'll be closed October 1. We'll re-open on Monday, October 3. We'll be open six days a week , Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until twelve noon. We'll have a soft opening and get some more inventory in here but somewhere down the road, hopefully before Christmas we're planning on having a customer appreciation grand opening. We're going to put on a pretty big shindig and hope everybody will come out and see us," said Henderson.

Henderson said coop members will continue to benefit and the role of the local board will remain important to the operation."As far as membership, if you're a farmer and trading with your coop and its profitable, then those profits will come back to the customer. In the last few years its been tough to pay back what we call patronage but I think this is one step closer to making us more efficient and more profitable so hopefully we can pay back some of our profits. The local board will strictly manage the property and the dividends they receive back from Tennessee Farmers and the lease with us so the DeKalb board will still have its place," said Henderson.

Mack Wilhite, the new manager of the coop, said he is looking forward to serving the people of DeKalb and surrounding counties. ‘I've had a lot of experience with the coop. I've worked at White County, Woodbury, and Warren County so this will be the fourth coop that I've worked at. I started with the coop in 1984 so I've been around coops quite a bit. Everyone that is employed here now had the opportunity to stay. We had a couple of employees who decided they wanted to look at other opportunities. Of course we've left the door open for them but basically its going to be the same group of employees," said Wilhite.

Henderson added that "Gilbert (Martin) is going to work in outside sales for us. We're going to get him a pickup truck and he's going to ride the roads, beat the bushes and try to sell something for us and service our customers."

DeKalb Farmers Coop has been in operation for 50 years, since 1961.

County Firefighters Save Mobile Home

September 16, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called out Sunday morning to the residence of Edward Rollins at 1504 Old Highway 53 near Liberty.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:01 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green reports that as firefighters arrived they could see smoke coming out around the eaves of the home, a single wide trailer. Neighbors believed a disabled individual might be inside, but firefighters checked and found no one there.

Chief Green said the fire apparently started in the utility room, possibly from some sort of electrical problem. The blaze was contained to that room although heat and smoke spread throughout the residence.

Members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, and Tanker of the county fire department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. No one was injured.

6th Annual History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park

September 15, 2011
Terry Martin, Liberty resident, portraying his ancestor, Squire Martin,  JOP
Jim Westerfield of Murfreesboro as James Edgar Evins

Reservations are now being taken for the Sixth History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park, which will be held on Saturday, October 8 starting at 2 p.m. Admission is still only $10 per person, including light refreshments, for this wholesome family friendly annual event. Participants are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled wagon departure time for registration and other pre-loading activities.

The History Hayride sells out early every year so take time to make your reservations now by calling the park office at (931) 858-2114 or toll free at 1-800-250-8619. Cash or checks are due at the event, with a $20 non-refundable advance deposit required for groups of four or more.

There will be nine wagon loads running about 30 minutes apart, stopping at nine sites where costumed re-enactors will portray characters and scenes representative of the history of the park and the area. Honoring this year’s 150 year observance of the start of the War Between the States there will be some new characters from that time period as well as some of the old favorites. The wagon trip will last approximately 90 minutes, departing from and returning to the Visitors Center where there will be cozy seating around the campfire and refreshments served inside.

The History Hayride is presented by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, along with park and other TN State employees. Fount Bertram, President of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Parks, suggests people dress warmly in layers and bring a blanket for the hayride as it tends to get chillier on the wagons with winds coming off the lake. For more information visit the Friends website at http://foeesp.ne1.net

In addition, The Galley Restaurant at the marina will offer a special for patrons of the Hayride who wish to dine during their visit to the park.

Donnie Kelly Assumes Pastorate at First Assembly

September 14, 2011
Donnie and Kathy Kelly

Donnie and Kathy Kelly have returned to Smithville to renew their ministry here at the beautiful new Assembly of God church at 1648 Cookeville Highway.

They are pleased that their daughter Kassy and her husband Iain will head up the Youth Ministries of the church. Their daughters Valeisha and Kassy, and Josh Melton have joined the Praise Team under the direction of Andrea Caskey the present Music Minister. Josh will be involved with drama and special programs and will be assisting with the youth as well.

Donnie Kelly has been pastoring since 1968. He served at Smithville Church of God for sixteen years and was very involved in the community here. The family is looking forward to renewing old friendships and beginning new outreaches in the community as soon as possible.

The Kelly family is devoted to their ministry. They have been known and appreciated for the wonderful musicals and dramas presented to the community over many years.

Sunday September 11 was their first day back in town. Over 180 people attended their first service. They would like to invite you out to greet them when you can. Services are Sunday at 10:55 and 6:00 with Sunday school at 10:00. Pastor Kelly will begin a series of studies on Wednesday nights at 7:00 entitled “Shadows of the Messiah”.

Smithville Police Charge Five in Meth Lab Discovery

September 13, 2011
Dwayne Page
David Anderson
Travis Dwayne Rich
Tammy Lynette Jones
Amy Pedigo Ford
Jessica Renee Bogle

The Smithville Police Department has charged five people with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine after finding a meth lab in what was supposed to be a vacant apartment at South Fork Apartments on Wednesday, September 7th.

44 year old Tammy Lynette Jones, 23 year old Travis Dwayne Rich, 42 year old David Anderson, 32 year old Amy Pedigo Ford, and 25 year old Jessica Renee Bogle will all appear in court on their charges on October 6th. Each is under a $60,000 bond.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that on September 7th police were contacted by the manager of South Fork Apartments who reported that he believed someone was trespassing, occupying what was supposed to be a vacant apartment in the complex.

An officer arrived and knocked on the apartment door. Anderson answered the door and told the officer that he was moving some items from the apartment. While talking with Anderson, the officer spotted smoke coming from the back of the apartment. After receiving consent from the manager, the officer entered the apartment and saw Rich and Jones sitting on a couch in the bedroom. He also heard two people talking in the bathroom. As the officer knocked on the bathroom door the two people inside, later identified as Ford and Bogle, climbed out the window and fled. Ford and Bogle were arrested the next day during a traffic stop by a deputy from the Sheriff's Department Found inside the bathroom were components used to manufacture meth including Coleman fuel, coffee filters with lithium, tubing, cold packs, bottles, aluminum foil, and needles.

Chief Caplinger said a Meth Response Team was notified and came to the scene to test for meth and to do the cleanup.

Meanwhile, 40 year old Vickie Alvis and 28 year old David Hill are each charged with felony theft and burglary after allegedly breaking into a local business late Friday night, September 9 and stealing a 50 inch flat screen television. Bond for each is $10,000 and they will appear in court on September 22.

Chief Caplinger reports that an officer was called to City Walk Apartments late Friday night. Residents there reported that two people, later identified as Alvis and Hill, had shown up wanting to sell someone a big screen TV. No one took them up on the offer. Residents said when they told Alvis and Hill that they were going to call the police fearing the TV was stolen, they (Alvis and Hill) took off, leaving the TV behind in the parking lot. After identifying Alvis as a suspect in the case, police went to her home and made the arrest. She allegedly admitted to committing the theft. Hill was arrested later at another location.

30 year old Jared Scott Atnip is charged with public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession. He is under a $4,500 bond and will be in court on September 29

Chief Caplinger reports that an officer was recently called to Walmart to check out a suspicious person. There, the officer made contact with Atnip who was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. He was found to have on him drug paraphernalia, including a syringe, straw, and shoestring along with two pills believed to be dilaudid.

18 year old Cody William Christian was cited for shoplifting at Walmart on Sunday, September 11. He will be in court on October 13

Matt Dillon Williams was cited for theft for allegedly shoplifting at Walmart on Saturday, September 10.

28 year old Ashley Ferrell was recently cited for theft after a shoplifting incident at Walmart, where he allegedly took $110 worth of merchandise from the store.

27 year old Steven Bly was cited for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance on Friday, September 9. He will be in court September 22.

Chief Caplinger reports that an officer was dispatched to Walmart to check out a complaint of possible drug trafficking in the parking lot. The officer obtained consent to search and found on Bly a bag containing a bottle with six blue pills believed to be Valium. There was no label on the bottle and Bly could not produce a prescription.

25 year old Ricky W. Hendrixson is charged with public intoxication. He is under a $1,000 bond and will appear in court on September 29.

According to Chief Caplinger, police were called to check out a complaint at City Walk Apartments on Sunday, September 4 where a man in the parking lot was threatening people with a knife. By the time the officer arrived the suspect, later identified as Hendrixson, had left. While on patrol, the officer later saw a man sitting at the Farmers Market location and stopped to talk with him. The man, Hendrixson, said he had been beaten up. That someone had jumped on and hit him. Hendrixson claimed he had been carrying a knife but had lost it. He admitted that he had been drinking. Hendrixson refused to be taken to the hospital for treatment. He was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. The officer placed him under arrest.

21 year old Frankie Sanchez was charged with public intoxication on Thursday, September 8. He is under a $1,500 bond and will be in court on October 6. Chief Caplinger said that police were called to check out a domestic complaint and found Sanchez, who was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech.

20 year old Carlos Perez is charged with underage drinking while impaired. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on October 13. He was also cited for no driver license, violation of the open container law, failure to maintain proper lane of travel, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).

Chief Caplinger said that an officer on patrol spotted a vehicle in the middle of the street on North Mountain. The officer stopped the automobile as it turned onto Webb Street. As he approached the vehicle, the officer could smell the odor of alcohol. The driver, Perez, had slurred speech. He admitted that he had been drinking. Both full and empty beer cans were found in the vehicle. Perez submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood test. Perez had no drivers license nor any proof of insurance.

41 year old Clayton Bradley Lance is charged with simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, a second offense of driving under the influence, and habitual offender. He is under a $10,000 bond.

Chief Caplinger reports that on Thursday, September 1 an officer pulled into the parking lot of Mapco Express and noticed a pickup truck at the gas pumps with no license plate. As the vehicle pulled away, the officer stopped it in the parking lot. The driver, Lance, was ordered to get out of the truck. He was unsteady on his feet. Police also found an open beer container in the truck along with a small bottle of tequila. Lance submitted to but failed a Breathalyzer test for alcohol and he performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Police found on Lance three white pills believed to be hydrocodone for which he had no prescription. A computer check also revealed him to be an habitual offender.


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