Local News Articles

City May Consider Sunday Beer Sales and On Premises Permits for Restaurants

December 4, 2012
Dwayne Page
Danny Washer

The City of Smithville does not allow stores with off premises permits to sell packaged beer on Sundays and the city prohibits on-premises permits, which keeps restaurants from being licensed to serve beer with meals in their establishments.

At least one alderman wants that changed.

In an interview with WJLE Tuesday, Alderman Danny Washer said he plans to seek a change in the city's current beer ordinance. "Nobody is pushing me to do it. It's something I've been looking into for a while and I'd even thought about it before I got elected," said Alderman Washer.

The city's existing beer ordinance states that "It shall be unlawful for any beer permit holder to make or allow any sale of beer between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. during any night of the week, at any time on Sunday, and at any time on Christmas Day".

Alderman Washer said he understands those who may oppose a change in the beer ordinance based on a religious point of view, but public convenience and the economic impact is something to consider as well. "We're losing a lot of income on Sunday. People who want to buy beer and go to the lake, to watch a ball game or what have you, they have to go to other counties to buy it (on Sunday). We're one of the few that don't sell it on Sunday. That money could stay here and benefit us," said Alderman Washer.

According to the 2012-13 budget, actual Wholesale Alcoholic Beverage Taxes collected by the city for the year ending June 30, 2011 came to $190,697. Alderman Washer said additional tax revenue generated by on-premises and Sunday beer sales would help keep city property tax rates down."We've got one of the lowest tax rates anywhere and we'd like to keep it that way. But everything (costs) goes up and to afford everything we're going to need for the City of Smithville we're going to need some new income otherwise the only way we're going to keep going like we are is to raise taxes sooner or later. This will help that. We also have a lot of people on fixed incomes that can't afford for their taxes to be raised. I think the opportunity is there to bring in more funds for Smithville that we're not getting," said Alderman Washer.

Earlier this year, city voters rejected proposals in public referendums to permit liquor sales by eligible businesses and restaurants. But unlike those issues, changing the beer ordinance to allow Sunday sales and on premises permits for restaurants does not require a public referendum. The ordinance can be amended on a majority vote of the Board of Aldermen, on a first reading, public hearing, and then a second reading.

City officials plan to consult with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) for advice on how any proposed change in the beer ordinance should be handled.

This is not the first time an effort has been made to change the restrictions regarding Sunday beer sales, according to Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson. "Back in January, 2008 the Smithville Beer Board voted to recommend Sunday and Christmas Day beer sales to the city council. The aldermen at that time chose not to act on their recommendation. The estimated figure from the state at that time would have been an additional $50,000 in yearly tax revenue. That comes to $250,000 that the city could have collected since the Beer Board's recommendation to the council at that time through 2012," said Hendrixson. "Adding on-premise permits would likely increase that tax revenue depending on how many permit holders there are. Currently, restaurants with an on-premises permit can serve beer that is located outside of the city limits in DeKalb County. Alexandria is the only city in DeKalb that allows Sunday beer sales off-premise (packaged) at this time," according to Hendrixson. " Other surrounding cities allowing Sunday beer sales are Gordonsville, McMinnville, Baxter, Cookeville, Watertown, and Auburntown just to name a few. With locals and all the tourists that come to Center Hill lake each season the city is leaving tens of thousands of tax revenue dollars on the table each year that other surrounding cities are enjoying just by selling beer seven days a week rather than six days like Smithville does at this time. Smithville enjoys one the lowest property tax rates compared to other cities of this size and by finding other revenue sources to fund the city those property taxes will remain one of the lowest around," Hendrixson concluded.

City Seeks Cost Estimates for Adding Sewer to Unserved Areas

December 4, 2012
Dwayne Page

City officials will ask Smithville's engineering firm, the J.R. Wauford Company, to come up with estimates on what it could cost to make city sewer available to a handful of places in town that don't have access to the service.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs raised the issue at the city council meeting on November 19. "If I'm not mistaken, there are houses in the city limits that don't have sewer. And I know we also have some areas that have requested annexation. What is keeping us from running sewer to the houses that are currently in the city limits that don't have sewer?. I certainly think we should provide them sewer before we start thinking of annexing any other areas that might be requested or specified in our five year land use plan. There may be some grant money available," said Alderman Jacobs.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson said Monday night that since the last meeting city officials have done some checking and found the areas in town that don't currently have access to city sewer services. "Alderman Jacobs had a question at the last meeting on why all city residents don't have sewer service. To be honest I don't really know," said Hendrixson. " But we have several spots in town. We have a couple on Riley Avenue, Braswell Lane. We have two houses across from the high school on Highway 70. There's one on Martin Road off by the Smith Road Park. We've talked a little bit about it but I don't know that we've really come up with an answer yet. I guess we can get sewer to them," said Hendrixson

"Most of them (locations) will have to be under pressure systems," said Public Works Director Kevin Robinson."But before you do anything you'll have to get an engineer in here to draw them up just to see what the cost of it would be. That's the only thing I know to tell you," said Robinson.

"Do we have a total number of residences," asked Alderman Jacobs

"There's nine houses on Braswell Lane," according to Robinson. "There's one on Martin Drive there by Smith Road Park. There's three on Riley Avenue but they can tie on to the new Clark Lance subdivision. There's two by the high school but there you would probably have to (go through or under) the state highway which don't come easy," said Robinson.

Hendrixson and Robinson mentioned that the last major city sewer installation project was on Pack Circle at Allen's Ferry and Holmes Creek almost twenty years ago. "I think there were sixteen lots serviced in 1993," added Robinson. " Its on a pumping system. It actually runs across the golf course and ties down on Riley Avenue," he said.

"They (each house) have individual pumps," said Hendrixson. "Once you put them in the city has to maintain them. I think at the time that cost around $100,000 almost twenty years ago," he added.

"I just wonder if this is something we might consider for next year's budget to have our engineers take a look at it and just give us an idea of what it might cost to do that," said Alderman Jacobs. " I do think we ought to try to extend all the basic services of the city to all the residents if we can. We've got a very solvent water and sewer fund at the moment," he said.

"We can ask the J.R. Wauford company to do a study," said Hendrixson. " I'd say by the next couple of months we could have a rough estimate on what it would cost. Hopefully we could put in for some grants," he said.

"I would like to see us do that just for our own information and so we can plan for the future," said Alderman Jacobs.

Joe Black Seeks United Effort in Addressing Problem of Stray and Abused Animals

December 4, 2012
Dwayne Page
Renee Stufano Speaking with City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.

The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit group, is trying to establish a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

Renee Stufano and Martha Conger, members of the Joe Black Effort, addressed the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night, offering to help address the issue of stray, neglected, and abused animals in DeKalb County.

M2U00917 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Stufano said the Joe Black Effort is willing to volunteer at the dog pound to help take care of the animals and they want a waiver drawn up that seeks to hold harmless the city and county from liability. "The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit organization, formed to help the animals in DeKalb County," said Stufano. "We have a few different things we would like to see accomplished. The first thing we have seen is that there is an issue in the county about stray, neglected, and abused animals. All of us can agree that there is a problem. We wish to offer a temporary solution. We've already spoken with the county (commission). We are not asking for an answer today. But because it is a county wide issue and a lot of us are from the county, we would like to offer to volunteer at the pound to help take care of the animals. Clean up after them. The ones that need medical attention, take them out and get their medical attention. Get them fostered and adopted. The third thing we'd like to accomplish is to create a county wide coalition that has members of every city, not just Smithville, and members from the county commission to oversee the needs of the animals in DeKalb County. The Joe Black Effort is a non for profit rescue. We rehabilitate, take care of animals, and re- home them. We have one leaving for New York on December 12. We had one picked up today. There is a very good network for us to place animals. I think we can do a little bit better with the pound that we have now and I think our final destination will be a real rescue for the whole county. I'd like for you to think about perhaps letting some volunteers come and help. We're happy to sign waivers or disclosures so that we wouldn't hold the city or county responsible. We're offering to come in for free. It doesn't get any better than that," said Stufano.

Martha Conger also stressed the need for a waiver to allow the volunteers to begin helping. "What we need at this time is permission to volunteer," said Conger. "We need to get a waiver drawn up so that the city or county is not liable. I know there is a question about insurance and whether or not your (city) insurance will cover it. But we would like to see that happen. In addition to that we are forming a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Basically that is a cooperative effort of both private and public sectors for the purpose of jointly implementing humane strategies for helping the abused and neglected animals of DeKalb County. What we hope to do is work with city officials and county officials. We may be talking to you individually about sitting on that coalition," added Conger.

City attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. told Conger that the city and county would have to work together in resolving the liability issue. "There's a double problem. The county owns the building and the city is running it," said Parsley. " I've talked to the county attorney (Hilton Conger) and we've got to work out a resolution as to if somebody falls in the building or somebody gets bit so we're working on that but we haven't been able to get our heads together to finalize it," he said.

EOC Testing Underway at DCHS

December 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps

End of Course testing began Monday at DeKalb County High School.

According to Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, this test will count 25% of each student's final grade in each course. "I would like to encourage each student to get a good night's rest and be on time each day for the testing. These tests are important for the students because it's a part of their grade but also it counts into our final school system's report card, which is averaged with the spring EOC assessment scores. Its really important for everyone," said Cripps .

Directly after our EOC testing, the high school will be reviewing for their final exams, which will be taken right before winter break," said Cripps. These exams also count 25% of the student's final grade for that particular course," she said.

In December we will have our two week break. This our second one (break). We'll have an abbreviated school day on December 19. Students will return to school on January 3. However, our teachers will return on January 2 for a stock pile day which will be a work day for them," said Cripps.

"We'd like to thank our teachers for the hard work they put in everyday to ensure the best quality education for DeKalb County students," said Cripps

Meanwhile, to support students and teachers' readiness for our new PARCC assessment and to reflect the shifts in the new common core state standards for English-Language Arts, Cripps said the Tennessee Department of Education has made significant format changes to the TCAP Writing for the 2012-13 school year. That is in February.

"The Writing Assessment, which will continue to be given to fifth grade, which would be a narrative; in eighth grade, an explanatory; and in eleventh grade, an argumentative. Those will now be tested not just on one particular day, but they will have a week window of opportunity to do that. The two key changes that we have for that is a format change, which means the assessment will be text based, which means the students will be required to read a passage and then cite evidence from that text in their response. That's a lot different from just brain storming on a topic and writing what they feel or their position on something or a story," she said.

"To build readiness for PARCC on-line we will be testing eighth grade and eleventh grade's assessment for writing on-line," said Cripps. "The test will be expanded to sixty minutes to allow them time to read the text and to write to that source. The teachers and students have been participating in practice prompts to prepare for these changes. These changes help us with our common core standards and the new assessment that we will have in 2014-15," she said.

"We are also gearing up for our second constructive response test in February. That is in a series of three for all students in grades 3-8 math. This test has four questions. You may think that's not a lot for math. But these questions are very rigorous and they require the students to think through the problem with multiple steps and to follow the directions to the t," said Cripps

"The common core state standards in math present an opportunity to engage the Tennessee students really deeply in the problem solving and the mathematical thinking that build the fundamental adaptive math skills necessary for life after high school. Of course, we're thinking college and career ready when they leave our high school," she said.

"Finally, in March at the high school, our eleventh graders will take the ACT which shows the students how prepared they are for college. We've been doing a series of tests for these students during their educational journey. In eighth grade we took the explore tests, which is through the ACT and in tenth grade they take the plan test. In eleventh grade, all eleventh graders must now take the ACT," said Cripps.

"I'd like to encourage every student in eleventh grade, not to wait until March to start preparing and reviewing. I'd like to encourage you to start doing that now. Think back on your specific subject areas and start a review. Of course the high school will do some reviewing before the ACT but there are some things on line that you can do and I would encourage you to do that. Each student should start reviewing now. That will help you a lot to do well on that test," she said.

"Tennessee has been a state on the cutting edge of rigorous changes in education for the last few years. It's a challenge for our staff and our students to adapt to all these changes. But together we have continued to achieve and meet the challenges that come our way every day. We feel very blessed to work in DeKalb County. I would like to take this opportunity to say that we hope everyone has a restful break during winter break. We hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," Cripps concluded.

Woman Allegedly Caught Trying to Smuggle Drugs Into the Jail

December 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Lisa Lue Summers
Zackery Adam Shinabery
Daniel Ray Wilson
Ross Matthew Peterson
Lisa Michelle Porterfield
William A. Johnson
Jeffery Lynn Sanders

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department recently caught a woman allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the jail.

39 year old Lisa Lue Summers of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. She was also issued three citations for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and one citation for simple possession of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on December 13

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, December 1 during a visit to the jail, Summers allegedly taped a plastic bag under a seat in the visitation area containing seven and a half Valium pills, half of an oxycodone pill, and five hydrocodone pills. Summers then left the jail. Later when she was picked up to be brought to the jail for booking, an officer found in her possession unmarked pill bottles containing seven round yellow pills believed to be Valium, one and a half white bar pills believed to be Xanax, one and a half blue and white oval pills believed to be Phentermine, and four oval pills thought to be Hydrocodone.

27 year old Zackery Adam Shinabery of Morrison is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court January 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, November 20, a deputy, while on routine patrol, spotted a silver Dodge Magnum on Highway 70 east. The driver left his lane of travel numerous times. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver, Shinabery. He had slurred speech. Shinabery submitted to a blood test. He also submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

28 year old Daniel Ray Wilson of Yolanda Hill Road, Smithville is charged with escape. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 5, Wilson, in jail for burglary, was taken to the DeKalb County Health Department for a drug court physical, after being given a furlough by Judge Bratten Cook, II for this purpose. Wilson was in the custody of John Quintero, an officer of the drug court. While at the health department, Wilson walked away, escaping the custody of the officer. The area was searched but Wilson could not be located. He was found and arrested on Thanksgiving Day.

23 year old Ross Matthew Peterson of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on December 13. Sheriff Ray said that on September 25, Peterson allegedly stole and forged fifty five checks belonging to a family member and cashed the checks, totaling $1,800. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

35 year old Lisa Michelle Porterfield of Tami Kay Road, Dowelltown is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Her bond is $10,000. Sheriff Ray said that on October 9 Porterfield allegedly broke into a residence on Campbell Road by kicking in the front door. She allegedly stole from the home a Honda transmission, a battery, push mower, tire and rim, in-door heaters, 13 inch television, a microwave, and several other items with a total value of more than $1,000. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

38 year old James Adam Fulton of Foster Road, Smithville was cited on Wednesday, November 28 for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (suboxone) and driving an unregistered vehicle. He will be in court on December 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, November 18 Fulton was stopped by an officer for driving a vehicle without tags. After giving the officer consent to search, a suboxone strip was found on Fulton.

50 year old William A. Johnson of Luna Road, Sparta is charged with theft of property over $10,000. His bond is $15,000 and he will be in court on December 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, November 29 at the Handlebar II Bar and Grill on Highway 70 east, Johnson allegedly took a sixteen foot Tandem trailer with a 2011 Polaris Ranger 800 and a 2008 Honda Recon 700 four wheeler with a total value of $23,800. All the stolen items have been recovered. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

39 year Jeffery Lynn Sanders of Lincoln Street, Smithville is charged with Vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on December 13. He was arrested on Saturday, December 1. Sheriff Ray said that on November 13 Sanders was released from jail but was to return the bedding assigned to him by the sheriff's department upon his release or to pay for the bedding within fourteen days. Sanders returned everything except a $30 blanket. As a result, he was charged with vandalism.

Sheriff Ray said this is part of a new policy in which inmates are issued bedding and other items upon their incarceration including mats, towels, wash cloths, blankets, etc. Upon release from jail, the inmate is to return the items assigned to him. Other than normal wear, if any item is damaged, the prisoner can be assessed a cost to replace the item or be charged with vandalism. "We bought all new mats, blankets, wash cloths, and towels for every inmate up here. We issue it to them and they sign off on a piece of paper. When they make bond or once their sentence is up they turn in the items issued to them. We go through those things and other than average wear, if the items have holes in them, if they (inmates) have cut up the blankets to make curtains on their beds then we charge them for it. We charge them the price that it cost us. They have fourteen days to come in and pay for it. If they do not pay for it in fourteen days then we charge them with vandalism and take them to the courthouse and let a judge impose the sentence. We have served quite a few warrants in the last few days for this," said Sheriff Ray.

Holiday Excitement Shared at Liberty Christmas Parade

December 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Huff N Puff Trucking Wins First Place Float at Liberty Parade
Eli Johnson and Lane Hale Win First Place in Miscellaneous Category
Staff of Liberty State Bank, Sponsor of the Liberty Christmas Parade

Liberty State Bank sponsored the annual Liberty Christmas Parade Sunday and all those there shared in the fun and excitement. Some won cash and other prizes.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver was the Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, and Santa Claus among many other attractions.


M2U00916 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Huff N' Puff Trucking won the float competition and DeKalb Community Bank took second place.

Ken Boring won the Vintage automobile category and Doyle and Gail Slager received second place.

Brandon Powell won first place and Greg Carson received second for tractors..

Among the miscellaneous entries, Eli Johnson and Lane Hale won first place and Bailey Redmon and Zane Griffith received second place.

Smithville Parade Spreads Christmas Cheer

December 1, 2012
Dwayne Page
New West Point Free Will Baptist Church Float Wins First Place
Girl Scout Troops 750 and #343 Float Wins Second Place
DeKalb Community Bank Floats Wins Third Place and Spirit Award

The Smithville Christmas Parade helped put folks in a festive mood Saturday.


Hundreds gathered along the parade route, which extended from Smithville Elementary School, down South Congress Boulevard, and around the public square. The weather was sunny and pleasant.


M2U00911 from dwayne page on Vimeo.


M2U00912 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The annual parade, sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, featured decorative floats, vintage automobiles, local kings and queens, boy and girl scouts, veterans, horseback riders, horsedrawn wagons, motorcycle riders, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, local law enforcement , firefighters, DeKalb EMS, Rescue Squad, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on the new Smithville Fire Department Ladder Truck tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route. County Mayor Mike Foster and Laura Stone, named Mr. and Mrs. DeKalb County served as the Grand Marshals. State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody were also riding in the parade along with Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and his wife Joyce.

The New West Point Free Will Baptist Church won first place in the float competition. Girl Scout Troops #750, #343, Daisy Troop 1107, and Cadette Troop #830 took home second place and DeKalb Community Bank won third place and the "Spirit Award", sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

The Liberty Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 2 at 2:00 p.m.

DCHS Ninth Grade Jr. Beta Club Attends State Convention

November 30, 2012
DCHS Ninth Grade Jr. Beta Club Attends State Convention

The DeKalb County 9th grade Junior Beta Club attended the state convention at Opryland Hotel November 18-20.

Thirty nine out of 46 members participated this year. The students participated in many different area of competitions: Tower of Power, Poster, scrapbook, Banner, Science, Technology, Battle of the Books, Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography and Quiz Bowl.

This year’s Quiz Bowl team is the first team to make it to the second round at the convention by placing among the top nine statewide out of 52 teams. Members of the team were Anna Malone, Caitlin Turner, Keeley McKay, and Hailey Walker. The team made it through round one with a written test and was called back to compete in the semi-final round for an oral quiz in which the team had to ring in to answer questions. Other members of the club participating were: Jailyn Bolding, Jennifer Caplinger, Ashli Chew, Chase Bryant, Haden Cripps, Kaylene Ferguson, Rachel Gash, Tyra Graham, Caitlin Jacobs, Hannah James, Delaney Johnson, Harley Johnson, Makenzie Keaton, Hannah Lasser, Clara Knowles, Maggie Mahaffey, Joseph Moon, AJ Mooneyham, Eli Oliver, Katie Parker, Noah Parsley, Erin Perry, Austin Poss, Braxton Pugh, Alex Rhody, Kyra Slager, Kirkland Smallwood, Jorden Smoot, Hannah Walker, Carlee White, Chloe White, Samara Williams, Matt Wright and Seth Wright.

Local Man Indicted After Undercover Drug Investigation by Alexandria Police Department

November 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Gary Ray Ashford
Rhonda Murphy
Eric Wayne Tramel
Jason Kyle Shepard

An Alexandria man has been indicted by the Grand Jury on drug charges as a result of an undercover investigation by the Alexandria Police Department.

Chief Mark Collins said that on Tuesday, November 27 Alexandria Police arrested 35 year old Gary Ray Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria for Sale and Delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance in a drug free zone .

According to Chief Collins, Alexandria Police made a controlled drug purchase of Alprazolam pills from Ashford after receiving complaints about illegal activities at Ashford's residence on Goodner Lane, which is near the city park and a church daycare in a drug free zone.

The case, investigated by Chief Collins and Sergeant Chris Russell, was presented to the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, November 26. A sealed indictment was returned by the grand jury later that day. Ashford will be in court on December 10. His bond is $10,000.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested two people named in Grand Jury sealed indictments in a September burglary and theft case. One other person has also been arrested on a state warrant as a result of the investigation.

30 year old Rhonda Murphy and 27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel, both of Smithville, are co-indicted on charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Bond for each is $30,000 and they will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 10

Murphy's boyfriend, 23 year old Jason Kyle Shepard of Dowelltown is charged on a state warrant for fraudulent use of a credit card. He will be in General Sessions Court on December 13. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Murphy, Tramel, and Shepard are accused of using a credit card, taken from the home of a person on the Old Blue Springs Road that Murphy had been caring for. According to Sheriff Ray, while at the residence of the person she was caring for on September 28, Murphy left a window unlocked to allow Tramel to enter and steal some items from the residence. Tramel allegedly stole two laptop computers, valued at $2,000 along with assorted jewelry, valued at $3,000. Sheriff Ray said the three defendants participated in using the stolen credit card over a three month period to purchase an assortment of items.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166
Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net
WJLE AM FCC Public File
WJLE FM FCC Public File

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree