Local News Articles

Two People Injured in Monday Afternoon Crash

November 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jeffery Murphy injured in this car. (Photo by Officer James Cornelius)
16 year old boy injured in this truck (Photo by Officer James Cornelius)

Two people were injured in a crash Monday afternoon at the intersection of West Broad Street and Congress Boulevard.

Central dispatch received the call at 2:55 p.m.

K-9 Officer James Cornelius of the Smithville Police Department, who investigated the accident, told WJLE that a 16 year old boy, driving a 2000 Ford Ranger, was in the eastbound turning lane on Broad Street when he turned left into the path of a westbound 1998 Chevy Malibu, driven by 40 year old Jeffery Murphy of Smithville.

Both drivers were transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Murphy was later airlifted by helicopter ambulance from the hospital. He was reportedly flown to Vanderbilt hospital.

Officer Cornelius said charges could be filed in the case but the investigation has not yet been completed.

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

The Chevy Malibu was removed from the scene by Tim's Truck and Wrecker Service. The Ford Ranger was hauled away by JR. Motors.

Alexandria Rings in the Holiday Season

November 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Rings in the Holiday Season (WJLE PHOTO)
Malone's Chapel Baptist Church-First Place Float (WJLE PHOTO)
Parade Organizers Denise Barrett, Deb McCoy and Emcee Ron Paschal (WJLE PHOTO)

The Town of Alexandria rang in the holiday season Sunday with its annual Christmas Parade.


The Malone's Chapel Baptist Church won first place in the float competition with the theme "The Real Meaning of Christmas"


M2U00907 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The West Main Baptist Church of Alexandria took second place with the theme "The Greatest Gift God Ever Gave, Jesus"

DeKalb Community Bank received third place.

Dwain and Susan Young were winners of the best vintage car category for their 1956 Chevy
Danny and Wanda Cowan took second place for their 1969 Chevy Impala and Jeff Youngblood received third place for his 1962 Nova.

In the vintage truck category, Paul Johnson won first place for his 1966 Ford F100. Chris Tramel received second place for his 1968 Ford F100. Third place went to Kenny Rhody for his 1972 Chevy "Cooters" Wrecker.

Chris Hale won the tractor category with his 1952 John Deere MT. Steven Cook received second place for his 1944 Farmall H and Greg Carson took third place for his 1939 Allis Chalmers 2850.

The parade featured many other vintage cars and trucks, tractors, church floats, horseback riders and horsedrawn wagons, the DCHS band, Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Fire departments, DeKalb EMS, DeKalb Rescue Squad and other emergency services along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, veterans, State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and other entries.

Prizes donated by local businesses were given away after the parade.

Deb McCoy and Denise Barrett, organizers of the parade, wish to thank everyone for their participation and attendance and the sponsors for their support. Ron Paschal emceed the event.

Tom Tippin Finishes Among Top Eight in Junior Beta Convention Talent Competition

November 23, 2012
Dwayne Page
Tom Tippin (Photo by Hedgespeth Photography)

DeKalb West School sixth grader Tom Tippin performed late Monday in front of close to 7,000 of his peers and finished among the top eight in a talent competition at the Junior Beta Club State Convention in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

Tippin, son of Aaron and Thea Tippin, sang Michael Jackson's "Black or White" and performed as Jackson, complete with the attire and dance moves of the late famous entertainer. "I danced as Michael Jackson," said Tom Tippin. " I did pretty good. I felt like I did better than I had practiced. A lot of preparation was done because I had to learn when to do the right moves and all the words. I've done a talent show at our school but this one was very big. I finished in the top eight," he said.

"He worked so hard and we were just so proud of him," said Thea Tippin. " He was not going to quit until he had it perfect. He put hours and hours into it so we were sure proud of him. He did the song "Black or White". He sang and also did the dance moves along with the song, like the moon walk and all that stuff that Michael Jackson did. It really turned out good," she said.

"We got there on Sunday night. They give you (contestants) a number and Tom was number 40 out of I think like 58 kids," said Thea Tippin. "So you just wait until its your turn and then you go up. There's a panel of judges. You go up and do your talent and they score you. The next morning you find out if you made it into the top eight. In the next round, you perform in the Delta Ballroom for about 7,000 people so its huge. Its pretty frightening but I was really proud of him. He was a nervous wreck before he went on. But once he got on stage, that adrenalin kicked in and he performed the best that I've ever seen him do and I've seen him do it a lot of times. Me, Aaron, and Ted were there cheering him on and our school, DeKalb Middle School, and the high school were all supportive of him. It was just wonderful. I want to tell everybody thanks because he had a great little cheering section from DeKalb County," she said..

"To be in Junior Beta and to be able to go to the actual convention you have to maintain a straight "A" average and you also have to do service work, which I think is wonderful," said Thea Tippin. "You have to do some kind of community service and each hour that you do is worth a point so you must have a certain amount of points of service projects to even get to go. Tom went to Lighthouse Christian Camp and worked there at the widow's home. He cleaned up around the bushes. He also did some cleaning around the school and a lot of things like that to help people out. It was a good thing," she said.

(Photo above: Tom Tippin: Photo by Hedgespeth Photography)

DeKalb Jobless Rate Inches Up to 7.6% in October

November 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for October was 7.6%, up from the 7.4% rate in September but still well below the rate of 8.3% in October, 2011.

The local labor force for October was 9,710. A total of 8,980 were employed and 740 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for October was fourth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett County: 11.2%
White County: 11%
Van Buren County: 10.7%
Clay County: 9.6%
Fentress County: 9.2%
Macon County: 9%
Jackson County: 8.7%
Warren County: 8.7%
Cumberland County: 8.3%
Overton County: 7.8%
DeKalb County: 7.6%
Smith County: 7.1%
Putnam County: 7%
Cannon County: 6.8%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for October 2012 show the rate decreased in 14 counties, increased in 64, and remained the same in 17.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for October decreased to 8.2 percent, down from the September revised rate of 8.3 percent. The national unemployment rate for October 2012 was 7.9 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the September rate of 7.8 percent.

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.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.9 percent, unchanged from September. Davidson County was 6.5 percent, down from 6.6 percent. Hamilton County was 7.3 percent, up from 7.1 percent, and Shelby County was 8.7 percent, up from 8.5 percent in September.

Steve Trapp to be among Coaches in the Annual Toyota East/West Football All-Star Game

November 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Coach Steve Trapp

DCHS Football Coach Steve Trapp will be among the coaches in the 6th Annual Toyota East/West High School Football All-Star Game on December 8 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.

Coach Trapp said he will be coaching wide receivers for the East. Meanwhile Will Molander, outstanding wide receiver on the DCHS football team is on the roster to play in the game. Coach Trapp said its an honor for the DCHS football program to be represented in this annual All-Star Classic. "TACA, the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, organizes the All-Star Game and I had sent in an e-mail inquiring about how I could potentially help in the All-Star Event. They called me back the next day and said they had already discussed potentially asking me to be on the staff this year so it worked out pretty well. I'm really excited. It's an opportunity for me to go and represent DeKalb County and what we do as a program to expose myself to other coaches. I'm willing to learn and see some other ways to do it and maybe pick up some things but also to network and to get to know some more people. I'm also excited to be able to coach Will Molander as well. He will be in the event with me. I'll be coaching wide receivers. So I'm just really proud to go represent DeKalb County," said Coach Trapp.

Three other DeKalb County players are named as alternates for the All-Star Classic. "Lucas Phillips is an alternate at quarterback. Cody Puckett is a defensive end alternate and Sonni Fullilove is also a wide receiver alternate. If there are some people who cannot play in those positions, there's a small chance that we might have those DeKalb County football players represent us," said Coach Trapp.

Caine Ballard with Greeneville will be the East head coach and Kevin Creasy with Trousdale Co will be the West head coach.

This year's event will take place on the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, at Tucker Stadium. "We are extremely excited about both rosters," commented Bill Marbet, Executive Director of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, the game's organizing body.

"These players have had exceptional high school careers and many will continue their play at the college level, many in very high profile programs in some of the major conferences across the country. We think it's a great group of young men who will represent their respective high schools very well," he added.

Players are nominated by high school coaches from all across the state, then selected by the coaching staffs for the game. They represent large and small high schools, both public and private.

The 88 players and 16 coaches involved in the game will arrive in Cookeville on Tuesday evening, December 4. Two-a-day practice sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prior to Saturday's game.

County Complex Gymnasium Ready to Re-Open After Replacement of Light Fixtures

November 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
New Lights Installed at County Complex Gym
New guards to help keep lights from breaking at county complex gym

After the gym opened at the new county complex, it became apparent that the low hanging light fixtures from the ceiling might pose a problem. Sure enough, it wasn't long before broken light fixtures became a frequent occurrence from basketball play in the gym.

In order to address the problem, County Mayor Mike Foster said a decision was made to replace the original light fixtures with newer ones closer to the ceiling. For the last several weeks, the gym has been closed to the public until the renovation could be done. With the work now finished, Foster said the gym is expected to re-open by Friday or Monday. "The people who did the remodeling of the whole building, when they put the lights in they put them underneath the trusses," said Foster. "The ceiling is a little bit low and we all questioned (at the time of installation) the way they had the lights. But when people were in there playing, within one night they broke three lights. Part of it is because they tried to shoot from mid court and then they bounced some balls high enough and hard enough that they went up and broke the lens. We closed the gym because we were just afraid that some of the glass shards were going to fall down and cut somebody," he said.

"We contacted the same company (who did the original work) and they ordered some more lights with different guards on them," said Foster. "It took us a while to get them (new light fixtures) and it took them (company) a while to get time to come and do it. They moved the lights up against the ceiling, against the roof to the point that they will be harder to hit and then they have guards on them too so we feel a lot better about them now. They worked on them part of last week and this week, so they have them all in now and we're ready to let people back in there. Hopefully we're ready to go," he said.

Surveillance cameras will also be installed to guard against vandalism. "We're hopefully going to get cameras in there right away so we can watch to make sure that they are not deliberately trying to do it (break the lights). I don't think anybody was. It just happened. But unless they are deliberately trying to do it, I don't think it will be likely now," said Foster.

Northside Elementary Almost Makes List of "Reward Schools"

November 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Commissioner Kevin Huffman
Northside Elementary School

Northside Elementary School has received special recognition by the state department of education for being on the verge of becoming a "Reward School" for progress in student achievement.

In accordance with Tennessee's new accountability system, designed through the state's waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Tennessee Department of Education names Reward, Priority and Focus schools.

Reward Schools are the top 5 percent of schools in the state for performance—as measured by overall student achievement levels—and the top 5 percent for year-over-year progress—as measured by schoolwide value-added data. These 10 percent of schools receive recognition for their success under the accountability system.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he and Northside Principal Gayle Redmon received a letter of congratulations on November 4 from Kevin Huffman, the State Commissioner of Education. "The letter said Northside Elementary was on the cusp of being a reward school. That meant it didn't get any money but Northside Elementary was in the top 5 percent of schools in achievement growth from last year's report card. We are very happy with that. Everyone at Northside was tickled to get that news," said Willoughby

The letter from Commissioner Huffman states " As you know, under Tennessee's waiver from No Child Left Behind, the state's accountability system focuses on two main objectives for schools and districts: improving overall student achievement and closing achievement gaps by ensuring even faster progress for those groups of students who are furthest behind."

"Part of our new accountability system identifies the top five percent of schools in performance and the top five percent of schools in progress as Reward Schools. The identification of Reward Schools is intended to provide district and school leaders with the opportunity to learn from the successes of other high performing schools. Reward Schools also are eligible for grant funds and additional opportunities and recognition."

"Since the state does not publish a list of rankings of all schools, we believe it is important to let Directors and Principals know if schools are close to achieving a high level of recognition. Northside Elementary was on the cusp of being identified as a Reward school based on progress last school year. In fact, your school progress was within the threshold of those schools identified as Reward, but was excluded under our federal waiver rules because of achievement gaps larger than the state median in any sub-group area and achievement gaps that widened between 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years."

"The Reward list is a relative list, meaning that it is determined by your progress relative to other schools. Given the hard work across the state and the anticipated rate of growth in many schools, we know there will be significant competition to be identified on the Reward list next year. Your school is on the cusp of achieving this recognition and we wanted to let you know how close you are, and encourage you in your work this year."

"Thank you for the work that you and your staff members are taking on in partnership with students and families toward the goal of making Tennessee the fastest improving state in the nation," wrote Commissioner Huffman.

New Hours for Alexandria Post Office to Become Effective January 26

November 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations

Its official.

The Alexandria Post Office will begin operating at reduced hours effective Saturday, January 26.

One week following a November 1 community meeting in Alexandria, David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations, wrote a letter to postal customers explaining the final decision. "It has been determined that effective January 26, 2013, the Alexandria Post Office will provide six hours of window service each weekday. The facility retail hours will be from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with lunch from noon until 1:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Current Saturday window service hours will not be reduced and access to delivery receptables will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours," wrote Underwood.

"Customers will have access to their mail receptacles 24 hours a day and Post Office Box mail will be available daily for pick-up by 10:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, and at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday," he wrote.

According to Underwood, "The Postal Service concluded that the POST Plan review process for the Alexandria Post Office, customer survey responses, input from the community meeting, and the operational needs of the Postal Service were considered in reaching the implementation decision".

Alexandria carriers began working out of the Watertown Post Office Saturday, November 3.

The Alexandria Post Office is among 260 post offices in Tennessee which will have their hours changed or downsized within the next couple of years, according to Underwood.

Alderman Says Sewer Services Should be Made Available to All City Residents

November 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Alderman Shawn Jacobs
Mayor Jimmy Poss

The City of Smithville apparently has no plans for annexation anytime soon, but Alderman Shawn Jacobs wants to make sure areas in the city that currently don't have access to city sewer, be given that opportunity first before any future annexation occurs.

Alderman Jacobs raised the issue during Monday night's city council meeting. "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.

Mayor Jimmy Poss said he has explored grant possibilities for sewer projects. "I did put in for that very thing. If we get any (grant money) that's what I want to use it for. Somebody, and I've forgot who it was, wanted to know what we wanted and I told them then that we'd like to have some grant money to do a sewer rehab or sewer lines," he said

Mayor Poss said there has been interest in annexing some areas into the city on the west side of town but no plan has been presented. "I do know there was some that were talking about annexation on the west part of town but I haven't heard back on anything positive in that way," said Mayor Poss.

"I just think that before we even consider any kind of annexation, we should be providing sewer to everybody in the city limits," said Alderman Jacobs. "I just wondered by we weren't doing that already," he added.

"The only one I know of is one street (with no sewer) and part of it is in the city and part is in the county," said Mayor Poss.

"There's some houses on Riley Avenue that don't have sewer," said Alderman Tim Stribling.

"You're right. I know now where you're talking about," answered Mayor Poss. "We can look into it and see why (all areas aren't served)," he added.

"They (residents not served by sewer) are paying taxes just like everybody else and we ought to try to provide them (sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs.

"Yeah, but they don't pay sewer rates," answered Mayor Poss

"But if possible I think we should extend to them the opportunity (for sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs

"Let us look into that and we'll come back next time," concluded Mayor Poss.

In other business, the aldermen voted to hire James Gohs as a full time employee in the city's sanitation department, now that he has successfully completed his sixty day probationary period.

Meanwhile, Mayor Poss said letters have been mailed to members of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Directors asking for a face to face meeting on a new water contract. Mayor Poss said so far he has not heard back from any of them.

The city aldermen, two weeks ago at the suggestion of Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, voted to send DUD board members a letter asking for a meeting between the city and DUD to begin face to face discussions.

"DUD has sent us a written proposal/contract asking us what we would like for the contract to be for a long term purchase program of our water," said Hendrixson. "Rather than just go back and forth by letters, I think the board (mayor and aldermen) should have a sit down with their board to just get down to it and figure out what they (DUD) want and if they really want it. I would like permission from the board (aldermen) to send a letter to each of their (DUD) board members asking for a sit down (meeting) to hopefully negotiate a long term contract," he said.

The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.00 per thousand gallons and under terms of the contract, the rate increases by five cents per thousand in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires in 2014.

Mayor Poss mentioned that the city has erected the new Christmas lights around downtown."We've heard some good comments. We're proud of them. Maybe we can add to them next year. This is a start," he said.

Police Seek Tips in Solving Attempted Robbery and Assault

November 19, 2012
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving an attempted robbery and assault.

Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Sunday, November 18 a man and his wife had just returned home from church when a man, wearing dark clothing and a ski mask emerged from behind their residence on Walker Drive and approached the couple. The man threatened to kill them both unless the victim turned over his wallet. The two men got into an altercation and the assailant assaulted the victim, cutting him with what was believed to be a pocket knife. The victim dropped to the ground for his safety and the assailant fled on foot toward the end of the street. He had already left the area by the time police arrived. Police reported that the victim was bleeding from his hands and ears. The assailant was described as a middle aged Caucasian, approximately 5' 7 " weighing about 140 pounds.

If you have information that could lead to an arrest in the case, call the crime tip line at 464-6046. It could mean a reward to you through the Smithville Police Department's Crime Stoppers Program.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Desiree Nichole Ferrell was cited for shoplifting on Monday, November 12.. Ferrell was observed by a Wal-Mart employee taking items and then leaving the store without paying for them. Her court date is December 13.

47 year old Riley Anthony Bullard was cited on Friday, November 16 for driving on a revoked license due to a DUI after an officer spotted Bullard operating a motor vehicle. His court date is December 13

31 year old Jared Scott Atnip was arrested on Sunday, November 18 for a third offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the warrant; police were called to check out a vehicle setting in the roadway on Bryant Street. The man behind the wheel appeared to be passed out. His head was slumped onto his chest, his foot was on the brake pedal, the car was in gear and the engine was running. The driver, Atnip, woke up when the officer opened the door and turned off the engine. Atnip had very slow, slurred speech and he could not focus. Atnip was asked to step out of the car so it could be moved out of the roadway. He was very unsteady on his feet. Atnip was arrested for DUI and on his person, police found drug paraphernalia. Upon an inventory of his vehicle, the arresting officer also found a small clear bag containing two pills. Bond for Atnip is $4,500 and his court date is December 5.

52 year old Kelley Lee Hollingsworth was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 18. A Wal-Mart employee informed police that Hollingsworth took a clock radio out of the box, concealed it in her pocket and tried to leave the store without paying for it. Her court date is December 13.

29 year old Tina Marie Padin was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 18. Padin was observed attempting to leave the Dollar General Store with items in her purse that she had not bought. Her court date is December 13.

Anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that would help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense would be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.


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