Local News Articles

Back to School for Students

January 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Back to School for Students (older photo)

Students are returning to school today now that the holidays are over.

Schools will be closed again for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21 and for President's Day, Monday, February 18.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 25-29

Students will not attend on Thursday, May 23. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Friday, May 24. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home. DCHS graduation will be Friday, May 24

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 12 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards to be sent home from all schools on Tuesday, January 8. DCHS report cards to be sent home Monday, March 11 and at all other schools Tuesday, March 12.

AYP-EOC/Gateway Testing at DCHS will be May 7-9 and a make-up AYP-EOC/Gateway Test will be May 10.

ACT Test for the 11th grade will be Tuesday, March 19

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be Tuesday, February 5. Writing Assessment make-up will be Wednesday, February 6.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 22 through May 3

Three Municipal Elections to be held in 2013

January 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
Danny Washer, Gayla Hendrix, Shawn Jacobs

2013 will be a light election year in DeKalb County.

Only three city elections will be held starting with the Smithville Municipal Election on Tuesday, June 18. The qualifying deadline is noon March 21.

Three aldermen seats will be up for election. Those positions are currently held by Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer.

Petitions can be issued as soon as the election commission receives a letter from the city and then approves the request for the election. The election commission meets again on Tuesday, January 15.

Meanwhile the Liberty Municipal Election will be Thursday, August 1. The qualifying deadline is noon on May 16. A mayor and two aldermen will be up for election. Those positions are currently held by Mayor J. Edward Hale and aldermen Jarrett Pistole and Howard Reynolds, Jr.

Petitions in Liberty can be issued 90 days before the qualifying deadline, provided the election commission receives a letter from the city and then approves a request for the election.

The Alexandria Municipal Election will be September 5. A mayor and three aldermen are to be elected. The qualifying deadline is noon June 20

Petitions can be issued 90 days before the qualifying deadline, provided the election commission receives a letter from the city and then approves a request for the election.

Local Man Injured in New Year's Night Rollover

January 2, 2013
Dwayne Page
One person was injured when he lost control of his car and overturned New Year's

One person was injured when he lost control of his car and overturned New Year's night on Highway 56 south near Whorton Springs Baptist Church.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 26 year old Andrew Tyler Hall of Midway Road, Smithville was traveling north in a 1994 Buick when he went off the left side of the road, hit a culvert, and overturned. The car came to rest upright. Hall was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS and then transported to DeKalb Community Hospital for further treatment.

Trooper Wilhite has charged Hall with a second offense of driving under the influence.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Online Registration Now Required for Tennessee Hunter Education Course

January 2, 2013

Registration for a Tennessee Hunter Education course will be required to be made online beginning Jan. 1, 2013 on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website.

On the TWRA website, those wishing to register for a class will click the “register for a hunter education class” link. Once clicking the link, there will be directions to search for hunter education classes closest to your area.

Registration must be completed prior to the starting date of a class to ensure a spot in a particular class. For those persons without computer access, they are encouraged to visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance.

Advance registration provides more time for instructors to devote to students. It also provides a quicker method for the registration process.

Man Airlifted After Suffering Burns from Fire

December 31, 2012
Dwayne Page
Ricky Lawrence airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital

A resident of 639 Crestlawn Avenue received burns to his arm Sunday morning after he fell asleep in a chair that caught fire from a lit cigarette.

Ricky Lawrence was treated by DeKalb EMS and then transported to the DeKalb Middle School parking lot where he was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:37 a.m. and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb EMS, and Smithville Police responded.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker told WJLE that the chair was the only thing in the house that was damaged in the fire. The small blaze was quickly extinguished and the chair was removed from the residence and taken outside.

Lawrence apparently had fallen asleep in the chair while holding a lit cigarette. The chair caught fire and he received burns to his arm.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called out again Sunday night to a car fire at the city park on Martin Street. The car was destroyed. The cause remains under investigation.

Four Arrested in Recent Domestic Assault Cases

December 31, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Denver Young
Joe Wayne Pack
Amy Carole Young
Anthony Doel Atnip
Jordan Thomas Adams

A man, his ex-wife, and her father were all charged with domestic assault last Thursday, December 27 after a child pick up incident turned ugly.

31 year old Mark Denver Young of McMinnville Highway, Smithville; his ex-wife, 32 year old Amy Carole Young of Steeple Chase Drive; and her father, 57 year old Joe Wayne Pack of Rolling Acres Road are each under a $1,500 bond.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Amy Young and her father, Pack came to Mark Young's residence to pick up her children. A confrontation ensued and Young assaulted Pack by punching him in the face several times with his fists, causing cuts and bruises to his eye and face. Both Young and Pack hit each other several times in the face and head, causing injuries to both. Sheriff Ray said that Amy Young got into a confrontation with her ex-husband, Mark Young and hit him in the head several times with a rubber hammer, causing injuries. Mark Young had to go to the emergency room for treatment.

All three will be in court January 31.

Meanwhile, a local man was arrested twice last week after allegedly assaulting a woman on Wednesday and then attacking his nephew, three days later

32 year old Anthony Doel Atnip of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta is charged with two counts of domestic assault. He was first picked up on Wednesday, December 19. His bond is $3,500 on that charge and he will be in court on January 17.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 19 a deputy responded to a complaint of a physical domestic on Banks Pisgah Road. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with Atnip and a woman. The officer saw that she had a busted lip, scratches to her face and a bruise on her jaw. The deputy also noticed hair on the floor that had apparently been pulled from the woman's head. She told the officer that Atnip was intoxicated and that he started beating her after becoming irate over missing coins. The officer determined that Atnip was the primary aggressor. The deputy also observed that Atnip had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and was very angry.

Three days later, on Saturday December 22, Atnip was arrested again for domestic assault against another person. His bond on that charge is $15,000 and he will be in court on January 17.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 22, a deputy responded to Johnson Chapel Road to a complaint of a domestic assault. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to a female who said her brother, Atnip, had gotten into a verbal argument with her son which turned physical. Atnip punched him in the face on the right side causing bruising and swelling. Atnip admitted to hitting him. It was determined that Atnip was the primary aggressor.

27 year old Jordan Thomas Adams of Allen Street, Smithville is charged with evading arrest. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 17. He was arrested on Thursday, December 20.

Sheriff Ray said that Adams had been on the run since September 12 after he fled from drug court. "After running out of drug court, Adams was spotted about an hour later at a location on Holmes Creek Road.When the deputy got out of his vehicle, Adams started running. The officer yelled for him to stop, but he kept running. Adams has a hold on him from drug court," said Sheriff Ray.

39 year old Freddy Sylvester Stringer of Church Street, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court January 10.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday December 29, Stringer, operating a vehicle, pulled up beside an officer at DeKalb Market. The officer knew that Stringer's license were revoked and placed him under arrest. A computer check confirmed Stringer's license were revoked for driving under the influence in 2004. On December 12, 2012 Stringer was issued an arrest warrant for driving on a revoked license, which is still pending in court. Another offense was filed against him on September 28, 2007. According to Sheriff Ray, Stringer has five convictions against him for driving on a suspended license from June 17, 1996 to April 10, 2004.

DeKalb Community Hospital Welcomes New Surgeon

December 31, 2012

“General Surgeon Kenna Williams, M.D. has joined the medical staff at DeKalb Community Hospital this month, and we are very pleased to have her on our surgical team” Chief Executive Officer , Sue Conely explains. “She will be on campus on Thursdays and is currently seeing patients at the Medical Specialty Office. “

“In addition to the usual types of general surgery, including skin lesions of all types, gallbladder, bowel surgery and hernia surgeries, Williams has a specialized interest in breast surgery, both benign and malignant breast disorders. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. We are thrilled to have another surgeon with this type of specialty here at DeKalb Community Hospital, ” says Nancy Trapp, Surgical Services Director.

Williams was raised in Memphis and graduated from Central High School there in the center of what the locals call “midtown.” After receiving a BA in Biology from University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, she went to work for Dr. Robert Summitt, her longtime mentor and dean of the medical school at U.T.

“I first went to work in the genetics lab and was taught to do tissue culture and karyotyping or chromosome analysis, then worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital doing the same genetic analysis on tumor biopsies from children with cancer,” Dr. Williams said of early career. I decided to go further and applied to medical school, was accepted, and graduated with my MD degree in 1986.”

Dr. Williams started surgical residency training there in Memphis at the UT medical units and finished in 1991. Since then, she has been in the private practice of general surgery in Murfreesboro, Cookeville, and Pulaski. Dr Williams is a Board-certified general surgeon and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Both she and her staff are committed to delivering the best care possible for patients. “Our office is a always ready to go the extra mile to take good care of you,“ Dr. Williams said, “and we are happy to be working with DeKalb Community Hospital because they are so committed to delivering excellent care.”

Dr. Williams has a farm in Putnam County since 1995 and enjoys the quiet wooded hillsides of middle Tennessee and the Upper Cumberland Plateau. She is no stranger to a commute and admits that she loves the Tennessee backroads.

To get more information about General Surgeon Kenna Williams, M.D. contact: Shalyn F. Eaton LPN, Medical Specialty Office-Clinical director at DeKalb Community Hospital at (615) 215-5250.

About DeKalb Community Hospital:

Beds: 71, Fully accredited by The Joint Commission

Services: 24-hour Emergency Care, Medical/Surgical Care, Intensive Care Unit, General Surgery, Clinical Laboratory, Sleep Services, Diagnostic Imaging services include X-ray, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, Mammography and Nuclear Medicine. Physical and Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Therapy Pulmonary Function Testing, Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Stress Testing, EEG’s, Pulmonology, Oncology Clinic and Infusion Center, Cardiology, Urology, Orthopedics, Gastroenterology and Ophthalmology

Website: dekalbcommunityhospital.com

New Sligo Bridge Project Still on Hold

December 31, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jennifer Flynn

The Tennessee Department of Transportation still does not have the go ahead for right of way acquisition for the new Sligo bridge.

WJLE contacted TDOT Thursday and in response, Jennifer A. Flynn, Regional Community Relations Officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation replied with the following message by email. "I spoke with Chief Engineer/Deputy Commissioner Paul Degges about the Sligo Bridge. He told me that TDOT has redesigned the bridge project to take into account the Marina's concerns and provided the redesign to the Marina. We have not yet been able to finalize any transaction at this time, but we remain optimistic that we can come to a settlement that is satisfactory to all parties. That's all there is to tell at this point. If I hear of any news on the progress of the project, I will certainly let you know," wrote Flynn

State Representative Mark Pody, who was in town Friday, December 21, said he is hopeful that the new Sligo bridge project can be let for bids during the first quarter of 2013, pending a new lease agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Sligo Marina.

Pody, in an interview with WJLE, said any new agreement between the parties should address granting TDOT the right of way to proceed with the project. The marina's current lease with the Corps is due to expire next month.

Degges told WJLE in August that the state had redesigned plans for the proposed project hoping to address concerns to the satisfaction of Sligo Marina.

Degges has said one of the major concerns is that the marina owners want the state to pay for "potential loss of business"to them during the construction of the bridge. The problem is the state cannot legally pay for those types of damages. "They're wanting to be paid for some things. In particular, he (lessee) wants to be paid for some potential loss of business due to loss of some of his parking and the impact of construction. Under state law in Tennessee, we (TDOT) are prohibited from paying those types of damages" said Degges.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.9% in November

December 29, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's jobless rate for November dropped to 6.9%, down from 7.5% in October and well below the 8% rate recorded for November 2011.

The local labor force for November was 9,540. A total of 8,890 were employed and 650 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate 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%
Van Buren County: 10.7%
White County: 10.6%
Clay County: 9.6%
Warren County: 8.8%
Jackson County: 8.5%
Fentress County: 8.3%
Cumberland County: 7.8%
Macon County: 7.3%
Overton County: 7%
DeKalb County: 6.9%
Smith County: 6.4%
Putnam County: 6.4%
Cannon County: 5.8%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November show the rate decreased in 91 counties, increased in one, and remained the same in three.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for November decreased to 7.6 percent, down from the October revised rate of 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate for November 2012 was 7.7 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the October rate.

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 5.2 percent, down from 5.9 percent in October. Davidson County was 5.7 percent, down from 6.5 percent. Hamilton County was 6.4 percent, down from 7.3 percent, and Shelby County was 7.8 percent, down from 8.7 percent in October.

Dowelltown Man Trying to Outrun State Trooper Found with Meth Lab Components

December 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jesse Comer Harris
Harris' 2000 Dodge Neon towed by JR Motors

A Dowelltown man, trying to outrun a state trooper in a Thursday night pursuit, was found with meth lab components after he ran his car off the Old Snow Hill Road.

33 year old Jesse Comer Harris is charged with aggravated assault, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law for refusing a blood test, and tampering with evidence. His bond totals $85,000 and he will be in court on the charges February 21. Harris is on parole for being a violent offender.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE Friday that the incident started around 7:10 p.m. Thursday after he stopped Harris' car for erratic driving, weaving, and suspicion of driving under the influence. " I tried to stop a 2000 Dodge Neon on Highway 70 west just west of DeKalb Market," said Trooper Jennings. "The car pulled over like any other traffic stop. I made a passenger side approach, opened the passenger door, made eye contact with the driver. He pulls it down in drive and takes off at a high rate of speed, jerking the door out of my hand. At that point I ran back to my patrol car and gave pursuit to chase after him. We go Highway 70 west a short distance. He turned left over to the Old Snow Hill Road. I radioed DeKalb County and advised them that I was in pursuit down the Old Snow Hill Road. The sheriff was in the area along with Officer Jeremy Taylor. The sheriff set up at the end of old Snow Hill Road in the Dry Creek area. He (Harris) saw the blue lights I guess and figured something was up so he drove to the right off the roadway (at the foot of the hill) out into a field, crashed into a creek, and almost overturned the vehicle. At that point, he jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. I chased him on foot through the creek and up into a wooded area around the creek where I found him laying down in the weeds and hiding. He was eating his marijuana, trying to get rid of the evidence. I went back and found a bag that he had pitched out in the creek that contained numerous items used to manufacture and process methamphetamine," said Trooper Jennings

Harris was not injured and refused treatment by EMS. He was arrested and taken to the jail for booking.


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