Local News Articles

County to Revisit School Zone Traffic Study Request

January 20, 2012
Dwayne Page

The county commission Monday night will discuss whether to follow through on a school board request for the county to seek a CTAS traffic study in the Smithville school zones.

During the December regular meeting, school board members voted to ask the county attorney, Hilton Conger and city attorney, Vester Parsley to make contact with the County Technical Advisory Service CTAS and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to request a traffic study on behalf of both city and county governments.

The issue has been placed on the county commission agenda for Monday night.

In October, the Board of Education voted to ask the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen to formally request the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to conduct a cost free study of traffic flow patterns and to make suggestions for relieving congestion on highways at Northside Elementary as well as DCHS and DeKalb Middle School in Smithville.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson denied the request in a letter dated November 16, stating that the school board could seek the traffic study through CTAS.

School Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during the December meeting, said he had contacted CTAS since receiving Mayor Hendrixson's letter. Robinson said it is his understanding that both CTAS and MTAS would be willing to work together to do a traffic study as long as both the city and county request it.

Fourth district member Billy Miller made a motion to "make a request of the attorney for the City of Smithville and the county attorney, asking that they sit down and contact CTAS to come up with such a study for the school system. I make that in the form of a motion to do so," said Miller.

In December, 2010, the school board approved a plan to fund the cost of having persons direct traffic in the school zones during the mornings and afternoons at Northside Elementary, DCHS, and DeKalb Middle School.
Under the plan, the Board of Education, City of Smithville, and DeKalb County government each agreed to fund one third of the cost for the rest of that school year. The city and county had already approved the partnership under a memorandum of understanding.

County Commission to Discuss Filling School Board Vacancy

January 19, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night may discuss whether someone should be appointed to fill the vacancy on the school board created by the recent resignation of Bruce Parsley from the sixth district.

Parsley, who was elected in August 2008, resigned as of December 31, 2011 to pursue a career as a certified school teacher. His term expires August 31st.

The county commission has the authority to appoint a school board member to fill the unexpired term but no action on an actual appointment is expected Monday night. Two men, Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens attended Thursday night's all committees meeting of the county commission to express an interest in filling the vacancy.

The last time the commission filled an opening on the school board was in 2006 when John David Foutch was named to serve out the term of Darrell Gill in the first district. Gill resigned before his term expired because he moved his residence out of the first district.

After it became known that Gill had resigned, notice was given that the position was open and interested parties came forward to submit their names for consideration. Initially, five applied for the position but three of them later dropped out. The county commission, during a workshop, interviewed the remaining two.

During the next regular county commission meeting, both names were placed in nomination for the position. On the first roll call, each commissioner cast a vote by calling out the name of the candidate he favored.

Foutch received nine of the fourteen commission votes. After the initial roll call vote, a second vote was taken to confirm Foutch's appointment and all fourteen members gave Foutch their support.

Meanwhile, in other business Monday night the county commission will act on a resolution to honor Eagle Scout Thomas Claston Beltz.

The commission will discuss a letter from Director of Schools Mark Willoughby concerning a traffic study from the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) in the Smithville School Zones; discuss "a Safety First" program implication for Highway 70 and Highway 83 Intersection; discuss passage of the "Sale of Synthetic Drugs as a Felony" resolution; discuss the resignation of school board member Bruce Parsley; consider budget amendments; discuss an update on expenses and revenues; discuss an update of the county road list; discuss an update of the county's policy and procedures for employees; discuss items addressed at the Thursday night workshop; discuss courthouse updates; discuss updates on the new county complex; discuss landfill updates; approve notaries; and discuss action taken last May to raise spending limits before competitive bidding and to clarify the limits that apply to the county, the highway department, and the board of education; and to discuss any business properly presented.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage

WJLE Radio Shopper Returns Friday, January 27

January 19, 2012
Dwayne Page

WJLE and participating local businesses will give you a chance to bid on and buy merchandise in the WJLE RADIO SHOPPER on Friday, January 27.

Starting at 8:00 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines and giving you a chance to bid on various items from DeKalb Tire and Service, DeKalb Ace Hardware, DeKalb Farmers Coop, Bumpers Drive-In, F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, Cantrell's the home of Fluty and Fluty's Shoes, Dairy Queen, Dipsey Doodle Too, Neo's Restaurant, the Flower Box, Angie's Diner, Extreme Looks Design Team, Head Turners, Modern Sign Company, Kilgore's Restaurant, and others.

WJLE will set a minimum bid on each item, and continue the bidding until the item is sold.

It's going to be fun and exciting! Be sure to be by your radio and your telephone on Friday, January 27 at 8:00 a.m. and call in a bid to RADIO SHOPPER on WJLE. The broadcast will also be live via audio streaming on www.wjle.com.

Local Democrats to Meet Saturday

January 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jim Judkins

DeKalb County Democrats will meet Saturday morning at the DCHS cafeteria.

Local party chairman Jim Judkins said committee members will meet at 9:00 a.m. to conduct party business and elect the new party officers for 2012-2014 term and the mass meeting will follow at around 10:30 a.m. Food and entertainment will be provided.

Candidates for Property Assessor including incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks and challengers Scott Cantrell and Jonathan Bryan Keith will have an opportunity to formally announce their candidacies along with constable candidates Wayne Vanderpool, Paul Cantrell, Mark Milam, Johnny King, Richard Bullard, and Carl Lee Webb.

New party officers will also be introduced.

Judkins urges all Democrats to attend.

Dan Evins Remembered Fondly

January 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Dan Evins

"He was a very private person, but was without question one of the most generous and caring individuals I had the good fortune to know," said W.J. (Dub) Evins, III of his uncle, the late Dan Evins.

The 76 year old founder of Cracker Barrel died Saturday in Lebanon and will soon be laid to rest following a private service.

Evins, according to Dub Evins, was born in Smithville in 1935. But a few years later, while still a young child, Evins and members of his family moved to Lebanon. While much attention has been given nationally in recent days of his accomplishments in starting the Cracker Barrel, Dub Evins said more focus should be placed on the man himself. "I really don't know how to express how much he has meant to me over the years, but especially the past 7 or 8 years. Anyone can log on to their computer and see the headlines from the Chicago Sun Times, Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC, FOX Business, and scores of other publications. All of these news sources report on his success and accomplishments as CEO of the company he founded with over 600 restaurants and 60,000 employees. He possessed a gift and had a vision like no one I have ever known. What was not emphasized was Danny Evins as a person," said Dub Evins.

"He helped so many people in every way imaginable, never expecting anything in return. I have always felt so blessed to know that he was always there for me in so many different ways. He loved his children and grandchildren unconditionally. I am so grateful that his children, my cousins, welcomed me into their lives and afforded me the opportunity to spend time with him. One thing I can proudly say is that he was my friend, but most importantly, I was his friend also," said Dub Evins.

"My father, Danny's oldest brother, was very close to Danny and my heart goes out to him. This society lost a great businessman. I lost a mentor and very special friend. He cared deeply for me and I had a admiration for him that can not be put into words," added Dub Evins

D. W. "Dan" Evins, born 11 October 1935 to W.J. "Dub" Evins & Estelle McCartney Evins, passed peacefully with his family on January 14, 2012. He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Margarita, and his brother, E. W. "Eddie" Evins. He is survived by his brother, W.J. "Jack" Evins, sister, Myrtie Ann Evins Doak, his five children, Daina (Phillip) Warren, Meacham (LaDonna) Evins, Kate (Bob ) Page, Betsy (Bubba) Jennings, Joe Evins, and his thirteen grandchildren, Danny (Brooke) Warren, Will Warren, Mallory Jennings, Danny "Woody" Evins II, Sam Page, Madeline Jennings, Kathleen Evins, Maggie Page, Caroline Evins, Molly Jennings, Brian Evins, Merritt Jennings, and Donna Marie Evins. A private service will be held. If you would like to make a donation please do so at Joseph's Storehouse (Lebanon, TN), The Nashville Rescue Mission (Nashville, TN), or a charity of your choice.

Liberty Woman Charged with Vandalism

January 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Robin Lee Keaton
Bobby McMen Hullett
Kathy Jo Massengail

A 32 year old woman has been charged with vandalism of a residence at the housing project in Liberty.

Bond for Robin Lee Keaton is $1,000 and she will be in court on February 9.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, January 15 a deputy responded to Cedar Street in Liberty where someone was reported to be breaking out windows of a building belonging to the Smithville Housing Authority. Two windows were found to be broken including one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom. The complainant stated that Keaton was the person responsible. When confronted Keaton allegedly admitted to the vandalism.

A DeKalb County High School student, 18 year old Juan Carillo Perez of Talley Road, Smithville, has been cited for simple possession and carrying a prohibited weapon. He will be in court on February 2.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, January 12 a student told the school resource officer that Perez left school and then returned. Principal Kathy Hendrix and the SRO got Perez out of class. Perez submitted to but performed poorly on all sobriety tasks. He allegedly had bloodshot eyes. Perez consented to a search of his vehicle and a marijuana cigarette was found inside the automobile along with a bb gun which was made to look like a "real" gun. Perez allegedly admitted to having smoked some marijuana during lunch time. He said the marijuana cigarette belonged to him.

45 year old Bobby McMen Hullett of Smithville is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and filing a false report. His bond totals $4,000 and he will be in court February 2.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 13 deputies and detectives of the sheriff's department went to Hullet's home on Morse College Road to pick up a 17 year old runaway who was believed to be at this residence. Hullet denied knowing the whereabouts of the runaway, telling the officer that he had not seen him. Upon searching the home, the officer found the runaway hiding in Hullet's bedroom closet. Hullett is charged with contributing to the unruly behavior of the child by allowing him to stay at his residence knowing that the child had run away from home.

45 year old Mark Gregory Brock of Webb Lane, Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. Brock was also issued a citation for failure to maintain his lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court February 9.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, January 15 a deputy got behind a vehicle on Highway 56 south after observing him crossing the center line of the highway several times. The officer stopped the automobile on Highway 56 south at Joe Tittsworth Road. Brock was identified as the driver. The deputy noticed that Brock's speech was very slurred and he had a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Brock submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. Brock was very unsteady on his feet. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test.

41 year old Kathy Jo Massengail of Keltonburg Road is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court February 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 15, a deputy responded to a residence on Keltonburg
Road to a physical domestic. Upon arrival the officer saw a man who had a towel wrapped around his left forearm. The man's arm was bleeding. He had a busted lip, a scratch on his nose, and a red pump knot on his forehead. The man and Massengail told the officer that they began arguing and that she punched him several times in the face. The man got mad and ran his hand through a window. It was determined the Massengail was the primary aggressor.

Habitat Names Officers and New Board Members

January 17, 2012
Habitat Officers for 2012
New Habitat Board Members

The Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County had its Annual Meeting on January 10 and officers elected for the upcoming year include Nancy Lewis, secretary; Nolan Turner, president; Brenda Hooper, treasurer; and Larry Green, vice president.

Habitat plans to build with a DeKalb County family in 2012. Anyone wanting to learn more and apply for a Habitat 0% interest mortgage, may attend a meeting on Feb. 16, 6-7 p.m. at the Methodist Family Life Center. Please call 615-215-8181 for more information.

The Board of Directors also welcomed the following new board members, who will serve for a two-year term: Nolan Turner of DeKalb Community Bank; Rob Willingham of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; and John Carpenter, pastor of First United Methodist Church. The Retiring board members are Sharon Evans, president, and Kim Wheeler, treasurer.

TOP PHOTO: (pictured left to right) Nancy Lewis, secretary; Nolan Turner, president; Brenda Hooper, treasurer; and Larry Green, vice president. Habitat plans to build with a DeKalb County family in 2012. Anyone wanting to learn more and apply for a Habitat 0% interest mortgage, may attend a meeting on Feb. 16, 6-7 p.m. at the Methodist Family Life Center. Please call 615-215-8181 for more information.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Nolan Turner of DeKalb Community Bank; Rob Willingham of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; and John Carpenter, pastor of First United Methodist Church (not pictured). The Retiring board members are Sharon Evans, president, and Kim Wheeler, treasurer.

Dan Evins, Founder of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Chain, Dies

January 16, 2012
Dan Evins

Dan Evins, the founder of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain, died Saturday in Lebanon.

Evins helped build the chain into a national brand as CEO from 1969 to 2001 and he served as chairman until he retired in 2004. Cracker Barrrel Old Country Store, Inc, headquartered in Lebanon, now operates more than 600 restaurants in 42 states.

On its website, the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has issued the following release:

"Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. today extended condolences to the family of Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dan (Danny) W. Evins and expressed sadness at the loss of the man who first conceived of a restaurant that would provide a safe and welcoming home-away-from-home for travelers. Mr. Evins was 76 when he passed away on January 14 in Lebanon, Tenn.

In remembering Danny, Cracker Barrel Executive Chairman Michael A. Woodhouse expressed his sympathy and said, "I first met Danny when I joined Cracker Barrel in 1995 and knew immediately what a rare individual he was. Danny was a straight-shooter and dedicated to authenticity. It was an honor and a responsibility that I took seriously to follow Danny as CEO, and then as Chairman when he retired." Woodhouse added, "Danny was the keeper of this special brand for so many, many years, and he left us with a strong culture that values quality and honesty. He will be missed deeply."

Cracker Barrel President & Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "Cracker Barrel has remained true to Danny's vision in many ways, including the insistence on quality products at a fair price, and on genuine Southern hospitality. How Danny thought about his guests and his business from the beginning is captured in ‘Pleasing People,' our mission statement." She added, "We will continue to protect the concept and honor Danny's legacy by staying true to the brand and to the principles that were there at the beginning."

Danny was a Shell Oil "jobber" in 1969 when he decided to open up a restaurant on Highway 109 in Lebanon, Tenn., the community in which he lived. The restaurant had a small gift shop attached. Because Danny was modest and humble, he always downplayed his contributions to the business and attributed the company's success to good luck. But Danny knew that with the new interstate highway system, people would be traveling more. He built his business by treating his guests with genuine hospitality, offering good tasting country cookin' and charging a fair price, so that they would stop again when they were traveling back in the other direction. That approach to business led to the company's mission statement, "pleasing people," a mission statement which is about mutual respect, and which still guides all 67,000 employees today.

Danny named his restaurant Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® to recall the country stores of his youth in rural Tennessee where people would gather around to play checkers on top of an empty barrel that had been used to deliver crackers to the store, and catch up on the latest news in their small towns. He offered the Southern country cooking he had grown up on, using many family recipes, and decided to decorate the walls with authentic antiques. Danny never compromised on the quality of ingredients for the meals he served or on the quality of the gifts he sold in his retail shop, regardless of what corners the competition might be cutting. These traditions of quality and authenticity are carried on to this day.

Danny was often asked if he had ever thought that Cracker Barrel would grow so large and become such a favorite with guests. He would respond with a mock-serious "yes," and then smile as he added an offer to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to anyone who was naïve enough to believe that he had planned such growth in advance. But he knew that the idea of an old country store would be well-received outside of the South, in parts of the country that had as their traditions the very similar general stores and trading posts of the old days.

Danny was beloved by so many Cracker Barrel employees and built a unique culture that encouraged them to stay. Indeed, Cracker Barrel is fortunate to enjoy very low turnover rates and has a large number of employees who have been with the company for 20 and 30 years and more. He initiated the industry-leading Personal Achievement Responsibility, or PAR, training program, which provides for increased benefits for employees as they progress through the program from "Rising Star" to "PAR IV", and he insisted that Cracker Barrel develop computer-based-training programs years before it was standard in the industry.

Danny also kept his eye on the guest experience and was very concerned about maintaining the company's unique culture as the chain grew from its core markets in the South to reach the 42 states that it is in today. Among other innovations, he is credited with conceiving Cracker Barrel's popular book-on-audio program, which allows guests to purchase a book-on-audio at one location and then return it to any other location and get a new book-on-audio for only a nominal exchange fee.

Danny served as Chief Executive Officer from 1969 to 2001, and as Chairman of the Board until he retired in 2004, at which time he became Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Cracker Barrel Founders Board."

Infinity Athletics Allstars Win at TTU Spring Fling Championship

January 16, 2012
Infinity Athletics Allstars Win at TTU Spring Fling Championship

Infinity Athletics Allstars won 1st Place at the Tennessee Tech University Spring Fling Championship in Cookeville on Saturday, January 7th. They are coached by Jennifer Sykes and Sonja House.

Front Row L-R: Madison Colwell, Chloe Sykes, Mascot Kenna Sykes, Shaunta Koegler, Katherine Clendenen, Callie Mulloy, and Kenzie France
Bottom Row: Shelby Sprague, Alley Sykes, Emme Colwell

Chloe Sykes won 3rd Place in the 11 & up age group in the Jump Contest.
Alley Sykes won 1st Place in the 10 & under age group.

County Firefighters Respond to Structure Fire

January 16, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were called to a structure fire on Belk Road Saturday night.

Central dispatch received the call at around 7:00 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said that "the Belk Station, Keltonburg Station, Blue Springs Station, Short Mountain Station, and tanker truck from the Main Station responded to the fire at 9850 Belk Road. Upon our arrival, we found a two-story residence filled with heavy smoke. The fire had occurred in the garage area and the residents had used a garden hose and buckets of water to extinguish it. The location of the fire was determined to be on the garage floor, but the exact cause of the fire is still undetermined," said Chief Green.

"The residents had originally thought that the fire had penetrated the garage ceiling and had spread into an upstairs bedroom. However, firefighters were able to make entry and confirm that the garage fire had been extinguished and that the fire had not extended into any other portions of the structure. Crews set up ventilation fans to remove the smoke from the house. The fire damage was contained to a small area in the middle of the garage, but the entire garage suffered heat and smoke damage. Additionally, the living quarters of the residence suffered moderate smoke damage," said Chief Green.

No one was injured in the blaze. DeKalb County Emergency Medical Services and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was also on the scene to render assistance.


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