Local News Articles

Monday Fire Causes Extensive Damage To Local Residence

May 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Firefighters were called to the residence of Len Jinks at 506 Old Highway 96 Monday.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says no one was at home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

He says the fire is believed to have started from the stove. The blaze spread up the wall into the attic.

Green says fire fighters of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Short Mountain Highway Stations were able to extinguish the blaze but the house received extensive damage.

Liberty and Temperance Hall Stations were called back to the scene later after the fire rekindled.

DeKalb County Home Nominated To National Register of Historic Places

May 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

The State Review Board will meet on Wednesday, May 16 to examine Tennessee's newest proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.

The meeting will be held at Clover Bottom Mansion at 2941 Lebanon Road in Nashville. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. The Board will vote on 16 nominations from across the state. Those nominations that are found to meet the criteria will be sent for final approval to the National Register of Historic Places in the Department of the Interior.

The nominations are:

Davidson County: Beech Grove; McGavock-Harris-Gatewood-Webb House; Whitland Area Neighborhood Historic District

DeKalb County: Susie Foster Log House

Hardeman County: Pocahontas School

Henderson County: Montgomery High School

Marion County: Marion Memorial Bridge

Meigs County: Blythe Ferry (boundary expansion)

Rutherford County: Elmwood (boundary expansion and additional documentation)

Sevier County: First United Methodist Church; Settlement School Community Outreach Historic District; White Oak Flats Cemetery

Shelby County: Universal Life Insurance Company; Vollintine Hills Historic District

Williamson County: Triangle School

Wilson County: Lebanon Woolen Mills

The State Review Board is composed of 13 people with backgrounds in American history, architecture, archaeology or related fields. It also includes members representing the public. The National Register program was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The public is invited to attend the meeting. For additional information, please contact Claudette Stager at (615) 532-1550, extension 105, or at Claudette.Stager@state.tn.us.

School Board Honors Retiring Teachers and Bus Driver

May 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education recognized the retirees and new tenured teachers during Thursday night's meeting held at the DCHS Cafeteria.

Those retiring at the close of the school year are Ina Ruth Bess of DeKalb County High School, who has been an educator for 58 years; Lynda Luna of Smithville Elementary School, who has taught 34 years; Linda Franklin of DeKalb Middle School, who has been a teacher for 35 years; Linda Lawrence of DeKalb Middle School, who has taught for 30 years; and Rebecca Davis of Northside Elementary School, who has been an educator here for 11 years. Sandra Hays, a teacher at DeKalb County High School retired earlier in the school year and was not present at Thursday night's meeting. Jack Patterson, who has been a bus driver for 20 years, is also retiring. Each of the retirees was presented a plaque by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and their principal or supervisor.

Tenured teachers recognized were Ashley Barnes of DeKalb Middle School, Amanda Rhoady of Smithville Elementary School, Tena Davidson of Northside Elementary School, Cynthia Preston of DeKalb West School, and David Gash, Melissa Ruch, and Larry Steffee of DeKalb County High School.

Director of Schools Willoughby has employed the DeKalb County Support Staff for the 2007-2008 school year.

He presented the list of employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:
Rena Adcock- Cook, Cindy Armour-Cook, Jean Bandy-Cook, Cathy Beltz-Educational Assistant, Richard Bullard- Custodian, Kathy Chapman-Cook, Billy Colwell- Custodian, Linda Cyphers- Vocational Rehabilitation Secretary, Debbie Eaton- Educational Assistant, Regina Estes- Secretary, Beverly Ferrell- Educational Assistant, Faye Hendrix- Vocational Secretary, Jerry Herman- Custodian, Helen LaFevre-Cook, Tammy Lambert-Educational Assistant, Debra Magness- Bookkeeper, Rhonda Merriman-Educational Assistant, April Patterson- Guidance/Records Clerk, JoAnn Pittman-Custodian, Jo Dean Redmon-Cook, Rob Robinson-Educational Assistant, Juanita Salazar- Part time Custodian, Beverly Starnes-Cook, Suzanne Williams-Educational Assistant, and Debbie Young-Cafeteria Manager.

DeKalb Middle School:
Rita Beshearse- Part Time Library Assistant/Part Time Cafeteria Monitor, Helen Burt- Part Time Cafeteria worker, Helen Cantrell-Cook, Fay Gilreath- School Bookkeeper, Johnna Goff- Educational Assistant, Connie Haggard- Cook, Truitt Hale- Custodian, Murinna Herman- Custodian, Barbara Hibdon- Cook, Rita Johnson-Cook, Molly Johnson-Educational Assistant, Samantha Lester- School Secretary, Reba Malone- Custodian, Paulette McDonald- Educational Assistant, Deandrea Miller- Educational Assistant,Lisa Norton- Educational Assistant, Julie Pugh- Educational Assistant, Eldon Vanatta- Cafeteria Manager, and Jean Young- Educational Assistant.

Smithville Elementary School:
Austin Bain-Custodian, Jimmy Barnes- Custodian, Christie Bates- Cook, Pauline Braswell- Educational Assistant, Brenda Crook-Educational Assistant, Barbara Ervin- Cafeteria Manager, Darlene Evans-Educational Assistant, Jennifer Gay- Educational Assistant, Betty Griffith- Educational Assistant, Jean Hayes- Cook, Vickie Jeffries- Educational Assistant, Angela Johnson- Educational Assistant, Natasha Judkins- Educational Assistant, Melinda Lattimore- Educational Assistant, Rita Liechtfuss- Educational Assistant, Sara Lomas-Custodian, Patricia Milam- Part Time Cafeteria Monitor/Substitute Custodian, Tina Miller- Educational Assistant, Dori Mooneyham- Educational Assistant, Lisa Pack- Educational Assistant, Freeda Pedigo- Cook, Rhonda Pelham- Secretary/Receptionist, Lori Poss- School Bookkeeper, Evelyn Rankhorn- Educational Assistant, Brenda Rigney- Part Time Educational Assistant, Debra Rowland- Educational Assistant, Thomas Trammell- Custodian, Tammy Tyler- Cook, Annie Walker- Educational Assistant, Celia Whaley- Educational Assistant, and Judy Wilson-Cook..

Northside Elementary:
Faye Adkins-Custodian, Charles Ayers- Custodian, Suzanne Bradford- Educational Assistant, Cindy Childers- Educational Assistant, Betty Cooper-Cook, Gail Crips- Secretary, Ervil Cubbins- Educational Assistant, Regina Daw- Cafeteria Manager, Rebecca Ervin- Cook, Starr Ferrell-Educational Assistant, Gloria Gardner- English as a Second Language (ESL) Educational Assistant, June Gilbert-Cook, Phyllis Hallum- Educational Assistant, Dena Haugh- Educational Assistant, Thelma Martin- Educational Assistant, Denise Merriman-Cook, Angie Moore-Educational Assistant, Deanna Page- Cafeteria Monitor/Part Time Cafeteria Worker, Linda Sorrell- Educational Assistant, Diane Trapp- School Bookkeeper, and Kim Violet- Custodian,

DeKalb West School:
Holly Bain-Educational Assistant, Betty Boss- Educational Assistant, Brenda Beth Cantrell-Educational Assistant, Donna Driver- Cook, Dorothy Duggin-Custodian, Tena Edwards- Educational Assistant, Pauline Frazier- Custodian, Mattie Frazier-Custodian, Lisa Hale- Educational Assistant, Donna Hale- School Bookkeeper, Donna Hendrix- Cook, Melissa Hicks- Part time Cook, Shelby Jennings- Educational Assistant Faye Nixon-Cook, Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant, Roenia Turner- Half Time Library Assistant and Lunch Room Monitor, Jalene Vanatta- Secretary, and Georgia Young-Cafeteria Manager.

County Wide Positions:
Chandra Adcock- School Nurse, Jenean Bain- Bus Assistant, Benita Byars- School Nurse, Betty Cooper-Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Bettye June Dodd- Bus Assistant, Sharon Farler- Substitute School Nurse, Greg Frasier-Computer Technician, Melissa Fuson- Substitute School Nurse, Theresa Garrison- Part-time Occupational Therapist, Billy Golden- Maintenance Worker, Rhonda Harpole- Library Assistant -half time at Smithville Elementary School and half time at Northside Elementary School, Terry Hicks- Maintenance Worker, Earl Jared- Maintenance Supervisor, Freda Johnson- Bus Assistant, Mary Joines- Bus Assistant, Eddy Roy Judkins- Maintenance Worker, Sara Lee-Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Faye Lohorn- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Teresa Miller- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Tera Mooneyham- English as a Second Language (ESL) Assistant, Brad Mullinax- Technology Director, Nancy Mulloy- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jean Neal-Bus Assistant, Shirley Ours- Special Education Secretary, Melissa Pirtle- Food Service Bookkeeper, Elizabeth Redmon- Educational Assistant CW, Patricia Redmon- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jo Dean Redmon- Part Time Custodian- Brian Reed- Alternative School Assistant, Joyce Robinson- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Jennifer Roller- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jewell Tate-Part time Custodian, Ricky Todd- Substitute Custodian, Kimberly Turner- School Nurse, Barbara Vanatta- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jamie Vickers- Secretary/Bookkeeper Central Office, and Rita Young-Attendance Clerk at Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary School.


Shane Cook- Transportation Supervisor, James Wilkerson- Mechanic, and Peggy Pursell- Part Time Secretary.

The following are bus drivers: Harold Ashford, Karen Adkins, Dwayne Cantrell, Dinah Cripps, Elaine Davis, Debbie Eaton, Julie Fayette, Marshall Ferrell, Starr Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Lynn Griffith, Judith Hale, Melissa Hicks, Kimberly Lawson, Angela Lawson, Bobby Martin, Ronald Merriman, Jimmy Mullican, Walter Phillips, Faye Pollard, Jimmy Poss, Tony Poss, Peggy Pursell, J.T. Pursell, Juanita Salazar, Vickie Simpson, Bobby Taylor, Mark Violet, and Suzanne Williams.
Substitute bus drivers are: Danny Bond, Shawna Harper, Jerry Lawson, Daniel Lawson, and Annette Vanatta.

Those employed for the 2006-2007 school year since the last meeting are Nancy Mulloy-substitute cafeteria worker; K. Wayne Taylor- substitute custodian; Michael Kingsbury-part time groundskeeper; and Nicholas Smith-part time groundskeeper. Pam Eldridge, a sign language interpreter at Smithville Elementary School, has resigned.

Special Education Summer School Personnel have also been employed. Summer School is set for June 4th-29th from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. (4 hours daily).

Instructors are as follows:

Extended Preschool Program: Teacher Jane Parsley and assistants Tina Miller and Dori Mooneyham.

Early Elementary Reading Intervention: Teacher- Amy Fox and assistant Thelma Martin.

Upper Elementary Reading Intervention: Teacher- Tonya Perry (Holly Espinosa will fill in one week) and assistant Phyllis Hallum. Speech/Language Therapy-Louise Owen, Assistant for Speech/Language Lisa Pack; and there will be a Sign Language Interpretor for a deaf student.

Smithville Man Treated and Released After Wreck

May 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 74 year old Smithville man was injured after he wrecked his pickup truck on Highway 70 east Thursday afternoon.

Lieutenant Brian Lawson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Darwin Gard of Pack Circle was driving west on Highway 70 in a 2000 Chevy Silverado pickup truck when he lost control while negotiating a curve, overcorrected, and went into a yaw. The truck went off the southside of the highway and overturned one time, coming to rest on it's top off an embankment.

Gard was wearing his seatbelt and was not ejected.

He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

Smithville Sales Tax Collections Take Big Jump In April Report

May 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

Local Option Sales tax collections in Smithville took a huge jump in April, compared to the same months the two previous years.

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson says monthly figures released from the Tennessee Department of Revenue show that April 2007 net collections in Smithville came to $136,955, up over $40,000 compared to $94,257 in April 2006, and $95,367 in April 2005.

Mayor Hendrixson says these numbers indicate that Smithville is growing and making progress. With an expanding sales tax base and good management of city resources, Mayor Hendrixson says there is no foreseeable property tax increase on the horizon in the city.

Net collections for the county in April 2007 were $28,376, up from $27,927 in April 2006, but down from $31,523 in April 2005.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue, in the report, notes that normal Local Optopn Sale Tax collections may fluctuate. This could be due to additional collections on assessments or reductioons as a result of taxpayer refunds or returned checks. Should collection amounts increase significantly, it might be the result of an audit assessment.

Smithville Sales Tax Collections Take Big Jump In April

May 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

Local Option Sales tax collections in Smithville took a huge jump in April, compared to the same months the two previous years.

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson says monthly figures released from the Tennessee Department of Revenue show that April 2007 net collections in Smithville came to $136,955, up over $40,000 compared to $94,257 in April 2006, and $95,367 in April 2005.

Mayor Hendrixson says these numbers indicate that Smithville is growing and making progress. With an expanding sales tax base and good management of city resources, Mayor Hendrixson says there is no foreseeable property tax increase on the horizon in the city.

Net collections for the county in April 2007 were $28,376, up from $27,927 in April 2006, but down from $31,523 in April 2005.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue, in the report, notes that normal Local Option Sales Tax collections may fluctuate. This could be due to additional collections on assessments or reductions as a result of taxpayer refunds or returned checks. Should collection amounts increase significantly, it might be the result of an audit assessment.

Over Five Hundred Vote Early on Sales Tax Referendum

May 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

A total of 562 DeKalb County voters cast ballots from April 27th through May 12th on the proposal to increase the local option sales tax from 1.5% to 2.75%.

Here's how the voting breaks down day by day: 70 voted on Friday, April 27th including personal appearance and by mail ballots, 21-Saturday, 36 -Monday, 46- Tuesday, 38- Wednesday, 44-Thursday, 42-Friday, 31-Saturday, May 5th, 34-Monday, 31-Tuesday, 41- Wednesday, 57-Thursday, 29 -Friday, and 42 on Saturday, May 12th.

If approved, the overall state sales tax rate in DeKalb County would go from 8.5% to 9.75%, however the county commission has pledged to reduce the property tax rate by nineteen and a half cents.

The rate was increased by 39 cents last September.

The special election day will be Thursday, May 17th. The polling places at all sixteen precincts will open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Lisa Peterson, Administrator of Elections reminds you that the polling place for Temperance Hall has been moved from the Temperance Hall Community Center. The new polling place is the Temperance Hall Methodist Church located at 113 Hayes Ridge Road.

Peterson adds that all voters should present some form of identification when they arrive at the polls to vote.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the election returns Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480 and FM 101.7 and LIVE audio streaming at www.wjle.com

The wording on the ballot will read:


Smithville Police and Federal Agents Raid Local Business

May 14, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Investigators and Federal Agents of the US Department of Treasury (IRS) raided a local business last Tuesday.

Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says the business, known as Tienda Mexicano Sante Fe at 411 Short Mountain Road, has been under constant surveillance for the last three months by both agencies.

As a result of the investigation, Sandra Delafuente was charged with operating without a valid city occupational license to do business in the city. Other charges may be forthcoming.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police had the business under investigation for approximately three months due to numerous citizens' complaints that official misrepresentations were being made to the Latin community. The business provides Notary, basic Administrative help for those needing help with Spanish translation. Citizens were complaining that representatives of the business were soliciting money from \"illegal aliens\" in exchange for Visa documents and \"Green Cards. Authorities also received complaints that representatives of the business were claiming to be attorneys and could secure immigration status for illegal's. A records check of the business with the Tennessee Department of Licensure did not show anyone having a valid law license to work in Tennessee.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service followed up with the investigation and found a variety of financial concerns with the business and its representatives. Agents raided the business confiscating files, computers and numerous documents. The business was then closed and posted with US Government Investigative Seizure placards. The case is continuing.\"

Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon 50 year old Forrest Byrd of 815 Dry Creek Road, Smithville was arrested for Sale and Delivery of Schedule III Narcotics and Public Intoxication. Chief Stufano says officers originally responded to the address on an unwanted guest complaint. Upon arrival they found Byrd heavily intoxicated and in possession of Hydrocodone tablets. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is set at $26,000.

On Monday morning, 30 year old Bridgette Judkins was arrested for Simple Possession of Narcotics and Driving on a Revoked License. Officers responded to a citizen's complaint of possible illegal narcotics activity in the area of Short Mountain Street and Highway 70. Upon arrival they met with Judkins. A records check disclosed Judkins had a Revoked Driver's license. Upon her arrest she was found to also have a bag of suspected marijuana on her person. Judkins was arrested and transported to the Police Department and released with citations to appear in court.

Chief Stufano says Smithville Police are committed to investigating all crimes committed within the city and greatly appreciate the active stance the citizens are taking in the Crime Watch Program. Due to concerned citizens tips and confidential information Smithville Police have been able to successfully resolve numerous investigations.

Police Take Precautions In Dealing with Despondent Man

May 15, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police were summoned to the 500 Block of South College Street Monday after a concerned mother living in Lebanon had called to report that her 37 year son was despondent and threatening suicide.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \"Upon arrival to the scene, Police found the man's step-mother in the yard stating that she also believed that her stepson was suffering from depression and did in fact have a loaded gun in the house. Officers quickly cordoned off the street in front of the residence in order to contain the incident. Further investigation and conversation with the biological mother via phone noted that her son made a threat to her that he would \"use his toe to pull the trigger\". Police were positioned throughout the neighborhood, especially along the south side of the residence which bordered the ball-field where over 200 people were in attendance at a game.\"

As a precaution Paramedics were summoned to standby. After almost 45 minutes the man was talked out of the house by Chief Stufano.

Chief Stufano a trained FBI Hostage Negotiator and former US Homeland Security official has been involved with negotiating numerous airline hijackings during his tenure. Chief Stufano stated \"my main concerns included the innocent by-standers, the officers and the victim\". \"However long it took to resolve the situation we were prepared to wait to reach a peaceful solution\"

Officers were able to successfully gain entry into the house and secured three shotguns and a loaded pistol one of which was near the subjects' bed. With the help of neighborhood residents who allowed officers access to their homes to setup perimeters, a potentially lethal event was averted. Officers at the scene were able to talk to the man and the parents to a successful resolution without further incident.

Chief Stufano stated that he \"credits the Neighborhood Watch Program for much of the department's continued success and thanks the citizens for their input and help.\"

DARE Graduation Held at Northside Elementary School

May 14, 2007
Dwayne Page

One hundred seventy three fifth graders at Northside Elementary School participated in a DARE graduation ceremony Monday.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Officer Tim Hearn of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded.

This year's essay winners at Northside were Kelsey Evans, Zachary Poss, Cody Hattaway, Ashley Hershman, Karem Bain, Devin Summers, and Kaylee Hale.

Each of those students read their essays during the DARE graduation program.

Judge Bratten Cook II presented checks for $50 each to two of the seven DARE essay winners, Karem Bain and Devin Summers, whose names were drawn for the special awards.

DARE Officer Tim Hearn, during his remarks, told the students that he has presented them a plan and hopes that they will apply it to their lives.

Completing his first year as a DARE officer, Hearn says he believes the program was very successful and feels like he has gained 173 new friends.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, who also spoke during the DARE graduation, told the students that \"D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the DeKalb Sheriff?s Department, DeKalb County School System, parents, and the community?all of us working together to help you make the right choices concerning drug use. I ask you today students, to take this valuable information and apply it to your lives, now and forever.\"

With the help of the DeKalb County Mayor, Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Commission, money from the Sheriff's Department drug fund account was used to fund this year's DARE Program at Northside Elementary School and DeKalb West School, after the state cut funding for DARE.

Other elected public officials on hand for the DARE graduation program, in addition to Sheriff Ray and Judge Cook, were Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, and Trustee Sean Driver.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

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