Local News Articles

WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2018 (View Photo Gallery Here)

May 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2018 (View Photo Gallery Here)

WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2018 in April and May. You may now view it at www.wjle.com.

Graduation is set for Friday, May 18 on the DCHS football field.

Click on the link below to view the senior formals.


Once you open the page, click each photo to view a larger image. The name of the senior you select is at the bottom of the photo. Or you may move your mouse over the photo to view the name.

There are 171 photos in the gallery divided up 30 photos to a page. Notice the box to the left in the photo gallery. After you view page 1 be sure to click the links for pages 2-6 to view the remaining photos. The names of seniors not pictured are also listed inside the box.

The WJLE photo gallery page was sponsored in April by Sheriff Patrick Ray, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, County Mayor Tim Stribling, St Thomas DeKalb Hospital, DTC Communications, Gill Automotive LLC, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, and Alexandria Auto Parts.

Sponsors in May are Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, A Degree Above Heating and Cooling, Good Health Family Clinic, and Trustee Sean Driver, in addition to Sheriff Ray, County Mayor Stribling, St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Gill Automotive, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, and DTC Communications,

Tennessee Department of Education Awards Voluntary Pre-K Funding to DeKalb County

May 4, 2018
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County School System is being awarded $488,551 from the Tennessee Department of Education to fund five voluntary Pre-K classes to serve up to 100 students for another year.

“We are excited to receive this news”, said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps. "With the funding, the school system will continue to offer four Pre-K classes at Smithville Elementary and one class at DeKalb West School,” he said.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced this week that 18,320 students in 916 classrooms across the state will benefit from the Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) program in the 2018-19 school year. Nearly 95 percent of districts in Tennessee will receive VPK funding designed to serve 4-year-olds who are at-risk and those in high-priority communities.

In an effort to ensure the program provides children with a high-quality opportunity to develop school readiness skills and a strong foundation for learning, the application process was revised in 2017 to align with the department’s definition of excellence in Pre-K. Pursuant to the requirements outlined in the Pre-K Quality Act of 2016, VPK funding was awarded on a competitive basis in order to provide consistently high-quality VPK programs that prioritize serving students from low-income families.

“It is important that we set our students up for academic success from day one with high-quality early learning opportunities, especially for those students with the greatest need,” Commissioner McQueen said. “By supporting 95 percent of our districts with excellent Voluntary Pre-K classrooms, we will allow more students in Tennessee the opportunity to build a strong foundation from which they can jump-start their academic journeys.”

To ensure VPK funds are used to maximize and increase student outcomes, the funding is based on program quality standards, including:

•full enrollment in programs serving the highest-need students;

•use of a quality curriculum aligned to the Tennessee Early Learning Developmental Standards for 4-year-olds;

•consistent, positive and responsive student-teacher interactions;

•instruction that reflects an integration of standards and builds deep content knowledge.

•use of student outcome data to improve instruction;

•frequent classroom observations with job-embedded support for pre-K teachers; and

•family outreach to maximize enrollment and support at-home learning.

The department believes it is important to give districts the support and training necessary to improve the quality of VPK programs. In the coming weeks, all districts that applied for VPK funding will receive district-specific, narrative feedback on each section of their application, as well as targeted supports based on areas of growth noted on the application.

The competitive application process is one of many targeted updates the department is undertaking to ensure VPK funding is utilized to support high-quality pre-K programs across the state. As the department continues to make pre-K program quality improvements, we will continue to partner with districts across the state to measure program quality and to provide strategic professional development and support.

Pre- K and Kindergarten Registration Today

May 4, 2018
Dwayne Page

Pre- K and Kindergarten registration for the 2018-19 school year will be Friday, May 4 from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at DeKalb West School and Smithville Elementary School.

Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2018 in order to enroll for the 2018-19 school year. Students being registered for Pre-K must be four years old on or before August 15.

Please bring the following information with you on pre-registration day:

*Social Security card

*Original birth certificate (certified copy with the state seal, not the hospital copy or mother's copy)

*Current, up to date, physical examination and immunization record (These must be on a Tennessee Department of Health Certificate of Immunization, which can be obtained from your doctor's office or the Health Department)

*Proof of residency for DeKalb County (i.e. gas/electric bill)

*Proof of Income for all household members (pre-kindergarten)

*Your child (they will be tested on registration day)

For more information call Michelle Burklow at 615-597-4084

A Day to Pray

May 3, 2018
Dwayne Page
Chris Moore of the Smithville Church of God prayed for our city during Thursday's observance for the National Day of Prayer

A small group of people gathered under the trees in the courthouse yard Thursday at noon to join in prayer in a local observance for the National Day of Prayer.

Isaac Gray, minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church gave an introductory prayer. He was followed by four others including Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville 1st United and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches who prayed for the nation; Chad Ramsey of the Smithville 1st Baptist Church who prayed for our state; Chris Moore of the Smithville Church of God who prayed for our city; and Nathan Thomason of the Outreach Baptist Church who prayed for churches.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on the understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

Listeners Urged to Call In Friday Morning to Talk with Ken and Pete on "All About Sports"

May 3, 2018
Dwayne Page
Ken Lacy and Pete Ferguson

Sports fans are urged to call-in and talk to Ken and Pete on “All About Sports” Friday morning on WJLE starting at 8:30 a.m.

“All About Sports with Ken and Pete” features weekly commentary and sometimes special guests talking about golf and a variety of other local, regional, state, and national sporting events. Listeners also have a chance to win giveways during the show.

This week’s guests will be YOU! So call in with your comments and questions about any sporting event.

The program is hosted by Ken Lacy and Pete Ferguson, who have been associated with Riverwatch Golf & Resort and who now serve as managers of the Smithville Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool.

Sports fans be sure to tune in Friday morning for “All About Sports with Ken and Pete” at 8:30 a.m. on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7 and LIVE Stream at www.wjle.com.

Motorist Responsible for Accident Faces Charges

May 3, 2018
Dwayne Page
Marcos Antonio Anota Nandez
Jarrett Lee Manning
William Oscar Meadows
Thomas D. Thomason
Jennifer Lynn Bullard

A motorist believed to have been responsible for causing another vehicle to hit the store building at Larry’s Discount Grocery has been charged by Smithville Police.

27 year old Marcos Antonio Anota Nandez of Smith Road was arrested on April 22 for aggravated assault, driving on a suspended license, and failing to give immediate notice of an accident. Police were called to Larry's Discount Grocery where a large section of the store's front windows had been broken. Upon arrival the officer noticed vehicle parts scattered about the sidewalk in front of the windows and a trail of fluid which led to a residence on South Mountain Street. Officers followed the trail to the home and spoke with the resident who informed them that Nandez had rammed his car into her vehicle causing it to veer off the roadway and crash into the store building. She suffered injuries to her right arm because of the incident including considerable swelling and bruising. After a further investigation, police determined that Nandez was responsible for the damage and injuries to the victim and that he did not notify law enforcement of the collision. A computer check of Nandez’ license revealed them to be suspended in Rutherford County for failure to appear. Bond for Nandez is $57,000 and his court date is May 10.

34 year old Jarrett Lee Manning of Forrest Avenue was arrested on April 23 for domestic assault. Manning was spotted on the side of the roadway in front of Mark's Body Shop on Miller Road engaging in a physical altercation with his victim. An off duty county deputy traveling on Miller Road at the time observed the incident and stopped to intervene. Manning saw the officer, jumped into his vehicle, and drove back to his residence. The deputy informed the investigating city officer that Manning had the victim by the collar of her hoodie and was trying to drag her into his truck. The woman suffered a small cut on her chin. Manning was later arrested. Bond for Manning is $3,500 and his court date is May 10.

45 year old William Oscar Meadows of New Home Road was arrested on April 13 for driving under the influence, possession of a weapon while under the influence and he was cited for having expired tags on his vehicle and failure to maintain lane of travel. Police responded to a motor vehicle accident on Allens Ferry Road and upon arrival noticed Meadows, the driver of the vehicle, to be unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he was confused. Meadows refused treatment by EMS but he did consent to field sobriety tasks and performed unsatisfactorily. He was then placed under arrest. During the accident investigation Meadows was found in possession of a 9 millimeter pistol that he tried to hide within the wreckage. A warrant was obtained for a blood alcohol test to be conducted. Bond for Meadows is $3,000

39 year old Amber Lynn Matchett of Cill Street was cited for simple possession or casual exchange on April 17. Matchett was observed by police exchanging money for half a pill believed to be suboxone. An officer conducted a traffic stop and asked Matchett about the exchange. She then pulled the pill out of her bra and told the officer that she bought it from a co-worker/friend.

50 year old Thomas D. Thomason of South College Street was arrested for domestic assault on April 18. A deputy observed Thomason physically push his victim while they were walking down West Broad Street near Wal-Mart. A city officer arrived on the scene and spoke with the victim who confirmed the incident. Thomason was then taken into custody. His bond is $2,500.

34 year old Daniel Wilson of Yulanda Hills Road was cited for theft of merchandise and criminal trespass on April 20. According to police, Wilson took cookware sets from Wal-Mart without paying for the merchandise. He had been informed on November 24, 2011 not to come back on the Wal-Mart property. Wilson’s court date is May 10.

34 year old Jackie Blake Sanders of Restview Avenue was cited for shoplifting on April 23. A Wal-Mart employee observed Sanders open a package containing a Zippo lighter and put it in his pocket before leaving the store. Other empty packages were found where Sanders was standing. The responding officer asked Sanders if he had anything else on him and he produced a large knife from inside his pants that he had not purchased. His court date is May 10.

34 year old Jennifer Lynn Bullard of West Walnut Street was arrested on April 27 for domestic assault. The victim had obtained an order of protection ex parte against Bullard and when she discovered it Bullard struck the victim in the face causing him to bleed above his right eye. Bond for Bullard is $3,500 and her court date is May 10.

DCHS’s “Spring into STEM” gets a little help from Tennessee Tech College of Engineering

May 3, 2018
Beverley Nash
Harry Ingle, director of the Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center at Tech recognizes Amy Fricks, a math teacher at DCHS and alumna of the College of Engineering at Tech

When a teacher at DeKalb County High School contacted the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech University to ask if they could contribute door prizes for a STEM focus day at the high school, it was an easy answer for Tech.

“We are always happy to help our area schools encourage students to learn more about engineering and the sciences,” said Harry Ingle, director of the Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center at Tech. “It is important to start with our youth now to cultivate bright, innovative minds for the future.”

Ingle helped Amy Fricks, a math teacher at DCHS and alumna of the College of Engineering at Tech, pick out draw string bags for each participating student. They also gave back packs and t-shirts for door prizes, and put together small gift bags as a token of thanks for the teachers who are involved in planning and facilitating the event.

"It is so important to expose young students to STEM disciplines early,” said Fricks. “There is not a lot of opportunity in this area outside of the schools for STEM learning. Manufacturing is a big provider of jobs in Dekalb County, so it is important for our students to start gaining the necessary skills to take on leadership roles in manufacturing-related STEM professions. Another goal of this event is to introduce elementary and middle school students to the career and technical education (CTE) programs offered at the high school. We want them to start thinking about their career options now, so that they are prepared to be as successful as possible when they enter our CTE programs."

"DCHS is excited to partner with Tennessee Tech to offer such an exciting event,” said DCHS Principal Randy Jennings. “This is an opportunity for the students of DeKalb Co. to be introduced to STEM disciplines, while at the same time having fun with hands on activities. I would especially like to thank Ms. Fricks for her hard work in organizing this event."

The College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech offers ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in engineering technology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. In addition, it offers bachelor degrees in basic science and engineering (BSE) jointly with East Tennessee State University. At the graduate level, Tech offers both master’s degrees and a doctorate in engineering. Founded in 1915, Tech offers more than 40 bachelor and 20 graduate programs to almost 11,000 students on its 252-acre central campus in Cookeville, Tennessee.

DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Cleanup Saturday

May 3, 2018
Pictured: Rhonda Harpole, Jimmy Poss, Tim Stribling, and Suzanne Williams

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Mayor’s office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up on Saturday, May 5th. The DeKalb Clean Up event will be held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful initiative going on across the country.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says, “We invite people to come out and help clean up around our communities and highways. Folks are welcome to pick up litter at places of their choice, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for you.”

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the County Complex parking lot.

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to stop by the DeKalb County Complex on May 5th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags, rubber gloves, and bottles of water. We will be taking a group picture at 9:30 AM for the media if you like to participate in that.

For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber, located in the Courthouse, Room 201, anytime during regular office hours by May 4th to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 615-597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together to make our communities safer, healthier and more livable!

Poss Leads Ticket in Tuesday Primary

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss
Jeff McMillen
Michael Agee
Jimmy Sprague

Four candidates for county wide offices ran unopposed in Tuesday’s DeKalb County Democratic Primary and two of them will not have an opponent in the General Election on August 2.



County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss led the ticket with 2,060 votes Tuesday and will be re-elected to a second term without opposition in August.

Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen received 2,017 complimentary votes Tuesday and will be unopposed in August enroute to his 9th term.

Michael Agee ran unopposed Tuesday for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff and received 1,182 votes. He will try to unseat Republican Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray in August. Ray is seeking his 4th term.

Jimmy Sprague is looking to become the next Road Supervisor. He ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination Tuesday with 1,933 votes. He will face Republican challenger Danny Hale in August. Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Butch Agee is not seeking re-election this year.

A total of 2,514 people voted in the Primary including 1,293 on election day and 1,221 during early voting/absentee.


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