Local News Articles

Two Wounded in Shooting (UPDATED)

December 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

A man and woman were wounded in a shooting Thursday night at a residence on Earl Avenue.

42 year old Darrell Brown and 34 year old Jennifer Arrington were both airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital.

WJLE has learned that Brown and Arrington had been arguing during the day and that Arrington became concerned that Brown, who had a handgun, might try to harm himself. As she tried to intervene, Brown allegedly fired one shot which wounded him in the facial area and passed through to strike Arrington in the hand.

The case remains under investigation by the Smithville Police Department

Christmas on the Square Creates Festive Mood

December 4, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Community Chorus Entertains at Christmas on the Square
Shan Burklow and Suzanne Williams light the Christmas Tree

Many shared in the fun and excitement of "Christmas on the Square" Thursday evening downtown Smithville.

The Community Chorus entertained and led the crowd in singing Christmas carols. Members of Boy Scout Troop #347 participated in a Flag-Raising Ceremony as Josh Isaac sang and the program concluded with a tree lighting ceremony outside the courthouse. As the crowd counted down, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams and Shan Burklow lit the tree.

On the first floor of the courthouse, county officials and their employees greeted visitors and served refreshments during the annual open house while at Justin Potter Library, children were treated to Christmas Carols and a Story Time, followed by a visit from Santa.

More holiday fun is scheduled for this weekend with the Smithville Christmas Parade set for Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and the Liberty Christmas Parade on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Students Attend Senior Beta Convention

December 4, 2014
Students Attend Senior Beta Convention
Lydia Trail, senior, won second place in the area of English

The senior Beta Club of DeKalb County High School attended the state convention on November 30 through December 2, 2014. The event was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Thirty-nine students with their sponsors, Mrs. Debi DePriest and Mrs. Melissa Ruch joined schools from across the state to compete in a wide range of academic and non-academic contests.

The club did not come home empty handed! Lydia Trail, senior, won second place in the area of English. She was invited to compete in the national convention which will be held in June. “The students were some of the best we have ever had the privilege of taking to the convention. Their behavior and character were exemplary. We were thrilled to represent DeKalb County with such a fine group of young people,” replied Debi DePriest.

Students Attending Beta Convention

JUNIORS:
Chase Bryant
Ashli Chew
Haden Cripps
Tyra Graham
Hannah James
Hannah Lasser
Anna Malone
Keeley McKay
Eli Oliver
Max Pafford
Noah Parsley
Alex Rhody
Kyra Slager
Kirkland Smallwood
Morgan Vickers
Hailey Walker
Hannah Walker
Carlee White
Seth Wright

SENIORS
Rachel Adcock
Kathryn Blair
Leah Burchfield
Michael Caplinger
Loren Cripps
Lenzi Dickens
Savannah Driver
Taylor Ellis
Bailey Hayes
Kelsey Hedge
Destiney McCardell
Jackie Overbey
Brooke Reffue
Zach Roberts
Makalee Ruch
Lydia Trail
Darrian Turner
Jacob Washer
Bruce Wilson
Charlie Young

Schools Preparing for SACS Re-Accreditation

December 3, 2014
by: 
Lisa Cripps

DeKalb High School was successfully awarded re-accreditation last school year by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The other four schools in the county are now going through the renewal process preparing for re-accreditation, which is required every five years.

The mission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the improvement of education in the South through accreditation. The accreditation process for any school that participates allows an inward look at shared values and practices that assures the educational quality and effectiveness of each school. Accreditation by the SACS Committee is a statement of the school’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.

The SACS Committee is a non-profit, non-partisan group of educators that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. The SACS Committee’s mission is to help schools improve the remediation process with a balanced, systemic approach combining standards, stakeholder feedback and student performance to measure quality programs, relationships and results. It helps schools make the most of their talents and resources. The process aligns accreditation with accountability, emphasizing learner outcomes when evaluating the school’s quality; however, it is not the outcome but the course taken over time that yields the greatest return on investment.

The journey to accreditation is a long one. Five school committees made up of teachers, stakeholders, parents and students are set up within the schools up for renewal of accreditation. These school committees focus their work on five standards of what makes up a quality school. To gain or maintain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation. The standards are: Purpose and Direction, Governance and Leadership, Teaching and Assessing for Learning, Resources and Support Systems, and Using Results for Continuous Improvement. Each standard is reviewed thoroughly by the school’s committee members and a written report of their findings is presented to the SACS Committee during the site visit. The SACS Committee will review each school’s committee’s work and in turn will provide recommendations for accreditation renewal. The SACS Committee will provide each school with a committee final report of the schools evaluation rating on a given rubrics scale. This allows each school to see their strengths that can be built on and their weaknesses to improve.

School administrators and teachers say they look forward to sharing the final performance rating with our community after the SACS Committee’s visits.

Car Crash with Semi Results in Injuries

December 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
2004 Mercury Sable Driven by Rhonda Goff
1999 International Tractor Trailer Truck Driven by Christian Wanner
Rig Damaged in Wreck

A Smithville woman was transported to Vanderbilt Hospital Monday night after her car crashed into a Semi on Highway 146 near the intersection of Big Hickory Court.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Rhonda Goff was traveling south in a 2004 Mercury Sable when she crossed the center line while trying to negotiate a curve and struck a northbound 1999 International Tractor Trailer truck, driven by 59 year old Christian Wanner of Woodbury. Wanner's wife, 59 year old Regina was in the truck with him.

According to Sergeant McCormick Wanner swerved trying to avoid the collision. His truck went off the road after impact and overturned on its side. Goff's car made an angle impact with the truck with the front left corner hitting the front left corner of the truck. The car then hit the truck's fuel tank, causing a diesel leak, and went off the southbound side of the highway. The Sable came rest up against a fence facing north.

Goff was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital and later taken by ground ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital for further treatment.

Wanner was not hurt. His wife suffered minor injuries but she refused treatment.

Sergeant McCormick said alcohol was involved in the crash and that charges are pending.

The Wanner's, hauling wooden pallets, were enroute to Federal Mogul when the accident occurred.

In addition to Sergeant McCormick, DeKalb EMS and members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Mayor and Aldermen Schedule Workshop on Liquor Ordinance

December 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Alderman Jason Murphy and Mayor Jimmy Poss(Older Photo)
Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller(Older Photo)
Aldermen Danny Washer and Gayla Hendrix (Older Photo)

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen have scheduled a workshop to begin developing an ordinance regulating retail package stores for the sale of liquor in the city.

The workshop will be held after adjournment of a special meeting set for Monday, December 15 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall to adopt other unrelated ordinances on second and final reading.

The liquor store issue was briefly discussed during Monday night's regular monthly meeting. City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson passed out ordinances from other towns where liquor stores are already operating. These "sample" ordinances may serve as a guide for the aldermen to consider in establishing regulations for the City of Smithville. "This is about five or six different cities and their ordinances that regulate package stores. This is just something to study. We need to do a lot more research before we start issuing any regulations. We need to sit down and talk about it because we've got to meet all the state regulations. They (state) have more say so on this than we do. We need to do a little more homework before passing these laws because I'm not comfortable enough with giving you information on everything," said Hendrixson.

City Attorney Vester Parsley suggested inviting a representative of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to join the mayor and aldermen at the workshop to provide more information. " This is something that when we finish, we want to have it compliant with state law and to meet the needs of Smithville. I think it would be good to have someone from the ABC to appear. Hunter and I both, and the mayor has had several calls regarding making applications. We're not to that point yet. I feel we're at least a month or two away or possibly longer before we get a workable ordinance and get it approved and get the procedure in place. I think it's important that we work on this and remember we're setting an ordinance that will be used in the foreseeable future for any application for packaged liquor stores in the City of Smithville. If someone asks you, just tell them that we are working on it. We haven't forgotten about it and it's going to take some time to get that in compliance with Tennessee ABC rules and other state statutes we have to comply with," said Parsley.

While the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission actually issues liquor licenses, the city can adopt some restrictions. " Usually municipalities from what I can tell, regulate what zoning they (liquor stores) go in, the number of stores, and the distance from government buildings, churches, and schools. Some (cities) base them (number of stores allowed) on population. Some like Cookeville are wide open based on the free market. There are all sorts of ways to go," said Hendrixson.

Once an ordinance is in place and a store owner makes application, he or she is subject to background checks. " The application starts here and then the chief of police or city attorney does a background check and then we send it to Nashville and they (ABC) give final approval," Hendrixson said.

"Even though they (applicants) may meet our requirements, it's up to ABC to go forward," Parsley added.

DeKalb Hospital donates presents for babies

December 2, 2014
by: 
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital donates presents for babies

DeKalb Community Hospital held a toy and diaper drive for needy babies as part of the Healthy Beginnings program of DeKalb County. Hospital staff, along with the Chamber of Commerce, and the local community, donated hundreds of diapers along with clothes, blankets and necessary care items. These babies come from low to zero income homes.

"We were so very happy to help these babies and their mothers have a merry Christmas. Our staff immediately responded to the need and we had all the babies sponsored in less than 24 hours. Each sponsored baby received diapers, new clothing, a toy and other requested items," said Shan Burklow-Marketing Director for DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals, "We literally ran out of babies to sponsor and asked that the community donate diapers instead. In this fragile economy, it warms my heart to see that people still have such a heart for giving."

Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospital agrees, "Our staff are some of the finest people around. They are caring and empathetic with our patients and that carries over in how they serve our community. We are pleased to help meet this important need in DeKalb County and hope that these families have a little brighter holiday due to everyone's combined generosity."

"Our program (Healthy Beginnings) was so very grateful to partner with the hospital this year. It will be such a blessing for these babies and their moms," said Essie Tucker of Healthy Beginnings, "We'd like to personally thank everyone that has helped us provide for these babies for the holidays including our donations for a Christmas party. Kilgore's Restaurant helped us with the food, the staff at DeKalb Community Hospital donated the gifts, and so many in the community helped out wherever they could. We just can't thank everyone enough."

For more information, or to request help for a new mother or baby, please contact Healthy Beginnings at (931) 265-7424. DeKalb Community Hospital will be holding another diaper drive in the spring, but Healthy Beginnings will accept donations for babies 0-24 months anytime throughout the coming year.

####

Pictured: Shan Burklow of DeKalb Community Hospital and Essie Tucker of Healthy Beginnings stand with a portion of donated Christmas items for needy babies and their families located across DeKalb County. Hundreds of diapers, clothing, blankets and toys were donated to local babies from low to zero income homes.

Twenty Defendants Named in Roundup

December 2, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Sheriff's Deputy Michael Trusty brings in Sara Patterson
Lt Detective Matt Holmes of Smithville Police Dept brings in John Deck
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins brings in Gary Ray Ashford

Twenty persons were rounded up Monday after being named in Grand Jury sealed indictments following undercover drug investigations by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Alexandria Police Department, and the Smithville Police Department.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF DEFENDANTS)

http://www.wjle.com/node/27254

The names of those arrested and their charges are as follows:

37 year old Gary Ray Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. His bond is $20,000.

37 year old Stacey Doreen Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III & IV drug. Her bond is $40,000

22 year old Marv Richardson Cash of Lavergne Street, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $10,000.

52 year old Richard A. Chapman of Oakley Hollow Road, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

35 year old Amy Beth Craig of Potts Camp Road, Smithville is indicted for child endangerment, two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, and two counts of violation of a drug free zone. Her bond is $105,000.

John Charles Deck of Toad Road, Dowelltown is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $90,000.

71 year old Billy Robert Eaton of Sparta Pike, Watertown is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. His bond is $30,000.

43 year old Felicia Anne Fullilove of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II & III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

56 year old Judy Ann Johnson of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is indicted for TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. Her bond is $70,000.

Terry Lynn Johnson of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is indicted for TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. His bond is $70,000.

Jermaine Derperise McCoy of Smith Road, Smithville is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

33 year old Shane Nerod Miller of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II & III drug. His bond is $60,000.

31 year old Christopher Newsom of Trousdale Ferry Road is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug. His bond is $30,000.

19 year old Thomas Braxton Nix of Highway 96, Liberty is indicted for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. His bond is $15,000.

40 year old Sara Elaine Patterson of Gin Alley, Alexandria is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

43 year old Peggy Jean Peoples of Lavergne Street, Alexandria is indicted for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $60,000.

55 year old Janice Darlene Strange of Potts Camp Road, Smithville is indicted for child endangerment, two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, and two counts of violation of the drug free zone. Her bond is $105,000.

34 year old Heather Starr Trapp of South College Street, Smithville is indicted for theft of property. Her bond is $20,000.

41 year old Cynthia Selane Vaughn of Kendra Drive, Smithville is indicted for two counts of TennCare Fraud and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $80,000.

64 year old Jackie Daniel Wilkerson of James Court, Gordonsville is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug. His bond is $20,000.

These defendants will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 8.

Indicted Drug Defendants Arrested in Round Up Monday

December 1, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray and Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins
K9 Officer James Cornelius, Detective Brandon Donnell, Lt Detective Matt Holmes, and Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police, and Alexandria Police Departments conducted a roundup of defendants Monday who were named in Grand Jury Sealed indictments last week as a result of undercover drug investigations.

The arrests stemmed from two separate year long undercover operations, including one by the Smithville Police Department, and a joint investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Alexandria Police Department.

Those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 8 at 9:00 a.m.

In each case, the defendants were indicted for allegedly selling illegal drugs to undercover operatives. "The drugs bought in our investigation were marijuana, cocaine, hydrocodone, xanax, suboxone strips, percocets, roxycontin, subutex, and valium. They were bought in the city limits of Alexandria, Liberty, Dowelltown, and Smithville," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.

"We started (our investigation) about a year ago, I guess. There's a lot of time involved in doing it right. The sheriff has always been good to come in help us out and I sure do appreciate it because I am limited in manpower and assets, "said Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins.

The Sheriff's Department/Alexandria Police Department probe resulted in indictments against twelve persons for selling drugs, two for theft, and three for either manufacturing marijuana or possession of marijuana with intent to resell.

Eleven persons were indicted in the Smithville Police Department's investigation. One of those was also indicted on two counts of TennCare Fraud.
"Our investigation began in January 2014. They (officers) did a good job. It went well and the round up went smoothly" said Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger.

According to Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes, Detective Brandon Donnell, and K-9 Officer James Cornelius, the Smithville Police Department's investigation netted indictments against persons who had sold drugs including hydrocodone, suboxone, xanax, dilaudid, and morphine.

Although the Smithville Police Department's operation was conducted separately from the Sheriff's Department /Alexandria Police Department investigation, Sheriff Ray said all cases were presented to the grand jury on the same day last Monday, November 24 and all departments worked together in rounding up the defendants Monday, December 1. Constable Mark Milam also helped in the roundup.

Those arrested were brought to the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department to be processed and booked. Sheriff Ray said he wishes to thank the fire department for allowing officers to use the building for this purpose on Monday.

Alexandria Celebrates Christmas (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 1, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Santa Arrives in Alexandria

High school bands playing Christmas music, a waving Santa Claus, and a parade of floats, vintage automobiles and other vehicles, along with horseback riders were all it took for the folks of Alexandria to get into the holiday mood Sunday. It was the annual Alexandria Christmas Parade.

Led by Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins and Sheriff Patrick Ray, this year's parade also featured the DCHS and Watertown high school bands, Grand Marshals Billy and Sue Corley, local veterans, Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley, State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, members of the Alexandria, Watertown, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments, DeKalb EMS, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squads, Cub Scouts, floats , entries from various businesses, horseback riders, horse and mule drawn wagons, vintage automobiles, tractors, motorcycle and ATV riders, Smoky the Bear, and of course Santa Claus. Carolers at the West Main Baptist Church performed prior to the event.

The Memorial Baptist Church won first place among church floats. The Malone's Chapel Baptist Church Youth received second place. Randy's Heat and Air took first place in the another float category. Bob McComb received second place. Lee Wilkerson received first place for his team of mules.

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

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