Local News Articles

20th Annual Relay for Life Friday Night, May 5

May 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
20th Annual Relay for Life Friday Night, May 5

The 20th annual Relay for Life to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society will be Friday, May 5 at Green Brook Park in Smithville.

This year’s theme is “Relaying Southern Style”

The entertainment begins at 5:15 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

A Luminaria Ceremony begins at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

The schedule of events for the evening is as follows:

5:15 p.m.- Terry Hodges

5:35 p.m.- Kathy Goodwin

5:55 p.m.- Presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop #347

The National Anthem:
Invocation by Chris Moore, pastor of the Smithville Church of God

Welcome by Ivadell Randolph

Introduction of cancer survivors

Prayer for cancer survivors by Dwayne Cornelius, pastor of the New Life United Pentecostal Church
Song honoring cancer survivors by Don and Bonnie Rigsby

6:20 p.m.-Suzanne Slager

6:30 p.m.-Tina Boston

6:45 p.m.-DeKalb Middle School Beta Club Chorus

7:00 p.m.- David Turner & Friends

7:30 p.m.- Fluty and the Flutones

7:45 p.m.- Heritage from the Smithville First Assembly of God

8:00 p.m.- Elvis (Kevin Roberts) Salem Baptist Church

8:30 p.m.- Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Young Adults

8:45 p.m.- Smithville Church of God Praise Team

9:00 p.m.- Luminaria Ceremony

Prayer by Alex Woodward, preacher at the Gassaway Church of Christ

9:15 p.m.- Seth Willoughby

9:30 p.m. Zone Status

11:30 p.m.- Closing Ceremony

Midnight-Relay Ends

WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2017 (View Photo Gallery Here)

May 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2017 in May

WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2017 in May. You may now view it at www.wjle.com.

Graduation is set for Friday, May 26 at the DCHS football field.

Click on the link below or the box on the left side of the WJLE homepage to view the senior formals.
http://wjle.com/graduation/2017/page1

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 178 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 is sponsored in May by Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic, General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten H. Cook, II, Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Trustee Sean Driver, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, DTC Communications, Arrow Termite & Pest Control, DeKalb Tire & Service, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss.

McMinnville Man Killed in Crash on Sparta Highway (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

April 30, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
45 year old Larry Jones of McMinnville killed in crash on Sparta Highway. 33 year old Brandon Temple of Hendersonville was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital
Crash Scene on Sparta Highway near former VFW Club location

A one vehicle crash claimed the life of a McMinnville man and seriously injured another from Hendersonville Saturday on Highway 70 east near the former VFW Club.

Dead is 45 year old Larry Jones of McMinnville. 33 year old Brandon Temple of Hendersonville was airlifted by Life Flight to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Jones was driving east on Highway 70 in a 2001 Chevy Blazer when he failed to negotiate a curve and went off the right side of the road. The Blazer struck a wooden post and old VFW sign and then ran off a steep bluff into the hollow below. The vehicle overturned and came to rest on its top. Jones died at the scene.

Members of the DeKalb EMS, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department responded.

Because of the steep hillside, EMS and rescue volunteers used ropes to access the crash scene. The victims were removed from the passenger side of the vehicle, placed in stokes baskets, and brought back up to the top of the hill. The Life Flight helicopter ambulance landed in the parking lot of the old VFW Club and airlifted Temple to Vanderbilt Hospital. Jones’ body was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

(VIEW VIDEO OF VEHICLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOLLOW OFF HIGHWAY 70 EAST NEAR OLD VFW CLUB LOCATION)

The crash remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Constable Mark Milam assisted in directing traffic.

Wilkins Named to Democratic Party Positions

April 30, 2017
Jordan Wilkins
DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine at a fundraising event in Nashville. Sen. Kaine was the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

The leader of the DeKalb County Democratic Party has been named Secretary of the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association, and re-elected Chairman of the 6th District County Chairs.

Jordan Wilkins was elected to the positions on Saturday, April 29 in Murfreesboro at the annual Statewide Conference.

The 6th district includes the following counties: Pickett, Fentress, Cumberland, White, DeKalb, Cannon, Coffee, Wilson, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Trousdale, Macon, Sumner and Robertson counties.

“My goal is to make sure each county party is strong and active in their communities, spreading our message on what Democrats are doing to help make life better for all Americans. I plan to work closely with each county Chair to ensure that we have good candidates running up and down the ballot in 2018," said Wilkins.

Meanwhile Wilkins recently met Virginia Senator Tim Kaine at a fundraising event in Nashville. Sen. Kaine was the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

NHC Smithville Honors Volunteers

April 30, 2017
Volunteer of the Year Linda Davis with NHC Administrator Clint Hall
NHC Smithville Honors Volunteers

April 23-29 was NHC Volunteer Week. A special luncheon was held on Friday, April 28, 2017, to honor all NHC Smithville volunteers and celebrate their important contribution to the patients of NHC Smithville. Representatives from churches, civic clubs, schools, and others were on hand to enjoy the lunch. Smithville resident Linda Davis was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year. Mrs. Davis has volunteered for over 7 years, giving generously of her time and talents.

“Volunteers are an important asset to any organization and we are blessed to have so many caring individuals involved at our center,” said Clint Hall, Administrator. “They are truly a part of the NHC Smithville family. The time, energy, care, compassion, talents, and genuine love they have for the patients and families are incredible.”

Those interested in volunteering at NHC Smithville are welcome to stop by during office hours (M-F, 8-5). For more information, please call Kayla Beth Adams at (615) 597-4284 or email kadams@nhcsmithville.com. All volunteers must pass a background check.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com.

DeKalb Fair to Honor Veterans with Exhibit

April 30, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ria Baker

The DeKalb County Fair is honoring local veterans with a special exhibit for them on “Memory Lane” at the fairgrounds this year.

Organizers are seeking names, photos, and other military information of veterans now in preparation for this exhibit.

“The 2017 DeKalb County Fair, with help of the Liberty State Bank, will be adding a Veterans Exhibit on Memory Lane this year at the fair. We are asking everyone who knows a veteran to please send us your information,” said spokesperson Ria Baker.

“We’d love a copy of a picture with their name, branch of service and the years served. Past years to present, all men who served in wartime or keeping the peace.,” she said.

“This building will also have exhibits of any memorabilia we can get from different wars and lists of all the names we can verify through records and we have access to,” Baker added.

The Veterans Exhibit on Memory Lane will be open July 17-22 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. nightly during this year's DeKalb County Fair.

You may contact Ria Baker at 615-529-2840 or leave your information and photo at any of the Liberty State Bank locations. Please don’t bring any pictures unless they are copies and be sure to put the name on the back.

“It’s a labor of honor and respect in progress and we hope to add to it yearly. Help us out by sharing your information and by coming by to see the building,” Baker concluded.

Parole Hearing Scheduled for Jessica May

April 28, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jessica Ashley May

21 year old Jessica Ashley May, serving an eight year sentence for attempted aggravated child neglect stemming from the 2015 death of her 23 month old son, will have her first parole hearing next month.

Although May is a state prisoner, she is incarcerated at the Carroll County Jail and the parole hearing will be held there on Tuesday, May 23.

May stood before Judge Gary McKenzie in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 and entered a plea to attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, and received an eight year sentence as a range I mitigated offender to serve at least 20% before parole eligibility. At the time May had already served 568 days since her arrest on May 19, 2015.

(VIDEO BELOW IS OF JESSICA MAY BEING ESCORTED OUT OF COURTHOUSE AFTER HER PLEA AND SENTENCING HEARING IN DECEMBER)

Less than a week before May’s plea, her fiance at the time, 25 year old Cody Key was handed a 45 year prison term for the beating death of May’s child, 23 month old Colten Alexander May after entering a plea in Putnam County Criminal Court to second degree murder. Key is to serve 100% of the sentence but he was given jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.

Key is incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Center in Wayne County, a Tennessee Department of Correction facility.

The couple brought the child to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Sunday morning, May 17, 2015 but he was already dead. It was determined that the child had suffered internal and other physical injuries that resulted in his death. Law enforcement officers concluded that Key had severely beaten the child and that May knew the abuse was taking place.

“I will say that Jessica May was not involved in the killing of her child, Colten May. She was not an actor in that homicide. We did charge her with neglect because of a history of abuse of the child in which she either turned a blind eye to or did nothing about it. The abuser of the child was Cody Key but Jessica May did nothing to prevent the abuse that was inflicted on the child by Cody Key and she turned a blind eye to it over a period of time. In plain language that is the gist of the circumstances as to why she was charged with neglect,” District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway told WJLE after the hearing.

May, who was pregnant again at the time of her arrest in 2015, was later transferred to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction due to her special needs. After giving birth, she was initially incarcerated in the Warren County Jail. Her child was placed in the custody of the Department of Children Services and is reportedly now with May’s family members.

Smithville Police Make Arrest for Burglary of Outbuilding

April 28, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Donnie Ray Gillman

Smithville Police have arrested a man for allegedly breaking into an outbuilding.

36 year old Donnie Ray Gillman was charged on Thursday, April 27 with theft and burglary. Gillman allegedly entered an outbuilding on Dearman Street and took several tools belonging to the victim without his knowledge or consent. As a result of the investigation, the items were returned to the victim and Gillman was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $7,500 and his court date is May 11.

30 year old Justin Nathaniel Sparkman was taken into custody for evading arrest on Friday, April 21. According to police, Sparkman fled Wal-Mart Loss Prevention while being questioned about a possible theft from the store. Sparkman reportedly ran from the store and was observed by law enforcement officers on the front porch of a nearby residence. When Sparkman saw the officers he ran into the woods. He was spotted again about three hours later in Hardees parking lot where he was taken into custody without incident. Sparkman’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 11.

50 year old Sandra Kay Thomason was arrested for public intoxication on Friday, April 21. According to police, Thomason was outside of her home in the front yard, yelling and cursing at people. Thomason was unsteady on her feet and her speech was unrecognizably slurred. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is May 11.

36 year old Cindy Renea James was arrested on Monday, April 24 for a 5th offense of driving on a revoked licensed and cited for speeding. Police observed a vehicle traveling 62 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour speed zone, confirmed by radar. An officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, James. She informed the officer that she didn't have a valid driver license. A computer check through Central Dispatch revealed that Sparkman has four prior driving on suspended/revoked convictions. Her bond is $5,000 and her court date is May 18.

28 year old Jessica L. Bain was arrested for public intoxication on Tuesday, April 25. Police responded to a domestic on College Street and upon arrival observed a woman (Bain) chasing a man carrying an infant child up the sidewalk. The officer separated the parties and spoke with Bain. She was unsteady on her feet and had an odor of alcohol coming from her breath. Bain was determined to be a danger to herself and the safety of others due to her intoxication and was taken into custody without incident. Bain’s bond is $1,500 and her court date is May 18.

31 year old Justin Ray Lohorn was issued two citations for simple possession on Wednesday, April 26. According to police, on or about Monday, April 24 Lohorn is believed to have been in possession of approximately 1/2 gram of a crystal like substance thought to be methamphetamine while on the job at Star Manufacturing. After the citations were issued, Lohorn was located two days later, on Wednesday, April 26 at Hardees and had in his possession a white pill believed to suboxone for which he had no prescription. His court date is May 11.

26 year old Heather Leigh Stanridge was cited for theft of property on Thursday, April 27 for allegedly putting several products belonging to Mapco in her purse in an attempt to deprive the business of its merchandise. Her court date is May 18.

55 year old Deborah Ann Pierce was cited for theft of property on Friday, April 28. On Monday, April 24 police took a report from a man who had left his wallet on the register at Wal-Mart and when he went back to retrieve it, the wallet was gone. During an investigation police checked the store video surveillance and saw Pierce take the wallet. Her court date is May 11.

National Day of Prayer to be Observed Locally

April 28, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
National Day of Prayer to be Observed Locally

A local observance for the National Day of Prayer will be Thursday, May 4 at noon on the east side of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Isaac Gray, minister at the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, said everyone is invited to attend the event which is non-denominational.

“I want to invite you to come and join us on Thursday, May 4 for the observance of the National Day of Prayer. On that day, our community will gather and pray for our nation, our state, our city, our communities, and our churches. It is a great privilege for God’s people to come together with the purpose of seeking His will and His ways. This event is not sponsored by any church organization. It is simply a gathering of God’s people with the purpose of seeking His face and His glory. We will have local pastors from Smithville and surrounding areas lead us in this time of prayer. We will gather at 12 noon on Thursday, May 4 on the east side of the DeKalb County Courthouse, facing Smithville City Hall. Our rain location is the basement of the courthouse at the same time on the same day. We hope to see you there as we seek God together,” said Gray.

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.

State Lawmakers to Honor DCHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

April 27, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Class of 2017 Valedictorian Rachel Fuson
DCHS Class of 2017 Salutatorian Hunter Robinson

Resolutions honoring DeKalb County High School Class of 2017 Valedictorian Rachel Fuson and Salutatorian Hunter Robinson were introduced Thursday, April 27 in the Tennessee General Assembly by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The resolutions are expected to be adopted by both the State House and Senate and signed by the Governor. They have been placed on the House consent calendar for Monday, May 1.

The House Joint Resolution honoring and recognizing Fuson states as follows:

“WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Rachel Olivia Fuson is one such exceptional student who was recently named Valedictorian of the 2017 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Rachel Fuson achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in her remarkable high school career, she earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Science Club, Literature Club, and the Climate Crew; she is a football cheerleader and a member of Girls Scouts USA Troop 343; and

WHEREAS, her display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for her future success as a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Fuson's noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for her parents, Joe and Melissa Fuson, her school, and her community; and

WHEREAS, Rachel Fuson's dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this General Assembly; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2017 DeKalb County High School Valedictorian, Rachel Olivia Fuson, on her impressive academic achievement and extend to her our best wishes for a happy, successful future.”

The resolution honoring Robinson states as follows:

“WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Jacob Hunter Robinson is one such exceptional student who was recently named Salutatorian of the 2017 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Hunter Robinson achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in his remarkable high school career, he earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including the Senior Beta Club and the soccer team; treasurer of his FFA chapter, he received the FFA state degree in March 2017; and

WHEREAS, his display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for his future success as a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Robinson's noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for his parents, Lynn and Regina Robinson, his school, and his community; and

WHEREAS, Hunter Robinson's dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this General Assembly; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2017 DeKalb County High School Salutatorian, Jacob Hunter Robinson, on his impressive academic achievement and extend to him our best wishes for a happy, successful future.”

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