Local News Articles

TDOT Rejects Bid for Bridge Repair Project

April 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
TDOT Rejects Bid for Bridge Repair Project

Its going to take even longer before repairs begin on the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street over Highway 70.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has rejected the bid on the project.

According to Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer, “all bids were rejected in the February letting. The project has not been re-let.”

Flynn said she plans to have more details next week.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, February 10 and Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. had the apparent lowest bid at $238,600.58.

The bid was initially expected to be awarded by mid-March with construction to follow. The completion time on the project was to have been on or before September 30.

The bridge was damaged in June, 2016 when a DeKalb County Landfill truck, driven by 54 year old Roger Chapman, hit the underside of the bridge as it was traveling east on Broad Street. Although the truck carried no dumpster at the time, the lift was up.

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

April 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2017

WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2017 in April and 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.


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 April by Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, 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, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, DeKalb Tire & Service, Alexandria Auto Parts, and DeKalb Funeral Chapel.

Sponsors for May are Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic, General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten H. Cook, II, Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, and Trustee Sean Driver, in addition to 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.

Celebrate Spring at Edgar Evins State Park on April 8th

March 31, 2017
Bob Tarter of NHECM never fails to thrill as he makes his wild and exotic animal presentation an up close and personal experience

The Annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park, Silver Point, on April 8th will be a day of outdoor fun for individuals and families. Registration will open at 8:15 a.m. in front of the office and continue until about 4 p.m..

The first event will be a guided wildflower hike at 8:30 a.m. on the Highland Rim Nature Trail, led by Ranger Mark Taylor. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. there will be live entertainment, including wild animal presentations and the Cannon Arts Dance Studio. Face painting, crafts making, climbing the observation tower and boat rides will also be available. You may bring your lunch or buy it from Boy Scout Troop 875 and Girl Scout Troop 1146. There are many picnic tables scattered throughout the park to enjoy a sit-down meal. Youngsters may hunt Easter Eggs at the campground at 2 p.m. and, of course, an Easter Bunny will be on-hand for picture opportunities.

Reservations for the $2 boat rides will be on a first come, first serve basis. Children must be over 3 years of age and accompanied by an adult to ride on the boats for safety reasons. Everything else is free except optional food purchases.

This will be the 11th year for this event, sponsored jointly by Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park staff. The Friends of Edgar Evins State Park is an all volunteer organization with the sole purpose of helping the park. For more information you may visit the website at www.foeesp.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/friendsofeesp

For those who wish to make this an overnight or weekend stay, cabins and camping sites may be reserved on-line at http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-evins or call the park office at
(931) 858-2114 or toll free at 1-800-250-8619.

Edgar Evins State Park is located at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN 38582. The entrance is in DeKalb County, on Center Hill Lake, approximately 20 miles north of Smithville, 20 miles west of Cookeville, and 60 miles east of Nashville From I-40 take exit 268 at State Hwy. 96 and Center Hill Lake.

Alexandria Fire Department Quickly Snuffs out Blaze in Housing Projects

March 31, 2017
Location of Friday Monday night in Alexandria. Photo taken following day by Jerry C. Rittenberry

The Alexandria Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the housing projects on Monday night, March 27 around 9:30 p.m.

The first engine arrived four minutes after the initial 911 call. Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the front door, according to Assistant Fire Chief John Partridge. Alexandria Police officers had already arrived and evacuated all occupants from the house. The fire was quickly brought under control and fire damage was contained to a living room and kitchen, although the entire apartment received heavy smoke damage. The adjoining apartment was undamaged and the occupant was allowed to return after an investigation.

The occupant was not at home when the fire started, but arrived home and called 911 after encountering heavy smoke and heat upon opening the front door. The fire is believed to have been electrical in nature.

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department and EMS also responded to the scene but were cancelled while en route.

County to Begin Work on New Budget Soon

March 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling

The budget committee of the county commission will soon begin work on the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, County Mayor Tim Stribling updated the commission on how much property tax revenue the county is expected to generate in the next fiscal year based upon assessments and the current property tax rate

“Assessments based upon estimated valuations of the property in DeKalb County are currently at $481, 473, 214 including industrial, commercial, residential, farm, agriculture, public utilities. The full value of a penny (1 cent of the property tax rate) is $48,147

“We will start on the budget figuring to receive $45, 147 per penny based on 93.77% collections and anything collected over 93.77% will be spread out over the various departments,” said Stribling.

The current property tax rate of $1.8335 breaks down as follows:
County General: .9535 cents
Schools: 61 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
Road Department: 4 cents
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents.

In other business, County Mayor Stribling gave a Trustee’s Report on behalf of Sean Driver who was unable to attend the meeting. “People were asking how collections were going on property taxes. As of March 23, 2017 the Trustee’s Office had collected 91.31% of the property taxes owed for 2016. In a comparison, one year ago on the same date the county had collected 92.68%,” said Stribling.

Four members of the DeKalb County Beer Board were appointed to an established term by the county commission.

The four members are Jim Stagi in the 1st district, Edward Frazier in the 3rd district, Rhonda Caplinger in the 5th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district.

Names of each appointee were placed in nomination by the county commissioners in their districts and then voted on by the entire county commission

Last year the commission voted to set terms for members of the beer board. All seven members serve as appointees and the terms are staggered with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th district positions being appointed in odd years. The 2nd, 4th, & 6th district seats are filled in even years. The beer board is to re-organize (name officers) every year.

In March last year Myron Rhody in the 2nd district, Robert Rowe in the 4th district and Leonard Dickens in the 6th district were appointed. Each term is for two years effective in April.

In other business, Joy Whitman was named to replace Danny Cowan as judicial commissioner. Cowan recently resigned effective April 17. The county’s judicial committee recommended Whitman for the position.

The county has three judicial commissioners including Whitman, Richard Jennings, and Tammy Ashburn.

Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause.

Alyssa Owen of DeKalb Middle School is "Classroom Champion"

March 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Alyssa Owen
Attorney Jim Judkins, DMS Principal Randy Jennings, Alyssa Owen, and Dwayne Page of WJLE

Alyssa Owen is the recipient of this week’s “Classroom Champion” award presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE.

Owen, daughter of Kevin Owen and Amanda Allen and step-dad Kobe Allen, is a student at DeKalb Middle School. Her siblings are Isabelle Allen, Kamryn Allen, Jordan Allen, Isaac Allen, Tia Owen, and Ramia Owen.

Alyssa recently received the honor and a special gift card from Judkins.

Owen is a member of the DeKalb Middle School Junior BETA Club, the S.A.D.D. Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and has helped with the DMS yearbook.

She enjoys piano, singing, reading, painting, and photography.

“Alyssa has been a wonderful student in all aspects during her years at DeKalb Middle School and we are so proud of her,” said Principal Randy Jennings.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several weeks.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship

Juvenile Case Manager Attends National Conference

March 29, 2017
Norene Puckett
Kristy Longmire

In February 2017, Kristy Longmire, Juvenile Case Manager for DeKalb County Recovery Court went to New York City to attend the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ National Conference on Juvenile Justice.

This vital and important educational opportunity featured cutting edge information, state-of-the-art programs and current research in the juvenile justice system. Some of the featured topics included: alternatives to detention, trauma-informed justice, cross-over youth, deep-end youth, dating violence, ending solitary confinement, recidivism, indiscriminate shackling issues, disproportionate minority contact, LGBTQ issues in the juvenile justice system, sex trafficking of minors, juvenile drug courts and runaways and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles. It is vital to our local recovery court program that our staff and team stay up-to-date on the latest topics and trends in the field in order to best provide services for our clients.

All DeKalb County Recovery Court staff and team members attend training at least once annually. For more information on how to refer a teen to our program, please contact Coordinator Norene Puckett at 615-215-8690 or norene.drugcourt@gmail.com

Farm Service Agency 2018 Nursery Crop Reporting Requirements

March 29, 2017

Donny Green, DeKalb/Cannon Co. Farm Service Agency County Executive Director, reminds local farmers and landowners of the importance of timely crop reporting. Participation in most USDA programs requires annual reporting of crops and land use and requires a report of all cropland on a farm, even though the land may not be used for annually-tilled row crops.

Field Grown and Ornamental Nursery crops have unique crop years. As a result, they also have unique crop reporting deadlines. Below are the crop year period and the acreage reporting deadline:

Nursery Crop Year 2018----June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018

2018 Nursery Crop Reporting Deadline (field grown and container)—May 31, 2017

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at (615) 597-8225, Ext. 2.

Jail Escapee Quickly Captured

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Randall Joe Swindle

A prisoner at the DeKalb County Jail escaped Tuesday afternoon but was captured minutes later at the parking lot of Hardees Restaurant.

47 year old Randall Joe Swindle of Mount Tabor Road, Murfreesboro is charged with escape. His bond is $6,000 and his court date is April 16.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Swindle was with other inmates in the exercise yard during their recreation time when he quickly stripped down to his shorts and tee shirt and slithered through a very small opening between the bottom of the security fence and the fence framework. As he ran off correctional officers gave chase on foot while deputies followed in their patrol cars. Swindle was observed standing in the highway trying to get a ride but ran toward Hardees when he saw the officers approaching. A Warren County constable and a private citizen, who were in the Hardees parking lot and saw what was happening, called for the man (Swindle) to stop and he was subsequently taken into custody by the deputies and correctional officers.

Swindle is in jail for carrying or possession of a weapon by a felon, vandalism, theft of property over $1,000, and aggravated burglary.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 5, 2016 Swindle was involved in a break-in on Pea Ridge Road. The intruder gained entry by prying open the front door, causing damage. Taken from the home were a Remington 1889 double barrel shotgun, a crescent 1900 double barrel shotgun, a sentry safe, and a jar of change. The total value of the stolen property comes to approximately $1,500.

A check of Swindle’s criminal history showed him to be a felon convicted for aggravated burglary in Franklin County.

According to Sheriff Ray, Swindle admitted to having taken the guns from the Pea Ridge residence and having them in his vehicle. He was arrested on Monday, December 12. The case was investigated by Sheriff’s Department Detectives.

Two Injured in Monday Afternoon Crash

March 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Two Injured in Monday Afternoon Crash

Two people were injured in a crash Monday afternoon on Highway 70 near DeKalb Market.

Trooper Ronnie Smith of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 39 year old Melissa Fine of Dowelltown, operating a 2005 Kia Rio, was pulling out onto Highway 70 from the parking lot of DeKalb Market when she crossed the path of a westbound 2016 Nissan Rogue driven by 54 year old Tammy Petty of Dowelltown.

According to Trooper Smith, a tractor trailer truck was pulling into the parking lot of DeKalb Market as Fine was pulling out. Fine claims she didn’t see Petty approaching because the truck obstructed her view.

Fine was transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS. Petty was taken there by a private vehicle.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.


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