Local News Articles

DeKalb Jail Again Meets Minimum Standards for Certification

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the TCI recently performed an inspection of the Jail and the Annex.


News Release.pdf (457.99 KB)

In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote " the TCI recently inspected the facilities. The inspection revealed that this facility meets all applicable minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the board of control at its next meeting. After approval from the board of control, you will receive a certificate of certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.

Detention Facility Specialist Joe Ferguson, in the report wrote that the jail was not overcrowded and no deficiencies were found.

The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds including 78 for men and 24 for women. The average daily population is 91 (3 months). There were 70 inmates incarcerated on the day of the inspection.

Sheriff Ray says the jail has maintained certification each year of his terms as sheriff and he gives credit to members of his staff for helping him achieve this accomplishment.

Turnout Light For Early Voting with One Day Left

April 22, 2018
Dwayne Page

Turnout for early voting has been light so far for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary compared to four years ago.

As of Wednesday, April 25, a total of 968 people have cast ballots during the first 13 days of early voting with one day left. On Wednesday, 90 voted including 88 in person and 2 by absentee. Four years ago a total of 1,612 voted either during the 14 day early voting period or by absentee for the election and 1,701 cast ballots on election day for a total turnout of 3,313 in the 2014 May Democratic Primary.

This year voters are making their choices as to who will represent the Democratic party as nominees in the August General Election for the offices of Road Supervisor, County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and for the county commission in each of the seven districts. There is no Democratic candidate for Trustee.

The primary will feature two county wide contested races for County Mayor and Circuit Court Clerk. There are four contested county commission district primary races including in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th districts.

Early voting runs through April 26 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse

Early voting days and times are as follows:
Wednesday—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday—2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Election day voting at all 15 precincts in the county will be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1.

WJLE will have exclusive LIVE coverage of the local election returns starting at 7 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com.

Evins and Colwell Win Most Coveted DCHS Basketball Awards, Evans Named MVC

April 21, 2018
Dwayne Page
2018 DCHS Basketball Most Valuable Cheerleader Hannah Evans and Most Valuable Basketball Players Marshal Evins and Emme Colwell
DCHS Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Nathan Atkins, Marshal Evins (MVP), Tanner Poss, Colter Norris, Dallas Cook, Alan Munoz, Trey Jones, and Austin Johnson
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Award Winners: Kenzie France, Mya Ruch, Lydia Brown, Emme Colwell (MVP), Megan Walker, Maddison Parsley, Sophie Cripps, and Mallori Hart.
DCHS Basketball Cheerleader Award Winners: Holly Evans, Amelia Patterson, Malia Stanley, Hannah Evans (MVC), Olivia Winter, Zoe Maynard, and Madison Mick

Senior Marshal Evins was named the DCHS Tiger basketball Most Valuable Player Friday night at the annual team banquet, while sophomore Emme Colwell received the Lady Tiger MVP honor. Senior Hannah Evans is the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were sponsored by Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory of Allen D. Hooper.

In addition to being named MVP, Evins received the team's Best Defender, Hustle, and Smartest Player award. He was also named to District 8AA All Defensive Team and made 3rd team All-District. Colwell was named Best Shooter for the Lady Tigers, made the 2nd Team All-District and was named the District’s Most Improved Player in addition to the Team MVP honor.

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers ended with a loss to Watertown in the District 8AA Tournament at Cookeville. The Tigers finished with an overall record of 13-14. The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Cumberland County in the Region 4AA basketball tournament. They closed out the campaign with a record of 12-19.

Other individual cheerleading awards included:
MVC: Hannah Evans
Most Spirited: Olivia Winter
Best Stunts: Zoe Maynard
Best Jumps: Malia Stanley
Best Dancer: Holly Evans
Best Cheer: Amelia Patterson
STAR Award (Spirit, Team, Attitude, Respect): Madison Mick

Other Lady Tiger basketball awards were as follows:
MVP: Emme Colwell
Best Shooter: Emme Colwell
Best Defensive Player: Mya Ruch
Best 6th Man: Mallori Hart
Best Free Throw Shooter: Lydia Brown
Smartest Player: Maddison Parsley
Best Rebounder: Megan Walker
Most Improved: Kenzie France
Best Passer: Maddison Parsley
Best Ball Handler: Mya Ruch
Best Practice Player: Mallori Hart
Best Attitude: Sophie Cripps
Best Athlete: Mya Ruch
Toughest Player: Megan Walker
Mya Ruch also earned a spot on the District 8AA’s All Defensive Team and she received All District Honorable Mention
Lydia Brown also received All-District Honorable Mention.

For the Tigers,
MVP: Marshal Evins
Best Offensive Player: Tanner Poss
Best Defensive Player: Marshal Evins
Best Athlete: Tanner Poss
Best Rebounder: Trey Jones
Most Improved: Dallas Cook
Best Free Throw Shooter: Colter Norris
Best Ball Handler: Colter Norris
Smartest Player: Marshal Evins
Best Practice Player: Alan Munoz
Hustle Award: Marshal Evins
Best Passer: Colter Norris
Best Sixth Man: Austin Johnson
Best Attitude: Trey Jones
Best Playmaker: Nathan Atkins
Tanner Poss was named to the 1st Team All-District 8AA.
Marshal Evins was selected to the All District Defensive Team and made the 3rd Team All-District.
Trey Jones earned All District Honorable Mention.

DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for April 28

April 20, 2018
DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Set for April 28
Lisa Cripps, local Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, April 28th. As part of this major health and safety initiative, the DeKalb Prevention Coalition will host this take-back event at Smithville City Hall around the Town Square from 10am till 2pm.

According to the DEA’s Atlanta Division, formerly Tennessee’s field division, a record 34 tons (68,053 pounds) of drugs were collected in Tennessee during the October 2017 Take-Back Day. On that one day, Tennesseans turned in more drugs than Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio combined.

“Fifty-three percent of Americans who use prescription drugs recreationally got them from a friend or relative according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Lisa Cripps, local Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition. “Take-Back Days are a safe and easy way to protect your loved ones and to get these drugs out of your home.”

“With 64 percent of Tennesseans’ knowing someone who has become addicted to prescription pain medication, we want to provide more opportunities for people to safely dispose of their medications,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day occurs twice a year, so we can better prevent these addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands.”

If you can’t make it to this take-back event, our county has two drop boxes in the following locations: City Hall in Alexandria and City Hall in Smithville.

We hope to see you on Saturday, April 28th from 10am -2pm to help you dispose of any unused, out of date, or unwanted medication. We will have FREE t-shirts, pens, and lock boxes for those bringing medication to this event.

Thank you for your continued support of Count It! Lock It! Drop It!

DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Clean Up

April 19, 2018
DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Clean Up

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!

DeKalb Middle School Students Participate in Math Competition at Tech

April 19, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Ian Colwell, Evan Sprague, Richard Martinez, Sheridan O’Connor, Jacob Hendrix, and Tiana Clark; Front Row: Jordan Blackwell, Ryder Miller, Haidyn Hale, Evan Carmichael, Madelyn Ray, Kathryn Hale.

Several students from DeKalb Middle School recently participated in the Upper Cumberland Mathematics Competition at Tennessee Tech on April 12, 2018.

These students were chosen by their teachers to represent the school. Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Ian Colwell, Evan Sprague, Richard Martinez, Sheridan O’Connor, Jacob Hendrix, and Tiana Clark; Front Row: Jordan Blackwell, Ryder Miller, Haidyn Hale, Evan Carmichael, Madelyn Ray, Kathryn Hale.

Board of Education Narrows Options for School Building Plan (VIEW TOP THREE OPTIONS HERE)

April 19, 2018
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and Board of Education
County Mayor and County Commissioners Meet with School Board

DeKalb County Commissioners got their first look Monday night at school building construction options under consideration by the Board of Education.

The County Commission’s Education Committee along with other commissioners and the County Mayor met with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and the Board of Education.

Derrick Clemow and Brian Templeton of Upland Design Group, the Board of Education’s architect, reviewed with the school board members and county commissioners findings of the needs and alternatives for meeting them.

A facilities study by Upland Design concluded that DeKalb West School was in the best condition and should remain as is; that Smithville Elementary needs to be replaced and repurposed; and that issues exist at Northside Elementary, DCHS, and DeKalb Middle Schools which should be addressed.

Last fall Upland Design presented six options for the board to consider but has narrowed them down to three at the Board’s request.

One of the options (Scheme-E) calls for closing Smithville Elementary School; keeping DeKalb West School as is; converting Northside Elementary to a Pre-K to 8th grade school (existing site); building two new additional Pre-K through 8th grade schools (sites to be determined); and repurposing the existing middle school to the high school (existing location) for use as a 9th grade academy. The total estimated construction cost is $26,800,000. This option would also require the county to be zoned meaning students would have to attend the elementary school within the zone where they reside.


School Building Option Scheme E_0.pdf (398.57 KB)

A second option (Scheme-F) calls for construction of a new high school at a new site (core capacity of 1,200 students) with new athletic facilities, etc (modeled after Stone Memorial High School in Crossville); keeping DeKalb West School as is; Closing Smithville Elementary School; converting Northside Elementary to a Pre-K to 5th grade school; Converting the existing middle school to a Pre-K to 5th grade school; Converting the existing high school to a middle school (6th-8th grades). The total estimated construction cost is $45,100,000.


School Building Option Scheme F.pdf (425.74 KB))

The third and newest option (Scheme-G) is to close Smithville Elementary School; construct a new Pre-K to 2nd grade school (new site to be determined); keeping DeKalb West School and Northside Elementary as they are; Construction of a new Middle School (6th to 8th grades at a new site to be determined); and repurposing the existing middle school to the high school (existing location) for use as a 9th grade academy. Total estimated construction cost $29,930,000.


School Building Option Scheme G_0.pdf (468.58 KB)

Since these options were developed the board has asked Upland Design to modify them to accommodate more students to meet future needs, especially in the event the state should ever mandate pre-kindergarten which would bring more students into the school system. These modifications could also affect the estimated costs.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said he would like to see the county build a new elementary school and a new high school.

“We have been asked what school do you want? I truly don’t believe one school will do it because of the needs we have. We have outgrown our schools. The high school has from 5 to 7 teachers that roam. They don’t have their own classrooms. Smithville Elementary is packed as well and so is the middle school where you have to go through classrooms to get to classrooms. In the vocational building at the high school we have classrooms in offices and this summer we are looking at dividing a classroom just to create a new classroom. There are challenges within each building that are unique that we are having to face. So when someone asks which school do you want to build, I can’t say there is a (one) school because we need schools (more than one). We realize there is a dollar amount to be paid for this but we have to come up with a vision. We can’t keep doing just one school every 30 years. It has caught up with us. I don’t like it anymore than you do. I hate asking for money but that is what we are doing because we need schools and to best serve our students we need schools, not just one school. If you ask me which scheme I like, I would love to have a brand new high school and a new Smithville Elementary,” said Cripps.

More meetings are expected in the weeks and months ahead between the Board of Education and County Commissioners to try and reach a consensus on the best option and whether and when to move forward.

DMS Soccer Team Remembers Karen Jacobs

April 18, 2018
Dwayne Page
DMS Soccer Team Remembers Karen Jacobs

DeKalb Middle School Soccer honored Mrs. Karen Jacobs with Neuroendrocine Cancer Awareness night on April 17.

Mrs. Jacobs, who passed away in October, 2017, was a longtime educator in DeKalb County, an avid supporter of DMS soccer since its inception and the mother of DMS coach, Justin Nokes.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 4.6% for February

April 18, 2018
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for February was 4.6%, down from 4.7% in January but well below the 5.8% rate recorded in February, 2017.

The local labor force for February was 7,790. A total of 7,430 were employed and 360 were without work.

Jobless rates for February among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:
Jackson: 5.5%
Clay: 5.2%
Cumberland: 5%
DeKalb: 4.6%
Overton: 4.5%
Fentress: 4.3%
Van Buren: 4.2%
Pickett: 4.1%
Warren: 3.9%
White: 3.7%
Putnam: 3.5%
Smith: 3.5%
Macon: 3.2%
Cannon: 3%

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the latest statistics showed improved rates for the majority of the state’s counties during the month.

Sixty-nine of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw lower unemployment rates when compared to January 2018. The rates remained the same in 21 counties and increased in five counties.

“It is great to see unemployment rates decrease in so many counties during February,” said Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips. “While this type of rebound in February is typical after the state usually experiences a slight uptick in unemployment after the holidays, it is not a given.”

Williamson County continued to have the state’s lowest unemployment rate. The February rate of 2.4 percent is a decrease of 0.1 of a percentage point when compared to the previous month.

At 2.6 percent, Davidson County had the state’s second lowest unemployment rate in February, which was 0.1 of a percentage point lower than January’s rate.

Houston County had the state’s highest unemployment rate in February at 6.8 percent, which is the same rate the county had in January. The latest statistic was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the county’s February 2017 unemployment rate.

Tennessee’s statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2018 was 3.4 percent, a 0.1 of a percentage point increase from the revised January rate of 3.3 percent. The national unemployment rate for the month held steady at 4.1 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.

Chattanooga Man Injured in Saturday Night Crash

April 17, 2018
Dwayne Page
One person was injured in a crash Saturday night on Highway 56 south near Ferrell Road and Pine Creek Nursery just south of Seven Springs Road.
Saturday Night Wreck Causes Power Outage for Many

One person was injured in a crash Saturday night on Highway 56 south near Ferrell Road and Pine Creek Nursery just south of Seven Springs Road. The wreck caused a power outage for a large area in the southern portion of the county.

According to Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 21 year old Brandon Kircher of Smithville was traveling north on Highway 56 in a 2001 Ford Edge and failed to maintain the lane crossing the center line. The vehicle exited the roadway to the left and struck a mailbox before hitting a utility pole. It then went into a ditch and overturned onto its top with one passenger being completely ejected and another partially ejected out of the passenger side window.

Kircher, who was wearing his seatbelt, was not injured.

One of the passengers, 57 year old Michael Patillo of Chattanooga was taken by DeKalb EMS to Vanderbilt Hospital. The other passenger, 31 year old Ashley Ford of Bank, Tennessee was not injured. Neither Patillo or Ford were wearing their seat belts.

Kircher was cited for failing to maintain lane of travel, failing to provide proof of financial responsibility, and driving without a license

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene to provide assistance.


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