Local News Articles

"Christmas on the Square" Set for December 7

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Community Chorus
Santa to visit with Children at Justin Potter Library
County Officials and others last year at Christmas on the Square Open House
Shan Burklow and Suzanne Williams at Lighted Christmas Tree

The Christmas season has arrived and you are invited to join in the celebration Thursday evening, December 7 downtown Smithville for “Christmas on the Square”.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the public square.

The schedule of events has yet to be finalized but the tentative plans (subject to change) is as follows:

A tree lighting ceremony is planned outside the courthouse on the west side.

The Community Chorus will perform Christmas Classics on the steps of the courthouse (weather permitting).

Courthouse officials and the Chamber of Commerce will have an Open House. You can visit county officials on the main floor (2nd floor) of the courthouse where you’ll find lots of goodies to eat!

There will be a Free Photo Booth and Holiday Music in the courthouse compliments of the City of Smithville.

The 303 building on the north side of the square will be open for holiday music, a LIVE nativity (no animals) and a festival of trees decorated by the library and participating businesses.

Santa will be making an appearance at Justin Potter Library at 6:30 p.m. so remember to bring your camera. A Santa’s Workshop will also give children a chance to make their own Christmas ornament at the library.

And don’t forget about all the great downtown shopping!

Hope you can come for this special night – Thursday, December 7 from 5 to 8 PM - Christmas on the Square!

Man Responsible for Crash Indicted for Vehicular Assault

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
1996 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber

A man believed to be responsible for a head-on crash and then leaving the scene Friday afternoon, May 12 on East Broad Street has been indicted for vehicular assault and other charges.

The Grand Jury Monday indicted 21 year old Christopher Keith Lane Derrick of 323 Jackson Street, Smithville for driving under the influence, vehicular assault, evading arrest, and violation of the implied consent law

According to police, Derrick was driving east on Broad Street in a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo when he crossed into the westbound lane and struck an oncoming 2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber. Dustin Allen Sullivan and Ryan Powell were passengers with Derrick. Huber and Sullivan were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Powell refused transport by EMS to the hospital.

Witnesses said that after the crash, Derrick fled the scene on foot carrying a green and white bag heading north into the woods between Eastside Inn and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

Smithville Police Officers, assisted by DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputies, set up a perimeter and conducted a foot search. Derrick was subsequently found and placed under arrest.

Derrick had suffered a large cut near his right knee and across his leg. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. According to police, Derrick needed help at times to maintain his balance. Field sobriety tasks were not administered due to Derrick’s injuries. He was then transported by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. A search warrant was obtained to get a blood sample from Derrick after he refused to voluntarily submit to a blood test.

In addition to vehicular assault, Derrick was charged at the time with evading arrest, violation of the registration law and financial responsibility, driving without a license, failure to yield the right of way, and violation of the implied consent law.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Fire Leaves Family Homeless

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Fire Leaves Family Homeless

A weekend fire has left a DeKalb County family homeless.

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green said firefighters were called to a structure fire Saturday night at around 11:30 p.m. on Gene Vaughn Road.

The owner, Thelma Evans, her son and daughter-in-law Ricky and Sherry Evans and four children were in the home at the time and escaped unharmed after discovering that the back of the house was on fire. According to Chief Green, the fire appears to have started on the back porch although the exact cause is undetermined.

The home and all belongings were lost in the fire.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Belk, Blue Springs, and Tanker Truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb EMS.

DWS Jr Pro Basketball Season Upcoming (REGISTRATION FORM HERE)

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb West School Junior Pro Basketball season will be held February 6 through March 1.

Games will be played on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Practice will be held on Mondays.

Plans are to have four grade groups: (K-1), (2-3), (4-5), (6-7)

The sign up fee is $30 for the first child and then $25 for each additional sibling.

Anyone interested in being a player should fill out the form below (CLICK LINK) so plans can be made to organize teams. The form must be returned by December 8. The money is due in full by January 11.

All board members and coaches must pass background check. If you re interested in being a coach submit your name on the form below (CLICK LINK).

Jr Pro. Sign up.pdf (35.75 KB)

Please return the form to the DeKalb West School Office, Attention, DWS Jr. Pro
101 Bulldog Lane
Liberty, TN 37095

Early Voting Starts Today (Wednesday) for State Senate Special Election

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mary Alice Carfi
Mark Pody

Early voting begins Today (Wednesday, November 29) for the December 19th State Senatorial District 17 Special Election.

The candidates are Mary Alice Carfi, the Democratic nominee, and Mark Pody, the Republican nominee. The winner will fill the unexpired term of former State Senator Mae Beavers.

Early Voting Hours are as follows:
Mondays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 12 Noon
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 12 Noon
Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 Noon
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 Noon

Early voting begins November 29 and runs through December 14. All early voting is conducted on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Election Day is December 19 and polls will open that day at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Last of Jail Escapees Captured in Florida

November 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Daniel Trey Hamilton

The last of the three escapees from the DeKalb County Jail is back in custody, one week after the trio broke out.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Tuesday night that 26 year old Daniel Trey Hamilton of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville was arrested in Fort Myers, Florida Tuesday after being involved in a traffic accident there. He was placed into custody in Lee County, Florida and is awaiting extradition back to DeKalb County. Hamilton will be charged with escape.

Last Tuesday night, Hamilton, 38 year old Jack Mullican, Jr. of Adcock Cemetery Road and 32 year old Bryon Ray Gibbs of Gin Alley, Alexandria broke out of the jail annex through a door they jimmied open.

Mullican was captured last Wednesday morning after being found in an underground water drain near Mapco Express. He became trapped there after making his escape.

Gibbs was apprehended Saturday thanks to an alert Alexandria Police Officer, Josh Arnold and a few citizen bystanders. After being confronted, Gibbs resisted and began fighting with Arnold. Citizens who witnessed the scene came to the aid of the officer to help subdue Gibbs. Deputies and detectives of the Sheriff’s Department also responded to provide assistance.

Gibbs was charged by Alexandria Police with resisting arrest and aggravated assault.

All three, Hamilton, Mullican, and Gibbs, are facing escape charges and although a bond is set in each case, all three remain incarcerated and are being housed at jails in other counties.

Jett Serves As Delegate to Model United Nations

November 28, 2017
Braedon Jett

Braedon Jett, a Sophomore at DCHS recently served as an independent delegate to The Model United Nations held at The Pope John Paul II Church in Hendersonville. Braedon represented the country of Zimbabwe and the impact of the Zika virus there.

"Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations."

Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

November 28, 2017
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, announces that the 2017 FSA County Committee Election is underway as ballots were mailed to eligible voters in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 (DeKalb County) and Local Administrative Area # 4 (Cannon County) on November 6th.

December 4, 2017 will be the last day to postmark voted ballots returned by mail or to delivery voted ballots to the local FSA office.

Grant Williams is the only candidate nominated for LAA # 2 (DeKalb Co.). Grant has been certified as an eligible candidate. Mr. Williams operates a beef cattle farm in the Dale Ridge Community.

Javin Fann is the only candidate nominated for LAA # 4 (Cannon Co.). Javin has been certified as an eligible candidate. Mr. Fann produces corn, soybeans, and wheat on his family farm and is completing his second term on the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee where he currently serves as the Vice-Chairperson.

Write-in candidates can be accepted on ballots. However, the write-in candidate must meet eligibility criteria and attest to his or her willingness to serve, if elected, by signing a nominating petition. Agricultural producers were encouraged to submit candidate names during the nomination period that ended August 1, 2017.

“The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs. All eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, are encouraged to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections,” says Green.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote.

Eligible voters in DeKalb County LAA # 2 or Cannon County LAA # 4 who did not receive a ballot can obtain a ballot at their local USDA Service Center. December 4, 2017 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than December 4, 2017. The DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee will meet on December 5, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. to canvass and tabulate the ballots. This meeting is open to the public. The newly elected committee member and alternates take office January 1st, 2018.

Young Dancer from DeKalb County Chosen to Perform in Nashville Ballet’s Nashville’s Nutcracker

November 28, 2017
Blair Gipe

Nashville Ballet has selected one dancer from DeKalb County to perform in the youth cast for Nashville’s Nutcracker: Celebrating 10 Years! December 2-23, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall—Blair Gipe, child of Janice Gipe-Perry, as a Medium Mouse. This year’s youth cast marks the organization’s largest to date, with 296 dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large performing alongside Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Symphony in the local holiday favorite.

This year’s Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast members were selected from community-wide, open auditions. Members of the youth cast come from 14 counties throughout Middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including, Cheatham, Christian, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Hopkins, Humphreys, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson. They will perform alongside all 54 members of Nashville Ballet’s professional dance company and second company and 60 members of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score.

“We’ve had more than 1,000 young dancers in the Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast since the production’s debut 10 years ago,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “The size of the youth cast has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, so this year we’re debuting a brand-new role, the Dancing Bear Cavalry, which allows us to welcome even more young dancers on stage.”

In addition to the debut of the new youth cast role, Nashville Ballet is celebrating 10 years of Nashville’s Nutcracker with more all-new elements—including snow falling on the audience during the iconic snow scene. Nashville Ballet premiered The Nutcracker in 1989, but the production was reinvented as Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept incorporating Nashville’s vibrant past along with new choreography, sets, costumes and on-stage magic tricks. Since then, Vasterling’s original spin on the classic has cemented its place as one of Music City’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Beginning at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville, Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer meet a colorful cast of characters from faraway lands. When Uncle Drosselmeyer gifts Clara with a wooden Nutcracker on Christmas Eve, the toy magically transforms to life as a handsome prince and leads her through a remarkable adventure. Clara visits everyone from the Snow Queen to the Sugar Plum Fairy, including the spellbinding characters she met at the Exposition. When Clara finally returns home, the audience is left to decide if it was all just a dream—or not.

Nashville’s Nutcracker is presented by 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, Google Fiber and RJ Young. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at NashvilleBallet.com. A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at NashvilleBallet.com/Nashvilles-Nutcracker-2017.

About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 (a pre-professional training company), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

Jerrells Indicted for Posting Blasphemous Notes at Local Churches

November 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Laddie Bill Jerrells

A Smithville man who posted offensive and blasphemous notes on the properties of several local churches from May through July has been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury Monday indicted 57 year old Laddie Bill Jerrells of Long Street, Smithville on eight counts of desecration of a place of worship. He was also indicted in separate offenses for resisting arrest and making a false report.

Jerrells was charged in a joint investigation by the Smithville Police and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Departments. He was originally charged on Wednesday, July 5th on twenty four counts including charges of vandalism, disorderly conduct, harassment, and desecration of honored places.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray and Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, Jerrells went to churches in the City of Smithville and in the county and posted offensive notes on the church properties, either on the front doors, buildings, or signs.

According to the indictments, the incidents occurred on May 13, May 30, June 18, June 22, June 25, June 29, July 3, and July 5 at times when no church services were being held. No particular denominations were targeted.

Smithville Police charged Jerrells for the two cases in the city. The rest of the charges were brought by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department against Jerrells for the incidents at churches in the county.

Although WJLE did not file charges, a similar irreverent note bearing the name of Laddie Jerrells, was posted on the front door of the WJLE studios in July.

On the desecration charges, Jerrells is accused of treating a place of worship with great disrespect by posting irreverent notes on the churches.

In a joint statement, Sheriff Ray and Police Chief Collins said their departments will always strive to keep churches safe and secure so that congregations can worship freely and in peace.

Meanwhile in the resisting arrest case, Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 27 a deputy responded to a residence on Long Street to serve an ex parte order of protection on Jerrells. Upon arrival the officer spoke to Jerrells’ daughter outside the home. She was named as a protected person on the order. The deputy then entered the residence, spoke with Jerrells, and read to him the contents of the paperwork on the order of protection. According to the order, Jerrells was to immediately vacate the residence. After being told several times that he had to leave the premises Jerrells refused to cooperate by lying down with his arms behind his head. He would not allow his wrists to be handcuffed. The deputy had to forcibly place Jerrells’ hands behind his back in order to make the arrest. After arriving at the jail, Jerrells continued to be uncooperative while being booked into the facility.

Jerrells was arrested Sunday, December 11, 2016 for filing a false report. Three days before on Thursday, December 8 Jerrells reported to police that his truck was locked and that he could not find the keys. The next morning, Friday, December 9 Jerrells said his truck was missing and reported it as stolen to Central Dispatch. Upon investigation it was discovered that Jerrells had hidden the vehicle and then reported it to be stolen.


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