Local News Articles

Sheriff Offers Halloween Safety Tips

October 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has issued a few safety tips to parents for the upcoming Halloween night.
With Halloween falling this year on Thursday, Sheriff Patrick Ray wants to help parents ensure their children’s costumes and trick-or-treating activities are safe.

“We want everyone to have a good time and be safe” said Sheriff Ray.

Sheriff Ray encourages everyone to make sure all costumes are fireproof, have eye holes large enough to allow good peripheral vision, and won’t make the wearer of the costume trip. Costumes also should have bright colors or reflective tape so they can be seen at night.

Potentially dangerous props such as knives or pitchforks should have smooth, flexible tips so they can’t cause injuries.

All younger children should be accompanied by an adult. Older children should have a set route they are to take and a set time they should return home.

Children should trick or treat in well-lit areas. Trick-or-treaters should only stop at familiar houses in their own neighborhoods, and know they should never enter into a stranger’s home nor ever should enter into a stranger’s vehicle.

Because of a heavier volume of traffic, everyone should carry a flashlight or glow stick or have reflective tape on their costumes so they can be seen by motorists. They should also walk on the left side of the street, facing traffic. Always remember to walk and never run from house to house. Sheriff Ray also urges all motorists to be aware of children who may be more likely to dart out from between parked cars or be walking on roadways and curbs. Enter and exit from driveways and alleys carefully, and watch for children who may be wearing dark clothing and be more difficult to see.
"We also encourage adults to examine all treats that children bring in before they eat them.” Sheriff Ray advises.

If you are wanting to participate in Halloween and have visitors to come to your residence, you should leave a porch light or flood light on so your visitors can see. You also need to remove leaves and other items such as hosepipes, lawn furniture, and yard decorations from your sidewalk so no one will trip or fall.

Also remember to move your pets away from your visitor’s paths so when they are entering or leaving your home, your pet and the visitor will be safe.

Talk to your children the differences in “tricks” and “vandalism.” Sheriff Ray says “I will have extra Deputies on shift again this year to ensure the public’s safety. We will be on the lookout for anyone vandalizing property. This will include egging and reckless burning of items. Anyone that experiences any trouble is urged to call the Central Dispatch at 215-3000.

Infinity Athletics Teams Place at First Competition

October 28, 2013
Dwayne Page
Infinity Athletics Tiny Level 1 team, the Storm
Infinity Athletics Youth Level 1 team, the Strikers

Infinity Athletics Tiny Level 1 team, the Storm, competed in their first competition Saturday at Nashville Municipal Auditorium and came in 3rd place. Pictured: Mila Hayes, Addison Murphy, Leah Trapp, Taylor White, and Bryleigh Teachout. Coached by Callie Gash

Infinity Athletics Youth Level 1 team, the Strikers, competed in their first competition at Nashville Municipal Auditorium and finished in 3rd place. Pictured are: Maggie Felton, Sadie West, Alley Sykes, Katherine Malone, Braelyn Teachout, Addison Miller, Peyton Norris, Carlee West, Hannah Trapp, Ellie Vaughn, Natalie Snipes, and Addison Roller. Coached by Callie Gash and Jennifer Sykes

New Area Code for New Phone Customers by 2015

October 25, 2013
Dwayne Page
Craig Gates

Starting in the spring of 2015, anyone applying for new phone service in DeKalb County or elsewhere in middle Tennessee can expect to get a new area code once the availability of (615) area code numbers is exhausted.

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority announced Thursday plans to implement the new (629) area code.

On Monday afternoon, the TRA voted to approve an overlay plan, which means anyone getting new phone service, cell, or landline will be given the new designated (629) area code after the existing numbers run out. Under the Overlay option, all current (615) numbers would remain but could require 10-digit dialing for local calls within the (615) as well as the new (629) area code. Phone calls that are currently treated as local calls will remain as local calls and calls that are treated as long distance calls will remain as long distance calls.

"The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) notified the TRA in October of 2010 that the 615 Area Code would be exhausted in the near future," said Craig Gates, Chief Executive Officer of DTC Communications. " In May of this year the TRA set up information on the TRA website to let people know what was happening and they also set up a survey for people to participate in. The survey was conducted and 83.2% of those surveyed wanted the overlay and that is how they (TRA) agreed to allow the overlay to take place versus doing an actual Area Code Split. An area code split last done on (615) was when the area code 931 was created, on September 15, 1997," he said.

"The TRA decision to go to an overlay instead of an area code split is the best thing that could have happened for DTC customers," said Gates in a phone statement to WJLE Friday. "We won't have to change our home or business phone numbers that we currently have. We will have to change our dialing pattern a little. Given this change, it will be a lot like dialing with the cell phone today, but better than losing the (615) area code. We will be doing a lot of customer education to explain any of the changes necessary over the next year to fifteen months. We have plenty of time to get ready for the new overlay of (629) in the (615) area code," said Gates.

According to media reports, phone companies have until July to make their networks overlay ready.

Customers will then have seven months to try it out, using ten digits to dial, before the full change goes into effect. During the same time period, phone companies will be given the same amount of time to work out any problems.

New Business Gets Conditional Approval for Beer Permit

October 25, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Beer Board Thursday night voted to grant conditional approval for an off premises permit to a Murfreesboro man who is opening a business on East Broad Street next to Los Lobos.

The store, to be called T&B Market, is not yet open. The owner will have to show proof that he meets the $25,000 inventory requirement before he is to be issued the beer permit.

"We have a beer permit application from Mr. Markos Malak at 102 East Broad Street, which is right next to Los Lobos where the computer store was. Mr. (Randy) Paris is the owner of that building. Actually what we're looking at is issuing a permit contingent on (Malak) issuing the city a valid notarized certified inventory of $25,000. He meets all other requirements but we will do a background check," said City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson, who presided over the beer board meeting.

The city beer ordinance states that "Before a beer permit is issued to any applicant, he or she must show proof of ownership of $25,000 in grocery stock, excluding all tobacco products, gasoline, petroleum products, antifreezes, and beer."

The Smithville Beer Board members are Annette Greek, Steve Hays, Farron Hendrix, Lloyd Black, and Alderman Danny Washer.

Convenience Market Prohibited from Selling Beer for 90 Days

October 24, 2013
Dwayne Page
On The Way Market
Smithville Beer Board members

The On The Way Convenience Market at 736 South Congress Boulevard is prohibited from selling beer for ninety days.

Following a brief hearing, the Smithville Beer Board Thursday night found the beer permit holder, Bindyia, Inc. in violation of the city's beer ordinance for the sale of alcohol to a minor and voted to suspend the license for ninety days.

Board members Annette Greek, Steve Hays, Farron Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Lloyd Black all voted in favor of the suspension. City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson and City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. were also present.

The suspension takes effect immediately. Hendrixson said he will remove the beer permit from the store on Friday morning.

The board heard from Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department, who was sworn under oath and questioned by city attorney Parsley. No one from the store attended the meeting.


Acting on numerous public complaints of possible illegal beer sales to minors, Lieutenant Holmes said the Smithville Police Department conducted an investigation in August targeting all eleven stores in the city licensed to sell beer for consumption off the premises.

Only one arrest was made. 19 year old Danielle Owens, a store clerk at On The Way market was charged with the misdemeanor offense of selling alcohol to a minor. She will make a court appearance in November.

The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. A 20 year old officer from another county, in plain clothes, attempted to make a beer purchase from each store.

In all but one case, the store clerks refused to make the beer sales to the undercover officer after checking his ID and using an age chart to verify his age. He was denied the sale and told he was too young to buy beer.

The exception was with Owens at On the Way market. "Upon stopping at On the Way, the undercover person advised that the clerk checked his ID and then accepted his ten dollar bill and made the transaction for the alcohol, giving him $3.65 in change," said Lieutenant Holmes in a previous statement to WJLE. "A short time later the suspect (store clerk) was identified as 19 year old Danielle Owens. Warrants were taken and she was located at her home at 520 Miller Road. Owens was arrested and charged with selling alcohol to a minor," added Lieutenant Holmes.

Police made contact with the store owner and the ten dollar bill used to purchase the alcohol was found in the cash register. Identification of the bill was confirmed by checking the serial numbers.

The city's beer ordinance states that "It shall be unlawful for any beer permit holder to make or allow any sale of beer to a minor under twenty one years of age."

The beer ordinance further provides that "Under the finding of any violation of the beer permit holder, the punishment for the first offense shall be a minimum suspension of the beer permit for a period of 90 days. Upon any permit holder committing a violation a second time, the punishment shall be the revocation of the beer license."

(Beer Board members pictured above are: Standing left to right: Alderman Danny Washer and Lloyd Black. Seated left to right: Annette Greek, Steve Hays, and Farron Hendrix)

Applications to be Accepted for Angel Tree Project

October 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
The Angel Tree Project

Applications will be available for the 18th Annual Angel Tree Project from Monday, October 28th through Friday, November 1st.

Spokesperson Laura Stone said that the application turn in date has been set for one day only. "Applications can be picked up October 28th through November 1st. You will continue to pick up your applications at the Department of Human Services, but the application must be returned in person the following week to the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center," she said.

"Completed applications will have to be returned to the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center Building in downtown Smithville (on the corner across from First Baptist) on Monday, November 4th from 9am to 8pm. Applications not returned to the Church LEC Building on this day WILL NOT be accepted. There are no exceptions to the requirements of the application process. It is very important that you understand we will only accept applications this one day only," said Stone.

"Applications can only be picked up at the Department of Human Services on October 28th through November 1st and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 4th. In addition to bringing the completed application, applicants must provide photo identification of the person applying and social security cards and birth certificates for ALL children listed on the application. We will only be keeping the application; all other documents will be returned to the applicant. If an applicant cannot appear in person, their application can be submitted by a family member as long as all of the required information is presented." Stone continued.

"Eligible children must live in DeKalb County and be no older than age 12 by December 25, 2013. The Department of Human Services will only be passing out the applications. Nothing will be returned to them and any questions should be directed to Laura Stone at 615-464-7135". DO NOT contact DHS or anyone at the LEC pickup location under any circumstances; you may jeopardize your application," she said.

Stone adds that "the Angel Tree has been such a tremendous success in the past and with economic times extremely tough for many in our area, we want this years Angel Tree to be no exception. The Angel Tree helps so many families who are struggling to make ends meet. It is sad to think about, but many of these children would not otherwise have a single present for Christmas. With the economy still struggling, we are expecting demand to be high."

World Polio Day- Let's Make a Difference

October 23, 2013
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Rotary Club will join with more than 32,000 Rotary clubs around the world Thursday, October 24 in the celebration of World Polio Day. Rotary International has been involved with other world health organizations (WHOs) for over thirty years in attempting to eradicate polio around the world. The effort has been successful in immunizing children against polio in all but two countries around the world but further efforts must continue.

In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognized Rotary's passion and support for polio eradication and entered into a partnership to eliminate polio. Initially, the Gates Foundation gave the Rotary Foundation a $100 million challenge grant which matched two-to-one for every dollar that Rotarians raised and increased the grant in 2009 to $355 million. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funding by June 30, 2012 but actually, Rotarians raised $228.7 million.

World Polio Day begins a bold chapter in the partnership between the Rotary and the Gates Foundation in their continuing support of the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio. As announced at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this year, the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to $35 million per year, every dollar commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through 2018.

This continuing effort, called "End Polio Now-Make History Today," comes during a critical phase for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which includes most WHOs. The estimated cost of the initiative's 2013-2018 program is $5.5 billion. Funding commitments announced at the Global Vaccine Summit last April totaled $4 billion. The Rotary/Gates Foundation fund raising can reduce or eliminate this deficit.

Your Smithville Rotary Club asks for our community's support in doing our part to stamp out polio "once and for all". If you wish to support this cause, contributions may be made to the "Rotary Foundation" or "Smithville Rotary Club" and be dropped off at the Smithville Review or First Bank. Let's make a difference.

Halloween Events Scheduled through October 31

October 23, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dana Jennings Passing out Treats at City Hall

Several Halloween events are scheduled through October 31.

The Town of Alexandria "Home of the Spookiest Folks on Earth" invite little boys and ghouls to Trick or Treat with them at the 6th Annual Boo-Bash down West Main Street on Saturday, October 26 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The event will offer Free Haunted Train Rides and a Blow-up Slide. Children age 12 and younger may trick or treat at twelve homes. Look for the Addams Family, Beauty and the Beast, Fairyland, the Dead and Breakfast, Captain Hook, Little Mermaid, Toy Story, Snow White, and more! Deluxe Carved Pumpkins will be for sale at $10 each and proceeds will go to help prevent Breast Cancer.

The FCCLA Club will have Halloween Story Time at Justin Potter Library on Saturday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. Come and join them at the library for a morning filled with stories, crafts, and treats. All children 3 to 10 years of age are welcome to attend.

Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville for the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Thursday, October 31 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

(Click link below to view map showing locations taking part in the event)

Halloween downtown map 2013.pdf (709.32 KB)

Beth Adcock, records clerk for the Smithville Police Department, organized the first "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" last year and it turned out to be a great success. Hundreds of children were served.

According to Adcock, the event serves as a way for the Smithville Police Department to give back to the community, to allow trick or treating in a safe environment, and to afford the police officers an opportunity to interact with the children and gain their trust. It also provides parents who may not be able to take their kids trick or treating on the night of Halloween,to do it during the day at downtown businesses and at offices in the courthouse and at city hall.

Participating businesses will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of a pumpkin on their windows. Maps will be available at the police department, Justin Potter Library and other locations to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event. WJLE has posted the map at www.wjle.com. Last year, some of the clerks in the businesses and government offices joined in the fun by dressing up in Halloween costumes .

Adcock says a Halloween costume contest will be held again this year for children up to pre-school age at 10:00 a.m. upstairs in the community room at city hall. Another costume contest for those up to age twelve will be at 4:00 p.m.
For more information call Beth Adcock at the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 or check out the police department's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SmithvillePoliceDepartment

Justin Potter Library will have "Halloween at the Library" on Thursday, October 31 at 6:00 p.m. The entertainment for the event will be Kevin Kidd with his silly songs that teach positive values to children. All little ghosts and goblins are invited to join them at the library for a night of fun. Costumes are optional. They hope to see you for this special occasion. For further information call the library at 615-597-4359.

AmVets Ladies Auxiliary and Handlebar II are having "Trunk or Treat" October 31 from 5-7 p.m. at Greenbrook Park. Anyone who wishes to join with their trunk is welcome.

Murfreesboro Crash Claims Alexandria Man

October 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Joshua Maston Owens

A 24 year old Alexandria man died in a single vehicle traffic accident in Murfreesboro on Friday. Dead is Joshua Maston Owens.

According to media reports, the Murfreesboro Police Department's Fatal Accident Crash Team investigated the fatal crash that occurred on East Clark Boulevard at 7:12 a.m. Friday, October 18.

A single vehicle left the road near 1018 East Clark Boulevard and struck a tree, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department news release.

Ashley McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department said in a separate news release that MFRD units responded to provide extrication however upon arrival it was determined that extrication was not needed adding that it was unclear if a medical emergency led to the crash.

The driver was transported to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital where he was pronounced deceased, according to the Murfreesboro Police Department.

WJLE contacted Murfreesboro Police Tuesday morning for more details on the accident. Kyle Evans, Public Information Officer responded by email. "We have not released the report but the person that died in the vehicle crash on Friday here in Murfreesboro is Joshua Maston Owens," he wrote.

Owens was a Comcast Cable Tech employee and a member of the Fort Apache Riders Club/Twisted Grip. Born in Ocala, Florida, he was affiliated with the New Vision Baptist Church and the West Main Baptist Church in Alexandria.

The funeral will be Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the West Main Baptist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be Tuesday from noon until 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday from noon until 5:00 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria. The body will then be taken to the West Main Baptist Church in Alexandria for the service at 6:00 p.m. Ben Simpson and Russell Vickers will officiate.

Owens is survived by his wife, Kayla Owens. Parents, Robert Nassivera and Kerri Owens. Grandparents, Loretta and Steve Coleman, Mike G. Owens, Linda Williams, and Bill Williams. Mother-In-Law, Roxie Martin. Father-in-law, Charles Hubbard, Jr. Aunts and uncles, Sherri Owens, Mike Owens, Alisha Moore, Doug Owens, Tammy Evensen, Shelia Rowe, and Judy and Brad Askew. Step great grandmother, Ruth Grider. Great aunt, Luci and husband Pete McDonnell. Sister-in-law, Taylor Martin. Niece, Madison Askew. Cousins, Amanda, Chelsie Livsey, Ashley Owens, Chuck, Donny, Sami, Bridgette, Brandy, Tia, Gage, Eli, Kyle, Zowie, Alex, Emily, Hana, Tina, and many more cousins, family, and friends.

Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria is in charge of the arrangements. The family has requested that donations be made to Anderson Funeral Home to help the family with expenses.

Groundbreaking Held for New Rescue Squad Building

October 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
Groundbreaking Held for New Rescue Squad Building
Drawing of proposed new rescue squad building

City and county leaders joined members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad in breaking ground Monday for the construction of a new facility beside the current location near Green brook Park.

The Smithville Aldermen last month voted to give the rescue squad members authorization to do the construction which is on city property.

Joe Johnson, a member of the Rescue Squad building committee, told WJLE at the groundbreaking Monday that the new building will be large enough to store more of the rescue squad vehicles and equipment at one location. "It's going to be 36' x 60'. It's going to be metal truss with 6 x 6 pressure treated posts for the sides. It will be all metal construction on the outside. It'll be close to matching the same color of the (existing) rescue squad building. It'll have three (bay) doors to enter from the rear and three to enter from the front where we'll be able to drive through. It will house two trucks and two boats with an extra bay for future use. In the future, we hope to buy a pontoon boat so we can get more people to the sites faster. Right now we have two boats and two trucks to pull the boats. Both trucks are four wheel drive. We have a 1969 model four wheel drive that we use to go in rough places and during the winter time. We have a box truck that can double as an ambulance in an emergency. We have a Gator for going off road and a trailer to carry it on along with generators and other odd equipment we need to store in this building. Some of our equipment is scattered around at the homes of Rescue Squad members where we can keep them (equipment) inside. We have to gather them (equipment) up when we get a call which takes time. Our call times are important. We're trying to get everything together in one spot so when we get a call we can leave from one place and improve our response time," said Johnson.

The county has budgeted $8,700 for the new rescue squad building and $1,700 for new rollup doors on the existing building. The county also provides annual funding to the rescue squad for operation as a non-profit organization. This year the amount is $16,821. The City of Smithville budgets $1,500 toward the operation of the rescue squad.

The new facility will be built at no extra cost to the city, according to Johnson. In addition to the county's contribution, the rest of the money is being raised from private donations and fundraisers. " The county has donated $8,700 and we have matched that with Rescue Squad funds from fundraisers. We're still going to be short by about $5,000 to $6,000. We'll probably need more fund raisers. It would probably be a $30,000 building if you hired it built. We hope to get in there for about $19,000 to $20,000 dollars. If we have to, we can operate on gravel and not pour concrete but we'd like to have a concrete floor," he said.

Plans are to have the building completed by the end of January using mostly volunteer labor from the Rescue Squad members themselves. "Our goal was to have it done by December 31 but because of the time to get the trusses made, which we had to get specially built, that slowed us up about three or four weeks. I'm estimating now that we'll have it done by January 31. We're using all Rescue Squad labor so when we get off work, evenings, and Saturdays, that's when we're putting in our own time on it," said Johnson.

In addition to searching for drowning victims, the rescue squad also conducts cave rescues and searches for missing persons. Earlier this summer, Johnson explained how that the rescue squad and others came to the aid of a man who had fallen and suffered broken bones while trying to climb a steep rock formation at Center Hill Lake. After making their way up the steep bluff, rescue workers reached the man, placed him in a stokes basket and used rappelling equipment to safely bring him down. "We recover bodies from the lake. If someone gets hurt in a remote location where an ambulance cannot go we can take our manpower and stokes baskets to them. If they fall off bluffs we lower ropes down to them and bring them back up. We do rescues during times of flooding to get people out. We even rescue animals. We are also an auxiliary for Smithville and DeKalb County. If city or county fire departments need extra manpower, we can help," he said.

Members of the rescue squad voluntarily give of their time and effort without compensation. " We have 30 active members and honorary members, those who have been on the rescue squad for at least ten years, and they all work for zero pay," said Johnson.

Through their membership with the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads, Incorporated, the local rescue squad receives assistance from other county rescue squads when needed to help conduct search and recovery efforts.

Present for the groundbreaking were Zach Smoot, Phil Wilkey, Brian Keith, Frankie Bryant, City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson, Jason Majors, Kristie Johnson, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, Rescue Squad Captain Dustin Johnson, County Mayor Mike Foster, and Joe Johnson.


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