Local News Articles

Enrollment up by 70 Students in DeKalb School System

September 4, 2008
Dwayne Page
Clay Farler

Student Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System, as of the 20th day of school, is up by 70 students compared to this same time period last year.

Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, told WJLE Thursday that system-wide, DeKalb County has an enrollment to date of 3,006 (pre-k to 12th grade) compared to 2,936 after the 20th day of school last year.

Enrollment is up by 13 students at DeKalb County High School, up by 9 students in the Adult High School, up by 16 students at DeKalb Middle School, up by 72 students at Northside Elementary School, down by 36 students at Smithville Elementary School, and down by four students at DeKalb West School.

Farler explained the reason the enrollment is significantly higher at Northside and lower at Smithville Elementary is because four- second grade classes were moved to Northside to help relieve overcrowding at SES.

The enrollment numbers to date for 2008 and 2007 at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Year 2008- 824
Year 2007- 811

Adult High School
Year 2008- 21
Year 2007- 12

DeKalb Middle School-
Year 2008- 545
Year 2007-529

Northside Elementary-
Year 2008-598
Year 2007-526

Smithville Elementary School-
Year 2008-616
Year 2007-652

DeKalb West School-
Year 2008-402
Year 2007-406

Nashville Man Injured at Burgess Falls State Park

September 3, 2008
Dwayne Page
Man Injured in Fall (photo to WJLE by Norman Christensen)

A Nashville man fell some 25 feet while climbing a ledge at Burgess Falls State Park Tuesday.

19 year old Caleb Tuck was seriously injured in the fall.

According to a report in the Herald-Citizen of Cookeville, Tuck suffered a broken jaw, a possible broken leg, and other injuries after landing on some rocks.

Members of the Putnam and White County Rescue Squads hiked down to Tuck and then carried him out in a basket.

He was treated at the scene by the Putnam County EMS and later airlifted by helicopter ambulance to a Nashville hospital.

Tigers ranked 12th in State in latest AP poll

September 3, 2008

The DeKalb County Tiger football team - off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 17 years - is ranked in this week's Associated Press poll. The Tigers garned 17 votes for the top ten in Class 3A, which was good enough to place them at number-12 in the weekly poll. The poll was released by the Tennessean newspaper on Wednesday morning.

The ranking is believed to be the first for the Tiger football team since being ranked in the Nashville Banner's top 5 early in the 1991 season.

David Lipscomb is the top-ranked team in Class 3A. Lipscomb pulled in 11 first place votes and 134 total points to earn the top spot just ahead of Knoxville Catholic, who had three first place votes and 127 total points. Lipscomb beat the Tigers' opponent for this week - Greenbrier - 42-3, last Friday night. McMinn Central, Giles County and DeKalb's Region 4-3A foe, White House, round out the top five.

Teams six through ten are as follows: Dyersburg, Knoxville Fulton, Jackson South Side Anderson County and Austin-East. Marshall County earned 19 points to earn the number-11 ranking, just two points ahead of the Tigers at number-12. Sheffield and Mitchell round out the poll's top 14 spots.

Meanwhile, Tiger quarterback Hunter Poteete is the top-rated passer in the mid-state according to staistics collected by the Tennessean. Poteete is credited for 491 yards on 29-of-61 passing, with six touchdowns. Poteete is also listed among the mid-state's rushing leaders with 146 yards on 38 carries and two touchdowns. J.J. Herriott and Abram Edwards are also ranked in the top ten in the mid-state in receiving. Herriott has nine catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Edwards has six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Logan Roller and Matthew Collier are also mentioned among the tackle leaders. Roller is listed with 11 tackles, while Collier has 10 for the season.

The Tigers will welcome Greenbrier to the VanHooser Stadium, this Friday night, for the Region 4-3A opener for both teams. DeKalb County will be looking to snap a 14-game losing streak to the Bobcats, a team the Tigers have not beaten since the 1979 season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night, and WJLE plans live coverage.

Hixon Found Dead in Missouri

September 3, 2008
Dwayne Page
Nicholas Hixon

One of the men the Tennessee Highway Patrol and others spent two days looking for in the Temperance Hall area almost two weeks ago is dead.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Wednesday, August 27th, Nicholas Hixon was at his home in Independence, Missouri, where he was found dead by a family member. Hixon apparently died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.

The Examiner, a Missouri newspaper, reports that the funeral for the 19 year old Hixon will be tonight (September 3rd) at the Mount Washington Chapel Mausoleum in Independence, Missouri

Hixon and Kirk Douglas Fincher, who were spotted by the THP on Interstate 40 Saturday, August 23rd, bailed out of the stolen car they were in near the Walker Creek Bridge at Temperance Hall after leading officers on a pursuit from Smith County into DeKalb County.

Fincher showed up at a residence in the area on Sunday and was held at gunpoint by a private citizen until officers arrived.

The search continued for Hickson, who authorities initially thought was still at large in the area.

However, Sheriff Ray says the TBI later learned that Hixon left the area enroute to Missouri. He apparently caught a ride to Nashville on Sunday morning, August 24th and used someone's cell phone to call his mother in Missouri.

The TBI has also learned that Hixon got someone to check him into the Knight's Inn on Spring Street in Nashville using a ficticious name Sunday evening where he spent the night.

He was last seen at a Greyhound bus terminal in Nashville Monday night, August 25th. His picture was captured at 6:01 p.m. Monday on a video tape from a surveillance camera at the bus station.

Sheriff Ray says Hixon was facing charges in Tennessee, but not in DeKalb County.

Labor Day Crash Claims Two Lives, Injures Four Others

September 2, 2008
Dwayne Page
Bryan Timothy Walker
Casaundra Rena Maple

Two from DeKalb County lost their lives and four others were injured in a two vehicle crash Monday afternoon in Warren County.

Dead are 22 year old Bryan Timothy Walker and 19 year old Casaundra R. Maple both of Smithville.

The accident occurred around 4:14 p.m. on Highway 56 at the intersection of Capshaw Road.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 20 year old Miranda L. Maple of Dowelltown was driving north on Highway 56 in a 1995 Nissan Maxima when she attempted to make a left turn onto Capshaw Road and turned into the path of a loaded southbound 1990 Dodge one ton roll back wrecker, driven by 59 year old Charles Larry Pack of McMinnville. After impact, both vehicles went off the highway, over an embankment and into an open field where they came to rest about 50 feet off the highway.

Both Bryan Walker and Casaundra Maple were passengers in the Nissan Maxima along with 15 year old Brittany Smith also from Smithville.

Miranda Maple was airlifted from the scene by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital while Smith, who had to be cut from the wreckage by emergency workers, was airlifted by Life Force and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Walker and Casaundra Maple died at the scene

A 13 year old boy of McMinnville was a passenger of the Pack vehicle. Both Pack and the juvenile were injured and transported by EMS to River Park Hospital where they were treated and released.

The crash was investigated by Trooper Bruce Pryor and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol along with the THP Critical Incident Response Team. The North Warren Fire Department and the Warren County EMS were also on the scene.

All DeKalb County Pre-K Classes Full This Year

September 1, 2008
Dwayne Page
Pre-K Teacher Jennifer Peek with Students at SES
Pre-K Students at Smithville Elementary

All pre kindergarten classes are full this year, but you can have your named placed on a waiting list if or when there is a vacancy.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade says around 100 students are being served by the pre-k program this year. "Several years ago we were able to receive a pre-k program. It was referred to as a pilot program. We received that at Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. At that time, we could take three and four year olds into the programs. With the success that was shown across the state with the pre-k programs, we were able to expand. At the present time we have four pre-k classrooms at Smithville Elementary and one at DeKalb West School. We have completely filled our classrooms for this school year and we're really excited about that because all the children are coming in, we're all starting at the same time of the year, and the teachers are getting to know an entire class. It's just absolutely wonderful that our community has taken advantage of the pre-k programs. We had several packets picked up on registration day that have not been returned to us. Even though our classrooms are completely full we have started a waiting list and that simply means that when you turn in your application, your child's name will go on a list, and if we have a spot to open up in the pre-k classrooms, we will call the parents on that list and ask them if they would like to add their child to the class at that time."

Burklow says all instructors are certified and the curriculum is well structured. "We can have up to 20 students in a classroom. All of our pre-k teachers are certified. They hold a teaching certificate in pre-k. They also do the 30 hours of in-service, professional development training each year. They are CPR and first aid trained and certified. As far as our educational assistants, we do have to keep a one to ten ratio in the pre-k classrooms so each classroom has an educational assistant. The educational assistant is highly qualified under No Child Left Behind guidelines. The first year that they are with us, they complete 18 hours of training. After that first initial year then they only have to complete 12 hours of training, but they too are CPR and first aid certified. Just like the regular school day, our pre-k day is the same. The children are given an opportunity to ride the bus each day. We have a seven hour day. We have an "OWL" curriculum, it's called "Opening the World of Learning" that we use as our main curriculum. We have the letter people, which is introducing the alphabet to the children through puppets and inflatable people. We also use Frog Street Press as supplements to this curriculum. Concerning the pre-k curriculum, the children are not at a table all day long. The state requires that the children go to centers and are given an opportunity to choose a center for two and a half hours a day. They may decide to go to dramatic play or they may decide to go to blocks or an art activity. They may choose to do a puzzle. So there's two and a half hours a day that the children choose what they would like to go into and to socialize with their peers."

For more information, call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107, Clay Farler at 215-2101, or call Smithville Elementary or DeKalb West School.

Local Man Injured in Truck Accident

August 31, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 25 year old Smithville man was seriously injured in a pickup truck wreck late Friday night on Highway 70 east on Sligo hill.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Bryan Officer was traveling west in a 1988 Chevy pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, overcorrected, and over turned. The truck came to rest upright on it's wheels. Officer was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Woman Airlifted after Thursday Night Wreck

August 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 47 year old woman was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital after a one car traffic accident late Thursday night.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Carrolyn L. Parker-Bullington who claims to live on a houseboat at Cove Hollow Marina was driving south on Dale Ridge Road in a 1998 Chevy Metro when she failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the roadway, struck an embankment, and flipped over. A passing motorist spotted the wreck and reported it around 11:40 p.m.

Bullington was transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone near the entrance of Edgar Evins State Park on Wolf Creek Road. She was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. Bullington was still hospitalized in stable condition Friday.

Others on the scene included the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Local Law Enforcement Officers Join Forces for Sobriety Checkpoints

August 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department conducted sobriety check points throughout the county on Friday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says county deputies and the Alexandria Police Department conducted a Sobriety Check Point on Highway 53 in Alexandria. A total of 451 cars passed through. Sheriff Ray says "There were a large number of cars that went through our road block on Highway 53 due to an accident on Interstate 40. Despite the large number, all were within the law. I'm very proud of that."

At the same time, officers from the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb Sheriff's Department conducted another Sobriety Check point on Highway 70 East and 56 North. A total of 375 vehicles came through.

Sheriff Ray says "There will be more joint enforcements such as Sobriety Check Points and Saturated Patrols that will be forthcoming within the county. I am proud we as law enforcement officers can work together in efforts such as this and accomplish our goals."

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a property motor vehicle accident on Highway 70 on Tuesday.

Officers arrested 19 year old Heriberto Cruz Guerra of Walker Drive, Smithville for driving without a license. Guerra was also issued a traffic citation for failure to maintain proof of insurance. Guerra's bond was set at $1,000 and he will be in court September 3rd..

On Friday, deputies arrested 45 year old Billy Wayne Woodard of Wright Bend Road, Smithville for a violation of probation warrant. Sheriff Ray says while deputies conducted a pat down search of Woodard's person, they found a bottle that contained 4 peach colored tablets believed to be Xanax. Woodard was then charged with simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). Woodard's bond was set at 2,500 and he will appear in court on September 25th.

Tigers end Watertown drought with 31-14 romp

August 29, 2008
Watertown Score Board Tells the Story
Fans Join Tigers in Celebrating Rare Win at Watertown

The DeKalb County High School Tiger football team improved their record to 2-0 on the young season by beating the Watertown Purple Tigers, 31-14, Friday night in Watertown. The win snapped Watertown's six-game win streak over DeKalb County, and was the Tigers' first victory in Watertown since 1974.

Tiger quarterback, Hunter Poteete, threw for 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but had a couple of early interceptions, including one by Blaze Eaton that was returned 26 yards for a touchdown. Ryan Huffman's extra point gave the Purple Tigers a 7-0 advantage with 6:20 on the clock in the first quarter.

DeKalb County recorded their first points on a safety, as linebacker Chris Odom dropped Purple Tiger quarterback, Dalton Phillips, in the end zone with 10:17 left in the second quarter, which trimmed the Watertown lead to 7-2. The Tigers got their first touchdown - and their first lead of the night - on a three-yard dash by Poteete into the end zone with 54 seconds left in the half. Poteete tossed the two-point conversion pass to J.J. Herriott, which gave DC a 10-7 lead.

Watertown re-claimed the lead on the opening drive of the second half, as the Purple Tigers marched 74 yards in 10 plays and scored on Ethan Patterson's end around run to the end zone. Huffman added the PAT to give the hosts a 14-10 advantage. DeKalb County's offense sputtered in the third quarter, as the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their two drives of the quarter. The defense held its ground, however, and on DC's first drive of the fourth quarter, Poteete and Herriott hooked up on a 79-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead after Zach Taylor kicked the extra point. The defense stuffed the Purple Tigers again on the ensuing drive, and the Tigers marched right back down and scored again with 3:04 left in regulation on a nine-yard pass from Poteete to Travon Johnson. Taylor's PAT gave DeKalb a 24-14 advantage.

After forcing a Watertown three-and-out, with just a little over a minute left in the game, the Tigers were looking to run some time off the clock when Matthew Lawrence broke free on a 23-yard touchdown run to put the victory on ice. Taylor kicked the final extra point, which put the eventual final score of 31-14 on the board.

Poteete completed 15 of his 27 pass attempts, and added 60 rushing yards on 22 carries. Lawrence ran the ball 10 times for 50 yards, as the Tigers totaled 110 ground yards and 368 yards of total offense. DC also had 138 return yards for a combined total of 506 all-purpose yards on the night. Herriott had 146 receiving yards and 125 return yards for the Tigers.

Watertown, meanwhile, was held to 175 yards of total offense. The Purple Tigers had 76 rushing yards, led by Blaze Eaton with 39 yards on nine carries. QB Dalton Phillips completed 9-of-24 passes for 60 yards.

DeKalb County will open the Region 4-3A portion of their schedule next Friday night, as the Greenbrier Bobcats come to Smithville. The Bobcats are 1-1 on the season, after losing to David Lipscomb, 42-3, on Friday. Kickoff of next Friday's game will be at 7:30 p.m.


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