Local News Articles

Annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park

April 10, 2013

The 4th Annual Celebration of Spring will be Saturday, April 13th at Edgar Evins State Park, Silver Point, between Smithville and Cookeville on Center Hill Lake. This will be a FREE day of outdoor recreation and entertainment for families and individuals, sponsored by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park employees.

The day's activities will begin at 8 a.m. at the Visitors Center with registration for all and sign-ups for the events that have a maximum number of participants. The activities that have limits are the popular nature hikes led by Ranger Mark Taylor, Holly Taylor and Danny L. Bryan, Assistant Professor of Biology at Cumberland University, as well as the approximately 45 minutes long pontoon boat rides for adults and children over 3 years accompanied by an adult.
Some new features this year include a chance to decorate a cookie or cupcake, sponsored by Peggy and Scotty Richardson of the Pure Bread Baking Company, and a Native Animals presentation by the popular NHECM. (http://www.nhecm.com/) The wildlife “stars” of the program will include a young bobcat, possum and raccoon. In addition David Haggard, West Tennessee Interpretive Specialist for TN State Parks will bring his Birds of Prey program.

Live on-stage performances throughout the day will also include a Minnie Pearl impersonator and country/pop singer, Patricia Jackson from Nashville, and the Flat Broke Blue Grass Band. The young dancers from Cannon Arts Dance Studio will dance around the Maypole and perform several colorful ballet numbers.

Other offerings will include kite flying, face painting, 3-legged and sack races, living history demonstrations, and Holly’s friendly snakes.

Boy Scouts of Troop 875 will show how to cook in a Dutch Oven over a camp fire. Girl Scouts of Troop 1146 will assist anyone interested in making honeysuckle baskets or corn shuck dolls and some new crafts options.

Many offerings will overlap so there will be something going on most of the day for various ages and interests. In addition there are approximately 11 miles of trails waiting to be hiked by those who prefer to explore on their own.
Count the number of candies in a jar at registration for a chance to win a days rental of a kayak or canoe and a sack lunch for two from Caney Fork Outdoors and Big Rock Market.

Participants are encouraged to pack a picnic or sack lunch and plan to stay for a fun day in the park. Those who wish to make it an overnight or weekend outing may phone the park office (1-800-250-8619 or 931-858-2114) to inquire about camping and cabins.

The websites for the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park may be visited at http://foeesp.ne1.net and http://www.facebook.com/friendsofeesp

The park address is 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN 38582

Ralph Vaughn to Speak at Chamber Banquet

April 9, 2013
Ralph Vaughn

The 2013 Chamber Annual Membership Banquet is set for Thursday, April 11, 2013 at the DeKalb County Complex, 732 South Congress Blvd., Smithville. "We are excited to again host this enjoyable and informative event. This is a special milestone year for the Chamber as we are celebrating our 50th year. We invite you to share in this fun-filled night of dining, entertainment, and the latest updates from the Chamber including the introduction of our new Board, recognition of our retiring board members, and 2013 Officers," says Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams. In addition, Leadership Director, Jen Sherwood, will present winners for "Community Leader of the Year" and "Legacy" awards.

The special evening begins at 5:30 PM with a "Silent Auction." The dinner and program start at 6:00 PM. Dinner music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver will sing the National Anthem as Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. The musical entertainment for the evening will be by local singing talent, Josh Melton. The delicious meal will be prepared by Chef Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2013 will serve the meal.

The keynote speaker for the evening will be Ralph Vaughn, probably best remembered as the manager of WJLE for 15 years and 21 years as the Program Director and MC of the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival. Ralph was president of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro for 12 years and the Morgan County Chamber of Commerce in Madison, Georgia for 3 years. A native of DeKalb County, he recently retired from Barrett Firearms Manufacturing in Murfreesboro where he served as the Special Projects Coordinator. Ralph is currently serving as the President of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.

Please contact the Chamber office at 597-4163 for more information. Banquet ticket prices are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the Chamber or from the Chamber Board of Directors.

2013 Cumberland Beef Day Set for Thursday

April 8, 2013

Beef and forage producers from across Tennessee will gather at the White County Fairgrounds on Thursday, April 11 for Cumberland Beef Day, an educational event hosted by University of Tennessee Extension and the White/Van Buren Cattlemen’s Association. This will be the 15th edition of Cumberland Beef Day and will once again give farmers an opportunity to learn better management practices, talk with agriculture product vendors, and see hands on demonstrations.

The theme for Cumberland Beef Day this year will be “Improving the Health of the TN Beef Herd.” Battling diseases is an ongoing fight for cattle producers. Knowing the signs to look for, precautions to take, and steps for treatment is critical to maintaining profitability. Some of the top animal health experts in the state will be on hand to help producers become more knowledgeable about cattle health and learn to develop their own health management plan.

During our educational sessions, we will follow cow-calf production from before the calf is conceived, until the time comes for it to be marketed. Since it is impossible to produce healthy calves without first maintaining healthy cows, Justin Rhinehart, UT Extension Beef Specialist, will present “Managing the Health of Your Calf Herd”.

We will then look at how to treat calves once they are born as Dr. Brian Whitlock, UT Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine discusses “Live Calf to Weaned Calf.” His presentation will include information on vaccination protocols and diseases in TN to look out for.

In the afternoon, there will be a hands-on demonstration on diagnosing diseases by Dr. David Anderson, UT Professor & Dept. Head in the College of Veterinary Medicine. His discussion will not only help producers learn to catch diseases early, but will also focus on what feedlots are looking for in cattle coming from TN.

In addition to the discussion of beef cattle health, Cumberland Beef Day will feature an update on the new Beef and Forage Center Initiative from the University of Tennessee by its director, Dr. Gary Bates. Dr. Andrew Griffith, UT Assistant Professor of Ag Economics will also be on hand to present “The Beef Cattle Market Outlook.”

As well as the speakers and demonstrations, Cumberland Beef Day will also feature an extensive trade show, lots of door prizes, a silent auction to benefit the 4-H livestock project, and bulls for sale at private treaty. This event is free to anyone interested in beef and forage production, and lunch will be provided. The 2013 Cumberland Beef Day kicks off with the trade show at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at approximately 2:00 p.m. Please call the UT Extension office at 615-597-4945 if you would like more information on Cumberland Beef Day.

DeKalb County Schools’ Data Walls

April 8, 2013
DeKalb County Schools’ Data Walls

School districts across the nation collect and maintain many forms of educational data. Standardized test scores and average daily attendance figures are just two regular points of data collected.

In April each DeKalb County School will be displaying a new DATA WALL. This will provide our community, parents, teachers, and students with an image of past and present data, as well as, projected goals for future data that will be collected. Much research and evidence now exist indicating why school leaders must become familiar with and use existing school data to make sound educational decisions about teaching and learning.

These walls will help each school analyze and identify gaps in performance while producing rich data discussions. This will allow DeKalb County to be proactive rather than reactive in our school improvement efforts. Administrators and teachers are monitoring student progress to ensure that all students are successful in attaining state and district goals. We regularly ask: Where are our students? What does our test data tell us? How do we plan to accomplish our goals?

As you visit the schools please observe these DATA WALLS located near each office area. We hope this gives stakeholders an opportunity to understand our challenges and recognize our areas of accomplishment.

Six Contractors Bid on New Sligo Bridge

April 8, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sligo Bridge

Six construction companies have bid on the new Sligo bridge project

The Tennessee Department of Transportation opened bids today (Friday)

Contractors submitting bids are as follows:

Massman Construction Company: $38,903,917
OCCI, INC: $39,337,790
Charles Blalock & Sons, INC.: $39,587,579
C.J. Mahan Construction Company, LLC.: $40,064,372
Bell & Associates Construction, L.P.: $53,376,504
Wright Brothers Construction Company, INC.: $57,499,874

The bid has not yet been awarded. According to Jennifer A. Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer it takes a while to go through the entire letting. "Although we know who has the low bid on this contract, it will not be officially awarded for at least two weeks, said Flynn in an email to WJLE. " Headquarters goes over the low bids to make sure everything is okay before they officially award contracts, and they have a month to do this. It usually doesn't take that long, but in the case of the complicated Sligo Bridge project, they may need the entire time," said Flynn.

Meanwhile, two companies have bid on a flashing beacon for U.S. 70 and State Route 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.

Contractors submitting bids are:
Stansell Electric Company, INC: $33,174
S & W Contracting Company, INC: $33,320

TDOT has not yet awarded the bid

Sarah Anne Colwell Wins Junior Miss

April 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Junior Miss and Runners-Up
Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality
Sarah Anne Colwell Wins Junior Miss

Twelve year old Sarah Anne Colwell of Smithville is the new Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant, which was held Saturday night at the DCHS gym and sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Colwell, daughter of Christie and Trent Colwell, succeeds the 2012 Junior Miss Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the fifteen year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls.

First runner-up in the pageant was Morgan Faith Green of Smithville, the thirteen year old daughter of Suzanne and Jon Harrison. Morgan was also named Miss Congeniality.

Twelve year old Addison Grace Oakley of Liberty was second runner-up. She is the daughter of Lisa and Clark Oakley. Addison also received the title of Miss Photogenic.

Destiny Danielle Franklin of Smithville, the thirteen year old daughter of Jennifer and Charlie Ware was named third runner-up.

Fourteen year old Mary Elizabeth Murray of Smithville, daughter and Angel Brown and Dwight Murray was the fourth runner-up

A total of twelve young ladies participated in the pageant. Other participants were Alexis KaSara Davis, thirteen year old daughter of Angela and Scott Davis of Smithville; Kyra Orlando, fourteen year old daughter of Shellie Bain and Shane Orlando of Smithville; Abigail Hope Taylor, twelve year old daughter of Cindy and Ken Taylor of Smithville; Kyleigh Alexis White of Alexandria, twelve year old daughter of Emily and Andy Turbeville and Kenny White; Casey Elizabeth Vickers, fourteen year old daughter of Wanda Sue and Joseph Vickers of Liberty; Miranda Nicole Davis, thirteen year old daughter of Nicole and Robert Bruhn of Smithville; and Emily Hope Burklow, twelve year old daughter of Shan and Andy Burklow of Dowelltown.

(Top Photo: 4th runner-up Mary Elizabeth Murray, 2nd runner-up Addison Grace Oakley, Junior Miss Sarah Anne Colwell, 1st runner-up Morgan Faith Green, 3rd runner-up Destiny Danielle Franklin)

(Middle Photo: Miss Photogenic Addison Grace Oakley and Miss Congeniality Morgan Faith Green)

(Bottom Photo: Junior Miss Sarah Anne Colwell)

Little Miss Title Goes to Annabella Eleni Dakas

April 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Little Miss and Runners-Up
Miss Photogenic and Miss Personality
Little Miss Annabella Eleni Dakas

Six year old Annabella Eleni Dakas of Smithville is the 2013 Little Miss of the annual spring pageant sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.


She was crowned Saturday night at the DCHS gym.

Dakas, daughter of Amanda and John Dakas, succeeds the retiring Little Miss Isabella Faith Rackley, the five year old daughter of Jessica and Gordon Rackley of Smithville. Annabella was also named Miss Photogenic.

Six year old Laina Renee Winfree, daughter of Stacy and Mark Winfree of Smithville, was named first runner-up.

Second runner-up went to Kaylee Brooke Kent, four year old daughter of Beth and Kevin Kent of Dowelltown.

Third runner-up was Ansley Faith Cantrell, six year old daughter and Amee and Tony Cantrell of Smithville

Six year old Macy Lynn Anderson was fourth runner-up. She is the six year old daughter of Tabitha and Bobby Joe Anderson of Smithville.

The title of Miss Personality went to Addison Grace Miller, six year old daughter and Amy and Josh Miller of Smithville.

Rounding out the top ten in no particular order are Adison Jade Summers, five year old daughter of Jennifer and Josh Summers of Smithville; Brianna Nicole Carr, the four year old daughter of Sherry Hattaway and Kyle Carr of Smithville; Addison Grace Miller, six year old daughter of Amy and Josh Miller of Smithville; Kora Lin Kilgore, six year old daughter of Ginda and John Kilgore of Smithville; and Madison Dawson, six year old daughter of Jamie and Jarred Dawson of Smithville.

The pageant featured eighteen contestants. Other participants were Briar Williams, six year old daughter of Heather Keyt of Smithville; Addison Isabella Kyle, six year old daughter of Kimberly and Jamie Kyle of Dowelltown; Bryna Mae Pelham, six year old daughter of Karen and Jason Pelham of Smithville; Leah Elisabeth Trapp, four year old daughter of Jenny and Jeremy Trapp of Smithville; Brooklyn Ann Ponder, six year old great granddaughter of Peggy and Brownie Barnes of Smithville; Kerriann Van Dyne, six year old daughter of Yvonne and Timothy Van Dyne of Smithville; Keara McKinsey Milligan, six year old daughter of Cyndi and Josh Milligan of Smithville; and Hannah Aldino, five year old daughter of Sarai and Rigo Aldino of Smithville

(Top Photo: 4th runner-up Macy Lynn Anderson, 2nd runner-up Kaylee Brooke Kent; Little Miss Annabella Eleni Dakas, 1st runner-up Laina Renee Winfree, 3rd runner-up Ansley Faith Cantrell)

(Middle Photo: Miss Photogenic Annabella Eleni Dakas and Miss Personality Addison Grace Miller)

(Bottom Photo: Little Miss: Annabella Eleni Dakas)

Jacob Marlin Stewart Crowned Little Mister

April 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jacob Marlin Stewart Crowned Little Mister
Little Mister and Runners-up
Mister Personality and Mister Photogenic

Four year old Jacob Marlin Stewart was crowned Little Mister of the annual spring pageant held Saturday at the DeKalb County High School gym, sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club

Stewart, the son of Megan and D.J. Stewart of Smithville, succeeds the 2012 Little Mister, Carter Matthew-Mikel Benson of Smithville, the six year old son of Karey and Chris Benson.

Six year old Bradley Jae Pelham, was named first runner-up in the pageant. He is the son of Karen and Jason Pelham of Smithville

Conner Preston McClure was the second runner-up. He is the six year old son of Amanda and Jimmy McClure of Smithville

Third runner-up went to Skyler Chase Sullivan of Smithville, the five year old son of Charity Sullivan and the late Jamie Sullivan. Skylar also received the title of Mister Personality

Andrew Jackson Dakas was fourth runner-up. He is the six year old son of Mandy and John Dakas of Smithville. Andrew was also named Mister Photogenic.

These were the only contestants in this pageant.

(Top Photo: Little Mister: Jacob Marlin Stewart)

(Middle photo: 4th runner-up Andrew Jackson Dakas, 2nd runner-up Conner Preston McClure, Little Mister Jacob Marlin Stewart, 1st runner-up Bradley Jae Pelham, and 3rd runner-up Skyler Chase Sullivan)

(Bottom Photo: Mister Personality Skyler Chase Sullivan and Mister Photogenic Andrew Jackson Dakas)

Representative Weaver Votes to Reduce Sales Tax on Food

April 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver said Friday during her "Coffee and Conversations" town hall meeting in Smithville that she voted for cutting the state sales tax on groceries to five percent but believes that's as low as it should go.

In fact the state House unanimously approved Governor Bill Haslam's proposal to cut the state's sales tax on groceries. State Representative Mark Pody joined Weaver in voting for the bill.

If the plan is approved by the Senate, the state's tax on groceries will drop by a quarter percentage point, to 5 percent. Lawmakers last year enacted a cut of the same amount.

The state's sales tax on non food items is 7 percent.

The tax reduction is projected to cost the state about $23 million in state revenue — or an average annual tax savings of about $3.56 for each Tennessean.

"It'll be a flat 5% and I think that is probably where it is going to stay. I don't think I can support it below that," said Representative Weaver. "We're eliminating a lot of taxes, which is good. Its made Tennessee very attractive to people to come and live here. But I believe everybody should have some skin in the game on taxes and the food tax is the only way we can do that at this point. We've got to have revenue in or we can't pay for some of the things people are used to having," said Representative Weaver.

The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Finance Committee and is not expected to find much opposition.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to host two application meetings for the 2014 build

April 5, 2013
Dwayne Page

Do you dream of owning your own home? Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is making plans to build another affordable, safe and decent home with a local family.

There will two opportunities to learn more at an Informational Meeting and Application Fair. Please come either Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. OR Saturday, May 4 at 9:30 a.m. at the Methodist Family Life Center next to Love-Cantrell Funeral Home in downtown Smithville. Families will receive information about the Habitat Program and assistance to complete the application.

To qualify, applicants must meet the following basic criteria:

1. Be a DeKalb County resident for at least 1 year prior to April, 2013.
2. Be a U.S. Citizen or have permanent resident alien status.
3. Have a housing need. For example, current conditions may be overcrowded, unsanitary, unsafe, temporary or cost prohibitive.
4.Have an ability to pay. Applicants must provide proof of income and ability to pay a monthly mortgage.
5.Be willing to partner. Qualified families will participate in budgeting and home maintenance classes as well as help in the construction of their own home.

If you cannot attend either meeting on April 23 or May 4, please call 615-215-8181 and leave your name and phone number. A Habitat volunteer will contact you to provide additional information and perhaps mail an application to you.

To be considered, completed and signed applications must be postmarked by Friday, May 31, 2013.

The purpose of Habitat is to build houses and sell them at no profit and no interest to families who could not otherwise afford their own home. This Christian ministry is financed through private donations using volunteer labor and donated materials whenever possible.


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