Local News Articles

Smithville Police Cracking Down on Motorists Illegally Passing School Buses

October 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Cracking Down on Motorists Illegally Passing School Buses
THP advisory to motorists on passing school buses

The Smithville Police Department has been cracking down on motorists illegally passing school buses much to the delight of alderman and bus driver Danny Washer.

“I want to compliment the Chief and the Police Department on the job they are doing in the school zones. They have worked hard and it has made a difference. I can see a difference on my route and I know some of the others (bus drivers) have too. That’s a dangerous situation. A lot of people just don’t pay attention,” said Alderman Washer during Monday night’s city council meeting.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that officers have issued numerous citations recently. He is urging motorists to pay attention when driving, especially around a school bus, and stop when the buses are loading and unloading children.

The law requires that motorists yield to a bus with its lights flashing and stop sign out, whether they're headed in the same direction or in the opposite. Even if there's a center turn lane.

There's only one exception.

"In order to pass by a stopped school bus from the front there has to be an impassable median," said Lt. Ray Robinson with the Tennessee Highway Patrol's pupil transportation division.

“On this five lane highway (Broad Street) they (motorists) don’t understand the law,” said Mayor Jimmy Poss, who is also a school bus driver.

“That or they are talking on the phone. Its more so the phone than anything else. It’s been a big problem not just on Broad Street. Anywhere they can pass you (bus), they will,” replied Alderman Washer.

“It is against the law to talk on a cell phone in a school zone,” added Alderman Shawn Jacobs.

“When you’re driving a bus you see a lot,” said Mayor Poss

“You’re setting up there where you see it all,” added Alderman Washer.

“I just want the police department to know it (increased enforcement) has helped and I appreciate it. A lot of the other drivers do too,” said Washer.

It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for any person to fail to comply with the law requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus.

Be alert and allow our children to arrive to and from school safely without harm.

Listen for WJLE's Fearless Forecasters Today (Thursday)

October 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Listen for WJLE's Fearless Forecasters Today (Thursday)

Listen for WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" today (Thursday) at 4:30 p.m.

This season's regulars are Dewain Hendrixson, Scott Brown, Chad Kirby, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, John Pryor, Joe Goodwin, and Darrell Gill.

The "Fearless Forecasters" pick who they believe will win in fifteen of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the week.

They also make an underdog selection each week, picking a team they think will win, even though that team is not favored to win. If they guess right, they get the number of points in the spread.

The program is sponsored by Liberty State Bank, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company, and Sir Pizza Xpress of Smithville

Catch the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE weekly starting next Thursday, August 31.


Darrell Gill: 12-3
Joe Goodwin: 12-3
Dewain Hendrixson: 12-3
Ricky Atnip: 11-4
Chad Kirby: 11-4
John Pryor: 11-4
Jeff James: 9-6
Guest: Donny Green: 9-6
Scott Brown: 7-8


Chad Kirby: 56-18
Jeff/Grant James: 54-20 (2)
Ricky Atnip: 53-21 (3)
Dewain Hendrixson: 52-22 (4)
Joe Goodwin: 51-23 (5)
John Pryor: 51-23 (5)
Darrell Gill: 50-24 (6)
Scott Brown: 48-26 (8)
Guests: Tony Cross, Tim Stribling, Larry Green, Noah Gill, Donny Green: 45-29 (11)

Chad Kirby: 0 points
John Pryor: 0 points
Dewain Hendrixson: 6 points
Scott Brown: 7 points
Guests: 10 points
Jeff/Grant James: 13.5 points
Joe Goodwin: 18 points
Ricky: Atnip 19 points
Darrell Gill: 33 points

October Proclaimed Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month

October 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Pictured is Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator Lisa Cripps, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Community Outreach Liaison Norene Puckett, DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling.

Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and County Mayor Tim Stribling on behalf of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition have signed proclamations recognizing the month of October 2017 as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month.

Over the last decade, the use of opioid pain relievers in the United States and Tennessee has increased rapidly. Accompanying that increase in drug use has been an increase in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

NAS is a condition in which an infant experiences withdrawal from opioid substances the mother took during pregnancy. The withdrawal symptoms include fever, seizures, continuous crying, rapid breathing, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 991 babies in Tennessee were born with NAS in 2016.

In October, Tennessee is observing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month. To help raise awareness, the community is asked to participate in the “Pearls & Bowties for Babies” campaign on Friday, October 6. Lisa Cripps, Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition urges you to wear a bowtie or pearls for babies and post a picture on social media with a suggested post like “I’m wearing my pearls or bowtie in support of NAS Awareness Month using the hashtag#NASMonthTN.

“The DeKalb Prevention Coalition encourages you to invite your family, friends, Sunday School class, and co-workers to participate. Get your bowties and pearls ready. Snap a picture and then post that picture on Friday, October 6. We appreciate your efforts in helping us create a safe community here in DeKalb County free of substance abuse,” said Cripps.

Pictured is Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator Lisa Cripps, DeKalb Prevention Coalition Community Outreach Liaison Norene Puckett, DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The combined resolutions are as follows:

WHEREAS, abuse and dependence of prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioids have led to an opioid epidemic in the City of Smithville, DeKalb County, and our state; and

WHEREAS, prenatal exposure to opioids may result in opioid dependency called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) when the infant is born; and
WHEREAS, babies with NAS experience irritability, low birth weight, respiratory condition, tremors and seizures, feeding difficulties and other health-related challenges; and

WHEREAS, the number of babies in Tennessee reported with a diagnoses of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome from January 01, 2017 to July 30, 2017 was 565, with approximately 9 percent being born in the Upper Cumberland Region; and

WHEREAS, the rate of NAS in inpatient settings increased by 15 fold between 2005 and 2015, resulting in three infants per day being born drug dependent; and

WHEREAS, The highest rates of NAS in 2017 have occurred in the Northeast and Upper Cumberland Health Regions, and Sullivan County.

WHEREAS, 72 percent of infants born with NAS in Tennessee were exposed to at least one prescription drug with or without an illicit drug; and
WHEREAS, prevention education, public awareness and knowledge of available treatment resources are crucial in reducing the physical, social and economic impact of NAS.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jimmy Poss, Mayor of the City of Smithville, and DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling do hereby recognize the month of October 2017 as


Throughout the City of Smithville and DeKalb County all Smithvillians and DeKalb Countians are encouraged to join in the fight to stem the tide of opioid abuse and dependence – especially as it relates to mothers and newborns – by learning about NAS prevention and treatment.
On this 4th day of October 2017.

Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival to Benefit DeKalb Prevention Coalition

October 4, 2017
Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival to Benefit DeKalb Prevention Coalition

A Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival fundraiser to benefit the DeKalb Prevention Coalition is set for Saturday, October 7 on the Cherry Hill Farm 16639 Smithville Highway at Silver Point. Gates open from 11 a.m.until 8 p.m.

The Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival is a “first-of-its-kind outdoor community event designed to celebrate music, art, the natural beauty of Center Hill Lake, and the gorgeous Caney Fork River. Nestled between the Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau, Cherry Hill farm will host the all-day festival, a unique entertainment experience created for the whole family to enjoy.

This event will include several favorite attractions, such as Vendors Village, a regional artisans fair showcasing the area’s best in visual arts and crafts, outdoor and recreational vendors, a “KID ZONE” (4,800 square foot of kid rides and activities) a wide variety of tasty food and beverage vendors, and a full day of live music performances by the region’s best folk, bluegrass, and blues artists.

In addition, the festival will host instrument workshops for all aspiring musicians by some of the areas top ranked musician instructors.

Finally, the festival will play host to a “live” celebrity auction event that will take place throughout the day. 100% of proceeds will benefit DeKalb Prevention Coalition’s Health Adventure. This program currently provides free healthy activities that promote physical and emotional health including: yoga classes, art instruction, martial arts, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, senior chair volleyball, senior chair yoga, walking clubs, nutrition education, along with classes provided for teens and adults with disabilities.

Admission is $10 for Adults, $5 for Seniors/Military and Kids 12 and under are free. $7 (Adult) tickets are available through September 30th here https://www.caneyfest.com/tickets/

October Proclaimed National Chiropractic Health Month

October 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signs proclamation with Dr. Robert R. Atnip and his wife Guylene looking on.

Dr. Robert R. Atnip and the City of Smithville are joining chiropractic physicians nationwide this October during National Chiropractic Health Month to help raise awareness of non-drug approaches to pain management in the face of the U.S. opioid epidemic.

During National Chiropractic Health Month this October, the American Chiropractic Association is sharing back injury prevention and strengthening tips as well as information on the value of a conservative approach to back pain treatment with the theme “Back to Basics”

On Monday, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss signed a proclamation designating October as “National Chiropractic Health Month” in the City of Smithville. Dr. Atnip and his wife Guylene were on hand for the occasion.

The proclamation follows:

WHEREAS, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction;

WHEREAS, Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescription opioids, and deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999;

WHEREAS,The spread of opioid abuse has prompted the White House to announce it will designate the opioid crisis a national emergency;

WHEREAS, Because of this epidemic, the need for noninvasive, non-drug approaches to pain management for common musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain has increased throughout the world and particularly in the United States;

WHEREAS, The American College of Physicians (ACP) in 2017 released updated low-back pain treatment guidelines that promote the use of noninvasive, non-drug approaches as a first line of defense against back pain, before the use of pain medications and surgery;

WHEREAS, Chiropractors focus on the whole person with their noninvasive, non-drug approach to health care and pain management;

WHEREAS, There is a growing body of research validating the effectiveness of chiropractic services—spinal manipulation in particular—for the treatment of low-back pain, leading many respected health care organizations such as the ACP to include chiropractic/spinal manipulation in their guidelines for physicians;

WHEREAS, National Chiropractic Health Month 2017 serves as a reminder to all citizens of DeKalb County that noninvasive, non-drug treatments for low-back pain such as chiropractic services/spinal manipulation may lessen or eliminate the need for riskier, potentially addictive treatments such as prescription opioid pain medications and should be thoroughly exhausted whenever possible before initiating over-the-counter and prescription opioid therapy;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Smithville officially joins with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) in proclaiming the month of October 2017 as National Chiropractic Health Month.

Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi seeks state Senate seat in special election

October 4, 2017
Mary Alice Carfi

Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi has announced her candidacy in the Democratic primary for the District 17 state Senate seat in the upcoming Special Elections..

“We need some common sense in the Senate,” Carfi said. “Republicans have held the majority since the 2010 elections. They have had ample opportunities to improve the lives of working families in our state, but instead have put party interests before improving the health care, jobs, and education for our citizens.”

An attorney in a solo-practice in Mt. Juliet, Carfi can relate to the issues that affect the small business owners throughout District 17, which includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson counties.

“I understand struggles with health care costs,” Carfi said. “The Republicans missed the boat when they failed to expand Medicaid. As a result of their failure to act, the 10th rural hospital in Tennessee announced Saturday that it is closing its doors.”

“All of the counties in District 17, except for Wilson, are entirely rural, and if one of them lost their hospital, it would have a devastating impact not only the health care of its citizens but on that county’s economy,” she added. “This is just one example of how the failure to apply common sense to our health care issues has hurt working families in District 17 and across the state.”

When it comes to jobs and the economy, Carfi noted that in five of the six counties in District 17, an average of 20.6 percent of all households receives food stamps, which is almost 4 percent higher than the state average.

“We need jobs that pay a living wage, so no one who works a full-time job has to rely on public assistance to survive,” she added. “It's sound common sense to raise the minimum wage because Tennessee’s economy runs on consumer spending. If working families struggle to pay their rent and put food on their table, then how can they afford to buy anything else?”

Last, Carfi wants to make sure all students in District 17 have a quality public education “because it’s the best investment we can make in our state and nation’s future.

“Common sense tells us that we need to fully fund Tennessee’s Basic Education Plan (BEP) so that a child in smaller, less affluent counties like Clay or Cannon County can be assured of getting access to the same quality education as a child in Wilson County,” Carfi said.

“We need less testing of our students, and we need to say no vouchers of any kind because they divert resources from already struggling schools,” she added.

As a general practice attorney, Carfi often works with people who have differing opinions. “It’s my job to bring these people together, to compromise when and where it’s necessary, so that a positive result can be agreed upon by all parties.

“It’s time for some common sense in Tennessee’s Senate, and I ask for your support and vote on Dec. 19 so I can bring this to our legislative body.”

Carfi grew up in Smith County, the daughter of Don and Phyllis Eckel of Gordonsville. She is the granddaughter of the late Pete and Evelyn Watts, who owned Watts Angus Farm. Pete Watts was a well-known building contractor in Middle Tennessee and owner of Pete Watts Construction.

She has one daughter, Alexia, 9, and is a member of the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Jamie, are both members of the Bert Coble Singers in Lebanon. She also serves on the Bert Coble Singers Leadership Team.

Carfi is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association. She is a graduate of Smith County High School and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Nashville School of Law. She was chosen as the Best Attorney in Mt. Juliet in 2016 by the readers of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet newspaper.

A Campaign Kick-Off will be held Monday, Oct. 16, from 6-8 p.m., at The Capitol Theatre at 110 West Main St. in Lebanon.

Thursday is National Depression Screening Day

October 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Thursday is National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening Day will be recognized on Thursday, October 5 and the theme is “Speaking Your Mind”. Whether you tell one person, talk to a doctor or mental health professional or become an advocate for mental health awareness, it's important to share your story to help yourself and help others.

Haven of Hope welcomes anyone to call 615-597-4673 on Oct 5th or during October and set up a time for this free brief screener which will be reviewed by a professional counselor and results discussed with you. Haven of Hope is located at 301 West Main St. Smithville in the historic Magnolia House.

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), held annually on the Thursday of the first full week in October, is dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. NDSD is the nation's oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that gives access to validated screening questionnaires and provides referral information for treatment.

This year's theme, Speaking Your Mind, focuses on talking about your experience with mental health. You can help support the campaign by using the hashtags #NDSD and #SpeakYourMind. Please join in this National Depression Screening Day and help spread the word to increase awareness of mental health.

Members of Community Gather for "Prayer on the Square" (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

October 4, 2017
Dwayne Page

A group of people gathered downtown Smithville Tuesday evening for a worship service called “Prayer on the Square”.

Local ministers and singers offered up songs of praise and prayers for our families and community.

Karen Carpenter opened with a welcome followed by Josh Isaac singing the National Anthem. Ministers offering prayers were Isaac Gray of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Michael Carpenter of the Whorton Springs Baptist Church, Kenneth Clayton, Jim Bo Eddins of the Gathering, Chris Moore of the Smithville Church of God, and Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville First United and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches.

Featured performers were Emily Phillips, Josh Chapman, the Smithville Church of God Drama Team, Darrin Vincent, and Jonathan Savage.

Church to Honor Smithville Fire Department

October 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
Church to Honor Smithville Fire Department

Members of the Smithville Fire Department will be recognized for their service to the community during the Sunday morning worship service, October 8 at the Smithville First United Methodist Church downtown.

The worship hour begins at 11:00 a.m.

“This Sunday is going to be very special at the Smithville First United Methodist Church. We will be honoring the Smithville Fire Department. We invite you to be part of giving them and the Lord thanks for their work. They will be coming in full dress uniforms and the sermon that speaks of servant hood to Jesus will be given in the honor of Christ as well as in the honor of those who serve on our fire department in Smithville. You are invited to be part of this event recognizing their work that is a part of serving the Lord Jesus,” said Dr. John Carpenter, pastor of the church.

Other emergency services will be honored in future services at the church.

City to Address Unsightly and Upkept Properties

October 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
Alderman Danny Washer

Smithville Aldermen are looking to establish a new ordinance to punish city residents who don’t keep their properties maintained.

For months, Alderman Danny Washer has called for the city to force those with unsightly and unkept properties to clean them up or be subject to civil penalties.

“It’s ridiculous. We’ve got to do something about it. I don’t want to look out my front door and see it and I know of lot of others don’t. It’s bringing down property values. On one street there’s a couch, mattress, and TV laying out in the yard and has been for months. That’s just one example. It’s getting out of hand. We have got to start enforcing this ordinance,” said Alderman Washer at a city council meeting earlier this year.

The issue was discussed again during Monday night’s meeting of the mayor and aldermen.

“I have talked to MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) about a new property maintenance ordinance and I am still waiting on them. They (MTAS) actually gave me a sample ordinance but it is too vague,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

“In the meantime I have talked with the Police Chief and we have agreed that we (city) can issue warnings. My idea is to have the police deliver these warnings to the residents that are in violation and give them a certain amount of time to fix it. If not then cite them into court. We have in the past. I have talked with the Chief and he is fine with it. I think it means a little more when the police deliver it. We can start taking these complaints and prioritize which are the worst and then we can go out and take a look, draft a letter, and have them served. We can handle it this way until we get a better ordinance,” added Hendrixson.

“If we have a complaint from somebody they could take a picture (of the property in violation) with a phone and bring it in with their complaint,” said Alderman Washer

“We would also need an address,” added Mayor Jimmy Poss.

Meanwhile, Alderman Washer said he is pleased with the operation of the new automated side loader garbage truck

“These new garbage cans has helped. You don’t see garbage left on the side of the road in places like I used to see. I’m hoping when all the cans are out (distributed) it will keep improving,” said Washer.


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