Local News Articles

Fire Destroys Building on Property of Country Music Entertainer Billy Dean

November 29, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire on Billy Dean property (Photo by Mike Conley)

A combination barn/one bedroom apartment on the property of country music entertainer Billy Dean on Dale Lane off Dale Ridge Road was destroyed by fire Friday afternoon.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that a neighbor saw the smoke and called 911.

According to Chief Green, a farm worker, who lived in the apartment, had left around 12:30 p.m. and was gone when smoke from the fire was spotted about an hour later.

Firefighters found the structure fully involved in flames when they arrived. No one was there and no one was injured. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Green said the barn housed two John Deere tractors, ski boat, and miscellaneous power tools. Again, the structure also housed a furnished one bedroom apartment.

Members of the Liberty, Main Station, and tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the Sheriff's Department.

Firefighters were called out again on Saturday to James Place in the Lakeview Mountain Estates area where a brush fire rekindled and spread.

Chief Green said Brian Casselberry had obtained a burning permit and had burned some brush on his property. He remained with the fire until it was out and then began cutting some wood. After being outside for a couple of hours, he entered his home to take a shower and discovered that fire had rekindled when he came back out. The blaze spread to the neighbor's property belonging to Roger Dale Bailey, burning a vacant mobile home and five abandoned vehicles which were apparently inoperable. The fire also burned about five acres of woodland.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Grand Jurors Visit DeKalb County Jail

November 29, 2011
Dwayne Page

Members of the Grand Jury visited the DeKalb County Jail and issued the following report on Monday. "Sheriff Patrick Ray provided a tour of the facility and answered all specific questions of grand jurors."

"The condition observed seemed to be satisfactory. The jurors were told there were 90 prisoners housed in the jail as of today (Monday)."

"Sheriff Ray told the group his department works with the local school system nutritionist to be sure the three daily meals provided are nutritionally sound and meet the calorie requirements required by the state."

"The Grand Jurors also observed bonds required for all county officials. All seemed to be in order"

UCHRA Transportation Assistance to Voters for Photo ID

November 29, 2011
Randy Wilder, Community Outreach and Resource Development Manager

The voter registration process will change starting with the 2012 election. Citizens in the State of Tennessee will have to show government-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot at the polls.

The Upper Cumberland Rural Public Transit System is designed to benefit the entire community. We provide vital transportation for Upper Cumberland residents of all ages linking them to doctors, employment, grocery stores, senior citizen centers, schools and much more.

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) can provide transportation service to the Drivers Service Centers to voters who otherwise would not have transportation. Voters in DeKalb County may call their local UCHRA county office at (615)597-4504 for more information about scheduling a trip and trip fares that apply. For information about the Upper Cumberland Rural Public Transit System, visit www.uchra.com/transit .

Two Arrested in Recent Burglary and Theft on Skyline Drive

November 28, 2011
Dwayne Page
Ricky Allen Ashford
Rodrigo Carrasco

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made two arrests last week in the October burglary of a home on Skyline Drive.

33 year old Ricky Allen Ashford of South College Street, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property over $1,000, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and violation of probation. His bond totals $23,500 and he will be in court on December 1.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on October 15 Ashford allegedly broke into a residence at Skyline Drive by using a credit card to open the door. He allegedly took from the residence gold chains, a diamond ring, a wedding band, and other jewelry all valued at over $1,000. The case was assigned to a detective and the arrest was made on Thanksgiving Day, November 24.

A sixteen year old boy was with Ashford during the burglary and theft. Ashford was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a result and the boy was charged under a juvenile petition as a delinquent for burglary and theft

The violation of probation against Ashford was because he failed to pay in full his court costs by the end of his probation date in a previous case. Ashford had been placed on probation after being convicted of two counts of attempted forgery. He received 11 months 29 days in that case. He still owes $904.58 as of November 2, 2009.

39 year old Mary Ann Hale of Sparta Highway, Smithville is cited for driving on a suspended license, violation of the light law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. Her court date is December 14

According to Sheriff Ray, Hale's vehicle was stopped due to a broken tail light on Friday, November 25. The officer discovered that her drivers license were suspended and she did not have proof of valid car insurance.

24 year old Rodrigo Carrasco of Columbia is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for no drivers license. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on December 8.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, November 23 a deputy was called to check out a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 70. Reports said that the vehicle was all over the roadway and doing doughnuts. The officer spotted the automobile on the side of the road with its flashers on. A man was behind the wheel. Upon speaking with the driver, the deputy noticed that he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. He was asked to step out of the vehicle. He was very unsteady on his feet. When asked to perform field sobriety tasks, the man indicated that he could not speak English. Because of this, field sobriety tasks were not performed and no blood alcohol test was taken. A computer check revealed he had no drivers license.

Tennessee Beef Referendum to be held December 7 & 8

November 28, 2011

The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association has received permission from the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson to hold a referendum vote on instituting a $.50 per head voluntary state beef checkoff. The vote has been scheduled for December 7th and 8th at Local County UT Extension offices. The UT Extension Office in Smithville will be the voting location for beef producers who live in DeKalb County. The office is located at 722 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. The office will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8th.

Every cattle producer in Tennessee will be eligible to vote on the checkoff by signing an affidavit at their local extension office, confirming that they are a cattle producer. If producers vote to institute the checkoff, $.50 will be collected when a bovine animal is sold in the state. Producers would then have 90 days to request a refund from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, if they do not want to participate in the checkoff. The remaining proceeds would then be transferred to the Tennessee Beef Industry Council. The funds could be used to finance a program of research, education, market development, marketing, advertising and other methods designed to promote the increased production, consumption, use and sale of beef products in Tennessee. A producer board will oversee the funds. The board will be composed of 9 members appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture. These members will be nominated by the Tennessee Farm Bureau, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the Tennessee Livestock Marketing Association and other recognized beef cattle producer associations.

The $1 per head National Beef Checkoff program was established in 1985. Half of this money remains in Tennessee and the rest is used nationally to fund programs like the “Beef, It’s what’s for Dinner” advertising campaign, new products innovations such as microwave ready meals and developing new cuts of beef. The money that has remained in Tennessee has funded programs such as UT Beef Day promotions on the Vol radio network, teaching kits for schools and consumer education programs. Since these funds have not increased since 1985, inflation has dramatically impacted the programs that can be funded with this money.

For more information on the Checkoff program visit www.beefup.org or call the UT Extension office in Smithville at 615-597-4945.


November 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Santa at 2010 Alexandria Christmas Parade

The Alexandria Christmas Parade has been rescheduled for Sunday, December 4 due to rain. The line-up begins at 3:00 p.m. and the parade will get underway at 4:00 p.m. Entries of floats, old vehicles, tractors, 4-Wheelers, horses, etc are all welcome. Anyone under the age of 16 must have an adult to accompany them in the parade. Prizes will be given away on the Alexandria public square after the parade.Crafts and food booths are welcome to set up on or around the square. For more information or entry forms contact Deb McCoy at 615-948-6486, Denise Barrett at 615-948-4829, or the Alexandria City Hall at 529-2171.

DMS Fast Pitch Softball Field Becoming a Reality

November 27, 2011
Suzette Barnes
DMS Fast pitch Softball  Field Under Construction (Photo By Suzette Barnes)
DMS Fast pitch Softball Field Becoming a Reality (Photo By Suzette Barnes)
Fence Posts Erected at DMS Softball Field (Photo by Suzette Barnes)

What was once a dream is almost a reality! The DeKalb Middle School Fast pitch Softball team began its program during the 2000-2001 school year. Since that time the team has never had a field to call their own. Parents and coaches would transport players across town for practices and games at the Bill Page Field and as of last year the Coach Pitch fields. Coaches have always had to transport their equipment with them because they did not have a storage area.

In May of 2010 talk began about constructing a field on the campus of DeKalb Middle School. Principal Randy Jennings asked the Director of Schools and the school board for permission to build a field on the school property. The board approved the site and the preparations began. A committee of parent volunteers was formed to oversee the project. Professional Engineering Services in Sparta agreed to come and look at the site. Mr. Kyle Hazel, an architect with the company surveyed the site and drew up blueprints that would best suit the area where the field was to be constructed. After several meetings and discussions the plans were finalized.

August 3, 2011 was the "big day." Road Supervisor Kenny Edge of the DeKalb County Highway Department provided two men who began the process. After approximately 4 ½, weeks the initial dirt work was complete. The next step was to plant grass seed for the outfield. Coach Karen Pelham, players and parents met one Saturday to sow and straw the area. It wasn't long until the grass seed was coming up and the field began to take its shape.

Workers are currently in the process of fencing the field. Jason Walker (Walker Fencing) is doing the fencing and it should be complete within the next week. Once the field is fenced rock will be placed in the outside ditches and the banks sowed around the field. Sometime in early spring the finishing touches will be made by adding some infield dirt and bases. The field should be completely ready for practices and games for the 2012 season.

Plans are to add lights and a field house/ press box with concessions and restrooms in the future. The score board will be donated by Dr. Pepper Bottling Company. The project is being built in stages as money is raised.. This field is being constructed with fundraising by the players and parents, business donations and volunteer labor.

A special thanks goes to the following individuals and businesses: Kyle Hazel and Professional Engineering Services in Sparta, TN for their donation of surveying, design, and the time that you have given to this project, along with Kenny Edge and the DeKalb County Highway Department, City of Smithville, Middle TN Natural Gas, Tenneco, DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, DTC, Southern Landscape Supply, Kwik N Ezy, HBC General Contractor, Graham Services, Hurricane Marina, Ace Hardware, Caney Fork Electric, Avant Funeral Home, Johnnie Cripps, Lyndon Ashburn, Jeremy Trapp, Love Cantrell Funeral Home, Dr. Denise Dingle and the many individuals who have participated in our fundraising efforts.

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer your services please call the school at 597-7987. All donations and support will be greatly appreciated.

Family Medical Center Pharmacy Under New Ownership

November 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Blake and Susannah Cripps Daughtry
Family Medical Center Pharmacy

Family Medical Center Pharmacy is under new ownership.

Blake and Susannah Cripps Daughtry have bought the business from Susannah's parents, Gary and Susan Cripps.

"I'm a Smithville native. I'm living in Dothan, Alabama right now," said Susannah Daughtry. " I'm married to Blake Daughtry and we have four children. I graduated from the Auburn Pharmacy School in 1995. I have been a pharmacist for several years. Pharmacy has been a part of my family my whole life. My dad and my sister are both pharmacists," said Daughtry.

Blake Daughtry, a native of Alabama, said he and Susannah look forward to serving this community. "We're just excited to be back in Smithville and taking over her family's pharmacy which has been here for 38 years. We're looking forward to it, " said Daughtry.

Rumors have surfaced recently that Family Medical Center Pharmacy was going out of business, but Blake said nothing could be further from the truth. He said "we are alive and well and eager to continue serving our customers. Some of the big chain stores in town sent out letters to people in Smithville saying that we were closing our doors. That's not the case. We're happy to be here and proud to be here. We're really looking forward to the future. One of the things we looked at when this opportunity came along was keeping small town businesses in Smithville. Its been a tough economy for everybody. I know in different places businesses have closed down and moved on. You've got your big box stores, your Walmarts and Rite Aids and things coming in. We think its important to keep the community together and have locally owned small town businesses that have been here for years continue to be here and thrive. So we're excited to be able to keep those jobs here and to be able to give a service back to the community as well as have a good thriving business. We're excited about the opportunity," said Daughtry.

The Family Medical Center Pharmacy's history goes back 38 years. "It started as Price-France Pharmacy, "said Susannah Daughtry. "My dad came back from the University of Tennessee. He taught pharmacy school there. When he came back he bought in with Gordon Price and Erby France. The store was known as Price-France Pharmacy at that time. Later on it became Cripps-France Pharmacy when they bought out Gordon Price. Years later Erby retired and it became dad's store. He and mother then ran the store. I've been raised in that store. We used to be over there by the First Methodist Church. That was the old building where the doctor's building was. Then when there was an opportunity to move the practice and the pharmacy with it, they built the new building there (North Congress Boulevard) which is really nice. It gives us a great location in Smithville," said Daughtry

A new pharmacist will soon be joining the staff and some new product lines may be added . A grand opening will be held within a few weeks. "The staff is going to be the same," said Susannah. "We'll have all the same friendly faces that have been there for several years. We will have a new pharmacist come December 14. When she comes on board we'll share with everybody a little bit more about her. The changes we're making, we're working on doing things that are going to position us to take better care of our patients and meet all of their pharmacy needs. Things that will make us more efficient and faster. We just want to make sure we're taking the best care we can of the patients that come into our store. Its really a nice opportunity for me. It just gives me an excuse to come home so much more and be a part of the community that I was raised in. I will be working in the store some too as a pharmacist," said Susannah.

"We're bringing in new products and re-stocking shelves so the transition is going to take a few days but you're going to see some nice new signage and new products in the store," said Blake Daughtry. " We're going to try and freshen things up. Gary and Susan have built a great business there and we just want to continue that going forward. I think over the next couple of weeks everybody will see some big changes. We plan on having a grand opening maybe by the first of the year. We'll let everyone know because we'd love to have everybody come out and see us," said Daughtry.

Consumers Urged to Shop at Home More this Holiday Season

November 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
Phillip (Fluty) Cantrell
Jerry Lee Cantrell

The Christmas shopping season has arrived and local businesses hope you'll give them a chance to serve you more this year.

Phillip (Fluty) Cantrell of Cantrell's the home of Fluty says before you go out of town, try home first. "We know you can't buy everything at home but we would like to encourage people to at least try home first. Merchants have been here for years. We've made our living here and we appreciate everything everybody has done for us to keep us here."

Cantrell says some stores around town will be opening early on Friday morning for early bird shoppers, including downtown. "We started this thing (opening early on the morning after Thanksgiving Day) several years ago. People were shopping out of town and all the big sales were going on. We said let's try it and see what happens here. We tried it and it went over really good. Some downtown merchants will be open at 7:00 a.m. Friday with door buster specials. We encourage people to shop early."

Meanwhile, Jerry Lee Cantrell of Cantrell's Furniture and Appliances says when you buy at home, you're helping support the local tax base which means you're helping fund schools and other local government services. "We really appreciate all the people who trade with us. I think it's a very important thing that we keep our tax dollars in our community. We get the tax dollars back from the state. Of course, we have to send them in. It goes to the state and then comes back to us. This helps our community immensely."

The Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses in Smithville and DeKalb County to display messages on their marquees or changeable signs to encourage shoppers to spend their tax dollars at home this holiday season.

Vickers Wins Beta M.V.P.

November 24, 2011

DWS Junior Beta President Morgan Vickers won the prestigious John W. Harris leadership award at this year's state convention. She was one of 25 students Junior Beta students across the country chosen for this honor based in large part for her service to the school and community. Only three were selected from Tennessee. The 400-student body at DeKalb West School has had a winner for this award four out of the last five years.

8th grade Junior Beta students at DeKalb West were asked to turn in a presentation on why they were eligible for the honor. Then, a committee of parents and teachers selected a candidate, and the club's sponsor wrote a nominating letter to the National Junior Beta office, which made the final choices for the award. Another remarkable candidate for the honor, 8th grader Hailey Walker, was a strong contender for the award.

National Junior Beta Club Sponsor Judy Cummings presented Vickers with the award on stage Monday morning in front of some 7,000 students attending the first session of the convention.

Vickers is the daughter of Joe and Wanda Vickers. In addition to the recognition at the state convention, Vickers will have her photo published on the student Beta website and will have her registration fee paid to attend the Broyhill Leadership Conference in July 2012.


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