Local News Articles

Brush Creek Man Flown to Erlanger After Saturday Evening Wreck

June 24, 2012
Photo provided to WJLE by Donny Green
Photo Provided by Donny Green

A Brush Creek man was seriously injured Saturday evening when his pickup truck overturned, pinning him inside, on the Old Temperance Hall Road.

Albert Silcox was airlifted and flown to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.

The wreck occurred around 6:40 p.m.

According to officials, Silcox, driving a 1998 GMC Sierra pickup truck, failed to negotiate a curve on Temperance Hall Road and went across Old Temperance Hall Road. The truck came to rest on a steep embankment with Silcox trapped and pinned inside the vehicle. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team stabilized the vehicle, freed the driver, and turned the patient care over to DeKalb EMS and Erlanger Life Force's crew.

Members of the Temperance Hall Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department set up the landing zone for the helicopter ambulance at the Temperance Hall Fire Station. Others assisting on the scene were officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Dept, Campbell Wrecker Service (called in by the rescue team to help stabilize the vehicle), and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Two Airlifted in Early Saturday Morning Crash on Snow Hill

June 23, 2012
Dwayne Page
Four Involved in Two Vehicle Crash Early Saturday Morning (WJLE Photo)
Two Airlifted in Early Saturday Morning Crash on Snow Hill (WJLE Photo)

Two men are reportedly in critical condition at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga after a two vehicle crash Saturday morning on Highway 70 near the intersection of Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) on Snow Hill.

30 year old Chris Gammons and Troy Bruno, both of Smithville were airlifted from near the scene of the crash by Life Force and Air Evac helicopter ambulances. Two other people were involved in the wreck, 32 year old Cleva Elaine Gammons of Smithville, wife of Chris Gammons, and 52 year old Johnny Hickey of Liberty. Hickey was not injured but has been charged with three counts of vehicular assault as a result of the crash investigation.

Central dispatch received the call at 3:28 a.m

According to Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Hickey was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 2004 F350 full size flat bed truck when he crossed the turning lane and into the path of an eastbound 2002 Nissan Altima, driven by Cleva Elaine Gammons. Chris Gammons was a front seat passenger and Troy Bruno was a back seat passenger of the Altima. Chris Gammons was ejected and landed on the highway, in front of the Altima. Bruno was trapped in the backseat and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team.

Bruno and Chris Gammons were transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone on Highway 70 at the intersection of Toad Road. One of them was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter and the other was flown out by an Air Evac helicopter. Mrs. Gammons was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital, where she was treated and released.

On the scene were Trooper Knowles of the THP, DeKalb EMS, Sheriff's Department deputies, DeKalb Fire Extrication and Rescue, and members of the Short Mountain Highway, Main Station, Liberty, and Cookeville Highway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

The complaint against Hickey states that he admitted to consuming four beers. Several field sobriety tasks were given. Hickey did not perform as demonstrated. Hickey was transported to the emergency room of the hospital for a blood alcohol test and then to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department for booking.

Election Commission Releases Sample Ballot for August Elections

June 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Scott Cantrell
Mason Carter

The DeKalb County Election Commission has released a sample ballot for the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Primaries, the DeKalb County General Election, and the Dowelltown and Liberty Municipal Elections set for Thursday, August 2.

Early Voting is set for July 13-28.


DekalbTN-PG12-NEWSPAPER.pdf (33.05 KB)

The ballot appears as follows;


United States Senate:
Fred R. Anderson
Mark Twain Clemens
Bob Corker
Brenda S. Lenard
Zach Poskevich

United States House of Representatives 6th Congressional District:
Diane Black
Lou Ann Zelenik

Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District:
Terri Lynn Weaver

Tennessee House of Representatives 46th Representative District:
Mark A. Pody


United States Senate:
Mark E. Clayton
Larry Crim
Gary Gene Davis
Dave Hancock
Park Overall
T.K. Owens
Benjamin Roberts

United States House of Representatives 6th Congressional District:
No candidate

Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District:
Wesley Duane Hodges
Sarah Marie Smith

Tennessee House of Representative 46th Representative District:
No candidate


Assessor of Property
Mason Carter- Republican Nominee
Scott E. Cantrell-Democratic Nominee

School Board Member 5th District
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III- Independent
Kevin Hale-Independent

School Board Member 6th District
Doug Stephens-Independent

Constable 1st District
No candidate

Constable 2nd District
No candidate

Constable 3rd District
Wayne Vanderpool- Democratic Nominee

Constable 4th District
Paul Cantrell- Democratic Nominee

Constable 5th District
Mark Milam-Democratic Nominee

Constable 6th District
Carl Lee Webb-Democratic Nominee

Constable 7th District
Johnny King-Democratic Nominee

Mayor-Town of Dowelltown
Gerald Bailiff

Aldermen-Town of Dowelltown
Joe L. Bogle

Aldermen-Town of Liberty (Vote for Three)
Dwight Mathis
Paul M. Neal
Jason H. Ray

Judicial Retention Question
Court of Criminal Appeals

Shall Jeffrey S. Bivins be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)

Judicial Retention Question
Court of Criminal Appeals

Shall Roger A. Page be retained or replaced in office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Division? (Vote Retain or Replace)

DekalbTN-PG12-NEWSPAPER.pdf (33.05 KB)

Businesses Urged to Participate in Project Welcome Mat

June 22, 2012
DeKalb Community Bank
Liberty State Bank
Liberty State Bank2

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all local businesses to help welcome visitors to the 41st annual Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival by participating in the 11th annual "Project Welcome Mat"

Businesses having changeable signs or marquees are asked to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors. The wording may be only a simple "Welcome to the Jamboree" or as elaborate as you choose. Executive Director of the Chamber, Suzanne Williams, says, "With thousands of visitors coming into town, every effort should be made by the local merchants to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business. The program has been successful over the past years with many businesses participating. Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the DeKalb County / Smithville area can be!"

All businesses may participate in "Project Welcome Mat." There will be recognition awards in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award." Plaques will be presented to winners along with media recognition.

If your business would like to participate in the contest, email the Chamber at dekalbtn@dtccom.net or call 597-4163. Wording should be in place no later than Monday, June 25th.

Smithville Thunder Headed for the BPA State and World Series Tournaments

June 22, 2012
Smithville Thunder

The Smithville Thunder is an elite 9U travel team comprised exclusively of local players. They have competed in travel tournaments throughout the middle Tennessee area and are headed for the BPA state and World Series tournaments at the end of the season.

“We just wanted to provide a process which would enable some of our better young athletes to experience the world of travel baseball without having to join a team from another community,” says head coach Danny Jenkins. “Being able to go and play with your friends instead of having to try to fit in with unfamiliar people and surroundings really enhances the experience for our guys.”

The team was organized by local parents and completely funded by local businesses and fundraisers at no cost to the players’ families. Coach Jenkins encourages everyone to look for the team’s plaque in area businesses and support those civic minded organizations.

Recent data indicates that almost ninety per cent of starters on high school baseball teams nationwide played on a travel team at some time. Coach Jenkins points to this trend as one of the primary reasons for the team’s existence.
“Our parents are aware that if their kids want to move ahead in baseball, this is their best opportunity in this small community where municipal recreation options are non-existent,” he says.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 7.8% in May

June 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May increased to 7.8%, up from April's rate of 7.5%, but well below the rate for May, 2011 of 10.3%

The local labor force for May was at 9,930. A total of 9,160 were employed and 780 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May was third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank highest to lowest

Picket County- 12.3%
White- 11.2%
Van Buren-11%
Clay- 9.5%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for May 2012, released today, show the rate decreased in three counties, increased in 87 counties, and remained the same in five counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for May rose to 7.9 percent, up from the April revised rate of 7.7 percent. The national unemployment rate for May 2012 was 8.2 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the April rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.0 percent, up from 5.8 percent in April. Davidson County was 6.7 percent, up from 6.5 percent in the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.4 percent, up from 7.0 percent, and Shelby County was 8.8 percent, up from the April unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.

Pastor Donnie Kelly to Begin New Radio Program

June 21, 2012
Donnie Kelly

Pastor Donnie Kelly of the Smithville First Assembly of God will begin a new radio program next week.

The program will be called “Inspirations For Today” with the purpose to inspire and encourage all those who listen in their “daily walk with Christ.” The program will air Monday through Friday at approximately 7:45 A.M. right after the 7:30 A.M. news.

The program will consist of devotions from God’s word as well as songs of inspiration. The musical selections will include soloist, choirs, praise and worship teams, and instrumental ensembles from the First Assembly of God and other churches in the community. Church and community activities and special events will also be announced on a timely basis.

A personal note from Pastor Kelly: “It is so great to be able to once again have a radio program on WJLE. It is also wonderful to be back in Smithville a community I enjoy ministering to so very much.”

“Thanks to all who have extended such a warm welcome to me and my family. Thanks to the Smithville First Assembly of God for inviting me to come and be their pastor, and for sponsoring this broadcast.”

“Please listen in to the broadcast of “Inspirations For Today” starting this Monday, June 25th at 7:45 A.M.”

Grand Opening of DeKalb Community Center Set for Saturday

June 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Game Room (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)
Fitness Room (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)
Wii and Xbox games (photo from DeKalb Community Center Facebook)

A Grand Opening of the DeKalb County Community Center is set for Saturday, June 23 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

County Mayor Mike Foster said everyone is invited to stop by to see the complex which includes a spacious new stage and auditorium, complete with a state of the art sound system and lighting; a game room for kids, a fitness room, a gym for playing basketball or volleyball, and a community kitchen called the "Internet Café"

Tony Luna, Assistant Complex Director, said refreshments and snacks are being donated by Bumpers Drive-in (Shrek to make an appearance) and there will be lots of door prizes including a few free memberships to be given away. "We'll give away five free monthly memberships and a yearly membership to some lucky guy or gal who signs up. In our auditorium, we'll have some LIVE entertainment at the stage. Starting at 10:00 a.m., my daughter, Mercedes Luna and Daniel Martin will start first. They play a lot of acoustic stuff and I think you will really like it. Right after Mercedes and Daniel, we'll have another local band 11:00 a.m., Burning Years. They will take the stage and play for us about an hour or so. After that, we'll have another LIVE band around 12:45 p.m. 61 Seconds, which is a local band and they will close us out. All of these bands are local people and it's free," said Luna.

"The whole facility is going to be open on the community center side of the building," said Luna. " If you haven't seen the game room, we've got it altogether now. I would love for you to come out and see it. Our fitness room is up and going. We've booked over ninety members now. They've just hooked up surround sound, so you never know what kind of music we'll be pumping in there for you to work out to. Come see our Internet Café. Eventually we'll have a concession stand, where people who work out or just people who want to come and hang out can do that. We'll have a TV in there. You'll be able to buy snacks and drinks out of the community kitchen.. Everybody come out and see us. Like us on facebook. We do have a facebook page. Its DeKalb Community Center and fitness room," said Luna.

Management Restructuring Announced for Upper Cumberland Capella-Saint Thomas System

June 20, 2012
Bill Little
Bob Luther

A management restructuring has been announced for the four hospitals that are now part of the Capella-Saint Thomas health system, according to Mark Medley, President of Hospital Operations for Capella Healthcare.

“In May, we celebrated the new partnership between Saint Thomas Health and Capella’s four Upper Cumberland hospitals, launching our first steps towards creating a dynamic health system to expand services and access in the Upper Cumberland. This week, we’re initiating a management restructuring that will help us move to the next level.”

Effective immediately, Bill Little is full-time CEO for Highlands Medical Center (HMC) in Sparta (formerly White County Community Hospital). With the hospital’s million dollar renovation project starting later this year, the growing hospital needed the focus of a full-time executive. Little served as CEO for DCH and SRH for several years, adding HMC in July.

“Bill has done an excellent job dividing his time between the three hospitals and now we want to take full advantage of his expertise at HMC,” Medley said. “This enables the hospital to move forward without delay with the significant opportunities ahead,”

Effective Monday, June 18, Bob Luther became Interim CEO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital. Physicians, hospital employees and community members may remember Luther as he previously served as CEO for DCH and SRH for three years, from 2006-09. Prior to that, he was with Attentus Healthcare as Senior Vice-President for Regional Operations, with responsibilities for five rural hospitals. He has also served as CEO for a number of other facilities including 300+ bed Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ; 194-bed Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, SC; and 25-bed Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, CA.

“We’re delighted Bob has agreed to lead these two hospitals during this transitional time. He is a seasoned healthcare executive and will help us continue to make progress even as we are seeking the right person to take us into the future,” Medley said.

Additionally, Medley announced the creation of a new position, Market Chief Financial Officer (CFO), which will serve all four facilities. A nationwide search to identify the ideal candidate for this role as well as the new Chief Executive Officer for DCH and SRH has been launched this week.

“This restructuring and the creation of these new positions will help us fully realize the opportunity before us as we work together to continue expanding access to physicians and services, improving quality of care, and enhancing patient satisfaction for people throughout the Upper Cumberland region.”

About Capella Healthcare

Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local healthcare systems that are known for quality patient care. With the philosophy that all healthcare is local, Capella collaborates with each hospital’s medical staff, board and community leadership to take care to the next level.

Capella and Saint Thomas Health formed an innovative joint venture partnership in May of 2012 to improve healthcare throughout Middle Tennessee. Based in Nashville, Saint Thomas Health includes five hospitals affiliated with Ascension Health Ministry, a Catholic Ministry that is the largest non-profit health system in the United States. Capella Healthcare, based in Franklin, operates 13 hospitals in seven states, including five in Tennessee. Together through Capella-Saint Thomas, they jointly own four hospitals in the Upper Cumberland region of Middle Tennessee, including River Park Hospital in McMinnville, Highlands Medical Center in Sparta (formerly White County Community Hospital), DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. Capella is the managing member and the majority partner as well as the exclusive development partner for Saint Thomas Health across Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.

TWRA Announces Operation Dry Water Weekend for June 22-24

June 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
TWRA Announces Operation Dry Water Weekend for June 22-24

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in Operation Dry Water, June 22-24. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.

Members of the TWRA, Sheriff's Department, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met Wednesday morning at Hurricane Marina on Center Hill Lake to make the local announcement.

Operation Dry Water is held on a weekend near the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard and the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Operation Dry Water is being held for the fourth year after being launched by the NASBLA in 2009.

TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Our TWRA officers attempt to identify and apprehend impaired operators throughout the year to ensure our waterways stay safe," said Matt Majors, Investigator for TWRA's Boating and Law Enforcement Division. "Without their dedication to perform this task, it would be certain that many more boating accidents would occur. Our officers will be out in force night and day, looking for people who did not heed the warning to ‘Never boat under the influence.' "

Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.

Statistics show that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

(Pictured left to right: TWRA officers Nick Luper, Marty Griffith, Tony Cross, Chief Deputy Don Adamson, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Gary Bruce of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and TWRA officers Jon Ryan, Jason Miller, and Kyle Walling)


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