Local News Articles

Fundraisers Upcoming for DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter

July 31, 2017
Dwayne Page
Fundraisers Upcoming for DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter

The Friends of DeKalb County Animals has two fundraisers planned in August to benefit the new DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter:

The first is a Canoe & Kayak Poker Run on the Caney Fork River Sunday, August 6, 2017 at Big Rock Market/Caney Fork Outdoors River Store located at 1193 Wolf Creek Rd, Silver Point, Tennessee 38582.

Registration is from 9 am until 12 pm, cost is $30 per person to participate in the poker run. The actual float should take an average kayaker approximately 4 hours to complete. You may begin the float anytime between 9:30 am - 1 pm and be able to complete it by 5 pm. If you do not have your own kayak or canoe, all rentals from Caney Fork Outdoors will help the animals as Janice Martin, owner, has graciously offered to kickback $15 from each boat rental to the event. Canoes will rent for $45 (2 ppl can ride in a canoe for $45) and kayaks will be available for $40 each (1 person only). All rentals include PDFs, paddles, and boats-just bring yourself and coolers if you want to have lunch along the river!

The best poker hand/scorecard wins! All scorecards must be turned into last checkpoint by 5 pm in order to be eligible for prizes. The poker run is NOT a race; you simply register/obtain a score card, float the 7 mile stretch of the Caney Fork River between the Gordonsville Access boat ramp and the Bob Lowery Sr. Boat Ramp in South Carthage below the AG Center/Crump Ballfields stopping along the way at each of the 4 checkpoints to 'draw' a poker card. Your cards will be recorded on your score cards by the poker run officials. After 5 pm, all score cards submitted on time will be evaluated by poker run officials. The best 3 hands win! You do not have to be present to win. Winners will be contacted by Debbie Rowe to set up prize delivery times.

The Grand Prize, donated by our Sponsors Big Rock Mkt and Caney Fork Outdoors River Store is a $500 value, 2-night cabin getaway, kayak rental (a $2000 Jackson kayak), and a gourmet lunch.

2nd place donated by Kayla Miller of Salon Gallaria in Mt. Juliet, TN is a $100 Gift Certificate

3rd place is a kayak paddle donated by Friends of DeKalb County Animals

The last checkpoint in South Carthage, at the boat ramp, poker run participants will have the option to 'buy' extra poker cards for $5 each or purchase an entire new hand for $15. All proceeds go to opening and operating the new animal shelter located behind Tenneco on Transfer Station Road, Smithville, TN. All current and future fundraisers are public events posted on Facebook.


The 2nd fundraiser is a Kayak Raffle. A Jackson Rivera Kayak donated by Cindy Ward of Architectural Custom Cabinetry will be given away on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $12 and are on sale NOW until the date of the drawing on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

Tickets can be purchased at the Mike Foster Mutli-Purpose Center on Wednesday, August 2 from 7-10 am and Thursday, August 3 from 3-6 pm. OR you can contact Debbie at 615-417-4623 to purchase tickets at other times.

Sprague Cautions Motorists That School is Starting Back

July 31, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System

As students are starting back to school, Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System wants to caution drivers to be aware of the rules and penalties for improperly passing a school bus.

“Buses will start running on August 7, which is an abbreviated school day. Our first full day is August 9. I want to let the public know that the buses will be running so please pay attention. We will have children at the bus stops to be picked up in the mornings and dropped off in the afternoons. Remember when the buses stop and the lights are flashing, don’t pass the buses because we’re either loading or unloading children. If you should be running late for work in the mornings, please don’t try to make up for lost time by trying to pass a school bus. Leave a little earlier to get to your destination to avoid the bus traffic. Nothing is as dangerous as when children are getting on or off a school bus, especially when there is traffic that doesn’t stop for a bus,” said Sprague.

Four lane highways are of particular concern. “For example Highway 70 (West Broad Street) in Smithville is a four lane with a driveable median and state law says if there is a driveable or paved median between the (east and westbound lanes) then all four lanes of traffic have to stop if a bus is picking up a child. If there is a non-driveable (grass or barrier) median only traffic going in the same direction as the buses have to stop. The state has been cracking down violators. It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine. I want to encourage everybody to practice safe driving at all times but especially around school buses,” he said.

Sprague said all buses are in good condition and drivers are certified to begin the new year. “Our drivers have been certified this year. DeKalb County is blessed with an outstanding group of drivers. I go to meetings within our state transportation department and I tell them all, and I make no bones about it, DeKalb County has the best bus drivers in the state of Tennessee,” said Sprague.

The Tennessee law states: The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone.

All motor vehicles used in transporting school children to and from school in this state are required to be distinctly marked "School Bus" on the front and rear thereof in letters of not less than six inches (6'') in height, and so plainly written or printed and so arranged as to be legible to persons approaching the school bus, whether traveling in the same or opposite direction.

The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway. For the purpose of this subsection (a), "separate roadways" means roadways divided by an intervening space that is not suitable to vehicular traffic.

Except as otherwise provided by subdivisions (a) (1)-(3), the school bus driver is required to stop the school bus on the right-hand side of the road or highway, and the driver shall cause the bus to remain stationary and the visual stop signs on the bus actuated, until all school children who should be discharged from the bus have been so discharged and until all children whose destination causes them to cross the road or highway at that place have negotiated the crossing.

It is a Class C misdemeanor for any person to fail to comply with any provision of this subsection (a) other than the requirement that a motor vehicle stop upon approaching a school bus.

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 provision of this subsection (a) 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.

Teen Airlifted after Sunday Wreck

July 31, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Department Extrication Team Works to Access Teen Pinned in his Car After Crash
A teenager was airlifted after a two vehicle crash Sunday afternoon on Highway 70 near the intersection of Hurricane Ridge Road.

A teenager was airlifted after a two vehicle crash Sunday afternoon on Highway 70 near the intersection of Hurricane Ridge Road.

Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that the 17 year old boy was driving a 2007 Pontiac G5 pulling from Hurricane Ridge Road to go east on Highway 70 when he crossed the path of a 1999 Ford F-150, driven by 45 year old Steven Glynn of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown. Glynn was traveling west on Highway 70.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s Extrication and Rescue Team were summoned because the teen was pinned in his car. The boy was picked up at the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Glynn was not injured.

Members of the DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Manchester Man Airlifted After Midnight Crash

July 30, 2017
Dwayne Page

A 56 year old Manchester man was airlifted after a midnight crash on Highway 70 east early Sunday morning.

The accident was reported at 12:03 a.m.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 56 year old Roy Gipson was driving a 2002 Ford F150 west on US 70 when he ran off right side of road and hit a utility pole causing power lines to fall on the truck. Not knowing if the lines were still hot, EMS and firefighters waited for a crew from the electric company to arrive to make sure the power was off before accessing the truck to get Gipson out.

Gipson was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

Charges are pending. Trooper Johnson said alcohol was a factor in the crash. Gipson said he fell asleep while driving.

Members of the DeKalb EMS, Sheriff’s Department, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Hartsville Man Loses His Life on Center Hill Lake

July 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray, Captain Dustin Johnson and Joe Johnson of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad and DeKalb EMS paramedics place body of drowning victim into ambulance

A 29 year old Hartsville man lost his life on Center Hill Lake Saturday.

The body of Michael Stephen Davidson was recovered near Sligo bridge around 8:30 p.m.

During a recreation outing, the man jumped off a cliff into the lake at the old rock quarry near the bridge. When he didn’t resurface, 911 was notified.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said the call came in at 6:20 p.m.

Members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, TWRA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DeKalb County EMS, and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department responded.

According to Dustin Johnson, Captain of the Rescue Squad, the body was located in about 28 feet of water. “We (rescue squad) had two boats out there dragging and using side scan sonar but the TWRA located the body using an underwater robot which they happened to have here this weekend. The body was then brought to the surface and we recovered it and brought it back by boat to the ramp at Sligo Marina,” Captain Johnson told WJLE. The body was then taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital.

“We had a lot of help. Eighteen members of the Rescue Squad responded along with the Corps which had a boat out there and the TWRA, who had three boats and were also using side scan sonar along with their underwater robot. Thanks to everybody involved we made a recovery pretty quickly. We also want to thank the owners of Sligo Marina who provided us drinking water and a pontoon boat for us to use at the scene,” said Captain Johnson.

Two Men Indicted on Rape Charges

July 29, 2017
Dwayne Page
Michal Lee Bailey, Sr
Jacory Watson Vaden

Two men have been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on rape charges.

47 year old Michal Lee Bailey, Sr. of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is indicted for rape while 19 year old Jacory Watson Vaden of Charles Vaden Lane, Gordonsville is indicted for statutory rape. Both were named in sealed indictments returned by the Grand Jury on Monday, July 24. Bailey was arrested on Friday, July 28 while Vaden was taken into custody on Tuesday, July 25. They will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, August 7.

The indictment against Bailey alleges that “on or about the 2nd day of July, 2017 in DeKalb County, Bailey did intentionally, and or knowingly engage in unlawful sexual penetration of (18 year old girl) without her consent, constituting the offense of rape”.

The indictment against Vaden alleges that “on or about the 7th day of July, 2017 in DeKalb County, Vaden did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly engage in sexual penetration of (14 year old girl) and the defendant (Vaden) is at least four years older than her, constituting the offense of statutory rape.

The case against Bailey was investigated by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. The Smithville Police Department investigated the case against Vaden.

Mackler says Politicians Should Stop Putting Politics Before People

July 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins welcomes U.S. Senate Candidate James Mackler (left) and Governor candidate Karl Dean (right) guest speakers during a potluck dinner Thursday night

Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler says he is running for the Democratic nomination to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

Mackler, who spoke at the DeKalb County Democratic Party potluck dinner Thursday evening at the high school, said he wants to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Bob Corker in next year’s general election.

Speaking with WJLE prior to his remarks, Mackler said he suspended his legal career in response to the 9-11 attacks and joined the Army in 2001. “I was practicing law on September 11, 2001 and as a result of the attacks on our country I shut down my law practice. I walked into an Army recruiting station and I volunteered. I went to flight school and learned to fly helicopters and deployed with the 101st Airborne Division as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. After several years including a combat deployment, I transferred to the JAG Corp where I was a military prosecutor. In that capacity, I mostly prosecuted military sexual assault offenses. I eventually returned to private practice in the Tennessee Air National Guard where I continue to serve and in recent months I resigned from my law practice in order to run this campaign full time,” said Mackler.

Much like when he joined the military, Mackler said he again feels a call to service but of a different kind this time. “I felt a call back to service much like the way I felt after 911 in the sense that I feel something desperately needs to be done to change the direction of this country. Much like I had the courage to join the Army after 911, that experience taught me that when something is important to you and you feel passionate it is worth taking the risks involved trying to make a change,” he continued.

Mackler said the politicians in Washington must put aside their partisan differences and work toward solutions for the people they serve. “The most important thing that needs to be done is that we’ve got to learn, as we learned in the military, that mission accomplishment is our primary goal. Politicians have got to learn to work with one another despite their diverse backgrounds and differences to work for the American people. That is their mission. To improve opportunity for each and every American and that is what is not being done,” he said.

“Senator Corker said, for example, that the substance of the health care bill didn’t even matter that he would vote for whatever party leadership asked him to vote for and that is what he did. Blind obedience to a party crafting secret legislation behind closed doors is exactly what is wrong with the politics in Washington. Cutting Medicaid, reducing benefits, increasing premiums, those things would all be disastrous for rural counties. What we need to do on health care is have a sound discussion on what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and certainly there are things that need to be fixed and then work together to craft those solutions to help every Tennessean”.

As for military spending, Mackler advocates a smarter approach. “ I feel the issue with military spending at this point isn’t the amount of spending, it’s the way we spend our money. I personally observed a lot of wasted money while I was in the military. Certainly we did not always have what we needed when we needed it but that was an allocation problem across the military and not necessarily an overall spending problem. I’ll say this. The idea of cuts to the state department in order to increase funding to the department of defense is a serious mistake. I and I believe most military officers understand the importance of diplomacy both to prevent conflicts and to shorten conflicts and I would not want to see diplomacy be cut in order to give more money to the military particularly when we can improve military effectiveness without necessarily increasing spending,” he said.

Mackler said his campaign is off to a good start and he is being received well across the state. “The campaign is going great. We have experienced support from all over the state both from Democrats, Independents, people who have never been in politics before, and many people who have voted Republican in the past. They are enthusiastic about having a candidate who really stands for accountability and integrity,” he concluded.

Back 2 School-Call 2 Prayer set for Sunday, August 6

July 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Back 2 School-Call 2 Prayer set for Sunday, August 6

An annual prayer for our schools observance will be held Sunday, August 6 at DeKalb Middle School starting at 2 p.m.

Parents, church leaders, educators, and community leaders are invited to attend this special "BACK 2 SCHOOL -CALL 2 PRAYER" gathering. Information from the past year and projections related to the new school year will be presented.

Prayers will be offered by pastors and youth pastors for each school in DeKalb County and for school sponsored activities. A special prayer will also be offered for law enforcement agencies.

Instead of a closing prayer, those present will be asked to go to the geographical location of each school and pray. A prayer of blessing and protection will be offered for the students and faculty for the school year.

For more information please call Donnie Kelly 931-260-1763 .

Native American Artifacts Show Saturday at County Complex

July 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Native American Artifacts Show Saturday at County Complex

A Native American artifacts show will be held Saturday, July 29 at the county complex auditorium from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and you can enjoy something to eat while you're there with proceeds to benefit the DeKalb Animal Coalition. Breakfast and lunch foods will be available for sale. Admission to the event is free.

The artifacts show will feature displays ranging from arrow heads to pottery and some items will be available for sale or trade. “I think this is the sixth year we’ve done it. We have promises of 70 tables of artifacts. The exhibitors rent the tables to set up and we pay for the use of the building and the expenses we have for it. What money is left we donate to the animal coalition. They will be there also (animal coalition) in the kitchen selling sandwiches to raise money for the coalition to go toward the new shelter,” said Mike Foster.

“We have people coming from as far away as Ohio, Missouri, Texas, and all over the southeast but a lot of the artifacts will be from DeKalb County and middle Tennessee. Some of the displays are absolutely unbelievable. Its mainly going to be native American artifacts but we’ll have other things. There’s a guy from around Nashville who will be here who is bringing some South American artifacts that he will display and we’ll have a little bit of Revolutionary War era items. One guy will have some guns and things from that historical era. He will also have some products like beads and other things that the early settlers traded with the native Americans. There will also be some pottery pieces there. You don’t get to see too many pieces of pottery from this area. There was a lot in Texas and Arkansas but not so much in this area that survived through the years,” said Foster.

“It's really enjoyable for people who like history or artifacts and it's free so come on out Saturday because you'll see some really good collections,” Foster concluded.

Fire Marshal Confirms Lightning Strike Cause of Condo Fire; Blaze Discovered in Separate Building Wednesday

July 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Fire Marshal Confirms Lightning Strike Cause of Condo Fire; Blaze Discovered in Separate Building Wednesday

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department returned to Highland Cove Condos Wednesday afternoon where an open flame from a ruptured natural gas line was discovered between the floors of another building there.

The maintenance manager called for the fire department after walking into a room on the third floor of the “G” building and finding it extremely hot in there.

The “G” building is some 50 feet from the “H” building where a fire destroyed two condos early Monday morning.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said the State Fire Marshal has concluded that both buildings were struck by lightning Sunday night which triggered the fires.

“We got a call from the maintenance manager at Highland Cove Condos Wednesday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. He entered unit 6 on the third floor of the G building and noticed the room temperature was extremely hot. He couldn’t even touch the tile on the kitchen floor because it was so hot. He contacted me and we got fire units enroute,” said Chief Green.

“When we got there we discovered that lightning had run in on the natural gas line conduit and ruptured the line. The concrete floor was exposed to an open flame between the second and third floor which is what made the third floor hot. As we investigated on the second floor we found a spot in the ceiling of the G4 unit that had cracked which is the point where the gas line enters the building. We were able to mitigate it with help from the gas company and the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office. We opened that up, got the gas cut off, and the fire went out without any major damage. There was slight damage to some drywall and to where we had torn a hole in the ceiling to get to the pipeline,” Chief Green continued.

According to Chief Green the fire had been burning unseen since the lightning strike Sunday night and would have eventually spread. “The drywall had started to fail on the back side and had it continued to burn it would have eventually ignited and spread to other parts of the building.

Members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, and Liberty stations responded along with the tanker truck, DeKalb EMS, the Sheriff’s Department, and an agent of Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office.


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