Local News Articles

Poss Leads Ticket in Tuesday Primary

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss
Jeff McMillen
Michael Agee
Jimmy Sprague

Four candidates for county wide offices ran unopposed in Tuesday’s DeKalb County Democratic Primary and two of them will not have an opponent in the General Election on August 2.



County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss led the ticket with 2,060 votes Tuesday and will be re-elected to a second term without opposition in August.

Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen received 2,017 complimentary votes Tuesday and will be unopposed in August enroute to his 9th term.

Michael Agee ran unopposed Tuesday for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff and received 1,182 votes. He will try to unseat Republican Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray in August. Ray is seeking his 4th term.

Jimmy Sprague is looking to become the next Road Supervisor. He ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination Tuesday with 1,933 votes. He will face Republican challenger Danny Hale in August. Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Butch Agee is not seeking re-election this year.

A total of 2,514 people voted in the Primary including 1,293 on election day and 1,221 during early voting/absentee.

Five County Commissioners Defeated in Tuesday Primary

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
Democratic nominees for the county commission appearing on WJLE election night: SEATED-Beth Pafford, Jenny Trapp, Betty Jean Atnip, Nora Harvey. STANDING- Larry Summers, Julie Young, Bobby Johnson, Janice Fish-Stewart, Anita Puckett, and Dr. Scott Little

The 14 member county commission will have at least eight new members come September 1.

Five incumbent members lost their bids for re-election in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary Tuesday including Joe Johnson in the 2nd district, Jack Barton in the 3rd district, Wayne Cantrell and Jonathan Norris in the 4th district, and Kevin Robinson in the 7th district. Three other members, Republican Mason Carter, Democrat Bradley Hendrix, and Independent Jimmy Midgett will also be departing as they did not seek re-election to the county commission.



There could be even more changes if Republican and Independent candidates are successful in the August General Election.

In the 2nd district, the winners Tuesday were Myron Rhody with 168 votes and Nora Harvey with 147 votes. Incumbent Joe Johnson lost with 134 votes.

Third district voters nominated Jenny Trapp with 254 votes and Bobby Johnson with 211 votes. Incumbent Jack Barton lost with 186 votes.

Janice Fish-Stewart who had 193 votes and Dr. Scott Little with 192 votes won in the 4th district defeating Incumbent Jonathan Norris who received 167 votes, Incumbent Wayne Cantrell with 163 votes, and Bobby Taylor with 66 votes.

In the 7th district, Beth Pafford and Incumbent Larry Summers were winners. Pafford received 173 votes while Summers got 132 votes. Incumbent Kevin Robinson lost with 106 votes.

The candidates in the 1st, 5th, and 6th districts were unopposed in the primary on Tuesday.

In the 1st district, Dennis Slager had 143 votes and Incumbent Julie Williams Young received 131 votes.

Incumbent Anita Puckett received 239 votes and Lloyd Emmons 196 in the 5th District.

In the 6th district, Incumbent Betty Jean Atnip had 204 votes and Incumbent Jeff Barnes with 187.

The Democratic nominees in each district will face Republican and or Independent opponents in the August 2 County General Election.

The line up in the August election for the county commission is as follows:

1st district: Democrats Dennis Slager and Julie Williams Young with Republican Tom Chandler. Two are to be elected.

2nd district: Democrats Myron Rhody and Nora Harvey with Republican Sabrina Farler. Two are to be elected.

3rd district: Democrats Jenny Trapp and Bobby Johnson with Republican Renee Steff. Two are to be elected.

4th district: Democrats Janice Fish-Stewart and Dr. Scott Little with Republican Greg Matthews. Two are to be elected.

5th district: Democrats Anita Puckett and Lloyd Emmons with Republican Incumbent Jerry Adcock and Independent William Rutherford. Two are to be elected.

6th district: Democrats Betty Jean Atnip and Jeff Barnes with Republican Matt Adcock. Two are to be elected.

7th district: Democrats Larry Summers and Beth Pafford with Republican Bruce Malone. Two are to be elected.

County Mayor Tim Stribling Survives Primary Challenge

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling

County Mayor Tim Stribling had a close call Tuesday but survived the Democratic Primary winning by seven votes.

Stribling won the rematch with Mike Foster, the man he unseated four years ago as County Mayor in the primary. Stribling also defeated Bradley Hendrix, who currently serves as a county commissioner in the 3rd district.

Stribling won the race with a total of 1,066 votes. Foster came in second with 1,059 and Hendrix had 328 votes. Stribling carried 10 of the 15 precincts.

As the Democratic nominee, Stribling will face Independent candidate Randy Paris in the August 2nd DeKalb County General Election for County Mayor. The winner will take office September 1 and serve four years.



Nicole Wright Wins Democratic Nomination for Circuit Court Clerk

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
Nicole Wright

Nicole Wright has won the Democratic nomination for the office of Circuit Court Clerk.

Wright, an employee of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, defeated Fifth District Constable Mark Milam in Tuesday’s primary.

Wright received a total of 1,203 votes to 1,047 votes for Milam. She won 10 of 15 precincts and had a majority of the early votes/absentees.

She will now face Republican Susan Martin in the DeKalb County General Election on August 2. The winner will take office on September 1 and serve four years succeeding Democratic incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, who decided not to seek re-election to a fifth term.



DCHS and DMS Evacuated After Small Fire In AC unit

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
Students and teachers were evacuated from DeKalb County High School today after a fire started in a rooftop air conditioning unit (Jim Beshearse Photo)
DCHS Evacuated After Small Fire In AC unit (Jim Beshearse Photo)

Students and teachers were evacuated from DCHS and DeKalb Middle School Tuesday after a fire started in a rooftop air conditioning unit at the high school.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said no one was injured and the students and teachers later returned to class.

"We had an air conditioner unit to catch on fire but the fire was pretty much contained to it," said Cripps

Aaron Young, a school system maintenance employee, grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the blaze as the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was enroute.

Although the fire was in an AC unit on the high school building, Cripps said both the high school and middle school were evacuated as a precaution.

"Our first priority is to our students and Mr. (Randy) Jennings (DCHS Principal), the teachers, and administration did an excellent job of evacuating the students to make sure they were secure," he said.

According to Director Cripps, the fire caused minor damage to the school roof and very little smoke penetrated into the building. "After making sure the students and teachers are safe then you have to start looking at your facilities to make sure they are okay. Our maintenance staff, Aaron Young, Earl Jared, and Dillon Hicks, along with Mr. Jennings and myself got up on the roof and checked it out. We discovered that the fire had melted the top membrane of the roof but there was no structural damage or anything of that nature. It was confined a very small section. The fire put out a little bit of smoke in the building but not too much. You could smell the scent of smoke a little but it never filled the building," he said.

In addition to the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, the Smithville Police Department, and DeKalb EMS responded.

"I want to thank the fire department, police department, EMS, and the utility companies for their quick response," added Director Cripps.

Wright Charged in Sex Crime Involving Young Girls

May 1, 2018
Dwayne Page
Samuel Dewayne Wright

An 18 year old man is charged in a sex crime involving young girls.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_1.pdf (2.5 MB)

Samuel Dewayne Wright of Midway Road, Smithville is facing six counts of solicitation of a minor to observe sexual activity. His bond is $18,000 and his court date is May 10.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on six occasions Wright intentionally persuaded a minor female to engage in sexual activity with him through electronic communications.

The acts occurred on March 1, March 15, April 2, April 4, and April 5 involving victims ages 13, 14, 15, and 16 years old.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

Assessor Sending "Change of Assessment" Notices to Landowners

April 30, 2018
Dwayne Page
Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell

Many DeKalb County landowners may see a change in their property assessments this year.

Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell said “Change of Assessment” letters are being sent to those affected.

“Change of assessment letters are going out in May because the assessment on your property, whether it be real property or personal property, has either gone up or down. There has been a change so you will get a “change of assessment” notice,” Cantrell told WJLE.

If you don’t agree with your property assessments, Cantrell said you should not wait until you get your tax bill in the fall to try and do something about it. The time to raise concerns is when the DeKalb County Board of Equalization meets in June. Cantrell will be taking appointments for those appeals starting May 21. The Board of Equalization will meet starting Friday, June 1 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Assessor of Property Office at the county complex building.

“Remember once the county board has met then you can no longer appeal locally for the 2018 taxes. I think that’s what catches a lot of people by surprise. They get their tax notice October 1 and that’s what really gets their attention if their taxes have gone up. Then they want to appeal it. But by that time the appeal for 2018 has already passed. We’re in the appeal season now,” said Cantrell.

“What is important to remember is that the county board of equalization normally meets the first week in June and if you would like to appeal your assessment now is the time to do that. Beginning May 21 call our office and make an appointment to meet with the county board of equalization to discuss the assessment on your appraisal,” Cantrell continued.

“It doesn’t have to be that you had a change of assessment this spring. Maybe nothing changed from last year but maybe you weren’t pleased with your assessment last year. Anybody can come and see the county board of equalization,” Cantrell added.

The county commission, during last Monday night's regular monthly meeting, reappointed Russell Watson, Carl Dwayne Webb, Doyle Evans, Jimmy Goad, and Jim Davies to serve on the five member board and Joel Hooker will be an alternate. The commission also adopted a resolution requiring members of the equalization board to attend training in Cookeville on May 16 before they begin meeting in June.

Until 2014, the equalization board was made up of seven members, one from each district of the county. But under state law, there can be no more than five members. According to Tennessee Code Annotated (state law) "The county legislative body of each county shall, at the April session of each even year, from the different sections of the county, elect, for a term of two (2) years, five (5) freeholders and taxpayers who shall constitute a county board of equalization."

Based on population, the City of Smithville can have one member on the board. Russell Watson has been serving in that position.

According to state law, county equalization boards across the state are to meet each year on June 1 (or the next business day if the 1st falls on Saturday or Sunday). The county board is authorized by law to receive and hear appeals of current year property tax assessments as fixed by the county assessor of property. Generally an assessment must be appealed to the county board of equalization to preserve the taxpayer’s right to further appeal.

DeKalb Emergency Services Association Endorses Candidates for County Mayor and Commission

April 30, 2018

(The following is a paid announcement by the DeKalb Emergency Services Association)

In March the DeKalb Emergency Services Association formerly known as DeKalb Firefighters’ Association mailed a public safety survey to all candidates running for the offices of County Mayor and County Commission. This survey contained questions pertaining to public safety in DeKalb County.

Members of the DeKalb Emergency Services Association are residents, taxpayers, and your neighbors. Most of all, we are members of emergency services who have huge investments in our county, as we have volunteered and donated countless hours of personal time to provide public safety and emergency response for you and your families. Not all emergency service personnel are members of the Association. Although we have nothing to gain as individuals, we have a lot to gain as citizens and taxpayers in our communities where we live and work. Our mission is to promote the general welfare of emergency services and personnel, and to provide our communities with effective emergency response resources. We sincerely hope that our county’s residents feel strongly that we should have leaders in our county that have the same views and concerns about public safety.

Candidates had until March 15th to return their surveys. We appreciate the good and well-thought-out responses. All of the following candidates who returned their surveys have meet approval by the Association for endorsement:
County Mayor- Mike Foster, Tim Stribling
District 1-Julie Young, Dennis Slager
District 2-Joe Johnson, Nora Harvey
District 3-Jack Barton, Bobby Johnson, Renee Steff, Jenny Trapp
District 4- Wayne Cantrell, Jonathan Norris, Scott Little, Bobby Taylor, Janice Fish-Stewart
District 5- William Rutherford
District 6-Matthew Adcock
District 7-Beth Pafford

Smithville Elementary Recognizes Students of the Month

April 30, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Recognizes Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary would like to recognize our Students of the Month for April. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for April are:

Pre-K: Lucas Patterson

Kindergarten: Logan Gard

1st grade: Reed Midgett

2nd grade: Summer Garrett

(Photo shows students of the month with Principal Julie Vincent and Assistant Principal Anita Puckett)

Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive Set for May 12

April 29, 2018
Dwayne Page
Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive Set for May 12

Area postal carriers are gearing up for the 26th annual National Association of Letter Carriers and Rural Carriers Food Drive on May 12.

The food drive, held annually on the second Saturday in May, is part of the "Stamp Out Hunger" national effort that has been an annual event since 1993. Nationally, the drive has collected more than 1.5 billion pounds of food. Last year's drive collected 75 million pounds.

The Smithville Post Office will again be participating in the annual food drive but this year information cards will be placed in every residential mailbox instead of bags on May 8th – 9th. The actual food pickup will be Saturday, May 12th. However, there will be a cart placed in the lobby of the post office from May 8th – 12th where you may drop off your donation.

Residents are urged to leave non-perishable food at their mailboxes for letter carriers to pick up when they deliver the mail on Saturday, May 12.

Letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food donations for the drive from postal customers in the Smithville area as they deliver mail along their postal routes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 12.

Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters in DeKalb County.


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