Local News Articles

Johnson Injured in Wreck near Tractor Supply

February 26, 2018
Dwayne Page
 2007 Chevy Coba driven by Billie D. Johnson
2006 Kia Optima driven by Lois Page
2006 Kia Optima Comes to Rest on Farm Equipment (Bush Hog Mowers) at Tractor Supply after crash

One person was injured in a two vehicle crash Thursday on West Broad Street at Tractor Supply.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department said 68 year old Lois Page, driving a 2006 Kia Optima, was crossing Broad Street from Dry Creek Road to Tramel Lane as 37 year old Billie D. Johnson was traveling west on Broad Street in a 2007 Chevy Coba. After impact Page’s car came to rest on top of farm equipment in the parking lot of Tractor Supply.

Johnson was taken by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Page was not transported.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene to render assistance.

Alexandria Man Answers to Burglary Charge

February 26, 2018
Dwayne Page
Barry Wayne Lewis, Jr.

An Alexandria man arrested for breaking into an outbuilding and stealing a chainsaw and hedge trimmers in November appeared for sentencing Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

20 year old Barry Wayne Lewis, Jr. of Liberty Hill Road, Alexandria entered a plea by criminal information to one count of burglary. He was originally charged with burglary, aggravated criminal trespassing, and theft of property under $1,000. Lewis received a three year sentence on TDOC probation subject to judicial diversion. He must make restitution of $30 to the victim and he is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim and his property. He must also make restitution of $100 to Quick Cash Pawn in Lebanon.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday November 26 Lewis broke into an outbuilding on Coon Branch Road and took a Stihl MS 180C chainsaw and a set of hedge trimmers valued at $330.

Lewis illegally came onto the grounds to commit the crimes while being under an active restraining order to keep off the property.

The case was investigated by a detective.

Tragedy Strikes an Alexandria Family Again Six Months After Losing Their Home in Fire

February 26, 2018
Dwayne Page
The 5th wheel camper of Nathan and Kimberly Hale of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria was destroyed by fire Thursday night, February 22
Nathan and Kimberly Hale
The scene of the first fire in August that destroyed the three bedroom home of Nathan and Kimberly Hale at 5093 Lower Helton Road

After losing their home and all belongings in an August fire, tragedy has struck the Nathan and Kimberly Hale family again.

The 5th wheel camper of the Hale's who live on Lower Helton Road, Alexandria was destroyed by fire Thursday night, February 22. The family had been living in the camper since the loss of their three bedroom home at 5093 Lower Helton Road in August. The first fire occurred while the Hale’s were away to attend a church service in Carthage.

The Hale’s are asking for help from the community to get them back on their feet.

“On Thursday night February 22, a fire started close to the electrical panel in the camper. My husband, myself and our dogs got out and we managed to save most of our medications and my insulin; however, when Nathan tried to go back in to get his wallet and important papers, the roof started falling in on him. In his wallet was every bit of money we had put away that our church helped raise in hopes of being able to buy a vehicle, $600 cash. My husband is disabled and we've been waiting for 2 years for a determination for his disability claim,” said Mrs. Hale.

“I have set up a gofundme link (www.gofundme.com/kim-nathanhale). We also have a checking account at Wilson Bank and Trust in my husband's name, Robert Nathan Hale, and donations can also be sent through PayPal using my email address kimberlyhale011317@gmail.com.” said Mrs. Hale.

“Thank you in advance for your help. God bless you.” she concluded.

Community Joins Smithville Fire Department in Celebrating 80 Years and Dedication of New Fire Truck (VIEW VIDEO CLIP HERE)

February 25, 2018
Dwayne Page
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams presented a Chamber “Milestone Award” Sunday to the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department for 80 years of service to the community
Dr. John Carpenter, Minister of the Smithville First United and the Bright Hill United Methodist Church began the dedication with a prayer and anointing of the new fire truck.
Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department officially placed into service the city’s new fire truck during a brief ceremony Sunday historically known as a ‘push back.’
New Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle
Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department showing features of the new fire truck to guests at Sunday's Open House
The Smithville Volunteer Fire Dept hosted a new fire truck dedication, 80th anniversary observance, and open house Sunday. A good crowd turned out for the ceremony and to enjoy cake and refreshments.
Photo shows founding members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department in 1938. Bethel Thomas (dressed in white) served as Chief. Names of others shown here unavailable
Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker with two former city firefighters at Sunday’s 80th anniversary observance, Billy Joe Cripps (center), and Freddy Colvert (right).

Smithville Volunteer Firefighters held an open house and new fire truck dedication ceremony Sunday while also celebrating the 80th anniversary of the department at the fire hall.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker began by welcoming the guests who turned out for the observance and paying tribute to firefighters past and present for their service. He also introduced and thanked the mayor and aldermen for their support of the fire department especially for the purchase of the new fire truck. Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Jason Murphy, Gayla Hendrix, Josh Miller, Danny Washer, and Shawn Jacobs each made brief remarks thanking the firefighters for the job they do for the city.

Dr. John Carpenter, Minister of the Smithville First United and the Bright Hill United Methodist Church began the dedication with a prayer and anointing of the new fire truck. Members of the department then officially placed the fire engine into service in what is historically known as a ‘push back.’

The origin of pushing a fire truck into the station dates back to the time of horse drawn equipment. Firefighters had to push the fire pumpers into the fire station because horses were incapable of backing the equipment.

Chief Parker said the new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, which is a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle, will take the place of three vehicles being used now.

“It serves as a fire truck, rescue truck, and service truck all together. It has full fire capabilities with a 1500 gallon a minute pump. It also carries all of our rescue equipment including the jaws of life, air bags, chains saws, cutting saws, plus service equipment, ladders, etc. Its a full compliment when it goes. It can do fire and rescue both with less manpower so we’re real excited about it. We do have a foam system on this truck. Its a little more advanced foam system. We can spray foam out of the nozzles, from the deck gun on top of the truck, and from the front bumper. We can use that at the airport if we ever need it to foam the runway. The deck gun has a water capacity of 1500 gallons per minute and it has remote control capability. The truck also has cameras built in all the way around it to monitor from the back and give us side views. Monitors are at the pump panel where firefighters can see everything going on at the other side of the truck. It has exterior lights as far as the tank level. Not just the commander or whoever is in charge, but even firefighters going in or coming out of a structure can know if we have enough water to make an advance. These are just some of the features this truck gives us,” said Chief Parker.

After the ceremony guests were treated to cake and other refreshments and given an up close look at the new fire truck by members of the department.

Two former city firefighters in attendance, Freddy Colvert and Billy Joe Cripps each talked about how far the fire department has come since they served.

“I served with Shag Hendrixson, Robert Eller, Charlie Lockhart and others back in those days. I think it was around 1960. I served for about 20 years. I went on the road driving a truck for a while and that kind of broke me away but I really enjoyed it. The community has really got something to be proud of here. They don’t really understand the fire department and all it does but I do from being a past member. We had one fire truck back then and were stationed where the education building (Ernest Ray Education Center) is now. It was the city jail at that time and the fire truck was there. We had a 1954 open cab and that was the only truck we had. They have come a long way and I am really proud of the department,” said Colvert

“I was on the department in the 1960’s. I really don’t remember how long I served but I left in 1969 and moved to Madisonville to work at Tellico Plains. I think its great what they have today (fire trucks and equipment). We sure could have used it back in the 1960’s. Back then you just had to grab a hold (on the one fire truck) and hold on for dear life (when enroute to a fire),” said Cripps.

Chief Parker said the department was founded by the mayor and aldermen in 1938.

“80 years ago on February 3 the city council passed ordinance # 92 to form the Smithville Fire Department. In doing that they appointed Mr. Bethel Thomas as Chief and Freddie Tramel as Assistant Chief. Bob Herndon was the Captain. They appointed 22 businessmen to become the Smithville Fire Department. That’s what it was back then. It was made up of businessmen who wanted to do something to help their neighbors. I think we have come a long way in those 80 years,” added Chief Parker.

The names of current and past members are listed here and the year they joined the department

Kevin Adcock-1999 (current member)
Auvil D. Adcock-1953
Becky Atnip-2013 (current member)
D.J. Atnip- ?
Greg Bess-1995 (current member)
W.H. (Dub) Bing-?
Bill Bond-1938
Alton Bonham-1938
Carter Braswell-1969
Eddie Braswell
Wink Brown- 1998 (current member)
Stephanie Brown-2009
Walter Burton-1972
Wallace Caldwell-2004 (current member)
Charles Cantrell-1938
Donnie Cantrell-1980 (current member)
Gerald Cantrell-?
Harold (Soapy) Cantrell-1960
Ray Lee Cantrell-1965
Don Cantrell-1961
Van Cleveland-1938
Buba Coffee-?
Freddy Colvert-1963
Lonnie Colwell-?
Eddie Colwell-2010
A.P. Conger-?
Roy Conger-1938
Corkey Conger-?
W.O. Conger-1955
Shannon Cook-?
Billy Joe Cripps-1966
Jim John Dearman-1938
Leonard Dickens-1969
James (Bo Bo) Driver?
M.V. Driver-1938
Bill Durgham-1938
Patrick Edge-2009
Robert Eller-1946
Billy Estes-1946
Frank Evetts-1964
W.J. Evins-1938
Davey Ferrell-1999
Harry Foutch-1938
Glynn Frazier-1968
Cody Fults-2014
Glen Gill-1973
Dereck Graham-?
Lanelle Haggard-1964
Hoyte Hale-1985 (current member)
Joseph Hall- 2008
Bill E. Hendrixson-1938
Sellars Hendrixson-1941
Toby Hendrixson-?
Robert (Bob) Herndon-1938
James Herndon-?
Ryan Herron-2016 (current member)
Tim Holmes-?
Billy Hooper-1964
Kenneth Howard-1938
James R. Hunt-2005 (current member)
Bill Jacobs
Shawn Jacobs- 2013 (current member)
Bradley Johnson-2014 (current member)
Garrett Johnson-2016 (current member)
Gary Johnson- 2005 (current member)
Kim Johnson- 2016 (current member)
Dusty Johnson-2005
Jeff Keith-?
W.J. (Dub) Keith-1967
Ronnie Kemper-?
Cory Killian-2011 (current member)
John Kunstman-?
Glen Lattimore-2008 (current member)
R.E. Lawrence-1938
Odell Lewis-?
Donnie Lewis-1976
Charlie Lockhart-1944
Houston Lockhart-1938
Caleb London-2017 (current member)
Tyler Ludwick-?
Eddie Mabe-?
Melvin McCormick-1968
Jack McGuire-1952
Clyde Medley-?
W.H. (Moon) Mullinax-1973
Lynn Newby-1967
Charles Nokes
Earl Odom-1972
Wendell Owens-1970
Charles Owens-1970
David Pack-1981
Buddy Parker-1966
Charles Parker-1980 (current member)
Danny Poss-1980 (current member)
John Poss-? (current member)
David Redman-?
Dalton Roberts-2014 (current member)
Kent Robinson-1973
Erik Russell-2007
Edward Rutland-1975
Abe Silman-?
Barney Sorell-?
Robin Summers-2016 (current member)
Jimmy Taylor-?
Bethel Thomas-1938
Clarence Thweatt-?
C.J. Tramel-2014 (current member)
Freddie Tramel-1938
Mike Turner-1967
Jimmy Vickers-?
W.H. Vickers-1938
Earl Wade-1938
J.C. Webb-1941
Norvel Webb, Jr.-?
Ronald Whitaker-?
Paul Willoughby-1938
W.H. Windham-1964
Anthony Wright-?
Jeff Wright-1986 (current member)
Seth Wright-2016 (current member)
Stephanee Wright-2006 (current member)
Charles Young-?
Joe Young-1938
Jeremy Young-?

Vaden Enters Plea in Sex Case

February 25, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jacory Watson Vaden

A 19 year old Gordonsville man, indicted for statutory rape of a 14 year old girl, entered a plea to the lesser offense of attempted statutory rape Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_59.pdf (3.17 MB)

Jacory Watson Vaden received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days subject to judicial diversion. Vaden will be on supervised probation and he is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim.

The indictment against Vaden alleged 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 Smithville Police Department investigated the case against Vaden.

Green Sentenced for Reckless Endangerment in Injury Crash

February 25, 2018
Dwayne Page
Robin Clark Green

A man who left the scene on foot after being involved in a two vehicle crash on Saturday, September 16, 2017 was sentenced Friday in criminal court.

44 year old Robin Clark Green of Sparta entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a two year TDOC sentence to serve. He was given jail credit from September 22, 2017 to February 23, 2018.

Green was originally charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an injury crash, driving while license revoked, improper passing, and failing to exercise due care.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the crash occurred at 9:26 p.m. on Highway 70 east (Sparta Highway) near Howard Redmon Road as Green, driving a 1994 Nissan Xterra east on U.S. 70, crossed into the westbound lane to pass another vehicle on a double yellow line. 30 year old Juan Delgado of Smithville, who was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 1998 Toyota Tacoma, swerved to avoid a collision but Green’s vehicle hit the Tacoma in the left front. Delgado’s truck then traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch where it came to its final rest. Green’s Xterra traveled off the left side of the roadway and struck a ditch and then a fence before coming to its final rest in a field.

After the crash, Green fled the scene on foot. He had three passengers in the vehicle with him, 39 year old Angela Atnip, 22 year old Zachary Walker, and 42 year old Barry Atnip all of Smithville. Both Angela and Barry Atnip were transported by ground ambulance to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital while Walker was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Delgado was not injured but he was cited for no drivers license and failing to provide proof of financial responsibility.

Trooper Jason Cobble was the investigating officer.

Children Author Mike Shoulders to Return for DeKalb West Family Literacy Night

February 25, 2018
Bill Conger
Children’s author Mike Shoulders

DeKalb West School will pitch tents for an event, dubbed Camp Read S‘More on March 1. School officials expect the 3rd Annual Family Literacy Night to be successful as the previous ones.

“I believe most people truly value learning, and literacy is at the heart of learning,” Event Coordinator/School Librarian Amanda Mullinax says of the community response. “I am grateful that families are taking the time to work this event into their already busy schedules!”

Doors open at 5 o’clock. Look for possible guest appearances by The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Alice, and The Mad Hatter. Activities will include a young illustrator, a local puppeteer, an escape game, visit to Wonderland, a book walk and much more. Children’s author Mike Shoulders will be back by popular demand.

His presentation will be educational and entertaining as he reads, raps and does a few magic tricks. At the heart of what Shoulders does is his desire to encourage families to read together.

“Parents are their child's first and constant teachers,” the retired educator adds. “What they do at home is as valuable as what teachers do in school. Families need to celebrate books and not see them as a challenge. There are three ways to have a comfortable life: inherit a ton of cash, win the lottery, or be an avid reader to grab those best paying jobs later in life.”

WJLE talked with Shoulders about entering the world of writing for children.

WJLE: After a solid career in education, why were you interested in pursuing writing for children?

Shoulders: While I was a fourth grade teacher for 13 years, I read aloud to my students every day. Reading aloud to children is the #1 best way to get them to love books and therefore, read books. Ten years before retirement, I began pursuing a personal goal of publishing a book. It took five years, but led to my second career as a children's author. I still see myself as a teacher as I share the writing process with students as part of my employment.

WJLE: You spent many years teaching others and a few years ago it became your turn to learn again in a different area. What did you have to learn to make yourself a publishable and marketable writer?

Shoulders: The first thing I learned is the average "first sell" by an aspiring author is five years. Sure enough, it took me four years and ten months - very close to five years. I guess I'm a "Solid Average" kinda guy. I learned that selling a manuscript was (approximately) 10% writing and 90% marketing. Anyone interested in selling a book has to know which publishers are buying and selling which kinds of books. A writer has to match a manuscript with an appropriate publishing house.

Any time I got the chance, I attended conferences on writing. I heard many editors say they receive a large percentage of manuscripts that are just not right for what they publish. Aspiring authors must research the marketplace.

One of the best pieces of advice I learned is just because your manuscript was rejected doesn't mean it won't be bought by another publisher. It's important to keep a manuscript in the mail. It's just as much about persistence as it is talent. If one is persistent, talent will develop.

WJLE: How does the writing process work for you?

Shoulders: I'm ashamed to say it, but I have to be in the mood to write. On the occasions I'm not in the mood or am not feeling it, I usually read instead...A LOT ! ! ! I fill my day with reading because writers ARE readers. Writing is solitary. Each writer must find where they write the best. I will often get my favorite Starbucks drink and sit near the river or a creek and write. When I'm writing - and in a groove - I'll usually write for about four hours a day. I have other things that occupy my time. I have to make travel plans to speak at schools and conferences. I have hotel rooms to book. I have questions to be answered. J

WJLE: What's your next project?

Shoulders: I'm trying to sell a book about "The Legend of the Christmas Pickle." It's been rejected multiple times already. The way I look at it is I've narrowed down which company is going to publish it by eliminating several companies. Recently, I sent the manuscript to a *former* editor of mine who is no longer editing for a publishing house. She gave me a piece of valuable information to make my story stronger. I resent it to her and she said she loves it. What she was telling me is the manuscript is salable, but I just have to have faith and be persistent.

Hale Gets Probation for Arson and Credit for Time Served

February 23, 2018
Dwayne Page
Jason Bryan Hale
Jason Bryan Hale gets 4 years probation and credit for time served for arson after setting fire to the home where he lived at 5078 Lower Helton Road near Alexandria in November

A man charged with arson after setting fire to the home where he lived at 5078 Lower Helton Road near Alexandria in November entered a plea by criminal information in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

Judge David Patterson presided.

46 year old Jason Bryan Hale received a four year sentence on the arson charge but he has been given jail credit of 107 days served and he will be on supervised probation for the remainder of the term Other charges against him were apparently dismissed including a charge of assaulting an officer and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:58 p.m. on November 8, 2017 and paged members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The caller alerted 911 that someone was still inside the home and that he refused to leave. It was later reported that the man had gone outside the home and was armed with a shotgun.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and officers of the Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene and took the man (Hale) into custody. It turns out that Hale had no weapon, but he did hit an officer while being moved to safety prior to his arrest.

The home was destroyed in the blaze. The owner of the residence was Ann Greene.

Sheriff Ray said the arson warrant against Hale alleged that “he did knowingly damage the structure of 5078 Lower Helton Road by setting it on fire. Hale did have the intent to destroy the residence”.

In the warrant for assaulting an officer, Sheriff Ray said “a deputy responded to 5078 Lower Helton Road for a structure fire. Upon arrival he made contact with Hale and while trying to move him to safety Hale intentionally and recklessly struck him in the face with his right hand”.

Sheriff Ray said that in the warrant for resisting stop, frisk, and halt, “ a deputy responded to a structure fire and while on the scene as he was placing Hale under arrest for assault, he actively resisted by pulling his arms and not cooperating with lawful commands to put his hands behind his back. Hale was arrested and brought to the jail for booking,” said Sheriff Ray.

Neither the deputy nor anyone else was injured.

In addition to the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, and DeKalb EMS, members of the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department and Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell were called to provide mutual aid support.

Advanced Master Beef Producer Planned

February 23, 2018
Johnny Barnes
Johnny Barnes

DeKalb, Cannon, and Warren County Extension will once again be offering Advanced Master Beef Producers’ (AMBP) classes for those who participated in the original or advanced classes or for newcomers who wish to participate in the Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program (TAEP) cost-share in the future. This program is also an excellent opportunity for those that wish to learn more about raising beef cattle.

The classes will be held March 13, 15, 20, and 22 and will begin at 6:30 PM each night. The classes on March 13 and 15 will be held at the Centertown Community Center, the March 20 class will be held at the Warren County Livestock Market, and the final class on March 22 will be held at the Warren Farmers Co-op. As a reminder, University of Tennessee Extension provides programs in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and resource development with University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments cooperating. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. Topics will include: Reproduction, Genetics, Herd Health, Quality Assurance, Grading, Market Outlook, Forages, and Weed Management.

The topics will be covered by various Extension Specialists and Industry Experts from across the state. The cost of the course will be $75 for those with current Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification which will include materials and refreshments. If you do not have a current BQA certification, that will be covered during the March 15 class. You can stop by the DeKalb County Extension office at 722 South Congress Blvd., Smithville to register or call Johnny Barnes at 615-597-4945 for more information.


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