Local News Articles

Induction Ceremony Held for DWS Junior Beta Club

September 26, 2017
Bill Conger

The newest class of the DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club was honored during an induction ceremony on Monday, September 18 at the school. Thirty students from 6th through the 8th grades were added to the West school Beta chapter because of their academic excellence and outstanding character.

“Founded by Dr. John W. Harris, the Beta Club has prepared today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders for more than 80 years,” President Summer Crook told the crowd. “From U.S. President Bill Clinton to current professional basketball player Kevin Durant, Beta members continue to lead long after their high school days are behind them.”

Beta students elected Crook to serve as President while Jathan Willoughby was named Vice President, Dawson Bandy, Secretary, Brayden Carter, Treasurer, Lucas Hale, Chaplain, and Alley Beth Cook, Reporter. The club sponsor presented them with medallions to honor their achievement. The officers then showed their leadership skills, conducting the induction ceremony before parents, friends, and faculty.

“We are taught many skills, such as reading and reasoning which are the keys to the locks for all the doors that lead to maturity,” VP Willoughby said in his speech.

The officers talked about the four Beta keys to success—Achievement, Character, Leadership, and Service.

“We know that it is a requirement for Beta membership to own them to some extent, and our candidates have been chosen because they have demonstrated ownership,” said Crook.

The candidates joining the club are Alex Antoniak, Tess Barton, Brayden Carter, Alyssa Crook, Ethan Curtis, Logan Daniels, Carson Donnell, Wil Farris, Presley Finocchiaro, Riley Fuson, Patricia Gassaway, Blair Gipe, Zoi Hale, Brynn Harvey, Ella Hendrixson, Jaxon Humphrey, Cameron Kempton, Jonathan Littleton, Kayleigh Overstreet, Xavier Parker, Lexia Rayl, Hannah Redmon, Maressa Rose, Kolton Slager, Karson Smallwood, Brooklyn Sutherland, Ally Tarpley, Madison Tarpley, Faith Tripp, and Jackson Vantrease.

County Forced to Pay More for Employee Health Insurance

September 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Commissioners

Due to rate hikes and mandates of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the county is being required to increase the amount it pays toward health insurance for employees under its group plan.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, the county commission voted to spend another $21,450 covering the period of January-June, 2018 to meet the federal mandate in covering 65 county employees enrolled in the plan.

“The county pays $260 per month for each employee who takes insurance. Sixty five people have county insurance. We have to meet the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, the lowest paid full time employee cannot pay more than 9.565% of their salary for insurance. We are going to have to do something to come in line with the Affordable Care Act. If the county went from paying $260 per employee to $315 per month for each employee, then that would satisfy the requirements,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The county could have chosen to increase its contribution to cover only the 51 employees enrolled in the Limited PPO plan and still been in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, costing the county an additional $16,830, but the commission opted instead to make it apply to all 65 employees.

First District Commissioner Julie Young said the county should start looking for another group plan to offer more affordable insurance

In other business, the County Commission has again rejected a request to post a speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road. Last month the proposal was denied on a voice vote but fifth district commissioner Jerry Adcock said he would have preferred a roll call vote. Monday night Adcock moved that a 25 mile per hour speed limit be posted on Ragland Bottom Road and that a roll call vote be taken. The request to post the speed limit failed 8-3. Only commissioners Adcock, Anita Puckett, and Julie Young voted for it.

Meanwhile action has been delayed on a Board of Education budget line item transfer request to move $25,000 within categories of the school budget to purchase a five acre tract of land adjoining the high school property for development of a new soccer field. Seventh district commissioner Larry Summers moved to table the request until commissioners learn more about the plans directly from the school board or director. Summers’ motion to table was adopted.

County to Partner with Caraustar Recycling

September 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
County to Partner with Caraustar Recycling

The county is contracting with a recycling company to collect and remove waste paper products including cardboard, newspapers, office paper, magazines, and books.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, the county commission voted to partner with Caraustar Recycling of Nashville. The company will place collection containers at 6 convenience (trash collection) sites and at all 5 schools. The service will be provided at no cost to the county.

The action was taken upon the recommendation of the county commission’s solid waste committee. “We have talked about recycling cardboard for quite a while. We received two proposals. The solid waste committee met in June and you have a proposal they recommended from Caraustar,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

According to the proposal, “Caraustar will partner with DeKalb County to assist with their waste paper removal. Caraustar-Nashville will place Front End Loader (FEL) 7 yard containers in 6 of DeKalb County’s convenience centers and the 5 schools. The containers will be labeled for paper only. Acceptable contents include; cardboard, newspaper, office paper, magazines, and books. A start date will be agreed upon by both parties. Either party may cancel this agreement at any time with a 60 day notice.”

“ Caraustar will provide a pickup route to service 6 DeKalb County convenience centers and 5 schools. We (Caraustar) will place FEL 7 yard recycling containers in a total of 11 sites. All recycling sites will receive 2 containers with the exception of Midway. This lower traffic site will only receive 1 container. No fees wil be charged to DeKalb County for this service”.

“Caraustar will correspond with the attendants at the convenience centers to monitor the volumes. This will determine if we (Caraustar) need to add additional containers for overflow. Our goal is to assist DeKalb County with improving their recycling program by creating a bi-monthly pickup route,” according to the proposal.

The DeKalb County convenience centers and schools selected for this route are as follows:

Snow Hill, Allen’s Ferry, McMinnville Highway, City of Alexandria, Liberty, Midway, DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb County High School, DeKalb West School, Northside Elementary School, and Smithville Elementary School.

The county received another proposal from a local recycling company. Their offer was to pay the county one cent per pound for clean loose cardboard (not mixed with trash) but the county would have had to provide the roll off containers for collection and a truck to deliver the cardboard to the recycling center. The company also offered to pay the county $35 per ton under the market price if the county wished to bale its own cardboard".

“The county doesn’t have a cardboard baler. Under this offer, it would require us (county) to purchase the containers and provide the truck to get them to their site,” said County Mayor Stribling.

“Under the proposal with Caraustar, they will furnish the containers and bring the truck to haul it off at no cost to the county,” added Stribling.

Stribling Re-Elected Chairman of County Commission

September 26, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling
Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers

County Mayor Tim Stribling was re-elected Chairman of the county commission Monday night.

All members present voted in favor.

Seventh District member Larry Summers was returned as Chairman Pro Tempore.

The county commission must annually elect a chairman and a chairman pro tempore. The commission may elect the county mayor or a member of the body to be the chairman, although the county mayor may refuse to serve. If the county mayor is chairman, he or she may vote only to break a tie vote. If a member is chairman, the member votes as a member, but cannot vote again to break a tie. If the county mayor is not chairman, he or she may veto most resolutions of the county legislative body, but this veto may be overridden by a majority vote. The majority vote that is required for this and the passage of resolutions or other measures is a majority of the entire actual membership of the county legislative body, and not a majority of the quorum, nor a majority of the authorized membership.

The county commission consists of fourteen members, two from each of the seven districts in the county.

The make-up of the county commission is as follows:

Julie Williams Young and Mason Carter from the first district; Jimmy Midgett and Joe Johnson from the second district; Jack Barton and Bradley Hendrix from the third district; Wayne Cantrell and Jonathon Norris from the fourth district; Jerry Adcock and Anita Puckett from the fifth district; Jeff Barnes and Betty Atnip from the sixth district; and Larry Summers and Kevin Robinson from the seventh district. Their terms are for four years and will expire August 31, 2018.

Conley Gets Probation for Statutory Rape

September 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
Kristain Conley
Lisa Michelle Huard
Jacob Murphy
Jim Flesher

A man charged with statutory rape in February was in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

21 year old Kristain Conley entered a plea to statutory rape and received a two year sentence on probation. He has applied for judicial diversion. He is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim.

25 year old Lisa Michelle Huard entered a plea to sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Hydrocodone). She received a three year sentence on probation and has applied for judicial diversion. She must make restitution of $200 to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

21 year old Jacob Murphy entered a plea to sale of a schedule II drug (Hydrocodone). He received a four year sentence suspended and has been given credit for 112 days of jail time served. Murphy has applied for judicial diversion. He must make restitution of $200 to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

21 year old Jim Flesher entered a plea to simple possession of morphine and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. He was fined $750.The sentence is to run consecutive to a sentence against him in DeKalb County General Sessions/Drug Court. He must make restitution of $200 to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

38 year old Jessie Hall, II entered a plea to possession of a weapon as a convicted felon. He received a two year TDOC sentence on probation. He must forfeit the weapon.

36 year old Kimberly Beard entered a plea to driving under the influence. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours in the DeKalb County Jail and then be on supervised probation. She was fined $350 and will lose her license. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

THP Charges Man with Leaving Scene of Injury Crash

September 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
Robin C. Green

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has filed charges against a man who left the scene on foot after being involved in a two vehicle crash on Saturday, September 16.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_40.pdf (2.62 MB)

43 year old Robin Clark Green of Sparta is charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an injury crash, driving while license revoked, improper passing, and failing to exercise due care. His bond is $11,500 and his court date is December 14.

According to the THP, 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.

Abandoned House Destroyed by Fire (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

September 25, 2017
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were called to a structure fire at 3:22 a.m. Monday on Magness Road.

Upon arrival, the firefighters found an abandoned house, in the midst of trees and overgrowth, fully involved in flames.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said the property owner is Russell Norton. Although a line extended to the house, it had no electrical service.

Members of the Belk, Short Mountain Highway, and Main Stations responded from the DeKalb County Fire Department along with the Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb EMS. There were no injuries.

DeKalb West Names Students of the Month

September 25, 2017
Bill Conger
DeKalb West Names Students of the Month (Photo by Bill Conger)

DeKalb West School has announced its Students of the Month for September. Zane Griffith (Kindergarten), Bella Gonzalez (1st grade), Zoey Golson (2nd grade), Timothy Campbell (3rd grade), Izzy Hendrixson (4th grade), Caroline Crook (5th grade), Brynn Harvey (6th grade), Kortnee Skeen (7th grade) and Hagen Waggoner (8th grade) are some of the best at DeKalb West this month. Teachers select students for the honor based on their academic excellence, character, and other traits that make them an outstanding student.

Front Row left to rights are Bella Gonzalez, Zoey Golson, Zane Griffith, and Timothy Campbell. Back row left to right are Assistant Principal Joey Agee, Izzy Hendrixson, Caroline Crook, Brynn Harvey, Kortnee Skeen, Hagen Waggoner, and Principal Sabrina Farler.

Community Celebrates Justin Potter Library's Golden Anniversary

September 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Portrait of Justin Potter (1898-1961) displayed inside Justin Potter Library
Brenda Hooper, Jane Ramsey, Jane Hobson, Annette Greek, Bobby White, Genrose Davis, Betty Pankey, June Vaughn, Kathy Hendrixson, State Comptroller and Grandson of Justin Potter Justin Wilson, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (presenting state proclamation), Chamber Director Suzanne Williams (presenting Milestone Award), Jenelle Pugh, Jan Thomas, and County Mayor Tim Stribling
Tennessee State Comptroller of the Treasury and Grandson of Justin Potter Justin Wilson with DeKalb County Historian Thomas G. Webb
County Mayor Tim Stribling with Jenelle Pugh, the only surviving  DeKalb County library board member from 1967 when Justin Potter Library opened, and current Library Board member and Chairman of the Board Jan Thomas

A 50 year celebration was observed Sunday for Justin Potter Library.

Members of the community stopped by during the two hour event to visit and enjoy refreshments. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver presented a proclamation signed by herself, State Representative Mark Pody, and Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell marking the occasion and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams honored the library with a Milestone Award.

Current and past Library Board members, Directors, and employees joined in the celebration including Jenelle Pugh, the only surviving 1967 library board member.

Justin Potter Library opened in June 1967 followed by an official dedication and open house on September 17, 1967. It was named for the late Justin Potter, a DeKalb County native and successful Nashville businessman, whose family provided funds to help build the library through the Justin and Valere Potter Foundation.

Potter’s grandson, Justin Wilson was among those in attendance for the celebration.

“This was done by Congressman Joe L. Evins from Smithville in 1967. I remember going up to see him in Washington to talk about how to get this funded. I am really pleased to see how wonderfully the library is doing today for the community,” said Wilson, who also is the current Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

For eleven years prior to 1967, the library was located in a room on the main floor of the Veterans Memorial building downtown.

DeKalb County Historian Thomas G. Webb, also in attendance at the observance, said Justin Potter Library is a great asset to the community. “When I was growing up DeKalb County had no library at all. You don’t know what a change it is to have this from no library. We’re proud of our library,” he said.

“The library is important to DeKalb County and it is run by a great board and staff. They are very professional. We can all be proud of them,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The state proclamation honoring Justin Potter Library follows:

“Whereas, the members of this legislative body take great pleasure in recognizing those venerable institutions that are devoted to serving their communities; and

Whereas, one such institution is the Justin Potter Library, which is this year celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, a hallmark occasion for this community gathering place that supports and informs its patrons and serves as the heart of the DeKalb County community; and

Whereas, on September 24, 2017, the DeKalb County Library Board and staff will host a fiftieth anniversary celebration, joining with members of the community to reflect on the library’s history and success; and

Whereas, organizational efforts for the Justin Potter Library were spearheaded by Emma Burton; in 1966, when available federal money for library construction required a matching donation, Mrs. Burton found a willing benefactor in the Justin and Valere Potter Foundation; and

Whereas, a 3,764 square foot edifice was built in 1967 to house the Justin Potter Library; the library opened its doors to the public in June of that same year, hosting a formal opening celebration on September 17, 1967; and

Whereas, in 2003, the building underwent a 2,000 square foot expansion funded by the DeKalb County Court, with donations from members of the community providing shelving and furniture; while the original structure was built to hold 10,000 volumes, the expanded building now contains over 25,000 items; and

Whereas, featured in the library’s more than 25,000 items is an extensive collection of county genealogy and Historical materials, thanks to the combined efforts of Jorene Parsley, Earl France, County Historian Thomas G. Webb, and many others; and

Whereas, the library’s mission has always been to provide all DeKalb County residents with opportunities to improve the quality of their lives by offering quality materials and services that fulfill the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the entire community in an atmosphere that is welcoming and respectful; and

Whereas, the Justin Potter Library has been successful in fulfilling its mission; throughout the last five decades, it has been home to many educational and cultural programs, including summer reading, author book signings, holiday events, Older American’s Day celebrations, art and computer classes, homeschooling events, discussion groups, school field trips, and volunteer opportunities for Tennessee Promise students and others; and

Whereas, in addition to making available thousands of volumes in print and online, the Justin Potter Library has worked to get books in the hands of as many individuals as possible; it facilitates sign-up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and engages in book outreach to area schools; and

Whereas, the library also provides other services to the community, including interlibrary loans, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency boating exams, and tax and voter registration forms; and

Whereas, from 2016 to 2017, there were nearly 40,000 visits to DeKalb County libraries, with 8,000 registered borrowers, 64,000 materials checked out, 112 programs offered that saw 2,000 in attendance, and approximately 15,000 computer users; and

Whereas, the members of the DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees at the time of the opening of the Justin Potter Library were W.R. Lassiter, chair; Emma Burton, chair building committee; Otha Dell Conger, building committee; Nell McBride, building committee; Bessie May White; Rosa John Twilla; and Jenelle Pugh; and

Whereas, current library board members are Genrose Davis, Annette Greek, Jane Hobson, Brenda Hooper, Betty Pankey, Jane Ramsey, Pam Redmon, Board Chair Jan Thomas, and Bobby White; and

Whereas, the Justin Potter Library has enjoyed the superb leadership of four directors since 1967: June Vaughn (1967-68, 1991-2004), Idell Spann (1968-91), Kathy Winchester Vardy (2004-07), and Kathy Hendrixson (2007-present); and

Whereas, the success of the library is wholly attributable to the dedication and hard work of the library board members, staff, and volunteers and the support of the Justin and Valere Potter Foundation, Smithville Study Club,, DeKalb County, City of Smithville, State and federal government, and the community throughout the last fifty years; and

Whereas, the Justin Potter Library has served the citizens of DeKalb County for five decades now, and it is fitting that the organization be honored; now, therefore,

I, Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Tenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Representative Mark Pody and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, do hereby proclaim that we congratulate the Justin Potter Library upon fifty years of devoted service to the DeKalb County community, extending our sincere best wishes for much continued success in the future.

Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 31st day of August, 2017.”

Wilson Withdraws from State Senate Race

September 23, 2017
Dwayne Page

One candidate has had a change of heart and will not seek the seat of former State Senator Mae Beavers in the special election this fall.

Steve Wilson of Lebanon, who had previously announced his intentions to be a candidate for the Republican nomination in the November 7 primary, has decided to withdraw

Wilson sent a letter to the DeKalb County Election Commission and to other counties in the 17th district making the withdrawal official.

State Representative Mark Pody, a Republican, is now the only announced candidate for the special election. No other Republican and no Democrat has yet announced a bid. Pody's name will be on the GOP primary ballot.

The special election was created due to the September 1 resignation of Senator Beavers, who is running for governor. Her senate term expires after the 2018 elections next November.

The qualifying deadline for candidates is Noon Thursday, September 28th.

The primary will be held on November 7th followed by the General Election on December 19th.

Early voting for the primary will be held October 18 through November 2 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse. Early voting hours are Mondays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Wednesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. until Noon and Saturdays 9 a.m. until Noon.

Voting hours for election day, December 19 at all precincts will be 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Tennessee’s 17th Senate District includes Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Clay, Smith and Macon counties.


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