Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate for January at 4.7%

March 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for January was 4.7%, up from 3.9% in December but well below the 6.2% rate recorded in January, 2017.

The local labor force for January was 7,720. A total of 7,350 were employed and 370 were without work.

Jobless rates for January among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:
Clay: 5.6%
Cumberland: 5.4%
Jackson: 5.1%
DeKalb: 4.7%
Van Buren: 4.7%
Fentress: 4.5%
Overton: 4.5%
Pickett:4.4%
Warren: 4.1%
White: 3.9%
Putnam: 3.7%
Smith: 3.5%
Cannon: 3.4%
Macon: 3.3%

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released county unemployment statistics for January 2018 last week which showed that a vast majority of the state’s 95 counties continue to record unemployment rates under 5 percent and every county’s rate was lower than it was in January 2017.

Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, which is a 0.3 percent increase from December.

At 2.7 percent, Davidson and Cheatham Counties tied for the second lowest unemployment rates in the state. Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Moore, Knox, Robertson, and Lincoln Counties rounded out the list of the top ten lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee. Robertson and Lincoln Counties were not part of December’s top ten list.

“Because of seasonal employment trends, Tennessee typically sees a slight uptick in county unemployment at the start of the year,” explained TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But the year-to-year comparison of statistics shows just how well the state is doing when it comes to job creation.”

Many counties saw a decrease of 2 percent or more in year-to-year comparisons. Two counties once again stand out when comparing unemployment statistics from January 2018 to January 2017.

In east Tennessee, Scott County’s unemployment situation has improved significantly in comparison to same time last year. In January of 2017 the county’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent. This year, the rate in Scott County was 4.8 percent, a drop of 3.3 percentage points.

Lake County in west Tennessee has also experienced significant job growth over the last year. Last January the county had an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. During January 2018 the county recorded a rate of 6.4 percent, a difference of 3.7 percentage points.

“This is a great example of how Tennessee’s economy is not only strong in its metropolitan areas, but it is also doing well in many of the state’s more rural counties,” Commissioner Phillips said.

Tennessee had a statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in January, which was the sixth lowest in the nation. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent last month.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while county 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 an economic time series.

Benefit Singing for Family of Joseph Bowen

March 20, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joseph Bowen

A Benefit singing in honor of Officer Joseph Bowen will be Saturday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at the County Complex on South Congress Boulevard. The singing will feature Blood Bought and Wendell Judkins and the Singing Believers. All proceeds will go to Officer Bowen's wife and family.

DCHS Men’s Soccer Team Competes in Smoky Mountain Cup Tournament

March 20, 2018
DCHS Men’s Soccer Team Competes in Smoky Mountain Cup Tournament

The DCHS Men’s Soccer Team played in the Smoky Mountain Cup soccer tournament in Gatlinburg last weekend. The varsity team opened up with a strong victory against Rockwood High School beating the Rockwood Tigers 3-0. Cristobal Flores started the scoring with a goal in the 5th minute assisted by right defensive back, Bill Miller. The Tigers continued to pepper the Rockwood goalie, Thomas Lilly, with shots, but didn’t break through until the 20th minute with a goal from Ealy Gassaway coming in from his left wing. Ealy’s goal was assisted by center forward Cristobal Flores on a perfectly timed through ball. The first half ended 2-0 in favor of the DeKalb Tigers. Early in the second half, Cristobal Flores tallied his second for the game with an unassisted goal in the 43rd minute. That wrapped up the scoring for the night, but the DeKalb Tigers continued to dominate possession and racked up 30 shots on the night. Goalkeeper Wesley Carpenter barely touched the ball for DeKalb with only 4 saves in the match.

The dominance continued the Tigers’ second match with an 8-0 victory over the Heritage High School Mountaineers. Alan Munoz started the scoring off in the match by making an overlapping run from his central midfield position assisted by Cristobal Flores. Alan went on to score again later in the match with an unassisted goal. Cristobal would go on a record tying run with five goals. Four of the goals were unassisted and the fifth was assisted by central midfielder Jasper Kleparek. The scoring was wrapped up with a goal by central midfielder Roberto Sanchez, also assisted by Cristobal Flores. Wesley Carpenter was tested a little more in this match with 13 saves, some of which were spectacular.

The third varsity match was quite a bit more challenging as the Tigers faced the King’s Academy Lion’s in a 3-1 loss. The Tigers opened the scoring with a goal by right wing Luke Bryant in the 9th minute. Struggling to maintain possession against a strong Lions team the Tigers only managed 9 shots on the day, while goalkeeper Wesley Carpenter had to make 12 saves. In the end, the Tigers came up short with the Lions scoring two goals on penalty kicks and one in the run of play.

The Tigers’ JV also got to play three matches with a 4-1 loss to Cookeville, a 3-1 win over Heritage High School, and a 2-1 loss to Fairview High School.

“Overall the tournament was a success with our JV really improving throughout the weekend, getting a lot of quality time. Our varsity team showed there relentless nature and pushed themselves to play at a level that we can be proud to call DeKalb County Soccer.” Coach K
“Cristobal Flores’s five goal performance against Heritage ties a previously shared record between Ricardo Gutierrez and Zach Wilbur.”

(Team photo ABOVE)

Back roll left to right:

Cesar Coronilla, Andrew Fuson, Luke Bryant, Will Stephens, Ethan Jenkins, Parker Gassaway, Luke Jenkins, Wesley Carpenter, Juan Oliva.

Middle roll left to right:

Bill Miller, Rodrigo Sosa, Dylan Easterwood, Tristan McDerman, Ealy Gassaway, Jack Famulski.

Front roll left to right:

Brian Balderas, Alex Colwell-Avina, Daniel Munoz, Brandon Matias, Carlos Garcia, Alan Munoz, Pablo Juarez, Roberto Sanchez, Jasper Kleparek, Eil Judkins

County Extension Office to Host Meet & Greet

March 20, 2018
by: 
Johnny Barnes, Extension Agent & DeKalb County Director
Johnny Barnes

March is Extension Month in Tennessee. Extension is a national educational program supported by USDA through the nation’s land-grant universities and administered with funding from state and local governments in Tennessee through offices in each of the state’s 95 counties.

County Extension offices across the state are planning various celebrations and commemorations for the state’s 107-year-old Extension program. Here in DeKalb County, the UT-TSU Extension office will be hosting a Meet & Greet for the public on the sidewalk, directly in front of the Extension Office on Monday, March 26 from 11AM-1PM. The office is located at 722 South Congress Blvd, Smithville in the County Complex. There will be various displays and information about what the Extension program offers as well as free hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks.

An integral part of the land-grant mission, Extension programs are delivered in all 95 counties of the state by subject-matter specialists, county agents and volunteers associated with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) and the Tennessee State University (TSU) College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

“Extension Month celebrates the educational outreach, service and economic impact achieved by Extension across the state. I am always encouraged and proud to hear how our county offices use this month to reach new clientele and increase the visibility of Extension,” wrote Robert Burns, dean of UT Extension, in a letter to faculty and staff. Latif Lighari oversees TSU Extension faculty as associate dean for Extension at TSU.

In addition to the traditional agricultural production recommendations available through county Extension offices, services for all citizens include the state’s award-winning 4-H Youth Development Program including its summer youth camps; family and consumer educational programs; and healthy living courses.

UT Extension also performs services for the state’s citizens, including managing the statewide Soil, Plant and Pest Center through which clients can have the quality of their soil and forage analyzed and any insect pest or plant diseases identified. Extension also trains clients in the proper use of pesticides and even operates commercially-certified kitchens where small scale vendors can prepare food items for sale while meeting state guidelines for food safety.

Extension’s programs can be seen in Tennessee as an excellent investment of public resources. The statewide educational programs in 4-H youth development, agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences and community economic development are estimated to have impacted the state’s economy by more than $575 million from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. This amounts to a return of investment of $8.65 for every $1 in public funds invested in Extension in Tennessee.

Many of UT Extension’s educational resources are also available online. From the UT Extension website choose the link to “publications” and enter the topic for which you need information to search the database of available resources. Most are available free of charge. A publications page is also available on the TSU website, which includes a list of available publications by program area. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Please stop by on March 26 from 11AM-1PM and meet the staff during this time to find out more about what your local Extension Office has to offer.

Two Prisoners Charged After Ingesting Subutex While in Jail

March 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael Brandon Colwell
Cecil McKinley Ketchum
Vincent  Rodolpus Helser
Boyd Paskell Collins, III
Scotty Wayne Knowles
Sean Anthony Skaroupka
Colby Ray Watford
Daniel Prescott Hart

Two men who allegedly ingested subutex while incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail are charged with bringing contraband into a penal institution.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 3/12/2018 Thru: 3/19/2018)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_62.pdf (2.38 MB)

34 year old Michael Brandon Colwell of Tisdale Lane, Smithville and 43 year old Cecil McKinley Ketchum of Walker Creek Road, Alexandria are each under a $5,000 bond and their court date is March 29.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, March 15 Colwell and Ketchum allegedly ingested a substance believed to be a schedule II narcotic (Subutex) while incarcerated at the jail.

53 year old Vincent Rodolpus Helser of Old Snow Hill Road, Smithville is charged with violation of the sex offender law. His bond is $15,000 and his court date is April 19. Sheriff Ray said that on December 31, 2017 Helser violated the sex offender registration law by not self reporting to the sheriff’s office as required.

23 year old Boyd Paskell Collins, III of Long Island Park , South Pittsburg Tennessee is charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and resisting stop, frisk, halt, search, or arrest. His bond is $8,500 and his court date is April 5.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, March 14 two deputies went to a residence on Adcock Cemetery Road to serve a warrant on a man, Collins and found him hiding in a back closet. While trying to place him in custody Collins resisted arrest. One of the officers sustained a minor injury. A check through Central Dispatch confirmed that Collins had active warrants against him in Marion County. Upon arrival at the jail Collins admitted to having methamphetamine in his pants.

38 year old Scotty Wayne Knowles of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is charged with a 3rd offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $4,500 and his court date is March 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 15 a Sheriff’s Department Detective spotted Knowles operating a vehicle on South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. Knowing that his license were revoked, the detective conducted a traffic stop. A computer check confirmed that Knowles’ license were revoked for failure to pay child support in 2013. His previous driving on revoked charges were in Alexandria on March 8, 2018 and in DeKalb County on September 12, 2017.

42 year old Sean Anthony Skaroupka of Adcock Cemetery Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and driving while license revoked.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 17 a deputy spotted a black Dodge truck failing to maintain its lane of travel on Sparta Highway. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Skaroupka who had an odor of alcohol on his person. His eyes were red and watery and his speech was slurred. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. His license were found to be revoked during a routine driver license check through Central Dispatch.

22 year old Colby Ray Watford of Happy Valley Drive, Dowelltown is charged with violation of an order of protection. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is April 5.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 17 a deputy was called to a residence on Happy Valley Drive in reference to an order of protection. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman and Watford who were in the home. She was listed as the petitioner on an active order of protection against Watford. He is apparently not supposed to have any contact with her.

57 year old Daniel Prescott Hart of Keltonburg Road, Smithville is charged with forgery. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is April 5. Sheriff Ray said that on July 30, 2017 Hart allegedly passed a forged check in the amount of $420.

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

Two Found with Stolen Property in Burglary and Theft Investigation

March 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Royce Virgel Ashford, Jr.
Aubrey Lee Kilgore

A burglary and theft investigation has resulted in the arrest of two men.

47 year old Royce Virgel Ashford, Jr. of Church Street, Alexandria and 53 year old Aubrey Lee Kilgore of Wilkey Circle, Brush Creek are charged with burglary, vandalism, and theft of property. Bond for each is $45,000 and their court date is March 29

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, March 15 Ashford and Kilgore allegedly broke into a building on Highway 70 west near Alexandria and stole items worth $25,900. They were later found in possession of some of the property taken. Vandalism damage to the building was estimated at $900.

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

Gottlied a Winner in Nashville St. Paddy’s Day 5K

March 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gottlied a Winner in Nashville St. Paddy’s Day 5K

13 year old Aaron Gottlied placed 1st overall in his age group at the Nashville St. Paddy’s Day 5K race on March 17th. Covering the hilly course with an outstanding time of 19:54, Aaron earned a 4th place spot over all out of a field of 466 runners. He is the son of Ed and Carrie Gottlied and a member of DeKalb Middle School’s Cross Country team.

Registration Still Being Accepted for Tuesday Night's Opioid Conference

March 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dr. Mitchell Mutter

You are invited to attend an Opioid Addiction and Prescribing Conference to be held at the DeKalb County Community Center on Tuesday, March 20 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. A dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m.

On-line registration for the conference has closed but if you have not registered you can register at the door. Please call 615-684-6378 to let them know you are coming.

The DeKalb and Smith County Drug Prevention Coalitions are partnering with East Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Department of Health to educate health care professionals and others about proper prescribing practices to curb the spread of opioid abuse.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Mitchell Mutter of Chattanooga, Medical Director of Special Projects for the Tennessee Department of Health.

The program is open to all levels of health care professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists and others interested in solutions.

Attendees will learn about prescription opioid misuse and abuse trends, risk management tools, new laws and regulations effecting pain management specialists, current prescription related trends, the Tennessee Controlled Substance Monitoring Database, Chronic Pain Guidelines, and identifying strategies to incorporate evidence based best practice standards for safe opioid prescribing practices into team-based care.

The registration fee for the event is $50 for health care professionals and $15 for all others.

Boy Scouts Go Spelunking

March 19, 2018
by: 
Bill Conger
Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 ventured into the world of spelunking at Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga

Smithville Boy Scout Troop 347 ventured into the world of spelunking at Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga. Under the guidance of Scout Masters Will and Jen Sherwood, and Assistant Scout Master David Robinson, the scouts donned helmets, kneepads, and pairs of gloves for the Wild Cave Expedition tour Saturday, March 10.

“We started off in a big room and then to go to the next part, you had an option of two ways—one was to crawl on your belly through a section that was 8 inches high,” explained Cody Robinson. “But if you’re claustrophobic there’s an easier way.”

Robinson chose the tight squeeze.

“I went the less challenging way just to try it out,” said Zackary Cantrell. “I was a little nervous at first but after that, I felt great. It was longer but not as tight.”

“One side was easier than the other,” said Gavin Conger. “I went for the easy side. We could walk normally at first. Then, it would get to where we would have to duck some.”

Parts of the 2-hour Canyon Crawl tour took scouts on a muddy adventure visiting the deeper, undeveloped sections of the cave.

“I went down a mud slide,” said Robinson. “It was cold. It was about 5 yards, and at the end of it was a puddle of muddy water.”

Scouts used a 15-foot rope to climb parts of the cave.

“It was a little difficult at some points,” said Cantrell. “It felt like you had to hold on to the rope for dear life.”

One spot called The Canyon Crawl posed a different challenge.

“You crawled on the edge, and there was this huge drop if you stepped in the wrong spot,” explained Cantrell.

Darren Waggoner and Emily Robinson also explored the cave. Troop 347 loved Raccoon Mountain, leaving with sore muscles and a lot of mud on their clothes from the cave.

TDOT Expects Bid Letting for Highway 56 Project by Fall

March 17, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mark Pody; State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver; TDOT Assistant Chief Engineer for Region 2 Joseph Deering; TDOT Director of Project Development, Wes Hughen;  TDOT Director of Operations Ken Flynn; and TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer Jennifer Flynn. NOT PICTURED: State Representative Clark Boyd
TDOT Expects Bid Letting for Highway 56 Project by Fall

The Tennessee Department of Transportation still has plans to improve Highway 56 south in DeKalb County and into Warren County along the existing nine mile corridor but construction is months away and will be done in three phases instead of two once it gets started. Bids are to be let for the first two phases of the project by this fall.

Meanwhile plans are still in the works for expansion of Highway 70 (State Route 26) from Highway 53 in Alexandria to Highway 96 in Liberty but while right of way acquisition was long ago acquired for the project, the state has yet to allocate funding. It is included among the projects identified by TDOT to be addressed as part of the IMPROVE ACT adopted by the state legislature last year.

A public meeting was held Friday morning in Smithville with TDOT officials hosted by State Senator Mark Pody and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Clark Boyd.

According to TDOT, The first two phases of the Highway 56 project are from the Warren County line to Magness Road and then on to East Bryant Street in Smithville along the existing route. A new project from near State Highway 287 in Warren County to the DeKalb County line is still under review.

TDOT’s plans call for a new two-lane but the highway (2- 12 feet traffic lanes with turning lanes and wider shoulders along the route) could eventually be expanded to four-lanes in the future. The property has already been acquired to build a new two to four lane highway.

According to Wes Hughen, TDOT Director of Project Development for Region 2,construction would have already taken place had it not been for delays due to environmental issues. There are still stream mitigation concerns to be resolved both with the Highway 56 and Highway 70 projects.

“We have been trying to get the project to construction for some time but we had some issues with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document,” said Hughen.

“The first two sections we expect to have let to construction by late this fall or early winter. We have already acquired all the right of way for those two sections. We will start out building two lanes of a proposed four lane project. We will maintain traffic on the existing Highway 56 (alignment) while we build the new portion and then we will take the old part out. We’ve got connections to driveways to everybody,” said Hughen.

"Once it lets to construction and bids are found to be acceptable, it (contracts) will be awarded within four to six weeks and then sometime after that we would start work but while all the right of ways are available, we will still have to relocate utilities and things like that,” said Ken Flynn, TDOT Director of Operations for Region 2.

The entire Highway 56 project is expected to be completed within three years after construction begins.

TDOT will schedule a public information meeting in May or June to share more specifics about all three phases of the Highway 56 plans.

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