Local News Articles

Morgan Vickers honored with DTC scholarship

November 7, 2016
DTC CEO Chris Townson with Morgan Vickers

The DTC Communications Board of Directors is proud to announce Morgan Vickers as the recipient of the 2016 DTC Scholarship in Memory of McAllen Foutch. The scholarship program recognizes students who excel in both academics and extracurricular activities.

Vickers, of Liberty, Tennessee, achieved much in her high school career at DeKalb County High School. Vickers ranked among the top 10 outstanding seniors, earned honors and was a member of the Junior and Senior Beta clubs; the National Honor Society; Future Farmers of America; Future Business Leaders of America; and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. She is currently enrolled as a full-time student at Motlow State Community College seeking a degree in elementary education. Vickers also sings in the choir at Pisgah Methodist Church, is a substitute Sunday school teacher at Grace Baptist Church, and works as a waitress at Kilgore’s Restaurant, all while maintaining a 4.576 GPA. With all of that activity, it’s no surprise Morgan was voted “Most Involved” by her fellow seniors.

“A quality education lays a solid foundation for a young person’s life,” says DTC CEO Chris Townson. “Morgan exemplifies everything that’s so promising about the youth in Middle Tennessee, and we’re happy that DTC can play a small role in getting her started on the way to success.”
Vickers is the daughter of Joseph and Wanda Vickers, also of Liberty.

DTC’s annual scholarship commemorates the life and achievements of McAllen Foutch, who was instrumental in establishing DTC in 1951. This year also marks the 20th year of the scholarship program for DTC, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year.

Supporting the education of young people in our communities has been important to DTC’s board for decades, and the cooperative is proud to help area youth succeed.

DTC Communications is a member-owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication, entertainment, and security products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Community Turns Out In Support of New Fire Hall/Community Center

November 6, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fifth District County Commissioner Anita Puckett speaks with David Johnson Saturday during a community meeting to discuss plans for a Fire Hall/Community Center in the Four Seasons area.
Community residents listen to plans for fire station in Four Seasons Community
Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett shows pictures of Austin Bottom Fire Station which will serve as model for new fire station in Four Seasons Community
County Fire Chief Donny Green addresses community. Fifth District Commissioner Jerry Adcock also shown
County Fire Chief Donny Green speaks during community meeting on new fire hall Saturday

More than 30 residents of the Four Seasons Community attended a meeting Saturday morning at the Bright Hill United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall to learn more about plans for a fire hall in their neighborhood.

Fifth District County Commissioner Anita Puckett organized the meeting to give residents a chance to express their ideas and ask questions. County Fire Chief Donny Green, Fifth District County Commissioner Jerry Adcock, and County Mayor Tim Stribling also shared information.

Two years ago the county commission voted to acquire property, a little more than an acre in size, near the intersection of Four Seasons Road and Young Green Road for the future home of the fire station. Last year the county commission set aside $25,000 as seed money and $50,000 was included in this year’s budget for a total of $75,000 toward the project.

During the community meeting Saturday morning, Puckett said she wanted the attendees to vote by paper ballot on what type of facility they would like to see, either just a stand alone fire hall, or a combination fire hall/community center. She handed out slips of paper for them to write down their preferences.

Of those voting, twenty persons favored the combination fire hall/ community center while nine opted for just a fire hall.

Although the final decision on the type of structure to be built is left to the county commission, Puckett plans to push for the combination fire hall/ community center to honor the wishes of those at the meeting Saturday.

While it does not double as a community center, Puckett said the Austin Bottom Community fire station could serve as a model for the new fire hall at Four Seasons and the community center portion could be similar to the Keltonburg facility. “I have toured the Austin Bottom Fire Station which was built in 2008. I really like the layout of that. It is a metal frame building. And the front part of the (new fire hall) building which would face Four Seasons Road could be our community center with maybe a brick front layout. The community center could serve a dual function. Our fire fighters would be able to use it for their conferences or any type of training they may need to do and our residents would also be able to rent out space in it for family or community events,” she said.

While no firm plans are in place on the size of the building, Puckett envisions the facility to be approximately 100’ x 60’ and she would like to see it completed and ready for use by Memorial Day. “Hopefully we’ll have a lot of people pitch in and donate their time, especially on weekends, to make this happen . I am calling them my “Weekend Warriors”. We have engineers, architects, electricians, and others in our community and we want them to help us get this project launched and moving forward,” she continued.

As for funding, Puckett said she believes the facility can be built with monies already committed. “ We already have some sizeable donations and more fundraisers could be held. The Austin Bottom Fire Hall was built in 2008 and it costs $62,000. This structure is not going to be too much larger than that. I really think $75,000 is going to be close to what we need. I really feel like we can do it for that,” said Puckett.

Fifth District Commissioner Jerry Adcock, who was on the county commission when funds were first allocated for the project, said he too is happy to support this effort. “In 2014 we (county commission) put some seed money in there and this year we added more seed money. I think we’re ahead of the game . I don’t know if it will be ready by Memorial Day but within the next year,”said Adcock.

In order to staff the new fire station, more volunteers will be needed and the county will have to make arrangements to obtain a fire truck for it. The county currently has eleven fire stations.

Tigers' Season Ends with Loss to East Ridge in State Play-Offs

November 5, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers is over after coming up short against the East Ridge Pioneers in the first round of the TSSAA Class 3A Football Play-Offs in Smithville Friday night. The final score was 23-18.

DeKalb County concludes the season with an overall record of 7-4.

After a Tiger fumble on the opening drive at the DeKalb County 15 yard line, East Ridge got the first points of the game on a 27 yard field goal by Mohammed Hasan with 10:34 left in the 1st period.

DeKalb County got its only lead of the game with 8:12 left in the 1st period on a 6 yard touchdown run by Jesse Smith, capping a 69 yard drive. The PAT attempt by Matthew Poss was no good but the Tigers led 6-3

The Pioneers’ talented running back, Traneil Moore, Mr. Football in Class 3A last year, scored the first of his three touchdowns of the night with one minute left in the first half. He caught a 20 yard screen pass from Quarterback Eric Bennett on a 4th and seven play from the Tiger 20 yard line, capping a 73 yard drive. The PAT attempt was no good but East Ridge led 9-6 by halftime.

The Tigers attempted field goals in the first half from 42, 37, and 52 yards but could not connect.

East Ridge extended its lead with 11:34 in the 3rd period on a 68 yard touchdown run by Traneil Moore. C.J. Bond added the extra point and the Pioneers led 16-6.

Moore got his third touchdown of the night with 7:49 left in the 3rd period on a 48 yard run. C.J. Bond booted the extra point and East Ridge led 23-6.
The Tigers cut the Pioneer lead with 2:26 left in the 3rd period as Quarterback Tyler Cantrell connected with Matthew Poss on a 40 yard touchdown pass play. The 2 point conversion attempt failed and DeKalb County trailed 23-12.

The final score of the game came with 8:56 left in the 4th period on a 5 yard touchdown run by Colton Seifert, capping a 46 yard drive. The conversion attempt failed and the Tigers fell short, losing 23-18.

Veterans Honored at Smithville Elementary School (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

November 4, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Taylor Vincent, a 1st grader at Smithville Elementary School greets WWII veteran Edsel Frazier following SES Veterans tribute program Friday. Veteran Jimmy Sprague also pictured
Smithville Elementary School Pays Tribute to Local Veterans

Students and teachers at Smithville Elementary School paid tribute to hometown heroes during the school’s annual Veterans Appreciation assembly program this morning (Friday).

Veterans Day is next Friday, November 11

Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing "God Bless the USA" and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.

Adrienne McCormick read the following "Veterans Day" poem by Cheryl Dyson:

"On Veterans Day we honor all,
Who answered to a service call,
Soldiers young, and soldiers old,
Fought for freedom, brave and bold
Some have lived, while others died,
And all of them deserve our pride,
We're proud of all the soldiers who,
Kept thinking of red, white, and blue,
They fought for us and all our rights,
They fought through many days and nights,
And though we may not know each name,
We thank ALL veterans just the same."

Veterans either attending or who were recognized or remembered for their service were:
Edsel Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II-
Edward Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II-
Ben Franklin, U.S. Army in Vietnam-
Bethel Golden, U.S. Army in Korean Conflict-
John Washer, U.S. Air Force in Operation Iraqi Freedom-
William Russell, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam Era-
Brian Reed, U.S. Air Force in Desert Storm/Euduring Freedom-
Jimmy Sprague, U.S. Army in Operation Just Cause-Panama
Walter Johnson, U.S. Army in the Korean Conflict-
Tommy Webb, U.S. Army in the Korean Conflict-
Barbara Boehm, U.S. Army Nurses Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan-
Clyde Thomas family. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War-
Jerry and Judy Pistole, U.S. Navy in Vietnam
Jack Allen Midgett, Jr., U.S. Navy in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the Global War on Terror
Ricky L. Fury, U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam
James T. Owen, U.S. Army in Vietnam
Vance Walker, U.S. Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Wayne Storey, U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy in Vietnam
Eddie M. Young, U.S. Navy in Vietnam and Desert Storm
Allen Morse, U.S. Army
Jason Moseley, U.S. Marine Corps
Ronald W. Gray, U.S. Army in Desert Storm
Jason Oakley, U.S. Army in the War on Isis
William Heath Phillips, U.S. Navy
Earl Sims, U.S. Army in World War II
Wayne Vanderpool, U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam
Family of Gene Cripps

Smithville Elementary School Students sing for the veterans (BELOW)

Almost 4,000 Voted Early for November 8 Elections

November 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

It’s not even election day yet and almost 4,000 people have already voted in DeKalb County.

Early voting ended Thursday for the November 8 elections and 397 cast ballots on the last day including 381 in person and 16 by absentee. That brings the fourteen day total to 3,917. Absentees that are out will still be counted if they arrive by election day.

Voting on election day, Tuesday, November 8, will be from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at all precincts in the county.

WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage starting Tuesday night when the polls close at 7:00 p.m. Listen to WJLE AM 1480/ WJLE FM 101.7 or LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com

Sparta Man Involved in Pickup Truck Crash

November 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael Stoglin Treated for Minor Injuries After Truck Crash

A 35 year old Sparta man escaped serious injury in a pickup truck crash Thursday afternoon on Highway 70 just past Sligo Bridge.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Michael Stoglin was traveling west in a 1998 Chevy S10 pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the road, and struck a rock embankment.

Stoglin was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released. He was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Omega Apparel to Launch "Authentically American" Brand

November 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Omega Apparel to Launch "Authentically American" Brand
Official launch  date for "Authentically American Brand Apparel" is Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 11th.
"Authentically American" Hoodie
"Authentically American" Baseball Tee
 "Authentically American" Brand Logo

Omega Apparel Incorporated has announced a new brand called “Authentically American”

The official launch date is Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 11th.

“Launching on Veteran’s Day holds special significance,” Dean Wegner, President and CEO of Omega Apparel told WJLE. Wegner, a 1993 graduate of West Point and a 7-year Army helicopter pilot and Army Ranger veteran, acquired Omega Apparel in 2012.

“The Authentically American brand is grounded in 3 promises that encompass the essence of our brand: Authentically Made (stamped to certify 100% Made in USA), Authentically Patriotic (10% of each purchase will be donated to fund scholarships for children of military veterans), and Authentically You (each purchase supports job creation and rebuilding the US Apparel Industry).

"Phase I of our brand launch will include men, women, and items for children branded with a “stamp” logo and a vintage American flag logo. The lineup will consist of tees, hoodies, hats, and accessories, which our supporters can wear every day. Phase II of Authentically American will be a military inspired ready to wear collection. Every garment will have a unique story to tell. There will be subtle design elements integrated into each and every garment that will link back to a specific military uniform in US history," said Wegner

"Our products are not just “designed” or “assembled” in the US, they are actually “made” in America. With our Authentically American Brand, the “stamp” logo is a visual representation that our items are genuinely Made in USA. Our parent company is headquartered in Nashville. In the spirit of transparency, we purposefully placed a large window in the reception area that looks directly onto the production floor. We desire for every visitor to experience first-hand that apparel production is actually taking place in the US and Authentically American is the real deal," Wegner continued.

"In the same spirit of transparency, we emphasize that 10% of each purchase is donated to fund scholarships for the children of military veterans. We intentionally chose to tie our donation to sales and NOT profits. There are too many accounting games that can be played and profits can be manipulated. We want supporters of our Authentically American brand to be assured that 10% of every single purchase is going to support our American Heroes. Our parent company has a 22-year history of serving the US Military as a leading producer of dress uniforms. It is only fitting that we chose education and supporting the next generation of American Heroes as the cause we support at Authentically American. The scholarship program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS), a leading scholarship administration firm that is also based in Nashville," added Wegner.

"The history of the US Apparel Industry is astonishing. 30-years ago, roughly 75% of the apparel in the US was still made in the US. As recently as 20-years ago, roughly 50% of the apparel in the US was still made stateside. Today, would you believe that percentage is all the way down to 2.5%? It is astonishing to consider that over the last 20-30 years, an entire US industry and hundreds of thousands of American jobs were lost to cheap overseas labor. Today, there is a growing sentiment in America to change that trend. When you purchase Authentically American, you can proudly proclaim that your purchase is helping to create American jobs and rebuild the US Apparel Industry. Our vintage American flag logo is a visual representation of the growing sentiment in America that we aspire to rebuild a strong manufacturing base in the USA," Wegner concluded.

You can take advantage of an 11% discount now in honor of Veteran's Day by visiting http://www.authenticallyamerican.co/ and entering the code WJLE. The discount on the new line is available through Nov. 10.

Founded in 1994, Omega Apparel Incorporated is the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. For twenty years the Smithville based manufacturing company had just one customer, the U.S. Military. Today, in addition to supplying dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the nation's men and women in uniform , Omega is doing business with dozens of other clients producing almost everything from oxford shirts and satin robes, to bullet proof vests. Recent clients include Nashville bridal designer Olia Zavozina and actress Reese Witherspoon, who has a clothing line, Draper James. Omega now operates a production and design facility in Nashville as well as Smithville.

DWS Bulldogs Win Best of the West Tournament

November 3, 2016
by: 
Bill Conger
DWS Boys placed first in the Best of the West tournament (Bill Conger Photo)

The DeKalb West School Bulldogs took first place at the annual Best of the West tournament while the Lady Bulldogs captured a third place finish.

Under the direction of Coach Kelly Pyburn, the boys’ team beat New Middleton in the first round, Short Mountain in the second round and then Tuckers Crossroads to take the top spot.

“We did okay,” Pyburn said modestly. “We looked a little lost on defense, but they picked it up and they hustled. Hustling made up for them not knowing where they were supposed to be. We did a good job scoring. I saw some good things from people and saw some things that we need to work on.”

Brayden Antoniak, Lucas Hale, and Levi Driver were named to the All-Tournament team.

“The team is working hard,” Pyburn said. “We are going to have to play smart basketball this year. We are very small compared to other teams. They are a really smart group, so if we use our head and play smart basketball we should be able to stay in the game. We do have several players that have a few years under their belts! We return two starters, and most of the others have gotten quite a bit of playing time in the previous years.”

The DWS boys lost six 8th grade players last year (Two of them—Cody Antoniak and Dallas Cook—are on the high school team). “Their leadership and height will really be missed. It is hard to compare the teams because this year’s team is much younger and shorter.”

For the Lady Bulldogs, Gracie Griffin, Summer Crook, and Lydia Davenport were selected for the All-Tournament team. The girls’ team beat New Middleton, Gordonsville, and Short Mountain.

“They did well,” said Lady Bulldogs Coach Cindy Pulley. “There was one game that we played really close competition, and the girls pulled it out. They were able to play smart. I saw lots of good things, but still lots of things we can improve on.”

Losing only one player from 8th grade last year, the girls’ team brings more experience into this season.

“Several of the girls have played now since they were in 6th grade,” adds Pulley. “I have very few girls who have never played before, so they do bring several years of experience. Several of the younger girls are real scrappy. They can be tough when they choose to be.”

“We’re still playing a little inconsistent. Some days we perform really well and then, other days--- not so much. One night we were 100% from the free throw line. The very next day we were 28% from the free throw line.”

Sean Antoniak is the Assistant Coach for both teams for the first year.

“He has done a lot for the program already,” says Pulley. “He did some open gyms over fall break for us, giving the girls and boys opportunities to come in and practice. He’s already brought a lot to the program, and he brings a lot of knowledge and physical ability himself to the program.”

DWS is playing in the Forks River Tournament this week. Both teams will tip off the regular season with a game at home against Woodbury on Nov. 8.

Smithville Police Officers to Participate in "No Shave November"

November 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chelsea Lauryn Clark

Members of the Smithville Police Department are participating in "No Shave November" to raise funds for Saint Jude Cancer research.

No-Shave November is a nationwide fundraiser for cancer awareness.

The money raised locally will be donated in memory of Chelsea Lauryn Clark, daughter of Tom & Vickie Clark. Chelsea gained her wings, at 15 years old in August 2016 after a four year battle with Osteosarcoma. Chelsea was a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Police officers have stopped shaving for the month of November and this year’s winner will receive a free shave from Master Barber Shana Key of A1 Hair Salon. As the participants let their beards grow, family and friends are encouraged to join the campaign and become more educated about cancer prevention, saving lives, and helping those fighting cancer.

"You will soon see some Smithville police officers that could use a shave, but it's for a good cause,” said Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department. “Many of our officers are very enthusiastic to take part in the fundraiser, so we decided to participate as a group. I'm very proud to work beside such caring people."

If you would like to help the department to raise money for cancer research, you can go to the Smithville Police Departments face book page and click on this link http://fundraising.stjude.org/spdnoshavenovember and make a donation.

DeKalb Fire Department Receives Elite Award for Training Achievements

November 2, 2016
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, for the eighth consecutive year, has been recognized as one of Tennessee’s elite fire departments for outstanding training achievement.

Of the 732 fire departments in Tennessee, both volunteer and paid, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranks # 31 for 2015-16 training achievement by the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy. Considering the ranking among departments that operate with 100% volunteer staff in the state, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department ranks # 4.

Last year, the department was the 3rd ranked volunteer fire department in Tennessee for training hours. This year, the department logged 2,012 training hours at the state fire academy and was recognized as a Gold Level fire department in Tennessee for 2015-16. Jeff Elliot, Fire Service Program Director of the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy, presented the department with a Certificate of Training Achievement.

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling commended the department’s members and leaders for continuing to make the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s training program such a huge success. “Our county takes great pride in the level of commitment and service that we continue to see year after year from our volunteer firefighters who work hard and train hard to make sure our citizens have good fire protection here in DeKalb County. Getting this kind of statewide recognition for the eighth consecutive year makes it very clear that we have an excellent group of committed men and women who sacrifice many hours to be prepared to respond to the emergency needs of our citizens,” said Mayor Stribling.

Chief Donny Green said he wants to personally commend Assistant Chief David Agee, the department's Training Officer, for his leadership in planning and coordinating the department's training activities in a manner that spotlights the training program as one of the best in the state; volunteer or career. In addition to the 2,012 hours at the Academy, Assistant Chief Agee coordinated just over 3,000 hours of "in-house" training.

Chief Green said that without the support of County Mayor Tim Stribling, the County Commission, the families of the volunteer firefighters, and the citizens of DeKalb County, the department could not have achieved such prestigious recognition. “Properly trained firefighters are the best tools available to any fire department. Without proper training, the best and most expensive equipment is useless. However, good training coupled with good equipment is priceless,” said Chief Green. Training performance and documentation are core elements in the Insurance Services Office's (ISO) property protection that determine how much property owners have to pay in homeowners insurance premiums. The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's proven success has resulted in a dramatic improvement to DeKalb County’s Public Protection Classification Rating of Class 6 for all areas of DeKalb County located within 5 road miles of one of the department’s 11 stations.

If you are interested in learning more about the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, or would like information on how to be a member of the team, you can visit the Department’s website at: www.dekalbfire.com, or call 615-464-7176. You can also visit the Department’s FaceBook group page

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