Local News Articles

Resolve to give blood in January for National Blood Donor Month

December 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
American Red Cross

This January, during National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross encourages people to roll up their sleeves to give blood to help maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients.

A blood drive will be held in Smithville at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 201 South College Street on Tuesday, January 5 from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Since 1970, National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January to not only honor blood and platelet donors, but also to help increase donations during the winter months. Maintaining a sufficient blood supply for patients is difficult at this time of year because extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses often impact donor turnout.

The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to resolve to give blood regularly, beginning in January. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types AB, O, B negative and A negative. To encourage donations, all those who come to donate Jan. 1-3, 2016, will get a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Dowelltown City lights Contest Winners Announced

December 26, 2015

Winners of the Dowelltown City lights Contest have been announced.

1st place overall
Shaun & Jessica Antoniak

2nd place overall
Chris Walker Terri Dodd

3rd place overall
Darry & Susan Driver

1st place Door/Porch
Tommy & Dorthy Duggin

2nd place Door/ Porch
Maudie & Haleigh Bass

1st place Window
Mike & Elizabeth Redmon

2nd Place Window
Joseph & Bethany Chandler

FedEx Van Swept off Road by Rising Creek Water

December 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
FedEx Van Swept off Road by Rising Creek Water

The driver of a FedEx van had a close call Tuesday after his vehicle was swept off the road by rising creek water

The man was making a delivery to a residence on Preston- Vickers Road at Liberty near DeKalb West School when he came upon a concrete crossing over Smith Fork Creek. Swift water from the creek had overflowed the road and concrete crossing but the man tried to drive through anyway. The van was carried off the road and partially into the creek by the strong current. The driver got out of the van but had to hold on to the rear bumper of the vehicle until help arrived.

A Liberty Station member of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department arrived in his personal truck, backed up to the edge of the creek, tossed a rope to the man and pulled him to safety. He was not injured.

In addition to the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb EMS, the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were summoned to the scene.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the accident.

"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

December 24, 2015
Dwayne Page

The American Cancer Society invites you to make a special donation in honor or in memory of a loved one during the holiday season through "Love Lights a Tree". A special memory board has been erected on the south side of the courthouse that lists the names of loved ones.

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree" fundraising campaign to raise money for research to find a cure as well as cancer education and patient services. Donations may be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names are in "honor of" and in "memory of" for a donation of five-dollars per name. Forms may be obtained at the local banks. For more information, contact Ivadell Randolph at 615- 597-5296, Lynda Luna at 615- 597-5837, Renee Cantrell at 615-597-4551, Melanie Judkins at 615-597-1132, or Gail Taylor 615-597-5936.

The names of Honorees are as follows:

Billy F. Adcock, Cecil Adkins, Faye Adkins, Tracy Webb Baker, Kim Banks, Jean A. Cook, Phillip Wayne Cripps, Albert Donnell, Earl D. France, Mary Ruth Groom, Radley Hendrixson, Mary Janet Holland, Chizuko Howard, Jo D. Johnson, Walter Johnson, Linda Judkins, Patsy Judkins, Darlene Mathis, Janette Moss, Jo Ann Newbell, Carolyn Sheets, Margie Smith, Gail Taylor, Wesley Taylor, Emma Ruth Thomason, Lavelle Turner, Carolyn Walden, Sandra Wall, and Susan Young.

Those in memory are as follows:

Harold Adcock, John D. Akin, Mai Akin, Angela Malone Allen, Cindy Malone Armour, Tinsy Arnold, Ves Arnold, Jared Atnip,

Ann Barnes, Margie Barrett, Rebecca Beason, Lloyd Black, Louise Braswell, Truman Braswell, Larry Bratten, Emma Burton, Walter L. Burton,

Jeremy Caldwell, Joshua Caldwell, Clifton Cantrell, Frances Cantrell, Johnny Cantrell, Jodie Cantrell, Dianna Fuson Carter, Ronnie Carter, Martha Cathcart, Will Allen Cathcart, Mary Collins, Arlo Cook, Bob Cook, Bratten Cook, James (Buddy) Cook, Jo Bill Cook, Jo Lynn Cook, Pam Baker Cook, Rubye Cook, Steve Cook, William Smith "Bill" Craig, Eva Crook, Grady Crook, Will Allen Crook, Trena Braswell Curtis,

Earl Driver, Eddy Driver, Ravanel Driver, Tony Durso,

Ruth Elder, Jerry Lee Estes, Nathan Estes,

Rex Fathera, Geraldine Fish, Willie Foutch, Billy J. France, James A. France, Cathy Fuson Frazier, Ronald Frazier, Ronnie Frazier, Leonard "Buddy" Freeman, Jr., Leonard Freeman, Sr., Margaret Freeman, Carrie Graham Fuson, Charles Fuson, Debra Fuson,

Hoyte Garrison, Phillip Lee George, Royce Givens, Jr., James Goodwin, John Paul Grubb, Leonard Gwyn

Brownie Haley, Wiley Hancock, Lucille Cook Harris, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, Edward Hobson, Ronnie Hobson, Lois Horn, Haskel Elby Howard, Kenneth D. Howard, Marvin Hutson,

Bobby Joines, Robert Joines, Linnie Johnson, Paul Johnson, McKinley Jones, Earl Judkins, Len Judkins, Marie Judkins,

Poppy Fuson Keith, Jennifer Renea Kincaid, Emma Jo Knight, Gladys Knowles, L.D. Knowles,

Claudette Frazier Lasser, Olene Lockhart, Brackett Luna, Nadine Luna,

Dana Michelle Malone, Billy Malone, Ida Malone, Misty Kay Malone, Kathy "Kat" Martin, Charles (Chuck) McCracken, T.C. McMillen, Amy Lynn Miller, Maude Moody, Katrena Moore, Joshua Murphy, Kenny Murphy,

Leonard Nixon, Lorene Nixon, John Newbell,

J.W. Pack, John Lee Pack, Howard Patton, Prudie Pinegar, Rubye Lee Pinegar, T.J. Pinegar, Tom Pinegar, Donna Phillips,

Evelyn Ramsey, Clyde Randolph, David Randolph, Mary Randolph, Author Redmon, Everett "Ebb" Redmon, Kim Redmon, Loyd Redmon, Odell Redmon, Ova Redmon, Robert "Bob" Redmon, Horace Rosson,

Chester Sanders, Kevin Sanders, Zona Selby, Donald Smith, Nan Smith, Virgil Smith, Christopher "Chris" Stanley, Jordan Steinbach,

Albert Taylor, Cora Taylor, Edna "Mama" Taylor, E.J. Taylor, Kenneth Wayne Taylor, Ruth Garland Taylor, U.B. Taylor, Winnie Taylor, Billy Thomason, Patsy Thomason, Shelby Tittsworth, Elizabeth Tramel, Tallmer Tramel,

Betty Nixon Vickers,

Gilbert D. Walden, James Albert Walden, Robert H. (Bob) Walden, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Sandy Wheeler, Steve White, Van Woodside

Marie Young,

Steven Jennings Named All-State Performer by TSWA

December 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
Steven Jennings

DeKalb County High School's Steven Jennings has been named an all-state performer by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for Division I, Class 3A.

The talented Tiger quarterback, a junior, guided DeKalb County to a 7-4 season and another appearance in the state play-offs this year.

All-State football teams released on Tuesday covered all eight classifications in the state with players selected to form an all-state team for each class.

Here is the Class 3A all-state football team, as selected by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association.
QB-Zack Weatherly, Christ Presbyterian Academy; Cole Smith, Christ Academy of Knoxville; RB-Tranell Moore, East Ridge; Noah Whaley, Pigeon Forge; WR-Phillip Nichols, Christ Academy of Knoxville; Ben Guffey, Upperman; Rodney Castille, Jackson Liberty Tech Magnet; OL-Pete Sexton, East Ridge; Robert Murphy, Chattanooga Notre Dame; Ben Buchanan, Christ Academy of Knoxville; Caleb Stephens, White House Heritage; Jacob Rimmer, Milan; ATH-Deshawn Brown, Camden; Steven Jennings, DeKalb County; K-Ben Smith, Alcoa.

DL-Matthew McClurg, Alcoa; Jonathan Decker, Alcoa; Tre Stamper, Chattanooga Red Bank; Khalil Jones, Nashville Stratford; LB-Tyler Enos, Chattanooga Notre Dame; Christian Williams, Milan; Dantae Wilkes, Jackson Liberty Magnet Tech; Preston Whitehead, Elizabethton; DB-Jesse Jones, East Ridge; Caleb Woody, Alcoa; Ricky Ballard, Chattanooga Notre Dame; Price Perdue, Christ Presbyterian Academy; ATH-Dustin Clabough, Alcoa; Chip Omer, Christ Presbyterian Academy; P-Alex Darrus, Chattanooga Notre Dame.

Traffic Deaths in DeKalb County Up from Last Year

December 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
Scene of Fatal Crash on Highway 56 South Near Magness Road in April

Four people have lost their lives in fatal crashes on DeKalb County roads in 2015. That's up from three in 2014.

Two of the fatalities occurred in April. The others died in July and October.

83 year old Robbie D. Taylor of Smithville died in a two vehicle crash Monday afternoon, April 6 at the intersection of Highways 70 and 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.

72 year old Edgar Louis Madewell of McMinnville was killed and three other people were injured in a three vehicle wreck Tuesday, April 21 on Highway 56 just south of the Magness Road intersection.

66 year old Floyd Tilley of Woodbury lost his life in a motorcycle crash late Wednesday night, July 15. He was traveling south on Short Mountain Highway near Lee Braswell Road when he left the road and struck a utility pole.

31 year old Tacy Hendrixson of Smithville died in a pickup truck accident Wednesday, October 28 on the Old Blue Springs Road.

Commissioner Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS&HS), Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole have announced the increase in seat belt fines as an effective additional tool to curb traffic fatalities in the state.

The State Legislature approved a bill during the 2015 session. As of January 1st, 2016 the fine for seat belt violations will more than double. The fine for a first offense seat belt violation will be raised to $25.00 and the second and subsequent offense will be $50.00.

“So far this year, state troopers have issued over 107,000 seat belt citations,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “That is a 255 percent increase over the same time period in 2010. We will continue to make this a priority, but we hope the day will come when it is difficult for a state trooper to find a motorist not wearing a seat belt. We hope the tougher fines will encourage motorists to obey the law.”

Along with announcing the seatbelt fine increase, The TDOS&HS today announced a reminder that THP will be out in force during the holiday period to ensure travelers reach their destination safely. State troopers will focus their attention on traffic violations that place motorists in jeopardy, such as distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving and lack of seat belt usage. The holiday enforcement period will begin at 12:01 a.m. on December 24th and conclude at midnight on December 27th.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. The THP will utilize several enforcement tools, including saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks, and driver license and sobriety checkpoints to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes over the holiday season.

“We care about you and your safety,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “What we are hoping to accomplish with the fine increase is a heightened sense of awareness among our motorists. The best safety tool that a driver or passenger has while riding in a vehicle is to wear his or injured or killed in a car crash. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a crash. One life lost due to not wearing a seat belt is one life to many.”


Designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of the several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Important tips include:

• Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;

• If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;

• Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by dialing *THP;

• Wear your seat belt or use protective gear on your motorcycle as your best defense against an impaired driver; and

• Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take the person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements.

“We are very thankful for the friendships and partnerships that TDOT has with the Department of Safety and our state troopers,” Commissioner John Schroer said. “We understand that it takes all hands on deck to ensure a safer Tennessee, and the seat belt fine increase will help state troopers and local law enforcement in their efforts”.

TDOT will be suspending lane closures beginning at midnight on Wednesday, December 23rd until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 4th.

During the 2014 Christmas holiday, seven people were killed on Tennessee roadways in seven fatal crashes. Alcohol was involved in 71.4 percent of those crashes, and three of the six vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts. There was also one pedestrian killed during the 96-hour holiday period.

Corps Announces Changes in Recreation Day Use Fees

December 23, 2015

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today that beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the recreation day use fees charged for boat launches and swimming beaches managed by USACE will change to a simpler fee structure. The fee for a USACE annual pass to these facilities will also change.

These fees were last changed in 2002.

Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom, and Long Branch Campground at Center Hill Lake will also see a change in camping fees and the fee for a Special Use Permit, which covers events, facilities and activities.

USACE conducted a review of its fee structure earlier this year and determined that fee changes are needed to ensure USACE fees remain comparable and fair to those charged by other local providers for similar facilities and services.

The day use fee structure at USACE-managed facilities will vary depending upon the comparability study conducted by each USACE project, but the minimum day use fees beginning in January will be as follows:

•Minimum day use fee of $5.00 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle.

•Minimum day use fee of $2.00 per adult for walk-in or bike-in.

•Minimum day use fee of $20.00 will be charged per bus or commercial vehicle.

•Children under the age of 16 are not charged a day use fee.

Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a USACE-operated recreation area for that day.

A USACE annual day use pass may be purchased for $40, which permits the holder and accompanying passengers the daily use of facilities managed by USACE for one calendar year. The public will also be able to obtain Interagency America the Beautiful Passes at more than 240 USACE projects across the country.

For information on the new fee structure, visitors should contact their local USACE recreation project. A directory of project offices is available at www.CorpsLakes.us.

USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

Patterson Accused of Threatening Woman and Child with Knife

December 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
Christopher Neal Patterson
Nicholas Paul Benedict
 Keith Alan Crum
Lamar Freeman Jackson, Jr.

The Sheriff's Department has arrested a 46 year old man for allegedly threatening a woman and child with a knife.

Christopher Neal Patterson of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, December 17 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Big Hickory Court due to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer questioned a woman who said that Patterson had put a knife to her throat and said he would kill her and their youngest son. Patterson was placed under arrest.

Meanwhile 26 year old Nicholas Paul Benedict of South Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. He was also issued citations for simple possession of schedule II & III drugs. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, December 18 Benedict allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by hitting her in the abdomen area with a broom handle. He also allegedly grabbed and shoved her into a wall. The woman had physical marks from the assault. Benedict was placed under arrest. Upon a search of his person, Benedict was found to have in his possession a small green container that held one-three quarter peach colored pill believed to be suboxone and one and a quarter white pill thought to be hydrocodone.

45 year old Keith Alan Crum of Wolf Creek Road, Silver Point is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court February 25. Sheriff Ray said that on October 25 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Wolf Creek Road due to a domestic incident between Crum and a woman. Upon arrival the officer learned that Crum had left the area. The victim said Crum had grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a wall causing scratches and slight bleeding to her neck. The woman said she was afraid that Crum would return home and cause her further bodily harm. Crum was arrested on December 16.

68 year old Lamar Freeman Jackson, Jr. of Farewell Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for no insurance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and due care. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on January 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 16 a deputy responded to a wreck on Nashville Highway. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the driver, Jackson who was unsteady on his feet. Jackson's speech was slurred and he was unaware of his surroundings. Jackson had run his 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis off an embankment. Jackson told the officer that he had taken prescription medication and smoked marijuana. The officer found two pipes containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the car. Jackson could not provide proof of insurance. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and also consented to a blood test. Jackson was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

26 year old Matthew Tyler Hale of Walker Drive, Smithville is charged with violating an order of protection. Sheriff Ray said that Hale is the respondent on an order of protection that was served on the morning of December 15 and violated the order that day by contacting the petitioner multiple times by cell phone from approximately 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 7.

Chris Russell Named Alexandria Police Chief

December 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell and Officers Dillon Hulse and Travis Hawkins
City Attorney Vester Parsley Swears In Chris Russell as Alexandria Police Chief
Randy Payne was sworn into office as Alderman in Alexandria Tuesday night to succeed Pat Jackson who has resigned. Payne was appointed to the position by the Board of Aldermen

Alexandria has a new Chief of Police.

Chris Russell, who has been serving as interim chief for the past month, was officially named chief during Tuesday night's regular monthly meeting of the Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen. He was sworn in by City Attorney Vester Parsley.

Russell told WJLE after the meeting that he looks forward to continue serving the people of Alexandria in this new role. "I've been with the Alexandria Police Department for a little over nine years now. I've been in law enforcement for going on seventeen years. Since I've been here I started as a patrolman and got promoted to sergeant and have been in that position for the last eight years," said Chief Russell.

"As a department we're going to continue to work on the drug problem in the community. I think that (drugs) leads to other crimes as far as burglaries, assaults and things like that so this is going to be our main focus," he said.

In addition to Chief Russell, the Alexandria Police Department is made up of officers Dillon Hulse and Travis Hawkins. " Dillon Hulse has been with us for about three months now. Our newest officer is Travis Hawkins. He just started within the last month. Both men have completed training at the state law enforcement academy," Chief Russell continued.

"I just look forward to continue serving the community. If anybody has any concerns, feel free to come to me and address them and we'll see what we can do for you," he concluded.

The aldermen officially hired Hawkins as an officer during Tuesday night's meeting. Both Hulse and Hawkins are from Wilson County.

Meanwhile, the aldermen voted to appoint Randy Payne as alderman to fill a position left vacant by Pat Jackson who has resigned. Payne was sworn into office by City Attorney Vester Parsley.

DeKalb Man Charged in Florida Pharmacy Burglary

December 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Jason Cripps

A DeKalb County man, who tried to flee from Florida authorities after allegedly breaking into a pharmacy, was arrested last month after crashing his vehicle during a pursuit.

37 year old Jason Cripps, at last report, was being held in the Indian River County Jail in Florida on $61,000 bond charged with felony burglary of a structure, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and resisting arrest without violence.

Early Saturday morning, November 28 the Indian River County Sheriff's Office received a call from the CVS Pharmacy security team that the store located at 53rd Street and US Highway 1 was being broken into. The CVS security team advised that a white van with a ladder rack was seen fleeing from the location. Deputy Christian Mathisen observed the vehicle northbound on US Highway 1 and attempted to stop it. The white van fled from him and eventually crashed into a wooded area, where the driver, Jason Cripps was apprehended.


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