Students Return to School Thursday

The holiday or winter break for DeKalb County students is almost over.
Schools will re-open for students on Thursday, January 5.
Wednesday, January 4 will be a stockpile day for teachers.
The remainder of the school calendar is as follows;
Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16; for President’s Day, Monday, February 20; and Good Friday, April 14.
Spring break will be March 20-24.
Students will not attend on Thursday, May 25. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Friday, May 26 and report cards will be sent home.
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 14 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.
Report cards will be sent home from all schools on Tuesday, January 10; Tuesday March 14; and Friday, May 26.

Summers Charged with Identity Theft

Smithville Police have arrested a woman for identity theft and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.
32 year old Stephanie Sue Summers was taken into custody on Wednesday, December 28 and will make a court appearance on January 12. She is under a $20,000 bond.
Seagate Crystal Reports – REPOR_3.pdf (2.04 MB)
According to police, the victim in the case filed a report of credit card fraud on Wednesday, December 21 after receiving mail from a bank informing him of a past due amount on a credit card. The victim contacted the bank and received an account summary of the credit card with purchases having been made three times at the local Wal-Mart. Upon investigation it was discovered that Summers had obtained the victim’s credit card without his knowledge or consent and proceeded to make purchases.
43 year old Steve Franklin Mabe Jr. was arrested on Wednesday, December 28 for theft of property over $1,000. Police took a report earlier in the day from an employee of Tractor Supply Company concerning the theft of a 42″ Cub Cadet riding mower and a 25 ton Country Line log splitter. Upon investigation it was determined that Mabe had taken the items without the consent of the business. Mabe’s bond is $20,000. His court date is January 12.
56 year old Laddie B Jerrells Sr. was arrested Sunday, December 11 for filing a false report. Three days before on Thursday, December 8 Jerrells reported to police that his truck was locked and that he could not find the keys. The next morning, Friday, December 9 Jerrells said his truck was missing and reported it as stolen to Central Dispatch. Upon investigation it was discovered that Jerrells had hidden the vehicle and then reported it to be stolen. Jerrells’ bond is $5,000 and his court date is January 12.
Bridgett Nicole Vientos was arrested on Tuesday, December 20 for a second offense of driving on a suspended license. Police stopped Vientos for running a stop sign. Vientos could not provide a valid registration, insurance, nor a driver’s license. Upon speaking with Central Dispatch, police learned that she had a Failure to Appear warrant against her in DeKalb County. Vientos was also cited for traffic control device/signal, registration violation, and financial responsibility. Her bond is $5,000 and her court date is January 5.
23 year old Cole Curtis Hawker was cited on Wednesday, December 28 for possession of drug paraphernalia. Police responded to a motorcycle accident on South Mountain Street where they found Hawker to be the driver. Hawker sustained injuries that required him to be transported by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Hawker had in his possession a grinder and glass pipe with marijuana residue. His court date is January 26.

Two Charged with DUI After Recent Wrecks

Two men recently involved in traffic accidents have been charged by Smithville Police for driving under the influence.
43 year old Miguel Angel Soto Reyes was arrested on Christmas Day for DUI. Police responded to a one vehicle accident at the corner of Earl Avenue and Miller Road and made contact with the driver, Reyes who appeared to be under the influence. Reyes had red glossy eyes, slurred speech and the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. He was unable to perform standardized field sobriety tasks. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is January 12.
Meanwhile, 40 year old Tyrone D. Owens was arrested on Monday, December 12 for driving under the influence and he was cited for simple possession, violation of implied consent, and financial responsibility. Police responded to Riley Avenue for a single vehicle crash with injuries. Upon arrival an officer found Owens still inside the vehicle. He required assistance to get out of the car. While Owens was still inside the vehicle, the officer observed in plain view a small baggie that contained 11 pills believed to be alprazolam. Owens had no prescription for the pills. After Owens exited the vehicle, the officer detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Owens’ person. His speech was slow and slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. According to police, Owens had a blue residue on the inside of his left nostril and it appeared he had ingested medication. Owens submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also refused to give a blood sample and he couldn’t provide proof of insurance. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is January 5.

Monthly Social Security and SSI Benefits to increase slightly

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017.
The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.
The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $16,920. (Social Security deducts $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $16,920.)
The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2017 will increase to $44,880. (Social Security deducts $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $44,880 until the month the worker turns age 66.)
There is no limit on earnings for workers who are “full” retirement age or older for the entire year.
For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

Livestock Forage Program Signup Underway

Do you have cattle, sheep, or goats? If so, you could be eligible to receive payment from the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency. According to Donny Green, County Executive Director, signup for the Livestock Forage Program is now underway and will continue through January 30, 2017.
The Livestock Forage Assistance Program (LFP) has been approved for DeKalb and Cannon counties due to recent and extreme drought conditions that have affected livestock grazing during the 2016 normal grazing period. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land with permanent vegetative cover, or planted specifically for grazing.
According to the U. S. Drought Monitor, DeKalb and Cannon counties were designated as D3 (Extreme Drought intensity) counties on November 22, 2016. This designation qualifies eligible livestock producers in the county for three monthly payments.
Livestock producers operating in DeKalb and Cannon counties will need to visit the FSA office in Smithville to report their livestock inventory and complete their application. Customers are encouraged to call the office at 615-597-8225, Ext. 2 to provide some preliminary information that will be needed to process the application. Signup for the 2016 LFP will end on January 30, 2017.

WJLE Partners with Local Attorney to Recognize “Classroom Champions”

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE is partnering with Jim Judkins, Smithville Attorney in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several months.
The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.
“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students’ selection will be based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.
“Jim recently approached me with his idea of recognizing students in this way and asked if we would be interested in joining him in the promotion. We were more than happy to lend our support and look forward to spotlighting a student each week,” said Dwayne Page, WJLE Station Manager.

Alexandria Police Catch Three People Breaking Into F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy

Alexandria Police caught three people breaking into F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy in Alexandria Wednesday night.
22 year old Ericka Lynn Morgan of Granville, 32 year old Bryan Christopher Matthews of Carthage, and 50 year old Joseph Graylon Nesbitt of Pleasant Shade are all charged with burglary and are under a $20,000 bond each. They will make an appearance in General Sessions Court on January 12.
Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell released the following prepared statement. “On Wednesday night at approximately 8:15 pm , Officer Flavis Burroughs was on patrol and noticed an audible burglar alarm going off at Webb’s Pharmacy located at 105 South Public Square in Alexandria. Upon arrival Officer Burroughs noticed the front glass door had been damaged and he observed a person inside the building climbing up a hole in the ceiling . As Officer Burroughs made his way around the back of the building , a white Dodge Truck fled the area of the burglary . Officer Burroughs stopped the truck on Edgewood Street a short distance away and detained the driver, Bryan Christopher Matthews , and a passenger , Joseph Graylon Nesbitt. DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to assist . When the pharmacy owner arrived on scene and unlocked the building he heard a woman’s voice from inside the ceiling . The woman, Ericka Lynn Morgan was found hiding in the ceiling. Officers placed Ms. Morgan into custody. Further investigation revealed the three had made entry into the building by cutting a vent on the roof and going down through the ceiling. At the time of the report it appears nothing had been stolen . All three were arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail,” said Chief Russell.

Give the Perfect Gift. Give Blood

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give blood or platelets to help meet the constant need for blood this winter.
Donors with all blood types are needed now to help patients. As a special thank you for taking the time to donate, those who come out to give through Jan. 8 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
The next blood drive in Smithville will be Tuesday, January 3 from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 201 South College Street. To schedule your appointment log onto and enter sponsor code: Smithville 19.
“Many of us celebrate this time of year with loved ones, but patients may spend the holidays and ring in the new year from a hospital room,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Blood and platelet donors can bring joy to patients and their families by giving blood or platelets to help ensure patients receive the lifesaving treatments they need.”
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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 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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

New Laws to Take Effect January 1

Several new laws will take effect in Tennessee on January 1.
*The cost of a lifetime handgun carry permit will drop from $500 to $300. The price of a lifetime permit under the new law is fixed at $200 more than the cost of a regular permit. Under another change, active duty military or honorably discharged veterans will be able to acquire handgun permits at age 18, rather than 21.
*People convicted for vehicular homicide where alcohol or drugs were involved will be ineligible for parole starting January 1. Robbing a pharmacy for the purpose of obtaining a controlled substance will be considered an enhancement factor for sentencing, as well.
*Tennessee students will be required to pass a United States civics test before graduating high school.
*Those convicted of driving on a suspended license could get to keep their licenses. The current law requires the courts to suspend those licenses but next year it’ll be up to a judge.
The new law states, “As enacted, deletes requirement that a person’s
driver license be suspended for an additional like period if convicted
of driving on a suspended or revoked license; allows a court to order
issuance of a restricted driver license contingent on the person participating in a payment plan for any unpaid fines.”
*Beer and cider brewers in Tennessee may begin making brew with a stronger alcohol content. Currently the limit is 6.2%, but the new law raises it to 10.1%.
Currently, a person can purchase high-gravity beer, which is beer with a higher alcohol content, but it has to be made out of state. Proponents said the main benefit of this new law is that people will have a local high-gravity option, instead of being forced to spend money out of state

New Livestock Feed Rule to Take Effect

With the new year just days away, livestock producers will have new federal rules to follow when feeding their animals.
Beginning Jan. 1, a licensed veterinarian must approve and supervise use of certain medications in livestock feed.
“Antibiotics are vitally important for fighting illness and maintaining livestock health,” state veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “However, we must make sure that drugs don’t develop resistance. These new rules will move us toward the elimination of antibiotic use for production purposes, while still allowing producers to use prescribed antibiotics to treat and control disease.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require producers to have a veterinary feed directive (VFD) in order to feed certain antimicrobial drugs. Before a producer can obtain a VFD, their licensed vet of record must examine and diagnose the livestock in question. Producers must then provide the VFD to their feed manufacturer or supplier. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture routinely inspects feed manufacturers. Any mills that mix antimicrobials into livestock feed will be required to show proof of the VFD during inspection. Extra-label use of a VFD drug in an animal feed for weight gain or feed efficiency is prohibited.
More information is available at
The state veterinarian is responsible for monitoring for and preventing the spread of animal disease, as well as promoting animal health in Tennessee. The office works with private veterinarians, animal pathologists and disease diagnostic laboratories to identify diseases and determine the cause of animal deaths.