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Federal Judge Dismisses Bradley Hendrix Lawsuit Against School Board and Former Director

May 6, 2016
Bradley Hendrix

A federal judge has dismissed a law suit filed by a teacher/county commissioner claiming retaliatory actions were taken against him by the DeKalb County Board of Education and former Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Bradley Hendrix, a teacher at Smithville Elementary and a 3rd district County Commissioner, filed the suit two years ago claiming a history of retaliatory action against him because of a vote he made as a county commissioner.

But in documents filed last week, U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp granted a motion by the defendants to issue a summary judgement in the case in favor of the school board and Willoughby.

At the heart of Hendrix’s claims was a March 11, 2011 vote by the county commission on the purchase of land for a new school. Hendrix voted against the purchase.

Court records indicated that in December that year, Hendrix left a field trip to a Chuck E. Cheese in Murfreesboro early to attend a basketball game in Smithville. Hendrix’s principal, Dr. Billy Tanner, claimed he left early without permission and recommended to Willoughby that Hendrix be suspended for one day without pay. Willoughby approved. Hendrix appealed to the school board and by the end of a hearing, the suspension was increased to three days.

On May 11, 2012, Hendrix received a letter of “reprimand and plan of corrective action,” signed by Willoughby, that said Hendrix had a history of leaving school and school activities early without permission and pointed to the Chuck E. Cheese incident as an example. The letter went on to say Hendrix attended an Autism program” in April, 2012 but left without good cause or permission.

Hendrix argued that when the Supervisor of Attendance position in the central office was posted in May 2013 he applied for the job but was not selected, even though he had an “administrator’s endorsement” and had filed for a “supervisor of attendance endorsement” by the time he had applied and received such endorsement a few days after his application was filed.

Willoughby chose Joey Reeder for the position, saying he was the most qualified and the only one with prior experience in the position. Willoughby also claimed, according to court documents, had he not appointed Reeder, he would have chosen David Gash because he had prior experience as an administrator. Willoughby further stated had Hendrix been the only applicant, he would not have chosen him and would have reposted the job because of Hendrix’s history of leaving school without permission to attend to personal matters.

Judge Sharp wrote in his ruling that Hendrix “can identify no retaliatory actions that occurred between the letter of reprimand of May 11, 2012 and his failure to receive the Supervisor of Attendance position in June 2013.”

Hendrix filed the lawsuit in May 2014 claiming “that after he voted against the land purchase in March 2011, he was subjected to harassment and retaliation by Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Tanner in a myriad of ways.”

“The arguments he raises in support of his continuing violation theory are not supported by the record,” Judge Sharp wrote in his order granting summary judgment.

The judge went on to say, “The lack of factual support for a continuing violation theory aside, Plaintiff’s retaliation claims based on those alleged violations fail for lack of causation. The first alleged retaliatory action after the vote on the land purchase that can be attributed to Defendant Willoughby was his approval of a one day suspension for the Chuck E. Cheese incident some nine months after the land purchase vote. The other two decisions that can be fairly attributed to Defendant Willoughby—the letter of reprimand and the refusal to hire Plaintiff as Director of Attendance—occurred some 14 and 26 months, respectively, after the vote. In the absence of anything more, the temporal proximity between those decisions and Plaintiff’s vote on the land purchase is too remote to show causation.”

In conclusion, Judge Sharp said “This Court has considered the entire record, including Plaintiff’s (Hendrix) deposition testimony, but finds insufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that Plaintiff was retaliated against because he voted against the land purchase in his role as a County Commissioner. In fact, on the only alleged retaliatory act which took place within the statute of limitations, the record reflects that Defendant (Willoughby) chose the individual who not only had the specific license for Supervisor of Attendance but who also had experience in that position.”

Ashli Chew Named to TSWA All State Girls Basketball Team

May 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
Ashli Chew Named to TSWA All State Girls Basketball Team

Ashli Chew, a senior and member of the DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Squad, has been selected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association 2015-16 Girls All-State Team in Class AA.

During her high school basketball years, Ashli scored a career high 1150 points. That is really a 3 season total because she had an ACL and MCL tear at the end of her freshman year that required surgery and kept her sidelined for the majority of her sophomore year. With hard work and determination she came back strong in her junior year and was named MVP. She led her team to the first win over Livingston Academy in 31 years this past season by sinking 2 free throws with only 3 seconds left on the clock. Her senior season alone Ashli led her team in scoring with 619 points, and led in rebounds with 255 rebounds. An average of 16.9 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. Her free shooting was at 70 % this season. She also led her team to a win over Cannon County for the first time in 17 years in February scoring the winning points with .9 seconds left on the clock. Her team had a 3rd place finish in the District Tournament and made an appearance in the Regional Tournament.

Ashli was selected to the All Freshman Team in the district as a freshman; 3rd Team All District and Upper Cumberland Honorable Mention and Junior-Girls 3-point Shooting Champion her Junior Year; And in her senior year she was named 1st team All District; All Upper Cumberland 2nd team, District 8AA All Tournament Team and now All State Basketball Team for AA. She is only 1 of 16 players across the State of Tennessee selected for this honor.

Ashli recently signed a Basketball Scholarship to play at the college level with Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee

DeKalb Schools to Receive EpiPen kits to Treat Students with Allergic Reactions

May 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Board of Education Meets at DeKalb West School

DeKalb County Schools and traveling athletic teams at DCHS will soon have access to EpiPen kits, which can be used to treat a student in the event of an allergic reaction.

The Board of Education Thursday night voted to accept the kits as a donation from the Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation at no cost to the school system. Others will be obtained free of charge through EpiPen4Schools.

John Bell, Director of the Foundation addressed the school board along with Dr. Charles Womack of Cookeville Regional Medical Center. “We are working on a project in partnership with Dr. Womack and a few other physicians at the hospital to provide EpiPens to Putnam County and all the surrounding counties. There is a program called EpiPen4Schools which is a national company that provides free EpiPen kits for any public school in the nation. The first component of this project is to make sure everyone is aware that you can order these kits free of charge annually for all of your schools. We are happy to help you walk through that process and Dr. Womack has offered to write prescriptions that are necessary in order to receive those free kits,” said Bell.

“As a secondary part of the same project, through donations to the charitable foundation we are able to fund additional kits for traveling sports teams in high schools. We have provided kits to all of the Putnam County High Schools for their sports teams and at White County and we are hoping that you will come on board as well,” Bell added.

Each EpiPen kit contains two epinephrine auto injectors and a training DVD. Training will be administered to coaches and appropriate high school staff in cooperation with the coordinated school health program.

“The legislature passed a law in 2013 authorizing school personnel to use the EpiPen kits in an emergency with liability immunity,” said Dr. Womack.

Epinephrine is a synthetic version of adrenaline. It constricts blood vessels to increase blood pressure, relaxes smooth muscles in the lungs to reduce wheezing and improve breathing, stimulates the heart (increases heart rate) and works to reduce hives and swelling that may occur around the face and lips. According to national food allergy guidelines, epinephrine is the only recommended first line of treatment for anaphylaxis.

Having EpiPens on hand could literally save lives according to Dr. Womack. “If someone gets stung by a wasp or has a reaction playing baseball, football, or soccer you have the kit and the trainer. You can pass the EpiPen set from football to baseball to basketball. You don’t need to have one for each team. You can have two or three sets,” said Dr. Womack.

“It can be the difference between life and death. If you have a peanut allergy or get stung by a bee or wasp, it can be just a matter of minutes before you are in a life threatening crisis. The EpiPen automatically gives three tenths of a cc to an adult. There is a pediatric set for children under 66 pounds and an adult set with two pens per pack for children over 66 pounds,” he continued.

“The EpiPen kit costs about $400. It's quite expensive. But if you purchase it through the school program you can buy them for just over $100. We have raised money to buy kits for the sports teams and we’ll do this annually as long as we’ve got the money,” said Dr. Womack.

It is estimated that one in every 13 children has an allergy that can lead to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction. Allergies often do not become apparent until children reach puberty.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that allergic reactions result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits each year among children under the age of 18.

The EpiPen4Schools® program, offered by Mylan Specialty, the marketer and distributor of EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injectors, was developed to help improve access to epinephrine in the event a person experiences a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in the school setting.

In the event that the free supply is used to respond to an allergic emergency (anaphylactic event), qualifying schools are eligible to receive a replenishment order of EpiPen® or EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors prior to their annual eligibility date at no additional cost.

DCHS Senior Awards Night Set for May 16 (VIEW SENIOR PHOTOS HERE)

May 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
DCHS Senior Awards Night Set for May 16

Scholarships and other awards will be presented to members of the Class of 2016 at DeKalb County High School during the annual Senior Awards program Monday night, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. in the DCHS gymnasium.

Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations will make the presentations.

Meanwhile, graduation for the DCHS Class of 2016 will be Friday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.


Cope Out as Coach at DCHS

May 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Coach Joe Pat Cope

After seven years as head coach of the DCHS Lady Tiger basketball program, Joe Pat Cope will not be back for another season next year. He is also not expected to return as teacher.

School administrators have decided to make a change. Cope is also out as the DCHS golf and tennis coach next year.

Cope teaches World History/Geography at DCHS

In his seven seasons as the Lady Tiger Coach, Cope compiled an overall record of 126-102. His district record was 18-68 and his post-season mark was 4-10.

The job opening has been posted on the TSSAA website:

“DeKalb County High School is seeking Head Girls Basketball coach. Current teaching positions available: Secondary Math and World History/Geography. If you are interested, contact Kathy Bryant: (615) 597-4094 or”

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration Friday at SES

May 5, 2016
Dwayne Page

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration will be held Friday, May 6 at Smithville Elementary School and Monday, May 9 at DeKalb West School.

Pre-K registration will be from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at both schools

Kindergarten registration will be from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at both schools

Parents should bring the following items for their child:

*Original Certificate of Birth (certified copy with the state seal, not the hospital copy or mother's copy)

*Current Physical Examination

*Current Certification of Immunization(These must be on a Tennessee Department of Health Certificate of Immunization, which can be obtained from your doctor's office or the Health Department)

*Proof of Income for All Household Members

*Proof of Residency (i.e. gas/electric bill)

*Your child (they will be tested on kindergarten registration day)

Parents are encouraged to register all students for pre-K who will be four (4) years old on or before August 15.

Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2016 in order to enroll for the 2016-17 school year.

For information call:
Michelle Burklow

Portion of Holmes Creek Road to be Closed for Paving

May 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Butch Agee

DeKalb County Road Supervisor Butch Agee has announced that a portion of Holmes Creek Road will be closed Tuesday, May 10 for a paving project between V.L. Wilson Road and Shady Place.

Meanwhile, Agee said construction is completed on the replacement of the Underhill Road bridge over Sink Creek in the Blue Springs community. Concrete Structures, Incorporated of Charlotte, Tennessee was the contractor for the project. The cost was $310,729. The project was funded under the state's 1990 Bridge Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Transportation paid for 98% of the costs .

City Firefighters and Police Attend Homeland Security Training in New Mexico

May 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
City Firefighters and Police Attend Homeland Security Training in New Mexico

Smithville Firefighters and Police Officers recently attended a week long Homeland Security training at New Mexico Tech in Socorro New Mexico.

Pictured Left to right: Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale, Lieutenant Danny Poss, Chief Charles Parker, Firefighter Glen Lattimore, Firefighter Robin
Summers, Detective Brandon Donnell, Captain Steven Lefew.

Celebration of Life for Guitar Legend Lonnie Mack to be held Saturday

May 4, 2016
Tom Duggin
Celebration of Life for Guitar Legend Lonnie Mack to be held Saturday

A celebration of life for guitar legend – and DeKalb County resident – Lonnie Mack will be held on Saturday, May 7, at 6:00 p.m., at the DeKalb County Community Center theatre. The celebration will include music tributes, stories about the music legend and much more. There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted at the event for the James Burton Foundation, which awards scholarships and guitars to enable young musicians to get their start, in memory of Lonnie.

Lonnie Mack was born Lonnie McIntosh on July 18, 1941, in Dearborn County, Indiana. He grew up influenced by a wide variety of music, ranging from the Stanley Brothers, Hank Williams, Les Paul, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry, among many others.

In the early 1960s, Mack was playing recording sessions for the Fraternity label in Cincinnati, backing the likes of James Brown, Freddie King and Hank Ballard, among others. At the end of a 1963 session for the Charmaines, a 20-minute block of studio time remained. The label offered to record Mack’s band, so they played an instrumental version of the Chuck Berry hit, “Memphis, Tennessee.” Fate struck, as by late June, 1963, that recording was No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B chart and No. 5 on the pop chart. Mack followed up “Memphis” with another instrumental hit, “Wham!” and soon afterwards, recorded a string of successful soul ballads.

In addition to being a legendary guitarist, Mack was also considered one of the finer “blue-eyed soul” singers of his era. His famous 1958 Flying V guitar – Old No. 7, as it became known, has been judged among the world’s 150 “most elite guitars,” even named among the Top 20 most recognized guitars in the world recently by Rolling Stone magazine. In 1993, the Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a limited-run “Lonnie Mack Signature Edition” of the iconic guitar.

In addition to numerous recording sessions and solo album projects, Mack also produced and played bass with The Doors on their Roadhouse Blues album.

In the mid-1980’s, Mack enjoyed a musical resurgence when he teamed up with legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on and produced Mack’s well-received album, “Strike Like Lightning.” The success of the album led to a return to the road for the legendary blues man, which culminated in a performance at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall with fellow guitar legends, Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins. Lonnie Mack played his last professional show in 2007, in Cleveland, Ohio, for Les Paul’s 92nd birthday party, which was sponsored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and featured several of the world greatest guitarists.

His guitar recordings were a significant influence on many prominent rock guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Dickie Betts, Ted Nugent and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Mack died on Thursday, April 21. He was a resident of DeKalb County for roughly a quarter century. His funeral and burial were held near his childhood home in Aurora, Indiana. He is survived by five children and numerous grandchildren.

Saturday night’s celebration of life will give Mack’s many local friends an opportunity to come out, enjoy some great music, and hear stories from his life from some of his closest friends and relatives.

"Paint Your World Purple" with Relay for Life Friday

May 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
"Paint Your World Purple" with Relay for Life Friday

The 19th annual Relay for Life to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society will be Friday, May 6 at Green Brook Park in Smithville

This year’s theme is “Paint Your World Purple”

The entertainment begins at 5:15 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

A Luminaria Ceremony begins at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

The schedule of events for the evening is as follows:

5:15 p.m.- Terry Hodges and Kevin Myers
5:35 p.m.- Kathy Goodwin
5:55 p.m.- Presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop #347

The National Anthem sung by Suzanne Slager

Invocation by Bill Robertson

Welcome by Renea Cantrell

Introduction of cancer survivors

Prayer for cancer survivors by Alex Woodward, preacher of the Gassaway Church of Christ

Song honoring cancer survivors by Bonnie Rigsby and Shelly Cross

6:35 p.m.-Vonda and Wanda

6:45 p.m.-Suzanne Slager

7:00 p.m.- David Turner & Friends

7:30 p.m.- Fluty and the Flutones

7:45 p.m.- Tina Boston

8:00 p.m.- Elvis (Kevin Roberts)

8:15 p.m.- Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Singers

8:30 p.m.- New Life Pentecostal Church Choir

9:00 p.m.- Luminaria Ceremony

Prayer by Dwayne Cornelius, pastor of the New Life Pentecostal Church

9:15 p.m.- Tom Duggin

9:45 p.m. Zone Status

11:30 p.m.- Closing Ceremony

Midnight-Relay Ends


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