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Boy Scouts Soar to New Heights with Two Eagles

July 11, 2016
Bill Conger
James Mathis (left) and Nate Sherwood (right) were presented the Eagle award, the highest honor in Boy Scouts at a special ceremony in June
(Left to right) James Sherwood, Will Sherwood, Nate Sherwood, and Jen Sherwood. (Nate's brother, Jim, just received the Eagle award at the end of last year.)
(Left to Right) Will Mathis (brother), Richard Mathis, Eagle Scout James Mathis, and Mary Mathis.

Two members of Boy Scout Troop 347 recently reached the climactic chapter of their scouting career when they received Scouting’s highest honor. Nate Sherwood and James Mathis earned the Eagle Scout award. They were acknowledged for the remarkable accomplishment at the Eagle Court of Honor Sunday, June 12 at Smithville First Methodist Church.

Sherwood is the son of Scout Master’s Will and Jen Sherwood, and Mathis is the son of Richard and Mary Mathis. For his Eagle project, Sherwood cleared overgrowth and cleaned directional signs around Center Hill Lake. Working with the Corps of Engineers for approval, Nate was able to help 4 million visitors have better visibility of creeks and landmarks from the water when they are enjoying the lake. Sherwood started his 11 year venture in scouting as a Tiger Scout, and earned his Arrow of Life award as a Webelo. So far he has earned 35 merit badges as a Boy Scout.

For James’ Eagle Scout project, he planted bushes around the stage at the park next to the Smithville Fire Department. Mathis joined Cub Scouts in 2005, the same year as his friend, Nate, and earned his Arrow of Light in 201.

In other news, 13 boys and 2 adult leaders experienced the great outdoors for summer camp June 19-24 at Camp Craig on the Boxwell Reservation in Gallatin. Jonathan Birmingham, Zackary Cantrell, Carter Dias, Friedrich Dodge, Sebastian Dodge, Jake Ramsey, Cody Robinson, Arthur Sullivan, Jacob Williams, Caleb Taylor, Gavin Conger, Brandon Sabotka, and Darren Waggoner dodged the bugs, enjoyed swimming, fishing, and other activities. Assistant Scout Masters David Robinson and Bill Conger supervised the trip.

Some of the boys took on the challenging high adventures in the C.O.P.E. program. C.O.P.E. stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience and comprises a series of outdoor challenges, beginning with basic group initiative games and progressing to more complicated low-course and high-course activities. Scouts also worked on a variety of merit badges including cooking, camping, weather, forestry, music, leather/woodcarving, electricity, digital technology, first aid, and a variety of other activities.

While at camp, elections were held for new troop position. Jonathan Birmingham was chosen as Senior Patrol Leader while Darren Waggoner was named Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Jacob Williams will serve as Chaplin while Arthur Sullivan is the Assistant Chaplin. Friedrich Dodge was chosen as the Order of Arrow Leader.

Named to the position of Patrol Leader were Arthur Sullivan and Cody Robinson while Zackary Cantrell was elected as Assistant Patrol Leader for the Raccoons. Will Stephens will serve as Quartermaster, and Caleb Taylor will be his assistant.

Bain Charged with Evading Arrest

July 11, 2016
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested 24 year old Clay Andrew Bain last week for evading arrest.

An officer was dispatched to South College Street on Wednesday, July 6 due to a suspicious person and Bain was found near the intersection of College and Bryant Streets. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department informed the police officer that Bain had several active warrants against him. When the officer told him that he would have to be taken into custody, Bain attempted to flee and refused to comply with commands to stop. Police caught him shortly afterward. Bain’s bond is $3,500 and his court date is July 28.

39 year old Shannon E. Taylor was arrested on Friday, July 1 for resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. According to Police, Taylor refused to comply with an officers verbal command to not enter a relative’s residence for fear that Taylor would attempt to cause a family member harm. Taylor had to be physically restrained. Bond for Taylor is $2,500 and her court date is July 21.

19 year old Shawn Anthony Newhouse was cited on Friday, July 1 for disorderly conduct. Police responded to a location on Webb Street during the Fiddler's Jamboree and discovered that Newhouse was engaging in a fight with others and creating a hazardous and physically offensive condition for those around him including children who were present. His court date is July 21.

39 year old Michelle Lee Gurley was cited on Friday, July 1 for shoplifting. Gurley was observed by Wal-Mart employees concealing items in her purse with the intention of depriving the store of its property. Her court date is July 14.

Slow Poke Law Takes Effect

July 10, 2016
Dwayne Page

A Slow Poke Law went into effect in Tennessee on July 1.

It is designed to keep someone from "camping out" in the fast lane of a highway with three or more lanes.

The law says the fast lane - the one on the far left - is to be used only for overtaking and passing another vehicle.

Those found in violation of the new law are subject to paying a $50 fine.

Bill Summary

This bill prohibits a person from operating a vehicle in the passing lane on an interstate or multilane divided highway that has three or more lanes in each direction, except when overtaking or passing a vehicle that is in a non-passing lane. A violation will be a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine only of $50.00.

The Slow Poke Law will not apply:

(1) When the volume of traffic does not permit the vehicle to safely merge into a non-passing lane;

(2) When inclement weather or an official traffic control device makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane;

(3) When obstructions or hazards exist in a non-passing lane;

(4) When avoiding traffic moving onto the highway from an acceleration or merging lane;

(5) When highway design makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane to exit or turn left;

(6) To authorized emergency vehicles engaged in official duties; or

(7) To vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.

Watertown Man Airlifted After Motorcycle Crash

July 9, 2016
Dwayne Page
Watertown Man Airlifted After Motorcycle Crash
Billy Mark Judkins was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb West School where he was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance.

A Watertown man was airlifted after a motorcycle crash Saturday on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty.

According to Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 50 year old Billy Mark Judkins was riding a 2002 Victory motorcycle heading east when he failed to negotiate a curve, went off the left side of the highway, and struck an embankment.

Judkins was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb West School where he was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Liberty Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and Constable Mark Milam were also on the scene.

5th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic Set for Saturday, July 30

July 9, 2016
Dwayne Page

The 5th annual Earl Judkins Golf Classic will be held Saturday, July 30 at Smithville Golf Course to raise money for 4 year old Karly Campbell who was diagnosed with leukemia in February. She is the daughter of Alex and Marly Campbell of Smithville.

The event is hosted by the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation and all proceeds will go directly to benefit Karly and her family. “Karly was diagnosed this year but is on the up and up from what her parents tell us but that doesn’t mean she is done with treatment. She is still going to be going through some pretty rigorous tests just to make sure she is in the clear so we want to help her out as much as we can,” said Caroline Cantrell.

The golf classic began five years ago to help families who have been affected by cancer. “We are looking to serve families who have been affected by cancer. Cancer has hit our family a couple of times pretty hard. We know how hard it is to struggle and we want to just help those families,” said Tyler Cantrell.

Those wishing to be served must first apply. A committee then reviews the applications and selects a recipient each year. The man for whom the classic is named, the late Earl Judkins, was an avid golfer and a cancer patient.

“Our family was affected by cancer five years ago with my sister the late Amy Miller so we know how hard it is for families. My great uncle Earl Judkins, the man for whom the classic is named passed away several years ago from colon cancer,” said Tyler.

Previous recipients of the benefit golf classic were Amy Miller, Chrissy Means, Gracie Dezarn, and Edith Johnson McReynolds.

This Golf Classic begins with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. The entry fee is $60 for an individual golfer or $240 for a team of four. (Includes 18 holes with cart and meal-mulligans can be bought prior to the shotgun start). Lunch will be provided. Door prizes and a raffle will be available but no cash prizes.

“We’re looking for any golfer. It doesn’t matter if you are a scratch golfer or a soon to be pro. Its a four man team. You can bring your own team but if you don’t have a team we can put you with anybody. We are just looking to benefit this little girl and her family,” said Tyler.

The entry deadline is Friday, July 15. The format is a 4-person A,B,C,D, Scramble/Own Team-Best Ball. For more information contact Tyler Cantrell at tcantrell@cosma.com. Like them on Facebook at Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation or Phone 1-931-239-5948 or contact the Smithville Golf Course to sign up at 615-597-6648. Donations may be made to the Cantrell Cancer Benefit Foundation. Mail to 625 Foster Road, Smithville, TN 37166 or bring them by Center Hill Cross Fit.

Meanwhile, a Cross Fit competition will be held the weekend before the golf classic which will also serve as a benefit for Karly. Call or email to get more information.

Danny Fish Named DCHS Tigerette Softball Coach

July 9, 2016
Dwayne Page
Danny Fish
Danny Fish, his wife Nicole, and their children, Devin and Karah

Danny Fish has been named the new DCHS girls softball coach.

Fish, who has served as an assistant to former head coach Danny Bond for the last four years, will be moving from Northside Elementary School, where he taught physical education to DCHS where he will also be a P.E. teacher.

“I am excited to be blessed with the opportunity to follow Coach Bond as the head coach of the Tigerettes. I am thankful to DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant and Director of Schools Patrick Cripps for believing in me and my vision for the future of the program. We will continue the same values, work ethic, and competitiveness that has been put forth by other Tigerette teams. We will consistently compete in the classroom and on the field. My family and I are excited and cannot wait to get started. I want to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point in my career,” Coach Fish told WJLE.

Fish was born and raised in DeKalb County and he graduated from DCHS in 1996. During his high school years, Fish played both basketball and baseball. Fish furthered his education at Motlow State Community College from 1996-98 where he received a baseball scholarship. From there, Fish received a scholarship to play baseball for two years from 1998-2000 at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tennessee, an NAIA school, and he earned “All Conference” and “All Region” honors both years. It was also at Tennessee Wesleyan where Fish got his first coaching experience in 2001. “After my time there as a student, I was offered a staff position as an assistant softball coach under TWC Hall of Famer, Jeff Rice. During my one year tenure there as an assistant, I was in charge of the outfielders, hitters, and Head JV coach. During that season, the team was able to complete an incredible run that ended when we won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship,” said Coach Fish.

Maryville College came calling for Fish in 2002 and he accepted the positions of head softball coach and assistant women’s basketball coach. “At that time I was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division III. During my first season we won a Great South Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship and made it into the NCAA Division III Top 25. At Maryville College I was fortunate enough to be a part of 8 Great South Athletic Conference Championships and competed in 4 NCAA Division III National Tournament events as a coach. Our staff also guided the Lady Scots to the 2007 NCAA Division III National Tournament,” he continued. While at Maryville, Coach Fish compiled a record of 159-115 and 80-30 in GSAC play. He was also a three-time GSAC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2007, and 2009 with five regular season titles.

In 2009 Coach Fish left Maryville for Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky where he was named head softball coach. “In my first year I took the program to unmatched heights by winning the 2010 Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament and we made it to the 2010 NAIA World Series. During my time at Union, I coached 2 Conference Players of the Year, 9 All Conference Players, 8 All Academic Team members and was awarded the 2012 Champions of Character for the most service work in the conference. At Union I was also given an opportunity to be the Director of Game Management which manages all home events,” he said.

Coach Fish returned to DeKalb County in 2012 and was employed by the local school system as a substitute teacher. He also became assistant high school softball coach. The following year Fish was hired as a physical education teacher at Northside Elementary School.

Fish earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 2000 and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Union College in 2012.

Fish and his wife Nicole have two children, 8 year old Devin and 2 year old Karah.

Former DCHS Basketball Star Remembers Meeting Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt

July 8, 2016
Dwayne Page
Mary Ann Puckett, a DCHS basketball star from 1989-93
Legendary Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt

Since her passing last week, tributes from throughout the nation have been paid to Pat Summitt, the legendary former Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach

Summitt served as the head coach of the Lady Vols from 1974 to 2012, before retiring at age 59 because of a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She died last Tuesday at the age of 64.

During her years at Tennessee, Coach Summitt won 1,098 games, the most in Division I history, and eight national titles with the Lady Vols.

Mary Ann Puckett, a DCHS basketball star from 1989-93, has her own special remembrances of Coach Summitt.

Because of her success on the court at DCHS and in AAU basketball, Puckett was sought after by several coaches from various colleges and universities during her high school years, including Coach Summitt who came to see Puckett for an in home visit during the fall of 1992. Though it was not her first encounter with the legendary coach, having previously seen her during AAU tournaments, Puckett told WJLE that the moment was still quite special.

“I got to meet her in my living room. That was pretty surreal and very special. That was a really cool time in my life and I remembered that when she passed away last week. It was during the fall of my junior year. When college coaches who were recruiting me were taking home visits we would schedule them to come in and actually visit with my family and for us get to know a little bit more about their programs. My mom would fix food for the coaches when they would come. It wouldn’t always be a full meal. We would usually have some fresh fried okra that she (mom) would put up from the summer. She (mom) would fry them some okra and give them some cornbread or something just to be a good host. I took in eleven home visits that year which was kind of unheard of. I just had a hard time saying no to the coaches who wanted to visit. Most people (athletes) would take in their top three or four people (coaches) for a home visit but I took in eleven. I don’t remember them all now but I know I had Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, and several small schools come in. But to have Pat Summitt knock on the door of your house is a pretty cool thing. She was definitely the highest profile coach I had come in and her assistant Mickie DeMoss came with her. She was sitting in the living room visiting with us. My mom remembers her talking about when Tyler (Summitt’s son) was born. He was two years old at the time. She (mom) remembers her (Summitt) saying that she had gotten soft since she had her son. But I’m not sure she was ever really soft. If she was that was really a relative term,” Puckett told WJLE.

“She (Coach Summitt) came in that evening and talked about how she only recruited two people for each position that she needed to fill. I knew she had a post position open that year and I think she had two guard positions open. She had two people she wanted to fill those spots and she would make an offer to her first choice and if her first choice didn’t take it, her second choice would. At that time I was second choice to Abby Conklin from Indiana. She (Summitt) had not yet heard from Abby as far as a firm commitment. She (Summitt) told me if she (Conklin) didn’t accept the position she would like for me to accept it. I told her I was honored to be her second choice. I didn’t tell her at that point that I was leaning toward Duke but I already was before the home visits even started. While I didn’t get a formal offer from Coach Summitt, it was enough for her to come and visit to say that I was second in line. But Abby (Conklin) did take the position that year and during the time, had I been there (Tennessee), had I been a player on her team, I would have been on a team that went on to win two or three national championships,” said Puckett.

Having played in AAU tournaments, Puckett said she got the attention of several colleges during that time including Tennessee.“ I was getting recruiting letters from Tennessee probably beginning in eighth grade, a product of playing on an AAU team that was nationally successful. We always went to the nationals and the lowest we finished was in fifth place in the nation. That’s how you got exposure was to be on a successful team. AAU Nationals was what sent me to college with a basketball scholarship,” said Puckett.

It was during her AAU playing days that she first met Coach Summitt. “I had known her off and on through seeing her at AAU tournaments and she was friends with my AAU coach Lynn Burkey, who was the coach of the girls team at Oak Ridge. I was playing for Coach Burkey who was friends with Pat Summit and she would be around our tournaments saying hello to us. For one or two summers I played basketball with her (Summitt’s) niece Tracey Head and Pat would come and watch us play at the tournaments and visit with us a little bit there,” she said.

Although she went on to play for Duke, Puckett said she highly respected Coach Summitt and was honored by her in home visit. “She was the quintessential womens basketball coach. She had a lot to do with putting womens basketball on the map. Coach Summitt inspired so many young girls. She seemed down to earth. She was a real hard working woman and commanded a natural respect from everybody around her yet she was so personable, friendly, and available to everybody,” Puckett concluded.

Local EMS Employee Retiring

July 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
EMS Director Hoyte Hale presents plaque to Richard "Dick" Kinsey

A local EMS employee was recognized for his years of service Thursday by his boss and co workers.

Richard “Dick” Kinsey is retiring.

Kinsey has worked for the DeKalb EMS operation, mostly in a part time role as an Advanced EMT since 2002.

Director Hoyte Hale presented Kinsey a plaque which reads:

“In appreciation

Richard “Dick” Kinsey


The DeKalb County Ambulance Service would like to thank you for your unselfish service to the ambulance service and all the persons you have responded to throughout your many years. If we were to do a review of your many years of service to our organization we would find the true spirit of dedication to our service. Have a prosperous and happy retirement.


DeKalb Ambulance Service"

“I wish I had more employees like him. He was very dedicated and dependable and was always willing to come to work, even when called at the last minute if needed,” said EMS Director Hale.

Kinsey also worked for Dura Automotive Systems in Gordonsville prior to his retirement there.

School Starts Soon—Is Your Child Fully Vaccinated?

July 7, 2016
Dwayne Page

Parents working on checklists to get their children ready for the start of school have an important health item to include: required immunizations.
All children enrolling in Tennessee schools for the first time, as well as those going into the seventh grade, must provide an official Tennessee Immunization Certificate before classes start

The certificate must be signed by a qualified healthcare provider or verified by the state’s immunization information system.

All students entering seventh grade are required to have proof they have had two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, or a history of the illness, and a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough, commonly known as Tdap, to protect them through their teens. Another required immunization is for measles, mumps and rubella, also known as MMR.

In addition, pediatricians recommend preteens get their first of three doses of a vaccine to help prevent cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, as well as their first dose of meningitis vaccine.

Although HPV and meningitis vaccines are not required for preteens, they are recommended to be given at the same time as the required Tdap booster and any other vaccine a child may need.

Incoming college students in Tennessee public colleges who will reside in campus housing must provide proof of immunization against meningococcal meningitis after age 16.
Medical or religious exemptions may apply for families not wishing to have their children immunized, but proper documentation is required.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, immunizations required for school are available from most healthcare providers across the state, including county health departments. Children younger than 19 may be eligible for free vaccines if they have no insurance, are enrolled in TennCare, have private insurance that does not cover vaccines or are American Indian or Alaska native.

Most insurance plans, including TennCare, fully cover recommended and state-required childhood vaccines, as well as the cost of annual well child examinations through the age of 21. Insured children are encouraged to visit their primary healthcare provider or other provider who can administer vaccines and bill insurance for any services they might need. TDH strongly recommends a visit to the child's primary care provider so the child can have an annual well child physical exam at the same time. Annual wellness visits are important to keep children healthy through all the changes of the pre-teen and teenage years, but many don't get these important preventive health services.

Local health departments have vaccines available for all uninsured children, those whose insurance doesn't cover vaccines, and any child who has difficulty getting in to see a healthcare provider to get a required vaccine. Local health departments can issue immunization certificates and transcribe immunization records for any child if the family isn't able to get a certificate from their healthcare provider for any reason.

The complete list of Tennessee Child Care and School Immunization requirements is available on the TDH website at: http://health.state.tn.us/TWIS/requirements.htm. Questions about school policies on when or how immunization certificates must be provided should be directed to local schools.

New Vendor to Develop and Administer 2016-17 Student Assessments

July 6, 2016
 Candice McQueen

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that the department intends to award Questar, a national leader in large-scale assessment, a contract to develop and administer Tennessee’s annual state assessments for the 2016-17 school year.

In addition, McQueen announced that Tennessee will phase in online administration over multiple years to ensure state, district, and vendor technology readiness. For the upcoming school year, the state assessment for grades 3–8 will be administered via paper and pencil. However, the department will work closely with Questar to provide an online option for high school End of Course exams if both schools and the testing platform demonstrate early proof of successful online administration. Even if schools demonstrate readiness for online administration, districts will still have the option to choose paper and pencil assessments for their high school students.

Questar will develop and administer the 2016-17 assessments as part of the state’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). Similar to the design of the 2015-16 assessments, next year’s tests will continue to feature multiple types of questions that measure the depth of our state academic standards, specifically students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills. The department also plans to reduce and streamline state tests and will communicate additional specifics in the comings weeks.

“Students, teachers, and parents deserve a better testing experience in Tennessee, and we believe today’s announcement is another step in the right direction,” Commissioner McQueen said. “We are excited to move forward in partnership with Tennessee teachers, schools, and districts to measure student learning in a meaningful way and reset the conversation around assessment. Educators across the state have shared how having an assessment aligned to what students are learning every day has improved their instruction. It’s also critical that we continue to look for ways to streamline and reduce testing in our state.”

Questar currently develops and administers large-scale annual assessments for other states, including Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and New York. Questar has partnered with Indiana on End of Course exams for 14 years and with Missouri for five years. The department issued the official letter of intent to Questar today. Pursuant to state contract procedures, after a minimum seven-day period, the contract will be finalized and fully executed.

During the vendor selection process, the department surveyed industry leaders in large-scale assessments, vetting vendors that have successfully developed and administered large-scale assessments across the country. After researching multiple vendors, the department determined that Questar has a proven track record of excellence in statewide testing, administering large-scale assessments via paper and online, and developing a high quality test quickly, which makes it particularly well suited for Tennessee at this crucial time. This past school year, Questar administered the New York grade 3–8 assessments to more than 1.3 million students. In 2015, Questar also developed the Mississippi annual assessment on a timeline similar to Tennessee’s.

“Questar has recent experience developing a large-scale test thoughtfully and urgently,” Commissioner McQueen said. “We believe it is the right partner to collaborate with as we continue to develop assessments that are meaningful and measure what our students truly know and understand.”

Questar was also recently named as the state’s vendor for an optional second-grade assessment. This assessment will replace the state’s previously administered optional K–2 (SAT-10) assessment.

More information about next year's test will be available after the department finalizes the remaining details with Questar. After the contract is executed, the department will share final details about the structure for next year’s state assessments, including administration time and dates.

Following that, the department will work with Questar to refine and finalize the assessment blueprints, which outline the number of questions devoted to various groups of standards. Those will be released later this summer. Additional resources, including sample test questions and resources that will help educators, parents, and students to become more familiar with the assessment, will be available this fall.


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