Local News Articles

Committee Rejects Proposed School Budget

May 30, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will have to revisit it's tentative budget for the 2014-15 year after the budget committee of the county commission Thursday night unanimously rejected it.

"I don't think this committee is ready to have a tax increase to present to the county commission," said budget committee member Wayne Cantrell.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Wednesday night adopted the tentative school budget and sent it to the budget committee on Thursday but the proposed $21.1 million spending plan does not have sufficient revenues to fund it without a property tax increase, which members of the budget committee said would require an additional six to seven cents.

Total revenues to fund the proposed school budget comes to $19,193,975 versus $21,151,531 in expenditures, a difference of $1,957,556. To help close the gap, the school board proposes to plug in $898,000 from Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves, $89,981 in Technology reserves, and $700,575 in unassigned money from the fund balance. Still, the board would have to come up with another $273,000 from the county commission or make cuts by that amount in order to balance the proposed budget.

The school board voted 4-3 to adopt the tentative budget Wednesday night. Members Billy Miller, Kenny Rhody, John David Foutch, and Charles Robinson voted in favor. Chairman Johnny Lattimore and members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III and Doug Stephens voted against it.

"I'm in favor of a large number of programs in here. Some of them have just been brought to my attention. In order for me to know what I'm voting on, I'd rather know a little more about it so I vote no," said Evins.

"I'm going to vote no. This is the first time that I've seen these nine pages (budget) and I'm not going to put my name to it without digging into it deeper," said Stephens.

"I'm going to vote no. There are some things I think we could cut," said Chairman Lattimore.

To meet the requirements of the Affordable Care ACT the Board has budgeted for 2014-15 school year a “defined Employer contribution” for the health insurance program, effective for coverage beginning January 1, 2015.

Based on calculations this will make the “Limited” health insurance option affordable to all eligible employees, according to Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The Board will also pay 100% of the cost of a GAP insurance plan for each employee enrolled in the “Limited” plan. The GAP plan will offset the deductible and out of pocket expense of the “Limited” plan.

Again, based on projections it is anticipated that the overall cost to the School System will essentially remain the same. However, should enrollment in this plan exceed projections the school system could incur additional cost, according to Director Willoughby.

The proposed budget includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS. "There will be a second grade teacher added simply because of our (enrollment) numbers. We're planning on adding an English teacher and a Chemistry teacher at the high school in order for us to change to a modified block schedule with five- seventy minute periods for the state mandated tested course subjects We also need to add a part-time ESL teacher based on the (enrollment) numbers we already have right now which have gone up. It's been a long time since we've added any teachers at the high school but we have approximately 225 to 230 students coming into the ninth grade (from DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School)," said Director Willoughby.

A total of $25,045 has been added to the proposed budget for additional supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team totaling $5,570), two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School and DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an Athletic Director supplement ($5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395), and a DeKalb West School Cross Country coach ($2,500).

The proposed budget includes funding for a half-time speech pathologist. "We are presently contracting those services. Our system needs a full time person and the budget would have to be amended if one is found. The funds are in the proposed budget they would have to be transferred into the correct category and line item," said Director Willoughby.

The proposed budget includes funding for four Academic Coaches totaling $200,000 to help teachers and students.

A new full time Technology position is budgeted at $30,000. The school system already has a Technology Director and two part time employees in this category. "I believe since 2006, we have added 1,500 devices and we're fixing to add a lot more. We need to add this new technology person," said Director Willoughby.

The Transportation Director would get a four thousand dollar pay raise again this year in this proposed budget. His salary would go to $36,710. "Last year we increased the Transportation Director category (salary) by approximately $4,000. We said at that time that we would do it again this year," said Willoughby. The pay raise would bring the salary more in line with transportation directors in other counties.

Funds are also included in the budget for Odyssey Ware. "This is a credit recovery program and we have been paying for that out of the Race to the Top money. That money has gone away so we have added that ($20,000) into the budget (Under Other Contracted Services)," Willoughby said.

"We have added ($6,000) in copy paper for schools (Under Other Supplies and Materials for Summer School)," Willoughby continued.

Twenty thousand dollars is budgeted for New Attendance Software under Other Contracted Services.

Under Evaluation and Testing $37,000 is budgeted including new money of $18,000 for Universal Screener and $4,000 for ACT software. "We will be doing state required assessments of students throughout the year through Universal Screening. The ACT software will help students score better on the ACT," said Director Willoughby.

While the school system normally anticipates having to use some reserves to balance its budget each year, it has not yet had to do so. Last year (2012-13), the district projected a deficit but actually ended up around $300,000 to the good by the end of the fiscal year. Director Willoughby Thursday night told the budget committee and county mayor that he did not feel as comfortable this year. "Balancing the budget with reserves is not a good thing to do. This year I feel its a sure bet that we'll be using some of those reserves," said Willoughby

Chamber Gets TACP Grant for DeKalb Farmers Market

May 29, 2014
Chamber Gets TACP Grant for DeKalb Farmers Market

Recently, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce applied for the TACP Farmers Market Promotion & Retail Grant Program on behalf of the DeKalb Farmers Market to purchase new DeKalb Farmers Market Signage, Rack Cards, and Display Tables.

Chamber Director Suzanne Williams was thrilled when she received the good news that the non-matching $1,000 grant request was approved. After working with County Mayor Mike Foster and DeKalb Farmers’ Market President Jeff Cantrell on these projects, the new and much-needed items have now been acquired and just in time for the new growing season.

The new DeKalb Farmers Market double-sided signs, designed by Jeff McMillen, are full-color and include the new Pick Tennessee Logo. The signs will be placed in high traffic areas at different entrances to the county to be able to reach the greatest number of people - directing locals and visitors alike to the DeKalb Farmers Market location at 205 East Bryant Street, Smithville (north side of the DeKalb County Complex).

The DeKalb Farmers Market Rack Cards, designed by Shan Burklow, showcases our local farm produce vendors and will be distributed by the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and marinas, Edgar Evins State Park, county and city offices, community buildings, and other public places. During the DeKalb County Agricultural Fair, the rack cards will be handed out at the DeKalb County Fair Exhibit Building and other distribution points. The local community, as well as tourists, will have the opportunity to become more aware of the location, hours, as well as other pertinent information about the delicious array of produce available at the DeKalb Farmers Market.

The 4 new Display Tables will be available to be used by farm produce vendors to help attractively display and better market their fresh produce and other items for sale. Having available tables for the vendors provides convenience for the farmers and gives the DeKalb Farmers Market the opportunity to grow in the number of vendors they currently have.

DeKalb Farmers Market President, Jeff Cantrell, is very excited about the new marketing tools provided by this grant. Jeff says, “The DeKalb Farmers Market is very grateful to the Chamber for doing this for us and for this opportunity to expand our customer base by helping more people find out about the Farmers Market and what we have to offer.”

DeKalb Animal Coalition Receives Tax Exempt Status

May 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
David McDowell

A new group being formed to address the problem of abandoned and abused animals in DeKalb County is now a 501 (c) 3 organization.

"The IRS has approved our tax free, 501(c)3 status, so we are moving forward with organizing and planning," said David McDowell, a member of the DeKalb Animal Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

"The purpose of the coalition is to provide for an adequate animal shelter and facilities; to provide a permanent & safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes," he said.

The coalition may already have a location for such a shelter. "The site for a permanent county-wide animal facility has been proposed. Tentative plans are to build a facility to care for and find permanent homes for abandoned or abused animals near the site of the future solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of the Sparta Highway, said McDowell in a statement to WJLE.

"We want to work together with the mayors and city councils, and the DeKalb County Mayor & County Commission, to provide a more humane treatment of unwanted or neglected animals," he added.

Other members of the Coalition are Sue Puckett Jernigan, Dr. Hugh Don Cripps, Marsha Darrah, Renee Ferguson, and Smithville Alderman Jason Murphy.

The City of Smithville currently operates the animal shelter for the county just behind the DeKalb County Road Department headquarters off of Smith Road. Officials say that facility, owned by the county, is no longer sufficient to meet current needs.

The Board for the DeKalb Animal Coalition will meet again next Thursday night, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting will be in the arts room of County Complex. Please contact Marsha Darrah at 615-597-6138 or David McDowell at 931-260-1693 with any questions or feedback.

Tyson Named "Miss Softball Middle Tennessee"

May 28, 2014
Dwayne Page
Danielle Tyson

DCHS Softball standout Danielle Tyson has been named "Miss Softball Middle Tennessee" by the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association. Tyson is now in the running with West and East Tennessee "Miss Softball" designees for the title of "Miss Tennessee Softball" to be named on June 16th.

Meanwhile, Tyra Graham , another DCHS Tigerette, has been named to the TSCA's Class AA All State Team.

Tigerette Coach Danny Bond told WJLE Wednesday that both players are worthy of the honors. "Dani Tyson came in four years ago having moved in here. She tried out for the team and we found that she had a lot of talent. She has refined her skills through the years and has led us in many categories each and every year. In the season just completed she led the team in several categories. Her batting average was .556 and she had an on-base percentage of .704. Dani had 40 stolen bases and led the team in runs with 64. She primarily played first base and also was a pitcher. She has developed into a good overall player. Dani can do a lot of different things. She can play the outfield or infield, which she has done here. She pitched for us and has turned from being a dominant batter from the right side to the left side with the drag and slap. She has great speed and I think that will be one of her biggest assets in college along with her size and raw talent. She will do well at Trevecca," said Coach Bond.

Graham led the Tigerettes in the season just completed in sacrifices. Her batting average was .412 and her on-base percentage was .471. She played short stop for the team and will return next year as a Junior.

Tyson, who graduated last Friday, has signed to play softball next season at Trevecca Nazarene University.

City Liquor Referendums Coming in November

May 28, 2014
Dwayne Page

City residents and property rights voters are expected to decide in November on whether to allow liquor stores as well as liquor by the drink in restaurants inside the City of Smithville.

Local businessman Randy Paris has submitted to the local election commission more than the required number of signatures on two separate petitions calling for the referendums. The election commission will vote in June on putting the referendums with the November State General Election ballot.

Paris circulated petitions, to "Authorize consumption of Alcohol on the premises in the City of Smithville" and to "Authorize retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the City of Smithville" during the November election. He had to get ninety three valid signatures on each petition to force a public vote. According to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, Paris turned in petitions bearing the signatures of 121 persons for alcoholic beverages in retail package stores and 125 names for consumption of alcohol on the premises.

Voters will have the option of voting "for" or "against" either referendum or both in November.

Paris successfully organized two liquor referendum petition drives two years ago but both were defeated at the polls.

In a previous interview with WJLE, Paris said liquor sales is a way to boost the local economy and bring in more tax revenue. "The decision really shouldn't be about whether you drink or not or whether you approve of it or not. It should be a business decision that will help our city economically. We have a huge tourism trade and this is a way of generating revenue for our city from the amount of tourism we have as well as our local people who are spending money in Putnam County, Rutherford County, Jackson County, and all the surrounding areas. The money would stay in our county and our city to help us," he said.

"I don't think it's necessarily going to bring great revenue into our city. I never have known when liquor has been the answer to the revenue problems of a city, county, state, or anyone. It brings too much bad stuff with it. That's the problem with it," said Don Davidson, minister of the Real Life Community Church of Smithville in a recent interview with WJLE.

"Anyone who is wanting liquor can get it anywhere they want to. Many people shop all the time out of town and across our county lines to buy this or that and to go out to dinner. They have access to all the liquor they could ever want already. Making it more available in Smithville would be for the convenience of a few rather than the majority," said Davidson.

"Liquor by the drink certainly would be devastating because the problem of people who drink and get drunk is they don't know when they are drunk. They can't tell when they have had too much. I think liquor by the drink is going to put more people on the road who will have gotten drunk and that will put more people at risk," he said.

Smithville voters, by a vote of 402 to 333 in June 2012, said "No" to the liquor by the drink referendum, which would have given eligible city restaurants the opportunity to apply for a license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve wine and other mixed alcoholic beverages to its patrons.

Five months later in November 2012, Smithville voters rejected liquor in a separate referendum, voting 684 to 558 against a ballot question that sought to allow retail package stores, under certain conditions, to sell alcoholic beverages within the city limits of Smithville.

By law, a full two years has to lapse from the last vote before another liquor referendum can be held, making November 2014 the earliest that a liquor vote could be put before the voters. State law also requires public referendums to be held during elections where there is no primary. The only election this year without a primary is the Tennessee General Election in November.

Groshon Sentenced in Burglary and Drug Cases

May 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
Judge Leon Burns, Jr

One of two people charged with breaking into a residence on Oak Drive last October was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

42 year old Don Groshon pled guilty to aggravated burglary and a separate count of passing a forged prescription and received a total sentence of six years, all suspended to supervised probation except for six months to serve. He is to make restitution to the victim in the amount of $1,200 jointly and severally with a co-defendant in the case, 38 year old Lynda Neville. The theft count was nollied or dropped. Groshon received a four year sentence for the aggravated burglary and two years for passing the forged prescription. The two sentences are to run consecutively for a total of six years. Groshon was given jail credit from October 13, 2013 to November 1, 2013 and from January 15, 2014 to May 23, 2014.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, October 11, 2013 Neville and Groshon allegedly entered a residence on Oak Drive by removing a window and took two push mowers, a full DVD case, a knife, cell phone, a VCR, DVD player, xbox and games, several power tools, and other items all valued at over $1,000. According to Sheriff Ray, Neville and Groshon admitted to committing the crimes.

41 year old Randy Glenn Haslam pled guilty to theft over $1,000 and received a three year sentence, all suspended to probation to be supervised in Rutherford County. The sentence is to run concurrently with a case against him in Rutherford County. He is also to make restitution to the victim locally.

Sheriff Ray said that December 7, 2012, Haslam allegedly took several items belonging to a female family member. The items were locked up in a safe at her home on New Hope Road in Alexandria. Haslam was living with this woman at the time of the theft. Several pieces of jewelry were taken with a total estimated value of $12,725. The stolen items included a gold woman's watch, a gold nugget bracelet, a 3 karat diamond gold bracelet, hoop earrings with diamonds, an 8 mm gold band quarter karat ring with seven diamonds on the top, a 3 karat diamond cluster ring, and miscellaneous gold rings and earrings. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

34 year old James Handy pled guilty to theft over $1,000 and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a Macon County sentence against him. He is also to make restitution of $2,673 to Walmart.

40 year old Sharon Malone pled guilty to simple possession of a schedule II drug and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation to be supervised by community corrections. She was fined $750. The sentence is to run concurrently with another case against her.

28 year old Jessica Renee Bogle pled guilty to evading arrest and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, but she was given credit for time served from December 6, 2013 to May 23, 2014. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation sentence against her.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 25, 2013 a deputy went to Bogle's home on Holmes Creek Road to serve the VOP warrant on her. Bogle told the officer she had to put on different clothes before leaving. She went into a bedroom, slammed the door, and then went out another door exiting the home. The officer was unable to locate her. Bogle was picked up on Friday, December 6.

28 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh pled guilty by information to two counts of a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total of almost two years. The sentence is suspended to supervised probation except for sixty days to serve. Pugh was fined $1,220 and he will lose his license according to Tennessee Department of Safety regulations. He was given jail credit from April 3 through May 23, 2014.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 9, 2013 Pugh was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 west when he was stopped by a deputy for failure to maintain his lane of travel. The officer had prior knowledge that Pugh's license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for a prior DUI on May 14, 2009 in DeKalb County. Pugh's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Pugh also had a white powdery substance in and on his nose. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Pugh was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Pugh was arrested again on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Sheriff Ray said that while driving east on Highway 70 near Snow Hill, a deputy spotted Pugh in physical control of a motor vehicle. According to the officer, Pugh left his lane of travel several times and at one point nearly crashed into a DeKalb County School Bus heading west on Highway 70. The bus was able to swerve out of the way to prevent a collision.

Pugh turned onto New Home Road and stopped at a business. The deputy made contact with him there. According to the officer, Pugh had slurred speech. He was unsteady on his feet and he submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also consented to a blood test. Pugh admitted to taking several drugs the night prior. He also admitted to driving the vehicle, saying he was going to the scrap yard to get money for his grandparents.

After conducting field sobriety tasks and speaking with the complainants who all witnessed the event, the officer determined that Pugh was in physical control of the vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. A computer check revealed his driver's license were revoked.

Man Charged in Stabbing

May 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
Julio Cesar Bernardo
 Michael John London
Thelma LeRoyce Lea
David Christopher Hayes
Dwayne Allen Reeder

A 26 year old man has been charged in a stabbing last week in the Blue Springs Community.

Julio Cesar Bernardo of Big Woods Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault and criminal impersonation. His bond is $27,500 and he will be in court on June 12. He is accused of stabbing another man several times with a kitchen knife at his Big Woods Road residence on Sunday, May 18. The victim was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga where he was treated and released. Bernardo, who left the scene after the stabbing, was arrested the next day but gave the officer a false name when identifying himself.

"We received a call on Sunday, May 18 to go to a residence on Big Woods Road in the Blue Springs Community for a stabbing," said Sheriff Patrick Ray. "The deputies and detectives went there. We determined that Bernardo was the aggressor. He did the stabbing. The victim was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga for multiple stab wounds where he was treated and released the next morning, Monday, May 19. Bernardo became a suspect and we found him the next day," said Sheriff Ray.

The aggravated assault warrant against Bernardo alleges that on Sunday, May 18, Bernardo assaulted a man on Big Woods Road by stabbing him several times with a kitchen knife, causing the victim to be airlifted. Criminal detectives got a warrant on Bernardo and started looking for him. He was found and arrested the next day, on Monday, May 19.

Sheriff Ray said that when the officer arrived at Bernardo's home to serve the warrant on him, Bernardo told the deputy that his name was Rafael. Bernardo gave the false name in an unsuccessful attempt to keep from being arrested. Bernardo later admitted to lying about his name.

In addition to the charges resulting from the stabbing and providing a false name, Bernardo was served with an assault warrant taken against him in 2009 by an individual in an unrelated incident.

28 year old Michael John London of Old Givens Hollow Road is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 5. He was arrested on Thursday, May 22. Sheriff Ray said that while London was inside the victim's home doing some work on Lower Helton Road in Alexandria, he took approximately 50-one milligram Lorazepam pills belonging to the victim. London later admitted to taking all the pills and burning the prescription bottle.

59 year old Thelma LeRoyce Lea of Lebanon is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 24 a deputy was dispatched to the Company Store on Dale Ridge Road to a possible domestic incident occurring in a white van in the parking lot. Upon arrival, the officer saw Lea and a man inside the van and noticed that the man, Lea's boyfriend, had a bloody and swollen nose. The man told the deputy that he and Lea had been arguing and that she hit him in the face, which broke his glasses and caused a cut on his nose. Lea admitted to the assault. She was determined to have been the primary aggressor.

42 year old David Christopher Hayes of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 25 Hayes showed up highly intoxicated at a residence on McMinnville Highway. He was yelling, screaming, and cursing the homeowners, stating that someone was trying to kill him and his seven year old daughter. Hayes was annoying the homeowners with his presence and was frightening them due to his actions and intoxicated state. Fearing for the child's safety, the homeowners took the youngster into their home until officers arrived. Hayes refused to comply with the requests of deputies and EMS personnel and he was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct.

35 year old Dwayne Allen Reeder of Meridian Drive, Smithville is charged with the domestic assault of his wife. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on June 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 11 a deputy was dispatched to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital to take a report of domestic violence. The officer spoke with a woman there who said that she and Reeder got into an argument around midnight on May 11 which resulted in Reeder attacking her, ripping the shirt off of her, and repeatedly striking her in the face with his fist. The woman's right eye and cheekbone were severely swollen and bruised. Reeder was arrested on Monday, May 26.

DeKalb Students Among Nursing Graduates at Motlow

May 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Students Among Nursing Graduates at Motlow

Motlow College graduated 66 nursing students during commencement ceremonies on May 10.

The night before graduation the nurses took part in the annual nurse pinning ceremony at Nisbett Center on the Moore County campus.

Graduates representing Warren, DeKalb, Van Buren, Rutherford, Grundy and Cannon County are, in front from left, Amber Young (Warren), Breanna Taylor (Warren), Charissa Keathley (Rutherford), Brittany McNair (Warren) and Karen Christian (DeKalb). In the back row, from left, are Brian Cripps (DeKalb), Amber Chavez (Van Buren), Keeley Robinson (Warren), David Sain (Warren), April Fincher (Grundy) and Darlene Hill (Cannon).

Fallen Heroes Remembered

May 26, 2014
Dwayne Page
Lt. Colonel Christopher H. Oliver with his parents, Rebecca and George Oliver
Veterans Edsel and Edward Frazier, Charles Olson, Jimmy Sprague, and Guy Mathis place Wreath

Songs of patriotism and words of praise for the nation's fallen heroes were shared during a special Memorial Day remembrance at the county complex auditorium Monday morning.

Sponsored by the American Legion Post #122, the program featured remarks by U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Christopher H. Oliver, son of George and Rebecca Oliver of Smithville.

"The reason we are here today is to honor those fallen service members and to remember the sacrifices they have made for duty, honor, and our country," said Lt. Colonel Oliver. " The service members that we honor today came from all walks of life but they shared several fundamental qualities. They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty, and integrity. All qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one's self. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in difficult times. They rose to our nation's call because they wanted to protect a nation which had given them and us so much," he said.

"Over one million American service members have died in wars that our nation has been involved in since the first Colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775. Many of them died protecting one another. But they served so that we could keep the things that we love the most.. God, Country, and Family. By continuing to remain true to these cherished principles, we honor their sacrifice. Today, service members continue to make the ultimate sacrifice and yet more Americans are still stepping forward to say "I'm ready to serve". They follow in the footsteps of generations of fine Americans before them," continued Lt. Colonel Oliver.

"From those who shivered through winter in Europe or sweated through the humid heat in the pacific in World War II to the extreme cold and summer heat in Korea to the hot, humid, hazy jungles of Vietnam, throughout the cold war, and now to the young men and women patrolling the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan, we remember and honor them all. I'd ask that for the remainder of the day, in whatever activity you choose to do, enjoy them. But remember, they are a privilege bought from the sacrifice of those we honor today," he concluded.

The program included the presentation of colors by members of Boy Scout Pack #35, a performance of the National Anthem by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and the crowd joining in the Pledge of Allegiance led by Edward Frazier. Local minister Larry Green read scripture and offered prayers. Songs of praise and patriotism were performed by Representative Weaver, Susan Hinton, and Darrin and Victoria Vincent. Hinton also read a "Tribute to Veterans" authored by Ben Herman. Following the program at the auditorium, the ceremony concluded at the site of the Veterans Memorial monument at the courthouse where a wreath was placed by local veterans and taps were played on trumpets by Emma Rigsby and Larry Briggs.

As a tribute to local hometown heroes, Judy Redmon recently asked for the community to provide her names of family and friends who served our country as members of the military but are now deceased. Redmon honored their memory during Monday's program by reading their names:

Sons of Gold Star Mothers:
Billy Anderson, Army, Afghanistan
Shannon Taylor, Army, Iraq
Billy Adcock, Army, Vietnam
Ronnie Reeder, Army, Vietnam

Others are as follows:
Alvin Burton: Navy, Korean War
James H. Buddy Cook, Army, Germany
Norman Cook, Navy
Jim Roy Tramel, Army, Germany, Korea, Vietnam
John Lee Pack, Army, World War II, 41st Infantry
James Holcomb, Army, Korea
Howard Timmons, Army, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, 30 years Master Sergeant
J.C. Malone, Army, World War II
W.J. (Wise Owl) Hendrixson, Navy, World War II
Virgil Johnson, Army, World War II
Lt. Clyde Thomas, Navy, Korea
Dale Hutchings, Army, Vietnam
Jimmy Ervin, World War II
Dan Fite, Vietnam
Edward Hays, World War II
Richard Lockhart, Army, Korea
Miles D. Shepard, World War II
John E. Turner, Army, Vietnam
Solon Lee Taylor, Army, World War II
Ewin Sandlin, Army, World War II
Everett Herron, Air Force, Korea, Vietnam
Ralph Bradford, Korea
Henry D. Johnson, World War II
Charlie Redmon, World War II
Garland Redmon, World War II
Henry Garth Coffee
Glenn Allen Coffee
Virgil Hill Johnson
Donald Mann
Benton Adkins
Hubert Page
Clint Page
Doylan Davis, World War II
Donald Sheets, World War II
Harry Gossard
T.J. Young, World War II
Carsie L. Craighead, World War II
Kenneth DeShanno, World War II
Jack Estes, World War II
Vernon E. Hyde, World War II
Sam A. Love, World War II
Merle C. Meyers, World War II
Robert Milantoni, Korean
Ozro Franklin, World War II, Korean
William Bethel Golden, Korean
Odene Lawrence, World War II
Jerry Wayne Vanatta, Navy, Vietnam
John G. Magness, U.S. Army, World War II
Carl Cathcart, Navy, Korean
Bobby L. Snyder, Army, Korean
Toy Hendrixson, Army, World War II
Norval Webb, Air Force, Korean
Jvann Walls, Army, World War II
W.J. Tramel, Army, World War II

"Tribute to a Veteran" by Ben Herman
(The Story of a World War II Veteran)

"An old World War II Veteran sat in his rocking chair talking to his grandson. The boy asked, "Grandpa, what were things like when you were young?"

The old man replied, "we were a lot like the young people of today---without all the material things, of course. The boy then asked, "Grandpa, what did you do for entertainment back then?

Well grandson, we played sports in school and sometimes we might go to a movie at a theatre when we could scrape up a modest amount of money. You see, money was so hard to come by because there was a depression across the country. All of the boys of course, liked our little girlfriends. Sometimes, we would just sit around the local country store and listen to the Veterans of the first World War tell their stories. They were our heroes.

Then grandson, in December 1941, we heard the news that an enemy had attacked a Naval base at a place called Pearl Harbor. Most people did not even know where Pearl Harbor was and never even heard the name.

News of the attack spread far and wide across this great country of America. The President of the U.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt would ask Congress for a declaration of war. All able bodied young men would be asked to serve in the military service. Some would be drafted by a draft board, and some would volunteer.

All the seniors on our high school basketball team volunteered the very next day. There was Bill, Fred, Tom, Harry, John, Robert, and me, of course. Bill and John never came back from the war. They were considered heroes in the community. Their pictures were kept in the high school trophy case for many years.

As the young boy listened to the old veteran talk, he asked, "Will I ever be in a war?"

Every soldier hopes his war will be the last, but the Bible says there will be wars and rumors of war forever. The young boy then asked, "Was World War II the last war that produced Heroes. "Oh no, son, there were heroes in the snowy hills of Korea, and in the steamy jungles of Vietnam, and there are the heroes of the desert wars of the middle east, and heroes of the so-called Cold War.

Then the grandson asked, "Grandpa, where are your friends now?"

"Well son, most of my old friends have passed away except Fred.". I heard he was in a nursing home down in Alabama near where his daughter lives. Then the old man told the boy to hand him his walking stick. "Help me get up and I will show you some pictures of me and my friends when we were young and looking forward to the future.

As the old man slowly ambled over to the photo album, the boy heard him say quietly, "God bless the men and women in uniform wherever they may be, and God, Bless America."

***About the Speaker Lt. Colonel Christopher H. Oliver:

Oliver is the son of George (career U.S. Army Force officer), and Rebecca (retired school teacher). He was born in Urbana, Illinois.

Oliver graduated from St. Gregory College Preparatory School in Tucson, Arizona in 1989. He received a BA degree in Political Science from Texas A&M in 1993, commissioned as a Second Lt. via the Platoon Leader's Class.

As part of his career with the U.S. Marine Corps, Lt. Colonel Oliver assumed command of HMG-362 in April, 2011 and during February, 2012, the Ugly Angles, the last CH53D squadron in the Marine Corps, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 12.1 and conducted combat flight operations in support of RC Southwest in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

In 2013, Lt. Colonel Oliver reported for duty as a student at National War College in Washington, D.C. where he is working toward a Master's Degree in National Security Strategy.

Lt. Colonel Oliver has flown over 2,500 mishap free flight hours. He possesses all flight leadership designations and mission qualifications in the CH-53D/E aircraft. His personal decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral 5, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star in Lieu of Fourth Award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.

Lt. Colonel Oliver is married to the former Stephanie Skierkowski of Kailua, Hawaii and they have four children, 19 year old Makena, 12 year old Piper, 10 year old Houston, and 7 year old Tate.

DeKalb Art Show Winners Awarded

May 26, 2014
Susan Hinton
Winning Art Show Entries
DeKalb Middle School Winner Brulee Neal
4th-5th Grade Division Winner-Avery South
Overall Winner Leah Payton Clark (left) with Carol Tripp

Over three-hundred parents and students came out Saturday, May 24, 2014 to view the art of the DeKalb County School System students from grades Pre-K-high school and also included the day care Pre-K students along with home-schooled students as well. Three of the first guests were Terri Lynn Weaver, TN Representative, DeKalb County Mayor, Mike Foster, and City Mayor, Jimmy Poss. The event hosted two local artists, Claudia Lee and Helen Sefsek, who not only displayed their beautiful art, but interacted with the students as they came through the exhibit. This event is sponsored each spring by the Smithville Study Club who are strong supporters of the arts. The President of the Club is Polly Payne. All the ladies of the club were on board to help make this year's art show the best yet. The winners of this year's art exhibit are:

Division 1- (Pre-K-first grade)
lst Place- Jaden Barber
2nd Place- Ben Barton
3rd Place- Aidan Turner
Honorable Mention- Maggie Johnson and Hailee Merriman

Division 2: Grades 2-3rd

lst Place- Aviannca Chalfaut
2nd Place-Elaina Bryce Turner
3rd Place- Fernando Clavel
Honorable Mention: Liam Wallace and Katherine Gassaway

Division 3: Grades 4-5th

1st Place- Avery South
2nd Place - Kennedy Polk
3rd Place- Ashley Portillo
Honorable Mention- Gracie Griffin and Kasen Johnson

Division 4: Middle School Grades 6-8

1st Place- Brulee Neal
2nd Place- Breanna Gibson
3rd Place- Allison Maynard
Honorable Mention- Marshal Evins and Erica Coleman

Division: High School Grades 9-12

lst Place- Leah Payton Clark
2nd Place- Kelly Armour
3rd Place- Thomas Graham
Honorable Mention- Taylor Marshall and Yosadara Vincente

The Overall Winner of the Show: Leah Payton Clark, High School Division with her portrait of Tonto, the famous Indian.

The People's Choice Award: Two students received equal number of votes for favorite art selection in the show. These winners were Leah Cantrell of the high school division along with Katherine Knowles of the Pre-K-1st grade division.

There were 185 pieces of art displayed this year by the students of DeKalb County.


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