Local News Articles

Shorter Fall Break, Longer Thanksgiving Holiday for Students Next Year

January 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Board of Education

The fall break next year will be shorter for students and teachers but they will get a full week off for Thanksgiving.

The Board of Education Thursday night amended the school calendar for 2017-18.

For the last few years, students and teachers have enjoyed a two week fall break but next year they will only get one week off October 16-20.

The Thanksgiving break has traditionally been for three days, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Next year, schools will be closed for an entire week for Thanksgiving, November 20-24.

Those two extra days off for Thanksgiving will be made up at the end of the school year in 2017-18. The last day of school was originally set for Tuesday May 22, 2018 but has now been changed to Thursday, May 24, 2018.

In other action, the board also adopted the school calendar for the year 2018-19 subject to revisions. According to Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III if next year's calendar works out to the satisfaction of the board and committee, the board will consider revising the 2018-19 calendar to the same as 2017-18.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly report on personnel.

Cody Burton, teacher at DCHS
Robert Todd Davis, custodian at DeKalb West School
Amanda Lance, special education teacher, county-wide

Leave of Absence:
Karen Jacobs, teacher at Northside Elementary, leave as requested

Mary Mathis, custodian at DeKalb West School
Alicia McCallister, teacher at DeKalb Middle School

Assistant Principals Amanda Dakas at DeKalb Middle School, Beth Paffford at Northside Elementary School, and DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant each updated the Board of Education on activities at their schools.

“Normally we have our fall fundraiser chili supper at DeKalb Middle School. This year we decided to change it up just a little bit. We are actually having a PTO Chili Luncheon. It will be on Saturday, January 28 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. It will be in the DeKalb Middle School Cafeteria. The cost will be $7.00 which will include chili, a hot dog, a desert and drink. We will have a cake walk which begins at 11:30 a.m. and a LIVE auction which begins at 12:30 p.m. All of these details will be located on our school website if you want to look at the information. We will be selling tickets at the door. Envelopes and information went home with students today. We hope you will come join us and support our fundraiser,” said Dakas.

“We had our winter benchmark testing just before the break and had a lot to celebrate with student progress and continue to modify and adjust instruction so we can best meet our student’s needs and help them move in an upward direction. We had the pleasure of giving away our first bike as part of our attendance incentive. We want to thank Barry Mabe and Little Debbie for sponsoring that. Fifth grade student Peyton Anderson was the winner of the bicycle. Students get a ticket for every week they are in school every day, not late, and don’t leave early. That increases the chance to win. We will give away another bike in May at the end of the school year. Tomorrow (Friday, January 13) we will have our awards assembly where students will be recognized for academic achievement and good citizenship. We are excited about celebrating that. Families who have students receiving an award should have gotten a note. It will be at 1:45 p.m,” said Pafford.

“Hopefully the board remembers last year we set a goal to increase our ACT scores for our junior test takers. With the report card coming out recently we increased our composite score for the ACT an entire point. We went from 17.8 to 18.8 and even though that is one point in ACT that is huge. We increased in every content area with Reading having the largest increase. Also we will be recognizing during the halftime of the boys February 7th basketball game all students who have scored a 21 or above on the ACT. We have started two new clubs at the high school including the 21+ club and the other is the 30+ club. We’re going to take those kids on some field trips and reward them for their hard work. I am very proud of our students and our teachers. We provided a lot of strategies and did a lot of new things last year and we’ve even added more new things this year. We’re hoping to keep increasing that. The Softball Boosters will host a Dodge ball Tournament for adults on Saturday, January 28 at 2:00 p.m. at Northside Elementary School. The DCHS Band will be hosting a spaghetti supper on Saturday, February 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school. Our DCHS Basketball Senior Night will be on Thursday, February 9,” said Bryant.

Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday, January 21

January 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday, January 21

As part of its community outreach ministry, the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church is again sponsoring a drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning, January 21 rain or shine.

In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the church plans to prepare enough food boxes to serve up to 300 families regardless of their income status, on a first come, first served basis. Families will receive enough food to last them for a full week. Second Harvest will bring in pallets of food on trucks. The food will then be off loaded and organized in preparation for the distribution.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the food will be delivered from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Unlike most food distributions, those being served by the mobile pantry will not have to get out of their automobiles. They will drive thru in a pickup line and volunteers will deliver the food directly to their vehicles, placing the food boxes either in the back seat or trunk. Since College Street bridge is currently closed, cars will line up facing south on College Street across from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In the past, automobiles have lined up facing north on College Street.

"It's a mobile food pantry but it's also a drive thru. The recipients will stay in their cars. They will line up starting at 8:00 a.m. on College Street and when we have everything prepared and organized we'll start the line moving, hopefully around 9:00 a.m. Recipients will drive through. As they enter in we'll have a team there to put a box of food in their cars, either in their back seat or trunk," said spokesperson Teresa Trapp Brown.

"We will line up right across from the church (Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church) on College Street. We'll start registration at 8:00 a.m. We'll need the name of the recipients and how many families are being served. We're limited to two families per vehicle to make sure we have enough food," added Isaac Gray, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Others who wish to volunteer may show up Saturday, January 21 or call for more information at 615-464-7896

City to Unveil Results of New Water Rate Study during Workshop

January 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen (Older Photo)

What impact will losing the DeKalb Utility District as a water customer have on the City of Smithville?

Will the city have to eventually raise water rates to its own customers because of it?

The Mayor and Aldermen hope to find out when they meet with representatives of J.R. Wauford Company, the city’s utility engineer in a work shop on Monday, January 23 at 5:00 p.m. A rate study has been conducted to help make a determination.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson addressed the issue with the Mayor and Aldermen during the regular monthly meeting Monday night.

“As far as our water and sewer rate study, our engineer and our rate study gentleman Mr. Buddy Petty (who conducted the study) are ready to sit down with you (mayor and aldermen) and to discuss what they have come up with. Where we’re at now and where we think we will be once DUD comes off our lines. It seems they (DUD) have run (water) lines everywhere. I don’t think they are going to be connected to any of the master meters with the city. I’m not sure when their (DUD) water plant is going to start up. I haven’t heard. They (Wauford) would like to meet with you and go over everything and tell you what number they have come up with. We may or may not have to raise rates at some point. Unfortunately we probably will due to this,” said Hendrixson

City water customers currently pay $5.00 per thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are $7.50 per thousand gallons. City sewer customers pay $5.00 per thousand gallons plus the flat usage rate of $3.62.

Season Finale of WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" to Air Today (Thursday)

January 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Seated: Scott Brown, Joe Goodwin, and Dewain Hendrixson. Standing: John Pryor, Darrell Gill, Jeff James, Ricky Atnip, and Chad Kirby

The final edition for the season of WJLE's "Fearless Forecasters" will air today (Thursday, January 12) at 4:30 p.m.

Awards will be presented to Dewain Hendrixson of DeKalb Ace Hardware, who compiled the overall best record for the season at 168-83 and to Darrell Gill of DeKalb Tire and Service who had the most “underdog” points at 86.

Other members of the panel are Scott Brown of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Chad Kirby of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Jeff James of DeKalb County Insurance, Ricky Atnip of the Charles D. Atnip Realty and Auction Company, WJLE sports broadcaster and DCHS Teacher and Coach John Pryor, and Joe Goodwin sponsored by Liberty State Bank.

The final standings of the Fearless Forecasters in picking winners are as follows:
Dewain Hendrixson: 168-83
Ricky Atnip: 165-86 (3)
Joe Goodwin: 165-86 (3)
Jeff James: 162-89 (6)
Darrell Gill: 157-94 (11)
John Pryor: 155-96 (13)
Guests: 155-96 (13)
Scott Brown: 145-106 (23)
Chad Kirby: 145-106 (23)

Final Underdog Points Results (Number of points accumulated by the FORECASTERS according to the lines or spreads in picking underdogs who won and the records of success)
Darrell Gill: 86 points (7-12)
Jeff James: 72.5 points (6-13)
Ricky Atnip: 69.5 points (7-12)
Chad Kirby: 56.5 points (5-14)
John Pryor: 37 points (4-15)
Dewain Hendrixson: 37 points (6-12)
Scott Brown: 33.5 points (3-16)
Joe Goodwin: 16.5 points (2-17)
Guests:13 points (2-17)

The special guests who appeared on the Fearless Forecasters Show this season were TWRA officer Tony Cross, DeKalb County Fire Chief and DeKalb County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Donny Green, DCHS Girls Basketball and Softball Coach Danny Fish, Minister Bill Robertson, County Mayor Tim Stribling, DCHS Baseball Coach Jon Adam Kefauver, Rhea County High School Girls Basketball Coach Darvin Gill, Cannon County educator Freddie Curtis, Minister Larry Green, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, DCHS educator Chris Vance, DeKalb School System Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, MTNG CEO Jim Hodges, Attorney Sarah Cripps, and DCHS Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp.

Thanks to our sponsors Liberty State Bank, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, DeKalb County Insurance, DeKalb Tire and Service, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company.

Catch the final edition for the season of the "Fearless Forecasters" LIVE on WJLE today (Thursday, January 12) at 4:30 p.m.

SBA Disaster Loans Available Following Disaster Declaration for October Drought

January 12, 2017

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Tennessee as a result of the drought that began on Oct. 4, 2016.

This disaster declaration includes the following counties: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Cannon, Cheatham, Chester, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Loudon, Macon, Marshall, Maury, McMinn, McNairy, Monroe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sumner, Trousdale, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Williamson and Wilson in Tennessee.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov (link sends e-mail). Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Aug. 15, 2017.

Billings Elected to FSA Committee

January 12, 2017
R.V. Billings, Jr.

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee met in regular session on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2016 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3 (DeKalb County) County Committee Election.

In the DeKalb County LAA # 3 election, R.V. Billings, Jr. was elected to serve as Committee Member. Nathan Cook was elected as 1st Alternate Committeeperson. All elected members began their terms on January 1, 2016.

The DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee met on January 10, 2017 to conduct its Organizational Meeting. The Committee selected Jack Campbell as the Chairperson, and Javin Fann as the Vice-Chairperson for 2017. R.V. Billings, Jr, Bob Melton, and Steve Officer serve as members of the Committee. The Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at the DeKalb/Cannon County USDA Service Center located at 647 Bright Hill Rd.

Green says that the DeKalb/Cannon FSA County Committee and office staff wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA # 3 who participated in the election by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes," added Green.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency’s web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of the Month

January 11, 2017
Smithville Elementary School Recognizes Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary has begun a new program to recognize a student of the month from each grade level. Students selected for this honor will have their picture on a bulletin board at the school entrance, as well as having a yard sign that they can place in their yard for the month recognizing their selection as student of the month.

The students of the month for January are:

Pre K - Valerie Khadzhi

K - Mercy Weir

1st - Sydney Eckard

2nd - Owen Roberts

Southwell Wanted in Alabama

January 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Willie Morgan Southwell
Kody Allen Vowell
Brad Eugene Bell

After a traffic stop last week, a Smithville man was found to be wanted in Alabama.

28 year old Willie Morgan Southwell of Miller Road, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from Justice. His bond is $60,000. He will make a court appearance on January 12.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, January 5 a deputy conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for failure to maintain lane of travel. Southwell was a passenger. A computer check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) revealed that Southwell had active warrants against him in Brewington Alabama for violation of probation and failure to appear on an original charge of burglary, 3rd offense. Southwell was taken into custody and is to be extradited back to Alabama.

29 year old Kody Allen Vowell of Smyrna is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. He was also issued citations for violation of financial responsibility (no insurance) and simple possession of a schedule II drug. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is January 26.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, January 3 a deputy was dispatched to Bright Hill Road for a wreck. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Vowell who said he had been driving the car involved in the accident and that he did not have a driver license. A computer check confirmed that Vowell’s driver license were suspended in Smyrna Municipal Court for failure to pay fines for violations. He has previous violations for driving on a suspended license on March 26, 2006 and July 7, 2007 in Smyrna. Vowell could not show proof of insurance and a 1.5 milligram Hydrocone pill was found on his person.

23 year old Brad Eugene Bell is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is January 19. He was further cited for driving on roadways laned for travel and served with a failure to appear warrant out of General Sessions Court for a previous offense for driving on a suspended license.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, January 7 a deputy was traveling east on Highway 70 west when he noticed a vehicle fail to maintain its lane of travel. He stopped the automobile and spoke with the driver, Bell. A computer check revealed that Bell’s license were suspended for a Wilson County offense. Bell was placed in custody.

Dailey and Vincent to Join Grand Ole Opry

January 11, 2017
Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent

The bluegrass music super-duo of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent has been invited to become official members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dailey & Vincent are three time-winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and three-time Grammy nominees as a duo. They will be formally inducted into the Opry on March 11.

Marking their 10th year as a duo, Dailey & Vincent have made 100 appearances at the Opry, including a performance last Friday night.

During the show, Opry member Marty Stuart invited the duo to join the Opry.

Darrin and wife Julie make their home in DeKalb County.

A 21st century bluegrass duo, both Dailey and Vincent had long careers in bluegrass before they officially joined forces, Dailey as the guitarist and lead singer for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver while Vincent played for years in Ricky Skaggs' band Kentucky Thunder (plus his older sister just happened to be bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent).

Dailey and Vincent first met in 2001, and quickly discovered that their voices meshed magically, much like the rare blend of voices that legendary brother duos like the Louvin Brothers possessed. Signing with Rounder Records, the pair released the eponymous Dailey & Vincent in 2008 on the label, and the album immediately put them on the top of the bluegrass heap, winning multiple International Bluegrass Music Association awards that same year. Two more albums appeared from Rounder in 2009, Brothers from Different Mothers in March and Singing from the Heart in October. Two themed collections, Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers and The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent, were issued in 2010 and 2012, respectively, through the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and distributed through Rounder Records. The well-balanced and impressive Brothers of the Highway, released on Rounder Records, appeared in the spring of 2013.

Dailey & Vincent also have their own national television show on RFD-TV. The Dailey & Vincent Show is a weekly 30 minute music, entertainment and lifestyles show which features unique musical performances, guest segments, cooking and humor.

Mayor and Aldermen to Decide How to Pay for New Fire Truck

January 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
City Making Plans to Purchase New Fire Truck to Replace this 1992 Model

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen are looking at purchasing a new fire truck.

Although the Smithville Volunteer Fire Departments trucks have been well maintained over the years, Chief Charlie Parker says it’s time to replace one of them because of its age.

He is asking that the city buy a new Pierce Impel PUC Rescue Pumper, a combination fire engine/rescue vehicle to replace the fire department’s oldest fire truck, a 1992 model, as well as a 20 year old rescue truck and service truck.

According to Chief Parker, a new combination fire truck/rescue vehicle would be more efficient and economical and possibly require less manpower. The cost is $751,575 and the truck would be equipped with five air packs and other tools and features. “The vehicle we currently have (in mind) still has most of the key elements we are trying to incorporate into the truck. It has an increased pump capacity over what we have. It also allows us to have a bigger water flow and it adds foam capabilities that we don’t currently have. With this we could foam the runaway at the airport and for fuel fires and spills especially from large tanker trucks that come through town. It is also upgrading to a safer vehicle with more up to date features for our responders,” said Chief Parker during Monday night's monthly city council meeting.

The city has the money to buy the truck from surplus reserves and $100,000 is set aside in this year’s budget toward the purchase. However Pierce offers a two year and five year lease purchase plan with interest. The two year plan would require annual payments of $376,679. The five year option would call for payment of $158,072 in five year installments. If the city chooses a lease purchase arrangement, the first payment would not be due until next January.

Chief Parker said in order to get the truck at today’s price ($751,575) the city must act before the end of January because the price of the truck is going up next month. However the mayor and aldermen choose to pay for the new fire truck, it would still be up to a year before the city could take delivery of the truck.

During Monday night’s meeting, the mayor and aldermen decided to delay a decision on which funding option to take until a work shop/special meeting on Monday, January 23. The workshop will begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the meeting at 6:00 p.m. at city hall.

Once a new fire truck is in the fleet, the city plans to sell the 1992 truck along with the rescue truck and service truck

The fire department has three fire trucks, a 1992 and 2001 model along with a 2012 ladder truck.


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