Local News Articles

More than 60 People Indicted in Undercover Drug Investigation

April 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins

A lengthy investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Alexandria Police Department, TBI and other law enforcement agencies into a drug running operation here and in other counties of the Upper Cumberland has resulted in grand jury indictments against sixty one people charged with the illegal sale or conspiracy to sell prescription drugs. Three others were indicted on unrelated charges of theft (stealing trailers).

A special session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury met Monday and returned indictments against people locally and from other counties, who either allegedly sold or conspired to sell drugs to undercover operatives in DeKalb County. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, authorities believe the drugs were being supplied from a contact in New York.

Sheriff Ray says his department presented to the grand jury cases against forty people from throughout the county on drug charges, plus an additional twelve people in Alexandria, who were indicted as the result of a joint investigation between the sheriff's department and the Alexandria Police Department. The TBI presented cases to the grand jury against nine people, mostly from the Jackson, Overton, and Putnam County area who allegedly conspired to sell drugs in DeKalb County.

Richard Brogan, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge, says defendants in the TBI investigation were facilitating the availability of drugs locally. "The main focus of our investigation was a man by the man of Timmy Young of Gainesboro, who is known as "fat boy" on the street. He had a direct connection with the main suppliers that were bringing them in from Nashville and New York. Those pills were then distributed out to what we call "runners" that would sell to other individuals on the street level."

Agent Brogan says prescription drug abuse is a major problem in this state. "Prescription drug abuse has probably become our fastest growing problem in the State of Tennessee such as dilaudid which is synthetic morphine and oxycontin which is also a highly addictive drug. Oxycontin, for example, is selling for $80 a pill on the streets today. You can see how expensive these pills are just to buy one so you can imagine what other crimes that leads to such as burglaries, shoplifting, robberies, and things like that to take care of their habits."

Sheriff Ray says this was a "three phase drug operation. One of the phases was with the Alexandria Police Department, where we've been focusing on the housing project down there. We have been getting complaints of illegal drug sales and drug use. We've netted twelve defendants out of there", said Sheriff Ray.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins said he is appreciative for the cooperation of the sheriff's department in this investigation. " Several months back we started receiving complaints and actually most of it originated from the housing project about a lot of drug activity. Through our informants we heard that there were illegal drug sales going on at times in the housing project and other places in Alexandria. With ours being a small department, I summoned the help of the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Patrick Ray and his detectives and I, along with my Sergeant Chris Russell, began an undercover operation to see if we could buy some of these illegal drugs in Alexandria to rid the problem. We were able to make several undercover buys of illegal narcotics in the Alexandria area and outside the Alexandria area, some of them even stemmed, from our sources, out into other counties. We were able to get a total of twelve defendants actually inside the city limits of Alexandria. Most of these people who were arrested came from the housing project. They are living there in assisted living and most of these defendants are on TennCare. The government is supplying them with their medicine and they're bringing that medicine back and selling it to anyone who knocks on their door. I don't agree with that and I think it's my job and duty as a sworn police officer to try to rid that."

In addition to facing possible jail time, Chief Collins says these defendants may also be evicted from their housing project homes. "The way I understand it and speaking with the housing authority in the past is that if someone who lives there gets arrested for violations like we've got, they're subject to losing their home (evicted) and I think they should"

"When I became the police chief about three years ago, I promised the citizens of Alexandria that I would give them the best law enforcement I possibly could and I am still going to commit to that. Alexandria is a great place and we have a lot of good people."

"I just want to extend my gratitude to all the departments who have helped, especially to Sergeant Russell and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Ray, and his detectives for making this operation a success."

In addition to the Alexandria investigation, Sheriff Ray says his department worked with the TBI on it's cases and conducted a probe of it's own."We worked probably a nine month to a year long investigation with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. It focused on our local drug dealers here. It also focused on other places within our drug task force region. The investigation led into Nashville and from there to New York, the source of the drugs."

"Our department (sheriff's department) also did an investigation in which we made cases leading to indictments of three defendants charged with theft over $500, where they had taken some trailers. The other forty were drug cases. Altogether, there were sixty one indictments (for drugs), including nine from the TBI, twelve from Alexandria, and forty from the sheriff's department. Those forty came from Alexandria, Liberty, some in Dowelltown, and in the Smithville area. We tried to go all over the county and buy drugs where we could. They've been bought on every end of the county this time."

"We've bought everything from marijuana, oxycontin, dilaudid, suboxone, among other illegal drugs. The agencies involved in this operation were the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Task Force, the District Attorney General's Office, the Alexandria Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the THP Swat team, DeKalb County constables, federal marshals, and the county fire department for allowing us to use their main station on King Ridge Road (to book the prisoners), and also from concerned citizens who have called and informed us of people who they thought were in the business of selling illegal narcotics. We appreciate every call that we had. We try to check every call we get on our drug tip lines. A lot of people think that they can call in a drug dealer and by morning we'll have them put in jail. That doesn't work that way all the time. It takes a lot of surveillance work. It takes the buys themselves. We have to obtain informants to go in and make the buys. Then all the legal paper work has to be done after that to get our indictments."

Sheriff Ray adds that some of the defendants were also charged with dealing drugs in what the law classifies as a "drug free zone" where children may be present. "We charged people with being in violation of the drug free zone laws, which is being near any school, library, ball parks, or anywhere children could be present. There's a statute for that. We have numerous counts (charges) of those, where either the drug dealer lived in those areas and instructed our informants to come there to buy drugs or, in some cases, they told our informants to meet them at a certain location. Most of what we got (defendants/drugs) has been in those drug free zones where some of them lived."

In order to make room for many of these extra prisoners, Sheriff Ray says some of the state prisoners who were already in jail have been moved to other facilities. "In the last few days, we have tried to prepare for this drug roundup because naturally some of these people are not going to be able to make bond. These sixty four people would overload the jail. Our inmate population is somewhere in the 90's. That's what it's been for the last few months and on the weekends we're running close to 100 with 103 beds in the jail. So yesterday (Tuesday) we sent some state prisoners to the Macon County Sheriff's Department to serve the remainder of their time there to give us some room at the jail to house these inmates here. We also sent some (state prisoners) to the Tennessee Department of Corrections this morning (Wednesday) so that we can hold some of these individuals that can't make bond. Some of them will have violations of parole or probation warrants that will be coming with no bonds on them so naturally they won't be able to get out of jail on those."

Sheriff Ray says he is proud of his department and the teamwork shown throughout this operation. "I want to commend my department. Every correctional officer that I have, every deputy, detective, all my administrative staff, court officers, every employee I have has played a very important role in this operation. Unity is the key to power. I want to stress this. All of our outside law enforcement agencies have come in and helped us. I don't think any one department or any one officer wants to take all the credit for the operation. It's not only our job, but it's our obligation, we're sworn to uphold the law and we want this done as a team effort."

"As sheriff, I would like to dedicate our part of this operation to everyone who has lost friends and loved ones due to suicides or drug related deaths. This is the only way that law enforcement and the community can come together. If we'll bond together we can make things happen, just like it's happened today. We want to stress to everyone, keep calling in, keep working with us, and we'll hope to have another one (roundup) real soon."

As for it's part of the investigation, the TBI, in a prepared news release, states that "Nine defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to sell and deliver over 50 grams of a schedule II controlled substance and violations of the drug free school zone act. The operation called "Yellow Dot" centered around the sale and distribution of hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid."

"In February of 2009, TBI and the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force received information about a string of home burglaries and shoplifting thefts by subjects who were supporting a Dilaudid habit. That information prompted the drug investigation."

"The defendants were selling Dilaudid ranging from $20 to $30 per pill at various locations in Putnam County and Cookeville, TN. Information received during this investigation prompted the TBI to open a case into the source of the prescription drugs in Smith County and Nashville, TN. That investigation resulted in the arrest of nineteen individuals in December of 2009."

"The following defendants from TBI cases were booked into the DeKalb County Jail. Three currently have active warrants.

Charles Dowis, Cookeville, TN
Lakrisha Willis, Livingston, TN
Ron Stewart, Gainesboro TN
Tabbie Wilson, Cookeville, TN
Ted Hooten, Gainesboro, TN
Tim Young, Gainesboro, TN

Gadberry Sentenced in Aggravated Robbery of Dollar General Store

April 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jacob Gadberry
 Nina Sullivan

A man charged in an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on South Congress Boulevard on September 15th, 2009 was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

29 year old Jacob Gadberry pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery under a negotiated settlement and received an eight year sentence to serve. The term is to run consecutive to another sentence he is now serving in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Other charges against him including criminal impersonation were dismissed. Gadberry was given jail credit from September 15th, 2009 to April 12th, 2010.

Judge David Patterson presided in court on Monday.

Gadberry's partner in the crime, 20 year old Nina Natasha Sullivan pleaded guilty in March to criminal responsibility for facilitation. She received a six year sentence in the community corrections program. She was given jail credit from September 15th to March 22nd.

According to Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis' report, Sullivan entered the Dollar General store in Smithville around 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15th and asked to use the restroom. After she left, Gadberry came in the store, opened an office door where the manager was counting money, and ordered her at knife point to open the safe where he took more than three thousand dollars and left the store. No one was injured.

Shortly after the robbery, county deputies Chris McMillen and Steven Barrett stopped a 1991 Nissan at Walnut and North Mountain Street, where the two suspects were taken into custody.

Officer Davis' actual report states as follows:" I was dispatched to 513 South Congress (Dollar General Store) in reference to a robbery. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the witness who advised that the suspects were a white male wearing an orange Tennessee shirt, and a white female who was driving an older model red Nissan."

The defendant (Sullivan) opened the door where management was counting money and asked if she could use the bathroom. The witness, Dawn Allen, stated "yes" and the defendant (Sullivan) went to the bathroom. Ms. Allen stated that a few minutes later the male suspect (Gadberry) yanked open the door and had an open utility tool knife and stated " open the safe, don't hit the alarm or be stupid, get back into the chair". The suspect then took a blue and red money bag from the safe and fled the store."

County deputies McMillen and Barrett, who were apparently at the jail at the time, heard the radio traffic and saw a vehicle fitting the description driving around the public square the wrong way. They pulled the car over at the intersection of Walnut and North Mountain Street

Officer Davis' report states that "the suspects vehicle had money thrown inside the floor board and some of it was stuffed under the passengers seat. Once both suspects were removed from the vehicle, Sullivan was placed into Sergeant Joey Jones' patrol car where she attempted to hide money taken from the robbery. The amount of the money taken in the robbery is estimated at $3,011. The money was recovered in the suspects' vehicle and placed into the evidence room. At 11:59 p.m., I was attempting to locate the money bags that were taken during the robbery. I located the money bags at 201 South Third Street. These items were placed into evidence. "

Meanwhile, in other cases Monday, 25 year old Wallace Rackley pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for 180 days to serve. He was given credit for time served. Rackley must make restitution for the cost of a door damaged during the incident. A vandalism charge against him was dismissed.

Rhonda Perez, charged with worthless check over $1,000, was granted pre-trial diversion. She must perform 30 hours of community service work and abide by all other terms of her probation.

Toby L. Young pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a three year sentence. He was given credit for 320 days of time served.

26 year old Jessica Barrett pleaded guilty to promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. She received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation except for time served. She must pay a fine of $2,000. Barrett was given jail credit of 170 days.

44 year old Teresa Beasley pleaded guilty to facilitation to sell a schedule II controlled substance. She received a two year sentence, all suspended to TDOC probation. She is to be considered as a candidate for judicial diversion. Beasley must pay a $2,000 fine and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

36 year old Freddy S. Stringer, Jr. pleaded guilty to driving while suspended. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. The term is to run concurrent with a violation of probation against him

42 year old Melissa Kay Walther pleaded guilty by information to violation of the implied consent law. Her license will be suspended for two years. She may apply for a restricted license to help meet her child's medical needs.

36 year old Sharon C. Groshon pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. She was fined $50 and must perform 25 hours of community service work.

31 year old Jason K. Cline pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days with 45 days to serve. The last 28 days of the sentence may be served in an inpatient rehab program. He will then be on supervised probation. Cline will lose his license for two years and he must pay a fine of $610. He was given jail credit of 48 hours.

35 year old Brad Elliott Johnson pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run consecutively. He was also fined $900.

35 year old Christopher Bush pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $500, three counts of theft under $500, and one count of burglary of a boat. He received a total sentence of four years, suspended to supervised probation after serving 90 days. Bush must pay over $3,000 in restitution to the victims and $375 to the economic crime fund.

DCHS Graduation set for May 21st

April 12, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hunter Tramel

A total of 170 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, Hunter Tramel, the Class President, Amanda Ours and Guest speaker Michael Burt, a championship coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, author, and culture builder.

The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus is also expected to perform.
The honor students will be recognized including the 2010 Valedictorian Hunter Tramel and the Salutatorian Wesley Blair.

Students among the top twenty five senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty five are as follows: Hunter Tramel, Wesley Blair, Grant James, Caleb Spencer, Meagan Sullivan, Hunter Poteete, Seth Willoughby, Amanda Ours, Reddy Munagala, Cynthia Woodward, Tyler Harbaugh, Tiffany Young, Haley Snyder, Erica Neely, Jared Adams, Dakota Dexter, Payne Denman, Nicholas Goff, Caroline Carter, Kendra Foutch, Kyle Hogue, Jessica Fox, Lindsey Harden, Austin Garrett, and Gabrielle Byford.

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include
Hunter Tramel-Valedictorian 4.0, Wesley Blair- Salutatorian 4.0, Grant James 4.0, Erica Neely 4.0, Hunter Poteete 4.0, Caleb Spencer 4.0, Meagan Sullivan 4.0, Seth Willoughby 4.0, Cynthia Woodward 4.0, Jared Adams, Caroline Carter, Payne Denman, Dakota Dexter, Kendra Foutch, Jessica Fox, Austin Garrett, Nicholas Goff, Tyler Harbaugh, Kyle Hogue, Reddy Munagala, Amanda Ours, Haley Snyder, and Tiffany Young

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Gabrielle Byford, Axyl Chalfant, Tyler Dunaway, Kayla Ellis, Sabrina Griffin, Lindsey Harden, Katie Nixon, and Katelyn Stutts.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Paulina Alfaro, Matthew Antoniak, Reeves Beller, Elicia Cantrell, Samantha Coe, Rachel Cunningham, Brandon Dyer, Abram Edwards, Whitney Gann, Jaylen Garrett, Jessica Goldstein, April Hale, Ethan Hale, Stephanie Hobbs, Conner Jones, Sasha Knowles, Abigail Laprad, Layne Mathis, Tyler McCloud, Brad Michaels, Travis Neal, Zachary Odom, Morgan Page, Micah Prichard, Kristian Puckett, Myra Tramel, and Joseph Vickers.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2010 are as follows:

Jared Adams, Angela Alfaro, Paulina Alfaro, Schuylar Allen, Taylor Allen, Matthew Antoniak, Nathan Armour, Brandon Atnip, and Corey Atnip,

Autumn Banks, Reeves Beller, Lance Bennett, Wesley Blair, Hillary Bowman, Michael Briley, Brittany Brown, Natasha Burrage, Gabrielle Byford,

Jade Cade, Ashly Caldwell, Elicia Cantrell, Macey Cantrell, Caroline Carter, Axyl Chalfant, Mindy Chrisman, Holly Cikalo, Dakota Clark, Samantha Coe, Britany Collier, Matthew Collier, John D. Crutcher, Jordan Crutcher, Rachel Cunningham, Jodi Curtis,

Kandi Davenport, Michael Davenport, Ethan Davis, Payne Denman, Dakota Dexter, Ryan Dodd, Tyler Dunaway, Brandon Dyer,

Abram Edwards, Kayla Ellis,

Allen Faux, Kendra Foutch, Jessica Fox, Cody Fults,

Whitney Gann, Austin Garrett, Jaylen Garrett, Juan Godinez, Nicholas Goff, Jessica Goldstein, Sabrina Griffin,

Brandon Haas, Megan Hackett, Travis Hagan, April Hale, Ethan Hale, Tavisha Hall, Tyler William Harbaugh, Lindsey JoAnn Harden, Kirsten Nichole Hardison, Rebecca Lee Haynes, Ashley Breanna Hendrixson, Mizael Hernandez, Michael Austen Highers, Aaron E. Hines, Stephanie Hobbs, Daryl Lindsay Hobby, Kyle Patrick Hogue, Christopher Garrett Hoke, Chelsea Lee Holden, Kayla Dawn Hubbard,

Grant James, Bethany Nichol Johnson, Cody A. Johnson, Travon Aki Johnson, Conner Jones,

Colby Mason Kelnhofer, Tyler Kemp, Sasha Suzanne Knowles, Daniel Kosirog,

Kimberly Ann Lanier, Abigail Laprad, Heather Nicole Lee, John W. Licht, Chelsye Janae Linder,

Ryan Macy, Mark Mason, Jessica Lauren Matthews, Layne Thomas Mathis, Talisha Mathis, Ethan Matthews, Tyler McCloud, Shaun McGinnis, Heather Melton, Brad Michaels, Lyndsey Miller, Joseph Miller, Ross Moore, Kane Morgan, Frank Morris, Veronica Mullins, Tejaswi Munagala,

Jesus Narvaez, Kayla Neal, Travis Neal, Zachary Neal, Erica Neely, Katie Nixon, Jenna Norris,

William Odom, Zachary Odom, Lizabeth Oliva, Andrea Ottinger, Amanda Ours, Ashley Owen,

Brian Pack, Morgan Page, Piyush Patel, Carlos Perez, Jonathan Plattenburg, Hunter Poteete, Sarah Price, Micah Prichard, Brandon Puckett, Kristian Puckett, Salvador Puentes, Brandon Pyles,

Raul Ramirez, Chandler Robinson, Casey Rowland,

Joi Satterfield, Anthony Schellingburger, Tiffani Scott, Jason Singleton, Eddie Lee Smith, Haley Snyder, Hilda Soto, Caleb Spencer, Kristina Stephens, Britta Strayn, John Strayn, Andrea Stringer, Katelyn Stutts, Meagan Sullivan, Dustin Summers, Jesse Sutton,

Corey Tate, Nicole Taylor, Vanessa Taylor, Kyle Thomas, Nathaniel Tippens, Jaime Torres, Hunter Tramel, Myra Tramel, Joshua Tyree,

Justin Vandergriff, Katelyn Vanwinkle, Joseph Vickers,

Ashley Waggoner, Jessica Walden, Daniel Watts, Tyler Weatherby, Tiffany Wheeler, Seth Willoughby, Cynthia Woodward,

Tiffany Young.

Two Small Children Airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital after Swallowing Lamp Oil

April 12, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two small children were airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital Saturday afternoon after they allegedly swallowed lamp oil at their home.

Dorothy Kifer called 911 from a cell phone at 12:53 p.m. to report the incident. She said that her 2 year old and 3 year old had swallowed some lamp oil.

DeKalb EMS was sent to the residence at 1190 Smith Fork Road. The children were later airlifted by Air Evac and a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Information on the present condition of the children was unavailable to WJLE as of Monday afternoon

13th Annual Relay for Life set for June 4th

April 12, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Scene from 2009 Relay for Life Cancer Survivors Walk
Scene from 2009 Relay for Life Cancer Survivors Walk

The 13th annual Relay for Life in DeKalb County will be held starting Friday, June 4th at Greenbrook Park, going all night until early Saturday morning, June 5th.

The Relay for Life is usually held on Mother's Day weekend in May, but Casey Midgett, the DeKalb County Chairman for Relay, says the committee decided to change the date, hoping for a little dryer weather. "We just met as a group late last year and decided that maybe moving it to June would be something that might benefit everybody. We're at least going to try it this year so on Friday, June 4th we'll have our Relay for Life and we're looking forward to it. We're going to start praying that it doesn't rain."

"Relay is a 12 hour event. You know, cancer never sleeps so we're going to be there all night in support of those who have cancer, who have won the battle against it, or who have lost their lives to it."

"Our goal is $100,000 this year but we'd like to do even better than that. We raised $80,000 last year but we'd like to get back to that point ($100,000) because this money comes back to us here. We send a lot of it to research to try and find a cure so we don't even have to do this (fund raising) anymore. But a lot of people don't realize that people who suffer from cancer in DeKalb County can have access to some of the money that is raised, not simply through ours but all the relays that are done, when they're battling cancer. When they're going to the hospitals in Nashville and having to deal with this, we have programs out there that will help these people with transportation or if they have to stay down there we'll help them with lodging. We call it a HOPE lodge. It's basically a house/hotel type place where they can stay for free. They just have to go through the channels to get that. So it's not all going just for research, it's also going for practical purposes to try to help someone who is suffering from this. You don't want to have to worry about money when you're having to deal with this (cancer) and if we can take that worry from you, then I think we've done a good job."

Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, the people who have faced cancer first hand are honored, and those who have been lost to this disease are remembered.

But, Relay isn't about taking laps -- it's about coming together in the fight against cancer. It’s a time to remember those lost to this disease and celebrate those who have survived. It’s a place where people connect with others, share the cancer experience, and find comfort and solace. And it's an opportunity to build hope for a future where cancer no longer threatens the lives of the people we love.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations.

On June 4th, the community will gather together as one group to help in the battle against cancer. At Greenbrook Park in Smithville, dozens of teams, volunteers, community leaders, and citizens will enjoy the annual Relay for Life event. Plans are to have lots of entertainment and food available that evening, starting at around 6:00 pm. Planning for the Relay is a year round event and the organizers hope that you will enjoy what they have in store for you. Relay is the largest community event held in DeKalb County. Please join in for this special night and have lots of fun helping raise money.

For more information about participating in Relay for Life, contact Casey Midgett, Lynn Miller, or Iva dell Randolph

Meanwhile, on the second weekend in June, a 5K and One Mile Fun Run will be held to benefit Relay for Life. "It's the Relay 5K and it'll be held on Saturday, June 12th, the weekend after Relay for Life", said Lynn Miller. " It's a 5K and a one mile Fun Run. All the money from that event will go to Relay for Life. If you're interested in participating in the 5K and Fun Run, you can come by and see me at Regions Bank to pick up a form or you may contact Casey Midget. Forms are also available at other locations."

Mother Charged with Child Abuse and Neglect

April 12, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jamie Lee Beising
Officers Find Beising Home in Unsanitary Condition
Officers Find Beising Home in Unsanitary Condition2
Gary Edward Matthews
James Freddy Summers
Stephanie Jean Perry
Brittney Danielle Barnes
Kenny Dyal Jr

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a woman for child abuse and neglect on Saturday after finding the residence in an unsanitary condition.

Jamie Lee Beising will be in court on the charges April 22nd. Her bond is set at $10,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday a deputy was dispatched to the residence of Beising, who lives on Old Snow Hill Road in Dowelltown, in answer to a complaint of an unattended child who was left in the home.

Upon arrival, the officer talked with the father of the two year old child. The father, who does not live at this residence, said he heard his child screaming when he approached the home and found the youngster there alone. The mother returned about fifteen minutes after the deputy arrived.

According to Sheriff Ray, the officer entered the residence and was horrified to find loose trash, piles of dirty diapers, rat waste on uneaten food, mold in the refrigerator, flies and maggots throughout the home and in a bedroom where the child slept was loose trash piled up even with the bed.

The Department of Children's Service was called to assist in the case and the child was removed from the mother's care.

In other crime news, 37 year old Gary Edward Matthews of Four Seasons Road Smithville is charged with simple possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone). His bond is $2,500 and he will appear in General Sessions Court on April 29th.

Sheriff Ray says on Monday, April 5th, a deputy responded to a call at the Puckett's Point boat ramp and spotted Matthews who he knew had an active state warrant against him for failure to appear at the DeKalb County Jail to serve weekends. Matthews was arrested and during a pat down search, the officer found five pills believed to be Hydrocodone in his pants pocket.

31 year old James "Freddy" Summers of Hodges Road, Smithville and 25 year old Stephanie Jean Perry of Sparta Highway Smithville were charged Wednesday, April 7th with manufacture of methamphetamine. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy stopped their vehicle for a traffic violation at the intersection of College Street and McMinnville Highway. After receiving consent to search, the officer found components used to manufacture methamphetamine. Found in the trunk of the vehicle were a plastic container wrapped in electrical tape that contained 30 pseudoephedrine pills, a gallon of muratic acid, lye, alcohol, charcoal lighter fluid, 2 packs of cold pack wraps, 2 mason jars, a glass measuring cup, black tape, duct tape, 10 lithium batteries, 3 knives, pipe cutter, screw driver, plastic funnel, aluminum foil, 28 feet of tubing, rubber gloves, a gas can, and a one liter bottle all packed in a duffel bag. Bond for Summers and Perry is $10,000 each and they will appear in court on April 22nd.

29 year old Nieka "Nikki" Patton of South College Street, Smithville was arrested on Friday, April 9th after she was stopped for a traffic offense at the intersection of Bright Hill Road and Sparta Highway. A driver's license check was conducted and Patton was found to be driving on a suspended license for failure to satisfy a citation on April 24th in DeKalb County. Her bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on April 21st.

22 year old Brittney Danielle Barnes of West Church Street Smithville was arrested on Friday, April 9th and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of a controlled substance (Xanax), and resisting arrest. Her bond is set at $4,500 and she will appear in court on April 15th. Sheriff Ray says a deputy spotted Barnes in a vehicle at the intersection of Allen Ferry Road and Cookeville Highway and had knowledge of an active warrant against her to serve a jail sentence for violation of probation. As the officer walked to the door of the vehicle he saw Barnes shoving something down her pants. Barnes said it was cigarettes. When the officer tried to remove her from the vehicle Barnes became combative. Before placing her in the back of the patrol car, the deputy conducted a search to make sure that there was nothing there. After arriving at the jail, the officer checked the back seat again after Barnes was removed and found cigarettes and a pill believed to be Xanax. Barnes also had two hypodermic needles in her purse.

23 year old Kenny Dyal Jr of Floyd Drive, Smithville was charged on Saturday, April 10th with two counts of theft of property and one count of aggravated burglary. Officers from the Sheriff's Department were dispatched that day to investigate a burglary on Oak Drive Smithville. They also had information about another break-in. Upon arrival at Dyal's home, deputies saw Dyal running through his residence and trying to hide a television. They obtained consent to search and found items in the home believed to be stolen. Dyal was taken to the Sheriff's Department for questioning and admitted to detectives that he broke into a residence on Lakeview Circle and that he also bought property which he had knowledge was stolen. Bond for Dyal was set at $7,000 and will appear in court on April 15th.. More arrests are pending.

22 year old Andres Loradeo Martinez of West Avenue, Crossville and 20 year old Juan Carlos Valencia of Joe Tabor Road, Crossville were arrested on Sunday, April 11th for public intoxication Sheriff Ray says officers received a call to break up a fight at a bar on Sparta Highway. These two men were found to be intoxicated having blood shot eyes. They were unsteady on their feet and had and an odor of an alcoholic beverage on them. Bond for both was set at $1,000 and they will they appear in court on April 22nd.

Meanwhile on Monday, April 5th the DeKalb County Grand Jury toured and inspected the DeKalb County Jail and Annex. The following is a statement from the Grand Jury.

"We the Grand Jury of April 5, 2010 visited the DeKalb County Sheriff's facility. We found the Sheriff to be cooperative and open with the running of his department. The facility was very clean. Sheriff Ray gave us a financial report that informed the group of his being well within his budget."

Signed by members of the Grand Jury and the Grand Jury Foreman.

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

April 10, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers.

Senate Committees approved several important bills this week as they prepare to close for the 2010 legislative session. The focus will shift next week to the state budget as the State Legislature plans to conclude the 106th General Assembly within three to four weeks.

Committees prepare to close for 2010 session and address important issues, including resolutions against overreaching by Congress

Among legislation approved this week were two resolutions designed to fight back against the overreach of power from Congress, which includes the passage of the massive federal healthcare bill last month. Senate Joint Resolution 897, sponsored by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and co-sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers and which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, urges Tennessee’s Attorney General to join a growing number of other states in challenging the unconstitutional provisions in the federal government takeover of the nation’s health care system. The resolution states the General Assembly shares the concern with at least eighteen other states that mandated insurance coverage for citizens within their boundaries violates the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Currently eighteen states, over one-third of the United States, are seeking to challenge the federal law in court.

Similarly, the Senate State and Local Government Committee and the full Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 715, which asks Congress to submit to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to stop the practice of passing unfunded mandates and programs to the states, except in a situation of financial emergency as declared by a two-thirds vote of their membership.

The resolution comes after the passage the federal healthcare bill, which is estimated to possibly cost the state as much as $200 million annually.

The proposed amendment would prohibit the federal government from authorizing state participation in federal programs or services unless funding is guaranteed by the federal government for the full duration of the programs or services. If federal funds are not appropriated for the program or service, the law enacted or regulation promulgated would become null and void.

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Resolution to let citizens decide whether the state’s Attorney General should be elected

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, would amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years.

“Tennessee is the only state in the nation that allows the State Supreme Court to select the attorney general,” said Senator Beavers, who is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “Forty-three states already select their attorney generals through popular election and it is time for this General Assembly to also show their confidence in the collective wisdom of the people of Tennessee.”

In six other states, the Attorney General is selected by either the popularly elected Governor or the popularly elected state legislature. Beavers said that when Tennessee’s Constitution was written calling for nomination by the Supreme Court Justices, the court was popularly elected.

“Tennessee is the only state in the nation in which the people have neither a direct nor indirect voice in the selection of their Attorney General,” Beavers added. “Someone has to be accountable to the people, and this week’s AG opinion on the Health Freedom Act shows once again, the importance of having an Attorney General who represents the will of the people of this state.”

The amendment process would require approval by both the 106th General Assembly currently in session and the 107th, which will take office in 2011. If approved, the question would then go to voters in a statewide referendum in the year 2014.

“Along with the overwhelming majority of Tennesseans and 96% of the rest of this nation, I feel that the citizens of this state ought to have a ‘say so’ in the highest legal office in Tennessee,” she concluded.

Issues In Brief

Unemployment – Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2010 was 10.7 percent, unchanged from the January rate of 10.7 percent according to newly released statistics. The United States unemployment rate for the month of February was 9.7 percent. County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February 2010 show that the rate decreased in 78 counties, increased in 10 counties and remained the same in seven counties.

Child Abduction – The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation, Senate Bill 3065, which aims to reduce the risk of child abduction in Tennessee. The bill would provide courts with guidelines to follow regarding potential child abductions and to provide courts with appropriate measures to prevent these crimes. The legislation would provide judges with information about abduction risk factors so that they can place appropriate restrictions to prevent abductions. Among factors included are whether the respondent has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the child; has threatened to abduct the child; has engaged in domestic violence; has refused to follow a child-custody determination; has strong family or cultural ties to another state or country; or other related factors.

Voter Registration – The Senate State and Local Government Committee has approved Senate Bill 194, which would require voter registration forms to carry a disclaimer that clarifies giving false information to register to vote carries a criminal penalty. The legislation also requires that the applicant affirm that they are lawfully in the United States.

Veterans / State Parks – The full Senate has passed legislation to instruct the Division of Parks and Recreation to designate one day per year during which access to and use of all state parks would be free of charge for all veterans. The bill, Senate Bill 3212, includes use of campgrounds, and golf courses, as long as the veteran shows proof of their status.

Finance Group upgrades state’s credit rating – Tennessee’s credit rating has been upgraded by Fitch Ratings from a AA to a AAA rating. Fitch is a leading global rating agency which provides the world's credit markets with independent credit opinions. Fitch, together with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, are the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 10, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

Greetings! I was extremely blessed to have my father with me at the capitol this week. He spent the day attending committee meetings and house session with me, seeing exactly how law is made. It was truly an honor to have him with me.

Many bills are steadily being heard as session keeps rolling along. On Monday evening, the House unanimously passed legislation that prohibits the Board of Medical Examiners from issuing a license to practice medicine in Tennessee to anyone convicted of and registered as a violent sexual offender. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in late March.

In addition to prohibiting violent sexual offenders from practicing any kind of medicine, the bill also requires the board to hold a hearing regarding any application to practice medicine from a non-violent sexual offender. During the hearing the medical board has to consider the extent to which the applicant poses a risk to patients before determining whether or not to grant a medical license.

Bill to ensure fiscal accuracy passes House
This week legislators passed a measure requiring the audit of fiscal notes after the end of each legislative session in an effort to help ensure their accuracy. Fiscal notes are official estimates given to the cost associated with each proposed piece of legislation. The audits will compare the estimated cost of the legislation as stated by the official fiscal note to the actual cost of implementing the law change by its affected agency or department. Having already passed the Senate, the bill is now on its way to the Governor.

Fiscal notes are written by the Legislative Fiscal Review Committee, and are often the subject of debate and can impact the outcome of legislation due to the estimated cost. Any piece of legislation with a fiscal note that indicates even $1 of cost must go through the Budget Subcommittee and Finance Committees, an added step to the legislative process. The Fiscal Review Committee bases fiscal notes on cost estimates given to them by the affected governmental agency or department.

House leaders ask Bredesen to reconsider state employee bonuses
House leaders sent a letter to Governor Bredesen this week asking him to reconsider the state employee bonus plan in the current proposed budget. The leaders said members are concerned about handing out bonuses to all state employees, while laying off others. In addition, they stated they felt it was inappropriate that many state employees at the top of the pay scale stand to receive $4,000 to $5,000 bonuses as lawmakers struggle to find ways to balance the budget.

The Governor proposed an across the board three percent bonus for all state employees including those top executive cabinet members who make $130,000 to $180,000. The estimated cost to the state for the bonuses is $164 million. In a year where lawmakers are watching every penny, House leaders question whether or not bonuses are appropriate.

The letter went on to say, “We recognize that state employees play a critical role in the day to day operation of this state, however, we question whether $164 million in three percent employee bonuses are appropriate in a year when so many cuts and reductions in state departments and programs are necessary.”

The letter was sent to the Governor’s office Thursday afternoon, as lawmakers wait for the Governor’s supplemental budget amendment which is scheduled to be released on April 15th.

Committee discusses eminent domain proposal
Legislation that would strengthen the state’s eminent domain laws was discussed at length in the House Judiciary Committee this week. House Bill 3338 would entitle property owners to recoup certain costs incurred in contesting eminent domain action from the condemning authority. The bill was amended to allow for non-binding arbitration to reduce time and cost for small businesses.

The sponsor of the bill argued that abusive practices are not currently discouraged. If the bill is successful, it would give property owners a better opportunity to defend themselves. The meeting was adjourned before a vote was taken on the legislation, which is scheduled again for next Wednesday.

Race to the Top allocations to school systems announced
The Tennessee Department of Education released tentative totals this week as to how much money each school system in the state can expect as a result of winning the “Race to the Top” program. State officials said the numbers are tentative, as they will be traveling to Washington soon to finalize the details regarding the specific dollar amount the state will receive.

The state is set to receive approximately $500 million. About $250 million of that will be divided between school systems across the state. Each individual school system must decide what the money will be used for, although the program does have certain restrictions. Funds cannot be used for facilities, capital projects, buses, or raises. To find out how much the school system in your community will tentatively receive, contact your state representative’s office.

Tennessee ‘middle of the pack’ in census returns
The United States Census Bureau reported this week that Tennessee’s participation rate is estimated at roughly 64 percent, putting the state in the middle of the pack in regards to return rates. Because federal funding for money returning to Tennessee is based upon the population as counted by the census, it is important that all Tennesseans respond.

Some areas with low return rates will see additional census forms mailed to their homes after research showed re-sending forms could increase the response rate by 7 to 10 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau said if people filled out and returned a form but receive another, they should destroy the duplicate.

In closing, it is an honor to serve and represent you the 40th District. If you would like to visit my office to discuss upcoming legislation, any particular concerns, or just to see what it is that the Representatives do up here please give my office a call.

Smithville Police Make Arrest in Stolen Van Investigation

April 10, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have arrested a man for auto theft and vandalism in a stolen van investigation.

23 year old Justin Hale of 240 Poplar Street was arrested last Sunday. His bond is set at $30,000 and he will be in court on April 15th.

On Easter Sunday, Corporal Travis Bryant was advised by Deputy Bobby Johnson that he had recovered a vehicle on McMinnville Highway on Saturday, April 3rd. At the time of recovery, the automobile had not been reported stolen. Upon investigation of the abandoned vehicle, officers discovered that it had been stolen from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home.

Corporal Bryant spoke with Renee Hennessee of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home and she stated that the van had been parked around back of the funeral home and was last seen on Friday, April 2nd at approximately 8:30 p.m..

Officers found damage to the inside and outside of the van and the license plate on it had been stolen from a 2006 Chevy van in Warren County sometime over the weekend. Upon further investigation, Hale was arrested for auto theft and vandalism.

39 year old Cheryl Ann Perkins of 1001 King Ridge Road, Dowelltown was cited by Officer Scott Davis on Friday, April 2nd for shoplifting. Ms. Perkins was observed by a Wal-Mart employee taking several items of merchandise. She allegedly had them on her person and attempted to leave the store without paying for them. She will be in General Sessions Court on April 15th.

34 year old Guillermo Villa Reyes of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was arrested on Friday, April 2nd for driving under the influence. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was assisting EMS at 322 West Broad Street when he discovered Mr. Reyes passed out behind the wheel of his car in the parking lot. There were several beers about the car and the parking lot in the immediate area of the vehicle. The keys were in the ignition. Officer Tatrow noticed Mr. Reyes bleeding from his nose and eye area from small lacerations. Upon waking him, the officer asked Reyes to exit the vehicle. He was so unsteady that he could not stand without aide from Officer Tatrow and Officer Nathan Estes. Mr. Reyes also had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person. Field sobriety tests were not performed due to the language barrier and for fear of Mr. Reyes' safety due to his inability to stand without aide. Mr. Reyes was arrested for DUI and transported to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital, where he received treatment for the injuries on his face. It was later discovered that Mr. Reyes had fallen some time before Officer Tatrow had made contact with him. Reyes submitted to chemical tests to determine the alcohol/drug content of his blood. The results of those tests are pending. Bond for Reyes was set at $1,500 and his court date is April 22nd.

35 year old Jeremy Aaron Bilbrey of 415 West Broad Street was arrested on Tuesday, April 6th. for driving on a revoked license. Sergeant Randy King was responding to a call when he saw Bilbrey driving a red one ton truck. Sergeant King knew Bilbrey's license was revoked for DUI due to his plea in criminal court in DeKalb County. Bond for Bilbrey was set at $1,000 and his court date is May 6th.

32 year old Terika D Faux of 3075 Sparta Highway was arrested on Thursday, April 8th for two counts of unauthorized use of a credit card. On Wednesday, April 7th Corporal Travis Bryant met with Tiffany Wright who said that on Tuesday, April 6th her wallet had been stolen out of her car in Lebanon and when she checked her bank records she discovered two unauthorized purchases made at McDonald's and McDonald's Red Box in Smithville. Upon further investigation, Corporal Bryant viewed surveillance video and saw Ms. Faux using Ms. Wright's debit card at a business in Watertown which led to his questioning of Ms. Faux. She was advised of her rights and questioned about the theft of Ms. Wright's wallet. She completed a statement at the police department where she allegedly admitted taking and using the items. Her bond is set at $2,000 and her court date is April 15th.

50 year old Judy Vaughn Youngblood of 310 East Broad Street was cited on Thursday, April 8th for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. While K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was investigating a complaint of drug activity at 310 East Broad Street, he received verbal consent to search the residence. Approximately .10 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana was recovered in the kitchen area in a canister as well as from a tackle box. Also found was a round blue device believed to have been used to crush the marijuana. A pair of scales believed to have been used to weigh the marijuana was also recovered from the tackle box. Youngblood's court date is May 6th..

37 year old Jeffery Lynn Murphy of 399 Cooper Drive McMinnville was arrested on Friday, April 9th by Sergeant Randy King for violation of probation. Murphy is being held without bond. His court date is April 12th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Sunday, April 4th Officer Scott Davis took a theft report at 428 Morgan Drive. The victim stated that she noticed her green/black gas weed eater missing around 3:00 pm. She said the last time she saw the weed eater was on Saturday, April 3rd and it was lying on top of her lawn mower.

On Thursday, April 8th, Officer Scott Davis took a report of theft from a vehicle at 415 West Broad Street. According to the three victims involved, they had left some items in a vehicle around 7:00 p.m on Wednesday, April 7th and went out of town. After returning they discovered some things missing. Items taken were: Garmin GPS, Craftsman socket set and two Memphis Mojo sub woofers.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

The Smithville Police Department has also received complaints of a scam targeting the elderly. According to citizens, people are approaching elderly homeowners requesting to do odd jobs around their residence. They request payment before service is rendered. Once paid, they do not return to provide services. Anyone approached by such persons should not pay until service is completed. Also anyone having information regarding such activity is requested to contact the Smithville Police Department or the tip line at 464-6046.

The Smithville Police Department is also currently investigating several other types of scams that have recently been reported.

Lt. Steven Leffew would like to make you aware of how you can help protect yourself from being victimized by these scams.

Reduce your risk of telephone fraud scams
When you're speaking with an unknown caller, keep in mind these tactics for avoiding phone fraud:

"When in doubt, ask for more information in writing about the organization calling or the offer being presented.

"Never feel obligated to provide your credit card number over the phone.

"Educate yourself about the cost of "900" number calls and how you can block such calls from getting through.

"Get as many details as you can - for example, ask how much of your donation will go toward the charity as opposed to paying for administrative costs. The fewer questions the caller can answer, the less likely he or she is legitimate.

"Get a call-back number, either so you can initiate the call yourself or because you may need to report it later.

"Stay informed so you're aware of the latest trends in telephone fraud.

Your best response
If you encounter one of these all-too-common scenarios, you'll be prepared to handle it.

"If you get a call from someone posing as a representative from your financial institution and asking for your account or personal information, hang up immediately and call your bank to verify any claims.

"If a telemarketer offers you a get-rich-quick opportunity, the best response is to turn him or her down right away.

"Avoid offers informing you that you've won a prize. Respondents are often asked to pay for "shipping" or a "deposit" for a prize that never existed in the first place.

"Be wary of calls soliciting contributions to charitable causes, particularly those regarding disaster relief. Many times, these solicitors are not legitimate. You're better off choosing a worthy cause and contacting them yourself than responding to a random telefunding request.

Reduce your risk of home fraud scams
Be sure to take these everyday precautions for the general well-being of your financial information.

"Monitor your accounts online at least once a week so you'll have early notice of any suspicious activities. In addition, paying and monitoring your bills online will eliminate the risk of having printed statements lost, misplaced or removed from your mailbox.

"Get your credit report, and make sure everything appears correct. You're entitled to a free copy every 12 months, so there's no reason to hold off.

"Opt in to your financial institution's offer to have "account alerts" delivered to your cell phone or email. It's another way of staying on top of your account activity so you can respond promptly if you notice anything amiss.

"Don't give out financial or other personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and have confirmed the identity of the party on the other end. Don't be afraid to ask questions, including asking for a callback number. Get more information about how you can protect yourself from mail and phone fraud.

"Store important documents in a secure, locked box - preferably a strongbox that cannot be damaged by fire, flood, or other disaster.

"Keep personal records, payroll information, insurance files, and other sensitive information stored securely out of sight to minimize the chances that your papers end up in the wrong hands. Half of all identity fraud is committed by friends, family members, relatives, employees, live-in caregivers, and other individuals working in or around the home.

Check the mail
Your mailbox is an extension of your home and is, therefore, another channel you should protect from unwanted intruders.

"Never give out personal information in a reply envelope. Identity thieves may send out official-looking letters, often posing as banks.

"Beware of notices announcing that you've won a prize, such as an expensive TV or car. Some scams request for victims to pay substantial "shipping" fees for delivery, but the prize never arrives. A similar scam is an invitation that asks you to send money in order to participate in a foreign lottery.

"Watch out for bills that do not arrive as expected, unexpected credit card account or account statements, denial of credit for no apparent reason, and letters about purchases you did not make.

"Notify your Post Office or fill out the online form immediately if you change your address. You should also make sure your mailbox is secured, promptly remove delivered mail, and put your postal delivery on hold before you go on vacation.

"If you receive any suspicious correspondence or if a forwarding order has been placed on your mail without your knowledge, contact your Post Office right away. To file a complaint about mail theft or fraud, notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

School Board says Okay to Softball Field at DeKalb Middle

April 8, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School Principal Randy Jennings Addresses School Board

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night approved a request from Principal Randy Jennings and Head Coach Karen Pelham for the construction of a softball field for the Lady Saints fast pitch softball team.

In a letter to the board, Jennings and Pelham wrote, "The DeKalb County Middle School Softball Program and Booster Club would like permission to utilize the land behind the school to construct a softball field for the fast pitch softball team. This project would be done through donations and possibly fundraising and would be at no cost to the local school system."

"This field would benefit the softball program tremendously. Currently, games are played at the Bill Page Park and a few games are played at the DCHS field. Practices are conducted at the Bill Page Park which means parents are responsible for getting their child to the field for practice after school. This would eliminate the transportation issue and would make the facility more accessible to the students and coaches."

Jennings also addressed the board in person during Thursday night's meeting . "We're not trying to say that by this time next year we want something that looks like DeKalb County High School's softball field. We understand it's probably going to take a few years to get it completely up and running but we'd like to at least get started so that maybe we can practice there so that we alleviate the transportation issues on a daily basis for practices and then maybe in the year after get it (field) in a condition to where maybe we can have some bleachers so we can start playing some games there. Eventually we want to have some type of press box, restrooms, and things to be able to hold all our games there."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, in a brief update on personnel moves, announced that Walteen Parker, Basketball Cheerleader Coach has resigned that position. Larry Steffee, a teacher at DCHS is retiring.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring administrative and instructional support staff.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson read the resolution, " Whereas, administrative and instructional support staff members provide services and handle functions which are essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of our schools; and

Whereas, administrative and instructional support staff members tend to bring encouragement, cheer, goodwill, and support to our schools each day. They brighten the lives of our students and other staff members and help to make schools inviting places; and

Whereas, our teachers and administrators depend upon administrative and instructional support staff members to prepare learning materials, operate the office and carry out business functions, tutor, counsel, advise and guide individual students and perform a variety of other activities that result in an improved learning environment for students and their teachers throughout the school year; and

Whereas, some administrative and instructional support staff members serve as the faces of our schools welcoming and assisting students and visitors while others work behind the scenes. They all build public support for our schools by carrying success stories about schools to their communities; and

Whereas, the Board values the efforts, achievements, commitment and immeasurable support of administrative and instructional support staff members who strive to improve the educational process for each student;

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Board of Education hereby establishes April 15th, 2010 as Administrative and Instructional Support Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board encourages all faculty, students, and members of the community to join us in recognizing these individuals on this day for the vital role they play in the success of our school system and in the lives of students."

School Health Coordinator Dee Anna Persinger updated the board on the recent H1N1 clinics and the spring break backpack program. "I just wanted everybody to know that we just wrapped up our H1N1 clinic. Our second dose was given on Tuesday to approximately 108 students. Those were the children under the age of ten that required the second dose."

"Also our backpack program for spring break was very successful. We were able to do that through donations only this time. No money was received through coordinated school health. It was all done through churches, individuals, and a great partnership with the Keltonburg United Methodist Church and Second Harvest. We fed about 150 students and we included all five schools this time instead of just one. We are planning on doing this again for summer break so we're collecting food and we're looking for more food donations."

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade informed the board that TCAP testing will begin next week. "It's an opportunity for our three through eighth grade students to show what all they have learned. Our testing window will open up on Friday (April 16th) and we will be doing Reading/Language Arts. On Monday, we will start with Math. On Tuesday, we will be testing Science and on Wednesday we will be testing Social Studies. Each day these tests come in part one and part two with approximately one hour for each part so the children will be taking the tests most of the mornings. Parents, please have your children present in school and on time on those days because it will be very important that they take the tests with us. In the afternoon there will be make up times so please have your children there all day long. If they do miss a day, they will have an opportunity to make up that test in the afternoon and later in the week because do we have a six day window to test."

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 says it's also testing time for high school students. "The last week of April, starting April 27th through May 3rd we will begin our on-line gateway assessment for Algebra I, English II, and Biology I students who are scheduled to take the gateway assessment on-line. Following that, the first and second weeks of May, we will be administering the End of Course Assessments starting with the Algebra I, English II and Biology End of Course. The second week of May, we will begin with our other non-AYP End of Course Assessments, U.S. History and English IX. The third week of May we begin our finals and of course graduation is on May 21st. So as my counterpart said be sure your students come to school well nourished, well rested so that they will do well on these assessments. They have had some tremendous successes this year already and we look forward to them, this second semester, having even greater successes."

Amanda Dakas of the DeKalb County Education Association reported to the board that the DCEA has won a state award for membership growth. The award will be presented on May 7th at the Nashville Convention Center. Dakas added " I'm proud of our teachers for their professional involvement and we thank you for always working with our organization."

Dakas also acknowledged Greg Owens who won the Friend of Education Award for the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Education Association's highest award. He was nominated last fall by the DeKalb County Education Association. Owens expressed his thanks for the opportunity to represent DeKalb County."

The board adopted on second and final reading a policy providing for a student representative on the Board of Education.

The policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

DCHS student Megan Sullivan is the current Student Representative on the board.

The board received two sealed bids on the sale of surplus property (two 1997 Blue Bird school buses). The board awarded the bid to Paul's Equipment Company of Hamblin, Kentucky who bid $2,257 for each of the two buses.

The board approved a request for the use of DeKalb County School buses to transport 4-H'ers to the Regional 4-H Clover Bowl in Cookeville May 14th; to Junior 4-H Camp at Crossville June 21st-25th; and to the Sub-Regional 4-H Project Day at Cookeville May 11th.

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