Local News Articles

Federal Stimulus Money and BEP Reserves Needed to Balance School Budget

May 12, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The proposed new school budget for next year calls for the elimination of several positions due to insufficient funds, but employees of the school system need not to worry, because federal stimulus money will be used to fund those positions. BEP reserves will also be used to help balance the school budget.

In an informal workshop session Monday night, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby met with all members of the school board to discuss the proposed budget for the 2009-2010 school year. The board must act on the tentative spending plan during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting because by law, the budget must be in the hands of the County Mayor by Friday, May 15th.

Willoughby says the new budget calls for no local property tax increase for schools. There will also be no local pay raises for employees next year, other than the regular step increases on the pay scale. Teachers and support staff will step up according to the existing salary scales. Willoughby says there has been no official word from the State of Tennessee regarding teacher salary increases for 2009-2010 and no additional dollars are currently in those line items of the new budget. There is a 1% increase in health insurance matching for all employees participating in the health insurance program.

Willoughby says while cuts have been made in many areas of the budget, there is a request for another $50,000 (going from $300,000 to $350,000) in capital outlay spending to help fund two portable classroom buildings to address overcrowding at the high school and possibly at DeKalb West School. Each portable contains two classrooms and a bathroom.

Total anticipated revenues for schools for 2009-2010 comes to $17-million, 079-thousand 422. Total expenditures were originally projected to be $17-million, 822-thousand, 740, a difference of $743,318. But the proposed expenditures have now been adjusted down to $17-million 565-thousand, 005, reducing the shortfall to $485,583.

Willoughy says eliminating the following positions from the general purpose school budget will reduce local spending by $257,735 but those jobs will be preserved by using federal stimulus money to fund them. However, when the federal stimulus expires in a couple of years, the school system will once again be faced with having to fund those positions.

The specific proposal is as follows:
Eliminate 2 positions (teachers) from Regular Instruction (budget line Item 71100-116)- $101,000
Eliminate 2 positions (teachers) from Special Education (71200-116)- $77,825
Eliminate 1 position (speech pathologist) from Special Education(71200-171)- $40,000
Eliminate 2 positions (educational assistants) from Special Education (71200-163)- $25,000
Eliminate 1 part/time position (job coach) from Special Education (71200-189)- $10,000
Reduce expenditures from Special Education (contracted services) (71200-399)- $14,760
Eliminate 1 position from Transportation (72710-189)- $7,650
Correction in anticipated expenditures( 72710-338)- $31,500

Again, by making these reductions in local spending, the difference in total expenditures over revenues is reduced from $743,318 to $485,583. Willoughby says this amount can be offset to balance the budget by making one time expenditures from BEP reserves.

The school board will meet to discuss the budget and several other issues Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at the cafeteria of DeKalb County High School. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

DARE Graduation Held at Northside Elementary School

May 12, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
DARE Instructor Don Adamson, Essay Winner Madison Hayes, and Sheriff Patrick Ray
Judge Bratten Cook and Essay Winner Madison Hayes
Fifth Grade Essay Winners

Fifth graders at Northside Elementary School received certificates during the annual DARE graduation ceremony held Tuesday.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded. This year's essay winners at Northside are Daisy Recendiz, Aleka Curtis, Kelly Armour, Andrew Cooper, Allison Mosely, Madison Hayes, and Kaitlin Rhea.

Madison Hayes was the over-all winner and she read her essay during Tuesday's program. In addition to the award, prizes, and recognition, Hayes gets to keep "Daren the Lion" the DARE Mascot. Judge Bratten Cook II also presented her a check for $50.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, who spoke during the DARE graduation, told the students that "D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the DeKalb Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County School System, parents, and the community. I ask you today students, to take this valuable information and apply it to your lives, now and forever."

Others who made remarks during the ceremony were Northside Principal Dr. Gayle Redmon, Judge Cook, and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Other public officials on hand for the DARE graduation program, in addition to Sheriff Ray and Judge Cook, were County Mayor Mike Foster, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, and Trustee Sean Driver.

(Bottom picture left to right: Kaitlin Rhea, Madison Hayes, Allison Mosely, Andrew Cooper, Kelly Armour, Aleka Curtis, and Daisy Recendiz)

Tigerettes Fall to Goodpasture in Regional Tournament Title Game

May 12, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigerettes lost 11 to 1 to the Goodpasture Lady Cougars in the Regional Tournament Championship Game Tuesday afternoon in Madison.

Goodpasture scored two runs in the first inning, one run in the third inning, four runs in the fourth, and four runs in the fifth.

DeKalb County scored one run in the fifth inning.

The game was called in the fifth inning due to the ten run rule.

Olivia Norton gave up eleven runs on thirteen hits through five innings. She walked one.

Victoria Bennett had an RBI double in the game and Jaylen Garrett, Kristina Stephens, and Kara Young each singled. DeKalb County committed three errors.

The Tigerettes will play at Chattanooga Christian in the Sub-State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. eastern time/ 4:30 p.m. central (Smithville) time.

Chattanooga Christian defeated Sequatchie County 6 to 1 Wednesday to advance to the Sub-State.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

Second Graders Learn the Names of All U.S. Presidents

May 12, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Students in Janet Woodward's second grade class at Smithville Elementary School have learned the names of all the U.S. Presidents in the order in which they served.

The children recited the President's names for WJLE Tuesday morning in their classroom.

Members of the class are Ethan Beasley, Anna Rachel Blair, Madi Cantrell, Madison Colwell, Dylan Cripps, Lance Davis, Sarah Evans, Malone Fletcher, Andrew Fuson, Parker Gassaway, Ealy Gassaway, Macy Hedge, Nautica Johnson, Noah Johnson, Faith Judkins, Madison Judkins, Braya Murphy, Colter Norris, Robin Pafford, and Allie Redmon.

In addition to the video presentation hear, you can listen to the children each morning this week following the 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. morning local news on WJLE AM1480/FM 101.7.

Twelve County Firefighters Complete Basic Training Course

May 11, 2009
Fireflighters Complete Basic Training-

Twelve members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department recently graduated
from the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy's 64-hour
Basic Firefighter Training Course.

According to Chief Donny Green, five members of this group attended the course in Putnam County while the other seven attended the course in Cannon County. "I am proud of our members' commitment to being well-trained and prepared to respond to our communities' needs during emergencies"

Assistant Chief Roy Merriman serves as the department's training coordinator and says
he understands the degree of dedication it takes to shuffle work, family commitments, and fire department activities. "I would just like to say thanks to all the new recruits for the commitment they have shown in taking time to complete this training".

Pictured from left to right: (kneeling) Joe Bowen (Main Station), Steve Phillips (Temperance Hall Station), Bradley Taylor (Midway Station), Cory Killian (Main Station), Bradley Johnson (Main Station);

(standing) Justin Brooks (Keltonburg Station), Joey Meyers (Main Station), Amanda Vaughn (Main Station), Billy Fuson (Midway Station);

Not pictured: Steve Rapasy (Midway Station), Eric Snow (Main Station), and Brandi Summers (Belk Station).

Marsh Charged with Burglary and Theft

May 11, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
James Andrew Marsh

A 19 year old man has been arrested for breaking into a local business last week.

James Andrew Marsh of Green Acres Drive, Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property under $500. His bond is $7,500 and he will appear in court on May 28th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "on Thursday, May 7th, deputies responded to a report of a break in at a business on Highway 146. Through an investigation, officers learned that Marsh had broken into the business and stolen a cash register and cigarettes. Marsh was arrested later in the day."

Meanwhile, in other cases, 36 year old Gary Edward Matthews of Four Seasons Road, Smithville, who had no driver's license, drove by a deputy on Tuesday, May 5th. and was later taken into custody. Officers, during the arrest, found a straw containing a white powdery residue along with three 10 milligram pills believed to be Hydrocodone and a half pill believed to be a 7.5 Hydrocodone. Matthews was charged with two counts of simple possession of a schedule III drug, (Hydrocodone), possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked driver's license. Matthews' total bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on June 4th.

Also on Tuesday, officers arrested 28 year old Fernando Olivera Aldino of West Main Street, Smithville for driving under the influence and no driver's license. While on patrol on Highway 56, deputies spotted Aldino weaving in the roadway. During the investigation, officers detected a strong smell of alcohol on Aldino's person. He submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed and he could not produce a valid Tennessee driver's license. Aldino's bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on May 28th.

On Saturday, May 9th, officers responded to a suspicious person call at the Johnson's Chapel Community Center on Johnson's Chapel Road. Upon arrival and talking with the subjects there, a deputy noticed a glass pipe containing marijuana, sticking out of the gas tank lid of the subjects' vehicle. Officers also found more marijuana inside of the vehicle and a marijuana cigarette. 23 year old Anthony Ray Ribble of Hayes Court, Smithville was arrested and charged with possession of a schedule IV drug (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on May 28th..

In another case, deputies arrested 22 year old Alfonso Almaguer Soto of South Third Street, Smithville Saturday after he had parked in the roadway of Banks Pisgah Road. Officers detected a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Soto submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Soto also had no driver's license and he gave a fake name at the scene. Officers later discovered Soto's real name. He was charged with driving under the influence, no driver's license, criminal impersonation, and violation of the implied consent law. Soto's total bond was set at $3,000.

Also on Saturday while deputies were on patrol, they spotted a vehicle weaving in the roadway on Highway 56. The driver was 46 year old Jamie Lara Amaya of Newby Circle, McMinnville. He had an odor of alcohol on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Amaya submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Amaya was charged with driving under the influence. His bond was set at $1,000 and will appear in court on May 28th.

On Sunday, May 10th deputies were dispatched to a fight call at the Keltonburg Community Center on Keltonburg Road. As officers began investigating the fight, 31 year old Jason Stewart of Edgewood Drive, Cookeville started yelling and pointing his finger in the deputies' faces. Stewart was told several times to calm down but he continued yelling. Stewart was arrested for disorderly conduct. His bond was set at $1,000

Deputies also responded to an accident on Bright Hill Road and found 34 year old Enrigue Villa of Earl Avenue, Smithville to be driving without a license. Villa was charged in the case and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on May 27th.

Also on Sunday, deputies were on patrol on Highway 70 when they stopped a vehicle for weaving. 47 year old Gregory A. Young of Young Ridge Road, Sparta was charged with an 8th offense of driving under the influence. Officers noticed that Young was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of alcohol on his person. Young submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Young was also cited for violation of the implied consent law. Young's bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on May 28th.

Boat Smart Super Saturday on Center Hill Lake

May 11, 2009

Volunteers and Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency have teamed up with the US Army Corps of Engineers on Center Hill Lake for Boat Smart Super Saturday on May 16. Super Saturday, the kickoff to National Safe Boating Week, May 16-22, is geared to promote boating and water safety while having fun at the lake. “Wear It,” referring to life jackets, is the primary message for boaters to follow to arrive alive after a day on the lake.
The teams will be ready at boat ramps around the lake on Super Saturday to greet visitors and remind them of tips to be safe on the water. They will also be doing courtesy boat inspections from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM at Hurricane Bridge Day Use Ramp, Edgar Evins State Park, and Ragland Bottom Day Use Ramp at the request of the boaters.

A variety of volunteers will be participating from boaters to park hosts, and more. Volunteers view it as a nice way to take a few hours, greet visitors, enjoy being around the lake, and feel good about knowing the information they provide may save a life.

“With the warmer weather and summer approaching quickly, crowds are getting back out on the lake to relax and enjoy water sports,” said Park Ranger Jamie Summers. “Boat Smart Super Saturday is a perfect opportunity for our agencies and volunteers to tackle the job of reminding people to have fun yet expect the unexpected. Prepare with the right gear for your boat, wear a life jacket, use courtesy and common sense, and don’t drink and boat.”

Some tips for boaters:
1) Expect the unexpected. Wear your life jacket.
2) Avoid drinking and operating a boat.
3) Keep a proper lookout – watch out for the “other guy.”
4) Use courtesy and common sense.
5) Take a safe boating course.

DeKalb 911 hosts Powerphone Emergency Medical Dispatch Class

May 10, 2009
DeKalb 911 Hosts Class

DeKalb County 911 recently hosted a Powerphone Emergency Medical Dispatch Class at the DeKalb County Fire Department Main Station. All counties in the Upper Cumberland region were invited to the class and many participated.

The class focuses on providing each student with the skills necessary to give our callers life saving medical instructions until EMS arrives on scene. Upon completion of the class, the dispatchers hold a national certification to enable them to provide these necessary instructions.

Pictured above from left on top row: are Leslie Lytle and Janice Higham dispatchers with DeKalb E-911 and other dispatchers participating from White, Cannon, and Warren counties.

DeKalb E-911 now has 100% of it's full time staff trained to provide these life saving skills.

A look at the Tennessee Legislature

May 9, 2009
by: 
Terri Lynn Weaver
Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings Folks of the Fortieth

It has always been said the older you get the faster time flies. This week flew by! However Thursday, after a long week on the hill, brought me to the Carthage Square to celebrate The National Day of Prayer. And what a fabulous event it was under that blue sunny sky, in front of the courthouse steps, while many of us worshiped the Lord, we also prayed for others and asked God “to heal our land.”

“If we ever forget we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” Ronald Reagan.

Education Committee:

HB2146 moved out of k-12 to full committee and will be presented next week in full committee. Charter Schools are public schools that are given flexibility to operate without the restraints of some of the rules and regulations normally imposed on traditional schools. In exchange for this flexibility, they are held accountable for performance through charter, which is an agreement between the local education agency (LEA) and the charter school. It requires a strenuous approval process by the LEA and a equally tough renewal process of the charter every five years. Tennessee has 15 public charter schools, with six more opening in the fall. Of those 22 schools Nashville has five, Chattanooga will have two and Memphis City School System also is converting four schools to charter this fall.

HB431 was passed by a 61-27 vote in session. Debate over the bill raged on the House floor for over an hour, and then a motion was made that the Calendar and Rules Committee would set a time to limit debate. This bill requires that diplomas issued by homeschoolers be recognized has having the same rights and privileges of diplomas issued by the public school system.

Finance Ways and Means Committee:

SJR127 continues its historic journey through the House having never made it beyond Public Health Subcommittee until this year! Having passed out of two and Calendar and Rules Committee on Thursday it is scheduled for a floor vote in the House on Monday Evening.
Legislation to protect lawful gun owners approved by the House

HB959 will exempt the handgun carry permit list form the Open Records Act but will carry no penalty for entities that do publish the list due to concerns about First Amendment Rights.

HB962 will now allow a law abiding person with a handgun carry permit to carry in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages as long as such a person is not consuming alcoholic beverages and the restaurant is not an age-restricted venue. It was a pleasure to be one of many co-prime sponsors and again stand for our second amendment rights. The House votes; 66 yes and 27 no.

HB 2357 legislation to save money passed the house and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. A weekly printed book that contains the summary of every billed filed is available already on the internet. Savings of 90,000 dollars is a big chunk of money!

Also this week…
I wanted to mention to you, there has been much discussion on the mysterious budget of which we as lawmakers have not been able to look at. Perhaps in the coming week specific appropriations will be disclosed concerning this years budget. The shortfall numbers are very bleak my friend even more then at first anticipated. However do we bond these projects by placing even more debt on our state in a time when we are trying to eliminate debt? I continue to work with the State Treasurer, Comptroller and fellow lawmakers to find the best ways possible to fund the projects we desperately need in the fortieth district. I welcome your emails, phone calls and most importantly your prayers. Blessings to you and yours!

12th Annual Relay for Life Raises $67,000

May 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cancer Survivors Walk for a Cure-
 Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life

DeKalb Countians by the hundreds filled Greenbrook Park Friday evening to show their love and support for cancer survivors and to join the fight against the disease during the 12th annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Casey Midgett, Chairman of the DeKalb Relay for Life, says $67,000 has been raised with still more pledges yet to come in.

Even though the forecast called for stormy weather, the rains held off and people, young and old alike, flocked to the park to enjoy the food, games, music, and fellowship.

Check out Photos at Relay for Life at http://www.wjle.com/relay

In this overnight family-oriented event, participants walked relay-style around the track and took part in fun activities off the track. Cancer survivors took center stage during the opening ceremony to give a personal testimony as to just how long they've been a survivor.

This year more than 30 teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer. A male beauty contest was also held again this year, featuring several men dressed as women, using their attributes to bring in as much money as possible. Mark "Fifi" Violet of K & M Jewelry raised more than $600 and was this year's winner.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer. This ceremony of light symbolizes the hope and courage with which we all continue to fight cancer

Chris Summers, Community Representative with the American Cancer Society says "Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we've lost, and fight back against the disease. Many of the participants are cancer survivors."

Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

The American Cancer Society currently funds more than $10.7 million in cancer research in Tennessee, this year alone! Research grants are funded at East Tennessee State University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Vanderbilt University, MeHarry Medical College, the University of Tennessee, Memphis and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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