Local News Articles

Paul Rowland Named Coach of New Baseball Program

November 16, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Paul Rowland has been named head coach of the new baseball program being organized at DeKalb West School.

Jeff McMillen, member of the booster group which made the selection, says Rowland will do a great job. "We have settled in on picking us a head coach, Paul Rowland. We had three good applicants for the baseball program. The board did select the coach which consists of myself, Jeff McMillen , Tim Davenport, Bennie Curtis, and Clark Oakley. There was a lot of time put into this selection. We all came to an agreement in the end as to what we thought was in the best interest of the school, the kids, and everybody involved. We feel like Paul will take this program forward. He'll have a winning program. We've got some guidelines we're trying to put together in a coach's handbook so he'll know what we expect from him, and what he is to expect from us. I think it will work great."

The board of education, last month, gave approval for the new baseball program, on a one year trial basis. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from both DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School will make up the team called the "Dawgs". The program will be supported through fundraisers and public donations. No funds from the school system are being allocated for it

Rowland and his assistants will serve without pay as volunteer coaches. McMillen says Dewayne Martin will be an assistant coach.

Meanwhile, McMillen says students interested in being a player on the team may pick up an application form today through Friday at their schools. Forms must be returned by this Friday, November 20th. "On Monday, November 16th through Friday, November 20th is your opportunity to sign up. Forms will be passed out at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School. Those forms have to be turned back into the school by Friday, November 20th. From that point, we will contact each person who signs the form to let them know of the times and dates of the tryouts. We're really shooting for right after Thanksgiving to get this done. We want a team picked because we'll have to do some fund raising through the parents to get our equipment and do the things that need to be done to make things work. We hope to have a team picked and in place by the first or second week in December."

McMillen says the the season will start around March 1st and go through the end of April. "We're shooting for possibly a twelve to fourteen game season and a junior varsity team of maybe six to eight games and more if we can get it into our schedule. We're looking to have eighteen to twenty players on the team. The age groups are sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. We've already had schools contacting us about playing us so I think we'll be able to fill the schedule okay but it will be up to the school and principal to fill that schedule. That'll be their job." All home games will be played at DeKalb West School and parents will be responsible for transporting the students to and from the games.

Again, McMillen says the program will be supported by donations. "Funding is going to be the issue so if anybody wants to make a donation, we'll be glad to take it. We're not going to beg to try to get people to give but we believe this will be good for the kids. Our goal is to run a good, clean organization, something that the school system is very proud of."

Kings and Queens Crowned During Harvest Festival at DeKalb West School

November 15, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Caitlyn Hicks and Dakota Hale
Hunter Robinson and Kaylee Braswell
 Will Puckett

Kings and Queens were crowned Saturday night during the annual DeKalb West School Harvest Festival, sponsored by the PTO.

Tracy Lawrence, Secretary of the DeKalb West PTO, says the Harvest Festival is the organization's major fundraiser for the year and thousands of dollars was raised through LIVE and Silent Auctions, games for the kids, a cake walk, taco supper, and ticket sales from all the classes in the school which determined the kings and queens. "This is our only fundraiser and we have three or four ideas that have been presented to us so far (on how to spend the money). One was to provide some of the equipment for the new DeKalb County Junior Baseball Team that has been started up along with other various things such as supplies for the teachers and the school. We have an AR Program (Accelerated Reading Program) that is usually sponsored by the PTO where we provide money for them to have prizes. Our goal (in this fundraiser) is $10,000. We haven't counted everything yet so we're not sure if we met that. We would like to thank everyone. We had a lot of businesses throughout the county, not only DeKalb but Wilson, and other areas that gave monetary donations as well as items for the auction. We had grocery stores providing some food items or at discount prices so we would just like to thank everybody for that as well."

Officers of the DeKalb West PTO in addition to Lawrence are President Missy McKay, Vice President Bert Driver, and Treasurer Sean Driver.

The King and Queen of the Pre-Kindergarten to Second Grade Division are Caitlyn Hicks and Dakota Hale of Lindsey Holmes' kindergarten classroom. The class raised $465, the most of any class in the division.

Hicks is the daughter of Everette and Amanda Hicks and Hale is the son of William Hale and Rebekah Hale.

Others representing the division were Abbie Gann and Jeremiah Restrepo from Amy Young's pre-kindergarten class. Gann is the daughter of Jeremy Gann and Michelle Gann. Restrepo is the son of Carlos and Elizabeth Restrepo..

Becca Lawrence and Parker Winfree represented Debra Poteete's kindergarten class. Lawrence is the daughter of Charlie and Tracy Lawrence. Winfree is the son of Scott and Shellie Winfree.

Savannah Curtis, daughter of Jeff and Glenda Curtis and James Pitman, son of Jeremy and Shawn Pitman, represented Tonya Ellis' kindergarten class.

Lydia Davenport and Parker Vantrease represented Kathy Lawrence's first grade class. Davenport is the daughter of Timothy and Stephanie Davenport. Vantrease is the son of Jeremy and Missy Vantrease..

Representing Cindy Pulley's first grade class were Hannah Van Dyne, daughter of Danny and Susan Van Dyne and Jordan Bailiff, son of Ricky and Chrissy Bailiff.

Haley Dies and Corey Sherman represented Regina Kent's second grade class. Dies is the daughter of Keith and Amanda Dies and Sherman is the son of Dennis Sherman and Jo Ann Vanatta.

Representing Shelia McMillen's second grade classroom were Kenzie Ray, granddaughter of Shirley Ray and Pam Shafnet and Noah Roberts, son of Kevin and Tonya Roberts.

Parker Prince represented Susan West's second grade class. He is the son of Michael and Leigh Ann Prince..

Meanwhile, the King and Queen of the division for Grades 3 to 5 are Kaylee Braswell, daughter of Quastaia Braswell and Hunter Robinson, son of Regina Robinson and Lynn Robinson. This class raised $404, the most of any other class in the division.

Others representing this division were Callie Mulloy and Grayson Redmon of Lori Pryor's third grade class. Mulloy is the daughter of Randy and Nancy Mulloy and Redmon is the son of Mike and Elizabeth Redmon.

Dillon Knowles represented Megan Hardin's third grade class.

Representing Amanda Mullinax's third grade class were Addison Oakley and Elijah Foutch. Oakley is the daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley and Foutch is the son of Jon and Laura Foutch.

Caitlin Tyree and Christopher Hobbs represented Tammy Payne's fourth grade class. Tyree is the daughter of Josh and Carrie Tyree and Hobbs is the son of Randy and Vickie Hobbs.

Representing Kim Crook's fourth grade class were Taylor Hale and Hunter Faulk. Hale is the daughter of Teresa Hale and Jerome and Tammy Hale. Faulk is the son of Joseph Faulk and Rebecca Faulk.

Tyra Owens and Zack Bass represented Jeana Caplinger's fifth grade class. Owens is the daughter of Heather Owens and Tyrone Owens and Bass is the son of Brandy and Terry Bass

The King of the division for Grades 6 to 8 was Will Puckett of Martha Damron's seventh grade class. He is the son of Henry Puckett and Donna Puckett. This class raised $220, more than any other class in the division.

Others representing the division were Katie Roehner and Teddy Tippin in Janet England's sixth grade class. Roehner is the daughter of William and Christina Roehner. Tippin is the son of Aaron and Thea Tippin.

Sam McMillen and Ashley Grater represented Pat Allen's sixth grade class. McMillen is the son of Jeff and Shelia McMillen and Grater is the daughter of Kurt and Sandra Grater.

Carolyn Plank and Austin Hicks represented Vicki Wilson's seventh grade class. Plank is the daughter of Misty Neal and Hicks is the son of Mark and Trisha Hicks.

Michelle Gay represented Melanie Molander's eighth grade class.

Hope Thomas and Bradley Faulk represented Cynthia Preston's eighth grade class. Thomas is the daughter of Jessie and Becky Thomas and Faulk is the son of Joseph Faulk and Rebecca Faulk.

State Play-off Run Ends for Tigers

November 13, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The state playoff run for the DeKalb County Tigers came to an end Friday night as the black and gold lost to the Maplewood Panthers 56 to 30.

The game was played at Hunter's Lane High School in Nashville.

The Tigers scored first on a 35 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County led 7-0 with 10:46 left in the first quarter.

Maplewood's Enrico Buchanan put the panthers on the board with 9:36 left in the first period on a 61 yard touchdown run. The P.A.T. attempt was no good and DeKalb County led 7-6.

LaDarius Van Lier scored on a 63 yard touchdown run with 4:23 left in the first period. The two point conversion by Stanley Hagan was good and Maplewood led 14-7. That was the score at the end of the first period.

The Tigers cut the Maplewood lead to 14-10 on a 34 yard field goal by Zach Taylor with 11:35 left in the second quarter.

With 9:50 to go in the second period, Stanley Hagan scored on a 54 yard touchdown run to extend the Maplewood lead. The P.A.T. attempt was no good but the Panthers led 20-10.

DeKalb County got on the board again with seven minutes left in the second period on a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. The two point conversion attempt was no good and the Tigers trailed 20 to 16.

Maplewood's Tony Barrett intercepted a Hunter Poteete pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 4:37 left in the second quarter. The two point conversion was good and the Panthers led 28-16.

Enrico Buchanan caught a 14 yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left before halftime. The P.A.T. was good and Maplewood led 35 to 16. That was the halftime score.

Maplewood extended the lead with 25 seconds left in the third period on a five yard touchdown run by LaDarius Van Lier. The P.A.T. was good and the Panthers led 42 to 16. That was the score at the end of the third period.

Stanley Hagan scored for Maplewood with 7:46 left in the game on a 32 yard touchdown run. The P.A.T. was good and the Panthers led 49-16.

The Tigers got their first points of the second half with 6:18 left in the fourth period on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Poteete to Sonni Young. The P.A.T. by Taylor was good and DeKalb County trailed 49 to 23

Maplewood answered on a 26 yard touchdown run by Denzel Jones with six minutes left in the game and after the P.A.T. the panthers led 56 to 23.

DeKalb County added another score with 1:41 left in the game on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Poteete to Matt Giles. The P.A.T. by Taylor was good and the Tigers trailed 56 to 30. That was the final score.

So the Tigers will close the book on the 2009 season with an over-all record of 7-5. Their wins were over Oneida, White County, Cannon County, Upperman, Macon County, York Institute, and Greenbrier. The losses were to Warren County, Smith County, Hixson, Livingston Academy, and Maplewood.

TBI Arrests Former Police Officers On Multiple Counts

November 13, 2009

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested four former police officers from Warren and DeKalb Counties after a TBI investigation into prescription drugs being illegally obtained at a McMinnville clinic. The case culminated Friday after the Warren County Grand Jury handed down indictments on the officers.

Daniel Clayton, 28, and Daniel Conry, 31, both former McMinnville police officers, were each indicted on seven counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic, seven counts of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs and seven counts of insurance fraud.

Both were booked into the Warren County jail on $147,000 bond each.

David Seibers, 33, formerly a Warren County sheriff's deputy, was indicted on three counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic and three counts of insurance fraud. He was booked into the Warren County Jail on $60,000 bond.

Larry Pedigo, 33, a former DeKalb County sheriff's deputy, was indicted on two counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic and two counts of fraudulently obtaining drugs. He was booked into the Warren County Jail on $40,000 bond.

On August 3, 2009 TBI agents executed a search warrant on the Americare, an urgent care walk-in clinic, located on South Chancery Street in McMinnville. The officers were all obtaining the drugs from the clinic.

Operation Head to Toe Seeks to Clothe Children in Poverty

November 13, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

If you would like to help needy children in this community then you're encouraged to support "Operation Head to Toe", a faith-based initiative to assist families who struggle financially.

"Operation Head To Toe" uses donated funds to purchase new school clothes for children.

Betty Turner, Director of Operation Head to Toe, says "many children in our community live in poverty. It is never the children who are at fault, however they suffer the consequences. They come to school in second-hand outfits that are worn and tattered before they even receive them. We may understand what it is like to do without, but very few of us know the vicious cycle of poverty. It affects the human spirit, leaving children with a low self-image and little hope. Some children can't even imagine what it would be like to have new clothes that fit properly."

"Together, we want to break this cycle of poverty. We want to provide a ray of hope to lift the spirits of children, and to help them realize they are members of a community that cares for them."

Operation Head to Toe is a faith-based initiative whose mission is to work in conjunction with the educators of the DeKalb County School System to identify children and youth who have almost nothing in the way of clothing. Once these children and youth are selected, volunteers work with the families to purchase $150 worth of clothes per child.

In 2004, Jeanni Watson, the founder, had this idea to help these children. She received a gift of one hundred dollars in seed money, and Operation Head to Toe began.

That first year, Operation Head to Toe distributed $9,000 of new clothing to children in DeKalb County. In 2008, with the help of over 400 volunteers, donors and educators, Operation Head to Toe received over $15,000 and clothed 118 children. Operation Head to Toe is now part of the DeKalb County Foundation for Education, with a board of directors to help give guidance.

Turner says "in order to allow Operation Head to Toe to continue to be a success story in DeKalb County, we need your help". The 2009 fall distribution campaign is underway. Operation Head to Toe's connection with the DeKalb County Foundation for Education allows your contributions to be tax-deductible. Donations by check should be made payable to Operation Head to Toe. The mailing address is Operation Head to Toe, P.O. Box 372, Smithville, Tennessee 37166.

For more information, call 597-1220 or 597-5920 or email aubr@dtccom.net

Smithville Police Make Arrests for Driving Related Offenses and Public Intoxication

November 13, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made several arrests recently for driving related offenses and public intoxication.

24 year old Daniel Estudillo of 322 West Broad Street was arrested Friday, November 6th for leaving the scene of an accident. According to the report, Lieutenant Steven Leffew responded to an automobile accident at East Broad Street and Bright Hill Road. Upon arrival Ray Barrett and Phillip Wilkey stated that a man driving a maroon four door car hit their vehicle and left driving south bound on Bright Hill Road. Lieutenant Leffew proceeded south bound on Bright Hill Road in an attempt to locate the vehicle, when central dispatch advised that another automobile accident had occurred on Bright Hill Road and Dearman Street involving a maroon car. Upon arrival to the scene of the second accident, Lieutenant Leffew learned that the driver of the maroon car was Daniel Estudillo. He was arrested and booked for leaving the scene of an accident and was issued citations for violation of financial responsibility and for being an unlicensed driver.

35 year old Leonel Jimenez Beltran of 415 Juniper Lane was arrested Saturday, November 7th for driving under the influence. The report states that Officer Bradley Tatrow observed a blue and white Chevy pickup truck weaving on West Bryant Street as it was coming to the stop sign at Bryant & South Mountain Street. The vehicle did not stop until it was past the stop sign. The front end of the truck was in the roadway. The vehicle made a left turn onto South Mountain Street. Officer Tatrow says he observed the truck weave left of the yellow line then back into the left hand lane. The truck then weaved into the right lane before coming back into the left lane. Officer Tatrow activated his blue lights to signal the vehicle to stop and the driver pulled very erratically into the driveway of a residence at the corner of South Mountain Street and Village Place. Officer Tatrow says "the driver had ample room to position the vehicle in a manner so that I may have exited the roadway with my vehicle but I did not do so". Upon making contact with the driver, Leonel Beltran, Officer Tatrow says " I smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Mr. Beltran's actions were slow and clumsy. He submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly on them. Beltran was placed under arrest for DUI. He submitted to a breath test to determine the alcohol content of his blood and the result of the breath test was .149.

24 year old Joshua L Mullican of 128 Bilbrey Street Cookeville was arrested on Sunday, November 8th for driving on a suspended license. Officer Nathan Estes observed Mullican driving with a headlight out. Officer Estes made the traffic stop at Bill Page Ballpark and upon investigation learned that Mullican's driver licenses was suspended in Putnam County for failure to satisfy a citation.

42 year old Marilyn Strayn of 3107 Midway Road Smithville was arrested for public intoxication on Monday, November 9th. According to the report, Officer Travis K Bryant responded with EMS to 426 Morgan Drrive where he made contact with Ms. Strayn who had passed out on the front porch of the residence. Officer Bryant says her speech was slurred and she was very unsteady on her feet. She also appeared to be disoriented and did not know where she was. Strayn was also unable to answer several questions of EMS personnel in a timely manner. She refused medical treatment and signed the refuse treatment waiver. Officer Bryant advised her that she was under arrest for public intoxication and she was transported to the Smithville Police Department.

54 year old Thomas Michael Beaver of 482 Talley Road was arrested Tuesday, November 10th for public intoxication. Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 128 East Broad Street (Mapco) in reference to a possible public intoxication. Upon arrival, he observed a man standing by a red truck attempting to pump fuel into his vehicle. He was very unsteady on his feet and seemed to be having difficulty putting the hose in to the fuel tank. Officer Davis made contact with the man, identified as Thomas Michael Beaver. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his breath and his speech was slurred. Beaver at first said he had consumed a couple of drinks but then changed it to one beer. Officer Tatrow spoke with the clerk at Mapco who said Beaver was very unsteady on his feet and had tripped over several things inside the store. She also stated that he urinated all over the bathroom floor and had wet spots on the front and back of his pants. Officer Davis did not witness Beaver driving, however, due to his intoxication level and the possibility that he might drive his vehicle, Beaver was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

Meanwhile, anyone having any information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210

On Tuesday, November 10th in the early morning hours, someone broke into Florence & White Ford stealing a 52" Hitachi Plasma TV.

On Wednesday, November 11th, Charles D. Atnip reported that two fence posts had been stolen from the corner of Highway 56 & Highway 70. These posts are used to hold up business signs at this location. They went missing sometime on Saturday, November 7th.

On Thursday, November 12th while shopping at Save-A-Lot, someone stole Johnna Sprague's purse out of her shopping cart.

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

School Board Adopts Resolution Honoring Director Mark Willoughby

November 13, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Director of Schools Mark Willoughby..

For the last few months, the board has been recognizing various groups of school system employees as part of the Utrust Make A Difference Program.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson read the resolution which states as follows:

"Whereas, Mr. Mark Willoughby has served with distinction as superintendent of schools for three years; and

Whereas, He has consistently given highest priority to the needs of the students when he has made recommendations and proposed improvements to this board; and

"Whereas, he was worked tirelessly to build support for public education by attending school functions whenever they occur and consistently speaking out for the needs of our school system and the children it serves, and,

"Whereas, he has worked cooperatively with this board of education to initiate the Utrust Employee Appreciation Program which has resulted in improved morale and a better understanding and appreciation of the work of others by our students, staff, and community; and,

Therefore, Be it Resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education officially recognizes the continued and excellent services of Mr. Mark Willoughby to the youth of DeKalb County and extends its utmost appreciation for the work that he has done to make education an exciting and joyous experience for the students of our district;

Be it further resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares November 19th, 2009 as Superintendent Appreciation Day in DeKalb County;

Be it further resolved, that each school principal is hereby encouraged to plan and implement a program of appreciation for our superintendent of schools.

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 and Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade addressed the board of education with results of the latest report card on the DeKalb County School System just released by the Tennessee Department of Education. (WJLE recently published a news story on the report card results. Click here to read it http://www.wjle.com/node/9103 or click the link below to listen to the comments of Fontanez and Burklow at the school board meeting) Click here to see the actual report card on DeKalb County Schools http://edu.reportcard.state.tn.us/pls/apex/f?p=200:1:808614981430170::NO:::

In other business, Director Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Jean Hayes has been transferred to the position of cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School.

Cori Sexton has resigned as an educational assistant at DCHS

Barbara Ervin has resigned as cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School

Jenny Elrod, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby says response to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program has been great but the large number of participants in the after school programs is affecting the amount of time some students are on the bus in the evenings.

Willoughby says letters are being sent home asking any parents who are willing to voluntarily transport their children home from after school. "We have a lot of students who are staying after school for our 21st Century Programs and other things related to extra help but because we have so many staying after school mainly on Monday and Tuesday, we have students getting home later than we would like. So we sent a note home to these students' parents which states as follows: Thank you so much for allowing your child to participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program. Principals and teachers indicate that students are learning and the program is helping with class work and providing other opportunities for extra activities for your child."

"Currently, bus transportation is provided for all students at the end of the after school activity. The number of children in the program has increased and children are arriving home later than anticipated on Monday and Tuesday. There is every intent to continue providing transportation, however we are looking at all of our options. If you are able to pick your child up at school after the session ends on Monday and or Tuesday night that would be a tremendous help."

"Again, thank you for allowing the DeKalb County School System to provide this opportunity for your child."

Patty Hale of the DeKalb County Education Association addressed the school board concerning American Education Week November 15th-21st. "Americans nationwide will join the National Education Association in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality public education. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools. It also reflects NEA's vision in calling on America to provide public school students with quality schools so they can grow and achieve in the 21st century."

DCEA President Mandy Dakas, in a letter to principals, wrote of events scheduled for each day during the week.

"Monday, November 16th- School Board Member Day. Each school should be prepared for school board members to tour their school. Classes may write "Thank You" cards to school board members. Public service announcements will be announced this week and next week. Local businesses have been invited to participate by offering discounts to individuals who work in the public school system or by displaying signs throughout our community."

"Tuesday, November, 17th- Parent/Grandparent Day. Encourage your school or individual teachers to send a note home this week inviting parents to come in to the school on this day. They may set up a time to read a book, eat lunch with their child, share their history/talent, or assist a teacher. Give those who do attend a "certificate" which will be provided by the A.R.'s."

"Wednesday, November, 18th- Education Support Professionals Day. Each school needs to decide what they want to do for their ESP's (cafeteria workers, custodians, para-professionals, bus drivers, etc) and then provide it for those individuals. Examples: either the school can provide something or the teachers might decide to bring in something (breakfast, lunch, coffee, doughnuts)"

"Thursday, November 19th- Community Leaders as Educators. Each school needs to take down the names of teachers who would be willing to have a community leader to come into their classroom and teach. Ask community leaders to come to your school to teach a lesson, read a book, assist with a small group, etc."

"Friday, November 20th- Substitute Educators Day. We will be calling all substitute teachers and inviting them to come to Northside Elementary at 3:30 p.m. for cake and punch. We will also give them a certificate of appreciation. (Encourage as many teachers as possible to come to Northside's multi-purpose room to mingle with our fabulous substitute teachers)"

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings Suspended without Pay Pending Termination

November 12, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Richard Jennings

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings has been suspended without pay pending termination and Lieutenant Steven Leffew has reportedly been named "Officer in Charge" of the department until the issue with the chief position has been settled.

Jennings says he was called to the mayor's office at city hall Thursday afternoon where he was given the news. Those present were Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, and Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson.

Meeks signed the notice of suspension with the verbal concurrence of the mayor. Hunter Hendrixson was not involved in the decision. The reasons for the suspension were read to Jennings and he was given a written copy.

Jennings' case will come before the city's three man discipline board Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. This board is made up of Mayor Hendrixson, Police Commssioner Meeks, and Secretary-Treasurer Hendrixson.

Mayor Hendrixson says if the discipline board finds that the suspension is unwarranted, it can vote to put Jennings back to work with full pay. If the suspension is determined to be warranted by the three man discipline board, Jennings may make a request in writing to appeal the decision to the entire five member board of aldermen at the next meeting, December 7th. A decision by the city council would apparently be final. Members of the council are Aldermen Steve White, W.J. (Dub) White, Shawn Jacobs, Cecil Burger, and Aaron Meeks.

Jennings, in response to the suspension, said "Mr. Meeks threatened to fire me if I didn't retire and he made good on his threat and fired me."

Jennings added that "nothing in the allegations, even if true, remotely rises to the level of termination. There are mitigating circumstances in some of the allegations and I will provide an explanation for my actions at the appropriate time."

The notice of suspension reads as follows "You (Jennings) are being suspended for the following reason- dereliction of duties/negligence.

1. In the past two years, as Police Chief, you have not developed a comprehensive plan to combat crime problems in the City of Smithville, as evidenced by your admission to the board at the workshop of September 14th, 2009. You have not reached out to other agencies for help in combating these problems.

2. You were given two additional officers by the previous board with your promise that you then would be able to do drug investigations. To date, this has not happened.

3. At the workshop on September 14th, 2009, you did not know how many officers you had employed in the department, as evidenced by the CD of the meeting.

4. You have 4 or 5 officers-including yourself and the investigator-on duty on the day shift. You could have used some of these officers to work drug operations.

5. Your claim that the police department's budget has been cut is not substantiated by the 2008-09 city budget. In fact, there was an increase in the police department's budget over the previous year's budget. Also, your claim that all of your overtime has been cut is not true. You are still having overtime in your department.

6. There has been little progress made toward having a better-trained Police Force in specialized areas.

7. Community relations between your office and the public have deteriorated over the last two years.

8. You have not been a "working chief" out patrolling, issuing traffic tickets, answering calls for service, and making arrests.

9. You have authorized the use of a police vehicle for the transportation of civilians out of the area of authority of the Smithville Police Department.

10. It is the responsibility of all department heads to be available for call out at all times. You advised that you turn off your city cell phone when you leave for the day.

11. You have demonstrated lack of adequate supervision of officers.

Payne Denman Signs to Play Golf at Florida

November 11, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Payne Denman Signs to Play Golf at Florida

Two time state high school golf champion Payne Denman officially signed scholarship papers Wednesday to play golf at the University of Florida.

The signing took place at DCHS with members of Denman's family, coach, and principal looking on.

Denman says he's proud of his high school accomplishments and is ready to move to the next level. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time. It's finally here and I'm really glad and ready to get on with my life and see what Florida holds for me. I mainly chose Florida because their tradition is really good. They've always been known to have a great golf team and with all the other great athletic achievements they have made me want to be a part of it."

During his high school years, Denman has won the district and region three times, in addition to two state titles, the only state championships DCHS has ever earned in any sport in school history. "It's something you always hope to achieve and for it to actually come true is really special," said Denman.

Coach Chris Vance, who is stepping down as the DCHS golf coach, says Payne is a special person and competitor. " Payne has shown the younger guys what it takes with hard work and dedication to succeed and be able to go out there and put up the numbers he does. He's shown a lot of leadership and led the way by example."

(Pictured: Seated left to right- Gina Denman (mom), Payne Denman, and Bud Denman(dad)
Back Row: Standing DCHS principal Kathy Hendrix and DCHS Golf Coach Chris Vance

Community Observance Held to Commemorate Veterans Day

November 11, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Sean Tramel and Edward Frazier
 Veterans and others stand at Attention during playing of Taps

Members of the community joined the American Legion Post #122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7623 in a Veterans Day observance Wednesday morning downtown Smithville.

The days events began with a small parade followed by a program at the 303 building on the public square, featuring remarks by County Mayor Mike Foster, a poem saluting veterans by Dorothy Tittsworth, and music by the First Baptist Church Choir directed by Anthony Rosolowski.

Foster, in his address, spoke about all the nations wars and paid tribute to the brave men and women who have served our country. " We're here today to honor the Americans who served in all of the wars. We honor you and your families for the sacrifices and hardships that you endured. We especially honor those who gave their lives or were wounded during combat. People from all across the world seek to come here because we are truly blessed to live in America. We're free to live, raise our families, practice our religion, and speak our thoughts without fear. We're free to fail or succeed. And we're free to help people who are less fortunate than us."

" We still mourn many of our friends, ancestors and neighbors who died in wars long ago or last week. We see accounts of them and wonder what might have been and what talents or gifts died with those people. What undiscovered scientific cures might have been discovered. They might have invented some wonderful thing that would have made life better for all of us. Their lives were not wasted or lost without reason. They gave us more than any scientific breakthrough. They gave us the privilege of being able to live as an American in a country that is still clearly the best country on earth and the best hope for us as a people."

"We sometimes complain about our lot in life and how we've been dealt terrible blows but we're blessed with one of the highest standards of living in the world and we take for granted many things that others can only dream of. Honor our veterans and our ancestors by showing your love for America and our freedoms. Veterans Day is a special day for all Americans to show their respect to the veterans who have served our country so well. Unfortunately there will be more wars and more veterans to be honored. We should never fail to be open in our praise of them. Once our country commits its troops to battle we should support them unconditionally. Thanks to our veterans and their families for all the sacrifices you have made so that we may live free."

Tittsworth, noted local story teller, recited a poem by Joanna Fuchs called "They Did Their Share"

"On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration.

Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years;

In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory.

Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share.

No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory.

Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay.

We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer.

Following the program, a wreath was placed at the veterans memorial monument on the south side of the courthouse near the eternal flame. The wreath was laid by Edward Frazier, a World War II veteran, and Sean Tramel, who has just completed his second tour of duty in Iraq where he served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. A luncheon was held at noon for veterans and their spouses and friends at the Smithville Senior Center at city hall.

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