Local News Articles

Senior Class Takes Top Float Award at DCHS Homecoming Parade (SEE VIDEO HERE)

September 20, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School students celebrated the last day of Spirit Week with a Homecoming Day parade Friday afternoon.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night is the Cannon County Lions and the floats in the parade had a Tiger versus Lions theme.

The parade featured Homecoming Queen Ashley Medlin and her attendants, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, lots of decorated cars and trucks, county and city law enforcement officers, and fire fighters, among others. The event concluded with a pep rally on the square led by DCHS Football cheerleaders.

Winners in the Float Competition were:
First Place: Senior Class- "Tigers Launch the Lions
Second Place: Junior Class- "Tigers Battle the Lions"
Third Place: Freshman Class-" Taking Over, Tiger Pride Rocks"
Fourth Place: Sophomore Class- "Tigers Rope the Lions"
Fifth Place: FCCLA Club- "Ok: Tigers Blow the Lions Away"

Best Decorated Automobiles:
First Place: Cason Oakley
Second Place: Harlli Silcox
Third Place: Kaylyn Thompson

Two Teens Accused in Assault and Robbery of a Smithville Woman

September 20, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chief Randy Caplinger and Lieutenant Matt Holmes

Two teenage boys accused of forcing their way into the home of a Smithville woman and then assaulting and robbing her late Wednesday night were taken into custody while at school Thursday.

Lieutenant Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that the two boys are currently in state custody at the Juvenile Detention Center in Cookeville and have been named in petitions accusing them of committing delinquent acts. The crimes of which they are accused of committing include especially aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and felony theft.

Because the two boys are juveniles, Lieutenant Holmes would not disclose their names. The name of the victim is also being withheld.

According to Lieutenant Holmes, the incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18 at the woman's Smithville residence. He said the victim, who lives alone, heard something outside and when she opened the door to look outside, the two boys, who were wearing hockey masks forced their way in and assaulted her. " Upon investigation, I found out that the victim heard a noise outside the back of her residence," said Lieutenant Holmes. "She looked out but didn't see anyone. She went to open the door. As she cracked the door open, two masked men forced their way into the residence. One of the suspects tackled her to the ground, pepper sprayed her multiple times, and tried to insert a wash cloth in her mouth to keep her from screaming," he said

"One of the suspects ransacked the house and stole a 38 caliber revolver and multiple other items," he said. The total value of the stolen items came to around $600.

The woman, though injured in the attack with cuts, scrapes, and bruises, was apparently not seriously injured and declined medical attention. She remains terrified and still suffers from affects of the pepper spray attack.

Though the two boys were carrying razor knives at the time of the attack, they apparently did not use them on the woman.

"We worked the case until about four in the morning (Thursday) and started back again later in the day," said Lieutenant Holmes. We went to Walmart and were able to trace the sale of the hockey masks back to the juveniles who had bought them prior to the incident," he said.

" We located them (the two suspects) at the high school and placed them under arrest in the classroom on Thursday. Our fear was that they may have brought the gun to school but as it turned out they did not have the gun at school. It was found at their home," said Lieutenant Holmes.

"We found in the attic of their residence the two hockey masks and a loaded 38 caliber handgun and other items that were taken from the victim's home. We also found some pepper spray," Lieutenant Holmes continued.

He said the boys live together in the same household but are not related. Neither of the boys is related to the victim. The two boys live in the same area of the city as the victim but police would not disclose the name of the street or neighborhood where the attack occurred.

Lieutenant Holmes, who was assisted in the investigation by Detective Brandon Donnell and Corporal Travis Bryant said police believe the two boys committed the crimes hoping to find money and drugs.

The two boys also allegedly tried to break into another residence in the same area the night before on Tuesday but were unable to make entry.

Lieutenant Holmes urges citizens to call police if you hear or see anything suspicious near your home or in your neighborhood. "If anyone hears something outside, never open your door. Call police and have us check it out," Lieutenant Holmes concluded.

DeKalb Reigns Supreme at the State Fair

September 20, 2013
by: 
Shan Burklow
Shan Burklow, Addison Oakley, Baylee Nester, Olivia Link
Sadie Prater, Shan Burklow, Emily Burklow
Katie Haggard and Beth Chandler

Shan Burklow and Beth Chandler of DeKalb County hosted 26 pageants along with the ‘Tennessee’s Got Talent Competition’ at the Tennessee State Fair recently. Multiple contestants from across DeKalb County participated and placed during the three days of competition as well as donating crowns during a special charity crown ceremony for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Burklow and Chandler even recruited local experts to help manage and produce the pageants.

“It’s always great to work hard with friends to help raise money for a good cause,” said Burklow following the event, “We are grateful to partner with ‘Crowns for a Cause’ again this year to help every little girl and boy at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital be Queen and Hero for a day. We raised enough money to purchase portable DVD players and rated G DVDs for the children as well as receiving enough crowns for the little girls as well. We raised $2,245.00 in quarter votes alone. How great is that?” Burklow continues, “I host the on-stage part of the events, but I am nothing without a hard working producer (Beth Chandler) and a great team of staff and volunteers to pull it all together. You also need a great gown sponsor like RSG Prom and Pageant!” Burklow laughs, “I am a marketing director by day…and a state fair pageant director by night! I appreciate DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital for allowing me to take the time for this great event. I work with some of the best-hearted people on earth.”

The hard working producer, her sister, and long-time business partner - Beth Chandler, as well as the team Burklow talks about includes Angie Meadows along with Denise Page and Melissa Yarborough (DeKalb) who managed the baby and toddler competition. The tabulation team included Vickie Woods of Alexandria along with Cindy Taylor, and Tina Cripps of Smithville. LouAnn Sanders from the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce welcomed contestants at the door. Katie Haggard of Smithville was brought in as assistant producer for her second year. Josh Issac of Smithville provided the entertainment through his signature vocal talent.

“It took a great deal of wonderful people to pull this off! We were so grateful to everyone who came and helped us during the weekend. There were volunteers from Knoxville to Greenbrier, Tennessee,” Chandler comments, “Vickie Woods even developed a computerized tabulation system that allowed us to be on time throughout the weekend. Everyone was amazing and we had a great time working together. I was personally in awe of the generous attitude of all that attended. We would also like to thank channel 2, 4, 5, and Fox 17 News for promoting us throughout the month.”

Over 175 titles and awards were presented during the event including a one year modeling contract with Dan Talent Group of Franklin, TN (Tennessee Top Model Competition). DeKalb County contestants claimed multiple awards including: Queen Supreme Overall – Addison Oakley is the daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley of Liberty, TN / First Runner-Up TN State Junior Fair Princess - Hayley Hale is the daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville, TN / Top Ten Jr. Fair Princess - Liz Qualls is the daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls of Smithville, TN / Top Ten Little Miss Princess - Natalie Snipes is the daughter of Tim and Michelle Snipes of Smithville, TN / Optional Award Winner - Shelby Clayborn is the daughter of Brian and Holly Clayborn of Liberty, TN.

Pictured: (from left to right) Host Shan Burklow with Queen Supreme Overall Winner Addison Oakley of Liberty, TN; Tennessee Top Model Queen Baylee Nester of Manchester, TN; and Crowns for a Cause Queen Olivia Link of Nashville, TN.

Pictured: Shan Burklow stands with Crowns for a Cause royalty. Former queens Sadie Prater and Emily Burklow get ready to crown their successor.

Pictured: Producers hard at work – Assistant TN State Fair Producer Katie Haggard takes a moment to stand still along with TN State Fair Producer Beth Chandler who managed 27 events at the Tennessee State Fair last weekend.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies to get Grants

September 20, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole have announced $21.1 million in grants to Tennessee agencies to support highway traffic safety efforts.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Alexandria Police Department are each receiving a $5,000 High Visibility Enforcement Grant. The Smithville Police Department is getting an Impaired Driving Enforcement Grant in the amount of $20,000.

The funds support the mission of the GHSO. The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations.

“Having safe roads is critical to our mission of making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Governor Haslam said. “As we continue our work with local and state agencies, these grants support these important efforts to make our roadways safer.”

There are multiple elements that contribute to a safe roadway system. Some of those aspects are an accurate traffic safety data collection and analysis system, well-trained and well-equipped law enforcement personnel, and effective emergency medical and trauma systems. A major part of roadway safety is educating motorists about laws and good driving behaviors.

“These grants help fund a variety of safety initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment, Specialized Impaired Driving prosecutors and child passenger safety training,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “These grants will make a difference and help save lives.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to the GHSO. The grants, totaling 434 for the 2014 funding cycle, were awarded to 370 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need. Each year, the GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds. Applications are reviewed and scored by the GHSO and external highway safety advocates. The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards.

“Grants awarded by our office are provided in areas of need,” GHSO Director Kendell Poole said. “Statistics show our problem areas and we strive to put the funding where it will be most effective. We are dedicated to saving lives across Tennessee and pledge to work with grantees statewide to accomplish our mission.”

New DeKalb Middle School Website Designed to Keep Parents More Informed and Involved

September 18, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
New DeKalb Middle School Website
Randy Jennings and Amanda Dakas

DeKalb Middle School administrators and faculty believe maintaining parent-teacher communication throughout the school year is the key to student success

By communicating effectively with parents, teachers form a cooperative team that has the students' best interests at heart.

To help keep the lines of communication open, DMS has updated its website at www.dekalbmiddleschoolsaints.com to keep parents more involved and better informed about school events, assignments, and many other school related activities.

"We've done a total revamp of our website this year," said DMS Principal Randy Jennings. "We are trying to utilize that to get as much information out to our parents as we can or to anyone who wants to know more about our school," he said.

Each teacher has his or her own individual page on the school website that parents may access to keep up to date. "They can go to every single teacher's page. And they can email teachers through the new website as well. That's the best way to look at individual teachers and to look at what's going on in our school on a weekly and monthly basis," said Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas.

"Every single Friday teachers are required before they leave school to go in and update their individual page for the upcoming week. Parents can go in on the weekend and be able to see what's coming up in their child's class," Dakas said.

The school website also offers other links for students, parents, and teachers to the latest information on school news and sports, a calendar of events, school handbook, teacher resources, research materials, clubs and organizations, and photos of various activities.

"There are so many things to access on the school's website," explained Dakas. " There are some places that are just for teachers. There are some places for students and some places for parents. If you go to the left hand side and scroll all the way to the bottom, you can see sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, and special education and from that it will give you a list of all the teachers in that grade. From that you can click on that individual teacher and that's where you're able to see what's going on in the individual classrooms, such as whether there is a special project or a test coming up. We gave teachers the flexibility to be as detailed or not as they wanted to be. The only request we had was that they communicate. This gives parents the ability to go in, plan ahead and help their child be successful," she said.

Melissa Ruch, DMS PTO President said the school website also has a link just for the PTO. "We're going to be having our annual fundraiser coming up for the chili supper," said Ruch. " It used to be a spaghetti supper but we've decided this year to go back to having a chili supper. We're still going to have a silent auction that night and we're also going to have a cake walk. We're implementing some other things too possibly that night which will be on Saturday November 23 starting at 4:00 p.m. Kids will be getting the tickets for that before fall break to start selling those tickets for that event," said Ruch.

Again to access the DeKalb Middle School website visit www.dekalbmiddleschoolsaints.com. All the other schools in the county have their own websites as well. You may access them all by typing in www.dekalbschools.net. From that you can go to each individual school.

School Board Leaves Employee Health Benefits As-Is

September 18, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools and School Board (Older Photo)

Facing an October 1 deadline for notifying employees about its health insurance offerings under the federal Affordable Health Care Act, the DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night voted to make no changes in the benefits for employees, at least for now.

Though funds are budgeted to pay more toward single health insurance coverage for all full time classified (support staff) who want it beginning January1, 2014, the board has decided not to implement the plan since the federal government is postponing enforcement of the so-called employer mandate under the Affordable Health Care Act until 2015.

The individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that requires most Americans to carry health insurance, remains in effect. People who don't already have it will be required to buy healthcare insurance starting January, 1, 2014. The health insurance marketplaces are set to open October 1 to sell coverage that will take effect on January 1, 2014.

The local school system currently pays a portion of its employee's health insurance coverage under plans made available through the state. Certified employees who have either a single or a family plan pay 36% and the school system picks up 64%. Support staff pay 49% of their coverage and the school system pays a 51% matching portion. While the school system meets the affordable health care requirements for certified personnel, it apparently falls short when it comes to support staff.

"It (Affordable Health Care Act) says no one can be paying over 9.5% of their income for (health) insurance. We have a group of employees, if they stay with the present plan without us doing anything, they would be paying over 9.5%," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Under the federal act, all employers with more than 50 full time employees are to provide coverage to their workers or be subject to fines, once the law is implemented. Full-time employees are defined as those who work an average of 30 or more hours per week each month.

To meet the requirements for full time support staff, the school board came up with a plan for offering single health insurance coverage when putting together its new budget earlier this summer. Those support staff employees who elected to take it would have had to pay ninety dollars per month, effective January 1, 2014. The school system would have covered the rest. The budget provides for no additional insurance benefit for certified personnel.

With the school board's action Tuesday night, support staff will not be entitled to that extra benefit come January 1, 2014. At least not yet.

"We had a discussion prior to the meeting tonight in a workshop about Affordable Health Care Insurance," said Chairman Johnny Lattimore. We have to make a decision tonight about what we want to do. Whether to implement what we voted on earlier in the year with the changes or to put this on pause and hold off and wait to see what the federal government does with affordable health care. As we all know, whatever they've got planned today may change tomorrow. So we don't know what's going to happen within the next year before all of this has to be implemented," he said.

"We need a motion on the floor to accept what we already had voted on previously (with passage of the budget) or we need a motion to put everything on pause and leave it like it is for now," said Lattimore.

"We need to make sure we don't run into any complications," said Fifth district board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III. "Don't you feel we need to go ahead and adhere to what we have already done?" asked Evins.

"I think that would be one option but I don't know what all the ramifications will be as the rules will change, " replied Director Willoughby. "As I have stated before, this will help some people. It won't harm anybody but there will be a large group that it won't help. The people who have family coverage it will not help. The rules may not change or they may change," said Willoughby.

"We have to let the employees know what our plan is by October 1. But whatever we do. If we don't do anything or if we do go ahead, we have to get that information out to all employees by October 1 for us to follow the federal guide lines," continued Director Willoughby.

"They (government) are saying we do not have to change anything (current plan) but we can change anything. From the very beginning I've always recommended that we do more for all our employees. This particular healthcare does not say we have to do anything for all employees. It says we have to do something for a group of employees. No one can be paying over 9.5% of their income for insurance. We have a group of employees, who if they stay with the present plan without us doing anything, they would be paying over 9.5%," said Willoughby.

"The best thing to do is to pay for everybody's (health insurance) but we can't afford to pay for everybody," Willoughby concluded.

"I make a motion that we keep it as it has been in the past until we have additional information to direct us otherwise," said Evins.

Board member Doug Stephens offered a second to the motion. All board members present voted in favor including Evins, Stephens, Billy Miller, John David Foutch, Charles Robinson, and Johnny Lattimore. Board member Kenny Rhody was absent.

Johnny Lattimore Re-elected School Board Chairman

September 18, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnny Lattimore

The DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night returned seventh district member Johnny Lattimore as Chairman of the Board.

Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III was elected Vice Chairman and Second district member Charles Robinson was named Assistant Secretary.

All were elected without opposition and will serve in those positions for the next twelve months.
The school board re-organizes each September.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since the August meeting.

Those employed since last month are:
Lou Ann Gum, school psychologist
Tonya Perry, certified substitute
Taylor McDaniel, certified substitute
Clay Farler, certified substitute
Nadina Manganiello and Chris Summers as substitute teachers
Kealah Curtis, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School

Leave of Absence Requests:
Dena Haugh, DCHS educational assistant, leave as requested
John Isabell, DCHS teacher, leave as requested
Lori Isabell, Smithville Elementary School teacher, leave as requested

Resignations:
Bethany Cornelius, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School, resigned
Edith Denise Merriman, cafeteria worker at Northside Elementary School, resigned

Thomas Faces Up to Fourteen Years in Prison Unless he Completes Drug Rehab Program

September 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brandon Thomas
Scotty Dale Farmer
Joel Thomas Hayes

A man allegedly caught with a rolling meth lab during a recent traffic stop is facing up to fourteen years in prison unless he successfully completes a drug rehabilitation program.

28 year old Brandon Thomas pleaded guilty Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court to attempting to initiate the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Under a negotiated settlement, Judge David Patterson gave Thomas a six year sentence to serve in addition to eight years for violation of probation. However, he has been furloughed to the Mission Teens drug rehab program. If he successfully completes the program, Thomas will be on probation for the duration of the sentence. If not, he will have to serve his time. Thomas must also pay a $2,000 fine.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, June 4 Thomas was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 south when he was stopped by a drug detective for driving at a high rate of speed. After stopping, Thomas allegedly pulled from his pocket a bag of marijuana and a hypodermic needle and laid it on the vehicle. Inside the automobile was a backpack containing a plastic bottle with a rubber tube protruding from the top of it (gasser), drainout (lye), Coleman fuel, coffee filters, and other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Thomas told the detective to go ahead and take him to jail because the meth lab in the backpack belonged to him. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. Thomas' drivers license were found to be revoked for a prior DUI.

In other cases, 36 year old Scotty Dale Farmer pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, all suspended to probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a Smith County case against him. He must make restitution of $1,000. Farmer was given jail credit from August 17 to September 16.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, January 18, Farmer allegedly entered a residence on Hickman Road by prying open a back door. He allegedly stole a diamond ring, two silver rings, two knives, and an ipod touch with a total value of more than $500.

28 year old Tracy Thomason pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation. However, Thomason must serve the balance of a two year sentence for violation of probation in another case.

According to Smithville Police, an officer was called to check out a complaint of stolen property at the Smithville Church of God on West Broad Street on Friday, February 8. While enroute, Central dispatch advised the officer that the suspect (Thomason) had left the church and was walking east on Broad Street. Members of the church were following her. The officer made contact with the subject (Thomason) on Whaley Street. Found in her purse were the two wallets which were stolen from victims during a church service. Except for some cash, the wallets and contents were recovered and returned to the owners.

35 year old Joel Thomas Hayes pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal trespass and theft under $500. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutive with each other. He must also serve the balance of a one year sentence for violation of probation in another case. He has been furloughed to enroll in a drug rehab and halfway house. If he successfully completes the thirty day program and pays his court costs and fines, he will be on supervised probation for the duration of the sentence.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 4, 2012 Hayes allegedly broke into an outbuilding on Dale Ridge Road by cutting a lock off the front door. He allegedly stole a welding tank and cart, a chainsaw, tackle box, water tank, a battery charger, windows, and several other items all valued at over $1,000.

42 year old Richard Turner pleaded guilty to theft under $500. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to probation. He will be on supervised probation for the first six months and unsupervised probation for the last six months if court costs and restitution are paid.

The shoplifting case against Turner was the result of an incident at Save-A-Lot on Saturday, January 12. Turner was observed going into the restroom with items which were later found on his person.

Helga Thompson to Serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania

September 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dwan Adams (left) and Helga Thompson

In a few short months, Helga Thompson will be packing her bags and leaving the comforts of home in DeKalb County for a new life experience in Tanzania. For twenty seven months, Thompson will be serving in the east African country as a Peace Corps volunteer working in environmental education.

(CLICK PLAY BUTTON BELOW TO HEAR INTERVIEW WITH HELGA THOMPSON AND DWAN ADAMS)

"Working with people and trying to leave something good behind has always been part of my life," said Thompson in a recent interview with WJLE.

Since its creation in 1961, the Peace Corps' mission has been to promote world peace and friendship by helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Peace Corps Volunteers serve in more than 70 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands. By providing technical assistance to countries that request it, the Peace Corps shares America's most precious resources--its people and their skills.

Though not originally from here, Thompson has called DeKalb County her home for more than twelve years. "I was a teacher. I taught in Alabama, Florida, and I even taught one year in Cannon County High School. My husband and I moved up here about twelve or thirteen years ago. We moved our business up here. I wound up becoming the Liberty Librarian, working part time and helping my husband in his business," said Thompson.

After her husband died last year, Thompson began to think about her future and discovered Peace Corps 50 plus which offers those over the age of 50 the opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps overseas. "My husband died a little over a year ago. I decided I couldn't run the business by myself so I thought what do I do now with my life? I thought about teaching overseas and as I was doing research I came across a line on the computer that said 'Peace Corps 50 plus' . I knew about the Peace Corps. President Kennedy started it in 1961 and I sort of grew up with it but I thought it was for young people. Then I see 50 plus and I'm over 50 so I went to the website and looked at it and thought, if this is what the Lord wants me to do, I'll get accepted so I filled out the application process, which is quite lengthy. It took several weeks to do this because they are very thorough about wanting to know you and wanting to be sure you understand what you're getting into. I had to do interviews and then I got accepted," said Thompson.

It was during the interview process that Thompson met Dwan Adams, Peace Corps Regional Recruiter in Atlanta. Adams served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia from 2007-2009 working as a Secondary English Teacher during her Peace Corps service. After she returned to the United States, Adams decided to continue working in the Peace Corps. "When I got back to the states I thought I definitely wanted to continue working for the Peace Corps because I really believe in the work that we were doing as volunteers overseas," said Adams in an interview with WJLE. "I wanted to have a career where I'm being pushed by my passion and driven by a cause," she continued.

Today, as an outreach specialist, Adams enjoys sharing the story of the Peace Corps with others "I have the great opportunity of going out and really talking about the Peace Corps to college students as well as outreaching to secondary schools or high schools and even sharing this in community sessions and talking to 50 plus candidates and others who are thinking about changing their careers and looking for something a little bit more to do," she said.

Peace Corps volunteers don't get to choose where they will serve, according to Thompson. She said they are sent where it is determined they can do the most good. "I am scheduled to go to Tanzania in February for twenty seven months of service over there. They send you where they think you would best be of service. I'm very excited about going over there and working with the people. I will be working in environmental education. They said I will be working with the schools and the farmers but they will match me with a program when I get there, once they get to know me and see where best I could be of service", she said.

Peace Corps volunteers receive a stipend for their service but they are expected to live and dress as the people they are serving. "I will get a wage that is comparable to the people there. I'm not coming in with a TV and all that. This is about creating relationships with the people. There is a minimal health and safety standard, but I was told that in Tanzania I most probably will not have electricity and I will be drawing water from a well if in the rural areas. It's not a vacation. It's going to be a different way of life. But that's part of the learning process . Not all of life there is like we live it here," said Thompson.

While she is looking forward to her mission in Tanzania, Thompson said she plans to return home after her twenty seven months of service. "I have my farm here. My daughter lives next door. I've got my dog so I'll be coming home. I'm not saying I won't do a shorter stint (as a Peace Corps volunteer) but I'm 57 years old and I don't know how many more good years I have in me," she said.

For more information visit www.peacecorps.gov.

Election Commission Reminds Citizens That September 24 Is National Voter Registration Day

September 16, 2013
Jeff James
Katherine Pack

The DeKalb County Election Commission wishes to remind citizens that September 24 is National Voter Registration Day. The day is the high point of National Voter Registration Month, a time when state and county election officials have been working to encourage voter participation and increase awareness of state requirements and deadlines for voting.

On September 24, county elections officials remind you the local election office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to process registrations and updates.

“National Voter Registration Day is a great time to make sure that your registration is up to date or to register for the first time” said DeKalb Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley. “We are ready to help you in any way we can at any time.”

“When a voter moves, they notify the electric company and those type of agencies, but often forget about informing the election office of their move,” Stanley continued. “Then when they go to the polls on Election Day, there is paperwork for them to fill out and in some cases they may have to go to another precinct to actually vote. Voters can avoid those inconveniences by simply keeping their address up to date with the election office. With numerous elections coming up next year, now is a good time to make sure your voting address is up to date.”

Social media has played a role in this month’s promotion. Voters have been encouraged to visit www.GoVoteTN.com, print signs encouraging voter registration, and then post photos of themselves holding the signs on social media using the hashtag #GoVoteTN.

“I am excited to see so many voters sharing their enthusiasm for National Voter Registration Month,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who serves as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. “I encourage voters to visit our web site to make sure they are properly registered to vote at their current addresses. Also, I encourage even more people to get involved in the campaign via social media.”

For more information on voter registration options and deadlines in Tennessee, as well as to check your current registration status, visit www.GoVoteTN.com.

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