Local News Articles

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix To Retire

May 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Kathy Hendrix

After thirty years as an educator including seven years as Principal of DeKalb County High School, Kathy Hendrix is retiring.

She will be stepping down as principal when the school year ends. Director Mark Willoughby has not yet officially named her replacement.

Looking back over her career, Hendrix, in an interview with WJLE Monday, said being an administrator was never something she had set out to do. " I never thought I would want to be an administrator. When I got my Masters degree I went into curriculum instruction. But later on when I got my Ed.s, it just seemed like I didn't have anything else to get that in so I got that in administration. It just worked out. The opportunity came up and I have enjoyed it. I've enjoyed all of it. I enjoyed teaching too. Teaching is very rewarding," she said.

It's not surprising that Hendrix chose education as a career since her parents, Louise and the late Woodrow Frazier, were educators and two of her sisters became teachers. "Both my parents were educators. My mother was a teacher. In fact, she was my (elementary school) teacher at Pea Ridge and my dad was the principal there. My mother later started the library at Smithville Elementary and my dad later became the first principal at DeKalb West School. I have a sister, Peggy Thomas, that lives in Las Vegas. She is an educator out there. My sister Lisa Cripps, currently works in the central office here. Other family members didn't go into education but they have well respected jobs and have done good for themselves too," she said.

A 1974 graduate of DeKalb County High School, Hendrix furthered her education at MTSU in Murfreesboro. "I have three degrees from MTSU. I got my BS, a Masters in curriculum and instruction, and an Ed.s as an administrator," she said. " I always knew I wanted to go to college. Education just seemed to be the (career) path that I needed. I loved math. I took all the math courses I could take while I was in college. I had some good math teachers growing up that gave me a good foundation. I guess I had an aptitude for that," said Hendrix.

Among the teachers she admired most as a young elementary and high school student were Carolyn Adcock and Jean Harney. "I had Ms. Carolyn in grade school. She gave me a good foundation. I had Ms. Harney in math and she was an excellent teacher. They sort of built that foundation for me in math," said Hendrix.

As a teacher and assistant principal, Hendrix said she fostered a great respect for three people in particular. "As a teacher, I had a lot of respect for Mr. Ernest Ray as a principal. He was also my teacher. I worked under him and learned a lot from him as well as Mr. Steve Hayes. While I was an assistant for two years, I learned quite a bit from Mr. Weldon Parkinson. He taught me a lot," said Hendrix.

Before her years at the high school, Hendrix was a classroom teacher at the middle school. " I started out in the middle school teaching sixth grade overload. I taught every subject. They later moved me to the high school where I taught science and math. Until I became administrator that's where I stayed in the classroom teaching math. I've been teaching for thirty years. This is my ninth year as an administrator. I served as two years as an assistant principal and this is my seventh year as principal," said Hendrix.

Asked about her views on today's education standards, Hendrix said she is concerned that some goals have become near impossible to meet. " There are some good things. It has forced us to demand more from students. Our expectations have been raised so high. The curriculum has changed and there's lots of other changes coming down the line, even in the lower grades, probably down in the third and fourth grade, maybe even lower. Things have really changed. What they're having to do now in high school is a lot more demanding on them. There's a lot more rigorous things now because of the testing and the goals the federal and state governments have set. Its almost impossible to meet what they're asking us to do. But we're expected to get these students to achieve all of these things. We try our best. We've got good teachers and they work hard but its putting a lot of stress on everybody, trying to meet the goals that's being demanded of us," she said

As for her future, Hendrix said she plans to spend more time with family and relax. "I'm hoping to be able to travel some and spend more time with my grandchildren and just relax and enjoy life. My mother will be ninety five years old in July and I need to help more with her," she said.

She looks back on her career fondly and said she will miss it "I know I'm going to miss it. I've had a lot of fun. We used to decorate for the prom. I was once a prom sponsor and we had a lot of fun doing that. You have to laugh. I will say to anybody that's in education, you need to laugh when you can," said Hendrix.

Asked if she had any advice for her successor, Hendrix said don't try to go it alone. "Whoever becomes principal, just remember that they need support from everybody because you can't do this job alone. The teachers also need support. You can't do this kind of work and not have support from the parents, the community and everybody. That's something I do feel like I've had and I appreciate that. I appreciate the opportunity that I was given to do this job. I want to say thanks for all the support and help that everyone has given me. I wish everybody the best," said Hendrix.

Smithville Municipal Pool May Open Next Week

May 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
City Pool on Memorial Day 2011
Tony Poss
Alderman Gayla Hendrix

The Smithville Municipal Pool may open as early as next week.

The aldermen Monday night, at the request of golf course tenant Tony Poss, voted to amend his lease giving him the discretion to open the pool sooner than the contract calls for in the spring and to close it later in the summer, depending upon the weather. The original lease specifies that the pool is to open Memorial Day and to remain open until the beginning of school. Poss said he would like to open the pool by late next week. "We've had an unusually warm spring and we've had calls after calls wanting to use the pool and we're losing people who are going out of town because we can't let them in the pool. The pool is ready, the permits are paid and the lifeguards are certified. We're looking at opening around the 18th or 19th of May. We're waiting for school to get out," said Poss.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix said she thought opening the pool sooner is a good idea, given the warmer weather this spring. " I think we should amend that lease to just state at the lessee's discretion to open the pool and close the pool upon weather permitting. This has been an unusual spring. Usually its not warm enough to open the pool until Memorial Day, but it is warm enough now and kids are getting out of school soon. Even if you opened it temporarily on weekends only til Memorial Day all its going to do is generate revenue. To me it only makes sense, if you've got everything ready to go," she said.

The aldermen also approved Poss's request to amend the lease to allow him to book pool parties after hours, at no extra expense to the city. The city is responsible for paying wages of lifeguards during all hours of pool operation, but the city legally can't bear that cost for private pool parties. Poss said he would assume the cost of hiring lifeguards for pool parties after hours and that would solve the problem. "I've checked with insurance and it pretty much covers anything we do over there. It wouldn't cost the city anything. We'll pay them (lifeguards) for those private parties. Its something we're missing out on. We've had I'll bet ten calls this weekend and if we don't accommodate these people, they're just going out of town. We could keep people here in town. We'll be open til 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. and have parties after that, maybe until 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m." said Poss.

The aldermen further voted, at Poss's request, to have some work done at the clubhouse bathroom facilities to make them more handicapped accessible. "We need to know when the city is going to get the bathrooms and pool facilities up to ADA standards. We have a deadline this month of May 21 but as of today (Monday) we're still not compliant with those laws," said Poss.

We've been up here several times (to the city council meetings) about the 2012 ADA standards. I think the board voted a couple of months ago to research this and see what the best option is to update the bathrooms and showers to make them handicapped accessible. As of today, nothing has been done. I just don't want this to be a liability on the city's part or our part. I called the ADA Thursday and from what I've been told, they say anything that is accessible to the public has to meet ADA standards. It doesn't matter when it's built," said Poss.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said while some work has already been done at the clubhouse bathrooms to make them more accessible, a complete renovation is not necessary. The city has also ordered a portable lift chair for handicapped users to get in and out of the swimming pool. "We have researched that. The (handicapped) lift (for the pool) is on back order and I'm not sure when it will be here but it shouldn't be long. As far as the restrooms, bringing them up to ADA standards, we don't have to do anything. Existing buildings before 1990, you don't have to redo them unless you are reconstructing or remodeling, tearing out and redoing, then you have to bring them to ADA standards. We have taken out partial walls so the (women's) bathroom is accessible with a wheel chair. The men's bathroom was already (accessible). But as far as the latrine being a certain height, we don't have to do that," said Mayor Hendrixson.

Alderman Hendrix suggested that the city go ahead and make whatever changes are needed. "When this was brought to us a month or so ago, things like making the sink a certain height and the urinals a certain height, it didn't seem like it was going to be a big ordeal and it sounded like city employees had the capability of doing these things. If its not a big ordeal or big expense and it will make it more accessible to people, what's the draw back in doing it? Actually I thought we already agreed to do it," said Alderman Hendrix.

Alderman Danny Washer agreed. "Lets fix what needs to be fixed. It won't cost the city a lot of money," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson said the work would begin possibly this week. City building codes inspector Eugene O'Neal will be consulted to get his input on whatever further renovations should be made.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker announced that a bid opening on the purchase of a ladder truck is set for Friday, May 11 at 2:00 p.m. at city hall. He said bids will be reviewed on Friday and brought to the next city council meeting on May 21.

Chief Parker said he is also working with City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson and the Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS) to get advice on the best way to go about replacing the fire department's turnout gear, by coming up with the best means of bidding those items for purchase.

Meanwhile, in his monthly fire report, Chief Parker said during the last month the department responded to one grass fire, one dumpster fire, a landing zone, one structure fire, and one training.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said he recently applied for and the city has been approved for a BURNS grant. It is a non-matching grant at no cost to the city. "We have been approved for a $12,061 grant, subject to board approval. Its free money for the department to buy equipment. We've looked at new shotguns for the patrol cars and some other equipment that we need for the department. With board approval, we'll go forward," said Chief Caplinger.

The aldermen voted to accept the grant.

Chief Caplinger also announced that the police department has received two humvees at no cost to the city. "One of them has 22,000 miles on it and the other has 27,000 miles. They haven't been used that much. We received those through the military. I actually applied for four, hoping to get one but we were lucky and got two. There were 450 of them and they were gone in less than twelve hours. I'm glad we got them. The only cost to the city was going down and driving them back from Montgomery, Alabama. We are looking at painting them black and using them in emergency situations, whether it be drug operations, inclement weather such as street flooding or snows, helping stranded motorists. They can go into areas where we might not be able to get to in a four wheel drive truck or a patrol car. They can be used for tactical operations, transporting officers to the scene of a crime. We can do whatever we decide we want to do with them," said Chief Caplinger

Water Plant operator Todd Bowman reported that the water treatment plant, during the month of March " treated 48-million 900-thousand gallons of water. We used 200,000 gallons for backwash and 125,000 gallons to re-wash. To drain the basin was 710,000 gallons. We used 276,000 gallons at the plant and we also did a system wide flush during the month of March. We used 625,000 gallons there. So we left the plant with 46.9 million gallons. We sold 35.6 million gallons which left a total unaccounted for of 11.3 million gallons which is a 24% water loss," said Bowman.

School Board Seeks Funding for Construction and Roofing Projects in New Budget

May 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education is expected to adopt a tentative budget for the 2012-13 school year Thursday night to be presented to the county commission's budget committee.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, in an interview with WJLE Friday, said the proposed spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School.

According to Willoughby, the school board will also seek in the proposed new budget $850,000 in local funds for renovation and expansion of the kitchen/cafeteria area of DeKalb West School; a proposal to re-roof DeKalb Middle School (87,000 square feet), to re-roof DeKalb West School (45,000 square feet); and to re-roof a portion of Smithville Elementary School (8,000 square feet); funding for a new special education teacher at DeKalb West School; a new math teacher at DCHS; an assistant band teacher, an assistant high school soccer coach, two extra teaching positions (one for kindergarten and one for sixth grade) if needed due to enrollment; and funds to put custodians on twelve month contracts instead of the current ten month contracts. Willoughby said the state has approved a 2.5% pay raise for certified personnel. The school board will also include a 2.5% local pay hike for support staff. "The 2.5% will be fully paid for the support staff by the county," said Willoughby. "But the state will pay for all BEP (Basic Education Program) positions. We have about twenty four BEP positions above BEP (requirements) so we would have to pick up that 2.5%," said Willoughby.. The school board further seeks an increase of $300,000 in capital outlay funds and $11,000 to fully fund a JTPA (Jobs Training Partnership Act) intervention/counseling position previously funded partly through a UCHRA grant.

During the April school board meeting, Director Willoughby announced that the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency had approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The proposed 15,000 square foot addition, to be built in the front of the existing school, calls for eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area. The new addition is meant to not only provide more classroom space and better shelter in the event of storms, but to make the school more secure.

Although a new larger DeKalb West School cafeteria and kitchen do not qualify under the FEMA grant, the architects have included in the design an expansion of the existing dining area, which would have to be funded locally.

DeKalb West School, which opened in 1974, was built for 320 students. The current enrollment is 445 plus faculty and staff.

The school board will meet in regular monthly session Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Board of Education building.

Tennessee Titans Caravan Visits Smithville Elementary School

May 8, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Titans Caravan made a stop at Smithville Elementary School Tuesday morning.

Students and school staff met Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas, the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith of Titans Radio, and Titans Mascot T-Rac.

The Caravan consists of 24 visits to schools and 26 public stops. The school program features a high-energy, educational message from seven time Pro Bowl Titans mascot T-Rac, host Rhett Ryan and at least one Titans player. The Titans use the opportunity to speak to youngsters about the NFL's Play 60 program, which stresses the importance of getting at least 60 minutes of active play each day, and also the benefits of making good choices in all parts of their lives. T-Rac and the Titans school program are sponsored by Tennessee State Parks.

Titans Caravan began in 1998 as a small effort to spread goodwill through the region. Today, six full-time staffers travel with Titans players and T-Rac through the Mid-South on a specially-decorated motor coach provided by Grand Avenue. Since 1998, Titans Caravan has made over 700 stops, traveled approximately 50,000 miles, visited close to 300 schools and allowed the team to interact directly with an estimated audience well-in excess of 100,000 fans.

A powerful right-footed kicker in his eighth NFL season, Rob Bironas has earned the right to be named among the best players at his position. Statistically one of the top kickers in the NFL history, he made 86.3% of his field goals in the first seven years of his career and became one of the top two scorers in club history. Prior to winning a roster spot with the Titans in 2005, Bironas spent time in training camp with the Green Bay Packers in 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004. He spent two seasons in the Arena Football League and one season in Af2. Bironas enters the 2012 season as the third-ranked kicker in NFL history in field goal accuracy, connecting on 86.3% of his attempts (189 of 219). Only Al Del Greco (1,060) points has accounted for more points than Bironas in the history of the Titans/Oilers organization.

Franklin-native Mike Keith, an award winning broadcaster, begins his 14th year as the "Voice of the Titans" in 2012.

The NFL's second-youngest play-by-play announcer was actually the first ever associated with Tennessee's NFL team. In 1996, while the team was in Houston, Keith hosted a pre-game show for Tennessee stations who carried the Oilers games. The Franklin-native served as the network's scoreboard host in 1997 before moving into the booth as color analyst in 1998 and then assuming the play-by-play duties in 1999.

In addition to his play-by-play duties, Keith hosts the weekly Mike Munchak Show, Tuesday night at 6pm central on Titans Radio. He also contributes many of the interviews and features for Titans Countdown, the network's pregame show. Keith also writes a regular column for Titans Radio's web site, TitansRadio.Com.

From 1987-98, Keith was a Vol Radio Network stalwart, working with Vol football, basketball, baseball and Lady Vol basketball broadcasts and coaches' shows on radio and television.

Keith also hosts the weekly television show, Titans ALL Access on television stations across the region every weekend.

Cookeville Man Charged in Local Theft

May 7, 2012
Dwayne Page
Aaron Michael Knight
Jesse Robert Adcock
James Arvin Gooch
William Alton Rainey
Dakota James Stith

A Cookeville man has been charged with stealing jewelry from a local resident he was working for last month.

28 year old Aaron Michael Knight of Thomas Road, Cookeville is charged with theft of property over $10,000. He was arrested April 30. Knight's bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on June 7

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on or about Saturday, April 7, Knight was doing some work for a resident on Rolling Acres Road, and allegedly stole several pieces of jewelry from the home valued at over $10,000.

Meanwhile, in another case, 31 year old Jesse Robert Adcock of Obie Adcock Road is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court June 21. Sheriff Ray said that an officer was called to investigate a domestic complaint on Obie Adcock Road, Tuesday May 1. Upon arrival, the officer talked to a female who said that Adcock had hit her in the face and chest with his fists. Her left cheek was red and swollen and she had a mark on her chest. Adcock allegedly admitted to the officer that he had hit the woman.

45 year old Kenneth Daryl Cox of Murfreesboro is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court May 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, May 2, a deputy saw a man slumped over in a vehicle parked about ten feet from the roadway at Eastside Citgo on Highway 70 east. The officer stopped to do a welfare check and found that the man (Cox) had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His speech was very slurred. Cox told the officer that he had been to the club and had drank too much.. He was unsteady on his feet. Cox was unable to get a ride or have someone to pick him up so due to his intoxication level and for his safety, he was placed under arrest.

52 year old James Arvin Gooch of Nashville Highway, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court May 17. According to Sheriff Ray, while on patrol in Doweltown Friday, May 4 a deputy turned onto Turner Road and heard a female screaming "get off of me". The female kept on screaming. The officer noticed a man and a woman on the back porch of a residence on the Nashville Highway. The officer approached the home and saw that the woman was sitting in a chair on the porch and that the man was on her. The woman, who had bruising on her right forearm, told the officer that Gooch grabbed her arm trying to get rent money from her.

William Alton Rainey of Sewanee, Georgia is charged with driving under the influence, evading arrest, and vandalism. He was also cited for violation of the implied consent law, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), simple possession of marijuana, violation of the registration law, no drivers license, and reckless driving. Rainey will be in court on May 17. His bond is $8,250.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, May 5, a deputy was dispatched to a complaint of a reckless driver on the McMinnville Highway. The officer spotted a Ford Mustang matching the description of the suspect's vehicle on Highway 56 south near the Smithville city limits. After the deputy got behind the car, it turned onto Dearman Street, failed to yield to a stop sign, and then went down South College Street. The officer activated his emergency lights and sirens to make the stop but the car sped up, traveling at up to 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour speed zone. The deputy lost sight of the vehicle near Bryant Street but central dispatch reported that the car was spotted on Jackson Street. When the officer got to Andrews Street, he saw the car, but it was unoccupied. The area was searched and the suspect (Rainey) was observed trying to hide behind a residence. The officer ordered him to stop, but he jumped a fence and fled, breaking the top board off of the fence. Rainey was subsequently apprehended on Morgan Drive. He had in his possession 1.7 grams of marijuana. The officer also noticed that Rainey had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Rainey submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. Rainey refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Rainey told the officer that he had consumed 2-40 ounce Miller Lites and had smoked a marijuana joint that day. Rainey also claimed to have taken some methamphetamine and cocaine within the last four days.

36 year old Michael Andrew Judkins and 32 year old Crystal Dawn Judkins both of Old Bildad Road, Smithville are each charged with failure to stop resisting, to stop, frisk, or halt. Bond for each is $1,000 and they will be in court May 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 5 a sheriff's department drug detective went to a residence on Old Bildad Road to assist deputies on a welfare check of children. While the detective was to trying to speak with both Mr. and Ms. Judkins, they turned around and started to walk away. They were ordered several times to stop, but they ignored the commands and kept walking. Both Mr. and Ms. Judkins had to be physically restrained. They were then handcuffed and placed under arrest.

19 year old Dakota James Stith of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 6 a deputy responded to an unwanted guest call and a possible break-in at a residence on New Home Road. After the officer arrived, the complainant said that the person involved in the incident had left. After obtaining a description of the person and his vehicle, the deputy spotted it and made contact with the suspect. The man (Stith) was asked to produce his identification but he replied that he did not have an ID. He told the officer that his name was D.J. Mason and that his birth date was August 26, 1991. After investigating further, the officer learned that his name is actually Dakota Stith and that his birth date is August 26, 1992. Stith, who has two outstanding warrants against him for failure to appear in court, was placed under arrest. His total bond is $10,500 and he will be in court on May 10th.

30 year old Tiffany Rena Greer of Tami Kay Road, Dowelltown is cited for driving on a suspended license and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). She will be in court on June 6. Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, May 4, a sheriff's department drug detective pulled over Greer's vehicle, knowing that her driver's license were suspended. A check of her drivers license confirmed it was suspended with only an identification. She was also unable to provide proof of insurance.

Trapping Underway for Tree Pest

May 7, 2012
Trapping Underway for Tree Pest (This Photo Taken on Braswell Lane)

Purple three-sided insect traps that resemble a box kite can be seen in ash trees in DeKalb County and from Mountain City to Memphis in the next few months as part of an expanded surveillance program by state and federal agencies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) are partnering to survey for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada.

“Trapping is a very important tool for us to know how extensive the infestation is and whether additional control measures are needed to slow it from spreading to new areas,” TDA Plant Certification administrator Gray Haun said. “This year, we are extending our trapping efforts across the state as a part of a national survey program.”

The goal of the expanded trapping program is to provide a more complete national assessment and to locate new infestations for possible treatment and quarantine. Nearly 3,500 traps will be placed in trees across Tennessee by state and federal officials and private contractors.

The purple traps are coated with an adhesive that captures insects when they land. The color is attractive to EAB, and is relatively easy for people to spot among the foliage.

“The triangular purple traps pose no risk to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the non-toxic glue can be extremely sticky,” said USDA State Plant Health Director, Yvonne Demarino. “It’s important people understand that the traps don’t attract or pull beetles into an area, but rather they are a detection tool to help find EAB if it is present in the area.”

EAB was first discovered in Tennessee in 2010 at a truck stop along I-40 in Knox County. In addition to Knox, five other counties in East Tennessee including Blount, Claiborne, Grainger, Loudon and Sevier are under state and federal quarantines. This means that no hardwood firewood, ash logs, ash seedlings, ash bark and other restricted materials can be moved outside these counties without approval.

State plant health officials suspect that EAB entered the state on firewood or ash wood materials brought in from another state where infestations have occurred. Other pests can also be artificially transported by individuals moving firewood. Citizens and visitors are urged to buy their firewood near where they camp and not transport it from one area to another.

At times, traps can be blown out of the trees. To report a trap that is down, contact the national EAB hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or visit www.purpleEABsurvey.info. For more information about EAB in Tennessee, contact TDA at 1-800-628-2631 or visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/regulatory/eab.html. An EAB fact sheet can also be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2012/EAB_survey_faq.pdf.

DeKalb County To Participate In The Great American Cleanup

May 7, 2012
Suzanne Williams,(left) and Ronda Butler of County Mayor's Office

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Mayor's office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up campaign on Saturday, May 12th. This event will be held in conjunction with the Keep American Beautiful initiative going on across the country. This organization’s mission revolves around a core belief that beauty is a silent but powerful force that makes communities safer, healthier and more livable.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the Shopping Center parking lot (close to DeKalb Ace Hardware), 702 South Congress Blvd., Smithville.

County Mayor Mike Foster says, “We would like for people to come out and help clean our communities and roadways. Folks are welcome to pick their own locations to clean, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for each person to participate.”

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to come to the new County Complex located at 732 So. Congress Blvd., Smithville on May 12th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags & rubber gloves. For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber office located at the Courthouse Room 201 during regular office hours before May 12th to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together!

Fourth Annual Relay for Life 5K and One-Mile Fun Run Set for May 19

May 5, 2012
Dwayne Page
Relay for Life 5K and One-Mile Fun Run Set for May 19

The fourth annual Relay for Life 5K and One-Mile Fun Run is set for Saturday, May 19 and the deadline for pre-registration is next Friday, May 11. Race entries will also be accepted on the morning of the race at the check-in location at Green Brook Park in Smithville.

The event is sponsored by and raises money for the American Cancer Society.

The entry fee is a donation of at least $20 for pre-registration and $25 for those registering after May 11. The race begins promptly at 7:30 a.m. RAIN OR SHINE at Green Brook Park on Saturday, May 19. All pre-registered participants must check in by 7:00 a.m. All others must register by 7:00 a.m.

Age divisions for the 5K Run are as follows:

60+ (women)
60-69 (men)
70+ (men)

Tee shirts will be given to all participants on the day of the race. Awards will be given to the male and female individuals with the overall best times in the 5K Run and the best times in each 5K age divisions.

The Relay 5K Registration Form includes a place for your name, phone number, address, city, state, zip code, your email address, your T-shirt size, your age, and your sex. Check on the form whether you are participating in the 5K Run or the One-Mile Fun Run Walk.

Mail your registration to: Relay for Life 5K Run, 403 South 3rd Street, Smithville, TN 37166. For more information email: bashford55@gmail.com or call Barbara Ashford at 615-417-6563 or Judy Redmon at 615-597-6240. Make checks payable to Relay for Life.

Registration forms are available at the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and Smithville area banks.

USDA Rural Development Approves Loan/Grant Funding for Proposed DUD Water Plant

May 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney of Auburntown
DUD Board members Roger Turney, Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, Hugh Washer
City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson Addresses DUD Board

USDA Rural Development has approved loan and grant funding for DeKalb Utility District's proposed water treatment plant.

During a DUD board meeting Thursday, Chairman Roger Turney announced that Congressman Diane Black has confirmed that the water utility will receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility will be funded through a bond issue.

Buddy Koonce, Jr. of Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood, the DUD's utility engineer said that plans are being drawn up and will be sent to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Once funding is all in place and the state approves the plans, bids can be let on the project. That could come as early as this summer.

But as the DUD board moves forward with its plans, officials of the City of Smithville and others want more answers as to why another plant is needed for the county.

Hunter Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer for the City of Smithville, addressed the DUD board Thursday asking why they felt a water plant was needed when the city can sell them all the water they need at cost. "From the city's standpoint, our plant is a four million gallon a day plant, and with DUD as a customer we're at fifty percent capacity and have been for many years," said Hendrixson. "Our contract with you (DUD) doesn't expire until December 31, 2013. The city would have been open to renegotiating the contract. I just wish the DUD and the city could have had a little better communications.I think the city sells water to you very cheap. I'd say its basically a break even. We're not making a fortune off of it. I'd just like to ask the question, why build a plant?"

Turney said the county would be better served by having another water plant. "One of the reasons is to be able to control our own destiny. To determine where we can go and where we can't go," said Turney. "Over the last several years, several things have happened worldwide that has made it imperative that whenever possible, it makes good sense for areas to have backup water supply systems. If you say, well nothing has happened in years, look what happened in Nashville just a few years ago. They were flooded by a one hundred year flood. They came so close. If there had not been interconnections between other utility districts around them, Tennessee would have had a disaster unmanageable. We think its beneficial for the whole county, Smithville, our customers, and everyone to have a second treatment plant in a day and world we live in today because who knows what could happen. Something might happen to both of us. Its entirely possible," he said.

According to Turney, other cities would like to have access to Center Hill Lake for their water supply and if the DUD doesn't take advantage of this opportunity, some other utility may. "Center Hill Lake, I think, is the best water supply in the State of Tennessee. The Corps of Engineers, over the years, is getting more and more restrictive because a lot of people are drawing out of that lake. Cookeville and other areas want more and more water all the time. We looked that over and decided if we don't get in line and get our piece of the pie in reserve, it may be gone. If we don't do this now, ten years from now we may say we want to build a plant, and the Corps of Engineers could say I'm sorry there's no water allocated for you and you can't do it. That could well happen," said Turney.

"This is an historical period in our history," said Turney. "Interest rates are at the lowest people have ever remembered. We've got loans committed to us. Just today we received from Congressman Diane Black's office confirmation of our $5 million loan and a $1.25 million grant to help fund this project. We are honestly not doing this to try to punish Smithville and we're not dumb. We realize its going to cost a little bit and our customers will have to pay a little bit more because of this initially. But we've had at least three different organizations look at our finances and look at the projections for what's going to happen over the next few years with the assumption that the (water) rates of Smithville continue to increase (to the DUD) about five cents (per thousand gallons) every year. Everything that's come back to us has said that financially in terms of our customers, in the long run they will benefit financially. Their (DUD customer) rates will be lower, because we will have more control," he said..

"We know that most industries like to have backups because if something happens to the water treatment plant that supplies them water, if they shut down, they lose. They love to have a backup. That would be a benefit," said Turney.

"We've been dealing with this for years now and we just think it's the time to go. Everything is in place at the right time. I honestly believe that DeKalb County, the City of Smithville, and everybody involved will be glad that this project was undertaken. We hope with the economic conditions we have now that we'll get some excellent bids because people are wanting jobs right now. That's kind of our rationale. That's not everything but that's some of the high points we looked at in determining whether or not to go on. We're trying to decide what's best for our customers and the whole county. And not just DeKalb County, but all the counties that we serve," said Turney.

Hendrixson asked Turney if the DUD had plans of expanding its reach into other areas.

Turney didn't rule it out. "With another water supply, if we had the water supply available, I know Rutherford County would give anything in this world if they could tie into Center Hill Lake," he said. "We're less than a half a mile from their water lines. The City of Woodbury, their water supply source is dwindling, going away. We're positioning, that if we had a water supply for them, they could tie on. Alexandria, we've wanted to serve Alexandria for years. We could tie them on. It may be a long time down the road, but I could see Dowelltown and Liberty. Eventually, they may want to tie on. I think there is potential for growth," said Turney.

Local resident Billy Hale expressed concerns about rate increases.

Turney responded that while rate increases would be necessary, they would not be as high as some have speculated. "There's been a tremendous amount of misinformation given out here recently," he said. "No where along the line have we talked about going up fifty percent on our rates. We had to justify and show to the state the potential income to pay for these loans and grants. They don't just give you the money on your word. You have to verify it with documents. At our last board meeting, we projected a seven percent increase this year, next year, and the next year. Three years running. That seven percent will be enough to pay for the water treatment plant. Our minimum bill now is $17.50. It will go up to $19.00. It will then go up to $20.30 and then to $21.75 over the next three years. We also figured our average customer's bill is now about $44.00. That will go up to $47.75. The following year, it will go up to $51.08 and then the following year to $54.55. On the minimum bill, that's $4.25 over four years. That's not even one cell phone call. That's insignificant in the times that we're living in. We're not talking about major income hardships on anyone," said Turney.

Tracy Foutch, owner of Foutch Industries, asked if the DUD and the City of Smithville could share their water supply to keep rates down. "Is it possible to share the water, since you both have a limited number of customers, where both the city and county could still supply the same customers and dilute the water rates for both and feed the same water towers from both ends?"

" I don't know of anywhere in the world, where that is done. That doesn't seem like something that would work," said Turney.

Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new Raw Water Intake, Raw Water Transmission Line, Water Treatment Plant and distribution system improvements. The proposed plant will be constructed near Holmes Creek Road and will have a capacity of three million gallons per day. The intake will be on Center Hill Lake, the Transmission Line along Holmes Creek Road and distribution lines will be along Allen's Chapel, Game Ridge, Turner, South Tittsworth, and Big Rock Roads, and Wheeler Lane.

The DeKalb Utility District serves parts of a four county area, DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson.

Members of the DUD board are Roger Turney, Chairman, from Auburntown; Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, and Hugh Washer all from DeKalb County, and Danny Bass from Smith County.

Meanwhile, the Calvert Street Group, a public relations firm hired by the City of Smithville, has launched a campaign trying to convince DUD customers through telephone calls, on-line petitions, and other means that a new water plant is a bad idea and that it will result in large increases in water rates. The group seeks to rally vocal public opposition to DUD's plans.

Donna Emmons Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

May 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Donna Emmons Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year
Teachers of the Year from each school

An educator from DeKalb County High School was named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" Thursday night during the fifth annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Donna Emmons received the honor and a check for $150 from Liberty State Bank, the sponsor of the banquet. The presentation was made by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank.

Emmons was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Beth Cantrell from Smithville Elementary School, Karen Pelham from DeKalb Middle School, Jane Watson from DeKalb West School, and Bethany Rigsby from Northside Elementary School.

Three of the educators, earlier this year, were selected "Teachers of the Year" locally and competed for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through sixth grade, explained how the Teachers of the Year are selected. "Every year DeKalb County participates in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program. Each school picks a Teacher of the Year from their school. That teacher is sent to the county level and we also participate in the regional by picking a teacher in Pre-K through 4th grade, a teacher in the 5th through 8th grade, and a 9th through 12th grade teacher. This year we sent nominations over (for regional competition) and we also sent the names of all five teachers of the year where a committee made up of several supervisors from the Upper Cumberland scored our county applicants based on the Rubric scoring guide," said Burklow. The overall Teacher of the Year from DeKalb County was chosen by this committee.

Emmons teaches English I, Journalism, and advises the student media program, Tiger Media. She has been a teacher in the freshman academy since its inception (now in its 6th year). Cantrell is a kindergarten teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Rigsby, a third grade teacher at Northside Elementary School; Pelham, an eighth grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School; and Watson is a fifth grade teacher at DeKalb West School.

Each principal introduced the Teacher of the Year at his or her school and remarked on how they deserved the honor.

The guest speaker for the banquet was Dr. John Carpenter, Pastor of the Smithville First United Methodist and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches.

(Top Photo: Roy N. Pugh of Liberty State Bank and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby with DeKalb County Teacher of the Year Donna Emmons of DCHS)

(Bottom Photo: Roy N. Pugh of Liberty State Bank (left) and Director of Schools Mark Willloughby (right) with Teachers of the Year: Karen Pelham, Beth Cantrell, Jane Watson, Donna Emmons, and Bethany Rigsby)


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