Local News Articles

County to Purchase Fire Truck

May 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
This 1975 Fire Truck at Austin Bottom to be Replaced by 1979 truck at Midway
Hours and Fees Set for Exercise Room at New County Complex
County Commissioners Larry Summers and Wayne Cantrell
Jeff Barnes, Bradley Hendrix, Marshall Ferrell, Bobby Joines
Jack Barton, Jerry Adcock, John Green, Jerry Scott
Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr., Jimmy Poss, and David McDowell

The Smithville Fire Department is not the only one getting a new fire truck.

The county commission Monday night voted to purchase a newer pumper for the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, although it will not be a ladder truck like the city is getting.

The truck, a 2011 new chassis, comes with a one year chassis bumper to bumper warranty, six year pump warranty, and a five year warranty on the body and paint. The price is $184,746.

Two other bids were submitted, one for a 2012 truck at $187,859, and a 2011 chassis (demo) with 4,400 miles that comes with a one year chassis bumper to bumper warranty, two year pump warranty, and a ten year warranty on the body and paint. The price for that truck is $179,925.

While the truck the commission voted to buy is not the cheapest of the three bids submitted, County Fire Chief Donny Green said it better meets the department's needs and has a better warranty on the pump. "All three met minimum specs and some had optional standards. But the one that most closely matches what we need to meet minimal requirements plus what we would like to have to match our other trucks is the 2011 truck, priced at $184,746," he said

Green said the lowest priced truck among the three doesn't have the amount of storage capacity that the other truck does and it does not have the same warranty. Plus, it does not have a top mount pump on it.

The newer fire truck will replace the Midway engine which is a 1979 model. By doing this, Green said "we can take the 1975 model truck out of service at the Austin Bottom station and place the 1979 Midway truck at Austin Bottom. This station (Austin Bottom), he said has a low call volume and the 1979 truck should be adequate to "hold them over for a few more years".

Meanwhile, hours and fees have been set for the exercise room in the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard.

During Monday night's county commission meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster reported that the hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Closed from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Re-open from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

"The cost is $20.00 per month for an individual or $35.00 a month for a family," said Foster. " A family is considered children under 18 years of age that reside in the home. A mother, father, and children under age 18. Annual fees are $350 for a family and $220 for an individual. If someone just wants to come in for a visit, its three dollars," said Foster.

"We're going to put a portion of this money aside to replace the equipment so that we don't wind up with a bunch of equipment that's worn out. The key is maintaining the equipment in good condition. We would ask anybody that's coming there to bring a towel and when they get through exercising to wipe the machine down, and there will be disinfectant wipes there to go over the machines to take care of that. We want to keep it clean, functional and available for use," he said.

Foster stressed that the county is not trying to compete with local business owners offering similar services. "We want the other exercise people to be involved in it, to bring their patrons, families, and participants. They could bring them out there for some special event. We'd like to encourage them to come out there and do some training for us. We can play off of each other, rather than trying to be in competition with them. That's not what we're about out there. We don't want to be in competition with them," said Foster.

Meanwhile, Foster said efforts are underway to get the game room up and running in the new county complex "Most of the equipment has come in for the game room. I met with the people who are going to be putting in the arcade machines and they said they would have their part complete within two weeks. That was last week. The TV's and the games, wii and xboxes, are coming in a little bit each day. We'll be putting them up, trying to have that open within two weeks," he said.

The election commission, which works out of two small offices on the first floor of the courthouse, will be getting another room there to give them more space. "We have removed all of our stuff from the room next to the election commission and turned it over to them," said Foster. "They have shown me what they wanted to get painted (in that room). There are some scratches and cuts on the walls. We'll get those fixed. We want to get that done so that immediately following the city election, which they are involved in now, they will be able to move into that (room), so that (office) has been turned over to them," said Foster.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is expected to let bids this summer on a project to install caution lights at the intersection of Highways 70 and 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.

County Mayor Foster said this project has been in the planning stages for months. The county had asked the state to fund it, but had heard nothing from it. Local officials thought that the county would have to take on the project, but later learned that the state would fund it after all. "We do have a map from TDOT. They have done the survey work and projections are that this will be bid sometime in the first quarter of the (fiscal) year that ends in June, 2013," said Foster. "Basically what that means is they should bid this between July and September, 2012. So hopefully, finally we will see some caution lights there. Part of the hold up was we thought the county was going to have to do it, but we applied for the state to do it. They actually accepted it, but they didn't notify us until we contracted with someone to do the work, then when they (contractors) started asking questions, the state said we are going to do that. We have notified Stansell Electric (contractor) that the state is going to do it we hope sometime between July and September," said Foster.

In other business, the county commission appointed Jim Hodges as a local member to the DeWhite Utility District. "This is basically a formality," said Foster. "We talked with the county mayor from White County. They had sent down three names to be approved. The one that was basically agreed upon was Jim Hodges, who is serving on that committee now. We would just want to ratify that," he said.

A resolution was adopted Monday night by the county commission to re-apply for a Community Development Block Grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on behalf of the DeKalb Utility District. Funds from the grant would be used to erect a water tank to create more water storage and improve pressure in the northwestern portion of the county, particularly in the Henley Hollow, Dismal areas.

The county initially submitted an application for this project last year, but the grant funding was denied. " We got turned down for the first go round of that. We had to score 150 points. We scored 149. That grant is going to be re-done and re-submitted. This is a resolution to submit an application to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for community block grant funds. This is a 100% grant. There is no match and it is up to one million dollars," said Foster.

Amanda Maynard, who worked for UCDD at the time the grant application was submitted last year, has left the agency to work for herself. Since she had already done work on this project for the county, the commission Monday night voted transfer administration of this grant application from UCDD to Maynard

"Amanda has done our grants for seven years," said Foster. Amanda has left UCDD and has gone to work for herself. Since she has done the surveys and door to door contacts with people, helped to do the environmental impact, and all those things, we just feel like it is appropriate and in our best interest for us to transfer that grant to her and let her complete it because she has worked on it, off and on for two years. We'll still be a member and partner of UCDD, but we would like for her to serve as the administrator of the grant that she has prepared," said Foster.

Maynard explained that the county came very close to getting approved for the grant last year. "We applied for this grant last year but we missed it just by one point. It is for a water tank in the Henley Hollow area. The DUD buys its water from the City of Smithville, but their water was actually shut off during the floods of 2010. It caused a problem within the (Henley Hollow) community. There wasn't enough water in their tanks to supply the community. This grant would allow them to build another tank and provide more gallons of water for the communities. It (grant) is up to a million dollars. The project cost is actually $850,000. It (grant application) is going to be submitted June 15," said Maynard.

County Mayor Foster updated the commission on the results of the DeKalb County Clean-up day held earlier this month. "We had eighty seven volunteers who averaged three hours each. Litter collected, including tires, junk, etc amounted to 7,135 pounds. We cleaned up approximately twenty five miles of roads, some public land, and part of a dump. We've had four educational/information projects and distributed 1,700 litter bags and book bags in the school system. We also try to plant flowers around courthouse this time of year. I want to thank the boy scouts, cub scouts, beautification committee, sheriff's department, volunteers in the Belk community, Shiroki North America, Smithville Lions Club, DeKalb County Fair volunteers, and everyone else who participated. It's a good thing that we try to do twice a year. We'll still do our stream cleanups on Pine Creek, Dry Creek, and Smith Fork and we will work with the Corps when they do their lake cleanup in the fall," he said.

County Commission Takes No Stand on Proposed DUD Water Plant

May 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jerry Adcock
County Mayor Mike Foster (Older Photo)

Should the county commission take a stand, either for or against, a proposal by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water plant?

Fifth district county commissioner Jerry Adcock raised the issue during Monday night's county commission meeting. But County Mayor Mike Foster was less than enthusiastic with the idea, telling Adcock that the county commission really has no control over the DUD board of directors.

The following is the exchange between Adcock and Foster.

Adcock: "I know that they (DUD board) have already made up their mind but I think the commission should either say we're for it or against it. The people should at least know where we stand"

Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them"

Adcock: "I don't like the idea that five people (DUD board) can make up their mind and apply for federal grants through us (county) and then don't do what we want"

Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them other than appointing them by the statute"

Adcock: "Can we appoint them who they want us to appoint?"

Foster:"There are some options under that. I don't particularly like the system. A few years ago, we only had one representative (from DeKalb County on DUD board) and had five thousand meters, and we got it (county's membership on DUD board) increased to three (by state legislation)"

Adcock: "This to me sounds like when DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, a few years ago wanted to go public. They (DUD) are cramming something down people's throats that they don't want. I feel like if these people (DUD board members) were elected by the people who have the (water) taps, they would answer more to the people"

Foster: "I agree with you in theory, but its moot"

Adcock: "Could we ask the state to approve that?"

Foster:"No, we can't because they are not going to do it. I think (County Attorney) Hilton (Conger) can tell you that the utility districts are very, very strong and they control what goes on in their districts. We have no say so over it"

Adcock: "Kind of like a dictatorship"?

Conger: "They just have a strong lobby in the state legislature"

Foster: "I somewhat agree with you, but its not going to happen"

Adcock: "I just don't like the idea of this plant getting shoved down everybody's throat. They've already got everything set up. They know where the land is (to build the plant)"

Foster: "This has been going on (in planning stages) for ten years. I know it started in 2002 when I first got here, it was going on. They (DUD) have had public meetings and they have done everything they are supposed to do."

Adcock: "They don't listen to the people. Alright, I just got my say in"

Foster: "Okay"

The county commission took no action on the matter.

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.

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 DUD will receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 to fund construction of the water plant. 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.

The DUD board will meet in special session on Thursday, May 24 at 3:00 p.m. at the district offices located at 191 Tiger Drive, Smithville. The board expects to consider a resolution for the authorization and issuance of not to exceed $9-million 250-thousand dollars in aggregate principal amount of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds, and will consider any other matters that may properly come before the board.

Burns Accused of Passing Counterfeit Money in Cookeville

May 22, 2012
Tisha Elaine Burns (Older Photo)

A 41 year old Smithville woman is in trouble with the law in Putnam County for allegedly passing fake money at Rodeo Bob's Bar in Cookeville Saturday night.

Tisha Elaine Burns of Evins Mill Road has been charged with criminal simulation.

The Herald-Citizen reports that Cookeville Police learned of the counterfeit money transaction at the bar while responding to a separate case involving a disturbance there.

The bar's security officer told police that the woman, Burns, had allegedly bought $140 worth of alcoholic beverages, paying with seven $20 bills. The clerk later realized the bills were counterfeit.

According to the Herald-Citizen, Burns told the officer that she was unaware that the bills were counterfeit and said she had cashed her check at a Smithville bank and had later spent money at the Walmart store in Cookeville, receiving money back from transactions there and at another Cookeville store.

Burns had been in the bar with her boyfriend, but as police began to investigate the counterfeit money, her boyfriend left the scene.

After further investigation, which included making contact with the accused woman's son who paid the business his mother's bill, police decided to arrest Burns.

Burns was taken to the Putnam County jail, where her bond was set at $5,000. She later posted bond and was released. She will be in court there on June 11.

Early Voting Begins May 30 for Smithville Municipal Election

May 22, 2012
Dwayne Page

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election begins Wednesday, May 30 through Thursday, June 14 at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse.

Hours for early voting are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m,
Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until Noon.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1. The candidates for mayor are Taft Hendrixson and Jimmy Poss. Candidates for alderman are Scott Davis, Jason Judd Murphy, Tim Stribling, and Steve White.

The ballot will also include a referendum on liquor by the drink in city restaurants. Voters will have the opportunity to vote either "yes" or "no" on whether to "authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville."

Registered voters who will be unable to go to their polling place (courthouse) on election day may vote by one of the following methods;

1. Voting by personal appearance
Beginning May 30, 2012 and through June 14, 2012, a voter desiring to vote by personal appearance shall go to the DeKalb County Courthouse, sign an application to vote and cast their vote on a voting machine. The last day to vote early by personal appearance is June 14, 2012.

2. Voting by mail
A voter must meet certain legal qualifications in order to vote absentee by mail. A voter desiring to vote absentee by mail shall, in writing over his/her signature either in person at the Election Commission Office or by mail, request an application for an absentee ballot. The voter must make
the request in writing and include their name (as registered), social security number, residence address (911 address), mailing address (if different from residence address), the election(s) they wish to vote in, the reason they are requesting to vote an absentee ballot and their signature. The written request must be received no later than June 12, 2012.

Disabled & Elderly Voters
Disabled or elderly voters (persons 65 or older) assigned to vote in precincts where the polling place is inaccessible may vote at the DeKalb County Election Commission office on election day OR vote early by personal appearance during the dates specified for early voting at the DeKalb County Courthouse OR vote by absentee ballot. Any disabled or elderly voter desiring to vote at the election commission office must notify the office in writing and complete an affidavit that states their voting location is inaccessible. Deadline for notification is June 9, 2012. Affidavits are available at the election office.

Please call 597-4146 if you have any questions. STATE LAW REQUIRES A PHOTO I.D. TO VOTE IN 2012 ELECTIONS.

For additional information, contact the Election Commission Office at 615-597-4146. The DeKalb County Election Commission is located at 1 Public Square, Room 104, (DeKalb County Courthouse), Smithville, TN. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

City of Smithville to Purchase Ladder Truck for the Fire Department

May 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
City to Purchase Ladder Truck Similar to Truck Shown Here
City to Buy Ladder Truck for Fire Department
Fire Chief Charlie Parker Addresses Mayor and Aldermen Monday Night
Mayor and Aldermen

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will soon have its first ever ladder truck, possibly within ninety days.

The aldermen Monday night, on a 4-0 vote, adopted a recommendation by Fire Chief Charlie Parker to accept a bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc of Memphis in the amount of $746,705 for a Pierce Impel 75 foot Hal Quint aerial ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon per minute pump/500 gallon tank. This was the lowest of the two bids submitted. The other bid was from Cumberland International Trucks of Nashville for a 2012 Sutphen 75 Foot Pumper/Ladder with a Stainless Steel Rescue Style Body complete and delivered in the amount of $785,818.

Alderman Danny Washer made the motion to accept the bid from EVS-Midsouth to purchase the ladder truck. Alderman Shawn Jacobs offered a second to the motion. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger joined Jacobs and Washer in voting in favor. Alderman Gayla Hendrix was absent.


Chief Parker said EVS-Midsouth, Inc not only had the lowest bid but also met all the city's bid specs."The price on this is not just for the ladder truck itself. This is for all the equipment that goes on the truck, the air packs, the hose, the nozzles, everything to make it fully compliant and there's also a few extra pieces of equipment in there to make sure it works with our current fleet. There are some adaptors, intakes, and other things to adapt the hose from the ladder truck to what we've got to make sure everything will match up to all three trucks. That equipment is in this price also," he said.

Chief Parker said he and the officers of the city fire department met last week along with alderman and fire commissioner Shawn Jacobs and voted to recommend the bid from EVS-Midsouth. "Our officers met along with Mr. Jacobs on Tuesday night and we reviewed the specs. It was our recommendation to go with the cheaper one (bid) from EVS-Midsouth. I discussed with Alderman Jacobs about the financing. There had been some discussion about whether to do it outright or whether to finance it. I was going to leave that up to the board's discretion and let the mayor and aldermen see the best option for that as far as paying for it. We do recommend going with this one (EVS-Midsouth). It does meet all of our specs and it does have all the equipment. It would have everything on it ready to go," said Chief Parker.

City firefighters have already had some training in the use of a ladder truck, according to Chief Parker, with more training to come, "Yes, we have had training and we're also setting up another class in the future to get everybody through it again so there is still more training to come on it. We have had some but there will be more training after the truck is delivered. We also have another sixteen hour class that I am trying to get scheduled. So there would be more extensive training to go on it yet,' he said.

The bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc contained options for financing the purchase from three to five years at interest rates of 2.45% or 2.55%. Cumberland International Trucks included financing options of from three to seven years at interest rates of 2.45% to 2.66%.

The aldermen, at the suggestion of Mayor Taft Hendrixson, chose to make the initial $250,000 down payment to EVS-Midsouth for the truck when ordered as called for in the bid, and to pay the rest off when the truck is delivered, which is expected to be within ninety days. Mayor Hendrixson said he saw no reason to pay interest when the city has the money in the bank to buy the truck. "My suggestion is on paying for it. If you do it on a three year deal it is going to cost you up to $28,000 interest. We've got the money to pay for it and I've never been one to pay interest if you've got the money. My suggestion is to pay the $250,000 now and when it's delivered, pay the rest of it," said Mayor Hendrixson.

All the money for the purchase will come out of the city's general fund reserve. The down payment will be paid in this budget year. The remainder will be allocated in the 2012-13 budget year, which begins July 1st

In response to Mayor Hendrixson's suggestion, Alderman Jacobs said "that makes sense to me and that still will not deplete our reserves by any means."

Mayor Hendrixson responded "no but it will be about 20% of our general fund reserve. About a fifth of our reserve in the general fund," he said.

"I want to assure everybody that we absolutely have no intention of running through the rest of that reserve in the near future unless there is some sort of catastrophe or something like that," said Alderman Jacobs. "As a matter of fact, I believe we will be putting more money in that reserve at the end of this fiscal year if something doesn't happen. I've been told we're finishing about $200,000 to the good," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson replied, "I hope more than that, but I don't know," he said.

"In other words we're finishing the year under budget," said Alderman Jacobs.

Mayor Hendrixson answered,"That's what's built our reserve up in the past. If you budget six million and spend five and a half million, you can put half a million dollars in reserve for things that you do need," he said.

The city fire department will have a total of three trucks in the fleet with the addition of the new ladder truck including a 2001 and a 1992 model. Alderman Washer asked why not sell the 1992 model, while it still worth something. Chief Parker said the city needs all three trucks to maintain its Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. "In keeping up our ISO rating, we still need the older truck. We can put it into a reserve status but to keep our pump capacity for our ISO rating, we would still need to keep the old truck. Its twenty years old now so we can run it as a reserve pumper, but in five years it could be considered an antique," he said.

Chief Parker said he would prefer to replace the 1992 truck possibly within the next five years and establish a schedule for replacing the oldest trucks over time. "We're going to have to do something with it within the next five years. Having a newer truck now gives us a little bit of cushion. We've got five years to start looking. But as far as getting rid of it at this point, it almost kind of defeats our purpose of adding the newer engine and getting our ISO ratings up. But I'll definitively look at some numbers to see what a 20, 25, and a 30 year old truck would be at today's prices and that will give us some kind of idea (what the 1992 truck would bring today versus five or ten years from now)," he said.

In other business, the aldermen voted 3 to 0 to set the wages of the lifeguards at the municipal swimming pool at minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for this season. Alderman Steve White "passed" citing a conflict since his daughter works as a lifeguard at the pool. Mayor Hendrixson asked the aldermen to fund a maximum of three lifeguards at fifty eight hours per week for thirteen weeks. The aldermen gave their approval. Mayor Hendrixson said the cost would be about $20,000 for lifeguards this season, a little more than last year.

Students Awarded for Academic Excellence at DeKalb Middle School

May 21, 2012
Ashley Barnes
Highest 7th Grade GPA: Jayrah Trapp (99.3), Allison Rogers (98.5)
Highest 6th Grade GPA: Thomas Webb, Olivia Fuson
DMS Sixth Grade Subject Award Winners
DMS Seventh Grade Subject Award Winners

DeKalb Middle School held the annual Awards Day Ceremony for 6th and 7th graders on Monday. Principal Randy Jennings opened up the ceremony and introduced Mrs. Lori Hendrix to give out the Jr. Beta Recognition certificates. Forty two 6th and 7th graders received a certificate for participating in the Jr. Beta Club this year.

Mrs. Lambert handed out awards for Gifted TIP Participation. These awards went to Jorge Blanco, Gentry Harpole, Rachel Fuson, and Eli Cross.

Mrs. Smitty gave out the TTU Math Competition Awards to Damian Walters and Bradley Miller.

Mrs. Kathy Bryant gave out the Computer Awards to Dailen Brown, Grace Godowns, Alexis Bates, and Kalli Petty.

She also handed out the Perfect Attendance awards to Ana Amaya, Courtney Ambrose, Faedra Burns, Ethan Keck, Haley Martin, Thomas Moore, Adam Ferrell, Ricky Gunter, Clay Hoyle, Justin Perricone, Calen Arnold, Kalli Petty, and Erica Birmingham.

Citizenship Awards were then given to 6th Graders- Cristobal Flores and Shauna Pedroza, and to 7th graders- Adam Ferrell and Cynthia May.

Mr. Josh Agee handed out the 6th Grade Subject Awards to Eleonore Atnip and Austin Johnson- English, Ana Amaya and Bradley Miller- Math, Abby Evans and Marshall Evins- Reading, Kyle Justice and Damien Walters- Science, and Grace Godowns and Allison Maynard- Social Studies.

Mr. Webb handed out the 7th Grade Subject Awards to Rachel Fuson and Allison Rogers- Reading, Eli Cross- English, Jayrah Trapp- Math, Lane Poss- Science, and Kalli Petty- Social Studies.

Highest GPA Plaques were given to 6th Graders- Bradley Miller, Olivia Fuson, and Thomas Webb, and 7th Graders- Jayrah Trapp and Allison Rogers.

Names were drawn from a box for TCAP Rewards and the winners received a Walmart gift card. The winners were 6th graders- Cody Merriman and 7th graders- Callie Cripps and Remington Tatrow.

(Bradley Miller and Cristobal Flores were not present for the ceremony.)

(TOP PHOTO: Highest 7th Grade GPA: Jayrah Trapp (99.3), Allison Rogers (98.5)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP: Highest 6th Grade GPA: Thomas Webb, Olivia Fuson)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: 6th Grade Subject- Eleonore Atnip, Austin Johnson, Ana Amaya, Abby Evans, Marshall Evins, Kyle Justice, Damien Walters, Grace Godowns, Allison Maynard)

(BOTTOM PHOTO: 7th Grade Subject- Allison Rogers, Rachel Fuson, Kalli Petty, Lane Poss, Jayrah Trapp, and Eli Cross)

Teacher Judy Redmon to Remain Active in Retirement

May 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Judy Redmon

She may be retiring as a teacher from the DeKalb County School System after thirty six years, but don't expect Judy Redmon to be inactive.

Although this long time educator will not be returning to the classroom next year, Redmon plans to stay busy in other ways. "People ask me if I'm looking forward to retirement. I'm looking forward to a change, but I'm always going to miss the kids. My husband Ronnie and I are really active in church. I've been to a college and put in an application to be a supervisor so we'll see how that pans out. I can't remain inactive when it comes to kids. I'll do something," she said.

Redmon's teaching career began in 1976 at DeKalb Middle School. "I taught at the middle school for 32 years. I taught fifth grade social studies for two years and fifth grade math. In the middle of my sixth year, Jane Hobson moved to a school in Smyrna and I was moved up to seventh grade math. I also taught seventh grade geography and seventh grade English. Later I became assistant principal for six years," said Redmon.

"I've also taught adult education, all subjects for fourteen years and I have done summer school at the high school for four years," she added.

After her years at DeKalb Middle School, Redmon moved to Northside Elementary School where she has taught fourth grade math. Redmon was also one of the first local educators to attain career level III, status, an achievement only few have reached.

Redmon said it was her love for children that inspired her to become a teacher. "I come from a big family, fourteen kids. I'm one of fourteen. I was the first to go to college. I quit high school when I was a junior, beginning my junior year. I later got my GED and went on to college. My love of kids I guess is the drawing factor that got me into education," she said.

As a teacher, Redmon has had the added pleasure of working with her own daughter and watching her grandchildren advance through the school system. " It's been a really good pleasure of mine to have taught with my daughter, Patty Hale for several years, the four years I've been here at Northside plus seven years at the middle school we've taught together and that's been a real pleasure in my life," said Redmon. Our youngest granddaughter is here at Northside. She is in the fifth grade and will be in the middle school next year. Our grandson is in the middle school now," she said.

While she has enjoyed her years as an educator, Redmon said there were often challenges to overcome. "When I started at the middle school, we had no walls (in the classrooms), just little dividers. My (area) was probably only a 20 x 20 section down there. I had a set of lockers on one side and the rest of it was just open to the other classrooms. Mr (Ernest) Ray later came (as principal) and he got the walls put up. They have modified it a lot since then, putting up a lot of dividers and walls. It's made it a lot better," she said.

A major obstacle of teaching in a classroom without walls, according to Redmon, was holding the students' attention, when they could be so easily distracted by what was happening in the adjoining class room. "It was terrible because you would be trying to teach and the other teachers were presenting their material and If my material wasn't as interesting as the other teachers, then they would listen to that teacher more than me. So it was tough to hold their attention,' she said.

Redmon, like other educators, has seen changes in curriculum and teaching standards over the years. " The curriculum has really changed in the years that I have been a teacher. The material I once taught in fifth grade math, I am now teaching in fourth grade. I don't always agree with what they are asking us to teach. Sometimes I think they're requiring too much of our children, but they say you teach it, so I teach it. But it has made it more difficult for the students," said Redmon.

As for mentors, Redmon said former DMS principal Ernest Ray is among those she admired most. "Mr Ray has probably been the biggest influence in my life because when he came to the middle school to be the principal, my husband and I had just had our third child and he was born with a physical disability. I was having to miss quite a bit of school to take care of my child and his physical disability. I ran out of sick days. Mr. Ray gave me some of his sick days. He was just a good influence on the kids. They respected him. The teachers respected him. He was fair and honest. He has just really been a good person in my life," she said.

Redmon said she is grateful for the opportunity to have been a teacher and is proud of her service. "I've had a good thirty six years. It hasn't always been the best, but its been a good thirty six years. I really appreciate all the people that I've worked with. I've worked with and under seven administrators. I am fortunate to have been able to stay in this profession as long as I have. I am proud of that,' she said.

Redmon is also among those who help raise money for the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. "That is a special place in my heart because my husband had cancer," she said. This year's Relay for Life is set for Friday, June 8 at Greenbrook Park.

Man Charged with Statutory Rape of 15 Year Old, Parents of Girl Arrested for Child Neglect

May 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Steven Michael Rogers, Jr.
Donna Smith
Bryan Smith

A 21 year old man has been charged with the statutory rape of a fifteen year old and the girl's parents have been arrested for child neglect, allowing their daughter to engage in sexual activity with this man, even providing them condoms.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that Steven Michael Rogers, Jr. charged with statutory rape, will make an appearance on June 21 in DeKalb County General Sessions Court. His bond is $5,000.

45 year old Donna Smith and 33 year old Bryan Smith are each charged with child neglect. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court on June 21.

The warrant against Rogers states that "on Friday, May 11 at a residence in Smithville, Rogers did have sexual intercourse with a fifteen year old female while living with her the past four months".

The warrant against Donna Smith, the mother of the girl, states that she " did knowingly approve of the daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. This has been happening for the past four months and on several occasions. Also the parents furnished condoms to the subjects and allowed them to live together".

The warrant against Bryan Smith, the father of the girl, states that he "did knowingly approve of his daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. He has known of this going on for the past four months and on several occasions has furnished them with condoms and allowed them to live together knowing that this was going on in the residence."

The case was investigated by the Department of Children Services and detectives and officers of the Smithville Police Department.

In other cases, 38 year old Darrell Gurley is charged with criminal impersonation. He will be in court on May 24. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said Gurley, who had active warrants against him, was found at a residence on Tommy Harrell street. When confronted by detectives, Gurley gave a false name and date of birth to identify himself. After confirming who he really is, Police asked him again and Gurley admitted his true identity.

37 year old Brian Lasser is charged with public intoxication. He will be in court on June 21. His bond is $1,000. An officer was dispatched to the soccer field at Northside Elementary School to investigate a complaint of an intoxicated man crawling on his hands and knees, causing a disturbance. The officer arrived on the scene and found that the man, Lasser, was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. He also appeared to have a white pill residue around his mouth. Lasser told police that he had taken two oxycodone and one xanax before he arrived at the soccer field to watch the children play ball.

49 year old Bobbie Lisa Andrews is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her court date is June 14. She was stopped for a traffic violation and during the investigation, the officer asked for and received consent to search. He noticed that she was adjusting her clothing. A female correctional officer was summoned to the scene. Andrews was searched and a needle was found hidden in her blouse.

37 year old Crystal Turner is cited for shoplifting. She will be in court on June 21. An officer was called to the Dollar General Store on Sunday, May 13. An employee noticed that Turner had concealed items in her purse while in the store. When confronted, Turner produced the items.

Jeff Bandy Overall Winner of Relay for Life 5K & One Mile Fun Run

May 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Relay for Life 5K and One-Mile Fun Run held Saturday
Relay for Life 5K and One Mile-Fun Run

Runners, both young and older, participated in the fourth annual Relay for Life 5K and One Mile Fun Run Saturday starting from Greenbrook Park.

Money raised through the run will go to the American Cancer Society to help find a cure and for patient services.

Jeff Bandy was the overall winner in the 5K. He ran the course in 20:35.
Kristen VanVranken had the best time among women at 22:19.

The following are the winners for the Relay for Life 5K.
One mile fun run winners:
1st place Caden Close 7:58
2nd place Macy Hedge 8:13
3rd place Grayson Redmon 8:29

5 K winners
12 - 19 age group
1st place Loren Cripps 35:23
2nd place Alisha Hale 46:03

1st place Bailey Hayes 31:50
2nd place Jacob Washer 31:51
3rd place Noah Parsley 35:35

19-29 age group
1st place Tasha Maynard 27:57
2nd place Jessica Terrell 28:54
3rd place Kandi Moss 31:40

1st place Travis Hendrixson 21:43
2nd place Darren Oakley 26:23
3rd place Andy McCaleb 26:32

30 - 39 age group
1st place Kristen VanVranken 22:19
2nd place Diana Moon 24:00
3rd place Deana Ruth Colwell 27:40

1st place Dale Grissom 21:30
2nd place Josh Agee 22:19
3rd place Josh Miller 23:39

40- 49 age group
1st place Melissa Ruch 26:08
2nd place Beth Gill 33:41
3rd place Beth Stephens 34:00

1st place Jeff Bandy 20:35 (Overall Winner also)

50- 59 age group
1st place Kathy Hale 46:02
2nd place Barbara Wall 47:44
3rd place Vicky Terrell 47:46

1st place Jerry Adcock 24:52
2nd place Mark Miller 28:40
3rd place Tim Robinson 29:31

60 - 69 age group
1st place Phillip Cantrell 27:56
2nd place Mike Braswell 31:28

"These are the people who placed, but everyone was a winner because they participated in the event to raise money for cancer," said spokesperson Judy Redmon. "A special thanks goes to Food Lion, who provided water and bananas; Bumpers, who provided free drink coupons; the Smithville Police Department; the Ambulance service; the Fiddler 5 K, for the loan of the clock; the City of Smithville employees, for the use of the barricades; and anyone else who volunteered or helped in any way with this most successful event." she said.

Adam James and Ally Judkins Win White Rose; Elizabeth Sanders Gets Citizenship Award (SEE LOCAL NEWS FOR VIDEOS OF GRADUATION)

May 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents White Rose to Adam James
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents White Rose to Ally Judkins
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix Presents Citizenship Award to Elizabeth Sanders
Motivational Speaker Micheal Burt Delivers Commencement Address
Valedictorian Adam James speaking to the DCHS Class of 2012
Class President Victoria Tatrow speaking at the DCHS graduation

It was a night of joy and celebration Friday evening for the Class of 2012 on the occasion of graduation at DeKalb County High School.


Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Adam James and Ally Judkins while the Citizenship Award was presented to Elizabeth Sanders.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honors students were also recognized during the program.

The 168 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

In his remarks, Valedictorian Adam James urged his fellow classmates to embrace the future with courage and confidence. "This mystery of what the future holds can be scary. And sure, we can choose to be afraid. We can choose to approach life cautiously- yes, we'll be safe, but never will we ever be able to truly embrace all that life has to offer. With this guarded lifestyle, we will work and grow old, but, honestly, not much else. Or, there is another path, another lifestyle, which we can choose instead of living in the shadows, we can choose to live a life filled with joy. We can choose to be amazing. We can choose to be absolutely incredible. Because, that is just what we are–incredible. Each and everyone of us has the capabilities necessary to leading a long, happy, and successful life. The fact that we are here tonight proves that. We only get one shot–one chance–to live this life right. So live it, and live it to the fullest," said James.

"You make your own happiness. Ask yourself, why do some people have more than others? Because they visualize it and go after it. What is it that you want out of life? Because whatever your answer may be, it can be yours. All you have to do is use your imagination and ask for it. Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all, other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you. So don't be afraid to think big, for it is the person who thinks big that lives big. No one is better than you. You truly do deserve every happiness life has to offer," he said.

"There is a quote I like that says "Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. But its your choice whether to close your eyes and scream or throw up your hands and enjoy the ride". Whether it be 5, 10, 15, or 100 years from now, I hope each and everyone of you graduates will look back on these years as students of DeKalb County with pride and think "Wow, what a ride," said James.

Victoria Tatrow, Class President, paid tribute to the teachers and parents and challenged her fellow classmates to strive for excellence " It is true, our experiences over these past years have allowed us to discover for ourselves who we are meant to be. Furthermore, I hope in my heart that each of you find happiness and joy in everything you do throughout this next adventure. At times, it may seem difficult, but so long as you believe in yourself, nothing will be impossible. Each of you are amazing individuals, so talented, intelligent, and inspirational. Please, always remember that by knowing who you are, striving for excellence, and believing in your dreams with all of your heart, you can accomplish anything," said Tatrow.

Motivational speaker Michael Burt, in his address to the class, urged the graduates to live each day with purpose and passion. "Your destiny truly has no city limits. If you read any of the six books that I have written, I very seldom talk about goals. Not because I don't believe in goals, but what I think wins out is a dominant focus in your life. A definitive aim. For all of the parents who are here tonight, the strongest way to get these young people to chase their dream is to let them see you chasing your dreams. So remember this, young people, here's a simple concept. We become the sum average of the five people we hang around the most. The second thing is this. We will be the exact same people five years from today with the exception of two things. The people that we meet and the books that we read. Every person in this stadium has a dream. You're either at one of two places tonight with that dream. You're either ready to go after it or you're ready to give up on it. My hope is that tonight's talk will help you get the inspiration you need to go after it. Don't ever let your confidence be predicated by people who tell you that you can't do something with your life, because if this Woodbury boy can write six books, win a championship, and speak to 125,000 people, then you can do it too," said Burt.

The graduation program included the processional by the DCHS band; Invocation by Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Vice President Laura Martinez; Music by the DCHS Chorus and Theater Class singing the Beatles "In My Life"; an Introduction by Senior Class President Victoria Tatrow; Recognition of Honor Students by Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick; Presentation of Valedictorian, Salutatorian, White Rose, and Citizenship Awards by Principal Kathy Hendrix; Guest Speaker Micheal Burt; Presentation of the Class by Principal Hendrix; Presentation of Diplomas by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby; Benediction by FCA President Elizabeth Sanders; and Recessional by the DCHS Band.


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