Local News Articles

Retirement Reception Held for DeKalb West School Librarian Genrose Davis

May 13, 2012
Dwayne Page
Retirement Reception Held for DeKalb West School Librarian Genrose Davis

Since she began her career thirty seven years ago, Genrose Davis has been working to help foster a love of reading in students all the way up to the eighth grade at DeKalb West as the school librarian. But with the close of this school year, Davis will be turning in her own library card, deciding the time has come to retire.

Family, friends, students, and co-workers came to bid Davis a fond farewell during a reception in her honor at DeKalb West School on Thursday.

"I have had one job my whole life and this has been it," said Davis in an interview with WJLE. Davis began her career as an educator at DeKalb West in 1975, one year after the school opened , consolidating the old Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown schools into one facility.

"When I was hired there were four other people in front of me and they got the classrooms," said Davis. "The chapter job was left open and they wanted a half time librarian. It was about three to four weeks into school. I was hired for that job. I taught reading and I did the library the other half. My official pay was divided between federal programs and the county," she said. A few years later, Davis became the school's full time librarian.

Growing up, Davis attended the old Liberty elementary school and then DCHS. She furthered her education at MTSU where she received a BS degree. Davis said while she did not originally intend to become a librarian, former DeKalb West School Principal Woodrow Frazier convinced her that she was right for the job. "I went to school to be a physical education teacher and had an elementary endorsement but Mr. Frazier said I would have one of the best jobs in the school (as librarian). His wife was a life long librarian. She loved the library and he did too so that was my start in the library," said Davis.

"The first year, they brought somebody in from the state department and showed me how to do the cards for the card catalog and by Christmas, he (Frazier) asked me if I would go back and get the endorsement for the library service. I went back to MTSU and got my endorsement and I've been here for 37 years now," she said

As the school librarian, Davis gets to see all the students at one time or another. " I have around 450 students. I've seen them all. I have them for nine years. Initially I did reading in grades 3, 7, & 8. I had library classes where the kids came once a week. Now we're on a three day rotation. I have the kids in the school everyday. Most of them come twice a week, but every three days there's a day 1, day 2, and a day 3 schedule and we just rotate all through the year so that they're in the library almost two times per week besides the open times," she said.

Davis points to the introduction of the accelerated reading program as perhaps the most revolutionary change she has seen come along as librarian. Under the AR program, students choose books at their appropriate reading levels and read them at their own pace. The students then take a quiz by which the librarian and teachers can monitor reading performance and vocabulary growth. As a motivator, students can earn points and win prizes for their efforts. " Mr. Eddie Hobson (former DWS principal) bought the accelerated reading program several years ago. Our county system of computers did not have the server to run that program back then because it was networked in the whole school. Once we got a server that would run that, we were able to do accelerated reader in the classrooms and the library. There is a quiz on almost every book. The kids can read the book and then they can go to the computer and take the quiz. When that came along that revolutionized this library. We have about 9,500 AR quizzes that go from primmer up to 8th, 9th, and 10th grade level books," said Davis

"I reward the points. When I do my AR prizes we reward two students in each classroom. We do yearly points and cumulative points. I've managed the points since they came into kindergarten then from first grade all the way to eighth grade, I keep up with all their points. We have a prize chart we developed. We have prizes for 50 points all the way up to 3,000. When the kids get to a particular level, they have that particular prize," she said.

Another successful program has been the after school read night program. "I have done extended contract for six years. We open up the library for parents and grandparents and older siblings to come in and read to or with the younger students. If you can get the kindergartners and first graders reading, they will be successful in most everything else in their class work." said Davis.

Davis said while she is looking forward to retirement, she will miss all the students, but especially the younger kids. "I'm going to miss seeing those kindergartners and first graders faces when they pass that first test. When they can begin to read and do it on their own and go to the computer by themselves and pass a quiz, its really exciting," she said.

(Pictured above: DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, Director Mark Willoughby, and Assistant Principal Sabrina Farler Present Librarian Genrose Davis a plaque for 37 years of service. Davis is retiring)

Twenty Seven Students Served by Adult High School

May 13, 2012
Dwayne Page

Susan Hinton, Adult High School Instructor/Supervisor, gave her annual report to the Board of Education and the Director of Schools Thursday night.

Hinton explained that a total of twenty seven students were served for the current year. Some either moved or dropped out during the year. Others are still attending. There were two graduates for the year; five GED graduates; and three who will be graduating this summer for a total of ten for the school year.

Hinton read essays by one of her students, Ben Southerland. She also explained how others can further their education through the Adult High School program. Persons interested are referred to the DCHS School counselor to set up an appointment.

City Receives Two Bids on Fire Department Ladder Truck

May 11, 2012
Dwayne Page
City takes Bids on ladder trucks similar to the one shown here

Sealed bids were opened Friday afternoon at city hall from two companies wanting to sell the City of Smithville a ladder truck for the Fire Department.

EVS-Midsouth, Incorporated of Memphis submitted a bid for $746,705 for a Pierce Impel 75 foot HAL Quint with 1,750 gallon per minute pump/500 gallon tank.. The other bid is 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.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson opened the bids. Mayor Taft Hendrixson was also present along with Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, a few members of the fire department, Buddy McCain of EVS-Midsouth and Bradley Johnson of Cumberland International Trucks.

The bids will be presented to the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen at the next meeting on Monday, May 21 for consideration. The aldermen have the right to either accept one of the bids or reject both. Officials say bids from both companies are for trucks already built. Modifications would be required on either truck to meet the specs.

EVS-Midsouth, Inc proposes the following lease/purchase plan: Customer down payment of $250,000 (due at contract signing). The city could pay off the truck over a three year term in three annual payments of $173,746 at a rate of 2.45% or over five years in five annual payments of $107,068 at 2.55%.

Cumberland International Trucks offered six options in its proposed lease/purchase plan with financing terms from one to seven years as follows:

Option 1:
Lease Term: 3 years
First Payment Date: September 15th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.51%
Payment Amount: $270,245
Total Lease Payments: $810,736

Option 2:
Lease Term: 3 years
First Payment Date: September 16th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.51%
Payment Amount: $270,274
Total Lease Payments: $810,824

Option 3:
Lease Term: 5 years
First Payment Date: September 15th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.46%
Payment Amount: $165,993
Total Lease Payments: $829,967

Option 4:
Lease Term: 5 years
First Payment Date: September 16th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.45%
Payment Amount: $165,950
Total Lease Payments: $829,753

Option 5:
Lease Term: 7 years
First Payment Date: September 15th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.66%
Payment Amount: $122,145
Total Lease Payments: $855,022

Option 6:
Lease Term: 7 years
First Payment Date: September 16th, 2012
Payment Frequency: one year
Lease Rate: 2.66%
Payment Amount: $122,160
Total Lease Payments: $855,124

Public Invited to View the County's New Exercise Room Saturday

May 11, 2012
Dwayne Page

Anyone interested in making use of the new fitness (exercise) room in the county complex on South Congress Boulevard is invited to stop by Saturday to get a first hand look at the facility.

County Mayor Mike Foster said the room will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday for people to view. Persons may ask questions and provide input on what the county should charge for memberships to use the room. "We're going to have the community center open Saturday for people to come through and look at the exercise room," said Foster. "We're wanting to get information from the public as to what kind of hours to set (for the exercise room). We invite people to come by and look at the exercise room and pre-sign if they want to. We encourage people to come and participate and use the exercise equipment. We can talk to them about hours that might fit their needs. We can talk about a price for the entire family, for an individual, or for daily use. That money (fees) will be used to operate it and to put some money aside so that the equipment can be maintained and replaced so that we don't wind up with a room full of bad equipment. Its all really state of the art right now. So we ask anybody to come by and look at it. The room is located on the community center end (north side) of the shopping center. We'll be there from about 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Come by and look at the equipment and figure out what you might want to do. We'll try to have trainers from some of the other shops here in town who are already doing that to come by, maybe one day a week and talk to you about a program and try to get everybody who wants to participate set up on a program that fits their needs," said Foster.

DWS Building Project, Re-Roofing Needs Addressed in School Board's Tentative Budget

May 11, 2012
Dwayne Page

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

The spending plan outlines funding options for a building project at DeKalb West School and re-roofing needs at three schools, including a possible bond issue. The budget also includes pay raises and the addition of a few positions.

The local property tax rate for schools would not be increased under this spending plan.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he and County Mayor Mike Foster have been in budget discussions trying to come up with a workable plan that would be accepted by both the school board and the county commission. "A few weeks ago you (school board) gave me permission to work with Mr. Foster. We have worked together in several different meetings to get a budget where we would not have to ask for a tax increase. Mr. Foster said there is a possibility they (county) may do a bond issue (for DWS project) and he is going before his board (county commission) with the same packet (tentative budget) that you have. I do want to thank Mr. Foster for working with me," said Willoughby.

Before the vote Thursday night, Director of Schools Willoughby gave a summary of new spending in the proposed budget and items which have been dropped.

The tentative budget includes:
A state approved 2.5% pay raise for teachers.
A 2.5% increase for teachers along with the regular step increases and degree advancements
A local 2.5% increase for support staff along with the regular step increases per salary schedule
An increase of 9% for projected health insurance costs
The addition of one math teacher at DCHS
The addition of two extra teaching positions (one for kindergarten and one for DMS sixth grade) if needed due to enrollment (currently unassigned)
Putting custodians on twelve month contracts instead of the current ten month contracts
Replacing Bookkeeping Computers for the School Bookkeepers
Additional costs in Special Education due to contracted services
Normal increases for utilities, transportation fuel, and for supplies

Items dropped from the proposed budget:
The addition of an assistant band teacher
The addition of an assistant soccer coach
Eliminating the Drivers Education Class

The food service budget, which is self supporting, includes a 2.5% increase for support staff with step increases as per salary schedules. The central office bookkeeper under food service will go from an 11 month to a 12 month position. Assistant cafeteria managers, called upon to serve in the absence of a cafeteria manager, would receive a quarter per hour more than their cook position.

The 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.

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. No final word has yet been received on the grant.

To provide local matching funds for the classroom addition at DeKalb West School, and for the renovation of the kitchen/cafeteria, Director Willoughby said two options are being considered. Under one plan, the local grant match ($600,000) would be funded from the reserves and fund balance without the bond issue

Under the second option, a bond issue by the county commission would fund the local grant match ($600,000), a cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School, as well as a re-roofing project at DeKalb Middle School (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit), DeKalb West School (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit and seal off gymnasium), and Smithville Elementary School (8,000 square feet of the roof).

Whichever plan is selected, Director Willoughby said the DeKalb West School project can go forward. "The $600,000 matching money for the FEMA grant is in the budget either way. It is in the budget using our reserves. We will be using $1.3 million in reserves to balance this budget without a tax increase," said Willoughby.

The tentative budget calls for an appropriation of $1,236,824 from school reserves to balance the budget (with a bond issue for the building program) or $1,836,824 without the bond issue.

Meanwhile, in his monthly report on personnel, Director Willoughby announced that the following teachers would be retiring:

Dixie Crook, teacher at DCHS
Harriett Cantrell, teacher at DCHS
Kathy Hendrix, Principal at DCHS
Genrose Davis, teacher at DeKalb West School
Meanwhile Missy Vantrease, Educational Assistant at DeKalb West School will be resigning at the end of the school year.

Leave of Absence
Lori Alexander, teacher at DeKalb Middle School, leave as requested
Suzanne Williams, bus driver, leave as requested
Kenneth Wayne Taylor, custodian at Smithville Elementary School, leave as requested.

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

May 10, 2012
Dwayne Page

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

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

The children also learned a song naming all the states in the country.

Members of the class pictured in these videos are:
Jacob Beaty
Conner Crabtree
Maggie Felton
Marley Jones
Shayla Kirby
Javontae Martin
Jesse Martin
Kevin Martinez-Soto
Brenda Muniz-Guzman
Ethan Pope
Harrison Pryor
Addison Puckett
Madison Ray
Justin Rico
Olivia Taylor
Kaydence Thompson
Jamison Trapp
Orlando Escobedo

In addition to the video presentation here, you can listen to the children each morning May 14-18 following the 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. morning local news on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7.

Sales Tax Rate on Food to Decrease Beginning July 1st

May 10, 2012

Legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly on April 27, 2012, provides for a reduction in the state sales and use tax rate on sales of food and food ingredients. Effective July 1, 2012, the state sales and use tax rate on sales of food and food ingredients will be reduced from 5.5% to 5.25%.

With the change, food and food ingredients will be subject to a reduced state sales and use tax rate of 5.25% plus the applicable local sales and use tax rate. Prepared food, dietary supplements, candy, alcoholic beverages and tobacco continue to be subject to the general state sales and use tax rate of 7% plus the applicable local sales and use tax rate. Existing laws defining which items are considered food and food ingredients remain unchanged by the new legislation.

Businesses selling food items subject to the reduced rate of sales and use tax are advised to begin making the necessary changes to allow for the new rate beginning July 1, 2012. Changes to cash registers and accounting systems should be completed by the July 1, 2012 effective date. However, businesses must continue to collect and remit the existing 5.5% tax on sales of food and food ingredients made through June 30, 2012 to the Department of Revenue.

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 91 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2011 fiscal year, the department collected $10.4 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, the Department of Revenue collects taxes for local, county and municipal governments. During the 2011 fiscal year, local government collections by the Department of Revenue exceeded $2.0 billion. In collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.

Angry Man with Knife Charged with Disorderly Conduct

May 10, 2012
Dwayne Page

In his latest city crime report, Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 19 year old Terry Jones, III is charged with disorderly conduct. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 10. Chief Caplinger said that an officer was recently dispatched to a possible domestic disturbance on Woodlawn Street. Upon arrival, the officer saw a man walking through the yard, screaming profanity and holding a knife with the blade open. The officer ordered the man, Jones, to drop the knife. He initially refused, still yelling profanities at the officer. Jones was ordered again to drop the knife. The officer then drew his taser. Jones subsequently released the knife, but remained very belligerent. The officer took Jones to the ground and placed him in custody.

37 year old Leslie Yorke is charged with reckless endangerment, evading by a motor vehicle, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, and three counts of simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Her bond is $11,000 and she will be in court on May 17. Chief Caplinger said that on Friday, April 27 an officer, while on routine patrol, saw a vehicle fail to stop at the intersection of East Bryant and South College Street. The officer turned around and activated his blue lights. He tried to stop the car but it turned onto Oak Street and sped up. The car then turned into a driveway and around to the back yard of a residence, Yorke got out of the car and tried to run away, leaving behind two small children in the vehicle. The officer caught up with Yorke and placed her under arrest. Several witnesses in the back yard said they saw Yorke throw her pocket book onto the back porch as she tried to flee. When the pocketbook was searched, the officer found Yorke's identification, a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, a pill bottle containing twenty seven diazepam pills, three triazolam pills, and three xanax pills. A computer check revealed her license to be revoked for failure to file security after an accident in Picket County.

45 year old Patsy Fults is charged with driving under the influence and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on May 17. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, May 7 an officer was dispatched to Mapco Express to check out a possible intoxicated person in the store. When he arrived, the officer saw the suspect, Fults, getting into the driver seat of her vehicle. She was very disoriented and had slurred speech. The car was running. The officer asked Fults to get out of the vehicle. She was very unsteady on her feet. She could not submit to field sobriety tasks. Her purse contained pills, believed to be xanax. She did not have a prescription for them. Fults was taken to the emergency room of the hospital for a blood alcohol test and then transported to jail.

41 year old Tisha Elaine Burns is cited for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will be in court on May 17. Chief Caplinger reports that on Sunday, April 22 a vehicle was stopped by police for a traffic violation. During the investigation, the officer received consent to search and found half of a smoked hand rolled cigarette containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. He also found paraphernalia used to smoke it.

24 year old Reva Campbell is cited for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. According to Chief Caplinger, on Wednesday, April 25 an officer observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. He also saw the driver throw something out of the car window. The officer stopped the vehicle and asked the driver what she had thrown out. She said it was a hydro. The officer escorted Campbell back to that location and found a hydro pill in the center lane of the highway.

29 year old Roxanne White is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She will be in court on May 17. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, April 26 Smithville Police assisted county deputies in serving an arrest warrant at a residence on Robinson Road. When they arrived, White approached the officers, cursing out loud and causing a disturbance. Officers told her several times to calm down, but she refused. When the officers placed her under arrest, White resisted. White pulled away from the officers as they tried to place handcuffs on her and she got into a vehicle. She was subsequently handcuffed and transported to the police department

22 year old Nathan Kyle Basham is cited for shoplifting. He will be in court May 10. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, April 29 an officer was dispatched to Walmart in reference to a shoplifter. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a store employee who said he saw Basham stealing an item. Basham was stopped and allegedly admitted to taking the item.

40 year old Willard Darrell Brown is charged with criminal trespassing. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, May 6, Brown was spotted in Walmart by a store employee. He had been served with notification on February 7 that he was to no longer enter the store. When confronted, Brown admitted that he was not to be on the property.

Micheal Burt to Deliver Commencement Address at DCHS Graduation

May 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Micheal Burt

Motivational speaker Micheal Burt will give the commencement address during the DCHS graduation program next Friday night, May 18.

Combining over a decade of winning championships as a women's basketball coach and his new work as an entrepreneur who unleashes human capital at companies like FirstBank, Reeves-Sain, Ole South Properties, The Les Walden Real Estate Team and many more, Micheal Burt is considered a Coachepreneur—a mix between a coach and an entrepreneur.

Micheal's unique background and education positions him as the go-to guy within companies that want to play at a different level. With a methodology scripted in the whole person theory, Micheal has driven major results by engaging every person in the company in a set of systematic and ongoing behaviors that allows them to do something tomorrow that they simply cannot do today.

Burt is the author of six books including the wildly popular This Ain't No Practice Life. Micheal is also the host of The Coach Micheal Burt Radio Show every Sunday on WLAC in Nashville which is one hour of transformational radio positioned as Change Your Life Radio.

As a former championship basketball coach at Riverdale High School from 1999-2008 Micheal's teams produced seven consecutive 20+ win seasons, four conference titles, three sub-state appearances, two Miss Basketball finalist, and 100 percent of his players furthered their education at the collegiate level. In 2007 Micheal's strategies were validated when he led his team to a 2007 Class AAA state championship and a 38-3 record for the first time in over 83 years in the city of Murfreesboro and the first time in the schools 36 year history.

Coach Burt speaks, coaches, trains, and leads individuals and organizations who want to play at a different level in life. His powerful keynotes on any of his six books inspire and motivate people to dig deep into their potential with a coach that knows how to get it out of them.

The DCHS commencement begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 18 on the high school football field.

Nineteen DCHS Students Earn HSTW Educational Achievement Award

May 9, 2012
Dwayne Page

Nineteen members of the class of 2012 have received the High Schools That Work Award of Educational Achievement.

HSTW is sponsored by the (SREB) Southern Regional Education Board.

HSTW is the nation’s largest and fastest growing effort to combine challenging academic courses and modern vocational studies.

Students qualify for the award by completing a college-preparatory course of study in at least two of the three subject areas (English/language arts, mathematics, or science); completing a concentration in a career/technical area, mathematics/science or the humanities; and meeting readiness goals in all three subject areas on the HSTW Assessment.

Students Names:
1.Angaran, Joseph
2.England, Whitney
3.Foster, John
4.Hughes, Heather
5.James, Adam
6.James, Jesse
7.Knowles, Danielle
8.Merriman, Mason
9.Mitchell, Kalli
10.Owens, Tevin
11.Phillips, Sebastian
12.Roller, Johnna
13.Snyder, Lindsay
14.Spare, Corey
15.Tatrow, Victoria
16.Thompson, Erik
17.White, Krystal
18.Williams, Breanna
19.Young, Alyssa


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