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Concerned Citizens Want Someone to Direct School Traffic at Northside Elementary

August 17, 2009
Dwayne Page

Should someone be assigned to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary on North Congress Boulevard? If so, who should be responsible for the cost and liability, the City of Smithville, the County, or Board of Education?

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen discussed this issue Monday night after two concerned citizens, Erlene Howard and Bruce Curtis addressed the city board about the traffic congestion at the school as parents drop off their children in the mornings and pick them up in the afternoons.

Curtis warned that wrecks are bound to occur in that school zone, unless the problem is addressed. "We're looking at having a major accident there. Parents are lining up, coming to drop their kids off in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. They're lining up off the road all the way down as far as the medical center. But when the parents are trying to come out, you can't see around the cars that are trying to come in. No one is able to stop the traffic. It's takes as long as five to ten minutes or longer sometimes to get out because of that traffic area. It's going to cause a wreck right there."

Howard asked who would be responsible if there were a wreck there, the city or the county." It's a county school in the city, who would be responsible?"

City attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. responded that it would not necessarily be either the city or county, but "the person who's negligence caused the accident. There are speed zones posted there."

Chief Richard Jennings explained that the police department once assigned officers to direct traffic in the school zones, but problems arose when those officers would often have to leave the school zones or not show up at all in order to answer other calls. To address that problem, the city hired two civilians to direct school traffic, but those positions were eliminated in budget cuts last year. "Years ago the city did provide the officers to direct traffic out there as a courtesy. But our calls for service got so heavy that when the officer would go in the morning (to school zone), a lot of times he didn't get there because our priority is we have to answer the calls of service as they come in. So he either didn't get there at all or would have to leave early. We addressed that problem by hiring two civilian personnel to direct traffic out there. One of them happened to be a constable. They took care of Northside and the High School. But in last year's budget the economic downturn required the City of Smithville to cut the police department's budget and those two positions were removed from the budget. Prior to doing that I met with the school superintendent to discuss the fact that the police department was going to have to discontinue this service. The school superintendent agreed that it was the school board's responsibility to furnish people to direct traffic out there and he said they were going to put the money in the budget to do that. But for some reason they were unable to get it in the budget that year. I thought it would be in their budget this year but for some reason it's not. I think the mayor did write a letter to the school board and the principals stating far in advance that we were going to discontinue this because of budget cuts. The only way we could do it is if we reinstated those two part time positions and hired civilian people to get out there and direct traffic. That would be cheaper than paying off duty police officers overtime."

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said this is an issue for many citizens and believes the city should try to resolve it. "I've had probably eight parents bring the subject up to me. I fully agree with what Chief Jennings is doing now. I've always thought that it's not efficient to have on duty police officers out of their cars directing traffic when they are actually subject to being called somewhere else. I also agree that in all probability it's a county responsibility, but in light of the fact that the city has done this for so long and because the school year is already underway and to keep this from getting pushed away and delayed more often, I would like to see us get an off duty officer or a constable or somebody out there to direct traffic at Northside for a couple of hours a day. I've estimated (the cost) around $3,000 to $3,500 for a year. I think that's the school (Northside) that has the worst problem. I've not heard any complaints about the other schools and I think the (other) school zones are working fairly smoothly. Even last year I heard complaints about Northside, that it was really becoming a bad situation. Regardless of whose responsibility it is, I would hate to see an accident. We're here to serve the public's interest and the fact that folks are having to wait five to ten minutes to get back on the road is an inconvenience. A lot of these folks are trying to get to work. I just think it would be wise for us to consider trying to handle this one school zone. I wouldn't recommend that we do the others at this moment."

Alderman Steve White suggested a meeting between city and county or school officials." It's a safety hazard and a problem that needs to be addressed. Maybe we should address the school board or county and see why they haven't funded it and whether they are going to later. I think we should talk to the county and school board"

Both Alderman W.J. (Dub) White and Mayor Taft Hendrixson mentioned that perhaps the city and county or school board could share the expense.

Alderman and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks said he would contact the Director of Schools about a meeting to discuss the issue.

Sheriff Asks for Public Assistance in Solving Theft Ring

August 17, 2009
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
James Steven Leduc
Daniel Luke Brock
Rex James Garza
Teresa Kay Beasley
Randall Johnson

Sheriff Patrick Ray is asking for your help in solving a theft ring which has been occurring in DeKalb and surrounding counties.

According to Sheriff Ray, most of these thefts have been taking place at night. "We have been working with the surrounding counties on theft cases where someone has been stealing riding lawn mowers, bumper trailers, gooseneck trailers, boat trailers, and camper trailers. In some of the thefts, the thief will take the vehicle that is attached to the trailer and carry them into one of our surrounding counties and burn them. Authorities in all of the counties agree that this is the same theft ring they have been experiencing. In DeKalb County, we have seen a few of these thefts in the western part of the county with the last one being a travel trailer taken from the Smith Fork area in which a truck was attached to the travel trailer and the thief drove it into the creek and took the trailer. We are asking everyone to keep an eye out for anyone driving up and down the road or anyone that looks suspicious. We ask you to get a good description of the vehicle then call the central dispatch and relay the information to them where a deputy can be dispatched to that area. You may also call the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935 or the crime tip line at 464-6400 if you have any information on someone trying to sell these items.

Meanwhile in other crime news, Sheriff Ray reports that Sheriff's Department detectives arrested 33 year old James Steven Leduc of Gin Alley Apartments in Alexandria for theft of property on August 11th. The victim, who resides on Tramel Branch Road in Alexandria, reported the theft of a G.E. clothes dryer, a compound bow, a refrigerator, and three electric floor heaters. Detectives found that Leduc had sold the stolen items to a business in Alexandria. When they picked up Leduc, he admitted to selling the stolen items. Leduc's bond was set at $40,000 and he will appear in court on August 20th.

22 year old Daniel Luke Brock and 20 year old Rex James Garza were picked up on sealed indictments for theft of property and burglary on August 11th. Sheriff Ray says on December 30th, 2007, DeKalb County detectives and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation worked a break-in on Johnson's Chapel Road where items such as cases of beer, computers, a surround sound system, and two large screen televisions were taken from a business without the owners consent. Bond for both men was set at $25,000 and they will appear in court on September 21st.

Deputies responded to an accident on Sparta Highway on August 11th. Upon arrival, officers talked with the driver, 60 year old James Brown Metcalf of West Bockman Way Sparta, and noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and had a smell of alcohol on his person. Metcalf submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. He admitted to drinking vodka earlier. Metcalf ‘s bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on August 20th.

43 year old Teresa Kay Beasley of McMinnville Highway was arrested August 15th on a sealed indictment for sale of a schedule II drug, delivery of a schedule II drug, possession of a schedule II drug for resale, delivery of a schedule II drug for resale, sale of a legend drug, attempt to sell a schedule II drug, and attempt to deliver a schedule II drug. Her bond was set at $6,000 and she will appear in court on September 21st.

Also on August 15th, deputies went to the residence of 46 year old Randall Johnson who lives on LaFever Ridge Road Silver Point, to serve a state warrant on him. When Deputies tried to cuff Johnson, he told them "No I'm not going!" The officers were able to subdue Johnson and place him into custody without incident. Upon coming into the DeKalb County Jail, Johnson was found to have a plastic bag on his person that contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Johnson was charged with resisting arrest and introduction of drugs into a penal institution. His bond was set at $7,000 and will appear in court on August 20th.

Congressman Gordon Schedules Listening Tour

August 16, 2009

To have productive conversations and obtain advice from residents of Tennessee's Sixth Congressional District, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon has scheduled several discussion opportunities over the next two weeks – two district-wide Telephone Town Halls, three Face-to-Face office hour events, and two in-person Town Hall meetings, as well as a seniors-focused Telephone Town Hall and other possible call-in events.

Each event will allow constituents to share concerns, ask questions, and communicate directly with Gordon.

"I scheduled each of these events in order to accommodate and hear from as many Sixth District residents as possible," explained Gordon.

Gordon's August schedule follows (note: additional events may be added):

• August 21: Two Telephone Town Halls – one at 11 a.m. CDT and another at 5:30 p.m. CDT (to register, visit www.gordon.house.gov or call 615-896-1986).

• August 24: Face-to-Face office hours, starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT, at the Patterson Park Community Center (521 Mercury Blvd., Murfreesboro, 37130).

• August 24: Town Hall meeting, moderated by the Daily News Journal, at 7:00 p.m. CDT in Murfreesboro (location, to be determined).

• August 25: Face-to-Face office hours, starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT, at the Putnam County Courthouse (300 E. Spring St., Cookeville, 38501).

• August 26: Face-to-Face office hours, starting at 9:00 a.m. CDT, at the Sumner County Courthouse (100 Public Sq., Room B-100, Gallatin, 37066).

• August 26: Town Hall meeting, moderated by Mike Towle of The News-Examiner at 7:00 p.m. CDT in Gallatin (location, to be determined).

"These call-ins, one-on-one discussion events and Town Hall meetings are just part of my efforts to better understand the concerns of the more than 700,000 constituents across the 15 counties I represent in the Sixth District," added Gordon.

The two Telephone Town Hall events require no travel, and participation is toll free and easy. Registered constituents will be able to communicate with Gordon, ask questions live, and leave messages from the comfort of their homes.

Each Face-to-Face office hour event will offer constituents an opportunity to individually meet with Gordon and discuss any questions and concerns they may have. Gordon will meet with Sixth District residents on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The in-person Town Hall meetings will be moderated by Murfreesboro's Daily News Journal and Gallatin's News-Examiner, respectively. The moderators will call on attendees to ask questions or give advice to Gordon, as well as ensure that a constructive dialogue takes place over the course of each event.

In addition to these events, constituents are always welcome to stop by Gordon's district offices. The Murfreesboro office is located at 305 W. Main Street; the Gallatin office is located at 100 Public Sq., Room B-100; and the Cookeville office is located at 15 S. Jefferson Avenue.

Tennessee's Sixth Congressional District includes the following counties: Bedford, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Jackson, Macon, Marshall, Overton, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, and part of Wilson.

Smithville Police Make Arrests

August 15, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings reports several recent arrests in his latest weekly press release.

34 year old Billy Mooneyham of 270 Foster Road is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court September 3rd.

Smithville Police Officer Matt Holmes reports that he was dispatched to 200 Green Acres Drive in Smithville on August 7th to investigate a complaint about theft of medication. Officer Holmes had been given information from Central Dispatch that Mooneyham was a suspect in the theft. Upon arrival, Officer Holmes saw Mooneyham walking around the back of the residence with his hand inside the waist band of his pants. As Officer Holmes got out of his vehicle, Mooneyham walked back around the residence toward the officer. Officer Holmes noticed Mooneyham was stumbling as he walked and was very unsteady on his feet. The victim, Vickie Marsh, told the officer that Mooneyham had stolen her medication. Officer Holmes went behind the residence and found, in a clump of grass, a pill bottle labeled morphine in the name of Vickie Marsh. After questioning Mooneyham, he admitted taking the medication and stated he had hidden the rest of the medication in a vase in a bedroom inside the home. Officer Holmes located a pill bottle labeled Hydrocodone in Marsh's name, thirteen morphine pills, and nine Hydrocodone pills. Marsh declined to prosecute Mooneyham for the theft of her medication.

25 year old Ginger Fay Trapp of 530 Miller Road is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court September 3rd.

Officer Travis Bryant reports that he was dispatched to Bumpers Drive-In on East Broad Street on August 7th. When he arrived, Bryant made contact with Trapp. She had pulled into a stall at the restaurant and had ordered food. Trapp appeared to have passed out. Officer Bryant attempted to wake Trapp by knocking on the drivers side window. He could see that she had dropped the food she had ordered in her lap. Finally, after several minutes of knocking on the car window, Officer Bryant was able to awaken Trapp. When she got out of her vehicle, she was very unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. Officer Bryant asked Trapp to perform some field sobriety tests and she performed poorly. Trapp was placed under arrest for DUI. She refused to sign the applied consent form and take a blood alcohol test. This refusal resulted in an additional charge of violation of the implied consent law.

31 year old Aaron Dwayne Ponder of 7851 Old Mill Hill Road is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court August 20th. He was issued a citation for speeding and failure to show proof of insurance. Ponder was held without bond for violation of probation.

23 year old Jonathon David Thomas of 10151 Nashville Highway, Liberty is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and evading arrest. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court August 20th.

Smithville Police Officer Matt Farmer reports that he was patrolling on West Broad Street around 4:47 p.m. on August 8th when he observed a vehicle traveling east at an excessive speed in congested traffic. Officer Farmer made contact with the driver, Ponder. During the conversation with Ponder, Officer Farmer found that Ponder's drivers license was suspended, he had no proof of insurance, and there was an outstanding warrant against Ponder for violation of probation.

During the traffic stop investigation, Officer Farmer talked to a passenger in Ponder's vehicle, who identified himself as Brandy Wright. After the officer placed Ponder in his patrol car, he started talking to Wright. The man then fled on foot from the officer. Farmer was notified that the man, who identified himself as Brandy Wright, was in fact Jonathon David Thomas and there was an outstanding criminal warrant for him. Smithville Police Officer Matt Holmes caught Thomas a short time later and arrested him.

36 year old Mark Joseph Hamilton of 8350 Sparta Highway, Sparta is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, and reckless endangerment. His bond is $9,000.

Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis reports that he investigated a traffic accident at the intersection of Main Street and Shady Lane in Smithville on August 9th at about 6:10 p.m. The investigation led to the arrest of Hamilton. The reckless endangerment charge against Hamilton was because he had his three year old daughter in the vehicle with him at the time of the accident.

24 year old Jay L. Mullican of 275 Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta is charged with public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $2,000.

Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis reports that on August 10th at around 1:14 a.m. he was dispatched to a fight at 583 Main Street. Upon arrival, he made contact with Mullican. During the conversation, Officer Davis noticed that Mullican's speech was very slurred and that he was unsteady on his feet.. There was a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. Mullican told the officer that he had recently consumed a 12 pack of beer. During a search of his person, Officer Davis found a straw with white residue on it.

Brandon L. Cantrell is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on August 20th.

Smithville Police Lieutenant Steven Leffew reports that on August 11th, he was dispatched to 628 Restview Avenue and upon arrival learned that Cantrell had been trying to enter an apartment but he had just left. Lieutenant Leffew located Cantrell on Jackson Street. He was very unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Cantrell admitted to drinking several beers.

Meanwhile, on August 12th, Smithville Police Officer Randy King arrested 38 year old Mary June Wright of 3424 Keltonburg Road on a violation of probation warrant.

21 year old Karri M. Jewell of 639 Restview Avenue is charged in connection with a theft. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on August 27th.

The Smithville Police Department received a complaint from Shawna Marie Kirby of 337 Christine Street on August 2nd that someone had taken property from her residence valued at approximately $979. Smithville Police Investigator Jerry Hutchins conducted an investigation which led to the arrest of Jewell.

Smithville Police Officer Matt Farmer arrested 48 year old Larry E. Lattimore of 102 East Market Street, Smithville on August 14th for violation of an order of protection. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is August 20th.

Chief Jennings says if anyone has any knowledge of criminal activity in our community to please report it to the proper authorities. Any information received by the Smithville Police Department will be kept confidential.

Aubrey Givens Announces for State Senate District 17

August 15, 2009
Dwayne Page
State Senate Candidate Aubrey Givens (pictured far right) attends local Democratic meeting

Wilson County attorney Aubrey Givens, who recently announced his intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for State Senate District 17, was among those attending a meeting of local democrats Thursday night at the city hall community room.

Justin Walling, Tennessee Chair of the chairs, was the featured speaker during the meeting. During his remarks, Walling rebutted many of the Republican's health care arguments and talked about the importance of taking back a majority in at least one of the State Houses in the 2010 elections to avoid Republican gerrymandering.

The 17th Senate district, composed of Wilson, Cannon, Dekalb, Trousdale, Smith, Macon, Clay, and parts of Sumner County, is currently represented by Republican Mae Beavers, who is not seeking re-election.

Givens, in a prepared statement making his announcement, said, "I am excited about the opportunity to serve as a voice for the whole community, but first, I am going to do a lot of listening in Mount Juliet, Woodbury, Lebanon, Smithville, Hartsville, Celina and all points in between." Givens believes he can be effective in the Tennessee Senate delivering "big results for the entire district."

Givens' supporters in the district and current legislators are impressed by his common sense leadership approach and have encouraged him to pursue a senate seat. "I am humbled by the warm wishes of so many who have helped me to embark on this campaign," said Givens. "I appreciate their trust and support…and I really do need their help to deliver a better Tennessee."

Givens's community involvement is extensive. Born and reared in Lebanon, Givens is an active member of the Wilson County, Robertson County, and Nashville Bar, He serves as an alumni class chair for the Nashville School of Law Recognition Dinner and Silent Auction. He is a charter member of Tennessee State Fair Foundation, now in organization. A former Wilson county 4-Her and member of FFA, Givens devotes much of his spare time to mentoring young people. This year he has coached a state champion in public speaking.

A relative novice in politics, Givens brings his real-life experience as a student, employee, farmer, small business owner, and attorney to the race. He adds, "I have made a career out of helping everyday Tennesseans, now I hope to take this step and simply continue my mission as a legislator affecting change for a better Tennessee. "

Top priorities include:
Education; building a better future for Tennessee students and the teachers who instruct them;
healthcare; assuring quality healthcare for Tennessee's working families, seniors, and for every child fortunate enough to be a Tennessean.

Economic growth; giving the working families an opportunity to advance themselves and better their future by engaging industry and technology in Tennessee.
fiscal responsibility; making our tax dollars work harder so Tennesseans don't have to bear a state income tax.

(Photo Caption. Front row, DeKalb Chair Faye Fuqua, Young Democrat President Jordan Wilkins. Back row. DeKalb Vice-Chair Jim Judkins, Tennessee Chair of the chairs Justin Walling, 17th District State Senate Candidate Aubrey Givens.)

Candidates Qualify for DTC Election of Directors

August 14, 2009

The final slate of candidates is set for DTC Communications’ election of directors next month.
Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Alexandria (529), Liberty (536), and Smithville (215/597) exchanges.

The Alexandria exchange is represented by three candidates: Incumbent Bennie "Buck" Curtis and two candidates who qualified by petition - Wayne "Elmer" Fitts and Robbie "Donnie" Rowland.

Incumbent Randy Campbell in the Liberty exchange is running unopposed.

The Smithville exchange is represented by two candidates: Incumbent Ronnie Garrison and one candidate who qualified by petition – Paul Cantrell.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 26 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 21-23. Thursday, Sept. 17, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2009 election.
Hours and locations for early voting include:
Early Voting Hours
 Mon., Sept. 21 – Noon to 7 p.m.
 Tues., Sept. 22 – Noon to 7 p.m.
 Wed., Sept. 23 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
 Kenneth Sandlin Building, DeKalb County Fairgrounds, Alexandria
 Gordonsville Civic Center, 63 Main St. East, Gordonsville
 DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 100, 1 Public Square, Smithville
 DTC Training Center (former Woodbury phone store), located beside the DTC Customer Service Center, Woodbury

On Saturday, Sept. 26, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.
For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory, or call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Growing Number of Students Out of School Due to Sickness

August 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

The number of students out of school because of sickness is growing.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE last night that a total of 382 students were absent Thursday. Still, schools will remain in session.

During Thursday night's School Board Meeting, Willoughby addressed the issue. "Yes we do have a lot of people absent. I'd like to say it's not going to get any worse but I think it will get worse. Right now we are encouraging people to wash their hands. We have the hand sanitizer portable dispensers set up at the schools. Those are being used. Monday, we will have someone who will bring us the stationary dispensers to put into the schools. That will help some. But at the same time, this is going to run it's course. They tell us this comes in waves so the real deal is we may go through this for ten or twelve weeks and then we may have another wave come through."

" What I would like to say to students and staff who are sick is don't come to school. We have people at our nurses station at eight o'clock in the morning that are sick. Those students who are there at eight o'clock in the morning, they were probably sick when they left home and it would help us all if they would stay home when they are sick. If you're not sick, please come to school."

"We have brought in a substitute nurse and now are running five nurses at all the schools. We usually have one nurse to work the high school and middle school but since that is where the main outbreak is of the H1N1 virus, we have put a nurse at the middle school and a nurse at the high school. We have a part-time custodian and we have increased that person's hours and we may increase another person's hours. We have instructed all of our custodians to go through and clean the door knobs, clean the bathrooms, clean the desks, and they are doing a good job."

"Our absentee rate is high and if need be, we will close schools. We are following the recommendations of the state at this time and we will continue following those recommendations. The majority of the students who are going to the doctor, if their symptoms are of the flu then I think that they are sincerely sick with the H1N1, but at the same time we have a lot of sickness in our schools including stomach viruses and respiratory problems that are not H1N1 and that has been confirmed by our doctors also."

Meanwhile, in other business, Director Willoughby presented the school board his monthly report on personnel.

Those employed for the 2009-2010 school year since last month include:

Jennifer Suzette Barnes, 7th grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Jennifer Cowan, Speech/Language Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Courtney Davis, 7th grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Christina Driver, school nurse
Randy Eaton, substitute custodian
Jason Farley, Special Education Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Michelle Fontanez, teacher at DCHS
Terrie Ford, Special Education Assistant at Northside Elementary School
Stephanie Fuson, Special Education Assistant at DeKalb West School
Audrey Goolsby, Speech/Language teacher at DeKalb West School
Denise Graham, part time vision teacher at DeKalb West School
Megan Hardin, 3rd grade teacher at DeKalb West School
Amanda Harris, part time Speech/Language teacher
Sherry Judkins, custodian at Northside Elementary School
Summer Kinnaird, school counselor at DeKalb Middle School
Martha Kirksey, 6th grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Adrienne McCormick, 2nd grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Elizabeth Nolt, 4th grade teacher at Northside Elementary School
Nena Page, educational assistant
Susan Palmer, pre-k teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Susan West, 3rd grade teacher at DeKalb West School
Judy Wiggins, substitute bus assistant

Heather Blankenship transferred to Federal Programs
Wendy Bowling to General Purpose
Amee Cantrell to a new Social Worker position
Brenda Beth Cantrell to Smithville Elementary School
Charles L. Cantrell to a full time custodian position
Wendy Colvert to Special Education
Beverly Ferrell to Federal Programs
Crystal Gordon to General Purpose
Betty Hickey to Federal Programs
Lori Isabell to a SPED Assessment Coordinator position
Rebecca Moss to Federal Programs
Lisa Pack to Federal Programs
Pam Sanders to SES Federal Programs
Teresa Spencer to Federal Programs
Peggy Sutton to Federal Programs
Glyn Taylor to a full time bus assistant position
B.J. Thomason to a full time bus driver position
Tiffany Wheatley to an SES CDC position
Suzanne Williams to Federal Programs
Crystal Young to General Purpose

Rachel Seal, Special Education Assistant, resigned
Julie Pugh, Special Education Assistant, resigned
Vickie Burton, teacher at Smithville Elementary, retired
Truitt Hale, custodian at DeKalb Middle School, resigned
Vickie Atnip, Educational Assistant, resigned

Meanwhile, the school board set the 2010 graduation date for Friday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m.

Director Willoughby, during the discussion, mentioned that the DCHS graduation rate has greatly improved. "I had said in public that our graduation rate this last year was in the upper 80's. Actually our official graduation rate for this last year was 91.3% so a big congratulations to everybody who worked so hard in making that happen."

The board amended the 2009-2010 school calendar as approved by the Board of Education on November 13th, 2008 by changing the Administrative Day as listed to Monday, May 24th, 2010. This amendment corrects a typing error.

Director Willoughby said there could be another change in the school calendar next month, which may affect spring break. " We may bring back to the board another calendar change, because the state has changed the testing dates for our achievement tests that will be given in the spring. Therefore when those dates are confirmed by the state, there is a probability of spring break being changed somewhat. We should have confirmation before the next board meeting."

The board adopted an emergency coverage agreement with NHC of Smithville. Under the agreement, NHC would be permitted to use school facilities for temporary housing in case of an emergency that would cause for the evacuation of their center such as a natural disaster, power outage, or other major factor.

The school board authorized the county to make use of a lot in the area between the health department and Highway 83 for the development of a Farmers Market, should the county choose to locate it there.

County Mayor Mike Foster made the request of the school board Thursday night. "Three years ago we applied for a grant for a Farmers Market and we were told last Tuesday that we will receive a $50,000 grant to build a Farmers Market. When we got it and signed it they gave us until December 10th to have it completed and everything done. They will be here tomorrow (Friday) to do an environmental impact on two or three sites under consideration. We're here to request an agreement on using the corner of Tiger Drive and Highway 83, the lot between the health department and highway 83."

Foster added "Our proposal would be that it would be an 80 foot long open shed and 50 feet wide with stalls about every 10 or 12 feet. It would have electricity and a concrete floor and provide a facility to wash produce. It would also have one or two bathrooms, handicapped accessible."

The board approved the sale of the DeKalb County Vocational House on Evergreen Lane as advertised for sale to Dwayne and Deanna Page for $135,100. This was the only bid submitted and met the minimum bid requirement as set by the board.

Director Willoughby informed the board that state funding for after school extended contracts for teachers is being cut by 40% or $37,000. "My recommendation will be to cut the hourly rate we put in place over a year ago, which means teachers and others will be working for the same amount of time and doing the same jobs for less money under those extended contracts."

Meanwhile, Willoughby says the number of students participating in after school programs is growing, but so is the problem in meeting the transportation demands. "Under our transportation department through the 21st century grant, we're running three buses. There may be a need to increase the bus service for after school students but we don't have the money to do that."

Transportation Supervisor Peggy Pursell added " We have three routes. We split our county into three sections to try to cover our whole county and take every child door to door."

Under the law, students can't be on bus for more than 90 minutes when they are being transferred back and forth to school.

Pursell says "Tomorrow(Friday) we'll take 49 students who have signed up at west school and see how long it takes us to run that route".

Director Willoughby says the options are to limit the number of students participating in after school programs, designate pickup points for parents to have their children meet the buses, or designate specific days when students in certain grade levels may attend after school

Willoughby updated the board on attendance, saying the enrollment system wide is currently at 2,998 students.

In his report to the school board, Dr. Bill Tanner, Principal at Smithville Elementary said the enrollment there is 583 students and more are arriving. " We usually get some more after Labor Day. We have 78 in pre-school, 199 in kindergarten, 181 in first grade, and 125 in second grade. We can take some more in first grade and a few more in kindergarten, but in second grade we're getting close (to capacity).

Northside Principal Dr. Gayle Redmon, in her report, said enrollment there is currently at 612 and Principal Danny Parkerson at DeKalb West School said his school currently has approximately 423 students. A portable will be added there to address any overcrowding concerns.

The board, in a routine house keeping move, amended the school budget by $4,606 to make it match the budget approved by the county commission

Board Chairman Charles Robinson explained that "On July 27th, 2009 The DeKalb County Commission adopted the budgets for the year ending June 30th, 2010. The Board of Education was given projected revenues from the County Mayor as required by state law in the construction of our budget. This bare bones education budget which included federal stimulus funds and use of our fund balance in order to present a passable, working budget without a tax increase and without eliminating positions, was considered an acted on during our May, 2009 regular meeting. Apparently the projected revenues used by the board of education and the projected revenues used by the county commission were not the same. Therefore there's a difference of $4,606 between the budget presented in May by the Board of Education and the budget adopted in July by the County Commission. Our action tonight would be to offset the $4,606 difference in county property taxes by dipping again into our fund balance to correct this."

State Representative Susan Lynn to Announce Decision on Tennessee State Senate Election

August 13, 2009
State Representative Susan Lynn-

State Representative Susan Lynn, a Lebanon Republican, will announce her future plans regarding the 17th District Tennessee State Senate seat being vacated by State Senator Mae Beavers next week.

The announcement will be on Monday, August 17th at the Mount Juliet Chamber of Commerce at 11:00 a.m.

Representative Lynn states "Since our Senator's announcement I have spent time traveling around the 17th District in order to meet the citizens and visit with the local elected officials. This wonderful experience has brought me many new friends, and I have learned much about the strengths and needs of the area."

In a her press release, Representative Lynn says she sponsored the Tennessee State Sovereignty Resolution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is a conservative legislator who supports states rights, Jeffersonian Principles, and is a strong supporter of Constitutional rights.

Susan Lynn has represented the 57th Legislative District in the Tennessee House of Representatives since 2002. She is the chairman of the House Government Operations Committee and a member of the House Calendar and Rules Committee. In addition, she has served for seven years on the House Commerce Committee and the Small Business Sub-Committee. In addition to her legislative duties, Representative Lynn serves as the Task Force Chairman of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and history, is a member of the First Baptist Church of Mount Juliet, and makes her home in Lebanon with her husband Michael. They have two adult children, Michael Lynn, Jr, who is a staff sergeant in the Tennessee Air Guard and engaged to wed Ms. Alisa Sanders, and Mrs. Grace Douchette and her husband Benjamin.

Senator Mae Beavers Pledges to Continue to Advocate for Citizens of District 17

August 12, 2009
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

State Senator Mae Beavers has decided that she will not seek re-election for the office of Senator for the 17th Senatorial District in November of 2010. Instead, she announced a few weeks ago that she intends to run for mayor of Wilson County.

“I have thought long and hard about this decision,” said Beavers. “However, after talks with my family and friends, I have decided that I cannot pass up this opportunity to make an impact in my local community of Wilson County.”

Senator Beavers stressed that she will continue to serve the people of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, and Wilson counties as Senator for the next year, including remaining Chairman of the Judiciary Committee – one of the most important committees in the Senate.

“I have served the people of this district in the House and Senate for over fifteen years now,” said Beavers. “I look forward to continuing to serve them and to see sound legislation passed next year that will benefit the entire 17th District.”

Senator Beavers plans on sending out a legislative survey in the months ahead to give all of the citizens of District 17 a chance to highlight crucial issues that were addressed this year and issues that need to be addressed in the next legislative year.

Center Hill Park Ranger Takes Quick Action, Assists In Rescuing Two

August 11, 2009
Dwayne Page

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Gary Bruce was ready and recently took quick action that made a difference in several people's lives.

In one incident, Dale and Kate Driskall, Park Attendants at Floating Mill Campground on Center Hill Lake, called the Resource Manager's Office and advised that a boater reported almost hitting a swimmer in the lake. The boater indicated that the swimmer was struggling and didn't seem like he could go any further. It's unknown why the boater didn't assist the swimmer.

After receiving the call, Ranger Bruce immediately drove to Hurricane Marina, boarded the Corps patrol boat and went to the scene, a short 5-minute boat ride away.

Ranger Bruce located the swimmer about 200 yards from shore. The 21-year-old man, who did not speak English, appeared to be totally exhausted, needing help from Bruce to get into the boat and put on a life jacket. Ranger Bruce then took the man safely to shore, where four friends awaited. One friend explained that the man swam to the island, about ½ mile away, and was swimming back. The man recovered and did not want medical assistance. Without Ranger Bruce's quick action, it is quite possible that this young man would not have survived this incident.

Ranger Bruce is one of those rangers that seems to be there and ready when people need him. Just a few weeks later, Rangers Gary Bruce and Spencer Taylor were the first on the scene where a woman was injured after jumping off a bluff near Sligo Bridge. The injured woman was on a float in the water surrounded by her fiancé and friends when the rangers arrived.

Ranger Bruce contacted DeKalb Central Dispatch and was directed to transport the injured woman by boat to Sligo Marina where EMS would be standing by. She was carefully placed in the boat and immediately transported to the awaiting ambulance at Sligo Marina. She was diagnosed by paramedics as having a severe fracture to her right femur, was transported to Cookeville Regional Medical Center via EMS and later airlifted to Erlanger Hospital.

Although these two incidents clearly show the positive impacts the efforts of Park Rangers at Corps lakes have on individual lives, it is very difficult to determine just how many lives have been impacted and maybe even saved by the great work the Rangers have performed in communicating the importance of water safety to the public.

"The entire Ranger staff at Center Hill Lake has made it a priority this year to promote water safety awareness," said Tim Dunn, Resource Manager at Center Hill Lake. According to Dunn, "Rangers have been able to spread the word about water safety not only at schools, county fairs, campgrounds, and other public events, but also through increased boat patrols. Through these efforts, we have been able to share information about water safety and the importance of wearing your life jacket to more than 25,000 people this year alone. The individuals that Ranger Bruce assisted were very fortunate that they did not lose their lives or have more serious injuries from not knowing the dangers that water presents. We hope that our efforts to encourage water and boating safety will continue to make a lasting impact on visitors to Center Hill Lake."

According to Ranger Bruce, "Some ways that you can practice water safety and ensure that you and your family return home safely after a fun day at the lake are to:
· Learn to swim well and swim with a buddy.
· Know your swimming limits and ability: the distance across the lake or to islands is further than it seems.
· Avoid jumping off of cliffs or bridges.
· Choose a designated boat operator that doesn't drink.
· Take a safe boating course.
· Wear your life jacket."


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