Local News Articles

Chamber To Celebrate 54 Years At Upcoming Annual Banquet

March 7, 2017
Suzanne Williams

Everyone is invited to attend the 2017 Chamber Annual Banquet. The banquet will be Thursday, April 27, 2017 at the DeKalb County Complex, 712 South Congress Blvd., Smithville. “We are excited to again host this event and invite the all the public to share in this fun-filled night,” says Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams. “A common misconception is that this is an event for Chamber members only,” says Williams. “All are welcome to come. This is a wonderful networking opportunity and a great way to see some of the positive things that are happening in our county.”

The special evening begins at 5:30 PM with a “Silent Auction.” The dinner and program start at 6:00 PM. The delicious meal will be served by Leadership DeKalb Alum and Jr. Beta Club members.

NEW THIS YEAR! To spice things up, we are also going to have a “Live Auction.” Be ready to bid when Auctioneer Anthony Scott takes the stage. Lots of great items to bid on including signed guitars from country music stars. Anyone can donate to the Silent Auction. For the Live Auction, at least two items must be donated and delivered to the Chamber.

We would like to invite local industries and businesses to be a Corporate Sponsor. Being a Corporate Sponsor is not only a great way to support the Chamber and its many programs, but a wonderful marketing opportunity. The cost of corporate sponsorship is $250. Some of the advantages include:

•Corporate Sponsor Names will be included in the Annual Banquet Tabloid sent to thousands of homes as an insert in the Smithville Review & used as the Banquet Program

•Corporate Sponsor employees will be recognized at the banquet

•Corporate Sponsors will be announced on the April and May Chamber Chat Radio/DTC TV Programs

•Corporate Sponsors can also place a business item on banquet tables for attendees

If you would like to place an ad in the Chamber Banquet Tabloid, it will be inserted in the April 19th edition of the Smithville Review plus used as the night’s program. Deadline to place your ad in the tabloid is March 27th.

To donate silent or live auction items, place an ad in the tabloid, be the entertainment sponsor for $200 (supporting the DMS Jr. Beta trip), or be a Corporate Sponsor, contact the Chamber office at 615.597.4163 or email: swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org.

DeKalb Performing Arts will provide the night’s entertainment along with a special viewing of the DeKalb Middle School Jr. Beta Club video of their State Championship performance, “Be the Change.”

Banquet tickets prices are $25 per person or you can RESERVE a table for $175 (for 7 people). Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chamber at 615.597.4163 or from the Chamber Board of Directors. Or, you can stop by the Chamber office located in the DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 201. Remember, you don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend. Everyone is welcome!

Special thanks to our Annual Banquet Committee Members: Shan Burklow, Isaac Gray, Sherry Harris, Connie Tjarks, Jen Sherwood, and Lora Webb for all the work they are doing to ensure a successful night. We are also grateful to the Appalachian Center for Craft for providing table arrangements and to DTC Communications for providing eco-bags.

We are going to have a great time and hope you can be a part of the Chamber’s 54th Anniversary.

Council May Lift Ban on Fireworks Sales In City

March 7, 2017
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen

Should the sale of fireworks be permitted within the City limits of Smithville?

Since 1982, the city has prohibited the sale of fireworks.

The mayor and aldermen may consider an ordinance lifting the ban at the next meeting in April.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson raised the issue Monday night. “Over the last several years I’ve had several people come to us to ask if we were going to allow the sale of fireworks inside the city limits. I’m just bringing this up to see if you want me to bring an ordinance to the next meeting. Obviously we can shoot them (fireworks) inside the city. The county allows the sale of fireworks. The state also regulates it. You have to be approved by the state first to sell fireworks. The most we would capture off that is about $1,000 per permit in the July time period and about $500 around December to New Year’s Eve. I think at the most the city stands to make maybe $5,000 to $7,000 and the sales tax as well. I just think it would be good for the city to capture permit revenues,” said Hendrixson.

“I agree Mr. Hendrixson and I don’t see a down side to it since they are so readily available already. It is legal to fire them in the city just not in the central business district,” said Alderman Shawn Jacobs.

The last time the aldermen considered lifting the ban was in December 2007 after a local businessman asked that city businesses and others have the same opportunity to sell fireworks inside the city as those outside the city limits.

The aldermen initially voted on first reading to lift the ban at a meeting in December 2007 but then two weeks later reversed the decision and voted the leave the ban in place citing complaints from concerned citizens.

"Spring into Action" Blood Drive Collects 48 Units; Public Safety and Elected Officials Claim Bragging Rights

March 7, 2017
Dwayne Page
Casey Agee donates blood during Monday's Spring into Action drive
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss sponsors Spring Into Action Blood Drive

Forty eight units of blood were collected Monday during the 1st annual “Spring into Action” Blood Assurance Blood Drive in a battle for bragging rights between public safety and elected officials versus the DeKalb County School System.

By the end of the blood drive, the public safety and elected officials claimed victory with 32 donations made on behalf of them versus 16 credited to the school system.

“The blood drive was a great success. In comparison to the one we conducted prior to Christmas we exceeded those numbers and collected 48 donations today. I accepted this challenge as a way to help others with medical conditions, sickness and injuries requiring the daily need of blood. As healthy individuals we sometime take for granted what a gift blood donation is and what it does for so many,” said DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, who sponsored the event.

“Many of our family members have been affected by Cancer, Leukemia, Burns, Trauma, low iron, etc. all requiring blood transfusions. It’s great having a Blood Assurance office in Cookeville that services DeKalb and other upper Cumberland areas as priority. For me that’s an added bonus of working knowing your efforts are assisting those here at home and around us,” said Poss

“The idea behind the title “Spring Into Action” was an attempt to create a friendly competition between our elected officials, local fire, police, EMS, 911 Dispatch, Rescue Squad and educators including the complete staff of our school system who all “Spring Into Action” providing service to our children and families daily by the career path each has chosen,” he continued.

“Thank you to Ms. Pam Redmon, Director of the Senior Citizens Center. Her hospitality, participation and use of their facilities has been a factor in the success of both blood drives I have sponsored. I want to thank each department head in spreading the word and thank you to each individual who took the time to donate. Many had to wait for various reasons, but most waited and the people receiving your donation greatly appreciates your gift and time,” Poss said.

“We did have a few who either chose not to wait or had prior obligations. Nevertheless it was an overall success. We aimed to keep the wait as minimal as possible and this is an area I’ll work on more for future drives. At the end of the drive we had 32 give on behalf of public safety and elected officials and 16 toward DeKalb County School system. Also, I want to say “Thank You” to both WJLE and the Smithville Review for the exposure, time and effort given for this cause,” Poss concluded.

Liberty Man Charged with Theft of Handgun

March 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
William Tommy Newsom, Jr
Brian Adam Rogers
Laddie Bill Jerrells

A Liberty man has been charged with theft after allegedly stealing a gun from the home where he was working.

33 year old William Tommy Newsom, Jr. of Clear Creek Road, Liberty is charged with theft of property. His bond is $7,000 and his court date is March 9.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_13.pdf (2.66 MB)

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on September 24, 2016 while working on a house on Grand View Drive, Smithville Newsom allegedly took a handgun belonging to the homeowner.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective but Newsom was only recently arrested for this crime after spending time in another jail for an unrelated offense.

31 year old Brian Adam Rogers of McMinnville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and burglary. His bond is $15,000 and his court date is March 30.

Sheriff Ray said that on January 30 Rogers allegedly broke into and stole a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero. The car was later recovered in Lincoln County while still in Rogers’ possession. He was also charged with stealing a Springfield 1911 handgun valued at $1,100 in a separate case.

56 year old Laddie Bill Jerrells of Long Street, Smithville is charged with violation of an order of protection and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is March 28.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 27 a deputy responded to a residence on Long Street to serve an ex parte order of protection on Jerrells. Upon arrival the officer spoke to Jerrells’ daughter outside the home. She is named as a protected person on the order. The deputy then entered the residence, spoke with Jerrells, and read to him the contents of the paperwork on the order of protection. According to the order, Jerrells is to immediately vacate the residence. After being told several times that he had to leave the premises Jerrells refused to cooperate by lying down with his arms behind his head. He would not allow his wrists to be handcuffed. The deputy had to forcibly place Jerrells’ hands behind his back in order to make the arrest. After arriving at the jail, Jerrells continued to be uncooperative while being booked into the facility.

Defendants Sentenced in Criminal Court

March 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
Judge Gary McKenzie

Several people were fined and sentenced on Friday, February 24 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_13.pdf (2.66 MB)

29 year old Joshua Lynn Batey entered a plea to sale of a schedule IV drug and received a sentence of five years suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000.

33 year old Johnny Devault pled to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. The term is to run together with his current probation in another sentence.

31 year old Michael Redmon entered a plea to aggravated criminal trespassing, assault, and reckless burning. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total of almost three years. He will be on supervised probation. Redmon is to make restitution of $2,100 to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

26 year old Stephanie Bequette pled to simple possession of a schedule VI drug and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days and fined $250. Her probation will be supervised for six months and unsupervised for six months. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

61 year old Mark Eugene West entered a plea to possession of a schedule III drug for sale and delivery. He received a five year sentence on supervised probation. He was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $55 to the Smithville Police Department.

37 year old Jerry Perdue entered a “best interest” plea to aggravated criminal trespass and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation by community corrections. The sentence is to run concurrently with another case against him.

47 year old Christopher Patterson entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation by CPS. All other charges against him have been nollied but he is to keep away from the victim.

47 year old Gary L. Mooneyham entered a plea to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. He was fined $150 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

56 year old Tommye Lou Bell pled by criminal information to reckless driving and received a six month sentence on supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with her current probation in another case.

54 year old Victor Wilson entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and violation of implied consent. He was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. He will also lose his license for one year.

31 year old Lloyd Wilson Smith pled by criminal information to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days with 45 days to serve. He was fined $600.

47 year old Clarence Edward Sexton, Jr. entered a plea to driving under the influence and was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours in jail and then be on supervised probation. He was fined $600 and he will lose his driver license for one year. The sentence is to run consecutive to his current probation in another case.

48 year old Lou Ann Sanders pled by criminal information to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on supervised probation. She was fined $350 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. The sentence is to run concurrently with a Warren County DUI case against her.

48 year old Jerry Ray Ferrell pled by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to probation.

52 year old Rita Franklin entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation.

“Spring Into Action” Blood Assurance Blood Drive Today

March 6, 2017
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s public safety and elected officials will be challenging employees of the DeKalb County School System in a battle for a good cause today (Monday, March 6) in the 1st annual “Spring Into Action”” Blood Assurance Blood Drive. DeKalb County Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

The “Spring into Action” blood drive, sponsored by DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss will be held inside the Bloodmobile at the senior citizens room in the county complex building on Monday, March 6 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

To schedule an appointment go to: www.bloodassurance.org/dekalb or contact Trudy Cody @ 931-239-9411 or TrudyCody@bloodassurance.org

Prior to Christmas, Blood Assurance coordinated a local blood drive through County Clerk Poss. After its success and because of the everyday need for blood donations, Blood Assurance is again working with County Clerk Poss who has agreed to sponsor and commit to this event annually.

“Our community and communities adjoining us need our support. I've been asked to sponsor a much needed blood drive and accepted the challenge. We wanted to have a little fun so all Public Safety, Elected Officials will challenge the entire DeKalb County School System. We want to get as many involved to help others as we can and have a little local fun,” said County Clerk Poss.

“Approaching is the season of spring and we encourage everyone to “Spring Into Action” and participate. Please give a gift that is of no cost to you but one that those in need cannot buy. I concluded on the title “Spring Into Action” thinking of the upcoming season and so many in our community who provide daily commitment and service to our families. Regardless of your dedication and work within our communities we are challenging our local school system to enjoy a friendly competition against public safety and elected officials,” Poss continued.

“The public safety and elected officials will include employees, friends, and family members of DeKalb EMS, DeKalb & Smithville Rescue Squad, Smithville City Fire & Police, DeKalb County Fire & Sheriff’s Department, DeKalb County Clerk, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, Assessor of Property, Road Supervisor, General Sessions Judge, County Commissioners, and DeKalb 911,” said Poss.

“The DeKalb County School System includes employees, friends, and family along with School Board members, all employees of DeKalb West School, DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb County High School, Northside Elementary School, Smithville Elementary School, Board of Education, and the School Bus Garage,” added Poss.

“Remember this is a public event and is open to all. We ask at the time of your donation to please choose which team you would like your donation to be accredited to, whether it be employee, friend, or family member. We want this to be a fun competition and hope it encourages many to “Spring Into Action” for those in daily need of blood,” he said.

The team accredited with the most donations will be awarded a trophy and an engraved plaque to remain with them from year to year.

All blood collected from the Cookeville Blood Assurance Center services the needs of local community hospitals including DeKalb County, White County, Putnam County, Overton County, and others.

All donors will be given a FREE “Always Be Prepared” t-shirt! Donate & be entered for a chance to win a tent, sleeping bag & grill from “The Happy Camper”. Drinks and snacks will be also be provided.

Retired Chancellor Vernon Neal Dies

March 5, 2017
Retired Chancellor Vernon Neal Dies

Retired Chancery Court Chancellor Vernon Neal of Cookeville, who served this area as a state legislator and then as a judge in the 13th Judicial District (which includes DeKalb County) for many years, died Friday at the age of 85.


According to the Herald-Citizen, Neal suffered a stroke on February 23 just as he finished his daily three-mile walk in his neighborhood. He was taken to Cookeville Regional Hospital, where he died eight days later surrounded by his family.

Neal, a native of Pickett County, was a graduate of Tennessee Tech and of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1962 and then to the Tennessee Senate in 1966 and served there until 1978. In his legislative career, he was known for his vigorous support of public education, state parks and natural resources, and public health services, among many other efforts and accomplishments.

His work in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate included bills that allowed for the election, rather than appointment, of county school board members and county road supervisors, bills providing training for the mentally and physically disabled and for the funding of Plateau Mental Health Institute, funding for a public educational television station for this area, and funding for establishing Edgar Evins State Park and Burgess Falls State Park. In 1980, he began a second career upon being elected chancellor in the Chancery Court for this judicial district. He retired from the bench in 2006.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 7, at 11 a.m. at Cookeville First Baptist Church. The family will receive friends Monday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. until time for the service at the church.

Hooper Huddleston & Horner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Neal was born October 10, 1931 in Byrdstown, TN to Mary Cope and Levi Pearson Neal. In the summer of 1957, he met his future wife Mona Mahan while she visited family in Cookeville. They were married at Algood First Baptist Church on February 16, 1958.

Chancellor Neal is survived by his wife Mona: daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Belinda Neal Mandrell (Tim) of Memphis, son and daughter-in-law, Jeff Neal (Leana) of Chattanooga and daughter and son-in-law, Melissa Neal Gogonelis (Paul) of Memphis. Five grandchildren: David Neal and Annie Grace Mandrell, Taylor Marie and Ryan Oakley Neal, and Christopher Paul Gogonelis. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary and Levi Neal and his sister Delcie Neal Wright and nephews Doyle and Charles Wright.

Chancellor Neal graduated from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in 1952, earning a degree in education and business. Following graduation, he worked for two years as a salesman for Spur Oil Company. He then attended the University Of Tennessee College Of Law and in 1956 obtained a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. In 1957, he returned to Cookeville and began his career and passion for the legal profession.

In 1962, Judge Neal ran his first political race as Direct Representative of Putnam County, now known as state House of Representatives. During two terms as representative, he sponsored legislation permitting counties to elect school board members and road supervisor, strengthened laws that made it more difficult for public figures to mishandle public funds and supported area training for the mentally and physically disabled.

In 1966, Representative Neal became State Senator, representing the 14th State Senate District. During his first term, Senator Neal introduced a resolution designating the Edgar Evins State Park honoring the late father of Congressman Joe L Evins. Senator Neal was a champion for mental health services and obtained funding for the establishment of Plateau Mental Health Institute and supported education and training for those with intellectual and physical disabilities, serving on the Boards of Pacesetters and the Board of State Vocational Training. During his third term, Senator Neal expanded state funding for local state parks, and obtained state funding for an educational television station for the Upper Cumberland (WCTE), strengthened drunken driving legislation and increased retirement for teachers and state employees. During his final term, Senator Neal was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the State Calendar Committee, which mandates resolutions allowed to move forward to the senate floor, he served as secretary of the state education committee, member of the judiciary committee and general welfare and environment committee. Senator Neal sponsored legislation requiring all newborns to be screened for PKU for prevention of mental disability and with his colleague Representative Tommy Burks, acquired state funding for Burgess Falls State Park and expansion of Tennessee Technological University including Tucker Stadium, Hooper Eblen Center and Bryant Fine Arts. At the conclusion of this state service, Senator Neal was honored by the “Friends of Education” and during the dinner, TTU President Roaden stated “Senator Neal’s leadership can be described as being a committed states man with faith in our future.” Dr. Roaden further stated, “One of the mountains in the Upper Cumberland should be named Mt. Vernon.”

In 1980, retired State Senator Neal was elected as Chancellor of the 13th Judicial District and served in this capacity for 26 years. “I’d like to think I made a difference in people’s lives.” During Chancellor Neal’s tenure, he was estimated to have heard over 35,000 cases. In an interview at the time of his retirement, Chancellor Neal stated, “We are blessed with outstanding lawyers in the 13th Judicial District, and I believe they compare with lawyers anywhere in the state; good lawyers make a judge’s job so much easier.”

Chancellor Neal had a Life Well-Lived and always prioritized his life accordingly: God, family and career. His first priority was his faith and service to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He first attended Algood First Baptist Church where he served as deacon, Sunday school teacher and Training Union Director. He went on to be an organizing member of Midway Baptist Church where he continued to serve in leadership roles including deacon and Sunday school teacher. He and Mona attended Cookeville First Baptist Church where he served as Sunday school teacher and was recently appointed to the personnel committee. He so loved his First Baptist Church community where he loved traveling with the “Happy Travelers” and was known as the Candy Man to those that sat with him during church service.

His children have great memories of campaigning for their father, time on the family boat at Center Hill Lake, family vacations “sponsored by papa” and UT football. He was a Volunteer for Life and loved Rocky Top. Although he and Mona traveled and visited all states, his favorite place was at home in Cookeville and visiting his family and friends in Pickett County.

In retirement, Chancellor Neal woke at 4:45am: begin his day with prayer and reading the Bible, check the commodity futures for the day, prepare his computer, pen with pad for commodity trading, but not until he made his three mile walk. At 5:15am he started his walk with his dear friends Jean and Bobby Davis and Alda Levenvosky. The Judge would give Bobby the commodities report, while Alda would give him an update on Chancery Court. Chancellor Neal was a strongly regimented man with his exercise and diet, adding vitamin supplements according to latest reports from his Harvard Health and Mayo Clinic Newsletters. In the afternoon, he would break from his commodity and stock calculations and would treat himself to black coffee and one circus peanut. Two mornings each week Judge Neal would break from his breakfast routine, on Wednesday mornings he joined his First Baptist Men’s Prayer Breakfast and on Friday he and Mona routinely met lifelong friends, Charlene and Bill Huddleston. Judge Neal and Mona were known to frequent the local restaurants for lunch during the week and dinner every Friday night. And in keeping with his healthy lifestyle, he would always eat the grilled fish or salmon. Everyone knew where to find the Judge and Mona, according to the day of the week. Judge Neal loved lunch dates with retired lawyers and judges and affectionately referred to the group as, “Old Codgers.” Every Friday morning, Judge Neal made his weekly visit to Citizens Bank where he also served on the Board of Directors. His energy, passion to serve and zest for life will be missed by all of those that knew this wonderful man. As Judge Neal always told his children, “If you act enthusiastic, then you will be enthusiastic.” May we use Judge Neal’s life example in showing his same enthusiasm in service to the Lord and others as we move forward.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Judges and Attorneys of the Upper Cumberland Bar Association, Gertis Carr, William Huddleston, and Gib Taylor.

Active Pallbearers will be Dr. Scott Copeland, Dr. Bobby Davis, Russ Quay, Ryan Neal, Paul Gogonelis, Christopher Gogonelis, Neal Mandrell and Dr. Tim Mandrell.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to First Baptist Church, Operation Christmas Child: Samaritans’ Purse. 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Peace and "Talley Ho!".

Hooper-Huddleston & Horner Funeral Home in charge of arrangements (931) 526-6111. You may share your thoughts and memories at www.hhhfunerals.com.

"Tiger Boutique" Serves DCHS Students in Need of Clothing

March 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
"Tiger Boutique" Serves DCHS Students in Need of Clothing
DCHS students shop "Tiger Boutique"
"Tiger Boutique" Shoppers

Hundreds of clothing items were given away to students in need at DCHS Friday during the second “Tiger Boutique” organized by the Climate Crew.

Members of the Climate Crew collected donations of name brand clothes and set up shop for one day only in the DCHS library for other students to take advantage of for free.

Sarah Halliburton, a DCHS Biology Teacher who came up with the idea for serving students in this way, said the response to Friday’s “Tiger Boutique” was probably twice as large as the first one held during the fall. “This is the second one we’ve done this year. It’s twice the size it was in the fall and the clothes are moving. Last fall we gave away 1600 items of clothing and it’s probably been double this time. The donations came from other kids and other counties. We just put it on facebook and people responded . They have just given and given. It’s awesome,” Halliburton told WJLE Friday.

The DCHS Climate Crew, also started by Halliburton, is made up of students who have a desire to change the school culture at DCHS. “The DCHS Climate Crew is a group of kids that I started a couple of years ago that just want to make a positive impact here at DCHS. We saw a need for students to have clothing,” she said.

Plans are for the “Tiger Boutique” to become a twice a year event from now on.

DCHS Class of 2017 Needs Your Support for Project Graduation

March 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Colby Bates

Members of the DCHS Class of 2017 are asking for your support of Project Graduation.

Colby Bates, a DCHS Senior, urges you to stop by any DeKalb County branch office of Liberty State Bank to make a donation.

“I am a member of FFA and the Skills Club at DCHS. More importantly, I am a member of the 2017 graduating class. We are raising funds for our Project Graduation event that will take place the night of graduation in May. We will have food and fun activities. It is designed to keep us safe from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. In order to hold this event, we must raise funds and request the community’s help. Please stop by your local branch of Liberty State Bank in Alexandria, Liberty, or Smithville and make a donation to our account. All help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support,” said Bates.

Family Literacy Night at DeKalb West School Huge Success

March 5, 2017
Bill Conger

More than 350 people turned out for the 2nd Annual Family Literacy Night at DeKalb West School. The event’s coordinator, Librarian Amanda Mullinax, says “Camp Read S’More” was a great success.

“The night itself was fabulous,” Mullinax said. “Workers and participants looked like they were having fun while learning. The DWS faculty and staff as well as [Central Office personnel] Michelle Burklow and Dr. Danielle Collins went above and beyond to turn the school into "camp" and to provide an enjoyable experience for our "campers.” [Children’s author] Michael Shoulders was entertaining, as always. The night was definitely everything I was hoping it would be and more!”

Several books were given away to help promote literacy through events like the Book Walk, the county’s Book Bus, and the freebies table. A book came to life in Winnie the Pooh’s 100 Acre Woods, scary stories were shared around the campfire, and Park Rangers Carter Robinson and Sarah Peace taught students at Camp Learn S’More.

“I feel so very blessed to be a part of a community that values the education of its children,” Mullinax said. “The number of participants this year was more than expected, which is absolutely fantastic! To see that many people turn out to support our children truly warmed my heart! “

Students also displayed their work at the Literacy Fair to family and friends.

“The quality of their projects was very impressive,” says Teacher/Academic Coach Lori Pryor, who oversaw the Literacy Fair. “They were judged on creativity, adherence to the rules, and the ability to relate the book’s theme to the public. DWS students continue to amaze me with their dedication.”

Check out the list of winners below.

2nd Annual DWS Family Literacy Winners
PreK-1st Grade
Family Fiction:
1st- Bane Averitte
2nd- Rena Willoughby’s Kindergarten “Walk to Learn” group
3rd- Haley McKeown

Family Non-Fiction:
1st- Kaden Mullinax
2nd-Bill Conger’s Kindergarten “Walk to Learn” group

2nd-4th Grade
Individual/Group Fiction:
1st- Bryna Pelham/Bradley Pelham (tie)
2nd-Kenson Moss
3rd- Emily Young

Family/Class Fiction:
1st- Regina Kent’s classroom
2nd- Emily Fry
3rd- Hannah Brown

Individual/Group Non-Fiction:
1st-Thomas Damron
2nd-Caroline Crook
3rd- Evan Prichard

Family Non-Fiction:
1st- Izzy Prichard
2nd- Jesse Foutch

5th-7th Grade
Individual/Group Fiction:
1st- Zoi Hale
2nd-Brayden Antoniak
3rd-Jaxon Humphrey & Alex Antoniak

Individual/Group Non-Fiction:
1st-Rebecca Lawrence
2nd- Dawson Bandy
3rd- Nathaniel Crook

Family Non-Fiction:
1st- Jathan & Lydia Willoughby

8th Grade Author Study:
1st-Emma Damron, Lydia Davenport, Riley Overstreet, Abby Lawson
2nd-Cody Woodham and Cassie Maxwell
3rd- Lynsey Ellis and Gracie Griffin


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