Local News Articles

Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

May 12, 2014
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary School Takes Field Trip Downtown

The Smithville Elementary School's Community Field Trip was held recently on the Smithville Public Square.

Eleven classes with over 200 students visited the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Justin Potter Library, Smithville Fire Hall, and the DeKalb County Courthouse including offices of the County Mayor, Election Commission, Circuit Court Clerk, General Sessions Courtroom, and the Chamber of Commerce. County Mayor Mike Foster handed out "Go Green" backpacks sponsored by the TDOT Litter Grant and spoke to the children about the importance of not littering.

The DeKalb County Clean Up Day will be held on Saturday, May 24th. To sign-up, stop by the County Complex on May 24th from 9 AM to 10 AM to pick up trash bags, rubber gloves, and water. Everyone is encouraged to participate. For more info, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Relay for Life Supporters Rally to "Finish the Fight" against Cancer (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

In what has been a DeKalb County tradition for seventeen years now, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life successfully brought together hundreds of people Friday evening who wanted to show their support for and honor the memories of their loved ones who have been afflicted with cancer.

Greenbrook Park was filled with folks who gathered to help in the battle against cancer, inspired by this year’s theme,"Finish the Fight".

The program from the stage featured singers and church groups. The opening ceremony included presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347, the National Anthem performed by Suzanne Slager, welcoming remarks by Renea Cantrell and a song in honor of cancer survivors by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby.

Cancer survivors, introduced and presented with a medallion, took the first lap around the walking trail in the park.

Teams joined together to raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.

The walking track was also lined with luminaria in honor or remembrance of those who have battled cancer.

At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Six Graduate from Adult High School

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

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

Hinton explained that a total of twenty five students were served during the 2013-14 school year. There were six graduates for the year. "This includes some people who got regular diplomas and it also includes some people who got an alternative diploma but they still got a diploma. I want to say congratulations to those students, " said Hinton. There are currently ten students in the program. "Some people meet with me weekly, every other day, they are working at home on computers. Some are there every day. It's kind of a different program than it started out being," she said.

Hinton read essays by two of her students. "At the end of the year, I always ask the students to tell the board what you think about the program, so I am going to read to you what my students said".

One of the essays is as follows:

"Adult high school will change my whole life for the better. If not for the adult high, I would not be going to school right now. I never went to regular school because I didn't have any friends at the new school and didn't want to make any so it was awkward. Adult high gives adult students a second chance to get a diploma or do pre-GED work. Education means a lot now, and without any education you can't even work at McDonald's

I think every county should have an adult high school. You can't even get a job without any source of education. Therefore, there will be more homeless or persons without a way to make a living because they can't get a job without some type of education.

We make progress in this room every day. When I first came here, my scores were not the best, but they're coming up more and more every day I am working.

There are not as many students in adult high school and it should stay that way because it's hard to get help when you are in a room full of students in a regular high school class. You are able to get more attention in adult high school on subjects you need help because of getting individual help.

With the hours being flexible the way they are, you can also work around your job or any personal responsibilities you may have or you may need to. It makes it fairly easy to do your work and get your hours. I like it in here in adult high school and so does everyone else and I am sure they would say the same. Adult high school helps change people's lives around whether they know it or not. Sometimes, older students visit the class and tell about the mistakes they made in dropping out or not taking advantage of the time they had in here.

It makes me realize how very important getting a high school education means for my future".

Carter Named Nurse of the Year

May 9, 2014
Shan Burklow
Carter Named Nurse of the Year

DeKalb Community Hospital celebrated National Nurses Week recently awarding Lindi Carter, RN with the hospital’s annual ‘Nurse of the Year’ award. The honor was awarded to Carter by her peers in nursing and presented by OR Director Nancy Trapp, along with ER Director Daniel Goodson, Chief Nursing Officer Kim Frazier and Chief Executive Officer Sue Conley.

“We are very proud to work with such dedicated nurses, and it is no surprise that Lindi was voted to receive this much deserved award. She gives one hundred and ten percent each and every day and always puts our patients first,” said CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

Upon receiving the award, Carter humbly replied, “I am shocked. There are so many wonderful nurses that work here (DeKalb Community Hospital), and I am humbled and overwhelmed. I have been so very proud to be a part of our hospital nursing team. I have watched them care for our patients, including many of my friends and family with dedication and heart. They always go the extra mile along with a good working knowledge about medicine and nursing care and the personal care to back it up. I would like to take a moment to honor all of the nurses at DCH. Many people never get to see the sacrifices these fine people make to save lives and care for patients day after day, but I do.”

Carter received a plaque along with flowers donated by DeKalb County Florist. Additional door prizes for various nurses were donated by DeKalb Farmers Co-op, China Garden, A-1 Hair Salon, Bert Driver Nursery and White Possum Grille.

Pictured: OR Director Nancy Trapp presents the Nurse of the Year Award to Lindi Carter alongside CEO Sue Conley and CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community Hospital.

DCHS Girls Softball Field to Be Named After Coach Danny Bond

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Bond

In recognition of his success as softball coach, the DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to honor DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Bond by naming the high school softball field after him.

Coach Bond is the only coach the DCHS girls softball program has had in its twenty nine year history and he reached a milestone this season, having won his 600th game as softball coach. He has added eleven more wins since then and has guided this year's team to a district tournament championship. The Tigerettes will host Bledsoe County in the region tournament Monday, May 12 in Smithville. The team record is 38-5 overall.

School Board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said it's time the board recognized Coach Bond. "He is a coach that has the respect of his students and players. He is a positive coach. He leads by example. I would like to read you some statistics. Before he started into softball, he was an assistant basketball coach for five years. He was a head basketball coach for seventeen years. He has been softball coach for twenty nine years. Out of those twenty nine years, he has had twenty nine winning seasons, sixteen district titles, twenty two regional appearances, nine sub-state appearances, and five state appearances. His overall record is 611-241. That's a 72% winning percentage. His district record, which is a tough district, is 265-54 which is an 83% winning percentage. So for twenty two out of the twenty nine years, he went to the region," he said.

In recent conversations with him, Evins said Coach Bond gives credit for his success to the players on his teams. "He told me, he said it's not me, it's the girls. Well, that is a two way street, " said Evins. "They have respect for him and when you have respect for a coach like him, they feed off each other and they need each other. I think that is evident in the fact that there have been twenty one girls on his softball teams in twenty nine years that have signed scholarships to go play softball in college. That means a lot. I would like for this board to consider naming the girls softball field in honor of Coach Bond, even though he is still coaching. In most cases we name something in honor of somebody after they have finished coaching but it's Teacher Appreciation Week. He has set all kinds of records and he is going to continue to do so and if no one has any objections I would like to put that in the form of a motion that we name the girls softball field after Coach Danny Bond," Evins concluded.

The board gave unanimous approval.

Concerned Parent Asks School Board to Change Policy on DCHS Prom

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page

Should DeKalb County High School students be allowed to bring dates to the prom who are not students at DCHS?

At least one concerned parent believes the policy should be changed.

Catherine O'Neal, who lives on Dale Ridge Road, addressed the Board of Education Thursday night at DCHS, saying her son chose not to attend the recent DCHS prom, which was held in Lebanon, because he was not allowed to bring his girlfriend, who is a student at White County High School. O'Neal said the policy is unfair . " My son is an eleventh grader. He is pretty much a straight-A student and works very hard. He keeps his conduct in check at all times. I've never had a problem with him. This year I asked him about the prom and he said "I'm not going". This is from a young man who has been dating another young lady for over a year now. The young lady has roots in this community that spans decades long, yet her address happens to be in Sparta. He was told that he could not bring what he considers to be his significant other to a school function that did not even occur in this county for three hours. He was told you could go alone or invite a different girl. I would like that to be re-addressed. This is a twenty year old rule but this is the 21st century. I think this is so wrong. It's as if my son is being punished. He is not being allowed to attend something that is a milestone event. But yet, he is welcome at Sparta High for her prom. That does not make any sense to me. It's not fair and I think that it should be changed. He missed this one (prom). He didn't go to this one. The only one he's got left is his senior prom and I'd really like for him to take the person he cares about to that prom instead of having to miss it or go stag," said O'Neal.

The school board did not response to or act on O'Neal's request.

The DeKalb County Board of Education policy states that "attendance (to the prom) is limited only to students of the sponsoring school (DCHS)". According to the policy "events which enhance social development may be conducted by schools but must not interfere with the scholastic program in any school."

"Student organizations may sponsor social events, which are planned under the guidance of club sponsors or school administrators, scheduled well in advance, and serve to complement the curricular program. Minimal admission fees may be charged to defray costs."

"Social events scheduled for out-of-school hours shall be approved and administered by the principal. Activities scheduled outside of the system must be approved by the director of schools and/or the Board."

Social events, all dances including annual school proms have board approval provided that adequate supervision is secured, and attendance is limited only to students of the sponsoring school".

Pre-K Registration Set for Today at Smithville Elementary School

May 9, 2014
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Pre-K pre-registration is scheduled today (Friday, May 9) at Smithville Elementary School

"Smithville Elementary will have pre-K pre-registration on Friday, May 9 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. DeKalb West School will be having a registration day at a later time," said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade in a recent interview with WJLE.

Julie Vincent, Principal of Smithville Elementary School, also mentioned the registration along with other SES school activities during Thursday night's school board meeting at DCHS.

"Parents interested in applying for the pre-K program should be aware that your child must turn four years old on or before August 15. When you come to register the student for the pre-K program, parents you will need to provide the following information:

*Original certificate of birth. This is the birth certificate with the state seal.

*Paperwork showing an up to date physical examination. You can get this from your doctor or health department. Make sure they are aware that this form will be used for enrollment in school.

*A certification of immunization record or shot record. Again, make the doctor or health department aware that this form will also be used in registering the child for school.

*Proof of income for all household members.

*Proof of residency. An electric bill. Cable bill. Water bill. Any type of documentation that has your name and address on the paperwork.

Parents, you will be notified prior to the start of school if your child qualifies for the pre-K program. Once the committee meets, teachers will be given a list of their classroom names and they will call and let you know if your child has been accepted into the program. Again, this date is only for Smithville Elementary pre-K registration. DeKalb West School will be having a registration day at a later time," said Burklow.

Meanwhile, Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School will have kindergarten pre-registration on Friday, May 16 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2014.

Parents, when you come for that registration, you will need to bring with you the following information:

*Original certificate of birth. The birth certificate with the state seal.

*The physical examination record. It must be current and up to date.

*Up to date certification of immunization record (shot record)

*Proof of residency for DeKalb County.

"Parents, please share with your child that he or she will be tested on registration day. This is an opportunity for your child to show the kindergarten teachers what he or she knows," Burklow concluded

"Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive Saturday

May 8, 2014
Dwayne Page
Letter Carriers will be collecting food Saturday

You can "Stamp Out Hunger" on Saturday, May 10 by joining with the Letter Carriers (NALC) union in its 22nd annual food drive--the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Letter carriers collected more than 74.4 million pounds of food last year, bringing the 21-year total to 1.3 billion pounds. All you need to do is collect canned goods and dry food, such as tuna, canned meat, soups, pasta, rice and cereal, and leave them in a bag or box by your mailbox. Your letter carriers will pick them up as they deliver your mail.

Letter Carriers will be collecting food for the drive from postal customers in the Smithville area.

Donations are given directly to local food pantries. While most food pantries get the bulk of their donations around Christmas and Thanksgiving, the NALC drive is done during the spring, when many food pantries are struggling. Also, since many school meal programs are suspended during summer months, millions of children are left scrambling to find alternate sources of nutrition and the food banks are a vital resource for families in need.

Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive--the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 20 years.

Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries, and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are involved.

To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

With more than 50 million people facing hunger every day in America, including nearly 17 million children, this drive is one way you can help those in your own city or town who need help.

McKenzie, Dunaway, and Fickling Win District Races

May 7, 2014
Dwayne Page
Gary McKenzie
Bryant Dunaway
Craig Fickling

Gary McKenzie, Bryant Dunaway, and Craig Fickling won their respective races in the seven county 13th Judicial District Republican Primary Tuesday.

McKenzie defeated Wesley Bray for the Republican nomination for Criminal Court Judge, Part I by a final count of 7,819 to 6,883. Bray carried six of the seven counties in the district but lost to McKenzie in Cumberland County 4,597 to 1,988. Bray won Clay County 381 to 63, 114 to 83 in DeKalb County, 590 to 209 in Overton County, 682 to 263 in Pickett County, 2,767 to 2,250 in Putnam County, and 361 to 354 in White County.

McKenzie will face Democratic nominee William Fred Roberson, Jr in the August 7th General Election. Roberson was unopposed for the Democratic nomination Tuesday and received 6,095 votes district-wide. Roberson received 48 votes in Clay County, 591 in Cumberland, 1,019 in DeKalb, 1,582 in Overton, 19 in Pickett, 1,437 in Putnam, and 1,399 in White County.

Meanwhile Dunaway won the Republican nomination for District Attorney General, beating Shawn C. Fry 7,874 to 6,991. Dunaway carried all seven counties of the district winning 256 to 107 in Clay County, 3,298 to 3,199 in Cumberland County, 129 to 77 in DeKalb County, 447 to 343 in Overton County, 501 to 393 in Pickett County, 2,851 to 2,546 in Putnam County, and 392 to 326 in White County. Dunaway will be running against Tony Craighead, the Democratic nominee for District Attorney General in August. Craighead ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday and received 6,376 votes in the district. Craighead received 58 votes in Clay County, 644 in Cumberland County, 1,313 in DeKalb County, 1,561 in Overton County, 21 in Pickett County, 1,457 in Putnam County, and 1,322 in White County.

Craig P. Fickling won the Republican primary for District Public Defender with 4,695 votes. His opponents, John Milton Meadows had 4,634 votes, and Edwin G. Sadler received 4,097 votes. Meadows carried five of the seven counties. Fickling won the other two counties.

The county results are as follows:

Clay: Meadows 114, Sadler 110, and Fickling 91
Cumberland: Meadows 2,239, Fickling 1,794, and Sadler 1,555
DeKalb:Fickling 72, Sadler 69, and Meadows 58
Overton: Meadows 415, Fickling 213, and Sadler 151
Pickett: Meadows 409, Fickling 320, Sadler 132
Putnam: Fickling 2,044, Sadler 1,926, and Meadows 1,004
White: Meadows 395, Fickling 161, and Sadler 154

Fickling's Democratic opponent in August will be the incumbent Public Defender David N. Brady. Unopposed on Tuesday, Brady received 6,133 votes district-wide for the Democratic nomination. Brady received 55 votes in Clay County, 644 votes in Cumberland County, 1,185 in DeKalb County, 1,567 in Overton County, 19 in Pickett, 1,360 in Putnam County, and 1,303 in White County.

Incumbent Circuit Court Judge, Part I Amy Hollars was unopposed for the Democratic nomination Tuesday and she will be unopposed in August. She received a total of 6,730 votes district-wide.

Incumbent Criminal Court Judge, Part II, David A. Patterson was unopposed for the Republican nomination Tuesday and received 11,945 votes district-wide. He will be unopposed in August.

Jonathan Young won the Republican nomination for Circuit Court Judge, Part II in the district with 10,330 votes. He was unopposed Tuesday but will face Randall A. York in August. York was unopposed for the Democratic nomination and received 6,971 district-wide. Young received 184 votes in Clay County, 4,463 in Cumberland, 175 in DeKalb, 602 in Overton, 652 in Pickett, 3,673 in Putnam, and 581 in White County. York's vote was 55 in Clay County, 774 in Cumberland, 1,274 in DeKalb, 1,795 in Overton, 21 in Pickett, 1,450 in Putnam, and 1,605 in White County.

Incumbent Chancellor Ronald Thurman was unopposed for the Democratic nomination Tuesday. He received 6,855 votes district-wide. His Republican opponent in August will be J. Lee Burgess, who received 9,722 district-wide in his uncontested bid for the GOP nomination.

Thurman received 56 votes in Clay County, 653 in Cumberland, 1,209 in DeKalb, 1,875 in Overton, 17 in Pickett, 1,596 in Putnam, and 1,449 in White County. Burgess's vote was 182 in Clay County, 4,517 in Cumberland, 165 in DeKalb, 561 in Overton, 642 in Pickett 3,103 in Putnam, and 552 in White County.

Tigerettes Win District Tournament, All District Selections Announced

May 7, 2014
Dwayne Page
Tigerettes Win District Tournament

The DeKalb County Tigerettes claimed the District Tournament Championship Tuesday night with a 6 to 3 victory over Upperman at Baxter.

Meanwhile, members of the All District Team from DeKalb County have been named.

Danielle Tyson is the District's Co-MVP and Best Offensive Player while Tigerette Coach Danny Bond has been named the District Coach of the Year.

Chelsey Brannon, Kayley Caplinger, and Danielle Tyson were named to the All District First Team while Lauren Colwell, Tyra Graham, and Katie Hall made the All District Second Team. Kayley Caplinger was named Freshman of the Year on the District's All Freshman Team.

Members of the All Tournament Team from DeKalb County are Chelsey Brannon, Danielle Tyson, Tyra Graham, and Dani Meadows. Kayley Caplinger was named Most Valuable Player of the District Tournament.

In the District Tournament Championship game Tuesday night, the Tigerettes scored six runs on nine hits and made one error. The Lady Bees scored three runs on eight hits and made an error.

DeKalb County scored four runs in the first inning and two runs in the fifth. Upperman scored one run in the fourth inning and two runs in the fifth

Kayley Caplinger was the winning pitcher.

Danielle Tyson had a single and a double. Katie Hall, Chelsey Brannon, Lauren Colwell, and Dani Meadows each had a single. Tyra Graham had two singles and Kayley Caplinger had a double.


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