Local News Articles

4-H Members Receive Awards at State 4-H Roundup

August 9, 2013
by: 
Michael Barry
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown
Kayley Green of Dowelltown (Right)
Kayley Green, William Cain, Cassie Cain, and Lydia Trail.
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown (Seated right)

DeKalb County 4-H members recently attended the 90th Tennessee 4-H Roundup and All Star Conference at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Since 1924, Tennessee 4-H’ers have gathered annually on a campus of the University of Tennessee for 4-H Roundup. The event serves to recognize 4-H members for their outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments. State All Star Conference is a part of the Roundup program. All Stars conduct service-learning projects and recognize outstanding service projects. DeKalb County 4-H members who attended 4-H Roundup, included Kayley Green as a State 4-H council member, Lydia Trail who participated in the Photography project, William Cain who participated in the Nutrition, Health, & Fitness project, and Cassie Cain who participated in the Personal Development project. Angela Tripp, Volunteer Leader and Michael Barry, Extension Director accompanied the group to Knoxville. Cassie Cain was named the State winner in the Personal Development project and will receive $500 college scholarship and a trip to the National 4-H Congress later this year. In addition, Cassie received the Vol State award and was elected as a representative to the State 4-H council. Kayley Green was awarded the Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association Scholarship valued at $1250, which she will utilize as a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The 4-H program is a part of the University of Tennessee Extension and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, sex, national origin, or disability.

Photo captions:

VOL STATE
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown was recently recognized at Tennessee 4-H Roundup in Knoxville with the Vol State award, the highest level of recognition a Tennessee 4-H member may achieve. Vol State is presented to high school juniors and seniors in recognition of excellence in all phases of 4-H work, as well as service and leadership rendered in their communities.

SCHOLARSHIP
Kayley Green of Dowelltown received the Tennessee Rural Health Nursing Scholarship at the Tennessee 4-H Roundup held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Kayley received the $1250 college scholarship based on her 4-H accomplishments, academic achievements and financial need. The scholarship is given by the Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association. Pictured with Kayley is Ben Sanders, representing Tennessee Rural Health.

DEKALB COUNTY
4-H members from DeKalb County who attended 4-H Roundup include: (Left to right): Kayley Green, William Cain, Cassie Cain, and Lydia Trail.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown was recently recognized as Level II (11th and 12th grade) state winner in the personal development project at the Tennessee 4-H Roundup held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Seated from left to right are Claire Garrell, Level I winner from Petersburg; and Cassie Cain, Level II winner from Dowelltown. Standing are Matt Devereaux, UT Extension specialist; Martha Jo Tolley (donor); and Walter Malone, Eastern Region Tennessee Association of Extension 4-H Workers (silver bowl donor). Cassie received a $500 college scholarship and trip to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta.

Willoughby Announces Personnel Moves

August 9, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby Thursday night presented his written report on the latest personnel moves to the Board of Education.

Those employed include the following:

Kelly Hulling, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Whitney Brelje, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Jane Rice, teacher at DCHS
Tracy Slone, teacher at DCHS
Brittany Dixon, teacher at DCHS
Danny Fish, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Tabatha Farmer, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Greg Hibdon, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Mary Ann Blair, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Justin Poteete, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Samantha Murphy, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Alicia Wittenberg, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Natasha Vaughn, teacher at DeKalb West School
Maggie Coyle, part-time teacher at DeKalb Middle School speech pathologist
Audra Stangenberg, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Kerry Gibson, county-wide school psychologist
Amy Key, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Rebecca Whimpey, teacher at DeKalb Middle School special education
Rebecca Baugh, part-time gifted (new position)
Tommy Clark, full time maintenance
Milinda League, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Mary Margaret Tripp, Federal Special Education hourly worker full time

Substitutes:

Jessica Antoniak, Guylene Atnip, Martina Bias, Jennifer Braswell, Carolyn Caldwell, Brenda Colwell, Julie Cook, Donna Davis, Linda Dean, Sue Driver, Suzanne Dunn, Katie Frazier, Robbie Joan Frazier, Wayne Fuson, Sherrie Giles, Johnna Goff, Natalie Green, Vicki Haggard, Bobbie Hale, Glenda Hall, Charlene Hallum, Kristen Hankal, Chad Hendrixson, Jimmy Hendrixson, Betty Hickey, Ester Holder, Michelle Hoyle, Shirley Ingram, Rita Leichtfuss, Linda Luna, Sharon Moffett, Angela Osment, Paul Parker, Pat Parkerson, Angelai Pedigo, Jessica Rackley, Ivadell Randolph, Judy Redmon, Virginia Rose, Bob Smith, Michelle Snipes, Jan Thomas, Luanna Tollett, Brad Trapp, Stephanie Turner, Vickey Vickers, Wanda Vickers, Audrey Welch, Mack White, Michelle Willoughby, and Kim Young.

Transferred:

Joey Reeder, from DCHS to the Central Office as Attendance Supervisor
Leah Magness, teacher from DeKalb Middle School to Smithville Elementary School
Bethany Rigsby, teacher from Northside Elementary to Smithville Elementary School
Wendy Colvert, teacher from Smithville Elementary special education to Northside Elementary regular classroom
Teresa Sullivan, educational assistant to teacher at DeKalb West School
Ashley Barnes, guidance from DeKalb Middle School to Smithville Elementary School
Kathy Jacobs, from substitute bus driver to a full time route
Dwight Knowles, from regular bus route to special education route
Linda Arnold, part time to full time cafeteria position at DeKalb Middle School
Katherine Ballard, moved from Federally funded position to General Purpose (locally funded) position, part time.
Jennifer Benton, part time to a full time cafeteria position at DeKalb Middle School
Amie Buchanan, substitute to a full time cafeteria position at Northside Elementary School
Janet England, moved from a classroom position to a Response to Intervention (RTI) position funded by General Purpose (locally funded)
Holly Espinosa, transferred from DeKalb West School to DeKalb Middle School
Tina Gash, moved from General Purpose (locally funded) to Federal Title I
Katie Goolsby, moved from Federal (funded position) to General Purpose (locally funded)
Mary Henny, moved from Kindergarten to a Pre-School position
Lisa Hill, moved from Northside Elementary to Smithville Elementary
Karen Jacobs, moved from General Purpose (locally funded) to Federal Title I
Angela Johnson, moved from Federal (funded position) to General Purpose (locally funded)
Leah Magness, moved from DeKalb Middle School 7th grade position to Smithville Elementary School first grade position
Mary Mathis, substitute to full time cafeteria position at Smithville Elementary School
Tammy Maynard, substitute to full time Cafeteria Manager at DeKalb Middle School
Adrienne McCormick, moved from Kindergarten to Pre-K position
Martha Melching, moved from classroom to Guidance position at DeKalb Middle School
Debra Moore, moved from General Purpose (locally funded) to Federal (funded position)
Allison Rigsby, moved from Pre-K to second grade position at Smithville Elementary School
Audrey Russell, moved from Federal (funded) to General Purpose (locally funded position)
Carol Sampley, moved from Smithville Elementary special education to Northside Elementary
Ruby Thomason, substitute to full time cafeteria position at Northside Elementary
Sherian Waggoner, moved from General Purpose (locally funded) second grade to Federal Response to Intervention (RTI) Title I position
Jared West, moved to gifted position at DeKalb Middle School
Tiffany Wheatley, moved to Federal Special Education Pre-K position

Resignations/Retirement:

Joyce Alexander, teacher at Northside Elementary, retired
Jeanette Allen, teacher at DCHS, resigned
Barbara Hibdon, cafeteria worker, retired
Ricky Holcomb, mechanic, resigned
Joyce Jack, cafeteria, resigned
Sabrina Kirksey, teacher, resigned
Taleen Lambert, teacher, resigned
Daniel Lawson, special education bus driver, resigned
Brittany Lockard, Smithville Elementary School educational assistant, resigned
Kim Martin, Smithville Elementary School guidance, resigned
Christina Ontiveros, Smithville Elementary Pre-K teacher, resigned
Susan Robinson, teacher at DeKalb West School, retired
Jan Thomas, teacher at Smithville Elementary School, retired
Eldon Vanatta, DeKalb Middle School Cafeteria Manager, retired
Judy Malone, School Psychologist, retired

School System Partnering with Health Department to Offer Flu Vaccines for Students

August 9, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dee Anna Reynolds

The DeKalb County School system is partnering with the local health department to offer flu vaccines to students this fall.

" We want parents to be looking for those papers to come home September 9 and we're going to start those flu clinics in the schools on the second of October," said Dee Anna Reynolds, Coordinated School Health Coordinator during Thursday night's school board meeting. "The health department will provide us with all the necessary forms and all the paperwork that the parents will have to fill out. It's completely optional. The parents choose whether or not they want the paperwork for those kids to have the flu vaccine. For most of those kids, it'll be the flu mist, which is a little better for the kids," she said.

Meanwhile, Optometry services will be available to students beginning this fall through Coordinated School Health and WellChild Screening Inc.

"Those forms are out with the parents. A lot of those have started coming in. That's our new program this year through Well Child, who in the past have done the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSD&T) exams. They're going to be offering vision services this year," said Reynolds. "The parents can pick and choose if they want to do the exams as well as the vision services or one or the other. For the children who qualify for that, they will be getting two pairs of glasses. One to keep at school and one to take home. We'll take up those (eye glasses) at the end of the year. Repair those and then those kids will have those again next year. It's a great service, but again that's optional for the parents. It's for kids that have TennCare or who are under insured," she said.

Reynolds explained during a school board meeting earlier this year that optometry is an expansion of a service that began in 2008 for DeKalb County Schools. "In the 2008-09 school year, Coordinated School Health began services with WellChild Inc to do Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) exams for students. Parents who were interested in the service and whose children qualified received WellChild exams on site at school through WellChild's mobile clinic. We have continued service with WellChild every year since then," said Reynolds.

WellChild Health Screening Inc. (WCHS) performs health screenings of students at school including vision, hearing, mental health, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, scoliosis, motor skills, etc.

Reynolds said these physicals have served hundreds of children in DeKalb County. " In the first year, 142 physicals were completed. For 2012-13, over 400 exams have been completed." she said. "In the five years we have implemented this service, one thing has remained constant and that is the number of vision referrals. Approximately 20-33 percent of students receive vision referrals every year either through WellChild services or Coordinated School Health screenings," said Reynolds.

"WellChild has offered mobile optometry services in Memphis only for the last few years and it has been a very successful service there so WellChild began looking at adding this service to the middle Tennessee area. Through a several month long process, WellChild has been able to secure the resources and optometrists who are willing to aid with this service. So, Coordinated School Health is pleased to announce WellChild will be adding the optometry service for DeKalb County beginning this fall," she said.

"Parents who fill out the paper work and want their child to receive a WellChild exam will now have an option to fill out an additional form for optometry services. Students who receive vision referrals will have further vision testing. If that child needs glasses, they will receive two pairs of glasses, one for school and one pair to take home and keep at home. At the end of the school year, Coordinated School Health will take the school pair of glasses and return to WellChild," said Reynolds. "WellChild will send those glasses to be checked for needed repairs and cleaning. The glasses will be returned to the student for the next school year. In addition to offering this optometry service through EPSDT exams, WellChild will be working with Coordinated School Health through their vision screening results to further test students who may need it," she said.

Board to Consider Contract Renewal for Director of Schools

August 9, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education will hold a workshop in October to begin discussions on whether or not to renew or extend the employment contract of Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Director Willoughby's current contract runs through June 30th, 2014.

"Mr. Willoughby's contract goes through June of next year and we have to let him know by January whether we intend to
renew his contract or not," said Chairman Johnny Lattimore during Thursday night's monthly school board meeting. "If not, that's given notice that he won't be renewed so we need to schedule a workshop on discussion of renewal or extension of his contract," said Lattimore.

A renewal or extension of Willoughby's contract must be in place by March 31, 2014.

Willoughby has served as Director of Schools since July 1, 2006.

Under the current contract, which was renewed in 2011, Willoughby's base salary was set at $93,067 per year but he also gets any raises that the state or local government provides for educators.

The current agreement states that Willoughby is to be evaluated annually. He will be provided with an automobile and all expenses involved in the automobile for him to carry out his official duties. He may use the automobile for personal purposes not interfering with school purposes, provided he shall pay or reimburse the cost of all fuel during such use.

The board shall provide, during the term of this contract, such medical insurance for the director, spouse, and dependents as the school system provides for other licensed staff as long as the director maintains enrollment in the insurance program. As additional compensation, the board shall also pay the employee's matching share of the insurance plan the director chooses. Should the director elect no coverage under the school system insurance plan, no other benefit or salary shall be paid in lieu thereof..

The director shall be granted one day of sick leave for each month of contractual employment. Sick leave days shall be cumulative and unused sick leave days may be for retirement credit in accordance with the policies of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

The Director's work year shall consist of 240 duty days. Non-duty days include 10 holidays and 20 annual leave days. In accordance with state law, the director shall be allowed to transfer up to two days of any unused leave days to his accumulated sick leave at the end of the year; otherwise, unused annual leave days shall not accumulate from year to year.

The performance evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review with the Director his performance, progress towards goals established by the board and the director; and the working relationship of the director with the board of education, the staff, the students, and the community at large; and any other matters relative to the employment of the director.

The board may extend the term of the contract at any time with concurrence of the director.

The contract may be terminated by mutual agreement of the parties or due to the retirement, disability, death of the director; for removal from office; or for willful cause upon sufficient proof of improper conduct, inefficient service (including but not limited to performance evaluation scores), neglect of duty or failure to follow board policies and directives. If the board terminates the contract for cause, he would be entitled to no further benefits or compensation.

The board may also terminate the contract without cause, at its option, provided that the board provides the director 60 days written notice of such termination.

The Board reserves the right to transfer the Director to any position within the system; however, the compensation and insurance benefits included within this agreement shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the contract. In the event the director declines to accept transfer, this contract shall be terminated and the director would be entitled to no further benefits or compensation. Transferring the director shall require a majority vote of all members of the board of education.

The Director may also terminate the contract at any time, at his sole discretion, by giving the Board 30 days written notice of his resignation.

The Board may extend the term of this contract at any time with concurrence of the Director. However, unless the Board acts on or before the 31st day of March, 2014, or three months before the expiration date of the contract to extend the contract, such failure to act shall serve as notice to the Director that the Board does not intend to renew the contract.

Qualifications Announced For Public Offices in 2014 Elections

August 8, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections

2014 promises to be a big election year in DeKalb County.

Offices up for election include County Mayor, Circuit Court Clerk, County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Trustee, Road Supervisor, Sheriff, General Sessions Judge, and all fourteen county commissioners and possibly unfilled constable seats. All terms are for four years except the General Sessions Judgeship, which is an eight year term.

In the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, two criminal court judges, two circuit court judges, a chancellor, district attorney general, and district public defender are also to be elected, each to serve an eight year term.

"If the DeKalb Democratic party calls a primary for May 6, as expected, the first day petitions can be issued is November 22, 2013," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. "The qualifying deadline will be NOON February 20, 2014," he said.

"If a primary is held in May, this establishes the qualifying deadline for Republican and Independent candidates," Stanley continued. "Republicans and Independents must qualify at the same time. Republicans usually certify their nominees by Caucus," he said.

Candidates for each office must meet qualifications as set out in state law, but there are some unique qualifications for the offices of Sheriff and Road Supervisor. "The process involves more than just submitting qualifying petitions for those offices," said Stanley.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR ROAD SUPERVISOR IN DEKALB COUNTY:

In order to be certified, a candidate for county road supervisor must meet the basic qualifications of Tennessee Code Annotated § 8-18-101 and pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 54-7-104, must file an affidavit and such other evidence as the Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board shall require with the board not later than fourteen (14) days prior to the qualifying deadline for candidates in a popular election or, where the position is appointed, prior to appointment to the office. In order to be certified, a candidate must:

(1) Be a graduate of an accredited school of engineering, with at least 2 years’ experience in highway construction or maintenance; or

(2) Be licensed to practice engineering in Tennessee; or

(3) Have at least 4 years’ experience in a supervisory capacity in highway construction or maintenance; or

(4) Have a combination of education and experience equivalent to either (1) or (2).

QUALIFICATIONS FOR SHERIFF:

Candidates for sheriff must meet the basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- No person shall engage in the practice of law or serve as a member of the general assembly while serving as sheriff. (TCA 8-8-101)

A person shall:
1. Be a citizen of the United States;
2. Be at least 25 years of age prior to the date of qualifying for election;
3. Be a qualified voter of the county and a resident of the county for one (1) full year prior to the date of the qualifying deadline;

4. Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent in educational training as recognized by the Tennessee state board of education;

5. Not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or any felony charge or any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or controlled substances;

6. Be fingerprinted and have the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation make a search of local, state, and federal fingerprint files for any criminal record. Fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of the T.B.I. It shall be the responsibility of the T.B.I. to forward all criminal history results to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commission for evaluation of qualifications;

7. Not have been released, separated, or discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States with a Dishonorable or Bad Conduct discharge, or as a consequence of conviction at court martial for either state or federal offenses;

8. Have been certified by a Tennessee licensed health care provider qualified in the psychiatric or psychological fields as being free any disorder, as set forth in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM III) or its successor, of the American Psychiatric Association; at the time of the examination, that would, in the professional judgment of the examiner, impair the subject’s ability to perform any essential function of the job; and

9. Have at least three (3) years of full-time experience as a peace officer standards and training commission certified law enforcement officer in the previous ten (10) years or at least three (3) years of full-time experience as a state or federal certified law enforcement officer with training equivalent to that required by the peace officer standards and training commission in the previous ten (10) years. (This requirement does not apply in any county having a metropolitan form of government where the sheriff does not have law enforcement powers.)

Shall file with the POST Commission:

(A) An affidavit sworn to and signed by the candidate affirming that the candidate meets the requirements of this section; and

(B) A confirmation of psychological evaluation form certified by the psychologist/psychiatrist providing psychological evaluation as provided for in §8-8-102(a) (8) for the purposes of sheriff candidacy qualification.

According to Brian Grisham, Post Commission Executive Secretary, "The POST Commission has very tight deadlines and a candidate's failure to submit (required forms) prior to two weeks before the qualifying deadline will prevent the POST Commission from certifying his or her name to be included on the ballot."

"The deadline for candidates to file with the POST Commission for counties having a primary election is February 6, 2014. The qualifying deadline and the deadline for POST to certify names to the county election commission is February 20, 2014."

Qualifications for other county and district public offices:

GENERAL SESSIONS/JUVENILE COURT JUDGE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be at least 30 years of age and a resident of the state for 5 years and of the circuit or district 1 year. (TN Constitution Article 6, Section 4)
- Shall be licensed to practice law in this state. (TCA 16-15-5005)

COUNTY MAYOR/ COUNTY EXECUTIVE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be:
(1) A qualified voter of the county;
(2) At least 25 years of age; and
(3) A resident of the county for at least 1 year prior to the date of filing a nominating petition for election to such office.
- Shall continue to reside in the county during the term of office and shall not, during the term of office, hold any other public office for profit. (TCA 5-6-104)

COUNTY COMMISSION
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall reside within and be a qualified voter of the district represented. (TCA 5-5-102)

TRUSTEE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101
- Shall reside within the county. (TCA 8-48-101)

REGISTER OF DEEDS
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101
- Shall reside within the county. (TCA 8-48-101)

CIRCUIT COURT CLERK
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall reside in the county wherein the court is held. (TCA 18-1-102)

COUNTY CLERK
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101
- Shall reside within the county. (TCA 8-48-101)

SCHOOL BOARD
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall reside within and be a qualified voter of the district represented. (TCA 49-2-201)
- Shall file with the county election commission proof of graduation from high school or receipt of a GED, evidenced by a diploma or other documentation satisfactory to the commission. (TCA 49-2-202)
- No member of the county legislative body nor any other county official shall be eligible for election as a member of the county board of education. (TCA 49-2-202)

CONSTABLE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101;
- A person shall:
(1) Be at least 21 years of age;
(2) Be a qualified voter of the district;
(3) Possess at least a high school diploma or general educational development certificate (GED). Persons holding the office on or before June 30, 2011, and those reelected after July 1, 2011 without an interruption of service in the office shall only be able to read and write;
(4) Not have been convicted in any federal or state court of a felony; and
(5) Not have been separated or discharged from the armed forces of the United States with other than an honorable discharge;
- Shall file with the county election commission, in conjunction with the nominating petition, an affidavit sworn to and signed by the candidate affirming that the candidate meets the requirements of this section. (TCA 8-10-102)

CHANCELLOR
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be at least 30 years of age and a resident of the state for 5 years and of the circuit or district 1 year. (TN Constitution Article 6, Section 4)
- Shall be learned in the law, evidenced by being authorized to practice law in the courts of Tennessee. (TCA 17-1-101, 17-1-102, 17-1-103, 17-1-106)

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE/CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be at least 30 years of age and a resident of the state for 5 years and of the circuit or district 1 year. (TN Constitution Article 6, Section 4)
- Shall be learned in the law, evidenced by being authorized to practice law in the courts of Tennessee. (TCA 17-1-101, 17-1-102, 17-1-103, 17-1-106) 4

DISTRICT ATTORNEY GENERAL
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be a duly licensed attorney admitted to the practice of law in this state and a resident of the state for 5 years and of the circuit or district 1 year. (TN Constitution Article 6, Section 5)

DISTRICT PUBLIC DEFENDER
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be a duly licensed attorney admitted to the practice of law in this state and a resident of the state for 5 years and of the judicial district for 1 year. (TCA 8-14-202)

DeKalb County School board seats in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh districts will be filled in the 2014 August County General Election. Terms are four years. School board candidates are non-partisan, which means they run neither as Republicans or Democrats. The qualifying date for school board candidates is not until April, 2014.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR STATE OFFICES:

UNITED STATES SENATOR
- 30 years of age; Citizen of United States for 9 years; and a Tennessee resident. (US Constitution Article 1, Section 3)

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE
- 25 years of age; Citizen of United States for 7 years; and a Tennessee resident. (US Constitution Article 1, Section 2)

GOVERNOR
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101 and
- Shall be at least thirty (30) years of age, shall be a citizen of the United States, and shall have been a citizen of this State 7 years before the election. (TN Constitution Article 3, Section 3)

STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- In each party's primary, its voters in each senatorial district shall elect one (1) man and one (1) woman as members of the state executive committee. (TCA 2-13-103)
- Shall be bona fide members of the political party whose election they seek. (TCA 2-13-104)

STATE SENATOR
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8–18–101; and
- Shall be a citizen of the United States, at least 30 years of age, and shall have resided 3 years in this State and 1 year in the county or district represented immediately preceding the election. (TN Constitution Article 2, Sect. 10)
- Each district shall be represented by a qualified voter of that district. (TN Constitution Article 2, Section 6a)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE
- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- Shall be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and shall have resided 3 years in this State and 1 year in the county represented immediately preceding the election. (TN Constitution Article 2, Section 9)
- Each district shall be represented by a qualified voter of that district. (TN Constitution Article 2, Section 5a)

General Provisions Governing Qualifications for Office:

The general qualifications of persons permitted to hold public office are set out in TCA § 8-18-101. This section provides that all persons of the age of eighteen (18) years who are citizens of the United States and of this state, and have been inhabitants of the state, county, district, or circuit for the period required by the constitution and laws of the state, are qualified to hold office under the authority of this state except:

(1) Those who have been convicted of offering or giving a bribe, or of larceny, or any other offense declared infamous by law, unless restored to citizenship in the mode pointed out by law;

(2) Those against whom there is a judgment unpaid for any moneys received by them, in any official capacity, due to the United States, to this state, or any county thereof;

(3) Those who are defaulters to the treasury at the time of the election, and the election of any such person shall be void;

(4) Soldiers, seamen, marines, or airmen in the regular army or navy or air force of the United States; and

(5) Members of congress, and persons holding any office of profit or trust under any foreign power, other state of the union, or under the United States.

Tramel Gets Six Year Sentence for Aggravated Burglary

August 7, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Eric Wayne Tramel
David Tyler Hutchins
Eddie D. Farris

27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, July 22 to two counts of aggravated burglary.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

Tramel was sentenced to six years in each case to run concurrently with each other. He must serve at least 35% of the sentence before his release eligibility date. Tramel must make restitution in one case of $234 and in an amount to be determined in the other case. He was given jail credit from November 11, 2012 to July 22, 2013.

Tramel and two other people were accused of using a credit card, taken from the home of a person on the Old Blue Springs Road on September 28, 2012. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, while at the residence, one of the defendants left a window unlocked to allow Tramel to enter and steal some items from the residence. Tramel allegedly stole two laptop computers, valued at $2,000 along with assorted jewelry, valued at $3,000. Sheriff Ray said the three defendants participated in using the stolen credit card over a three month period to purchase an assortment of items.

In a separate case, Tramel was arrested by Smithville Police on Sunday, November 11, 2012 after investigating a reported burglary in progress. Police spoke to the victim who said that a man had forced his way into the residence, chased his wife out the back door, and then locked them out. During the police investigation, central dispatch received a call of a man fitting the same description at another residence down the street. The officers ran down the street and made contact with the man, later identified as Tramel. Police ordered Tramel to remove his hands from his pockets. Tramel complied but acted as though he was pointing a gun. Tramel was told to get on the ground but as more commands were given, he got up to run. After he refused police commands to stop, Tramel was tased. Found in his pocket were a box cutter and pills. Tramel had no gun.

40 year old Art Dawson pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence. He was given jail credit of 215 days. The term is to run concurrently with another sentence against Dawson.

Dawson was originally charged by Smithville Police with aggravated burglary, domestic assault, and aggravated assault upon his arrest after an incident Saturday, October 1, 2011 at a residence on Oak Street.

According to Chief Randy Caplinger, Dawson entered the Oak street home uninvited where his ex-girlfriend was staying and allegedly assaulted her. Another man, who was also there at the time, intervened telling Dawson that he would have to leave. Dawson then turned on the man allegedly beating him severely about the face with his fists. Dawson also allegedly struck him with a tall lamp and coffee table. The man was later taken to the hospital. Dawson fled before police arrived.

19 year old David Tyler Hutchins pleaded guilty to burglary of a non habitation and received a sentence of three years suspended to supervised probation. He is seeking judicial diversion. Hutchings is to make restitution of $1,342 to the victim in the case.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 12, 2012 Hutchins allegedly broke into an outbuilding on Green Hill Road in Liberty by kicking in the front door. He allegedly stole a chainsaw, leaf blower, a cordless screw driver set, battery charger, and various other items including a 1997 Honda Four Wheeler, all valued at over $1,000.

32 year old Eddie D. Farris pleaded guilty to two counts of vandalism over $10,000 and one count of vandalism under $500. He received a four year sentence in the first two cases and 11 months and 29 days in the other. All three sentences are to run concurrently with each other for a total of four years, suspended to supervised probation. Farris is to make restitution in the amount of $2,487 to two of the victims, $500 to the City of Smithville, and an amount to be determined to two other victims.

Farris was arrested by Smithville Police on Sunday, February 24, 2013 after he allegedly rammed his truck into several parked vehicles, pushing one of them up against a house on Wade Street and damaging a city sidewalk.

Farris was originally charged with five counts of felony vandalism and reckless endangerment. Chief Randy Caplinger said that officers were dispatched to Wade Street where numerous witnesses stated that Farris had rammed several parked vehicles with his truck. He also pushed one of the vehicles through a yard with his truck, striking a house. Victims stated that they were in the door way when the vehicle was pushed into the front of the house. Damage was also done to the sidewalk in front of the residence.

The warrants against Farris alleged that:

Felony Vandalism over $10,000: Farris intentionally drove (his truck) into a 2011 Chrysler several times causing over $10,000 in damage.

Felony Vandalism over $1,000: Farris did intentionally hit a 1991 Chevy S10 pickup and pushed it into the house at 406 Wade Street. He hit the vehicle (with his truck) several times causing over $1,000 in damage.

Felony Vandalism over $1,000: Farris did intentionally hit a 1995 Suzuki several times (with his truck) causing over $1,000 in damage.

Felony Vandalism over $1,000: Farris intentionally pushed a vehicle into a house (with his truck) doing over $1,000 in damage to the house at 406 Wade Street.

Felony Vandalism over $500: Farris did intentionally damage a side walk belonging to the City of Smithville by pushing vehicles into the side walk (with his truck) causing over $500 in damage.

Reckless Endangerment: Farris put the lives of several people inside the house at 406 Wade Street in danger when he intentionally pushed a vehicle into the house with his vehicle.

32 year old Robert Menzie pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to supervised probation after he serves 45 days. Menzie was fined $615 and he will lose his driving privileges for three years. Menzie must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and attend an alcohol safety education program.

DeKalb Hospital Earns Excellence Award from HealthStream

August 6, 2013
by: 
Shan Burklow
DeKalb Hospital Earns Excellence Award from HealthStream
Rick Jennings
Amanda Burgess

DeKalb Community Hospital has been named a 2013 Excellence through lnsight award recipient for “Most Improved Overall Emergency Department Satisfaction” by HealthStream, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTM). A formal presentation of the award will be made during HealthStream’s annual customer Summit on October 17 in Nashville, TN, according to Sue Conley, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer.

DeKalb Community Hospital was awarded this honor for its commitment to excellence in patient care, according to HealthStream CEO Robert A. Frist, Jr. “We applaud DeKalb Community Hospital’s high-level commitment to excellence in healthcare – and we are pleased to recognize their achievement through our presentation of an Excellence through Insight award.”

To qualify for an award, a hospital must have been a patient satisfaction-tracking client of HealthStream in 2012, scored in the 75th percentile or higher, and surveyed a minimum of 100 patients. DCH was chosen for receiving the highest ratings in the small hospital category for most improved ER patient satisfaction.

“We’re very proud of DeKalb Community Hospital’s achievement,” said Mark Medley, President of Hospital Operations for Capella Healthcare, of which DCH is a part. “The staff has worked very hard in continuing to elevate the level of care available. Knowing that patients are pleased with the care they receive is certainly a very important indicator of success.”

“On behalf of all of our hospital’s staff members, I am honored to accept this award,” said Conley. “Receiving national recognition such as this affirms our staff’s compassionate service and hard work. While it’s certainly a compliment to all of our Emergency Department employees and physicians, it also recognizes the hard work of staff throughout the hospital who help provide care for our emergency patients, such as radiology and the laboratory.”

Meanwhile, DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital have announced that Rick Jennings has been named the Director of Radiology. Along with his extensive medical career, Jennings has spent the last 6 years as Radiology Director in Mesquite, NV. When asked of his move from Nevada to Tennessee, Jennings comments, “Having lived in the desert for so long, it is really nice to see green grass and trees. I truly enjoy my job as radiology director at these two wonderful hospitals. The staff is amazing and I look forward to being a part of this great team”

“I am happy to welcome Rick to our hospitals. He brings the experience and exemplary qualifications that we expect in a director. He has already been an asset to us and we look forward to great things from him as we strive for the best in patient care for both hospitals,” said Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

In his spare time, Jennings enjoys fishing and golf. With his new found love of the southeast, he has added ‘playing golf in the Carolinas’ to his bucket list. Rick currently resides in Murfreesboro, TN.

The hospitals have also announced that Amanda Burgess has been named the Director of Informatics. With over 13 years experience, Burgess is well-rounded and accomplished. When asked about her new position with both hospitals, Burgess smiles, “I take care of the software applications for nurses and physicians. My favorite part of my job is when I get to help make someone’s workload easier by solving a problem for them. That just makes my day.” Burgess was formerly the Director of Clinical Informatics at Cookeville Regional as well as being a registered nurse.

“We are pleased to welcome Amanda to our hospitals. She is doing a great job ensuring we remain compliant with the new HITECH Act and Healthcare Reform while keeping DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital on the cutting edge of technology,” said Kim Frazier, CNO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital.

Burgess currently resides in Cookeville and has two children—Ciara and Parker. In her spare time, she is a personal trainer, enjoys running and hiking, and loves to sketch.

Davidson County Chancery Court Asked to Intervene in DUD Case

August 6, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Utility District
Smithville City Hall

In what may be a last attempt at preventing the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant, attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville have filed a petition in Davidson County Chancery Court seeking to overturn a ruling that went against them earlier this year by the Tennessee Utility Management Review Board.

Following a hearing held April 4th in Smithville with an administrative law judge presiding, UMRB members voted to dismiss a petition brought by DUD ratepayers and City of Smithville saying they (petitioners) had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The UMRB entered its final order on June 5.

Calling the UMRB's ruling "arbitrary and capricious", attorneys for DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville are asking the Chancery Court for a judicial review of the case.

Filed by Jones Hawkins & Farmer, PLC. of Nashville, the petition alleges that "the UMRB acted in violation of statutory provisions and followed an unlawful procedure by failing to apply the appropriate scope of review in its deliberations and otherwise acted illegally, arbitrarily, and capriciously in the case. Further, the UMRB’s decision was unsupported by substantial and material evidence in light of the entire record."

"Petitioners are aggrieved by the actions of Respondent and the decision of the UMRB and request the following relief:

1.That UMRB transmit to this Court the original or a certified copy of the entire record in the case, including all exhibits and all entries made in connection therewith, and in particular, the transcripts of all of the hearings held before the UMRB in this matter;

2. That process or notice be issued to the Respondent;

3. That upon briefs, filings and a hearing of this cause, this Court reverse the decision of the UMRB and decree that its action was illegal, arbitrary, and/or capricious;

4. That this Court grant such further general relief as the equities of this case may require and as the Court deems necessary and appropriate."

The City of Smithville, which has already spent tens of thousands of dollars in the case since the spring of 2012, recently voted to spend another $10,000 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file the appeal.

During the July 15 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said an appeal of the UMRB's ruling must be filed within sixty days of the filing of the order from that hearing and the deadline is August 5. "Earlier this year (April 4) we had a hearing before the (UMRB) board regarding the application that DUD had made to build a new water treatment plant here outside the city to treat water," said Parsley. " Of course we (city) would lose a substantial part of our income that we receive from DUD if they continue on that way. We had 60 days (from the date the order was filed from the hearing) to file an appeal. That 60 days will be up on August 5," said Parsley.

"I have been in communication with (Nashville attorneys) Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman who were involved with (representation at UMRB hearing) for the ratepayers of the City of Smithville and DUD customers. They need to know whether or not the board (aldermen) wants to make that appeal (to Chancery Court) because it has to be done within that deadline. If it isn't, they (DUD) can go forward (build the water plant) and that's the end of the case. The appeal process is very similar to what you see with the court of appeals. However, you're going to appeal to a Chancellor that is in Davidson County, not a local Chancellor," said Parsley. "The purpose of that appeal is to determine whether or not the (UMRB) board which came to Smithville and had the hearing made the right decision," he said.

"I have also been in communication with Mr. Purcell and Mr. Holleman regarding the cost of that appeal to the City of Smithville. They have offered to prepare an appeal for the hearing. There will be no new proof. No new depositions submitted. The fee is not to exceed $10,000. It is my recommendation to the board that we go forward with that but that's up to the board," said City Attorney Parsley. " As to the outcome of that, we'll have to wait and see how the Chancellor rules. But I think it would be good for us to go forward with that and hopefully we would get a more favorable decision from a Chancellor than we did the (UMRB) board," he said.

Alderman Tim Stribling made a motion to file the appeal. " Mr. Mayor, I'd like to see that this go before the Chancellor. I think it would be more unbiased. I think we all saw that day the deck was stacked against us so I'd like to make a motion that we appeal the decision of the board which allowed DUD to continue with building their own water treatment plant and I'd also like to make a motion that we retain Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to represent the city with an understanding that they shall be paid a fee not to exceed $10,000," said Alderman Stribling.

Alderman Danny Washer offered a second to the motion. Alderman Jason Murphy and Shawn Jacobs joined Stribling and Washer in voting for it. Alderman Josh Miller was unable to attend the meeting.

Firefighters Called to Foutch Industries

August 6, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Employees Evacuated from Foutch Industries
Employees Outside Foutch Industries

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb EMS were summoned to Foutch Industries Monday where a fire started in the duct work, causing smoke to spread through a portion of the building.

"We had a fire in the duct system where it collects dust and the grinding stuff off some of the machines," said Fire Chief Charlie Parker. "One of them (duct system) had sucked up some sparks and caught the filter on fire inside the factory. It was in the machinery and the duct work that runs from the machine to the filter. They had used like twenty fire extinguishers prior to us getting there and didn't get it out so we used water and foam and had to disassemble part of the duct work to get up in there to it to finally get it put out. The building wasn't damaged. It was all confined to the machinery inside. It did smoke up one half of the building pretty substantially but we were able to clear that out after just a little while," he said.

"The building was evacuated. I think they had a couple of employees who were sent to the hospital to get checked out. I think one of them had some burns and the other may have had a little too much of the smoke," said Chief Parker.

Smithville Fire Department to Re-Apply for FEMA SAFER Grant

August 6, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fire Chief Charlie Parker

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night gave their blessing for the fire department to re-apply for a FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which if approved, would fully fund the hiring of two firefighters for up to two years at no costs to the city.

The city applied for the grant last year but did not receive approval for funding.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker said he is hoping for better fortunes this time. If approved, the grant would fund salaries and benefits for two firefighters. The city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "We are eligible to apply for a SAFER Grant. This is for hiring of full time firefighters. That is what we are applying for. We are applying for the grant. It is a non matching grant so it doesn't cost any money to do that (apply). It's for an award period of two years. After the two years, the city is not obligated to continue on with the personnel that is hired. We'll be applying for two 40 hour firefighter positions which is basically what we requested in our budget this year. Its roughly going to be, with administrative costs, up to $84,000 for the two positions. That's for salaries, benefits, and administrative costs. The deadline to apply is August 30. They will probably starting reviewing (applications) in the fall. Last year we got our turn down notice in October or November. It could be anywhere from October on before we know (if funding is approved)," said Chief Parker.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.

Eligible departments or organizations are limited to one application for Recruitment and Retention and/or one application for Hiring per application period. Volunteer fire departments are eligible to apply for Hiring of Firefighters (Hiring/Rehiring of New Firefighters) and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. Ten percent of available funds are set aside for grants awarded to volunteer or majority volunteer departments for hiring of firefighters.

Meanwhile, the aldermen approved the addition of Becky Stubbe and Patrick Edge to the staff of city volunteer firefighters at the request of Chief Parker.

Both Stubbe and Edge have successfully completed their ninety day probationary period and have met the requirements of the department's recruitment committee.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on first reading a zoning ordinance amendment that would no longer require plans for off-street parking in developments with six or more parking spaces to be approved directly by the planning commission. Instead, all plans for off-street parking shall be shown on site plans, under this ordinance amendment.

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