Local News Articles

DeKalb Voters Must Put Away Their Cell Phones While in the Polling Place

May 18, 2013
Dennis Stanley

To further protect the integrity of the ballot, all local voters will be asked to turn off or put away their cell phones when entering the polling place in all future elections.

The DeKalb County Election Commission, meeting in regular session Monday, adopted policies relating to activities that are prohibited inside the polling place during early voting and on election day.

“Security and privacy of the voter and the security and privacy of their votes are the overriding concerns of the Election Commission,” said Chairman Walteen Parker. “We felt it was time to update our policies, particularly in light of today’s technology.”

One policy adopted by the commission states that “upon entering the polling place, all voters are to turn off their mobile phones and/or place them securely in a belt clip, pocket or purse. Voters are strictly prohibited from talking or texting on their mobile phone while inside the voting location.”

“Not only is it a distraction, but talking or texting on a phone inside the voting location could be considered voter assistance,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “There are laws relating to voter assistance and forms to be completed and signed by all parties involved. Someone on the other end of a telephone conversation obviously would not be here to sign the form.”

In addition, Stanley said using a cell phone could be in violation of the state’s “Campaign Free Zone” law.

“Voters using cell phones inside the polling place only raises unnecessary questions,” Stanley continued. “Who is the voter talking to? Are they talking to their spouse about what to pick up at the store on the way home or to a candidate about who to vote for? The later would be a violation of the Campaign Free Zone. ”

Another policy adopted by the Commission relates to actions inside the actual voting booth. The policy states it is “strictly prohibited to photograph, video or by any other method, record a voter’s actual ballot whether on a voting machine or a paper ballot.”

“These two measures go hand-in-hand and are designed to eliminate the possibility of a voter voting, taking a picture of their marked ballot, casting the ballot, then publishing the picture of their marked ballot to the public,” Stanley said.

“The Election Commission has a compelling interest in protecting voters from confusion and undue influence,” Parker added. “We feel like these measures address those issues and we think the public will agree.”

Police Chief Releases Update on Recent City Criminal Activity

May 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chief Randy Caplinger

In his latest report on city crime, Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 34 year old Daniel Derrick Hill was arrested Thursday, May 2 for domestic assault and cited for assault. According to the warrant, Hill assaulted the mother of his child by hitting her across the face in an altercation between him and another man during a custody exchange at Wal-Mart. Hill's bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on June 6.

37 year old Juan A Valdivia, 51 year old Angel C Alexander, and 29 year old Steven D Bly were recently arrested for violation of probation and 33 year old Tawanna N Petty was arrested for failure to appear

49 year old Carl Brian Fairchild was arrested on Saturday, May 4 for DUI and cited for violation of the open container law. The warrant states that Fairchild, operating a motor vehicle, was stopped because he had hit the building at McDonalds. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person, slurred speech and an open container of beer in the console. Fairchild's bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 16.

40 year old Roger Dale Washer Jr. was arrested on Sunday, May 5 for DUI and cited for violation of the implied consent law. Washer, operating a motor vehicle, was involved in a crash. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Upon performance of field sobriety tasks, Washer was arrested. He refused to submit to a blood test. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 13.

30 year old Anthony J Terrigino was arrested last week for public intoxication and assault. On Sunday, May 5, Terrigino entered a residence, pushed the victim, and hit her in the face several times with his fist. By the time police arrived, Terrigino had already left the residence. He was found walking down the middle of Hayes Street. He was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His bond is $4,000 and he will be in court on June 13.

44 year old Tina Renee Grissham was cited for shoplifting at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, May 7. Grissham was in the fitting room for approximately one and a half hours. A sales clerk heard her opening boxes and could see her stuffing items into her purse. She will be in court on June 6.

33 year old Connie Nicole Randolph, stopped for a traffic violation on Wednesday, May 8, was cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Randolph gave the officer permission to search her vehicle and belongings. The officer recovered nine pills believed to be roxicodone and three pills believed to be aprozolam in her purse. Three cut straws were found in different places of her vehicle. She will be in court on June 13.

33 year old Anthony Doel Atnip was arrested Saturday, May 11 for domestic assault and public intoxication. The warrants state that Atnip did assault his girlfriend by jerking her around the Food Lion parking lot by the hair of the head. The officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and Atnip was unsteady on his feet. Bond for Atnip is $4,000 and he will be in court on June 6.

Margie Drennan was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia on Saturday, May 11. Drennan was a passenger of a vehicle that had been stopped. Drennan gave the officer consent to search her purse and two used hypodermic needles believed to be for illegal drug use were recovered. She will be in court on July 25.

36 year old Crystal Gail Pettit was cited for criminal trespassing at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, May 14. Pettit was observed by a Wal-Mart employee and the officer on the property. Pettit had signed a form in 2012 stating she would not be on the store's property. Pettit will be in court on June 20.

25 year old James Edward Gilles was arrested Thursday, May 16 for leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended license and two counts of vandalism. Gilles, operating a motor vehicle, ran off the road and hit two mailboxes. The vehicle ran through rose bushes and a wooden fence causing monetary damage. Gilles then left the scene of the accident. Upon locating Gilles and running a computer check, police learned Gilles' license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. His bond is $4,500 and he will be in court on June 13.

Anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that would help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense would be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

DCHS Golfer Mallory Sullivan Signs with Cumberland University

May 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Golfer Mallory Sullivan Signs with Cumberland University

Outstanding DCHS Junior Golfer Mallory Sullivan, who has competed at the state tournament level for the last three years, signed with Cumberland University Thursday and will join the school once she graduates.

"We're happy to have someone of Mallory's character," said Richard Williams, Assistant Golf Coach at Cumberland University. "Obviously playing ability is important but we're also looking for good kids. We have a great group and a good chemistry on the team and we think she (Mallory) will fit in very well," he said.

While the program is relative new, women's golf at Cumberland has been quite successful according to Assistant Coach Williams. "It's not been around for very long but we've had instant success. We finished 20th in the country this year in the NAIA. We have an individual who is leaving this Saturday to go play in the NAIA National Championship as an individual so we're very pleased with the direction that the program is going," said Assistant Coach Williams.

DCHS Golf Coach Joe Pat Cope said he is happy for Mallory. "Cumberland is a great university and has a great golf program and I know she will be very successful there," he said.

Sullivan is an all around special athlete, according to Coach Cope whose talents are not confined to just golf. "She came out for me and played tennis this year and was the number one tennis player. She went to the district semi-finals. She is just an all around athlete," he said.

"As for Mallory's golf game, as far as she hits the golf ball, that's what puts her at a different level. She is thirty or forty yards longer than most girls she plays. In her sophomore year, Mallory finished second in the state. We knew then how special a golfer and an athlete she was," said Coach Cope.

Mallory, who will return for her senior season next year at DCHS, said she is looking forward to another good year of golf before she heads off to Cumberland. "I'm very excited. I'm ready to start my future. I'm back from a shoulder separation injury and I'm playing good. It should be a good year," said Sullivan.

Asked why she chose Cumberland, Mallory said "Cumberland is a great fit for me. I love the golf team and the coach and the small classroom sizes of the school," she said.

(PICTURED ABOVE: SEATED- CUMBERLAND ASSISTANT WOMEN GOLF COACH RICHARD WILLIAMS, MALLORY SULLIVAN, AND CUMBERLAND SWING COACH MATT WALTER; STANDING- DCHS GOLF COACH JOE PAT COPE, JAMES SULLIVAN (FATHER), TONYA SULLIVAN (MOTHER), AND SHAY SULLIVAN (SISTER)

Almost One Million Dollars in Scholarships Awarded to DCHS Seniors

May 16, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Erin Cantrell-Pryor with Lori Myrick of DCHS
Eric Redman with Sergeant Matthew C. Bordenkircher of U.S. Army
DCHS Class of 2013 Scholarship Award Recipients
DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps Presents Cain Evans award for perfect attendance

Almost a million dollars in scholarships were awarded to members of the Class of 2013 at DeKalb County High School during Thursday's annual Senior Awards Day program.

Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations made the presentations.

Erin Cantrell-Pryor, received more than $212,500 in scholarships, the largest total award presented to any student during the program. She was presented a scholarship of $186,000 from Cornell University; $24,000 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; $1,000 from UT Knoxville Agricultural; the U.S Marines Scholar Award; $500 from the DeKalb Soil Conservation District; and $1,000 from Jolly Angels.

The next single largest award went to Eric Redmon, who received $117,832 for his enlistment in the United States Army.

Gage Brown received an $85,000 award for his enlistment in the U.S. Navy

For his enlistment in the U.S. Marines, Tyler Vanhoose received an $80,000 award.

Meanwhile, Cain Evans was presented an award for perfect attendance during his entire years at DCHS. He also had perfect attendance during his entire time as a student at DeKalb Middle School

Other scholarship recipients are as follows:

Martelia Tallent:
Carson-Newman: $63,564

Elyse Litteer:
Maryville College: $52,000

Sonni Fullilove:
Walters State Community College: $24,000

Jessica Harbaugh
Tennessee Tech: $2,000
FCCLA:$250
Jolly Angels:$1,000

Krestin Evans
Tennessee Tech: $10,000
Jolly Angels: $1,000
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $2,000
Scottish Rite: $1,000

Lauren Craig
Tennessee Tech: $4,000

P.J. Carroll
Tennessee Tech: $20,000
Liberty State Bank: $1,000

Savannah Dexter
Tennessee Tech: $4,000
Jeff Garrett Memorial: $500

Taylor Leach
Tennessee Tech: $10,000
Eddie Crips Memorial Scholarship: $1,000
Jolly Angels: $1,000
DCHS HOSA: $250

Zach Martin:
Tennessee Tech: $10,000

Alex Hayes:
Tennessee Tech: $10,000
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500

Caleb Cantrell:
Tennessee Tech: $4,000

Callie Gash:
Tennessee Tech: $4,000
DeKalb Funeral Chapel:$500

Jacob Parsley:
Tennessee Tech: $21,000
Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Scholarship: $500
Brandon Elder Scholarship: $4,000
Smithville Rotary Math Award: $100

Dalton Vaughn:
Tennessee Tech Nichols Freshman Art Scholarship: $1,200
Yates Company Scholarship: $4,000
Lucille Stewart Memorial: $2,000

Kaylee Cantrell:
Cumberland University
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Taylor Poston:
Cumberland University: $24,000
Lucille Stewart Memorial: $2,000

Cody Puckett:
Columbia State: $5,200

Hunter Graham:
Columbia State: $5,200

Haley Parchman:
Tusculum $7,000
Smithville Business and Professional Women: $500

Grace Webb:
UT-Chattanooga: $12,000
DeKalb Community Hospital: $500
DCHS HOSA: $250

Ben Driver:
UT-Knoxville: $24,000

Chelsea Lewis:
UT-Knoxville: $21,500
U.S. Army Athlete Award
DTC McAllen Foutch Memorial: $8,000
Kyle & Kenny Robinson Memorial: $1,000
Nell Haas Driver Scholarship: $1,000

Lucas Phillips:
U.S. Army Athlete Award
Amvets: $250
Amvets Auxiliary: $250
Kenny & Kyle Robinson Memorial: $1,000
Stetson University Hatter Scholarship: $16,000

Abbey Caldwell:
U.S. Marines Athlete Award

Matt Boss:
U.S. Marines Athlete Award
DeKalb Firefighters:$500
DCHS Literature Club: $500
Jake McClain Driver Scholarship: $1,000
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Sarah Cantrell:
U.S. Marines Music Award

Kayley Green:
UT-Knoxville: $24,000
TN Association of FSA County Employees: $500
Comcast: $1,000
DeKalb Firefighters: $500

Ben Pafford:
Austin Peay University: $12,000

Spencer Maynard:
Berea College: $22,000

Cohen Brown:
Tennessee Gas Association: $3,000

Annieka Norton:
Agee Oil Company: $1,500
DeKalb Funeral Chapel:$500

Katie Haggard:
Allen Hooper Memorial: $500
DeKalb Retired Teachers: $750
David Wayne Alexander Memorial: $1,000
CIC Foundation
Smithville Business and Professional Women: $500

Cassi Lester:
Mentors Association Scholarship: $5,000

Emily Davidson:
Mentors Association Scholarship: $5,000

Kelsey Hale:
Anthony Duane Trapp Memorial: $1,000
Nell Haas Driver Scholarship: $1,000

Gabriel Knowles:
Class of 1966: $500

Zach Vincent:
Dailey & Vincent Scholarship: $2,000

Cecilia Maciel:
DCHS Beta Scholarship: $500
DCHS Student Council: $500

Halea Brown:
DeKalb County Children Service Council Clata Redman Memorial: $500

Hunter Collins:
DCHS HOSA: $250
Mentors Association Scholarship: $5,000

Alex Hall:
DeKalb Community Hospital: $500

Ashlee Gunter:
DeKalb Firefighters: $500

Shawna Puckett:
DeKalb Firefighters: $500
Ditcharo & Johnson Orthodontics:$1,000

Christina Ferguson:
DeKalb Funeral Chapel: $500

Jessica Acuna:
DeKalb PTO: $300

Alyssa England
Elzie & Nell McBride Memorial:$500

MyKaela Duke:
First Bank: $500
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Samantha Leiser:
Jolly Angels: $1,000

Marissa Garmer:
Leadership DeKalb: $750

Martha Martin:
Liberty State Bank: $1,000

Evan Curtis:
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home: $500

Matt Colwell:
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home: $500

Emily Webb:
Smithville Rotary Club: $750

Brent Vickers:
Smithville Rotary Vocational Award:$100

Zoe Whaley:
Smithville Women's Club: $300

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

May 16, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

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

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

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

Members of the class pictured in this video are:

SEATED LEFT TO RIGHT: Jackson Arnold, Jose Carrillo, Brayden Ferrell, Katherine Gassaway, Malcom Gora, Ruby Hernandez, Aleea Kalmar, and Cameron Miller

STANDING LEFT TO RIGHT: Halayna Newby, Lindsey Nokes, Clayton Proctor, Darrah Ramsey, Johnny Skinner, Ryan Thompson, Carlee West, Robert Wheeler, Jaylan Wright, Juan Mirafuentes, and Jase Bain

In addition to the video presentation here, you can listen to the children weekday mornings May 16-21 following the 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. morning local news on WJLE AM 1480 and FM 101.7.

Hurricane Bridge to be Closed Friday Night to Replace Bearing Pin on Bridge Pier

May 16, 2013

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) contract crews will close the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County to all traffic on Friday, May 17 beginning at 8:00 p.m. for approximately 20 hours. The closure is necessary to allow the contractor to perform structural work (replacing a bearing pin on the bridge pier) that cannot be done with traffic driving on the bridge.

The work is weather dependent. Should inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances prevent this work from occurring as scheduled, it will be rescheduled to take place as soon as possible.

During the closure, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and flaggers will be present to assist with traffic control. Message boards will be in place to notify drivers of the closure. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR-53. The bridge should be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2013. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will continue to remain in effect and will be strictly enforced.

The work is part of a $26.9 million rehabilitation project which is scheduled to be complete in October 2013.

For travel information visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or call 5 1 1. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511.

Android and iPhone users can download TDOT’s SmartWay Mobile App to assist them in navigating Tennessee highways. The app provides up-to-the-minute customized traffic information and enables the user to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs, and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes. The TDOT SmartWay App is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Play Store for Android.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.
# # #

State Lawmakers Pay Tribute to DCHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

May 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Lawmakers Pay Tribute to DCHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

DCHS Class of 2013 Valedictorian Taylor Leach and Salutatorian P.J. Carroll Tuesday were treated to a luncheon and presented resolutions in their honor adopted by the State House of Representatives and State Senate.

Copies of the resolutions were presented to the students by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps also attended the luncheon.

The resolution honoring Leach is as follows:

WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Taylor Leach is one such exceptional student who was recently named Valedictorian of the 2013 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Taylor has achieved outstanding academic success and has joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in his remarkable high school career, Mr. Leach has earned an exemplary grade point average; and

WHEREAS, Taylor Leach has graciously dedicated his time and energies to numerous scholastic and extracurricular efforts, including serving as a member of the Beta Club, Health Occupations Students of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Running Club, and the tennis team; and

WHEREAS, active in his community, Mr. Leach has accrued more than eighty hours of community service, assisting at shut-ins and at the Lighthouse Christian Camp, and serving as a volunteer at the DeKalb County Fair; and

WHEREAS, he is also active in the youth group at Upper Helton Baptist Church; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Leach’s display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for his future success as a student at Tennessee Tech University, which he plans to attend; and

WHEREAS, his noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for his parents, Brad and Peggy Leach, his sister, his school, and his community; and

WHEREAS, Taylor Leach’s dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of this legislative body; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2013 DeKalb County High School Valedictorian, Taylor Leach, on his impressive academic achievement and extend to him our best wishes for a happy, successful future.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an appropriate copy of this resolution be prepared for presentation with this final clause omitted from such copy.

The resolution honoring Carroll is as follows:

WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, P.J. Carroll is one such exceptional student who was recently named Salutatorian of the 2013 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Mr. Carroll has achieved outstanding academic success and has joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in his remarkable high school career, he has earned an exemplary grade point average; and

WHEREAS, after graduation, he plans to attend Tennessee Technical University and aspires for a career in politics; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Carroll’s display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for his future success; and

WHEREAS, P.J.’s noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for his parents, Lori and Phillip, his school, and his community; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Carroll has achieved a great level of success thanks in part to the love and support of his family and friends; especially his mother, who he says is the most influential person in his life; and

WHEREAS, P.J. Carroll’s dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of this legislative body; now, therefore,
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BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2013 DeKalb County High School Salutatorian, P.J. Carroll, on his impressive academic achievement and extend to him our best wishes for a happy, successful future.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an appropriate copy of this resolution be prepared for presentation with this final clause omitted from such copy.

(Pictured front row: DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps, Valedictorian Taylor Leach, Salutatorian P.J. Carroll; Back Row: State Representative Mark Pody, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and Director of Schools Mark Willoughby)

Armstrong Looks to Run for Mayor of Alexandria

May 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

The first candidate petition has been issued for the September 5 Alexandria Municipal Election.

Bennett Armstrong picked up a petition Tuesday to run for Mayor of the town.

Petitions can now be issued by the DeKalb County Election Commission. The qualifying deadline for candidates is NOON June 20th.

A mayor and three aldermen will be elected.

Meanwhile, the qualifying deadline for the upcoming Liberty election is NOON Thursday, May 16. A mayor and two aldermen are up for election during the August 1 voting.

Current alderman Dwight Mathis is the only person to date to pick up and return a petition for Mayor and incumbent Howard Reynolds has picked up and returned the only petition for alderman.

School Board Makes Cuts in Tentative Budget

May 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

In order to meet a state deadline for getting a budget in the hands of the county commission by May 15th, the DeKalb County Board of Education spent close to two hours Tuesday night before adopting a proposed tentative spending plan for the 2013-14 school year.

The plan includes spending to fund a few new positions, but it does not include a proposal suggested by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby that would have provided single health insurance coverage for all full time eligible employees, certified and support staff. Under the federal affordable health care act, employers must offer an affordable plan to eligible employees or pay a penalty.

The board also cut from the proposed budget $50,000 in new money to fund a full time athletic director and $90,000 for two extra positions which might be needed during the school year.

Even without the costly extra insurance benefit and other cuts, the school system looks to dig deep into its piggy bank by possibly up to $1.7 million to balance the new budget without a tax increase, unless the county commission meets the school board's request to appropriate more money from the replenishing local option sales tax or sinking fund for school operation. Had they asked for it, the school board may have needed as much as a sixty cent property tax hike to support this proposed budget.

The vote was 4 to 1 to adopt the tentative budget with the cuts. Board members John David Foutch, Kenny Rhody, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, and Billy Miller voted for it. Chairman Johnny Lattimore voted against it. Board member Doug Stephens was absent and Board member Charles Robinson who was present for most of the meeting, apparently had to leave before the budget issue was decided.

The school system currently pays a portion of employee's health insurance coverage under plans made available through the state. Total costs comes to $1.5 million each year. Certified employees who have either a single or a family plan pay 36% and the school system picks up 64%. Support staff pay 49% of their coverage and the school system pays a 51% matching portion. While the school system apparently meets the affordable health care requirements for certified personnel, it would be subject to penalties unless it does more for support staff. Under the new federal law, "if an employer does offer health coverage but it is not affordable or it is not minimum value and a low income full time employee enrolls in health coverage on the exchange and obtains premium credit, the employer must pay an annual penalty of $3,000 for each full time employee except for the first thirty employees," said Director Willoughby. "To this day, we don't know all the guidelines. I don't know how the affordable health care act is going to work out. It may be October before we know. It may be later than that. I do think it is a good opportunity to offer our employees insurance (single coverage paid at 100%). I'd much rather pay our employees' insurance as to pay the penalty back to the government," said Willoughby.

Had the school board kept in the budget full single health insurance coverage for all eligible employees, the cost to the system would have increased by about a million dollars to $2.5 million a year.

Board members seemed uncomfortable with the spending plan. Chairman Lattimore said he could not support it, even with the proposed cuts. Lattimore said the budget still has too much fat. "I believe with all my heart that there is fat in this budget," said Lattimore. "There are things in here that we don't have to have to survive next year. We send a budget across the street (to county commission) that we know we don't have to have and we're asking the county commission to do our job. When we have sent budgets across the street in the past and we have felt like they have tried to line item things out of our budget, it has infuriated this board. And now we're asking them to do the exact thing that has infuriated us before. It's our job to trim out the fat in this budget," said Chairman Lattimore.

"As a school board member, we're in a very particular situation. We've got to do what's in the best interest of the children above everything and we've got to do what's in the best interest of the employees of the school system but we've also got to do what's in the best interest of the taxpayers of DeKalb County. When you send a budget across the street (to the county commission) and you are asking for a fifty or fifty four cent tax increase, you're asking the little old lady that's on her social security check that's having to pay her property taxes on payments because she can't afford to pay it all at one time, you're asking her to pay more. For the people with the million dollar lake homes, they won't have a problem paying that. They think we have the lowest property tax rate they ever saw in their life. But the little old lady who is just barely making it, how is she going to pay an extra fifty four cent tax increase when she can barely make it now? What medicine does she quit taking next year to pay this?," asked Lattimore.

The proposed budget does include the following new positions:

One full time assistant band director: $45,000

Two new teacher positions at DeKalb Middle School: $90,000

One new P.E. teacher at Northside Elementary School: $45,000

One federal teacher position moving to general purpose schools (local budget): $45,000

One new Middle School Soccer Coach: $2,785

One new baseball coach: $2,785

One new assistant soccer coach at DCHS: $2,785

Stipend for teachers attending inservice: $35,000

Textbooks: $120,000

Under the Gifted Education Program:

One new gifted position: $45,000

One federal teacher moving to general purpose schools (local budget): $45,000

Under Special Education Program:

A half time psychological personnel: $27,000

Fiscal services:

A part time clerical employee working hours if needed for scanning records: $5,000

The Transportation Supervisor's salary would increase by $12,440

The purchase of two new school buses is also included in the proposed budget along with a state approved 1.5% pay raise in the state funded portion of the salary of certified personnel.

The proposed budget now goes to County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission's budget committee. If it does not meet with their approval, the proposed budget will come back to the school board for further revisions. All county budgets must be approved and sent to the state by August 15.

Booth Structure Updated for the 2013 Jamboree

May 14, 2013
Fiddlers Jamboree Coordinator Jack Barton

The Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree is making some changes for the 2013 festival in terms of food booth as well as exhibitor booth regulations. This year, three options are available for anyone operating a food booth. 1) A nonprofit organization may operate a booth entirely on its own for a booth fee of $350. 2) A nonprofit organization may contract with a commercial vendor to operate all or a portion of its booth provided that some representatives of the organization are present at the front of the booth. Booths with this arrangement are available for a $700 booth fee. 3) A commercial vendor with no nonprofit ties may procure booth space for a fee of $1,200. Fourteen booth spaces are available during the event. Food booth space is available to nonprofit organizations first, and if the spaces fill up with nonprofit booths, no independent commercial vendors will be allowed. However, if food booth space is still available after Monday, May 20, spaces will open to independent commercial vendors. To find out more about this three-tiered structure, rules and regulations, or to reserve a booth space, email jbarton@smithvillejamboree.com or call 615-597-8500.

Exhibitor booths will also be available on a three-tiered basis and some incentives for first time and multiple booth vendors. First time vendors will be allowed a first year rate of $75 for one booth and if that first time vendors wants multiple booths the additional one would be $50 each. For any vendor who has attended before but wants multiple booths, the additional booths beyond the first will be $75 each. Our new standard rates are as follows and apply for vendors who are returning. 1) Government/non-profit/education or information-only booths are available for $100 per booth. 2) The traditional handmade arts and crafts booth is still available for $125 per booth. In addition, agricultural and homemade edible goods may be sold at these booths as of this year. The homemade edible items may not be packaged for on-site consumption in an effort not to compete with food booths. Also, vendors must be licensed within Tennessee or their home states to be eligible to sell homemade edible items such as canned goods, jams and jellies, or baked goods. Examples of agricultural items that may be sold are honey, cider, or plants. Any booth at this tier is $125. 3) Booths selling unique cultural or regional non-handmade items approved by the Jamboree board will be available for a booth fee of $200. These booths will be separate from the handmade arts and crafts booths and will be ineligible for any booth awards. For more specific rules, deadlines and recommendations for exhibitor booths, visit www.smithvillejamboree.com or e-mail eadkins@smithvillejamboree.com.

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